There is recent interest, both at Texas A&M and at public universities across the United States, to invest more resources into diversity courses focused on anti-racism, gender issues, cultural sensitivity, etc. Women’s and Gender Studies and Psychology student Laura Reid’s honors undergraduate thesis, Aggie by Choice; Campus Innovator by Necessity, investigates the need for curricular reform at Texas A&M to combat rape culture.
Reid states, her thesis “necessitates the implementation of an educational course that helps students learn factual reproductive health information and about the prevention and remediation of rape culture…The explicit purpose of this new curriculum is to assist Aggies in leading healthy adult lives by giving them the tools to be aware of and combat rape culture, build healthy long and short-term relationships, and actively build their self-esteem and leadership skills. Aggies will learn to be active bystanders and take charge of their own education to better embody the Aggie core values. This type of reform is intended to be desirable for both Aggies of any age and major and the university as a whole.”
However, Reid’s work did not stop at her thesis. As President of Feminists for Reproductive Equity and Education (F.R.E.E.), she received the Texas A&M Innovations in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Accountability (IIDEA) Grant. This grant allows F.R.E.E. to lead consent and Title IX workshops inspired by her thesis and experience as a SARC Victim Advocate. Her research facilitates feminist activism on Texas A&M’s campus. Reid believes, as she noted in her 2016 Op-Ed in the Battalion, “As Aggies, we must talk compassionately about abortion as a responsible choice and tell people that pregnancy is not a punishment for having sex. We want Aggies to recognize women, transgender men, and non-binary people as capable human beings that shouldn’t have to fight for compassionate care. We all deserve a choice.”
Reid is completing her Bachelor of Arts as a double major along with Texas A&M’s Diversity Certificate Program. She is on track to graduate December 2016.