By Gustavo Buenrostro
East Los Angeles College became the only school in the district to offer a Women/Gender Studies degree and kicked off a celebration on Thursday at the G3 Foyer.
The degree was submitted in January of this year and was approved in June, making it the 59th associate degree to be approved. The Women/Gender Studies faculty came up with classes for the 13-class requirement.
There are four categories of Women/Gender Studies classes and core courses students can take for these classes.
In order for students to get the degree, they must complete a total of 18 units in Women/Gender Studies.
Some of these can count for general education.
For example, History of Women and Art can count for an art class.
English professor Joshua Rodriguez said that he wants to add a queer literature course to the set of degree requirements needed in gaining a degree in Women/Gender Studies.
At the event, members of the district and school attended, including board of trustee member Andra Hoffman and ELAC President Marvin Martinez.
“East L.A. is the first college to have this major. I am not surprised, this is who we are. We are always trying to find a way to do things better,” said Martinez. “For eight years, they (the committee) have shown their commitment and it shows.”
History professor Barbara Dunsheath spoke about how important the degree is now more than ever because of the political climate.
She said women are still politically underrepresented and gave statistics of roles women have in politics.
In Congress, women make up 19.6 percent of the members. In the Senate, women make up 21 percent of the members and House of Representatives women make up 19.3 percent of the members.
Dunsheath said that ELAC faculty member Susanne Spangler organized faculty members to create the degree eight years ago.
Spangler said that she was told by students why there wasn’t a degree for Women/Gender Studies.
She says that the students were the reason they came up with the classes for gender studies.
“Our degree took eight years. In the end, the accomplishment is one to savor,” said Dunsheath.
“I cannot be more proud of my fellow Women/Gender Study faculty. I serve on many different committees and this is my favorite. The focus is all about the students,” said Dunsheath.
Political Science professor Natalina Monteiro said that there is a women/genders studies program, where the faculty will work with the student to get the degree and work with the students to help them get work in that field.
Students can sign up for classes in Women/Gender Studies classes for next semester.
Sociology professor Rin Kahla said it is important for students to sign up for these classes to ensure that the program is successful.