Dr. Brian R. Jara honored Chatham with his knowledge and honesty about feminism in his talk “Pronouns, Bathrooms, and Hashtag Feminism: Looking Back at the Future of Gender.”
“I really enjoyed Dr. Jara, he was so informative, and I really liked his stance on privilege,” said Maya Carey, a first year Political Science major. “I’ve never met someone with so much privilege who acknowledges it and is an identifiable feminist who is so informative. It’s a breath of fresh air to see a male who is so encouraging of other privileged people to embark on feminism.”
Jara repeatedly stressed the importance of dialogue between students and the importance of awkward, messy conversations during his talk. The dinner that took place in the Welker Room on campus after the speech recognized this and created a space for casual but intimate dialog.
At the dinner, there was no pressure to mingle, though Dr. Lynne Bruckner, professor of English and Gender Studies courses, encouraged students to talk to Jara.
Upon arrival, Dr. Jara sat at a table, front and center, allowing interested students to accompany him. Students who finished talking to the professor rotated with other students so everyone could have a chance.
Some students like junior Kelly Nestman, president of Chatham’s feminist coalition FACE (Feminist Activist Creating Equality) spoke to Jara.
“With this dinner, being a Women’s Studies major, I was given the opportunity to speak with Brian R. Jara about what he thought about the coeducational transition. He also gave FACE advice as well on how to be an active participant in the coeducational transition,” said Nestman. “I think that speaking to not only a feminist from another institution but a male feminist from another institution was really beneficial and it was really beneficial to me as president [of FACE] to help organize all of this as well.”
Some students who rotated into the table simply wanted to hear what Jara had to say.
“I [felt] excited at this dinner. I think it’s great to have some one-on-one time with someone who is so knowledgeable about feminism,” said Jennifer St. Clair, a biology major, “He’s a very clear speaker and is very thoughtful.”
Chatham Students appreciated the opportunity to talk with the feminist in a more intimate setting. Some said this wouldn’t have happened in a school that didn’t have the Chatham University environment.
“I really feel that at other schools you [wouldn’t] really get the opportunity to speak with the lecturers or professors who are speaking at your college. I just don’t think I would have the opportunity to speak with him,” said Carey. “I think I’d be able to see him, but I wouldn’t be able to shake his hand and see his point of view on what I’m saying.”