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Fisher Students Host “We is for Equality” Event

November 30, 2018

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, St. John Fisher College students organized “We is for Equality,” an event featuring panel speakers who discussed the current climate surrounding equality in society.

Allison Baird and Natalie Gates

Media and communication students Allison Baird ’18 and Natalie Gates ’18 were inspired to organize an inclusive event on campus in response to the current rhetoric and need for further discussion around these important topics.

“We is for Equality” is designed as a two-part series with the second session set to take place in the spring. This first session discussed women in society, representation of men and women in the media, and the portrayal of sexual assault in the media.

Experts from various academic departments participated on the panel, including Dr. Lisa Cunningham (women and gender studies), Dr. Kathleen Donovan (political science), Arien Rozelle (media and communication), Dr. Rob Ruehl (philosophy), and Dr. Todd Sodano (media and communication). Later, students and faculty engaged in an informal discussion to share their perspectives and insight.

“This is a topic both of us are passionate about, and we have been fortunate enough to travel to different parts of the world and have experienced inequalities first-hand,” Gates explained. “It is important to spark conversations around the topic of gender equality and the climate around sexual assault so that individuals are educated and motivated to make a change.”

With over a month of planning, it was especially rewarding to see the event come together.

“This event was not only beneficial to the audience members, but it was beneficial to Natalie and myself, along with our panelists,” Baird said.

Conversations during the event touched on several different topics, including sexual assault cases and professor-student equality in the classroom.

“We went beyond the questions we had planned and talked about various forms of inequality in our society today,” said Baird.

The students hope to make “We is for Equality” an annual campus event.

“These issues aren’t going to disappear overnight. These are things that our world will have to continually talk about to evoke change,” Gates stated. “We are so excited to see how this event evolves over time, which will hopefully include growing attendance.”

The second session next spring will focus on gender equality, gender differences in media and politics, and equality as a whole.