Celebrating Women’s History Month
In this Issue: Celebrating Women’s History Month
To all the women, past and present, that have contributed to the strength and vitality of UConn and UConn-AAUP we are thankful for your contributions today, this month, and all year in supporting the collective voice for the rights of all on our campuses. We are honored to have had a long list of women that have shaped and pushed for the advancement of academic freedom, shared governance, and economic security for all. Especially those that paved the way for equity for women in the academic setting.
Today we remember Joan Joffe Hall for her unwavering commitment to the rights of women faculty here at UConn. Professor Hall donated her work and historical documents to the UConn Archives. Below is a poem that Professor Hall wrote in honor of UConn-AAUP’s 25th anniversary (96-97). The poem greets all visitors as they enter the foyer in the UConn-AAUP office, a fitting place for it hang.
I was going to write doggerel
rhyming union with onion or bunion
but though it worked on the page
the sounds were off. Or I’d say the faculty
almost joined the Teamsters
but has done pretty well without them.
Then I thought I’d write about unity,
how women on campus in the early ‘70s
would have had some justice
If there’d been a union; how people working
together gain strength, as when Norma Rae
-remember Sally Field in that movie?-
stood up on the table with her big sign
and the machine floor fell silent?
I was going to stand here and sing
There once was a union maid…
but then I imagined Woody Guthrie
writhing in his grave. I was going to raise
high the names of the executive directors:
Ed and Frank and (acting) Arnie and Ed
but could I say anything true without
fawning or turning their heads?
Could I lovingly praise
the admirable Claudia and Leslie
and other staff, and then mention
all the past presidents and bargaining teams in
a New Yorker end-of-a-year list, good for a laugh?
But that would mean research and what am I,
still working? And speaking of retirement,
I have the union to thank for a good pension
– that’s a half-rhyme. Or I could describe
the decor in all our tiny rooms and dank
basements before we bought a home,
but I wanted to give our spirits a lift,
so I’ll just say, “UConn AAUP, Happy 25th!”
Joan Joffe Hall
19 April 2002
Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar
UConn-AAUP Executive Director