There has been a rumble of conversation around diverse-line up shows. Why can't bands of a different genre be on the same bill? Is Kalamazoo falling into the 'same band'//'different day' sort of pattern? I don't know the answer to that question. I do know that going to a show that includes several genres has been refreshing and inclusive for me.
Kalamazoo – Activist groups at Western Michigan University will rally at the flagpoles on main campus on Thursday to promote equity on campus as part of national Campus Equity Week. The week after Western’s full-time faculty union voted to censure Provost Timothy Greene for failing to act quickly to correct a gender pay gap, faculty and student groups will demonstrate to raise awareness about the multiple examples of inequity around the university.
“Obviously gender pay equity has been a hot topic on campus lately, and we want to keep pressure on the administration to address that issue” said Eric Denby, graduate student in History and communications officer for the Teaching Assistants Union (TAU). “But the fight over gender equity is only one of many ongoing struggles at WMU right now. We are demonstrating primarily to raise awareness for the lack of equity in healthcare for graduate students.”
According to Denby, student health insurance costs have more than doubled in the last five years, while the university’s share of those costs has fallen 42%, leaving graduate students on fixed budgets to choose between health insurance and student loan debt. Because the costs have risen so dramatically, Denby said, TAU recently filed a grievance against WMU for refusing to renegotiate the health care provision of the contract.
“We want to know why WMU used to pay more than half the cost of graduate employee healthcare until 2010, but now pays less than 40-percent,” said Denby. “Quality, affordable health insurance should be available for all graduate employees at WMU, not just those with wealthy families or massive student loan debt.” TAU represents 545 graduate employees at WMU.
Members of the Professional Instructors Organization (PIO), representing more than 650 part-time instructors at WMU will join TAU on Thursday, to raise awareness for the history of cultural inequities in the way WMU treats part-time faculty.
“While we have seen some progress since organizing in 2009, part-time, non-tenure-track faculty at WMU are still ineligible for teaching awards, professional development opportunities or research funding, even though we teach half the courses on campus,” said Thomas Kostrzewa, PIO president.
“To add insult to injury, even though many of us are committed, long-time employees, the university does not allow us to apply for jobs as internal applicants,” said Kostrzewa. “If we want to apply for a job at WMU, we are forced to apply as outsiders, as though the university does not recognize our existence.”
According to Kostrzewa, part-time instructors complain regularly about the lack of inclusion at WMU, leading often to low morale and a defeatist attitude.
“With no opportunities for professional development, no recognition for achievement and little hope for advancement we receive little encouragement to improve and grow with our students,” said Kostrzewa. “WMU could solve some of these problems easily, at little cost, by treating us as equal members of the campus community and inviting us to sit a little closer to the campfire.”
Thursday’s rally is one of dozens of campus equity events on more than 100 campuses across the U.S. and Canada as part of Campus Equity Week, a grassroots movement started by a coalition of part-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants seeking “to bring greater awareness to the precarious situation for contingent faculty in higher education,” according to the Campus Equity Week website (http://www.campusequityweek.org).
Many student activists on campus will join PIO and TAU in Thursday’s rally, including members of the Kalamazoo Peace Center collective and student activists fighting for gender pay equity on campus.
“Right now we are lucky to have many great student and faculty activists on campus,” said Denby. “We hope our rally will highlight a lot of the important work being done to promote equity at WMU.”
The event will be happening in room 211 of the Bernhard Center on Saturday, November 23rd, at 7:00p.m.
Andrea Gibson, an award-winning and world-renowned slam poet and activist, was the first winner of the Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2009. Her poetry focuses on gender norms, politics, social reform and the struggles queer people face in today’s society. She uses poetry to express what she feels and to provide social and political commentary on real issues. She is involved with many activist groups, especially those that focus on examining the wrongs of capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy. She often performs at Take Back the Night Events, LGBT and Pride events, Anti-war and Peace rallies, and organizations against the occupation of Palestine. The subject matter of Andrea Gibson’s poems are stimulating, tear-jerking and hopeful. Her words speak to those among us who sometimes want to give up because of socially oppressive constructs, shake those who are comfortable out of their complacency, and will leave everyone feeling enlightened, inspired and electrified.
Jes Kramer is a one-woman band from Grand Rapids, MI. She started playing shows at 17, learning how to loop and layer, and released her first full length album in December of 2008. Kramer puts a keyboard-heavy twist on the singer song-writer. More info on Jes Kramer can be found at http://jeskramer.com/
“Circle, Get Square!” is a two piece folks outfit with heartfelt lyrics and harmonious dynamic. The project has been playing in Kalamazoo on and off for 6 years. They describe themselves as melancholy pop/folk music and will be sure to deliver a stellar performance.
The location for the event is at the Wesley Foundation, 2101 Wilbur Ave (by the flagpoles on WMU’s campus) on Saturday, October 26th. Doors open at 7:30p.m. and the event starts at 8:00p.m. There is a $5 suggested donation with all proceeds going to the Kalamazoo Queer Youth Theatre.
“Into Eternity” is the second film of the “Movie Nights” series and will be shown Monday, October 28th at the Kalamazoo Central Library, 315 S. Rose. Doors open for “Updates and Organizing” at 6:30 p.m. with the Movie starting promptly at 7 p.m.
“Into Eternity” “…Every day, the world over, large amounts of high-level radioactive waste created by nuclear power plants is placed in interim storages, which are vulnerable to natural disasters, man-made disasters, and to societal changes.” This film explores this issue in depth and reviews have stated, “…Captivating, wondrous and extremely frightening, this feature documentary takes viewers on a journey never seen before into the underworld and into the future.”
‘Movie Nights’ is sponsored by the Palisades Shutdown Campaign of Michigan Safe Energy Future-Kalamazoo Chapter. It is booked as a “Free Spooky Halloween Documentary.” “The Campaign Team invites the public to start your Halloween Week with us and learn more through visuals and discussion… We are so pleased to be able to bring films here to learn more about the nuclear and transition to alternative sustainable energy issues from different vantage points,” states an organizer.
Jarune Uwujaren explains that there needs to be some element of mutual understanding, equality, and respect for it to be a true exchange.
From The Good Men Project
Cultural appropriation is a term that isn’t often heard in daily conversation, which means it’s inevitably misunderstood by those who feel attacked by feminists, sociologically-informed bloggers, and others who use the term.