WUmester 2020 plans to revisit Washburn’s legacy

Alyssa Storm

WUmester is an event that Washburn University puts on every spring semester that consists of topics related to diversity, with a focus on subjects that are connected to current events.

The topic for this semester is focusing on Citizenship and Suffrage not only in the United States, but the world. 

“These topics were chosen because of the anniversaries that take place,” said Chair of the Academic Diversity and Inclusion Committee Dr. Kelly Erby. “This is the 150-year anniversary of the 15th Amendment, the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the year of the census as well as an election year.” 

The topics chosen not only focuses on voting rights of African American men and white women, they also have some events that are tailored toward the African American women in history.

Erby said that she is excited about this year’s topic because it ties in well with a class that she is teaching this semester.

“I’m excited about the topic because I’m teaching a class, Women in US History, that looks at the role of not only white women but women of color too,” said Erby.

Other notable events include the Lanker Exhibit at the Mulvane Art Museum that will be open from Feb. 7 to June 13.

An exhibition titled “I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed the World.” The Lincoln-Harman Lecture featuring Koritha Mitchell’s lecture “Homemade Citizenship: All but Inviting Injury” is another event that takes place Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Neese Gray Theater.

There will also be lectures taking place covering voting rights and civil activists. 

“It’s strange that just 100 years ago it wasn’t legal for women to vote,” said Emma Morrissey, a freshman criminal justice major.

With politics playing a prominent role in our everyday lives, it’s important people recognize the sacrifices made to get the rights we have today.

“We need graduate students to be aware of what is going on in the world around them,” said Erby. 

These topics of rights and inclusivity have a distinct connection to Washburn University’s history. Before it was Washburn University, the school was known as Lincoln College. The college was prominently known as one of the first universities in the United States to allow African Americans and women to openly register and enroll in the late 1800’s.

“Early on Washburn played a role in being an open-access campus,” said Erby. “This event lives up to that legacy.”

Many students are excited in what WUmester will bring this spring semester.  

“I think it’s a fantastic topic that needs to be talked about, especially with Washburn wanting to embrace more cultures with the motive for additional diversification,” said Morrissey. 

There are WUmester events happening from late Jan. to the end of June.

Visit the official Washburn University webpage for the full WUmester events calendar.

Edited by Adam White, Wesley Tabor, Jada Johnson