Student Veterans

With the biggest military in the world, it’s not surprising that we have a lot of veterans in the United States. We are also a country that values education, so it’s also unsurprising that many of them attend school after serving. In 2009, there were approximately 500,000 student veterans. By 2013, that number had more than doubled and there were over one million veterans furthering their educations around the United States using the GI Bill. This number of student veterans is only expected to increase over the coming years. About 73-80 percent of student veterans are male, and about 21-27 percent are female. This is actually disproportional to the amount of males and females who serve, as only about 10-14 percent of the total number of veterans are female. This number shows that more female are using their earned benefits to further their education than males. Only about 15 percent of student veterans are within the traditional age of college students, most being between the ages of 24-40 before going to college. Also about half of student veterans are married and about half also have children. Student veterans are also more likely to be first generation college students, at around 62 percent.

Transitioning from military life to college life is not an easy thing for most veterans. As you’ll read later from our interviews, almost all had some kind of trouble with the shift. Especially for veteran’s who saw combat, transitioning back to civilian life is difficult. Especially for those veterans who have seen combat, civilian life seems boring by comparison. Also, as many of our interviewees said as well, the military is very structured, while civilian life is not. So in leaving the military, they lose that structure and many are unprepared for that.

On top of that, many colleges and professors do not know how to properly handle these veterans who are, mostly, non-traditional students. Student veteran communities at many schools are small or non-existent. Because student veterans have different backgrounds from the traditional college student, they often feel at odds with the school and the other students. Non-veteran students don’t understand what veteran students have been through and are sometimes unsympathetic and insensitive.

The GI Bill was passed in 1944, officially known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act. It was meant to help veterans get back into civilian life after serving. It looks a little different today than when it started, but it’s changed to better reflect what student veterans need. The edition to the Bill in 2008 enhanced educational benefits to help cover more expenses, provide a living stipend, more money for books and other costs associated with college, and the ability to transfer unused benefits to spouses or children. This Bill is a huge incentive for veterans to further their education after serving their country. The best quote I found about the GI Bill is from Tom Tarantino who works for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America:

If colleges are not prepared to help transition soldiers from combat you do run the risk of losing an entire generation. The GI Bill isn’t a thank you for your service. What it really is is a readjustment benefit. It is giving them the opportunity to do something that is constructive for their mind and their body, that gives them a mission and allows them to move forward in life. It’s a backstop so you’re not walking right off the plane from combat in to the civilian world. It was designed to be a soft landing.

One such person who took advantage of the GI Bill is an alum of Salem State. When looking in the archives for an interview, our archivist came across an interview with a veteran named James Leary. Bruce Browning conducted the interview in the 2001. James had served in World War II and was a signalman, 3rd class in the United States Navy. James graduated Salem State in 1951. At the time, the veteran population was small, he was one of only 54 student veterans. He endured some hazing when he first started at the school, such as being shunned from the cafeteria. He had a professor mentor, Dr. Edna McGlynn. He got involved with Student Government and the fraternity Kappa Delta Phi, which only became recognized the year he graduated. Even though he had experienced hazing when he entered the school, he didn’t experience any kind of initiation rituals when he entered his fraternity, stating, “We had no initiations, we didn’t buy initiations, you were a member, you qualified, you’re one of us.” He said that he owed a lot to Salem State and that he wouldn’t have gotten very far in life without the education he received here.

For our project, we also interviewed four current Salem State University veteran students. These are the breakdowns of their interviews. One has an audio file and a transcription of that as well.

Jane Doe

Q: What was your rank?

A: Specialist E4

Q: What branch did you serve in?

R: Army National Guard

Q: What position did you have?

A: Transportation: truck, mission base to base. Carried everything from toilet paper to vehicles to ammunition.

Q: What obstacles did you face as your gender?

A: Not many obstacles as a female. She was more like one of the guys. More issues as a minority. Suffered from racism, most of which were underhanded. She was not shocked, toughed through it

Q: Any stories?

A: She was considered too masculine. She wasn’t girlie enough. They tried to police how she acted. They said she wasn’t dainty and swore too much. This made her not date-worthy.

Q: What was it like as your gender in the military?

A: There were a couple of hiccups. She was a tom boy and had a hard time integrating with women.

Q: How did you adjust to SSU?

A: She did not adjust to SSU. Civilian life was very different from military. This was her first time in college.

Q: What resources were available to you?

A: She did not use the resources available to her, even though it was in her best interest to utilize them. She was taught to suck it up and deal with her issues on her own. She wouldn’t have gotten help if it weren’t for her friend. She focuses mainly on therapeutic health

Jane Doe

Q: What was your rank?

A: Private

Q: What branch did you serve in?

A: United States Marine Corps

Q: What position did you have?

A: Legal Administration

Q: What obstacles did you face?

A: She was pushed harder than the men. She had to meet the standards set for women in the Marines.

Q: What was it like as your gender in the military?

A: It was hard since there were so few women. One rotten egg ruined it for the rest of them. She had to constantly prove herself against the higher up who doubted her.

Q: Any stories?

A: Pretty Papa was the name of her group. They were always pristine, orderly and tidy with their hair in a perfect bun.

Q: What was it like as your gender in the military?

A: She was pushed to be both feminine and masculine. She was expected to push herself extremely hard every day.

Q: How did you adjust to SSU?

A: At first extremely well with help of friends. Then mental health worsened (PTSD and Depression) and she became less happy here and wanted to go back into the military.

Q: What resources were available to you?

A: The health and services center was available. At the Vets center, she talked to a couple of people. She didn’t feel like she belonged because she was never deployed. She doesn’t consider herself to be a vet even though she is disabled and has a service dog.

Q: How did Professors deal with non-tradition student?

A: She utilized professors to help.

Q: What was your overall experience like?

A: Overall it hasn’t been great. She will be leaving soon to go to another school. But she would like to see more education on mental health and service dogs.

John Doe [Deployed]

Q: What was your rank?

A: Sergeant

Q: What branch did you serve?

A: United States Marine Corps

Q: What position did you have?

A: Multiple data analyst

Q: What were the obstacles faced as your gender?

A: Told to man up, had to keep image of being tough. Even when he was sick, he had to work.

Q: Any stories?

