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New club empowers underrepresented students in political science and politics

This term, several Carleton students founded “Claiming Space in Politics and Political Science” (CSP), a political science involvement organization for female and non-binary students.

The club, which is still in the chartering process, was founded by several senior female political science majors who hoped to inspire underrepresented groups in the field.

“The mission of the club is to empower female-identifying and gender nonconforming people in politics and the field of political science,” said Kirsten Walters ’19, one of the founders of the club. The founders believe it is important to have a club where individuals of the political science and politics communities can discuss “issues specific to [people] who are more marginalized in that community.”

“We thought it would be interesting to found a club where we could have discussions about diversity in political science,” Walters said.
Walters stated there was an active need for the club on campus.

“As a woman who is a political science major, I understand that, in certain classes, you can feel a little bit talked over,” she said. “More generally, within the academic sphere … women often face marginalization, so I think it’s really important to highlight women’s voices.”

Walters also hopes to build a community among Carleton political science majors—both current and potential.

“We’re trying to host weekly events where we can all just gather together and discuss what’s going on in the news, discuss articles that are of particular interest to us and talk about classes,” she said.

In order to empower female-identifying and gender nonconforming students on campus, CSP is planning to hold events that bring speakers, both from Carleton and beyond, to campus.

Their first event, which occurred on Monday, October 15, was to bring in Second Congressional District candidate Angie Craig as a speaker.

CSP also hopes to host weekly group study sessions, movie screenings, speakers and socially-oriented events in order to foster a cohesive community.

“I just hope that we can have a space where people who are traditionally marginalized have the opportunity to express their voices and be heard,” Walters said. “I think that exists in other academic fields at Carleton—like Women in Economics—[and] it’s cool to have a similar thing in political science.”

Indeed, CSP will join the ranks of several similar clubs, such as Women in Math and Science.

Diana Tyutyunnyk ’19, one of the leaders of Women in Math and Science, described that club as a group that “exists as an internal support network and an external outreach program for women interested in math and science.”

According to Tyutyunnyk, a major goal of the club is to provide women with resources and support in their pursuit of math and science careers.

In regards to CSP, “I think it’s great that students are thinking of creative ways to foster support networks for the different majors on campus,” Tyutyunnyk said.
The club also received praise from the political science department.

“We are excited to see this kind of energy and enthusiasm from our students,” said Professor Dev Gupta, the Chair of the department. “We want the study of politics to be welcoming to people who hold different views and who bring with them diverse experiences that can enrich and inform their analysis of the political world.”

“This kind of grassroots effort to provide support and encouragement for individuals who can broaden the range of voices represented in political science is a positive development for our classes and the discipline,” Gupta added.

CSP co-founder Sylvie Hauser ’19 stated the club was key to creating a safe space on campus.

“There are specific issues in the political world that are more relevant to female-identifying and gender nonconforming people and that’s true even in the [political science] community at Carleton,” she said. “It’s important to me that people have a space in which they feel comfortable speaking and participating.”

Hauser emphasized CSP’s efforts to bring speakers to campus and host events as a way to highlight issues relevant to women and gender nonconforming students.

“Carleton needs any club that will introduce new conversation and thought to campus,” she said. She is excited that CSP “is so new and still has the potential to become whatever we want it to be.”

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