Florida Atlantic University officials have proposed a suspension of their Women, Gender and Sexuality department and their master’s degree program in women’s studies for fiscal reasons. The Women’s Studies Center and the M.A. program use a combined .00025 percent of the university’s total education budget, according to an email sent out by FAU’s Women’s Studies department. The department rejects that the decision is about budget cuts, asking, “At a university where the average salary of a male professor is $16, 000.00 higher than the average salary of a female professor, how else are we to interpret the proposed suspension of the Women’s Studies Center and M.A. program than as an attack on women?”
FAU’s women’s studies department has launched an internet campaign to combat the decision including a petition and a Facebook group that call for supporters to write letters of protest to the university president.
FAU is currently one of only several dozen universities offering an advanced degree in Women’s Studies and one of even fewer women’s studies departments to hold an annual symposium attended by other universities, according to feminist blog “Like a Whisper”. If approved, the suspension will begin in the fall of 2010. Officials say it will be short term, but no information regarding a time frame has been released.
TAKE ACTION Sign the online petition.