A: Troops were picked on for lack of manliness. The military was more organized. They cared more about order. This caused him to care more about school. It was very cultural; intersection was hard. The military was authoritative but also relaxed. There was a lot of favoritism that showed. Women were seen as lower than the men. The infantry was very male dominated, but other areas were more relaxed. There is a difference between being a Combat Vet vs a Vet. Combat gets more respect within the veteran community. A lot of ‘manlier’ women who placed an emphasis on masculinity were attacked verbally. More feminine women often slept with higher-ups. Rank structures and promotions happened with favoritism. Female higher-ups often favored females over males. Older officers were more perverted and often pulled rank. Lesbians were more accepted and respected. Good thing about the military was acceptance. Bad thing about the military was division when there needed to be unity. He was in the military for 8 years. Witnessed higher-ups abuse power. Found that different branch women behaved differently. There were higher standards and more demand to act professional. Women were often accused of being bitchy. There were a lot of fights. There were very high divorce rates among deployed soldiers, often because the spouse back home would cheat.

Q: What was it like as your gender in the military?

A: In a better position than the women. It was male-dominated. A lot of responsibility were placed on the men.

Q: How did you adjust to SSU?

A: He just adjusted to SSU. It was a process, but with a strong mind and will he was fine.

Q: What resources were available to you?

A: He used the Vet’s Center. It was his primary contact and guidance.

Q: How did Professors deal with non-tradition student?

A: Only four professor acknowledged his status as a non-traditional student and worked with him. One professor was still active in the military who advocated for him a lot.

Q: What was your overall experience like?

A: The overall experience was tough. The difference from school to military was hard. But adapting wasn’t had.

John Doe (Recording) [Deployed]

Q: What was your rank?

A: Specialist

Q: What branch did you serve in?

A: US Army

Q: What position did you have?

A: Military Police

Q: What were the obstacles faced as your gender?

A: There really were none. There was a good diversity of males and females.

Q: Any stories?

A: There was a lot of structure. Getting up at 6 am. Eating breakfast. Going through his day. The army was very masculine. A lot of females were lesbians, many gave off the persona of being masculine. Women either stuck together or would sleep around. The women who were more feminine were often targets. There was a rumor mill, which had an unclear affect on advancements, but created a hostile environment. The rumor mill probably wasn’t true, but spread who was sleeping with higher ups. There were formal balls with lots of alcohol.

Q: What was it like as your gender in the military?

A: Not difficult at all.

Q: How did you adjust to SSU?

A: Fairly well. This was not his first school. He originally went to a community college. Had issues with the lack of structure and struggled to find a good system to get through the semester.

Q: What resources were available to you?

A: He used the Veteran’s Center. He used the Veteran’s Service Offices for finance. He volunteered there as well.

Q: How did Professors deal with non-tradition student?

A: Most of his interactions with professors have been positive. Some professors did not acknowledge it at all.

Q: What was your overall experience like?

A: Overall good. SSU veteran community is fractured. Many don’t want to get too involved or work with vets. Would like to see more community.

Audio File

Transcription

Q: What was your rank?

A: I was a Specialist in the US Army.

Q: And your position?

A: Military Police.

Q: So, where there any obstacles you faced due to your gender?

A: No. In the Military Police Corps, which I was a part of, there’s actually a pretty good diversity of males and females, so it’s not like the infantry, which are all males, so it’s very mixed.

Q: Do you have any stories about what it was like interacting with your coworkers and colleagues? Was there any gender biases?

A: No, it wasn’t really based on gender. We were pretty great on that front. Yeah, nothing really based on gender. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen, but at least in my experience, it hasn’t.

Q: So what was a typical day like for you?

A: Well, I would wake up at six o’clock in the morning, then we would go to physical training for the day. Then I would get off, shower, eat breakfast and all that stuff. I would go back to work at nine o’clock, work from 9-5, get off, and that’s it. It’s pretty structured. That’s the one thing about the military, it’s very structured.

Q: So, this is kind of similar, but what was it like, as your gender, there was nothing?

A: Not particularly, no.

Q: So how did you adjust to Salem State?

A: Um, well, actually, this isn’t my first school. I went to community college after I got out of the military. So… um… the reason I mentioned the structure was because that’s, like, the biggest difference between the military and school, is, you know, in the military, you have people telling you where to be and what to do all the time. There’s always some sort of direction or guidance. And then you go into college, even just community college, and nobody’s there to direct you. You have to be able to make the structure for yourself. And I think that this is true for a lot of vets that, for the first maybe semester that you’re out of the military maybe two, for me it was like a semester, you struggle to find that balance. Eventually you adjust, at least for me, it was the whole semester.

Q:  What sources were available to you? Because I know there is the Veteran’s Center. Have you used anything else?

A: In Massachusetts, they have a Veteran’s Service Offices. Every city and town has one, or at least is represented by an office. I actually worked there. So, say, if you’re having financial trouble, like, the only thing that Ted can do is that he does our benefits, our education benefits, he can’t help us with anything else. So if you’re, like, really down, like you’re having really bad financial problems, stuff like that, you go see a Veteran’s Services Officer. And one thing that I did to kind of help me adjust, is that I volunteered for a Veteran’s Services Officer because he was in kind of the same position as me, or you know, he had been. He got out, he went to school, you know. He kind of, like, guided me here and there about how to structure myself, how to make sure I find time to study and do my homework, you know all that good stuff. So that’s what I did, personally, is I sought guidance from someone else, and I know a lot of other student vets don’t do that.

Q: I’ve noticed. The ones I’ve talked to, they’re like ‘yeah I did this all on my own’ and I’m like ‘okay!’

A: Yeah.

Q: How have professors dealt with you as a non-traditional student because you’re a vet?

A: It’s been mostly positive. Some people have acknowledged it, like ‘oh you know, you have extra stuff to bring to the table’ and other professors don’t acknowledge it at all, like it’s not even a thing, you know what I mean? But from the professors that do acknowledge it, very positive.

Q: What’s your overall experience like, from coming to Salem State, from being a vet at Salem State in this community?

A: It’s been good. One thing about Salem State, though, and this also rings true for the community college I went to, is that the veteran’s community is kind of fractured. What I mean by that is a lot of student vets don’t really want to get involved with stuff on campus because they have families or they have jobs and all of these other responsibilities. So they don’t want to stay and develop this community as much.

