Biden Announces Sexual Violence Awareness Campaign

By Brenda Bethman

Yesterday, Vice President Biden announced a new effort by the U.S. Department of Education to promote and enforce the guidelines regarding sexual violence and harassment that all colleges and universities receiving federal funds must follow. The video of his speech is below:


As someone who has been talking for years about men’s responsibility to end sexual assault, I was particularly heartened to hear VP Biden state so strongly that men must hold each other accountable for their actions. We are proud of the work we do at the UMKC Women’s Center and with the Violence Prevention & Response Project, and our campus/community partners to educate women and men about sexual violence and we are glad to have such a strong ally in the White House.

American Men’s Studies Association Conference, March 31-April 2, 2011

The Nineteenth Annual “Men and Masculinity Conference” of the American Men’s Studies Association will take place March 31-April 3, 2011 at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. The conference is co-sponsored by the Women’s Center and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. This year’s theme is “Men, Masculinities and the Common Good in an Era of Economic Uncertainty.” Pre-conference workshops will take place Thursday, March 31, 5-8 pm. Conference Sessions will take place Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2 from 8 am to 5 pm, and Sunday, April 2, from 8 am to 1 pm. The conference banquet will be Friday evening at the Conference Hotel.

UMKC faculty and staff will be presenting at the conference and UMKC faculty and students may attend all sessions without charge but are asked to register for the conference. UMKC faculty and students may attend the banquet and luncheons but to do so should purchase meal tickets during the registration process. UMKC faculty and students officially presenting at the conference must pay for a full conference registration using the general online registration process. For more information check out the conference website. Details on pre-conference workshops and online registration are available at the registration site.

Cross-posted to the UMKC Women’s & Gender Studies blog.


Due to the weather, the two events scheduled for Wednesday, February 2 (The Handmaid’s Tale Book Discussion Table and the V-Men workshop) have both been canceled. We are working on rescheduling and will post to the usual places (blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) when we have new dates.

The V-Day Information Table planned for Thursday, February 3 and the Go Red for Women Table scheduled for Friday, February 4 will both be held as planned.

Stay warm and safe — and come visit us at the Women’s Center when UMKC reopens!

Happy Holidays from the UMKC Women's Center

Happy holidays from the UMKC Women’s Center and thank you for your support during the fall 2010 semester. This video contains highlights from our fall 2010 programs, none of which would have been possible without our wonderful supporters, constituents, and staff. Thank you for making 2010 a great year! We look forward to working with you in 2011!


Human Rights are Women's Rights

This Thursday and Friday the UMKC Women’s Center is proud to be working with the Kansas City-based Center for Global and Multicultural Education to co-organize the 2010 Activism for Human Rights Conference: From Issues to Action. The conference’s featured speakers are Barclay Martin, music director/composer for the Kansas City-based Christian Foundation for Children & Aging’s documentary Zamboanga: Poverty, War, Music; Elizabeth Alex, lead anchor at KSHB-TV; and Jolie Justus, Missouri State Senator, 10th District; there will also be panels and sessions featuring local activists working to promote human rights locally and globally (for a complete schedule, click here).

One question I keep hearing from people is “why is the Women’s Center involved with this conference?” My answer is because as Hillary Clinton famously declared at the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995: “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.” Below is a video clip from that speech. Watch it and plan to join us this Thursday and Friday (October 14-15) to help ensure that women’s rights are a part of human rights.


Cross-posted at

Water, Women, a Concert, and Ongoing Projects

Regular readers of the Women’s Center calendar might have noticed a recent community event posted and wondered what it was doing there. Our calendar postings traditionally focus on women’s-centered events so the listing for the upcoming CD Release Concert by the Barclay Martin Ensemble may have seemed out of place. What does a concert put on by an all-male band have to do with the Women’s Center?

The connection comes through Barclay Martin Ensemble’s newly-formed partnership with the Kansas City-based organization A portion of proceeds from their new album, Pools That Swell With the Rain, and merchandise, along with designated donations from sponsors, will help fund new wells, sanitation infrastructure and health education in the Kyuso District of Kenya. That project will benefit women as they are the ones who shoulder most of the burden of getting clean water, as noted in an article on Alternet:

“The daily task of carrying water over distances is back-breaking work for women. In rural Africa, women commonly walk 10 kilometers a day to a water source and back — and twice that distance in the dry season. Often, women carry loads of up to 50 lbs on the head, hip, or back. Over time, the strain can deform the spine and pelvis, causing extreme pain and disability. A more immediate worry for many women and girls is the threat of sexual attack as they venture far from home in search of water.”

