Letter to the Editor: Westaway article contained misconceptions

Last week, The Miami Hurricane published an article titled “Professor Katharine Westaway asked not to return after controversial activism.” As current and past directors of the Women’s and Gender Studies program (WGS), we would like to clarify potential misconceptions in the article. First, the article quotes Dr. Westaway as a lecturer in Women’s and Gender Studies. Dr. Westaway was a lecturer in English Composition, not Women’s and Gender Studies, which, as a program (not a department) does not appoint faculty or lecturers.

In the article, Dr. Westaway is quoted as stating that “We got no funding to screen ‘The Hunting Ground’ from the WGS department, which is supposed to be having a sexual assault-themed year.”

Dr. Westaway did not submit a proposal to WGS for funding of The Hunting Ground during the call for proposals last spring or last fall. As a result of the call, WGS held a colloquium early December on the topic of sexual and domestic violence, and is organizing two large-scale events on the topic this spring. In addition, we formed a working group and sent recommendations for further programming and policies on the issue to the university administration. The Women’s and Gender Studies Program is strongly committed to programming on the issue of sexual assault, and looks forward to proposals from the UM community during its next call for proposals. For those of you interested in hearing from us, please send an email to wgs@miami.edu, and we will gladly add you to our listserv.

Merike Blofield, Director of WGS July 2015- present

Louise Davidson-Schmich, Director of WGS 2014-2015

Steven F. Butterman, Director of WGS 2011-2014

Traci Ardren, Director of WGS 2008-2011