Kostihova dispels program review rumors

A student-organized discussion clears the air about the future of Women’s Studies.

Catherine Stolz, News Editor

Interim-CLA Dean Marcela Kostihova met with students last Thursday during a student-organized discussion in regards to the future of the Women’s Studies department. The session was organized by sophomore Anya O’Connor, a psychology major.

The Women’s Studies department is being examined in the ongoing program review, with the possibility of the department being reconstituted as part of the social justice major.

O’Connor, worried about the future of Women’s Studies, invited Kostihova to speak with students in order to find out more information about the process.

“There are so many rumors flying around about Women’s Studies,” O’Connor said. “I think students are taking some of the information the wrong way.”

Kostihova made it clear that she was happy to sit down with students and answer any questions about Women’s Studies or the program review as a whole. She began by talking about the “reimagining” of Women’s Studies as part of the social justice major, saying that it would allow for a more holistic study of gender itself, and how gender relates to all other aspects of social justice.

“We have the opportunity to build something really exciting here,” Kostihova said. “In the 21st century we should open the door wider for all aspects of gender.”

Kostihova hopes that this possible change would allow for more classes on the study of masculinity and new courses in race and gender studies.

O’Connor also posed questions related to the petition circulated by students and women’s studies majors, specifically the language used in the petition, the concern of Women’s Studies being “cut,” as the petition states, and where the current Women’s Studies faculty would be placed.

Kostihova has no doubt that faculty will remain to teach classes on gender and social justice, and quickly discounted some of the concerns laid out in the petition. She also assured students that anyone currently declared as a women’s studies major will be able to graduate with their degree, as students are able to select their bulletin year on the intent to graduate form.

The default bulletin year is the year students come in to Hamline, as those are most often the requirements they are completing, though if students wish to opt for a different bulletin year and slightly different set of requirements, they are free to do so. Therefore, the change in the women’s studies major will not affect students currently at Hamline, unless they wish to opt in for any changes that occur as a result of program review.

“If the things expressed in the petition were really what’s happening, I would be the first one to polish my pitchfork,” Kostihova said.

O’Connor and Kostihova both hope that discussions between students and the dean’s office can continue in order to provide the most accurate information to students.

“This isn’t nearly as panic inducing as others made it seem,” O’Connor said.

HUSC will be holding a student and faculty forum to discuss the issue of program review and continue to answer questions during their general assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 25.