The force behind Women’s History Month on campus

Jane Jerman, ASW vice president, works in the ASW office. Jerman hopes to bring a gender equity center to campus.  Photos by Olivia Wathne

Jane Jerman, ASW vice president, works in the ASW office. Jerman hopes to bring a gender equity center to campus.  Photos by Olivia Wathne

ASW Vice President Jane Jerman is the Title IX student representative and an advocate for women’s rights. Jerman, communication major, also helped bring Women’s History month to campus.

Jerman has one year left of her undergraduate degree and said she hopes her passion for women’s rights and involvement on campus will make a positive impact at Westminster. Women’s History Month events, which Jerman helped plan, will be happening through March until the beginning of April.

What brought you to Westminster?

I came to Westminster, and I stepped on the campus, and I was immediately like, ‘Oh my gosh—this is where I belong.’ I knew that I’d have amazing relationships with my professors and amazing relationships inside the classroom because they are small. I really looked forward to this different and new environment that I didn’t experience in my home, a rural community.

What are you involved with on campus?

I’m involved with a lot on campus. I’m the Title IX representative as a student along with Levi Barrett. Through that, I represent the students’ voices through our Title IX coordinator and our Title IX investigators, and I also helped plan the symposium that happens every year on campus.

What did you hope to accomplish as ASW vice president?

Part of my goals [when campaigning] were to create a gender equity or women’s center on campus, and I was meeting a lot of great people that were excited to be involved, and I’d hit a bunch of dead ends. Part of why I wanted to bring it to campus was because I felt like we have an amazing campus already, but there is nowhere that women could meet and share their stories or collaborate with each other on different projects. There were different places, but we always had to share, so I was really hoping that there could be space on campus for women to gather and any non-binary folks, as well.

Jane Jerman, ASW vice president, stands in front of Converse Hall. Jerman is a strong proponent for women’s rights and has helped bring Women’s History month to campus. 

Jane Jerman, ASW vice president, stands in front of Converse Hall. Jerman is a strong proponent for women’s rights and has helped bring Women’s History month to campus. 

What are some of the challenges you have faced as ASW vice president?

It became really difficult as I got going because I realized you kind of need a lot of money to be able to create a center on campus. I decided that maybe our culture and just the campus wasn't quite ready for a gender equity center, and that's something that I’ve really struggled with this year because I’m somebody that always achieves my goals. To realize that I had to drop something and accept that maybe now is not the time and maybe this is something that needs to be worked on in the future. I haven’t exactly accomplished that this year, but I kind of see a really great upcoming student body executive board with all the candidates that are running right now, and I’m excited to see where they take some of these gender equity initiatives for our campus.

What are your hopes for Westminster and how we deal with gender equity?

There’s always room to improve in Title IX. There are still some really interesting structures that exist inside of that, including the fact that survivors are called ‘complaintants’ throughout the whole process. A complainant is kind of a really gendered term anyway. Women are usually the ones who “complain,” so when it comes to actual sexual assault cases, to be considered a complainant can be really upsetting when you are coming forward with an experience that could have really harmed you. In more areas to improve that I see are creating a gender equity center on campus. I think that is so necessary. I mean, we are one of the only campuses in Utah that doesn't have a center like that on our campus, and I find that really surprising, especially in Utah. As Westminster is this space for all people to gather, it surprises me that we don't have space that could increase knowledge of feminism and gender issues that we could really be having great discussions about.

Who are some of your feminist role models?

One of my feminist role models is the notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg. You know, she’s amazing. She’s done incredible things on the Supreme Court, and you can look around campus and see the posters that we’ve put up for Women’s History Month. We all got together and gathered some really awesome feminist inspirations that we all consider women to look up to.

Could you talk a little bit about Women’s History month?

Sure! Some things that we have going on is the financial literacy fair, and the Financial Aid Office has been really cool to gather about 17 different organizations from around the city to come and talk to all of the students at Westminster about financial literacy and how it applies to women. We often don't get the same education as our male peers on finances. That’s just a cultural thing. On April 3, there will be Ladies Climbing Night through the Outdoor Recreation Center. That should be a really great opportunity for students to attend, and we’re hoping to have an awesome opportunity with the Center for Civic Engagement to volunteer with some women’s groups around the area. So, that's kind of what we’ve got going right here, and if there’s anything that any students in particular want to plan or host an event for, that would be really great. It’s kinda a whole campus intersectional celebration of Women’s History Month.