Thus Spake Zuska
A Blog for All and No One




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Monday, November 14, 2005

Write to Stonybrook's Provost!

Hey, thanks to AmericanConscience for listing me on their site.  Go check it out, it's a nice compilation of feminist blogs and resources.

And while you are out there page-hopping, just dance on over to Sherry Towers's site, and marvel at the set of resources she's collected there.  And do use the link for the provost of Stonybrook.  Tell him just what you think about physics communities that drive baby-bearing particle discoverers out of town on a rail.  You'll find his email down at the bottom of the page. 

Oh, what the hell.  I'll just quote Sherry here with the info in case you don't have time to get to her site.  (But you should.)

E-mail or write Stony Brook's provost, Robert McGrath, at to let him know your thoughts on Towers v. Stony Brook.

What would you say to Provost McGrath, if you had the chance?  Zuska would say:

Dear Provost McGrath:

Did you know:  at the bottom of the Stonybrook Physics and Astronomy web site, there is a little brag banner that changes every so often.  One of the things it says is: 

"Did you know:  we are ranked 1st nationally in number of PhD's granted in 2003". 

I'll bet you knew that because you are the Provost and because your name is listed there among the physics faculty.  Just one name away from my friend Robert McCarthy.  You probably know him, from faculty and committee meetings, campus get-togethers, fundraisers and whatnot.  I 'm not clear on all the details of his career and personality, but the word around the feminist science blogiverse is that he's a jackass. 

Hey, I have some ideas for additional blurbs for that physics banner.  Because 2003 was certainly a banner year.  See what you think. 

  • Did you know that in 2003, our postdoc Sherry Towers discovered a new particle AND gave birth to her second child?
  • Did you know that Stonybrook's maternity leave policy does NOT apply to postdocs in physics, no matter what they say?
  • Did you know that we believe that women just want to follow their husbands anyway? 
  • Did you know that an entire career can be ruined in a matter of weeks by withholding references and badmouthing a postdoc?
  • Did you know that a professor's career will flourish for years more after he's siphoned work and ideas from his postdoc, crushed her like a bug, and blackballed her in her profession? 
  • Did you know that our Professor Robert McCarthy will spread rumors for you even if he doesn't know all the details?
  • Did you know that we don't really want women postdocs here, unless they pledge to remain single and childless?
  • Did you know that many of us think it would be dandy if there were no women here at all? 
  • Did you know that if you are a female physicist, you would be insane to consider coming to a department that has this much hostility to women? 
  • Did you know that a thousand diversity seminars couldn't even begin to cure what ails us? 

That's quite a list, isn't it?  Hey, did you know that Marie Curie gave birth to and raised two children while she was doing her Nobel-prize winning research?  And one of those little girls grew up to one day win her own science Nobel?  Isn't that ironic?  Well, I thought I'd close by sharing with you this quote from Marie that I found on the web:

You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for our own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.

That's really beautiful, isn't it, that idea about building a better world by improving individuals.  At first I thought that means professors caring for the development of postdocs and graduate students.  But we know that's not happening.  So really, Provost McGrath,  you could help build a better world if you could figure out how to improve the professors.  Here's what I'd suggest:  cut their pay by 40%, tell them to reduce their work hours by 50%, and spend the other 50% of time figuring out how not to be obnoxious sexist bastards.  When they can demonstrate proof of having gained the ability to function as a decent human being, bring their salary back up to full.  Advantages:

  • University saves money on salary during time professors are trying to figure out how to be humans.
  • University does not have to pay for diversity training, as professors are tasked with being responsible for their own development as decent human beings and must seek out and pay for resources on their own.  More $$$ saved!
  • For 50% of the time, obnoxious sexist bastards are not around on campus to make women miserable. 

Finally, tell them that lab space and institutional sign-off on grant proposals is dependent upon continuing evidence that female grad students and postdocs are being fairly treated, are being mentored, are being recommended for great jobs the way their male counterparts are.  All of which includes the frickin' maternity leave policy. 


Goddess of Science
Empress of Engineering
Avenging Angel of Angry Women



10:24:07 PM    comment [] trackback []

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