Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Creation of a Women’s Research Council
Petition by BYU Students, Friends and Donors

In light of the recent decision to reorganize the Women’s Research Institute for the purpose of expanding resources for women’s research, mainstreaming women’s studies into academic disciplines, and directing funds more broadly across campus, we propose the following vision to further strengthen the position of the University and bring much-needed consensus on the issue.

We, a body of concerned BYU students, alumni, faculty, donors, and affiliates, propose strengthening the current plan of action by organizing a Women’s Research Council, composed of faculty and students dedicated to furthering the dignity of women within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and across the world.

AGREED:

The existing WRI will be eliminated.

This following proposal will strengthen and streamline women’s studies on BYU campus through centralizing administrative and research control as well as re-directing lines of responsibility and authority for women’s studies through the creation of a multidisciplinary council made up of faculty and a sub-committee of students.

PROPOSAL:

It is proposed that the university establish a Women's Research Council, made up of two integral parts: 1) A body of faculty representing each college and school on campus with regard to women’s studies and research on women and gender concerns. 2) Students from both the Women’s Studies Minor and other students studying and researching issues of special concern for women. We feel that student involvement will promote continuity for research on women.

It is proposed to shift the responsibility of operation of the Women’s Studies minor from the Sociology Department, as has been recently proposed, to the aforementioned multidisciplinary and university-wide Council.

The Women’s Research Council will report to an Associate Academic Vice President (AAVP) working with an inter-college committee of deans, not to one dean as has been announced. It will also be important to establish a central location for Council meetings and mentoring/advisement of students in the minor.

It is proposed that the Women’s Research Institute endowment funds be administered by the new Women’s Research Council, and not put under the control of one college. These funds will be used to mentor students, as well as bring in notable speakers in support of the Women’s Studies minor.

It is proposed that the Women's Research Initiative grant money not be administered by ORCA as was announced, but by the new Women's Research Council.

It is proposed that each college be asked by their Dean to examine whether prospective and current faculty would contribute to the study of women.

It is proposed that the Women's Research Council be tasked with facilitating research by university faculty and students pertinent to women domestically, internationally and on this campus. It is further proposed that the Women’s Research Council members conduct an annual research project related to the contemporary concerns of women on campus, be they faculty, staff, or students. These campus research findings will be reported to the Vice President's Council on an annual basis.

The creation of a Women's Research Council will further strengthen BYU's research on women, as already mandated in the recent decision to close the WRI. In creating a council from all disciplines across campus, interdisciplinary research and dialogue on women can occur with more inclusiveness. Not one discipline will be privileged, and all voices can be heard in a unified voice of solidarity for the cause of women. In supporting research on women in a systematic and broad manner through a Women's Research Council, greater equity on campus can be achieved, and the critical issues addressed by the WRI including domestic violence, micro-finance for poverty reduction, and the relationship between the security of women and the security of states, can continue with input from professors, students, and researchers across disciplines.

The Women’s Research Council will maintain the symbol of women’s studies at BYU and as well as provide for strengthening and streamlining of women’s studies across campus units.

Thank you for your serious consideration on this very important matter.

41 comments:

  1. While the Women's Services and Resources (WSR) tends to focus more on the more, uh, "traditional" roles of women such as speed dating and child birth, I felt like the WRI kind of evened that out.

    President Uchtdorf's message about righteous women also seemed to SUPPORT an organization like the WRI, rather than abolish it.

    I would appreciate if BYU would make a more obvious statement about the reasoning behind the change.

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