Q: That seems to be true for a lot of Salem State, they don’t really want communities.

A: Probably just because there are so many people that commute. I live in the dorms. But what I did personally was that I started working for my local Veteran’s Services Officer in Salem. That was my way of, not only earning a little bit of extra money, but also to connect with veterans. And I hang out here too [the Veteran’s Center on campus], so I get to talk to students while I’m here, too.

Q: Would you like to see more community here?

A: I would. I would think that we could do something like, I don’t know, just play flag football or something, when it comes to student vets. Just to get us interacting with each other. I think it would be the positive because people identify most with other student vets, we’ve all been through similar experiences. I don’t identify so much with traditional students. So I think that would be a very positive thing, especially for student vets that need to just get out of their shells.

When asked about life here at Salem State, all of our interviewees struggled at least a little bit. Adjustment is hard and we need to do a better job at making the veterans on campus feel welcome here. As our last interviewee said, we need to build a better community here on campus for the student veterans. Getting student veterans in touch with one another is really beneficial to building a community and that community will help our student veterans thrive better in this new environment that they’re in. Transitioning from military to civilian life is not an easy thing, but having a community of others going through the exact same thing that you are and who understand your struggles could really help a lot of people.

As a veteran coming home to civilian life is hard, but coming home with disabilities is harder. Thankfully there is disability compensation for “service-related disability” as long as the vet was discharged “under other than dishonorable conditions” (“Veterans Disability Compensation”).  Disability compensation has been around since the English colonies in America in 1636, where money was given to people disabled for fighting Native Americans. (“VA History in Brief’).  In 1776 the Continental Congress created the first pension law (VA History in Brief’). After the Civil war The General Pension Act of 1862 provided disabled veterans with payments and benefits for their families, it also included compensation for diseases like tuberculosis that was incurred during the service(VA History in Brief’).   President Hoover signed an executive order in 1930 to establish the Veterans Administration to take care of veterans benefits (‘VA History in Brief’). Throughout the progress of veterans compensation there have been many improvements.

Today a disabled veteran can receive benefits ranging from $133 to over $3,300 per a month; these numbers are dependent on the severity of the disability and the number of dependents that the veteran has (“Veteran Disability Compensation”).   There is also the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) which is for a “surviving spouse, child, or parent, of Service  members who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, or survivors of Veterans who died from their serviced connected disabilities” (“Benefits Description”). While sometimes the benefits are not enough due to the issues in actually receiving benefits, they do help a veteran adjust to civilian life.

Resources that Salem State has:

The Veteran’s Center

Spiritual Life

Ellison 219

Health and Counseling Services

Ellison 107

Resources Used:

VA Campus Toolkit (mentalhealth.va.gov)

Lighthall, Alison. “Ten Things You Should Know About Today’s Student Veteran.” NEA. N.p.,n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Veterans Returning to College Face Unique Challenges.”Military.com.N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

Jacobs, Joanne. “Veterans Go to College But Face Challenges.” Www.usanews.com. N.p., 18

May 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

Mulhere, Kaitlin. “Complexity of Student Vets.” Www.insidehighered.com. N.p., 24 Nov. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

“Benefits Description.” U.S Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d). Retrieved from:  http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/

“VA History in Brief.” Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d). Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/archives/docs/history_in_brief.pdf

“Veteran Disability Compensation.” Military.com. (n.d) Retrieved from: http://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/veteran-disability-compensation.html

Gendered Work-Life Balance

On this post you will find information on the gendered work-life balance of Salem State University. To help explain this concept, you will find here a historical context of gender and work-life balance, a curated collection of information on this topic from the Salem State Archives, as well as interview statements from our faculty.

Historical Context of Gender and Work-Life Balance

How do women manage the conflicts between family and career?

Nearly one half of women who stay in academia remain single or childless, which raises the question of how work-family conflicts influence the choices that women make. Often colleagues and universities are not supportive of a woman’s choice to be both parent and professor. A faculty career is demanding; the average professor works 55 hours per week. When childcare and home responsibilities are added, a woman can work 70 or more hours a week. Women professors who want to have children often try to “schedule” the birth of their children in the summer when they may not have teaching responsibilities.

In an employee survey conducted by DuPont, almost half of the male workers reported difficulties with child care arrangement. A survey of women university employees, however, found that women overwhelmingly thought a child care center and parental leave policy would be attractive recruitment strategies. Professorships were originally designed for men who had wives at home and children but also to provide support for the man’s career. Professors work more hours than nearly every other profession, take the most work home, and in the past were the least likely to spend time with their children or assist their wives with housework. Since women are competing with men who assume fewer family responsibilities, the burden for women faculty is especially difficult.

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Some institutions such as the University of Wisconsin Madison are beginning to look at these issues, but not enough universities have realized that faculty performance is measured by a structure almost designed for high stress, if not failure. Recent surveys of small liberal art colleges and research universities found that most respondents made few provisions for maternity leave beyond those mandated by the Pregnancy Disability Act. The passage of the PDA was considered a step forward for working women, but it does not solve all of the problems of discrimination related to pregnancy. Since the PDA has been in effect, there has been an increase in the number of lawsuits filed by women who were either fired or passed over for promotion because of pregnancy. Universities in the process of developing new maternity and/or paternity leave policies have wrestled with the questions of equal treatment for men and women or preferential treatments for pregnant women. In regards to cost, the cost of providing a comprehensive parental leave program could be quite high.

The Chamber of Commerce estimated that full funding of the Family Leave Act would cost $13 billion. The University of Wisconsin (1988), in a survey of similar institutions found that none of the respondent major research universities provided maternity leave beyond the legal mandate. The University of California adopted a system wide policy of stopping the tenure clock for one year after childbirth. The University of Minnesota’s policy allows for a 12 month unpaid parental leave. New adoptive mothers and fathers may take two weeks of informal leave with pay. Amherst College, for example maintains benefit coverage if a women either works part-time for a semester or takes a semester leave. More often universities require the employee to pay for benefits while on leave. This is especially difficult because the income is reduced and paying for benefits is an added expense. Universities could be more supportive in reducing work/family conflict by providing extended leave, preferably paid, to faculty in the first year of their child’s lives or by allowing reduced teaching load or committee assignments. Family work life has changed, but institutions have not kept pace with the changes and the resultant stress is taking its toll on men and women faculty.

