Professor Margaret Susan Thompson advocates for women’s rights – The Every day Orange


As was the case for many of her days as a younger professor, Margaret Susan Thompson was busy at work on the Maxwell College of Citizenship and Public Affairs historical past division. When the dean walked into the workplace, he noticed Thompson and patted her head earlier than persevering with along with his enterprise.

After mentioning the incident to a few of her male colleagues, they laughed concerning the degrading pat. Wanting again, Thompson sees humor within the incident, however she nonetheless is aware of:

“He wouldn’t do that to a male,” she stated.

Thompson has seen the campus evolve since arriving at Syracuse College in 1981. She’s taught within the historical past, political science, faith, women’s and gender research and honors departments. Whereas she’s seen many faces come and go, she’s nonetheless advocating for change.

Earlier this semester, Thompson spoke out in opposition to a fellow SU school member who claims the current faculty-student relationship ban restricts women’s freedoms. Thompson identified the professor’s lack of acknowledgement of the one-sided energy dynamic concerned with these relationships and use of outdated sources.

Now, Thompson is talking on the present women’s motion, her experiences with sexism in academia and the recommendation she has for survivors of assault, as she too is a survivor of sexual abuse.

“Whether or not it’s verbal or whether or not it’s bodily or it’s each, it’s traumatic,” Thompson stated.

Mark Rupert, a professor of political science, has recognized Thompson since he first arrived at SU in 1987. He stated he has seen her unapologetic persistence firsthand in College Senate conferences and in her work on the position of women within the church.

Thompson, a Catholic, has been an outspoken critic of the position of women within the Catholic Church and has critiqued the Vatican in its stances towards women taking up management roles. She was as soon as arrested in St. Peter’s Sq. whereas protesting the therapy of women within the church.

“In case you (have been) going to be a girl having this type of profession, you form of suck it up,” Thompson stated.

Since her time at SU, Thompson has impressed a former pupil who teaches on the college at present.

Aileen Gallagher, now an affiliate professor within the S.I. Newhouse College of Public Communications, was a pupil in Thompson’s trendy presidency class. On the time, Gallagher hadn’t had many feminine historical past academics, and she or he admired Thompson for her combative educating dialogue and huge information.

“Peggy Thompson was the neatest girl I ever met,” Gallagher stated. “She was an enormous mental affect on me as a girl as a result of a) she was so sensible, and b) she may stand as much as anybody.”

In speaking with each colleagues at SU and grad college, Thompson stated it’s uncommon to discover a feminine professor who has not had related experiences of their skilled or private lives.

Thompson’s abuser was her ex-husband. He was a Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of Yale undergrad and Yale Legislation College. For Thompson, the sexual abuse was solely a part of her previous experiences. She was additionally emotionally abused for a lot longer, which she stated will be simply as unhealthy.

Regardless of her ex-husband’s tutorial monitor file, Thompson stated that’s nonetheless not an excuse to miss somebody like him as an abuser.

“My ex-husband was very related in plenty of methods to Brett Kavanaugh,” Thompson stated. “I believe it’s necessary to acknowledge that ‘I’m this achieved individual’ isn’t an excuse.”

Final yr was the primary time in 40 years that Thompson had publicly acknowledged her expertise. She acknowledges acknowledgment as an extremely troublesome job, particularly throughout the years that she was a pupil and younger professor.

Together with this expertise, Thompson stated when she studied on the College of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate college, a male professor shut his workplace door, put his arms round her when she was assembly with him for recommendation. She additionally had adverse experiences together with her senior male colleagues at SU and previously at Knox School, the place she taught.

Thompson stated she sees sexual harassment and assault as two of crucial areas of focus for the feminist motion to handle. She hopes conversations round it would result in an even bigger dialog concerning the problems with intercourse discrimination and misogyny.

To realize this, she believes feminists throughout generations should unite.

Older generations of feminists have a duty to take heed to the priorities of youthful feminists, she stated. She does this by welcoming conservations across the matter and is at all times open to studying from college students and providing recommendation. She stated her foremost recommendation to survivors and younger feminists trying to push the motion is to seek out allies.

“You have got allies on the school; you might have allies on the employees. Know who these persons are,” Thompson stated. “And in case your first expertise in talking isn’t as constructive, it doesn’t produce outcomes as you’d like, then do it once more and discover another person. Be persistent.”

Contact Alex: ajrouhan@syr.edu



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