Friday, November 06, 2009

"Streamline and Strenghthen"

Earlier this week, I read this about BYU closing down its Women's Research Institute. Sara Vranes is my friend on Facebook from 2007 when I went to the International Women's Day Sexual Assault and Rape Awareness demonstration (pics here).

I went to a meeting on this last night. Questions were brought up and we got some answers. The answers that we (feminists at BYU) keep getting are that this will "streamline and strengthen" the program, which is a quote from the press release. Sara Vranes said that "streamline and strengthen" was the automatic answer from many of the administrative people she has talked to.

BYU, what does "streamline and strengthen" mean? Can you give us an example? Right now, a student with a women's studies research project can go to the WRI and find funding, faculty advisors who've done women's studies research. That student can find direction and work with multiple faculty members in multiple disciplines that are brought together through the WRI.

So BYU, when that same student comes to BYU with a women's studies research project in February next year when the WRI is dissolved, how does this new "streamlined and strengthened" system work? How do they find funding? Work with faculty who have done similar research? How is the research strengthened? How is the process of finding advisors and support streamlined? I want to know how you think getting rid of the Women's Research Institute will improve the quality of the women's research done at BYU. Give us concrete examples.

Another answer we got from the meeting tonight is that it's not about the money. BYU, if it's not about lacking funds for the Women's Research Institute, then explain to me why it's being dissolved. If money is not an issue, what is?

Both McKay and I are alumni. Every year we get calls from the alumni association asking for donations to the school. We haven't given yet, but in my imaginings of our future "wealth" I've always wanted to donate our money to the WRI. BYU, you've lost many future alumni donations from us in this decision. Can you tell me how to guarantee my alumni donations go to women's research at BYU without the WRI?

If you are an alumnus, student, concerned citizen, etc., and the dissolution of the Women's Research Institute bothers you, write in. Call in. Let them know that this is a step backwards for women, for men, for the students and future students of the University. Getting rid of a program is NOT "strengthening."

If you'd like to take specific action, go the the Facebook page. The action to support the WRI is being arranged there and you'll get updates on what you can do.

Official Announcement and News
The News Release
The Daily Universe
Salt Lake Tribune
Deseret News

There are also many reactions in the Blogosphere
Square Two: A Farewell Salute to the Women's Research Institute of Brigham Young University
The Exponent II: Save the Women's Research Institute!
You Remind Me of Home: BYU Does it Again
Multicultural America: Is BYU all about Parity?
Feminist Mormon Housewives: Shutting Down BYU's Women's Research Institute
Weightier Matters of the Law: Demise of the BYU Women's Research Institute
By Common Consent: Goodbye Women's Research Institute
Third-Wave Mormon: BYU Eliminating its Women's Research Institute
The Hidden Domestic: The Closure of the Women's Research Institute at Brigham Young University
Dissenting In Part: Another BYU snafu: Women’s Research Institute gets “streamlined”


  1. Ick, it just makes me mad! Why don't they get rid of the football team instead? Sorry football fans, I have never understood the allure.

    Thanks for posting about this Heather and getting the word out! I wish I was there in Provo to protest with you and I believe I will write in and let them know that I will also withhold future donations.

  2. Yeah, if the WRI goes under I can't imagine myself donating any money to BYU in the future, ever. Or encouraging my children (when I have them) to go the Y. Very disturbing. I'm linking this post in my own blog. Here's the url for my blog post:

  3. thank you for posting this. well writtten. thank you for your support. this is such an important issue & i have total faith in our efforts. now, let's figure out why this is REALLY happening, shall we?


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