This past September, the Wellesley Centers for Women welcomed a delegation from the China Women’s University in Beijing to a roundtable discussion. The dean of the Law School at the China Women’s University partners with WCW in its international work and is a leading member of the Gender and Law Network Consultation that the Centers, led by Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, S.J.D., helped convene with the Ford Foundation–China last year. Visitors to the Centers’ Cheever House were: Huang Haiqun, Vice President in charge of student affairs and college management; Zhang Xiangcun, director of the Publicity Department; Ning Ling, director of Computer Science and associate professor; Li Lianzhi, dean of the Continuing Education School; Wang Qinghe, director of the Logistics Management Department; and Ding Zhangang, associate professor of the Foreign Language Department. The Chinese scholars and administrators met with Charlene Galarneau, Ph.D., Wellesley College assistant professor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department and member of the WCW Board of Overseers, and WCW senior research scientists: de Silva-de Alwis.; Sumru Erkut, Ph.D.; Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D.; and Nan Stein, Ed.D.; and Wellesley College student Jin Hu. The China Women’s University was founded in 1949 as a school for the cadres of All-China Women’s Federation. Currently it has 3,300 undergraduate students and a branch campus in Shandong Province.
For many years, research done by the Work, Families, and Children Research Group at Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) has provided policy makers, community leaders, and other scholars with data, commentary, and testimony concerning the effects on family members of many factors, including working conditions, poverty, the division of labor at home, and early care and education. Nancy Marshall, Ed.D., who joined WCW in 1985, now leads the group, which includes Wendy Wagner Robeson, Ed.D., and Joanne Roberts, Ph.D., senior research scientists at WCW.
On October 26, 2010, as this commentary went to press, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” to schools that clarifies the relationship between bullying and discriminating harassment under civil rights laws: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201010.html.
The recent tragic cases of Phoebe Prince and Carl Wal ker -Hoover , two Massachusetts students who took their own lives after being allegedly bullied by their peers, force us to look carefully at the ways in which school personnel are treating and framing student-to-student interactions. I want to propose that, in fact, both children were sexually harassed by their peers; and to call it "bullying" minimizes what they endured.