WGSS Faculty, Students Join Governor Hochul for 175th Anniversary of Seneca Falls Convention

Governor Kathy Hochul holds the WGSS newsletter while surrounded by smiling WGSS faculty and students in a hallway of the Governor's Mansion.
A woman with dark hair and glasses, wearing an orange blouse and gray skirt stands in front of a backdrop that reads, "175th Anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention," with repeating NYS logos.

Faculty and students from the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University at Albany joined Governor Kathy Hochul on July 20th for an afternoon tea celebrating the 175th Anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention at the Executive Mansion in Albany. The Convention, which took place in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848, launched the women’s suffrage movement leading to the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote in 1920. The historical event is of central importance to women’s rights in this country.

The Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UAlbany recognizes the critical importance of intergenerationally marking this historical moment, especially today when the potential loss of rights once gained was made abundantly clear after last year’s Supreme Court Dobbs decision revoked federal protection of abortion rights.

Four WGSS faculty and students smile at the camera while seated at a table on the porch of the Governor's Mansion.

Dr. Janell Hobson, who attended the event along with Chamanka Gamage, a 2023 WGSS graduate student alum, stated, “This is such a momentous occasion, not just for women's history but also New York State history. This is an important reminder of how New York women have always been at the helm of advancing social justice, anti-racism, and feminism, from liberators like Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman to abolitionist allies and suffragists like Susan B. Anthony, all the way to the modern women's liberation movement in the 1960s and 1970s, including local feminists like Barbara Smith, who was a key founder in the Combahee River Collective, which advanced identity politics and intersectionality. This is an important legacy, and we're happy to be part of this milestone event.” Dr. Rajani Bhatia attended with Bria Nickerson, current graduate student and Coordinator of the WGSS Teaching Collective, the longest-running peer-education program based in feminist pedagogy in the nation, begun in 1977. Dr. Bhatia commented, “I am proud to celebrate this event to remind us of the critical need of our field when the fundamental rights of girls and women, LGBTQ* persons, and even the freedom to learn are under attack. Students at UAlbany are drawn to our program for validation and for a diverse community in which to process current events and recharge for the ongoing struggle.”

WGSS faculty and students presented the Governor with a department newsletter highlighting the department’s activity and engagement this past year.