In The Light: Jack Skelton

If you’ve been to any Women’s Studies lectures, you might recognize Jack Skelton, who works as a student proctor. Ze describes the Women’s Studies center as a “huge part of my existence.” Jack’s interest in gender issues led hir to pursue many of hir activities at Colgate. Ze is a member of SORT (Sisters of the Round Table), which ze says was “created to provide safe space and supportive space for women of color” as well as “facilitate awareness of issues regarding women of color.” Jack is also part of the Rainbow Alliance, describing it as the LGBTQ (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer and Questioning) group on campus. While it is now “mostly a support group” where membership is entirely confidential, the group was more politically active in the past. While SORT and Rainbow have been Jack’s most fulfilling campus activities, ze describes Women’s Studies as “an overarching opportunity to work with both of those organizations.” Jack, an English major and Women’s Studies minor, hopes to become a professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies – and pending hir enrollment in the University of Texas at Austin next year, ze is well on hir way. As ze says, “I want to write and hang out with college students for the rest of my life.” Jack says hir most significant contribution to Colgate has been “expanding people’s way of thinking about gender and race. Being in SORT has really given me the opportunity to press home to people that student of color / people of color issues shouldn’t only be issues for people of color.” Jack has expanded “the way that people think about gender beyond the binary, beyond male / female, woman / man,” making us question seemingly simple things – like the pronouns we use. “Ze” and “hir,” unlike traditional English pronouns, are gender neutral.As a student advisor for the CAB (Colgate Activities Board) executive board, Jack facilitates board meetings and advises the executive chairs of the Barge, Take Two and Special Events. Prior to this position, Jack served as Take Two Chair for two years and continues hir work as a Take Two projectionist. You may even catch Jack working at the Barge on your next coffee break. Jack leaves us with these words of advice: “Join things that make you uncomfortable.” And despite hir passion for teaching, she recognizes the value of what others can teach us as well, urging people to “sit and listen, listen to people. Don’t assume that your perspective or your group’s perspective is the only valid perspective.”