The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Students concerned about future of Women & Gender Studies at Chatham

Lilly Kubit
Falk Hall

Chatham University’s reorganization has left students and faculty members involved in smaller majors concerned over the future of their programs. Some students who are a part of Women and Gender Studies shared their concerns over email to try and save their major and the history behind it. 

Their concern for the program stems from the Comprehensive Academic Review set to take place during the fall term. The Review Board will evaluate all academic programs at Chatham as a part of the larger University reorganization process to help alleviate the university’s current financial deficit.  

However, communication from the University has shown that there are still many unknowns surrounding the Academic Review. In an interview with the Communiqué, President Rhonda Philips said that no decisions have been made.

“Someone reached out and said, ‘We’ve got to save Women and Gender studies’ and I was like ‘What? We’re not going to be cutting anything like that.’ We honestly don’t have any information on what we could be cut at this point,” she said.

However, students still have fears over the future of their program. The impending Academic Review raises questions about the future of all academic programs within the University at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students are concerned that the review process will not consider anything other than the number of majors and marketability.

“One thing we’ve been talking about with each other is that academic reviews of programs are important. They’re normal; they’re routine,” Rhegan Henry ‘25, Undergraduate Office Assistant at the Women’s Institute, said. “But something that’s happening in this short amount of time, there’s no way it’s a thoughtful review of what students are asking for. You know, it’s just counting who’s in [the major] and who’s not.” 

Another concern arises from pages 43 and 44 of the Faculty Manual, which outlines that when Chatham finds itself in a financial exigency, then full-time, tenured faculty can be laid off if programs are downsized, reconfigured or eliminated. Since tenure usually means protections for faculty, students are concerned about how this could affect faculty integral to their programs.   

The potential for the Women and Gender Studies major to be cut raises questions about the fulfillment of the University’s mission statement. Though not large in numbers, the Women and Gender Studies major represents a significant piece of Chatham’s history as an all-women’s college. Even following the decision to become all-gender, Women’s Leadership and Gender Equity are still considered core values to the University.

Even if the major does not get cut, the fact that it is even in question frustrates students.  

“One of our biggest grievances is, even if people are saying it’s unlikely the program would get cut. It shouldn’t even be a question,” Henry said. “We have so much value, it should not be a question of whether we can have Chatham with it or without it.”

If students would like to learn more about the student activism to save the Women and Gender Studies major, they can reach out to either Henry at [email protected], Emi Perdan at [email protected] or they can visit the Women’s Institute on the second floor of Braun Hall.

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About the Contributors
Bella White
Bella White, News Editor
Bella White ‘27 is a first year at Chatham studying Journalism with a minor in Creative Writing. Originally from north of Pittsburgh, Bella decided to come to Chatham to build on her passion for writing. Bella is a contributing writer for the Communiqué, where they primarily focus on news, lifestyle and the Chatham Student Government. In her free time, Bella enjoys conquering their To Be Read list, seeing musicals, learning new languages and taking naps. They can usually be found in a library or a bookstore with a good iced coffee. For inquiries about her work, Bella can be best reached at [email protected] or via Instagram
Lilly Kubit
Lilly Kubit, Media Editor, Photography
Lilly Kubit ‘22 is a Communications major with a double minor in Business and Photography. Living in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, she wanted to stay in the area for college, and a small school like Chatham was the perfect fit. Her focus on the Communique is photography where she has created multiple photo series in her time as staff. Lilly hopes to become a globetrotting photojournalist and have her work be featured in a museum in the future. While she is interested in documenting through photography for journalistic purposes, she also loves to work on fine art photography projects, especially involving self-portraits. In her free time, Lilly stays creative by making jewelry, embroidering, and printmaking. You can contact Lilly Kubit at [email protected] or on Instagram @lilly.kubit.

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