In Appreciation of Select Individuals

In appreciation of the select individuals who:

lead the UPI and continue to defend my position at Western Illinois University

signed their names to a petition that would finally, after 27 months, hold the WIU administration accountable for endangering the entire university,

passed a referendum (read clarification at end of TSPR report) of no confidence in WIU’s current administration,

refuse to make excuses for a failed administration,

defend a diverse curriculum that attempts to fully integrate the diverse perspectives of feminists, people of color, LGBTQA folks, people with disabilities, and many others who tend to get pushed to the margins

have taken a stand for faculty at Western Illinois University,

believe that faculty are the university,

and in taking the above actions, have moved in the direction necessary to save the university,


And I’ve changed the title of my blog to LAID OF, BUT NOT LEFT BEHIND.



Sadness as a Ghost in my Throat

What would happen if one woman told the truth about
        her life?
     The world would split open
                                                       Muriel Rukeyser


“Do you want your WIU job back?”  Because I am so openly critical of Western Illinois University’s current administration, I get this question often, always with the emphasis on the WANT.  I have been so angry, that this question has been harder to answer than it should be.

Sadness over the loss of my teaching position at WIU emerges at night.  Since the current administration terminated my contract in May 2017, I sometimes dream that a ghost is lodged in my throat and choking me to death.  Then, half awake, I flip over to my hands and knees, widen my throat and attempt to gag out the ghost.  Nothing emerges.  I have swallowed the ghost and it will kill me, I fear, but then, fully-conscious, I feel my heart pounding fast.

This dream often haunts me when I have been journaling about losing my students.

For 12 years I invested myself, emotionally, psychologically, and professionally, in WIU’s classroom. I have longed to teach my students from my perspective, and with my philosophy of teaching.  I have never longed to teach at a more rigorous institution, where students prepare the reading and attend class faithfully. Those places do exist, and those students are easier to teach.  But I have invested myself here.  I want to teach my students.  My students are Western students.

Four or five years ago, I began to meet student skepticism with personal stories.  In the WIU Women’s Studies classroom, doubt is common and can be quite harsh on feminist professors.   95 percent of my students were women and at the beginning of a course, they would intuit that if they identified how, on a daily basis, they are targets of sexism and misogyny, they would be angry all the time. They resisted knowledge that would make them angry.  Men resisted the awareness that being male confers privilege:  the powerful want to remain powerful.

One day in 2013 or 2014, we were discussing a slide about blaming the victims of gendered violence.  A young man raised his hand.

“But aren’t these girls responsible? If they don’t want to be grabbed, why do they wear leggings? Why aren’t they more careful about where they go?”  His tone and the harsh lines of his jaw projected privilege.

I could have brought up more slides or opened our textbook to a key passage.  Instead I took a risk.  I turned off the screen and came out from behind the podium.  I stood right in front of them, so there was nothing between my students and me.

I was sexually assaulted in 8th grade.  What do you think I was wearing?  What do you think I was doing?”  Every single student looked at me and I was embarrassed, but I stood there anyway, making myself vulnerable to them.

“Calvin Klein jeans like most girls wore,” I said, moving my eyes from one student to the next.  “I was on my way to Algebra.”

The room was so quiet and still.

I looked at the young man who was learning how to blame the perpetrator and believe th victim.  “Does that answer your question? I can take a different approach to the answer, if that would be helpful.”

“No.” His tone and expression softened.  “I understand what you’re saying.”

The tiniest of fault lines had split the ground beneath our feet and we looked in. After that, our faces were softer when we greeted each other before class.

So YES.  The answer is yes.  I want my job back.









Witchy Feminist Mass Hex: Multiple Guess

Are You Prepared for the Witchy Feminist Mass Hex?  Take this quiz to find out.

Optional:   read the story  from Breitfart News.

  1. A Witchy Feminist Mass Hex is
    1. A crafty internet plot by feminist witches to assassinate misogynist patriarchs far and wide.
    2. A story that’s totally legit because a Breitfart news reporter broke it.
    3. A 2-ton manivore bitch whose DNA is emerging from melting arctic ice.
    4. Mansplain:  Let me tell you what a Witchy Feminist Mass Hex is. I can tell you about your vagina, too.
  1. The best way to prevent a Witchy Feminist Mass Hex is

    PROOF that Breitfart is right:  2 witchy feminists out hexing in Chandler Park.  Left sign reads: JK Rowling @jk_rowling, How Horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad.

    1. Don’t layoff your tenured Women’s Studies prof.
    2. Apologize for protecting rapists.
    3.  Ban all pink wool.
    4. Himpathize.
  1. When the Mass Hex peels off  thick slabs of your skin, you should,
    1. Resign.
    2. Pop fat bombs:  mix equal parts MCT oil, butter, egg yolk, coconut oil, and pink salt.  Form into balls, roll in bacons bits.
    3. Re-assert your claim over the sidewalk: “Hey baby, wanna go on a date?
    4. If you are sitting in one of those linking black chairs in a meeting, manspread now.
  1. In order to minimize the apocalyptic impact of a Witchy Feminist Mass Hex already set in motion,
    1. Clean the toilet
    2. Order a bunch of huge red signs that say “I ♥ Women’s Studies.”  Place them in front of the president’s parking spot, in the football locker room, and in front each fraternity house.
    3. Write a love song to Title IX and sing it Karaoke-style at the Board of Ed meeting.
    4. Where’s my mancooler?
  1. In the event of a Witchy Feminist Mass Hex, take shelter in
    1. Miss Vera’s Finishing School for Boys who Want to Be Girls
    2. Iceland–it’s already been hexed
    3. The shooting range next to the preschool.
    4. My $500 billion New Zealand mancave.  I’ve invited Putin to take cover with me.  He’s a tremendous man.
  2. The only way to counter a Witchy Feminist Mass Hex is
    1. Take a Women’s Studies class and learn to acknowledge your privilege.
    2. Cook low-carb/high fat chili for the witches. One with mushrooms and the other with grass-fed beef.
    3. Pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
    4. Train your school district to understand and comply with TITLE IX
    5. Manterrupt it.


  1. D.  C has “man” in it, so I’ll accept it too.
  2. D.  If it has the word “man” or “him” in it, it’s correct.
  3. D. See explanation, #2.
  4. D.  Duh.
  5. D, but Miss Vera is tremendous–here’s how to enroll.
  6. E, If you chose A, B, or C, you deserve to be boiled alive and eaten by the Witchy Feminists.