The Faculty Association expressed support for an Elliot School of International Affairs policy banning single-gender event panels in an open letter to the school’s dean Thursday.
The group said the policy, which requires all discussions with three or more panelists to have at least one speaker of a different gender, was a “vital substantive and symbolic move” to improve female representation at academic events.
“‘Gender neutrality’ in this context simply reinforces white men’s illegitimate dominance of this type of intellectual practice, and we applaud the clear step you have taken to undermine this,” Ivy Ken, the Faculty Association’s president, wrote in an open letter to Elliott School Dean Reuben Brigety.
The statement was released in the wake of controversy over the new policy after some faculty within and outside of the Elliott School said it could threaten academic freedom.
“We hope this initiative will serve as the basis for additional actions to ameliorate gender exclusion and bias, along with other forms of exclusion that have long plagued formal academic spheres,” Ken wrote in the letter.
Brigety has said he is considering changes to the policy, which went into effect July 1.
“The Dean’s Council and I look forward to making adjustments while we continue to pursue full access to the benefits of academic freedom for all members of our community,” he said in an email to The Hatchet earlier this week.