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Listening to the stories of survivors

Listening to the stories of survivors

The stories. They come from different places, take form in different voices and at various registers, but they stand their ground. The stories of survival and loss, of healing and release, of justice sought, harm abated, pleasures remembered—all of it unfolding within the space that we hold called Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. We want survivors of domestic violence at UIC to know that we see you; we honor the enormous work that you put into showing up for your job, classes, meetings, families, and friends, despite the trauma and the difficulties that you face. Survivors are part of our campus community but are often invisible because of fear and shame. This month, you can show that you care about survivors on campus by learning how you can support them. Reach out to CAN and we can help you. Later this month, we will also be hosting Nikki Patin, Chicago artist, activist, community builder, and who is best known for her work in developing Surviving the Mic, a survivor-centered arts program. Nikki will help us kick off our long-awaited survivors’ space. Stay tuned!

Emergency contraception

Student activists at UIC who have been working on making emergency contraception more widely available on the campus can count the Public Higher Education Act as a win. Effective since August 2023, the act requires that all universities in the state of Illinois provide at least one “wellness kiosk” with emergency contraception on campus. The act says that the “wellness kiosk” must be accessible to students on weekends and after class hours. In this highly decentralized world of UIC, it is unclear who will be responsible for implementing and managing the kiosks on the campus. There is much education work to be done around emergency contraception as well; for example, this is an especially important resource that we need to offer to survivors of sexual assault. WLRC plans to delve more into this issue in the spring semester.

Palestinian students at UIC

By now, you may have heard that a complaint was filed with the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of Palestinian students at UIC. The allegations of discriminatory treatment against Palestinian students warrant further discussion by the university community. For us at WLRC, we affirm that Palestine is a feminist issue. We are not unique in expressing our solidarity; Gender & Women’s StudiesGlobal Asian Studies and the National Women’s Studies Association, among many organizations, have taken similar positions. Thanks to the leadership and activism by our faculty, staff, and students, this university provides education for many Palestinian students; it is also a space of education and advocacy about Palestinian issues. Those two things matter and help to make UIC a vibrant space for learning, teaching, and engaging with issues of racism, colonialism, and injustice. These students enrich our campus community in so many ways. As a university that embraces social justice in our mission, our policies and practices—our ways of arriving at decisions and doing things—need to be attentive to our diverse community. We need to consider all the ways that members of our campus community are affected when we make decisions about our classes, our programs, our events. And we certainly need to treat everyone, including members of marginalized groups, with respect.


Finding time and space to write is only one of many obstacles that academic writers face. Having access to a writing community helps. Over the past few years, multiple spaces have sprouted at UIC—Graduate College, IRRPP, us—with the hope of making it easier for graduate students and early career faculty at UIC to carve out a writing routine that is productive and fulfilling. This semester, we are pleased to launch a series of conversations and workshops about how to move beyond fear. The first in the series is “What’s Stopping You From Writing?”, a conversation with Nadine NaberDarius Bost, and Lindsay Marshall on Friday, October 13, at 10am. Mark your calendars and tell all the graduate students you know!

Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women

We are reviving CCSW! On October 18, Jennifer Brier (GWS) and I will be hosting a lunch meeting to recruit new members and to invite contributions to setting an agenda for the campus. The advisory group communicates with the Chancellor about issues affecting students, faculty, and staff.

Please respond to let us know if you are interested in being part of the committee and plan to join us for lunch. Students—I am looking at you, student leaders—are especially encouraged to join the committee. We want to hear from you!

Until next time, take good care of yourselves and each other,

Natalie Bennett