Dare to Be Different: Empowerment in Light of Women’s Studies Vandalism

by The Cowl Editor on September 13, 2018


The Providence college logo with the symbol for feminism.
Graphic design by Hannah Paxton ’19.

by Angela Bueso ’22

Opinion Staff

College—what most adults incessantly tell us will be the best four years of our lives—a “safe” space for intellectual and spiritual growth.

Moreover, teenagers who struggled to fit in at high school see college as an escape, a place where they can freely express their opinions.

However, a deliberate attack on the Women’s Studies Program in the month of August endangered the intellectual freedom that many students crave.

An established chemistry professor who worked at Providence College perpetrated several attacks on the program: from vandalizing bins, to removing posters from the Women’s Studies doors and walls.

His actions pose an inevitable questionhow intellectually safe is the College? 

The events that have occurred this past month on campus demonstrate that acceptance, tolerance, and understanding are not part of our daily environment.

It is completely unacceptable that in 2018 gender, racial, religious, and sexually biased attacks are still taking place in such an established institution.

It is important to emphasize that the despicable actions were the product of a single person but had an impact on many.

The PC community must view this as an attack on all students and stop this problem at its root. This is precisely what the administration did by promptly firing and banning the attacker from campus.

This, however, does not vindicate the fact that the events occurred place in the first place, and that a male chauvinist was hired as part of the faculty.

If PC is actively advocating for a more diverse and open environment for their students, they should begin by reassessing their choices of faculty.

It is inadmissible that an educated professional would feel threatened by the advancement of women not only in the social hierarchy but also in academia. Professors should lead by example; instead, many have lost trust in the faculty we are supposed to see as role models.

Undoubtedly, this threat to education will not be forgotten, and this incident flawlessly mimics the social turmoil currently taking place in the world.

Moreover, our society is presently struggling with hardships in times of hatred, war, inequality, and oppression. Let us dare to be kind, and to be nonconformists.

We should aspire to be a college known as a safe space, both spiritually and academically.

As our home away from home, we should work together to promote  and protect a healthy living environment.

This is the duty not only of the professors and the administration, but of the students as well.

When you walk past classmates at the library or in Ray, see them not only as peers, but as an extended family.

Friar Family should not be simply holding doors for one another, but supporting our fellow Friars when their overall integrity is threatened.

The actions of one person should not diminish the remarkable accolades of another; that is why we should praise the Women’s Studies Program for daring to be different, speaking their minds, and having the courage to change the course of history.

Similarly, faculty, students, and alumni should attempt to grasp and imitate the mindset of these extraordinary women.