I Marched Against Budget Cuts That Threaten The Writing Program

I Marched Against Budget Cuts That Threaten The Writing Program

The disrespect Sacha Kopp is giving to the adjunct professors and students within the Program for Writing and Rhetoric is the cause for the march against him and his decisions

On Wednesday, November 15th at 1:00 PM, nearly 100 students and faculty gathered outside the Humanities building at Stony Brook University to fight back against the budget cuts the administration, especially Sacha Kopp, are trying to enforce. These budget cuts affect no other than the Program for Writing and Rhetoric, an important minor here at SBU and one that I cherish and love deeply.

Throughout my time at Stony Brook, I have made amazing connections with faculty in the writing program and found my career path because of them. Even full-time professors, whose jobs aren’t going to be affected by the budget cuts, came out to show their support.

Sacha Kopp, however, doesn’t feel the same way. He sees this department as disposable, as if it doesn’t matter and what they are teaching doesn’t matter. In early October of this year, 20 adjunct professors, some who’ve been working full-time for 20 years, received a notice that they will be laid off at the end of the semester because the budget cannot support them. This last-minute announcement left many professors out of work and scrambling to find another job.

The disrespect Sacha Kopp is giving to the adjunct professors and students within the Program for Writing and Rhetoric is the cause for the march against him and his decisions.

Earlier in the semester, a handful of students scheduled an appointment with Sacha Kopp to talk through his decisions, but when their appointment time came, where was Sacha Kopp? He certainly wasn’t in his office. And to think this irresponsible and disrespectful man holds the power of professor’s futures in his hands.

After an exciting and powerful round of pep talks from leaders and faculty fighting for their jobs, we marched. We rallied through campus, chanting, showing support for our fellow professors. We got the attention of many as eyes were on us as well as phones and video cameras. We rallied over to Sacha Kopp’s office to hand him the petition that nearly 3,000 people signed to keep the adjunct professors. We crowded the hallways and made sure he heard our message loud and clear.

The bottom line is that everyone needs to know how to write. There is not a single field where someone will not need a writing skill set. Kopp’s plan to replace writing professors with professors from the sciences is not going to help, either.

The reason for all of this is because Kopp does not see the writing program as important. However, writing is just as important as STEM. STEM will not cooperate or stay afloat without writing students because writing students know how to effectively communicate through speech and writing, solve problems analytically, and work with a wide range of knowledge because writing students are not tuned to specific studies like STEM students are; writing students cover a broad variety of subjects.

I know I wouldn’t want a biology professor teaching me writing. I’m sure biology professors know how to write effective research proposals and articles, but how are they going to handle personal statements, resumes, and creative writing that comes to them? They are not trained in those areas like the writing professors are.

If you were taking a biology class, would you want a writing professor teaching you? I know I wouldn’t. The reason why writing professors teach writing is because they are good at what they do and students deserve to learn from them and have proper instruction because writing is something everyone needs to successfully do. Writing is important, just as the professors who teach it are.

With that, I pledge to keep fighting for the department that I love until Sacha Kopp backs down.

Cover Image Credit: Unplsash

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So What is Feminism?

It's Time to do Our Homework!

In light of the Women's March on January 20th 2018, I find it pertinent that we just recap what feminism is.

Some of you might be groaning already:

"ugh why do we even need feminism? it’s like the 20th century women have rights already?"

"yea... some women just need to be better than men ....and that’s just not gonna happen"

(***eye roll with an extra healthy dose of sarcasm sprinkled on top***)

So what EXACTLY is Feminism?

Feminism is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as:

"The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes."

and defined by Miriam Webster Dictionary as:

-"The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes"

- "Organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests"

"Woah woah woah! hold up... what’s all this "equality" mumbo jumbo?"

I am SO glad you asked!

Lets break this down: Feminism is actually a sociological term to describe the efforts to have equal rights, representation, wages, healthcare and education for ALL people.

“Once more for the people in the back!”


So, if you believe that everyone, no matter their socio-economic background, ethnicity, religion, education but most importantly: their gender, should have access to basic human things such as

  • Access to healthcare
  • Access to equal education opportunities
  • Access to fair and equal wages
  • Access to housing
  • Access to healthy nutrition

Then congratulations, you’re a Feminist.

Now this doesn't mean that you need to break out your body paint and most glittery bra and join a social movement (but props to you if thats your thing!)

All it really means is that you care about other people sharing this space, this country and this world with you.

...and hey, maybe they deserve the opportunity to work just as hard as you do to earn the things that you have.

Recap: Feminism= rights for ALL PEOPLE.

Cover Image Credit: Samuel Corum, Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images

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Mass Shootings And Masculinity Go Hand In Hand

What we're not talking about.

Nineteen mass shootings. Nineteen mass shootings have happened since January 2018 and we’re only in the middle of February. This past shooting at Parkland high school really hit me hard. As I saw the victims of the shooting they reminded me of the kids that I went to high school with. One of the victims was apart of her high school’s color guard and I thought about how much I loved guard when I was in high school. I connected with her.

I saw the videos posted on Snapchat of what the students actually experienced and shed tears with my hand covering my mouth from shock. I saw how insanely graphic the scene was and how being there physically can traumatize one for the rest of their life. No one should have to go through this.

The debates on tv include those of gun control and mental health. On social media, different countries are being thrown around as examples for both stricter gun control, and the allowance for more guns. I also see how the shooter was seen as “mentally ill”, and the stigmatization of those who have mental health issues are dangerous is furthered. The one issue that no one is talking about that plays a huge role in these mass shootings in masculinity.

A large majority of these shooters are white men. While these shootings are also a racial issue I’m going to focus on the gender issue. From a young age, men are exposed to what society deems as masculine. Media hypermasculinized everything to the point where it’s ridiculous. Don’t believe me? Look up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and see how ridiculously buff they are. They’re cartoon turtles, yet the societal standard of masculinity applies to them.

Even when it comes to toys the commercials for nerf and water guns show only males. Showing that guns are masculine. Young boys are raised to engage in masculine activities or they’re isolated socially and emotionally. Even when young men are engaging in “masculine” activities they still may not be good enough. Getting angry, being the bad boy, having a temper are seen as “cool” traits that males desire to have in order to give themselves an edge.

Now most young boys go through this, and masculinity is not the main factor in mass shootings but it is still a factor. It is a factor that we need to consider because eliminating any factor that helps to produce a mass shooter can help save lives.

Cover Image Credit: Brooke Cagle

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