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Torie Osborn, who attended Middlebury College from 1970-1972 after transferring from Barnard College, says that she first learned how to be an organizer at Middlebury. She participated in anti-war and feminist activism, eventually creating the Radical Education Action Project and the Middlebury College Women’s Union. Two of Osborn’s most formative Middlebury experiences revolve around reproductive justice: lack of access to reproductive health care and sexual violence. While attending first year student orientation at Barnard College, Osborn was given information about Planned Parenthood and birth control; however, at Middlebury, the Catholic doctor in charge of student health services didn’t believe in birth control or abortion. So, Osborn spearheaded the fight for birth control and started an underground abortion network on campus, through which she provided accessible transportation to Montreal, Canada for those seeking abortions. Having had an abortion in New York before transferring to Middelbury, Osborn says the experience “cemented [her] feminist, pro-choice politics.” Beyond concerns with abortion, Osborn also fought against the general sexism of the campus, including that of men faculty members. During a meeting in 1970, for instance, her advisor said, “Come sit on my lap.”  “There was no word for sexual harassment,” Osborn said. “I just knew it was wrong.” In many ways, Osborn paved the way for feminist and queer activism at Middlebury today, and her story serves as a reminder of the power of activism to evoke change. 

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