Curated Collection

A Day Care Center Proposed October 2nd, 1970

daycareproposal

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Open Forum Day Care October 23rd, 1970

The open forum was meant to get the community together to discuss ideas, needs, and common policies they would like to see implemented in the potential day care.

“Day Care? We Care! December 4th, 1970″

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Day Care Established December 17th, 1970

The day care was for the whole city of Salem, and not just for the University’s use. The temporary location of the day care was located at the then Salem State College in the Arts and Science Building (Meier Hall). There were hidden intentions to the day care. There was birth control offered there.

AN issue the day care ran into was that the space offered wasn’t large enough to meet the needs for the day care. The center fought for a bigger space to correct this problem. The president of the college and the parents of the children attending the day care would then sit down and discuss the move of the day care. The president decided to move the day care down the street considering there wasn’t a space that would fit qualifications on the campus.

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daycareestablished

Day Care Gets Building September 21st, 1971

In the process of building this day care from the floor up (almost literally) there were a lot of code and regulations that the building had to meet.

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Day Care to Open December 7th 1971

The day care center opened at 93 Broadway Street in Salem with the hours of 8 to 5 on Monday through Friday. This was done so that the student mothers could attend their classes. Only children that were ages 1 – 5 were allowed to attend the day care. Early-childhood teachers were appointed to run the day care.

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Dispelling Day Care Rumors December 14th, 1971

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Alleged Reverse in Day 2Care Stand December 20th, 1971

Mr. Richard Marrs was responsible for the expenditure budget on the day care. There was an agreement of a little over 2,000 dollars being needed. When it came down to needing the money, the president and Marrs both backed out of negotiations for how much to spend on the renovations.

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Day Care Activities March 14th, 1972


daycareactivities

Work-Life Balance at Salem State University

Question: How have campus programs and policies promoted work-life integration for Salem State employees (the day care, preschool)?

SSU Preschool:
• Children of full-time Salem State students receive first priority. Faculty, staff and community children are accepted after that.
• Children are required to attend a minimum of two full days.
Schedule options are:
• Monday–Friday
• Monday, Wednesday and Friday
• Tuesday and Thursday

Tuition RatesScreen Shot 2017-04-27 at 10.31.00 AM
Early Drop off Added payment
• 5 (M-F) $140
• 3 (MWF) $90
• 2 (T/TH) $60
Late Pick up Added Payment
• 5 (M-F) $240
• 3 (MWF) $150
• 2 (T/TH) $100
(TAKE NOTE: early drop off is a half an hour earlier than regular drop off which is 8 am and late pick up is one extra hour after the regular pick up which is 4pm)

Full time SSU students will receive a 10% discount on the rates above
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SSU POLICIES

The Family and Medical Leave Act states that an employee is entitled to medical leave due to incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or childbirth, to care for a child after birth, to care for a parent or spouse who has a serious medical condition, or serious medical condition of the individual. At SSU employees can take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave, if you have worked here for more than a year.

Mother’s Nursing Room

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SSU has a Mother’s Nursing Room policy that provides a private room for nursing mothers, other than a bathroom. This room provides a shield from view and interruptions. The school is also required to provide reasonable break time for an employee to pump for her nursing child. This break time time is provided for a year after the child is born.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act
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National View
“For these workers with unpaid parental leave, plans allowed an average of 20 weeks off. Paid parental leave benefits were rare” ( Helping Employees with Family Care)
“Annual cost of child care for an infant in a child care center is higher than a year’s tuition at the average four year public college in most states” (Center for American Progress Fact Sheet: Child Care)

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Families Responsibilities Discrimination:
Family Responsibilities Discrimination (FRD) is employment that is based on worker’s responsibilities to care for their family members. Whether their caring for sick family or caring for a newborn or a young child. FRD typically happens to pregnant employees. If employees are facing unfair discrimination in the workplace similar to this they are experiencing FRD.

 Examples of FRD are firing pregnant employees because they are pregnant or will take maternity leave, failure to promote pregnant women or women with young children and giving promotions to women without children or fathers instead of more qualified women with children. Giving parents work schedules that they cannot meet for childcare reasons while giving non parents flexible schedules. Penalizing workers who have legally taken time off to care for aging parents. Promoting single men over engaged or married women for fear that they will become pregnant.

FRD is important because 70% of U.S households with children have all adults participating in the workforce. Also women make up 46% of the U.S workforce and most (81%) of U.S women have children and 10% of employees are taking care of both children and aging parents.

Women with children are the most likely to encounter FRD: they are 79% less likely to be recommended for hire, 100% less likely to be promoted and are generally offered $10,000 less in salary than a male co-worker who does the same exact job. Men can also face FRD when they seek to actively care for children or other family members.
There is no federal law that actively prohibits FRD, however employees may be protected from FRD by the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Americans with Disabilities Act, The Equal Pay Act and ERISA.


Following Washington D.C, Massachusetts is the most expensive place for childcare. The average annual cost of infant care for one child in Massachusetts is $17,062 or $1,422 per month. The average annual cost of care for one child in Mass is more expensive than in state tuition for four-year public college. Child care cost for one child takes up nearly one-fifth of the typical family’s income. A minimum wage worker in Massachusetts would need to work full time for 43 weeks just to pay for childcare for one infant.
The cost of one child to be enrolled in the SSU preschool full time (5 days a week) without early drop off or late pick up, year round would cost $12,120 ($4,942 less than the Massachusetts average annual cost rate).

Interview Statements

Both faculty interviewed said that they had no problem with maternity and paternity leave and that they are not given a hard time when calling out if their child is sick.

