By Isabelle Shawstudent at Brookdale Community College

“Across the country, contested and banned books and challenges to K-12 curricula that span race, gender and sexuality aren’t just making the news — these efforts are impacting access to education and people’s lives,” said English Professor Rosanne Alvarez, who coordinates the WILL programme.

Brookdale students Jackie Romano, Amanda Zelevansky and Lillian Connor were shocked to learn that due to misinformation and political complacency, the University of Wyoming was planning to withdraw funding from the Department of Labor Studies. gender and women from the university and to eliminate the curriculum. The Wyoming legislature later rescinded the funding, but only after the embarrassing debacle became public knowledge.

Politicians using school curricula to rally a political base set a dangerous precedent. Concerned about bills being copied in other states, the three students sprang into action, planning events to educate fellow students and highlight the seriousness of school censorship.

Zelevansky, a business administration major and president of Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL) sat down with Connor, a political science major and WILL secretary, and Romano, an English major and WILL member who is completing a University Credit in Women’s and Gender Studies Certificate of Achievement. Their plan was to find a way to counter the lies and misrepresentations promoted by ill-informed politicians and school officials.

Students were initially concerned about the unprecedented number of challenged and banned books and a “banned books event” is scheduled for noon on Tuesday, April 19, on the upper level outside the Student Life Center. But when the threat of censorship expanded to include women and gender studies, greater urgency arose.

In response, Brookdale faculty will join members of the WILL Academic Program for a Zoom webinar titled “Education at Intersections: Brookdale Faculty Panel Discussion” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 14. The group will explain why it is important to resist this attempt at school censorship.

Alvarez promises an exciting and informative exchange and invites all Brookdale faculty and students to a discussion that will focus on the relevance of the Women’s and Gender Studies curriculum in our current times.

“We must consider the implications of the continued push to ban books and school curricula that represent the experiences of women, black, indigenous, and people of color as well as in LGBTQ+ communities,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez will share his insights and help moderate the free event. The other panelists will be Professor Kathleen Kennedy, English; Associate Professor Diditi Mitra, Sociology; professor Brian Oland, psychology; Professor Jane Scimeca, History; Assistant Professor Judi Ungar, Library; and Shayla Ward, English teacher.

Register here:
For more information visit:
Women in Leadership and Learning: