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 Faculty 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 together with his enterprise.

After mentioning the incident to a few of her male colleagues, they laughed in regards to 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 towards 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the professor’s lack of acknowledgement of the one-sided energy dynamic concerned with these relationships and use of outdated sources.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 identified 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 function of women within the church.

Thompson, a Catholic, has been an outspoken critic of the function 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 remedy of women within the church.

“When you (have been) going to be a girl having this sort of profession, you sort of suck it up,” Thompson stated.

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

Aileen Gallagher, now an affiliate professor within the S.I. Newhouse Faculty 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 he or she admired Thompson for her combative instructing dialogue and huge information.

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

In speaking with each colleagues at SU and grad faculty, 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 Faculty. 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 could be simply as dangerous.

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

“My ex-husband was very related in numerous methods to Brett Kavanaugh,” Thompson stated. “I feel it’s essential to acknowledge that ‘I’m this completed particular person’ shouldn’t be an excuse.”

Final yr was the primary time in 40 years that Thompson had publicly acknowledged her expertise. She acknowledges acknowledgment as an extremely tough activity, particularly in the course of 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 faculty, a male professor shut his workplace door, put his arms round her when she was assembly with him for recommendation. She additionally had unfavourable experiences together with her senior male colleagues at SU and previously at Knox Faculty, the place she taught.

Thompson stated she sees sexual harassment and assault as two of a very powerful areas of focus for the feminist motion to deal with. She hopes conversations round it would result in an even bigger dialog in regards to 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 seeking to push the motion is to seek out allies.

“You will have allies on the college; you will have allies on the employees. Know who these persons are,” Thompson stated. “And in case your first expertise in talking shouldn’t be 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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