“I remember when I first started to work here, having to go into a closet to breast pump and now we have a room that is specifically designed for that, oh, how much things have changed”

Meier-Hall

 

Gender In the Curriculum

 

 

Merriam Webster defines women’s studies as the study of subjects relating to women, their roles in history and their contribution to society. Women’s studies was first introduced in the mid-1970’s. It was largely connected to the feminist movement. People also connected women’s studies to African American studies because “they both promote the idea of learning for social change and action, as well as restoring lost histories and allowing silenced voices to be heard.” Women’s studies have been ridiculed in recent years because some people see it as unnecessary in today’s society. The students that are enrolled in these courses are usually involved in the community and are making a great impact in the world.  
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The images above are of a newspaper article published in The Log on February 9th, 1977. The article, “Women’s Studies” by Kathy Kalina introduces the development of a new Women’s Studies minor at Salem State College. It explains that the program was started by two professors at Salem State, Dr. Pat Gozemba and Dr. Alice Stadhaus. The two attended the New England Women’s Studies Association Conference at UMASS Amherst and found that many smaller schools already had a Women’s Studies program and decided that Salem State should have one as well. They believed that a Women’s Studies minor would be good for the “more than 60% female undergraduates” population at Salem State. The author also addresses the national growth of Women’s Studies at the time. She mentions that “it was not until the summer of 1970 that the phrases “Female Studies”, “Feminist Studies”, and ” Women’s Studies” began gaining recognition.”

 

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The images above show Activities in Affirmative Action at Salem State and the Supplement to the Course Catalog from 1977-1978. The Affirmative Action page introduces a new academic minor program in Women’s Studies. It explains that since the development of the Women’s Studies minor in the fall of 1977, the average enrollment in courses involved with the program was 18.3. The program also attracted (7) declared minors. The Supplement to the Course Catalog further introduces the importance of the Women’s Studies program. It explains that the school has slowly been adding courses that pertain to this minor since 1971 and that the women’s studies movement in education has developed nationwide during the same time that the women’s movement began addressing issues regarding the inequality of gender. Many people believe that the women’s studies field would just be a fad, however it has only grown since its development.

 

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Article: For and about Women: The Theory and Practices of Women’s studies in the United States.

Women studies first appeared in the latter half of the 1960s. This was when women faculty in higher education, were stronger in numbers than ever before. They began to create new courses that would further more reflect on female experience and feminist desire. They were supported and sometimes be led by feminist students, staff, and community women these discoverers were often political activists who sought to understand and to confront the sexism they had experienced.

Efforts at organization and course development were inspired by both free university movements and civil rights movements. This provided the model of black studies courses and programs. With the large number of early courses on women in literature can point to the relative accessibility of this field to women. This occurred between 1970 and 1975 there was 150 new women’s studies programs that were found. This number then grew to 30,000 and is offered at most colleges and universities in the United States.

 

 

 

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Article:  Women’s studies in American colleges and universities

Almost half of the institutions with women’s studies are above average in selective places meaning the elite and financially well institutions. Since the early 1960s, the efficient effort to develop women’s studies courses in the regular liberal arts curriculum has only occurred recently. Prior to 1970 course listings show that most women’s studies courses have been offered in English literature and language departments. The second most popular discipline and interdisciplinary courses was History and that became very popular after 1970s.

Those involved in Women’s studies acknowledge their heritage from civil rights, educational reform and student protest, ethnic studies and women’s movements. Numerous civil rights workers from 1950s and 1960s have emerged as feminist academics in the 1970s.

 

Interview with Patricia Connolly “Pat”

  1. How do you feel about the fact that women’s studies is only a minor and not a major and why do you think that is ?

I firstly wanted to mention that I’m extremely happy that there’s a women’s study minor, but I feel like the main reason for why it isn’t really a major is because Salem state isn’t really a big school. I have a friend that is a professor at UMass Boston and she actually is a professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Seeing how a University, such as UMass has such a BIG community I would be surprised if they didn’t have a Women’s studies as a major.  Going back to why it’s only a minor it definitely has a lot to do with Salem State not being as big of a school as UMass Boston. Another reason I feel like it isn’t really a major is because people are interested in women’s studies but not interested enough for them to major in it.

  1.  What gender do you see more prevalent involved in the minor and in the classes, and does it surprise you ?

I recently started teaching SWK 330 which is Social Services for Women Clients and the entire class is predominantly female based. Not to mention any social work class that I’ve ever taught, the female to male ratio has always been very noticeable. I would have a class of 20 students and there would be 2 male students in the class. So In my opinion I think that the gender I see more prevalent in the minor and the classes is female. I feel like there’s this misconception with  about feminists and that they a bunch of angry women, so I sometimes think that most men would avoid these classes because they want to avoid being bashed by the women in the class. I feel as though that men should take these classes because they would get more out of these classes and they would be very educational to them.

  1. How do you see the future of women studies moving forward from today ?

I see it becoming more and more prevalent throughout the years. I think the feminist movement is growing not only with women but also with men. More people are realizing the injustice women go through and are starting to stand up for women and women’s rights. I see Salem State embracing the women studies minor and eventually becoming a major. I love how more and more people are embracing social justice and Salem State is a great community for that. We have such a diverse campus not only with men and women but with so many different races.

 

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Howard University was founded to train black teachers and preachers on how to educate and uplift recently emancipated slaves. Since then it has consistently confronted the shameful legacies of slavery and racism. However, their women studies program came about 30 years late because their main issues were focused on race not gender. Part of the problem that it took so long was because African American women resist being seen as, or consider calling themselves “feminists”, simultaneously because they cannot struggle against both racism and sexism. While Howard may be ahead of predominately white institutions (PWIs) in confronting racism, it has lagged behind in the discussion of sexism and women’s issues in general because there was no push for institutionalizing women’s studies at Howard University.

How women’s studies came about at Howard University all started with the hiring of a new chair for the department of sociology and anthropology in 1991, which kick-started the process of launching their program. She established the African American Women’s Institute, a research and fund-raising body, and hosted the Second National and International Conference on Black Women in the Academy in 1999. The funding from the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and Howard University gave a solid grounding and academic credibility to begin the administrative process of developing the program. The graduate dean at the time was ecstatic to join the trend towards interdisciplinary certificate programs in higher education which was helpful in getting women’s studies established.

 

At this time in 2001, more than 400 universities across the country had certificate programs on a range of topics at the graduate level (Patterson 2001).  The dean took a global approach to the program by adding women’s movements and history from other parts of the world, especially Asia and Africa. It took almost 5 years for the program to come together because of lack of administrative structure for putting new certificate programs into place but Howard University graduated their first group of students in spring 2004 in the graduate women studies program.

