Status of the Program

The Women’s and Gender Studies steering committee has received confirmation that the WGST program will receive a 12-month McCain Postdoctoral Fellowship to sustain the program through the 2016/17 academic year. The McCain is a teaching fellowship that will include a 2-2 teaching load, allowing for all four core WGST courses to be taught in the coming year. This fellowship is funded through an endowment to Mount Allison University, so does not come from the university’s operating budget. We are grateful to have this source of funding.

We have also been assured that in the Fall of 2016, discussion will take place in the context of broader strategic planning to ensure the long term sustainability of the program. Although we would liked to have had something more concrete in place this term, we are pleased with this commitment from the university administration.

We would like to thank all of our supporters from across the country who took the time to write, call, tweet, and sign the petition, which currently has over 7,000 signatures. The support has been overwhelming and very encouraging. This change – from zero funding to a full-time fellowship – would not have been possible without the activism of the Mount Allison students and the support we received from alumni and faculty across the country (and beyond!) Thanks to everyone who helped us to send a clear message to Mount Allison University about the importance of Women’s and Gender Studies. We will keep everyone posted as this process goes forward and we know we can rely on supporters across the country if needed in the future.

Weekend Roundup -Feb 8, 2016

Here is a roundup and summary of things related to the WGST program that happened over the weekend, plus upcoming events for this week.

Students staged a silent protest outside of the Mount Allison University Board of Regents meeting on Friday, Feb 5. The WGST cuts were added to the agenda for the meeting.

Elizabeth May tweeted her support of the program!

Elizabeth may tweet

Mount Allison alumni created a video in support of the program:

Letters of support have continued to come in from across the country.

We have new links in our Media Coverage section.

We updated our FAQ, which you can see here.

What’s next?

There are budget town hall meetings this week. We encourage any one who is interested to come out and ask questions about the budget for next year. They are happening at the following dates and times.

February 9, 6 pm, Wu Centre (Dunn 113)
February 10, 1:30 pm, Library Theatre (Libr 316)




Keep the pressure on!

Thank you to everyone for the support and for helping to pressure the university to restore some funding to Women’s and Gender Studies.

We may have some partial help next year in the form of two stipends. This means money to pay a part-time faculty member to teach two courses for just over $6000 each.

We are not out of the woods yet. We had been told to expect nothing and only received money for half the core courses after a better-than-expected provincial budget and significant public attention. This is an indication of where WGST stands in the university’s priorities, and we do not yet have a plan for the continuing of the program.

The program is not sustainable at this level of funding and requires a sign of long-term commitment from the university.

Please help keep the pressure on! Students and alumni, let the university know what WGST means to you. Colleagues here at Mount A, let the university know that we need transparency and genuine communication. Supporters and colleagues across Canada, thank you so much for your letters, tweets, and posts.

The WGST Student Society Facebook page has information about upcoming student action. There is a letter writing campaign Friday, Feb. 4 from 12-4pm in McCain 125; letter templates will also be made available.


Faculty ask for “clear, credible communication” from administration

A letter to Robert Hiscock, sent in reply to the administration’s “FAQ” site posted on February 3rd:


I’m very concerned about the content of the faq posted earlier today and communications over the past two days.

Courses are routinely scheduled before the budget is approved by the Board. Many or perhaps all departments have been told the plan for teaching resources next year and I understand that WGST was told unambiguously that there would not be resources to hire someone to teach courses next year.
There are many polite words for your announcement and the statements made by Gloria and Hans, but I think it is fairly clear to all that these statements are somewhere between deceptive and meaningless.
It’s widely believed that a good strategy in crisis management is to admit error, communicate clearly and then take action.
It is disappointing to me that our administration is still firmly in the “MtA falsely declares” world. No one I’ve talked to in the past two days thinks the administration has any credibility. We laugh about it, but it really isn’t very funny.
While I’m convinced there is a deliberate effort to deceive the community, this is actually irrelevant. The real problem is credibility. Clear, unambiguous and credible communication is necessary.

Andrew Irwin

Math and Computer Science

The fight to keep Women’s and Gender Studies at Mount Allison

On Monday, February 1, the Program Director for Women’s and Gender Studies was told by the Dean of Arts that there would be no funding for the program in 2016-7. This information was relayed to the minors in the WGST program.

Since then, there has been a great deal of mobilization to fight for the program, from students, faculty, staff, and friends beyond the university. Thank you, everyone!

There seem to be a lot of questions about what’s going on, and so we have put up this website to try to answer some of them.