Gender equity dir. to start Nov. 18

For The News-Letter

The University recently created the new position of gender equity director. Dr. Jeannine Heynes, who has a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies, will assume the position on Nov. 18.

Issues of gender equity have received both national and campus-wide attention in past decades. Hopkins has been making ongoing efforts to diminish inequality among the sexes on campus.

“This has been a conversation at JHU for many years, dating back to the 1980s,” Dean of Student Life Terry Martinez wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “Dean Boswell, my predecessor, was committed to this work and prior to my arrival was able to secure the funding to realize a vision set many years ago. I was simply fortunate to arrive at a time where the groundwork had already been laid.”

Boswell, who came to Hopkins in 1986, was the dean of Student Life from 2001 to 2014. She was highly invested in issues of sexual violence and gender equity on campus.

Heynes previously worked as the director for the Center for Gender and Relationships at Warren Wilson College. She also formerly worked as the campus coach for Carnegie Mellon University’s chapter of Strong Women, Strong Girls, a mentoring program for girls in the third through fifth grades.

“Dr. Heynes brings a wealth of experience to the JHU. In particular, she has demonstrated her capacity to collaborate with partners across campus to create and implement programming and trainings on issues of gender equity, advocacy and to develop educational resources for students and staff on issues of gender and sexuality,” Martinez wrote. “Additionally, Dr. Heynes has served as the first director of a Center for Gender and Relationships and was able to create the Center’s mission, vision and programming outreach.”

Gender equity became an important topic on Hopkins’ campus in 1984, when members of the now-inactive Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity released a misogynistic note that described sexual acts of violence that were committed toward a woman and her mother. In response, a Committee on the Status of Women was formed, and it released the Crenson Report, a 91-page account highlighting numerous gender inequalities and grievances on campus.

Creating gender equity director positions is not an initiative unique to Hopkins — it has gained support and popularity recently. Martinez spoke about the nationwide trend toward the creation of Women’s Centers and Gender Equity Centers.

“Many other schools have institutional support for gender equity on campus,” Martinez wrote. “While it may look different and the name has changed over time, many of our peers have Women’s Centers, Gender Equity Centers, or the like. Regardless of the name, these offices focus on promoting, advocating for, and addressing women’s issues on campus.”

The scope of Heynes’ work on campus starting this fall will not only extend to addressing equality between men and women, but also to issues regarding gender identity, gender expression and the differences between gender and sex.

“Dr. Heynes will provide leadership in developing programs and services that promote the academic, personal and professional achievement of women students and community members,” Martinez wrote. “She will work primarily to serve as a resource for the campus community on issues of gender identity and expression and related topics including intersections of identities. I am excited about what is to come.”

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