The Femi-Nova Mystique

A Nova Southeastern University club struggles to bring a backward student body up-to-date

Last semester the group held a few coffeehouse forums to discuss sexuality and gender. They helped assemble an AIDS quilt, hosted Socratic discussions, and distributed a survey to assess the campus' most significant social problems (choices included stereotyping and sexual orientation). The organization is now analyzing the data, and though Gardner hasn't come up with official results, just leafing through the responses has made her realize how much the campus needs SASA.

Liz Heard quickly offers several horror stories about people who didn't know the meaning of sexual orientation or couldn't comprehend the instructions. She has, however, been encouraged by the transformations she has witnessed when Waites teaches: "People change. They think, Wow, I don't have to be an object."

Noelle Barrera, professor Kate Waites, Alisonn Gardner, and Grace Garza are introducing feminism to a student body that is steeped in conservatism
Joshua Prezant
Noelle Barrera, professor Kate Waites, Alisonn Gardner, and Grace Garza are introducing feminism to a student body that is steeped in conservatism

Indeed, on a recent day in Waites' gender-studies class, the transformation process was visible. Students became meticulous film critics reviewing their own lives. "When I was home -- my parents live up north now -- I woke up early one morning and saw my mom shoveling snow," one student says. "It kind of bothered me my dad wasn't there instead. And then I wondered --" A chorus of voices finishes her sentence: "... if you would feel the same way if it was your father."

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