News

Student-led women’s center initiative receives interest, questions about purpose

Shannon Casey and Carolina Bendaña, the two students heading a petition to create a Women’s and Gender Resource Center (WGRC) at the University of Miami, have been working hard to get as many people on their side as possible. Since they posted the petition on Change.org on Feb. 11, the two have tabled on campus, reached out to administrators and presented to the President’s Campus Coalition on Sexual Violence Prevention and Education.

The coalition is the university’s attempt to bridge the gaps between all resources related to sexual violence. It has spearheaded multiple large-scale projects and initiatives over the past few years, including starting a UM chapter of the national “It’s On Us” sexual violence education campaign.

When Casey and Bendaña presented to the coalition on Monday, their intention was to spur conversation about the WGRC initiative and highlight the role the coalition and affiliated resources would play in the center.

What they got instead was thoughtful silence and attention during the meeting and an email containing a list of 12 follow-up questions after the presentation.

“Yesterday was the LGBTQ Center, today it’s the Women’s center – what will it be tomorrow?” one part read. “What other gaps of need are you aware of? Are there other centers/services that are needed?”

“What are existing gaps and are they already being addressed in other ways besides a women’s center?” other questions read. “Does ‘women’ have to be in the title? Could we focus gender equity to express a more inclusive approach?”

Coalition co-chairs Kimberly Martin and Ashley Falcon said they couldn’t take a definite stance on the initiative because of the ambiguity surrounding what resources the center would provide, or if it would just be superfluous given preexisting services on campus.

“It would become a resource that we would promote along with others, but beyond that there’s a lot of questions about it,” Martin said. “Such as, how much of this would be geared towards survivors of sexual assault versus other things like leadership and scholarship?”

Casey and Bendaña are currently working to answer all questions about their project. They held an informational meeting – though it was open to all students, only about 10 showed up – Tuesday night in the Shalala Student Center. Anyone who is interested in taking part in the initiative can reach out to the two for additional documentation and be added to a group chat for easy communication.

The discussion on Tuesday was mainly about how to get more student organizations on board and about what the team could do to continue raising awareness. One student mentioned the importance of gaining the support of Vice President of Student Affairs Patricia Whitely and Dean of Students Ricardo Hall.

As of March 8, the Change.org petition had gathered 565 signatures, but Casey said she wants to have at least 1,000 before presenting it to administration. She and her team have been tabling in the University Center breezeway for the past couple weeks to expedite the process. They have also been taking part in International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month tabling events by the Lakeside Patio.

Read more about the petition here. 

March 8, 2017

Reporters

Neemi Patel


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It’s the play Miami Hurricanes fans will never forget — and Florida State fans are trying to forget. ...

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

An ACLU report authored by UM sociologists documents racial and ethnic disparities in Miami-Dade Cou ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.