In other words, water rights are women’s rights and that is naturally something the Women’s Center can and should support. The CD Release Concert will be held on September 24 at the Folly Theater — your ticket will help bring clean water to the women (and men) of Kenya. Additionally, we are working with and the Barclay Martin Ensemble on ways that UMKC students, staff, and faculty will be able to get involved and continue to support this project, so please watch this space for details.

[Photo from Flickr]

Be the Match

We are posting this because Mel Tyler needs your help and his UMKC family is rallying to his aid and hope you will as well.

Mel Tyler is Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at the University of Missouri—Kansas City (UMKC).  He has spent his entire professional career in education, serving in various roles coaching and assisting students at both the secondary and post-secondary level.  He started his career at Central High School in St. Joseph before joining Missouri Western State University where he served as the Assistant Dean of Students, Assistant Basketball Coach and Assistant Director of Admissions.  He’s been at UMKC since 1994.

Mel was diagnosed with stage 3 multiple myeloma in April 2009.  Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, a type of white blood cell present in bone marrow. Plasma cells normally make proteins called antibodies to help fight infections. In multiple myeloma, a group of abnormal plasma cells (myeloma cells) multiplies, raising the number of plasma cells to a higher than normal level. Since these cells normally make proteins, the level of abnormal proteins in the blood also may go up. Health problems caused by multiple myeloma can affect the bones, immune system, kidneys and red blood cell count.

Mel has undergone two stem cell transplants (using his own stem cells) and many rounds of chemotherapy in an effort to put the cancer in remission.  His physicians have indicated he will likely need a donor stem cell transplant in the future and at the present time there is no match for Mel in the national registry.

The National Marrow Donor Program ( indicates that because tissue types are inherited, patients are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity.  Registry members from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are especially needed so every patient has a second chance at life.  Mel was told that because he is African American, there was about a 15% chance that he would find a match.  Registry members of these backgrounds are urgently needed:

  • Black or African American
  • American Indian
  • Asian, including South Asian
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Multiple races

Joining the registry is initially as simple as getting a cheek swab to see if you may be a match.  UMKC will be hosting two upcoming “cheek swab clinics”:

  • Friday, April 23, 2010 (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) at the School of Dentistry, Room 434
  • Tuesday, April 27, 2010 (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) in the University Center, Room 106

There is a health screening involved so for those who may be unable to join the registry, other ways to help include:

  • Making a gift to the Be The Match Foundation (it costs $100.00 to tissue type the cheek swab so donations are needed)
  • Volunteering with a recruitment or donor center
  • Spreading the word about this unique chance to save a life

His experience has made Mel more aware of the need for all donors; he is now hoping to use his situation to educate others to increase the number of people in the registry. For more information on the clinics or if you have questions, please contact Jennifer DeHaemers at 816.235.1143 or

Community Event: Zamboanga CD Release Concert

On Sunday, November 8, CFCA is hosting a CD release concert at Yardley Hall in the Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College. The evening will offer a collection of music and visuals, inspired by the CFCA documentary film about the Phillipines, titled “Zamboanga: Poverty, War, Music.”

What does that have to do with the UMKC Women’s Center you may be wondering? Plenty, as it turns out. According to Barclay Martin, who wrote the music for the film and whose band will play at the concert, women were an inspiration for his music:

“The women I encountered during my time in the Philippines inspired me through their unrelenting love and belief in the country’s children. I have been moved by their grace, and believe that it is through the women that the most hopeful story of the Filipino people is told. I wrote the song Love Lies Awake to illustrate this tireless love of a mother for her children–that it never sleeps, but serves as a constant reminder of that promise.”

Additionally, women played a vital role in the documentary — as the film follows several girls and women who excel against tremendous challenges. Finally, CFCA in their work, seeks to empower women and mothers around the world. According to their blog,

“When CFCA talks about empowering the mothers of sponsored children, we do so with deep respect for the strength these women already demonstrate every day. All we’re doing is looking for ways to support their efforts to create for themselves a little more space, a little more power, so they can more fully use their strength. They deserve at least that much.”

The concert starts at 5 p.m. and is free with reservations. Call Yardley Hall box office at 913-469-4445 to reserve tickets or see this website for more information. CDs will be available at the concert, and on the film’s Web site starting the next day. Donations for the CD benefit the CFCA Scholarship Fund. The documentary is scheduled to be released in 2010.

This is the first post in what will be a series highlighting community events of potential interest to Women’s Center constituents. For more events, see our web calendar. If you have an event you would like featured, e-mail the details, including how it relates to women’s or gender issues, to Brenda Bethman.