Gender Equity Today
While CSB/SJU have made some strides in gender equity, there is much more to be done. Actions in recent years include:
- On January 21, 2017, 75 Bennies and Johnnies participated in the Women’s March at the Minnesota State Capital Building. Busing was sponsored by the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL).
- In 2021, the BEST program offered training in sexual violence prevention.
- On March 30, 2021, some Bennies and Johnnies traveled to the Twin Cities to protest the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Ruling on March 24, 2021, which stated that if someone was assaulted after willingly consuming alcohol, then the assailant could not be charged.
- On October 21, 2021, IWL held a protest after a sex competition taking place in SJU sophomore dorm, Patrick Hall, came to light. Protesters chanted and individuals shared stories of sexual assault, while the audience honored victims' voices and listened to their experiences. On October 25, 2021, the Presidents of both CSB and SJU met with IWL to discuss their demands. On November 3, 2021, an email was sent to the entire community about how the institutions would be meeting these demands. Actions included forming a Presidential Advisory Council, getting a new Title IX case manager, making it easier to report sexual assault on the website, reformatted bystander training, and reestablishing the Men’s Development Institute (MDI).
With the 2022 transition to a single president for both the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, the institutions need to work to live up to their slogan, “Two Colleges. Together.” Merging the two institutions seems to be the logical choice to create better communication. However, this also leads to uncertain times. It is vital to see women in power at a women’s college, however, Bennies have lost a role model in a female (or gender non-conforming) president. CSB students express hope that with the stronger integration plan, things will become more equal. Bennies won’t be forced to pay for a continuous meal plan for the first two years of college; they will have equal access to SJU sporting facilities, since the adequate facilities do not also exist at CSB; and opportunities will emerge for alum donations to be distributed equally to support both Bennies and Johnnies. Community members are asking the colleges to adopt the modern definition of gender and realized that gender is a spectrum, including male, female, gender non-conforming, Agender, Gender Fluid, Bigender, etc.
College of Saint Benedict Magazine, Spring 2021. Issue devoted to the meaning of a college for women.