 

 

 

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In the late 1990’s and 21st century, women programs have been examined for revision. This new revision debated whether or not that the title of woman studies should be changed to Gender Studies. By making the title more applicable to the population, different genders and social identities will feel more included. Also, the title women studies illustrates the idea that men are the norm of society and that women are only the focus of studies in special program. There are opponents of this argument that think changing the name of this course will weaken the impact feminist scholarship and the link to the women’s movement. Another argument is that women have already achieved their goal of increasing the study if women and gaining equality. Woman studies have also been ridiculed for not being able to create skills for a work force. The past five years, there has been an increase in conservative attacks on this curriculum especially in public universities.  

Globally, between the 1970 and 2000 women’s studies appeared in curriculums in universities emerged in a range of countries and regions throughout the world. Over 30 years, there is at least one university in 60 countries offering a degree in women’s studies. Women’s studies have positively influenced global dynamics. The global dynamics shows development of global inclusiveness and women’s studies as global innovation. Social movements such as demands for civil rights reflected the rise of women’s studies. Since the millennium, women’s studies has become a fast growing college major as well as thriving globally.  

Women who enroll in women studies are a uniquely very self-reflective, invested in their community, and making an impact in the world. In 2010, a study was done with over 900 graduate women study students showing that 70 percent of the students were involved in various organizations during their undergraduate career. Most of the students in these courses are women but men are increasingly have enrolled and even majored in women studies. Women studies challenged universities similar to how feminism challenge society at large.

 

 

 

 

 

WOMEN STUDIES COURSES AVAILBLE AT SALEM STATE UNIVERSITY:

 

Intersectionality & Activism

Curated Collection

“…the time is now !” by Beverly Pappa

During Miss Kennedy’s speech, she invited her audience onto the stage with her to sing, “tunes of oppression”. This was Kennedy’s way to get the crowds’ emotions going. This leads her to talk about the oppression that was taking place in Boston. She felt that it was time for a change! She ends her speech by saying, “Our society is not really into seeing life, as precious”. Flo Kennedy shares her view on oppression. She does not tolerate oppression in any shape or form.

This article shows the courage of one woman and allows readers to see that if one person stands up for what they believe in, it could help change everyone else’s view. Also, put knowledge into their head about things going in society!

“Beside them, not against them,” by Darlene Harvey

They do not feel “liberated” by the women’s movement but instead confined and controlled. Harvey opens our eyes and allows us to know that Black women often viewed abortion as a way to limit their population and that the only jobs open to them required them to serve others.

Harvey explains that it is a Black woman’s duty to work, not because of the liberation that has been bestowed upon them. She also touches on the dislike of white woman by black, and how it needs to stop since we are fighting for the same causes. United we stand a chance, apart we will fall apart. Darlene Harvey makes the reader aware that Black Women do not feel oppressed by their counterparts but by white society.


Social Justice v. Gender Politics

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In her article, Feminism Should Expand and Emphasize Social Justice Rather than Gender Politics , Jessica Valenti argues that feminism has lost credibility on the issue of equality because it has focused exclusively on gender. Within her piece, she cites two flaws in mainstream feminism, failure to bring up the next generation of activists and its focus on gender alone.

Melissa Harris-Lacewell, an associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University said that if African American feminists join the white women’s feminism they are asked to be silent about the ways that gender, class and sexual identity intersect and join a single agenda.

Valenti agrees with Harris-Lacewell by criticizing white second wave feminists for focusing on gender inequities and not looking at the intersections of race class and sexuality as they contribute to gender. She goes on to state that if powerful feminists continue to push for gender alone above all other issues the movement will lose its meaning.

These powerful dynamics reminds us we need to highlight the younger generation of feminists of very critical to the movement. Imploring us to notice that feminism is about standing up against systemic inequities. That it is a movement that believes sexism, racism, and classism exist and intersect and must be challenged.

Feminism’s future affects all American women.


There is a Feminist Bias for Gender Advancement over Racial Equality

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In the article, There Is a Feminist Bias for Gender Advancement over Racial Equality, Meredith Tax highlights the importance of political strategy in the feminist movement. The 2008 Democratic race for President revealed that American feminism is indeed divided by those who see gender as the only issue in terms of gaining equality and those who see gender as only part of the intersections of factors that also include race, class, disability and so many other issues.

History:

  • In the suffrage movement, mainstream women’s organizations focused only on winning women the right to vote.
  • At the start of WWI, mainstream feminists supported the war, and this aided them in winning the vote.
    In the 60’s and 70’s left-wing feminists worked on issues such as the Vietnam war, abortion and reproduction rights, sexual freedom, gay rights, union struggles and support for black and other national liberation movements.
  • Left-wing feminists did not build national organizations that lasted like the mainstream feminists.
  • Mainstream feminists’ strategy was to go through the Democratic party and focus on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
  • In the Reagan era, conservatives began to fight back against women’s liberation, affirmative action, and gay rights. They fought against the ERA, fought against the right to abortions, promoted censorship, and attacked sexual freedom for women and gay people.

Tax cites the struggle over political strategy stating that liberal feminists who see women’s issues as separate compared to left-wing feminists who see where race and class and gender intersect. This struggle over political strategy was demonstrated in the 2008 battle for the Democratic nominee. An article, New York Feminists for Peace and Barack Obama, urged feminist voters to remember that war and peace are women’s issues, along with health, the environment, education and job equality.

Kimberle Crenshaw reminded others that for so many feminism is not set apart from the struggles many faces against violence, war, racism, and economic injustice. Tax argues that any issue that affects a group of women must be targeted. Saying that because racism affects black women, feminists should fight racism in every form. She also urges that it is not enough to agree that intersections of oppressions exist, but that we need to be actively working against these systems of oppression.


A Different Standpoint

When looking at the intersection of feminism and viewing the ways that feminists of color have been left out of white feminist spaces I specifically focused on ways in which this has affected the campus community at Salem State University. I interviewed two feminists of color that are members of a student organization for women of color on campus.

