University to host panel on 'reproductive justice' activism

The University of Massachusetts, Amherst is slated to host a panel exploring “How Scholars and Activists Can Partner for Reproductive and Racial Justice.”

According to the university’s News and Media Relations website, the November 30 presentation “will bring together scholars, activists, and community members invested in public engagement to hear from reproductive justice activist Loretta Ross and public scholar Rickie Solinger.”

Both speakers will lecture on “successful partnerships between scholars and activists” while also addressing “the complexities and importance of collaborative work in the context of the current contentious political landscape.”

[RELATED: UMass Amherst students throw temper tantrum at free speech event]

According to the website, the term “Reproductive Justice” was coined in part by Ross, and refers to “practices and theory coined by African-American women in 1994.”

“Ross was a co-founder and National Coordinator of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective from 2007-12,” UMass explains. “Ross is a sought-after speaker and author of numerous books and articles about human rights, violence against women, reproductive justice and appropriate whiteness.”

The university also touts Solinger as an “author or editor of 11 books about reproductive politics and satellite subjects,” and a “curator of a number of politically focused, installation-based, and photography exhibitions that have traveled to scores of college and university galleries, aiming to interrupt the curriculum.”

UMass further disclosed that the event is backed by nearly a dozen groups and organizations, including official administrative and educational departments within the university such as the Office of the Chancellor, the Health Promotion and Policy Department, the History Department, and the Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Department.

Other groups sponsoring the event include the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR), the Public Engagement Project, the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Certificate Program, UMass Students for Reproductive Justice, the Women of Color Leadership Network, and the Center for Research on Families.

[RELATED: UMass creates cultural appropriation 'threat meter' for Halloween]

However, many of those sponsoring organizations, such as the Institute for Social Science Research, are further supported by various university departments and administrative branches.

According to its website, the ISSR alone is backed by “the University of Massachusetts Amherst's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement, and the Graduate School, as well as by the College of Education, the Isenberg School of Management, and the School of Earth and Sustainability.”

Spokespersons for UMass-Amherst did not immediately respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment.

Follow this author on Facebook: Nikita Vladimirov