A friend recently wrote to me "Thanks for your blog that tells the world that being a woman in academia shouldn't have to hurt."
I am so very depressed about the death of Denice Denton, and I know that many other women around the country must be as well. Denice was chancellor of the University of California at Santa Cruz, and an accomplished electrical engineer. She achieved so much in her brief 46 years that it staggers the mind.
From the AWIS Washington Wire:
On June 24, 2006, the scientific community lost a valued leader. The community was saddened to learn of the apparent suicide of Denice D. Denton, chancellor of the University of California at Santa Cruz, a talented electrical engineer, and champion of educational diversity and equality. Her death is deeply felt by her many friends and colleagues and AWIS would like to offer its condolences to her family and acknowledge her immense contributions to the lives and careers of so many women.
AWIS President Donna Dean writes, “Words are inadequate to express the deep sense of loss for those of us who were privileged to be among Denice's colleagues and friends. She was never afraid to stand up for those underrepresented in science and engineering. Denice was always willing to carry the message wherever and whenever it needed to be heard and to encourage others when they needed a hearty ‘you can do it.' In honoring and remembering one so vibrant, so energetic, and so visionary, we can recommit ourselves to making it a world where the cost of commitment to a just cause is not so dear."
More information about Denton's life and career can be located here. To see how other friends, colleagues, and leaders remember Denton and to offer your own tribute, visit here.
The Chronicle of Higher Education's cover story this week is about Denice's death, and the intense criticism she was under during her time as chancellor at UC Santa Cruz. Conservative assholes cruelly mocked her death:
On the blog Moonbattery, named after a slang term for liberals, a post titled "Death of a Moonbat" alleged that Ms. Denton "celebrated Gay Pride weekend by taking a leap" off the building. The Web site also said Ms. Denton used the "corrupt and opaque University of California system to finance the lifestyle of a degenerate czarina, courtesy of California students and taxpayers."
What can I say? Conservative assholes are conservative assholes. But this really takes the cake. Making sport of a dead woman. That's sooooo cooool. I invite my readers to leave appropriate comments on Moonbattery's site. Denice was openly lesbian in a profession where homophobic taunts are often used to intimidate young women in the classroom or workplace. Of course, for that, she had to be punished - not just while living, but on after her death.
Being a woman in academe, indeed, should not have to hurt. The cost, for Denice and for ourselves, is still far too dear.