Feminist Collective president resigns, new leadership established


Photo by Nicole Pampena

Sophomore Ariel Squire conducts her first Feminist Collective meeting as president on Monday.

Written By Nicole Pampena, Co-News Editor

The Feminist Collective shifted its club officer positions over the weekend after President Adam Rossi stepped down due to issues arising regarding his leadership as a male president.

Vice President Ariel Squire, a sophomore performances and practices major, will finish the spring semester serving as president after a club vote and continue her tenure into the 2018-19 school year. According to Rossi, a senior acting major, the decision came after seeing an alumni post on social media expressing disapproval of his role.

“The goal was never for me to have a position, it was that I felt I could enact positive change through this group,” Rossi said. “For the last couple days, I’ve been hearing more and more things … whether any of that is true or not is irrelevant to me, the second my standing as a president was questioned, I lost all power to enact positive change.”

Rossi began serving as president in the fall 2016 semester after approaching Feminist Collective founder April Yanko earlier in May with the idea of him running. He said Yanko thought “it was a great idea” and a good way to get young men interested in feminism.

“We had another student interested but she thought she wouldn’t be in school for the whole year,” Yanko said, “so we chose to have someone who would hold the title for a whole term.”

Rossi first took interest in feminism through a women’s studies class at Penn State University before transferring to Point Park.

“Initially, my friend and I took it because we thought they were reading “Twilight,” which we thought would be a funny thing,” Rossi said. “Well, we didn’t and he dropped out and I ended up being the only guy in a classroom with 26 girls, and it’s still to this day one of my favorite classes I ever took.”

He also credits his passion for feminism toward growing up around his mother and two sisters while his father worked.

Conversely, Squire grew her passion in an opposite family structure.

“My dad was a stay at home dad and my mom went out and worked and my dad has long hair and sews and my mom loves cars,” Squire said. “I’ve always been told that women are strong and I could do anything I wanted.”

According to Rossi, this is “not the first time that it has been brought up that it was kind of weird and awkward that a man was the president of the Feminist Collective.” Within days of taking the position, two board members approached him with reports that some were uncomfortable.

“He had been met with criticism many times, so I’m not sure what this time has that was different,” Yanko said.

“I said ‘Pause right now, if either of the two of you do not like this or feel that this is not a good idea, I will step down and be the biggest supporter [of the club],’” Rossi said, deciding to stay in the position at the time after encouragement from fellow board members.

Squire and Rossi both emphasized that the goal of the club is to create a safe space for its members through an open, discussion-based environment. Squire hopes to continue that narrative next year alongside Emma Cumberledge, who was voted in as vice president, Sara Maner as secretary and Angela Rusnak as treasurer.

“Feminism is something I’m really passionate about and I’ve always been interested in public office and I thought why not try it out,” Maner, a freshman performance and practices major, said of her new position on Monday after the Feminist Collective meeting.

Neither Squire nor Maner were approached personally by students saying they were uncomfortable.

Working to finish out the semester, Squire strives toward serving the club’s core mission and expanding its outreach with organizations sharing their ideology.

“I want to get everybody excited to join next year and make sure that we have some sort of base,” Squire said. “We are planning on attending a couple of events with other clubs in the next couple weeks.”

The club is hosting a wage gap bake sale in Village Park today from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., during which female-identifying students pay 75 cents while male-identifying students pay a dollar. Later this month, the club will have a table at the PMStival hosted by Title IX.

Squire and Maner said Rossi is helping with the bake sale and remains an active member of the club.

“He’s been helpful to me and Emma to try and help us make this sudden transition as soon as possible…it was gonna happen in a few weeks anyways,” Squire said, referring to Rossi’s upcoming graduation. “He’s always been a very productive member and I think he’s very caring about the club and always made sure everybody who was here felt comfortable.”