Keeping Women’s Studies is a ‘small victory’ to some

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – IPFW has decided to reinstate the Women’s Studies program. It was supposed to be cut as part of the University Strategic Alignment Process, or USAP. But as of Tuesday, that’s no longer the case.

Just a couple months ago, it was a much different scene on campus. Students and staff at IPFW were protesting the proposed degree cuts. That included Women’s Studies, Geology, Philosophy, French and German. Plus, a handful of teaching programs, majors and graduate programs will be cut.

“We’re obviously really excited and encouraged by the decision to keep it but at the same time it’s a victory but it’s a still a small victory because it doesn’t address the fundamental issue of what’s happening at IPFW,” Lauren Kerlin said.

Kerlin is a communications major and said her concern in this shows it’s a campus-wide issue, going beyond the majors impacted. She is part of Not in Our Future, a group advocating for those majors.

The reason for the reinstatement includes a plan that allows for cost savings and efficiency. Kerlin says although this is a step for women’s studies, she isn’t celebrating.

“We want to send a message to Chancellor Carwein and Vice Chancellor Drummond that this isn’t going to placate us. We’re still very much dedicated in our mission to save the other programs that are on the chopping block,” she said.

Neither is the director of Women’s Studies. She posted a lengthy status on Facebook. In it she said she won’t be celebrating because they’re the only major being reinstated. She went on to say she’ll continue to advocate for one IPFW.

The dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Eric Link, sent NewsChannel 15 this statement:

“Yes, the women’s studies program has been reinstated, and not only will currently enrolled students have the opportunity to continue their studies accordingly, but it will remain a degree option for future students who choose to attend the university.  Working with the leadership and faculty in both the Women’s Studies Program as well as the Department of Political Science, the College of Arts and Sciences was able to put together a plan that not only allowed for Women’s Studies to remain a degree option for students at the university, but also to build on some current strengths in the Department of Political Science that will allow for more student learning and research opportunities centered around issues of public advocacy and engagement.  We are very pleased that we were able to put this plan together and that we will be able to continue to offer this degree option for our students.”