Women’s Center seeks new space for operations

The Women’s Center in Walker Annex is difficult for students in need to find and access because the doors of the building will not open to anyone who doesn’t live or work in Walker, according to the building’s residents.

“Because I work there, I was granted card access, but getting in and out of the building has been a big issue,” said Katie Creehan, ’11, president of the Young Feminist Leadership Alliance.

According to the Women’s Studies Steering Committee, the Center has a very specific purpose. The Committee stresses that the Women’s Center should be a “location for groups with a focus upon gender issues to meet, as well as a comfortable space for women students to gather informally.” It should also offer “a setting where informal counseling could take place.”

The hours of operation and location of the Women’s Center makes fulfilling this mission problematic.

The Women’s Studies Department has been aware of the location problem for some time. They suggested that since there is another set of doors inside the main entrance (past the Women’s Center), a card reader could be installed on these doors making it safe for the main entrance to remain open.

This proposition has been denied by school officials who said that it would be too expensive.

There have also been initiatives to move the Women’s Center from Walker, but it has been difficult finding free space on campus.

Last spring, students approached Director of Student Involvement Gretchen Symons to get permission to move the Women’s Center to the Campus Center, said Deborah Dickey, director of the Women’s Studies program.

“She was hopeful that this could be accomplished as Campus Center space becomes available,” Dickey said. “A centralized, non-residence hall location would better allow the Center to fulfill its purpose to serve the entire campus community.”

Relocating to the Campus Center, a high traffic area, would increase the Women’s Center’s visibility on campus, said Creehan.

“I didn’t know it was in Walker until last year,” said Vicki Vargas, ’12, who works at the Women’s Center. “I have been in Women’s Studies for a while and always wondered where it was.”