Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another lovely show of support

Great WESTERN HERALD column about how the fact that I will no longer be teaching impacts students. I have been a fan of Heather Forgione's writing since she came to WMU, long before she was my student.

Click the link (make comments!!)

or here's the column (in case the link expires)

Former professor will be known for impacting and portraying real life to students

Every person has had a teacher who has made an imprint on his or her life; someone who reached out, someone they learned a lot from. There will always be that teacher who we will remember.
That teacher might not ever know the extent of the impression that they left on you, but you will never forget that year, or semester they were your teacher and what they taught you.

I have a few teachers that I will always remember; one who believed in me, another who always made me laugh and another who taught me more about myself and the kind of person I want to be. The last was a former professor at Western Michigan University.

This professor does not work here anymore, and because of that I feel great pain in knowing that the future students of WMU will never have the pleasure of taking his class. Chris Tower was a crazy, 70s hippy, corny, male feminist and was one of the best professors at this university. That is until WMU no longer wanted his expertise.

Chris Tower taught Women’s Studies 1000. He went to extremes to show us what most of our generation do not see.

WMU has banned him from the minds of the students that go to this university. I consider that a sad thing. WMU is ranked as one of the best colleges in the country. Why do you think that is? We have some of the most amazing professors at this university teaching us. It breaks my heart to know that one of those great professors is no longer here.

Some of the greatest teaching experiences in this country have been called ludicrous, eccentric, and have been banned because it was thought to hurt the minds of young people.

Slaughter House five, Clockwork Orange, Brave New World, all banned from the bookshelves of schools until we found the knowledge behind the cover. All those books and more are being taught today in schools because of the truth that they hold, the brilliant writings that show us the value of reading them.

Chris Tower was banned from WMU because of his eccentric way of teaching.

Let me tell you about what Chris Tower taught me. He taught me more about myself and the way I feel I should be treated. At the beginning of the semester, he told us what we were going to encounter in his class. We watched movies such as Fatal Attraction, and Sin City, viewed advertisements where women were portrayed sexually.

We are adults are we not? We came to college to further our minds, to open our eyes to different perspectives and learn from only the best.

A professor’s contract ended because someone did not like the idea of eccentric ideas being shown in a classroom. It was shown for a reason, one that was to depict how our generation views women, what we are suppose to look like, act like, and what we are suppose to be.

Some professors might just tell you of the horrible ways that women are being portrayed in the media; women being tied up and beaten, but Tower showed us. Anybody can tell you about women studies, but Towers showed you, he stuck it in your face and made you smell the truth. A good teacher can tell you everything you need to know, but a great teacher can show you.

It was his eccentric teaching that caught my attention to the subject matter. He pushed his students to the limit.

Tower taught me that women should be equal to men, and we are still far from being equal. In the media today, the equality that we tried to fight for is not becoming closer because we are letting this pretrial of women stay. It is almost like we have given up.

Remember the Dove advertisement about a year ago? They made a statement for women, average size, beauty, and different colors of women. If you remember the advertisements you also remember how people ridiculed Dove, saying that they do not want to see real women on posters and on television, but models. It was ideas like these that we discussed in Tower’s class.

Tower made me take a second look at women in advertisements, a second listen to lyrics in rap and pop music, and a second thought about what I believe was right and to stand up for what I believe in.

Chris Tower will be remembered at this university for all those feminist shirts he wore, his crazy hippy personality, corny jokes, and his eccentric teaching that opened up my mind to women in today’s media, and the new way I view the media, women and myself.

Heather Forgione, a Western Herald opinion columnist, is a senior majoring in journalism and can be reached via e-mail at