UTSA presents play about sexual harassment

By Kris Rodriguez
Public Affairs Specialist

(March 2, 2009)--The UTSA Department of Music and the College of Liberal and Fine Arts will present "Oleanna," a play by David Mamet that captures the power struggle between a university professor and a female student who accuses him of sexual harassment. The accusation ruins his chances for receiving tenure.

Free and open to the public, performances are noon, Friday, March 6 in the Downtown Campus Buena Vista Theater and 3:30 p.m., Friday, March 6 in the 1604 Campus Arts Building Recital Hall.

"Oleanna" was written in 1992 following the controversial confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill when he was her supervisor at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.

The play is one of 12 proposals approved this spring as part of the UTSA Provost's Core Values Initiative. The initiative is designed to foster UTSA's core values of integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation. Steven Kellman, UTSA professor of English, submitted the proposal as a reflection of the core values of integrity and respect.

"It's nice to have an event that brings us all together and crosses disciplinary boundaries," said Kellman. "This play raises some very important questions that I think all of us in a university should be thinking about, and it's also a great opportunity for the UTSA community to see a great live production."

According to Kellman, Mamet is considered one of the country's leading contemporary playwrights. Mamet received a Pulitzer Prize for his play "Glenngarry Glenn Ross." An accomplished screenwriter, Mamet also wrote the script for the film "The Untouchables."

Following the 3:30 p.m. performance, Kellman will lead a panel discussion including Greg Barrios, local playwright and former San Antonio Express-News book reviewer; Gage Paine, UTSA vice president for student affairs; Christian Menefee, UTSA Student Government Association vice president; and Jill Hernandez, UTSA assistant professor of philosophy specializing in ethics and feminism.

Faculty interested in the core values initiative for fall 2009 can submit proposals (through the deans' and vice provost offices) to Terry Wilson at (210) 458-4110.

Eligible to receive up to $1,500 in funding, proposals could include workshops, performances or programs highlighting any of the six characteristics listed in the UTSA Core Values Initiative. The deadline for funding consideration for fall 2009 programs is Sept. 1.

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