Gail Cohee, Staff


In this two-part interview, Gail Cohee, former Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender, discusses her life in academia, women’s center work, changing circumstances at Brown during the late 2010s, and retirement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She begins with an overview of her teaching in English departments, women’s literature, and African-American literature at various universities including Indiana Bloomington, Emporia, and Siena. She quickly moves into her transition to women’s center work at Sarah Doyle, it’s relationship to the Pembroke Center in the early 2000s, and issues like campus sexual assault around the time of the 2011 Dear Colleague letter. For reference, the Obama administration’s Dear Colleague letter mandated universities that receive federal funding to reform certain Title IX interpretations. Those reforms included but were not limited to expedited adjudications and dissuasion from cross-examining accusers.

Near the end of Part I, interviewer Mary Murphy interrogates changing circumstances at Brown amidst the 2016 election, the Women’s March, and 2020 police murder of George Floyd. Part I then concludes, to be continued by interviewer Amanda Knox.

Knox’s Part II seeks stories about changing language surrounding the Sarah Doyle Center as trans and non-binary identification becomes more and more accepted and available to students at Brown. She concludes the piece with a look into Cohee’s highs and lows as director and questions about Cohee’s future after a retirement during the ongoing pandemic.

Note: Cohee has requested that her interview not be available online. To request access to the audio and transcript for this interview, please email

Recorded on March 16, 2022 in Alumnae Hall, Brown University, Providence, RI
Interviewed by Amanda Knox, Pembroke Center Assistant Archivist and Mary Murphy, Nancy L. Buc ’65 LLD‘94 hon Pembroke Center Archivist

Suggested Chicago style citation: Cohee, Gail. Interview. By Amanda Knox and Mary Murphy. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. March 16, 2022.


Former Director of the Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender and Associate Dean of the College Gail Cohee came to Brown in 2001 from teaching English at Siena College in Loudonville, New York, and at Emporia State University in Kansas. During her time at Brown, Cohee helped with the founding of the LGBTQ Center, advised students at the women’s center and for the College, taught for Gender and Sexuality Studies, and was involved with issues surrounding sexual assault at Brown and beyond.

During Cohee’s twenty years at Brown, she developed close relationships with undergraduate and graduate students, as well as with faculty and staff. She previously coordinated the Sexual Assault Advocates at Brown and was active with the National Women’s Studies Association. For thirty years she co-edited the journal Feminist Teacher. She currently teaches part-time at the RI School of Design.