Preparations for Gender Inclusion
Mask and Wig has put a lot of thought, time, and energy into ensuring a smooth transition to gender inclusive membership. You can read more about our specific preparations below:
- Mask and Wig engaged in a months-long “Strategic Review,” which examined the state of the Club’s Membership, Brand, Product, Structure, Financials, and Physical Assets.
- It incorporated feedback from 60+ Club members spanning 7 decades.
- Across all teams, there was a resounding consensus to open up our membership to folks of all genders.
- In September 2021, the Club voted to amend its bylaws to change the criteria for membership.
- The vote passed with resounding support from undergraduate members and alumni across all generations.
- Undergraduate members engaged in a semester-long “Undergraduate Experience Review,” with teams focused on the Fall Show, Annual Production, Social Traditions, and Social Culture.
- The process engaged members across all class years, and involved the discussion and review of 150+ events, traditions, processes, norms, and institutions – in order to ensure a welcoming, inclusive, and fun environment in all that we do.
- The Club has put together an undergraduate committee (which will include new members) to closely monitor issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- This committee is tasked with reviewing member concerns to ensure a consistent focus on fostering a safe, welcoming, and inclusive atmosphere.
- Through recurring meetings, close involvement in leadership-decisions, and proactive outreach, the committee will ensure that all feedback and potential issues are resolved appropriately.
- Undergraduate members participated in an OSA Hazing Prevention session with Katie Bonner, executive director of Student Affairs. This session was focused on building systems and practices that ensure members of all genders feel comfortable raising concerns with Club leadership.
- Undergraduate members participated in 3 sessions with Malik Muhammed, Associate Director of the LGBT Center. These sessions were focused on Identity, Value-Setting, and Respect.
- Undergraduate members participated in a PAVE session, which was focused on highlighting campus resources and being active bystanders.
- Undergraduate leadership participated in several mediated sessions with Bloomers to discuss coexisting in the performing arts community.
- Undergraduate and alumni members of the Board of Governors participated in two DEI training sessions with Jennifer Childs, Co-Producer of the Annual Production and Producing Artistic Director of 1812 Productions. These sessions were focused on creating a safe and welcoming space in auditions, creative sessions (writing, musical composing, set design, marketing, etc.), rehearsals, and performances.
After working with Mask and Wig across three different sessions, I believe they are in a great place to begin the transition to a more gender inclusive organization. Within our time together we discovered a commitment to grounding and inclusive values, dug deep into connecting with their identities and identities outside of their own, and explored strategies to address barriers to inclusion and create a culture of accountability. They have committed themselves to doing what is needed to expand their group while also acknowledging their historical shortcomings with a willingness to learn and grow. I look forward to seeing this organization continue to flourish and welcome in new members of all gender identities.Malik MuhammadAssociate Director of the LGBT Center
I can certify that the undergraduates have done the work to educate themselves and have followed these directives. I am confident that Mask and Wig is equipped to handle this change and to support both the students within the organization and their audience members. They have taken this work very seriously.Laurie McCallDirector of Student Performing Arts
Re-engaging with Mask and Wig this year after more than a decade away, I was really impressed not only with the level of talent in the room, but with the thoughtful and progressive conversations happening around gender inclusivity.
With the doors being open to all gender identities next year, the writers/cast have already taken steps to create a more inclusive writers’ room. In both writing and performance of the 133rd, they intentionally stayed away from broad, potentially offensive, stereotypes based on gender, race or sexual orientation. We are in conversation about doing an “inclusivity workshop” in the near future with the goal of developing a writers’ room culture that allows for the uncensored brainstorming and play that is central to the comedic process while making space for new voices.Jennifer ChildsCo-Producer of the Annual Production and Producing Artistic Director of 1812 Productions
Mask and Wig engaged in a spirited and honest conversation around hazing and the ways that hazing practices create problematic power dynamics in organizations. There is a great opportunity to consider how the group can build systems and practices into place so that members of any gender feel empowered and comfortable raising concerns with power imbalances in the group.Katie BonnerExecutive Director of Student Affairs