On campus as well as around the area/UMBC community, students have approached us with the aggravation and disappointment in both the faculty and staff on campus that often targeted students with sexist, misogynistic, ableist and even sometimes-racist remarks. This really inspired us to create a safe space where students were able to voice their frustrations on how these remarks affected them. In some cases a few professors repeatedly appeared as offenders.
For our Activism project we sought out to discover the systems and micro aggressions faced by students, at UMBC, from peers, staff, and faculty. To combat prejudices at our school, we made an anonymous forum for participants to express the details of their experiences. We felt the need to have this safe space for students. We definitely felt that we would be more successful with the amount of submissions we received, however we were able to make the best of it. Next time, we will make sure that the way we publicize our forum more efficiently and to a variety of people.
This project sparked an even deeper drive towards activism both on campus and off campus. Even outside of this project we were encouraged to be activists in our own community. We encouraged students to speak up about these injustices that were occurring in and outside of the classroom. As activists we have learned that there are internal struggles and opinions that must be pushed aside. Even more so, we have learned the true value behind activism that pushes towards a change rather than points out a flaw in the system. We feel like we have explicitly learned this in our project. As we gathered our information from the forum, the idea of slandering and looking down upon and even gossiping about these problematic professors is a much easier task than making an effort to try and change them. We did come in with unrealistic expectations to change the professor’s mindsets and hopefully educate them on the misogynistic, ableist, sexist or racist comments. Nevertheless we were able to encourage people to speak up towards their professors, a much easier task than changing a 40-year old or more minds.
You can add your share your experience with Rahel A. and MJ J. here