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Judy Chicago, Educator « Judy Chicago
Dr. Constance Bumgarner Gee, Project Director: Associate Professor of Public Policy and Education at the Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Dr. Gee teaches an introductory public policy course for the Human and Organizational Development Department and had taught Public Policy, the Arts, and Arts Education for the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations.
Her primary research focus is on the effects and consequences of public policy and programming on the quality, content, and accessibility of K-12 arts education.
She has served as an executive editor for Arts Education Policy Review since 1997, and also serves on the board of directors for the First Center for the Visual Arts, and on the advisory board of Vanderbilt's Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy.
Through the Flower made available The Dinner Party curriculum aimed at K-12 school teachers, created by Chicago in collaboration with Dr. Constance Gee, a well-known art educator, who brought together a select group of curriculum writers.
Illustrated Career History » About » Judy Chicago
Through the Flower made available a Dinner Party curriculum aimed at K-12 school teachers, created by Chicago in collaboration with Through the Flower board member, Dr. Constance Gee, a well-known art educator, who brought together a select group of curriculum writers.
This sad and sorry story unfolded ...
This sad and sorry story unfolded when E. Gordon was running Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and it's recounted by Constance Gee in her excellent memoir, "Higher Education: Marijuana at the Mansion."
tone in Higher Education is not at all vengeful -she actually still has love for her
ex, and it comes through.
This makes her
portrayal of the cowardly, bow-tie wearing geek all the more devastating.
, who had not wanted to leave Providence for Nashville, found many friends there.
With Gordon's backing, she
invited singer-songwriters and others from the music industry to dinners at Braeburn
, trying to break down the social barriers between the old Belle Meade establishment that ran Vanderbilt
and Nashville's artistic community.
In vain, Constance
had privately objected to Gordon's inviting Condoleezza Rice to speak at the Vanderbilt commencement in 2004.
Without telling his
decided to give Rice an additional honor, Vanderbilt's first-ever Chancellors's Medal for Distinguished Public Service.
joined several hundred other Vanderbilt
faculty, staff, and students, in signing a letter of protest addressed to Gordon.
Several members of the Braeburn
staff signed the letter, which Constance
posted on the mansion's refrigerator.
Gordon, who initially seemed amused, flipped when the organizers of the letter publicized the fact that Constance
A few months later, on the night George W. Bush was re-elected, Constance
lowered the American flag that flew outside Braebuirn to half-staff.
An administrator ordered it raised in the morning, and Constance
got a scolding.
At this point -November, 2004- she
was beginning to experience the onset of Meniere's disease symptoms: aural pressure, tinnitus, hearing loss in the low-frequence range, and dizziness.
writing about her
disease is vivid -and brave, given that she's
a style-conscious woman and Meniere's involves extreme nausea and vomiting.
They went for a hike in a state park and Constance
soon got sick to her
friend "took a small round bonbon tin filled with marijuana and a little wooden pipe out of her
husband, who responded, "I do not want to know about it!"
had been sick that morning, but she
was determined to attend, so she
took a few puffs.
"Other side effects of pot are truthfulness and talkativeness, a potentially dangerous combination," she
Among those to whom Constance revealed that she used marijuana to cope with nausea was a specialist at Johns Hopkins.
"'You're not the first Meniere's patient to tell me that,' he
said. 'I don't see how it would hurt, although I can't officially recommend it.'" Don't ask, don't tell...
Only one person Constance confided in didn't keep her secret -the Breaburn house manager, who informed a senior administrator who informed Vanderbilt's general counsel and several trustees.
was severely reprimanded and directed to receive treatment for her
"behavior and drug use issues.
Desperate to find relief from her
underwent a surgical procedure that destroyed her
hearing and vestibular function in the affected ear.
use of marijuana to treat Meniere's disease had absolutely nothing to do with the Vanderbilt trustees' failure to do their fiduciary duty.
They wrote on behalf of their favored sources: "The marijuana incident troubled some trustees, who were bothered that Mr. Gee
never told the full board about it, according to people familiar with the matter.
To these trustees, the incident demonstrated that Mr. Gee
needed to be more accountable to the board."
The article concluded, "In the fall of 2005, university employees discovered that Constance Gee, a tenured associate professor of public policy and education, kept marijuana at Breaburn and was using it there, according to people familiar with the matter.
A few weeks later, several trustees and a senior university official confronted Mr. Gee
office, telling the chancellor he
shared responsbility for allowing marijuana on university property, the person familiar with the situation recalls.
"Trembling, the chancellor replied: 'I've been worried to death over this,' according to this person.
wife smoked marijuana to relieve an inner-ear ailment, this person says.
The Gees declined to comment on the incident."
The word "sativa" means useful.
Cannabis sativa certainly proved useful to the Vanderbilt administrators who wanted to point the reporters towards something other than their own malfeasance.
had been directed by Vanderbilt lawyers to say "no comment" to the Journal reporters.
• "An 'inner ear' ailment!' With two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists doing five months of sleuthing, the word 'Meniere's' had not meen mentioned?
Of course, a villainess with a genuinely serious disease might not seeem so villainous.
Smoking pot on the pretext of a mere 'ailment' would better serve sensationalist innuendo."
The day the Journal piece appeared Constance got a call on her cell phone from a reporter with the Tennessean, the Nashville daily.
It came as a surprise because the number had hitherto been private.
replied "no comment," as ordered, but saw fit to add: '"The inner-ear ailment' reported in the Journal is Meniere's disease.
If you want to find out more about it, go online to Washington University's
Next day the Tennessean published a piece with a description of Meniere's disease, quotes from an ear specialist at Washington University
, and a deceitful assertion that Constance
had confirmed her
marijuana use to the reporter.
online student news service quoted a vapid admistration press release and added, "The split comes five months after a report in the Wall St. Journal
addressed Constance Gee's
use of marijuana in the chancellor's university-owned residence, Breaburn
In October 2006 O'Shaughnessy's
described Constance Gee's
We quoted three California doctors who routinely approved the use of cannabis by Meniere's patients.
Our item came to Constance's Gee's
attention and she
quotes it in her
"Meniere's causes dizziness, dizziness causes nausea, cannabis relieves nausea," says David Bearman, MD. "I wouldn't be surprised if the symptoms caused Mrs. Gee
to be a little depressed -and of course cannabis helps that, too."
In August 2010 Constance
contacted Dr. Hullar and read him the quotes from Bearman, Sullivan and Ellis.
Constance resigned from the Vanderbilt faculty at the end of 2010.
moved to Massachusetts in October 2012, just in time to join the 63% of voters who approved the quasi-legalization of medical marijuana.