By: Benjamin Koslowe | News  | 

Wurzweiler Postpones Event With Transgender Activist Hannah Fons

YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work is set to host an event titled “Neither He, Nor She, But Me: A Personal Story of Gender Variation.” Though the Wurzweiler event was originally set for Dec. 10 at the Riverside Memorial Chapel on the Upper West Side, it has since been postponed.

The event, which will be hosted by Wurzweiler’s Care Café, will feature speaker Hannah Fons, a transgender individual who works as a Strength & Conditioning Coach at Five Points Academy, a Senior Editor at Yale Robbins Publications and an educator about issues related to the LGBTQ+ community. According to the promotions for the event, the speech will be “a personal story of gender variation.”

Wurzweiler’s Care Café, which was launched in Jan. 2018, is a grant-funded program that hosts events about topics such as addiction, mental illness, suicide prevention and relationship issues. According to Wurzweiler, “audience size for most Care Cafés will not exceed 50.” Three weeks ago, over 65 students packed into a crowded classroom at the Beren Campus for a YU-sponsored speech, hosted by the College Democrats, by LGBTQ activist Ben Katz.

According to YU’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs, “the December 10 Care Café with Hannah Fons at Riverside Memorial Chapel has been canceled as we are looking for a different venue for this educational event. We will update you about future events.” Though YU did not share further details about rescheduling, Fons posted on her Facebook page this past Thursday that it will take place in either January or early February.

“I had a conference call with the Care Café organizers [on Thursday],” Fons explained to The Commentator, “and they expressed two issues: the first being that after actually viewing my TEDx Talk, they felt that Riverside Chapel ‘wasn’t the right venue’ for the event, and the second being that they wanted to promote the event more widely to students, and felt that postponing would ultimately get more people to attend.”

Some students were confused this past Thursday when the official Facebook posting for the Dec. 10 event was abruptly taken down without explanation. Only a few hours later, The Observer, one of YU’s independent student newspapers, published an article titled “Wurzweiler Event on Gender Issues Disappears From the Internet.” According to the article, Wurzweiler’s stated motivation of canceling the original event due to venue issues has been “debunked” for several reasons. These reasons included the testimony of certain staff workers from Riverside Memorial Chapel, as well as the “surprising” notion that “the event would be cancelled at the last minute by the venue.”

As of the publication of this article, The Commentator was unable to confirm any of The Observer’s speculations or its alleged debunking of the University’s stated motivation for postponing the event.

“I don’t have a strong opinion one way or another about where I speak,” said Fons, “or when — I’m ready to rock whenever the organizers are — but I am a bit salty that my mom bought a plane ticket to be here in NYC to see me speak on the 10th, and now has to somehow wrangle that back from the airline, or just eat the cost.”


The Commentator will update on this story as it develops.


Photo Caption: The original flier for the Care Café event.

Photo Credit: Wurzweiler School of Social Work