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Beware of the Mog

By Reagan Argo

When it comes to Ashley Mog, quirky might be the first word that comes to
mind, immediately followed by fun, fearless, and, above all, passionate. When
she isnt taking the world of diversity and equity head on, she has found a
love of cooking, yoga, and queer astrology an astrological concept
branching off of queer theory, a field of study that focuses on concepts of
gender and sexuality. In addition to her love of queer astrology, she also won
two drag competitions during her undergraduate studies and adores narwhals
to the extent that she has a tattoo of one.
It means looking at who is missing, or who is not able to be there, and
figuring out ways to reach out. There are people who face abject poverty,
violence, and exclusion every day and it is our collective responsibility to
work on ending that. I am thinking specifically about trans woman of color
who have an average life expectancy of 35. I am thinking about people with
disabilities who are segregated from their communities in institutions. I am
thinking about people trapped in the prison industrial complex and
forgotten, Mog says, when asked what inclusion means to her. Possessing
the critical thinking skills required to see who is missing in a group, Ashley
finds this to be a particular strength for her.
During her time at the University of Kansas, Ashley has found her place with
her involvement in Ablehawks and Allies, Spectrum, and the Sabatini
Multicultural Resource Center, all the while working on her PhD in Women,
Gender, and Sexuality Studies, which she says is a discipline forged out of
social justice concerns and community organizing. Although there have been
several experiences that have stuck out as highlights for Ashley being a
part of the activist coalition with Alison Kafer, presenting and attending the
Disability Studies seminar at the Hall Center for the Humanities, and teaching
a class about disability and sexuality there are still challenges that have
presented themselves during her time here.
There is a larger culture that KU is a part of that is struggling through
changing attitudes about racial inclusion, disability inclusion, and LGBTQ
inclusion. One thing I am thinking of is the rapidly changing and expanding
technical environment that makes a lot of tech not accessible from the start,
Mog says. Identifying as a queer femme, cisgender, disabled, mixed race
person, she finds these identities most salient for her, though she has a
particular interest in disability justice, which she feels has a way of
connecting identities and challenging deeply held societal prejudice
surrounding class, race, gender, and sexuality, an area she feels KU could
work on.

Despite this, she has found that there are areas that KU is doing well in
regards to diversity, equity, and inclusion, in that there are a number of
resources for the broad range of life backgrounds and identities that she sees
in the students in her classrooms. Down the line, it is her hope that KU will
continue to grow in these areas, and that people will note that KU is taking
strides toward social justice and diversity by recognizing how oppressions are
interwoven.