Women unite to discuss issues

Unlike last year’s unattended seminar, between 10 and 15 women were present to hear three speakers share their personal educational experiences as women of color attending college, according to Lindsey Watts, who organized Tuesday’s Contemporary Issues for Women of Color discussion group.

“Where are our priorities?” asked speaker Ines Campoverde, who organized last year’s seminar.

She said she believed marketing was not to blame for last year’s nonattendance.

Rather, no one came “because [undergraduate women’s] priorities are still based on fashion, hairstyles, boys [and] getting into that right clique,” Campoverde said.

“Instead of fighting over that basketball star, [women should] talk about why is that,” she said.

Some students disagree. They blame low attendance on conflicting schedules and a lack of marketing, rather than misplaced priorities.

Senior Michelle Dohrety said she never even heard of the seminar, and felt that fliers should have been posted to advertise the event.

Jackie Decker, a sophomore, said she “definitely” would have attended if she had heard about it.

“I think it seems interesting…It would’ve informed me more,” Decker said.

In addition to those who had not even heard about the discussion group, there were some who knew about it and still did not come. An e-mail informed first-year graduate student Antonia Vasquez about the seminar, but “the date didn’t register,” so she missed it. She said she would have liked “to see what it was about. I’ve gotten e-mails and I’ve been curious,” she said.

Seniors Shellie Claushee and Delphine Ashley also knew about the discussion group through e-mails from their advisers and from Leo Leckie, who works in the office of the associate vice president for diversity. Neither Claushee nor Ashley could attend because they had a class.

Still, speaker Karen L. Shaffer (CQ) was pleased with those present.

“I was very impressed that there were white women [who came as well],” said Shaffer, who is also the human resource program manager for Unishippers.

The turnout also gladdened Campoverde, but she said she wished “there had been more women of color” in attendance so they could “try to learn about each other to unite and become allies.”

Representing African-American, Polynesian and Latina perspectives, the speakers also gave advice on how to accomplish educational goals despite racial and gender obstacles.

“[Women of color face] a level of expectation that they won’t succeed,” Shaffer said.

Because of this prejudice, “they can’t be a regular student. They have to excel above and beyond” to prove themselves, Shaffer said.

The discussion group was part of the Women’s Resource Center’s Food for Thought Lunchtime Series, which meets every Tuesday at noon in Union Room 239 to discuss various issues facing women.

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