I asked questions regarding their demographics, educational experiences and their experiences in white feminist spaces and also spaces for feminists of color. One of them identifies as Italian and African American and the other identifies as Mexican American. Both of them had very different upbringings and had very different experiences with peers and the communities around them one being from a predominately white area and the other being from a Latin community. Both of them stated issues with racism and lots of micro-aggression.

Coming to Salem State both of them stated that they have never specifically felt left out of feminist spaces here on campus but felt wary of the main feminist space on campus. The reason they stated for this feeling was the lack of people of color and lack of willingness or effort to collaborate with their organization on campus. “I feel like it’s a very white space, in not only the people that take up space there but also the decorations and the big vagina that is a depiction of a white vagina.” They both stated that they never had specific experiences with them that made them feel this way but it was just never a space that “felt safe” or a place they “could chill.” Being that the main feminist space on campus is for all feminists but as said above seemingly women of color don’t take up space there.


Media Plays a Part

Youth Building: Instagram post from Michelle Obama, wife of Former-President Barack Obama, who stands as an inspiring symbol for black woman. She surprised young scholars at Cardozo Education Campus in Washington. To help share and motivate young women to pursue ambitions and knock down barriers.

The Woman: A young colored woman, Janet Mock, taking her media spotlight to good use and spread inspiration for those who categorize themselves in any way that they are a part of a bigger whole; those who struggle but push forward for change.

Girlhood into Womanhood: Bringing in positive and better education through an international movement consisting in leaders who know the challenges that exist for young women of color and continue the efforts of spreading education and passion among young and older women.

LGBTQIA+ at Salem State University

Over the last few decades our society has become more open and understanding towards the LGBTQ+ community than it once was. As a result, many institutions, including Salem State University, have taken the initiative to make a more welcoming and safe environment for these students and their allies. Here are just a few examples of how Salem State has progressively made a difference to make the university as gender inclusive as possible.

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From the Archives

This picture is from the 1976 Salem State College yearbook “The Clipper”. It was a statement about a weekly meeting with various agendas and promotional activities. Previously, two years earlier, a lesbian group meeting began on campus presented by the women’s center. They took out a small ad in the school’s newspaper in 1974. Picture not included. Unfortunately, the campus archives do not include many articles or artifacts about on campus events.

The weekly news column “Some of your Best Friends” was written in the school’s newspaper by a gay, then Salem State College professor named David Newton. Within the news column, he challenged the way of life and culture. While his main focus reflected gay themes, he also discussed politics, activism and even pop culture.

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Residence Life

In Spring 2013, the Department of Residence Life began to accept applications for Gender Inclusive Housing for the Fall 2014 semester. Gender Inclusive Housing is offered in Viking Hall (sophomore suite style), Atlantic Hall and Bates Complex (Junior/Senior Apartment Style). Daymyen Layne, the Assistant Director of Residence Life, Housing Operations said “Gender Inclusive Housing was created as a way for Residence Life to provide a safe-space to gender non-conforming students, regardless of how they identify.” For those buildings that do not offer Gender Inclusive Housing (Peabody Hall, Bowditch Hall, and Marsh Hall) the professional and student staff of those buildings are accommodating. Layne said “Residence Life attempts to train our student staff to, not only, be a resource for students on campus, but to also connect students with resources across campus.” Residence Life goes above and beyond to make all residential students feel welcomed.

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Salem State University’s 18th Annual Pride Dinner

In the mid 1990s, college and university campuses across the country began to realize that their LGBTQ+ population felt as if they were not being included or viewed in the same way that the heterosexual community at their schools were, causing tensions across their campuses, specifically surrounding their graduation ceremonies. Because of this national issue, the tradition of having a Pride Dinner to represent students who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community began in the mid 1990s. This pride dinner was created for those graduating students who did not feel as if they would be accepted or respected if they were out openly and still wanted to attend graduation. Salem State University notice, being an extremely diverse and accepting university, adopted the idea of including a pride dinner into the academic year in 1999 in order to recognize and celebrate students who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. The Pride Dinner also awards the Dr. Patricia A. Gozemba Award to a Salem State University community member who has worked as a positive influence within the LGBTQ+ community to recognize the importance that the staff and community surrounding Salem State University and its diverse population. With the implementation of this pride dinner, students and staff who identify as or who have played a part in the LGBTQ+ community not only feel included within the campus of Salem State University but feel celebrated and accepted, creating a climate on campus that is a much more open and safe space.

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National Coming Out Week

Throughout history, it is evident that there has not always been support for the LGBTQ+ community all over the United States, which is why National Coming Out Day was introduced in 1988. The date of National Coming Out Day is October 11th which is the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. After National Coming Out Day was established, universities and colleges across the country started to include a National Coming Out Week in October to commemorate this occasion. In October of 2014, Salem State University hosted their first NCOW and it included several different events such as a SafeZone 101 trainings (how to support the LGBTQ+ community and how to be an ally), people sharing their personal coming out stories, as well as an open forum in which students could voice their opinions and identities around campus. Through the implementation of NCOW, not only has Salem State University been able to make positive additions to the campus (such as the raising of a rainbow flag on North Campus) but also promote an accepting campus climate throughout the years because of the information and resources that it has provided for the students of the university.

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Trans Day of Remembrance

The year of 2016 was the deadliest year on record for transgender individuals to date in the United States with a total of over 27 deaths reported. This disturbingly high number resulted in certain colleges and universities taking notice, and wanting to do something about it. Since this statistic was found, Salem State University decided to host its first Trans Day of Remembrance in 2016. This ceremony was meant to bring the campus together in order to celebrate the lives of the transgender individuals who were killed for being who they were. The quad on North Campus became a visual memorial filled with photographs and names of over 90 transgender individuals. A member of the spiritual life on campus led the community through a ceremony that honored these lives that were represented in the memorial while candles were lit and a prayer was read. The powerful message that this vigil portrayed was meant to visually show the massive number of lives that were lost due to the way they chose to identify themselves, and hopefully make an impact on the climate of Salem State University surrounding the acceptance and/or discrimination of transgender individuals.

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Raspberry Swirl

The Alliance has been putting on a drag show called Raspberry Swirl for 16 years! Raspberry Swirl is a safe space for students to practice gender expression and have fun. While students were the headliners in earlier years, The Alliance now brings a famous drag performer from RuPaul’s Drag Race each year to strut their stuff. Here’s a vintage advertisement for Salem State’s 2nd annual Raspberry Swirl.

