Volume 92, Issue 64

Thursday, January 21, 1999


The end of an incredible journey

Stating the success of the city's year

Lawsuit brings financial burden

Sexuality could find its way into course calendar

Bilingualism slipping

Food scarcity a problem with homeless


Sexuality could find its way into course calendar

By Justin Klein
Gazette Staff

A meeting is being held today in University College to judge the popularity surrounding the idea of adding a new degree to the university.

The combined degree would allow students to join sexuality studies with their current faculty. In the past, students would have to enrol in the women's studies department, which was felt to be too restrictive, said James Miller, an arts professor at Western.

"This new degree would be a breakthrough," Miller said. "We are hoping to organize many courses into a program – we are trying to reach across the faculties and organize an inter-faculty nature."

In a joint effort between the arts and women's studies departments, today's meeting is intended to determine how many faculty members would be interested in being involved in this new program, Miller explained.

"It is an inaugural meeting to get things going and to achieve two main objectives," Miller said. "We want to get social momentum going and we want to take steps towards forming a proposal for the administration."

Katherine McKenna, director of women's studies, said Western has recently taken a step forward in recognizing the needs of the community as last year a research facility for gay and lesbian studies opened up. Western has also offered a new course called "An Introduction to Lesbian Issues and Theory," which has been received with great popularity.

The involved faculty members feel it is time to take another step forward. "Around 15 per cent of the population is gay," McKenna said. "There is also great enrolment in other related courses. We can't afford not being involved in this."

The University of Toronto and Concordia University have already set up a program similar to what Western hopes to offer, Miller said. He added Western is hoping to observe their success with this new program and model their program accordingly.

Pete Hill, VP-campus issues for the University Students' Council, said he is optimistic about introducing the program. He said with the administration support and the student demand, today is the right time to move forward.

"It is a growing field in critical theory that is similar to feminist theory," Hill said. "With the increased acceptance within society, this field is being accepted in the academic field. This program needs to be undertaken."

"Like other courses, their ideas tend to come from members of faculty," said Greg Moran, VP-academic at Western. Moran said he had heard of the idea behind the new program and said if there was enough support for it, there would not be a problem with running it.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999