By Niamoni Watson
Despite the several resources on and off campus for women, University of Georgia faculty and students push for a physical women’s center. According to the University of Alabama Women and Gender Resource Center there are more 400 women’s centers at colleges and universities across the nation, with six of them in Georgia. This comes as a surprising fact since UGA population consists of fourteen percent more females than males.
The University Council first mentioned the establishment of a women’s center at a meeting in 2003. Since then faculty and women studies majors have done demonstrations, like the pop up women’s center in Tate Plaza and petitions earlier this year, to bring awareness to the lack of one on campus. UGA President Morehead and UGA Provost Pamela Whitten then launched a three prong initiative to enhance the representation of women on campus.
However, some say that’s not enough. “It’s not just about resources, it’s about a community as well,” said Joshua Fletcher, senior coordinator of LGBTQ community. Fletcher said the resource center will provide a safe-haven space for women and not just a web portal.
Mary Whiteman, secretary of Women Studies Student Union, believes that a more central location for the several services offered for women will be more beneficial and provide more participation on women’s issues.
“I do not feel comfortable with how scattered this all seems,” said Whiteman. “If they feel like a physical space will take away from other resource centers than I don’t feel they’re giving the exact sympathy the group is looking for.”
However, Janice Davis Barham, chairman of the Women’s Resources Committee, said that while she’s not against the idea of a physical women’s resource center, she’s doesn’t see the need for one because of the many services already offered at UGA. This includes women.uga.edu, a website launched last year dedicated to women’s resources “to address contemporary issues faced by female students, faculty, and staff.”
Besides the women resource web portal, UGA offers self defense training by the UGA Police, rape and assault hotlines and several programs including, bystander intervention training and “Its On Us,” a campaign advocating an end to sexual assault on college campuses.