The bad news broke on a Monday night in February 2016. Earlier that day, Lisa Dawn Hamilton, acting director of Mount Allison University’s women’s and gender studies program, had received a glum surprise.
Nearly two decades after its 1999 founding, funding for the interdisciplinary program was on the chopping block – a move that would effectively eliminate all four of the school’s core women’s and gender studies classes, despite a consistent waitlist and burgeoning enrolment. Although the university administration did not equate the budget cut with an official termination of the program, it was hard to see how it could survive without funding.
In an email to students, Dr. Hamilton reluctantly rang the death knell: “This means that, currently, there are no plans to offer any women’s and gender studies courses in the coming academic year.”