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Preferred Name Policy 

In 2016, Salem State Alliance students created social change by lobbying for the “preferred name policy” at SSU. The policy creates access for transgender and nonconforming students to have their preferred name listed on their Clipper Card. Students will also have their preferred name listed in Navigator, and in residence halls. The photo above is a group of student activists after a successful meeting with the Clipper Card office!

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GLSEN Day of Silence 

Beginning with just a small, yet dedicated group of Massachusetts teachers, who came together to improve the educational system’s perspective on the LGBTQIA+ community, established their organization GLSEN (pronounced “glisten”) in 1990. Their goal was to create an awareness of the frequent bullying and discrimination that was occurring within the educational systems across the country and to ensure the safety of the LGBTQ students. Every year on April 21st there is “a student-led national event organized in thousands of schools, including Salem State University, that brings awareness to the silencing effects of anti-LGBTQ+ name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools”. This event is known as the Day of Silence, and is used to inspire the educational systems to address any anti-LGBTQ+ behaviors. Salem State University contributed in the Day of Silence and showed their support across the campus, even our dining services took part in the event!

Pay Equity at Salem State University

Introduction

The gender pay gap is defined as the difference between women and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. One of the reasons for the gender pay gap was because of changes in labor force selectivity, gender differences in unmeasured characteristics and in labor market discrimination, and in the favorableness of demand shifts. There was a rising relative demand for intellectual skills relative to physical strength due to technological advances, and these benefited women as a group relative to high-skilled men compared to low-skilled men. Human capital was not a reason for the gender pay gap. Women’s gains result in men’s losses: women enhance their skills and move up the job hierarchy replacing men as they do so. A termed that has been coined from the gender pay gap is the “Glass escalator effect”, which is when men in predominantly female jobs get promoted more easily and earn more money. It has also been found that pay inequity has long-term effects on women. Women are at a disadvantage when they retire because their salaries are lower during their paid work years.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is a United States labor law amending the Fair Standards Act, aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex. This made it illegal to pay men and women working in the same place different salaries for similar work. This was signed into law by John F. Kennedy as part of his New Frontier Program. Congress drafted this legislation to address racial discrimination in the labor force, as well as continue addressing the gender issue. This act prohibited discrimination in “hiring, firing, compensation, classification, promotion, and other conditions of employment on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, or national origin”

Pay Equity Act was signed by Charlie Baker in August 2016 and is being put into effect July 2018. This is to help close the gender gap, unlawful for employers to pay men and women different rates for “comparable work”. Comparable work is defined work that is substantially similar in that it requires substantial skill, effort, and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions. For example, a male janitor and female housekeeper have a comparable job. It will also make it unlawful to screen candidates based on their previous salary, or ask salary based questions until after an offer is made, then only with written permission can they collect that data. This act will cause employers to rewrite majority, if not all the applications, and provide interview training for managers in order to avoid unlawful practices Attempt to make companies offer salaries based on job and not the persons and to make it so women are no longer tethered to their salaries.

Maryland and California have similar equal pay acts in that apply the same thought process and concepts that don’t allow employers to discriminate against candidates based off of prior salaries and gender. California has passed laws that ban salary secrecy, discussion between employees about their salaries, New York did the same thing as well. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research conducted a study that concluded there would be lower poverty rates in every state would lower the poverty rate. The Equal Pay Pledge was passed by President Obama himself, it is supposed to help big industry players share best practices and develop better hiring promotion and pay policies. The pledge ensures fair pay for ALL American’s as well as help business attracts the strongest talent. Overall, the idea behind this is to shrink the gender pay gap as well as boost the economy. Trump supports pay based on performance, yet he expressed concerns in 2015 about equal pay legislature if “everybody ends up making the same pay” it will end up becoming a “socialistic society”

Interviews For Pay Equity

We interviewed three faculty members. We interviewed Dr. Tiffany Gayle Chenault, Dr. Paul Green, and Dr. Patricia Markunas. Dr. Chenault is an African American women and is the chairperson of the Sociology department. Dr. Paul Green is a full-time professor of the sociology department and he is a white male. Dr. Patricia Markunas is an adjunct professor who was previously a full-time professor of the psychology department. She is a white female. Each of them has been here a decent amount of years and have been able to see the progress that has been made towards pay equity at Salem State. Dr. Chenault has been at Salem State about ten years. Dr. Green has been at Salem State about 40 years. Dr. Markunas has been at Salem State for about 30 years. We interviewed each of these professors about pay equity. Each of them had different perspectives and a lot to say.

Dr. Chenault

pmarkunas.jpg Dr. Markunas

pgreen.jpg Dr. Green

Dr. Chenault– “A big part of pay equity is educating people on how to negotiate and how to bargain. so The reason why my pay has increased is because I knew early on how to negotiate my pay at the start, especially as a woman and a woman of color and women do not realize that they can bargain early. How you start in terms of pay will impact you later on.”  (Talks about an example) “We don’t talk about money, we don’t talk about salary, and that’s a problem too.” “Pay equity is making progress but it is a slow progress”

Solution 1: Minimum wage needs to be living wage

When it comes to the pipeline, we are talking about from when you are in kindergarten to when you go to college, talking about careers and opportunities. You are already gender-typed or stereotyped into these specific fields to the jobs you can do or cannot do.

Solution 2: “Going back to the pipeline and educating people. Giving them chances to go into other fields. A lot of it has to do with issues around race too. Having racialized jobs or careers. Congress needs to get moving.”

Dr. Green–  (Explained about the group of women faculty who brought the class action, in an attempt to redress the economic disparities, thinks it was a positive outcome but not enough to actually bring about change or improvement) “People get the pay that they deserve.” that’s what equity is all about. It doesn’t mean that everyone gets paid the same, it means everyone should get paid what they deserve.” equity is a human issue of fairness, basically everyone wants to get paid fairly. Status should not be connected to a role. In this society, they are extremely connected. Students feel that that is okay. If you believe in equity you believe people should be treated fairly.

Dr. Markunas– it means that people who have comparable qualification and comparable responsibilities in a job or a workplace or a professional career should make the same amount of money.

Timeline

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