Gender Education Series a Short-Term Solution for CWM Closing
After many students raised concerns about fewer resources available to them following last year’s closing of the Center for Women and Men, UCI’s Gender Education Task Force and Office of the Dean of Students created the Gender Education Series, which consists of 11 events held throughout the winter and spring quarters to address gender issues from different perspectives.
‘The series is not done to replace the Center for Women and Men,’ explained Dean of Students Sally Peterson. ‘It is a short-term solution to replace the void. We wanted to make sure that those kinds of programs continued even without a center.’
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Manuel Gomez provided temporary funding following the CWM’s closing to create the Gender Education Task Force. Headed by Laarni Cutidioc, the task force consists of a coalition of various campus departments, including the Counseling Center, Career Center, Cross-Cultural Center and Health Education Center.
The task force then identified major categories to cover. Some of these categories included gender and the body, and gender and violence. The combination of these and othertopics created of the Gender Education Series.
‘The series provides programming that looks at very important gender issues that students often don’t identify as being important,’ said Donna Norris, former assistant director for the CWM and current director of the Campus Assault Resource Program. ‘The speakers are introducing elements of gender as they relate to students’ everyday lives.’
Peterson added, ‘There are a variety of approaches to deliver the content, such as lectures, films and panels.’
Some of the programs in the Gender Education Series include events like ‘Studs and Sluts: Perceptions of the Double Standard,’ ‘Body Power: Building a Better Body,’ ‘Migration, Gender and Labor’ and ‘Womenfest 2005.’ A former CWM event, ‘Take Back the Night,’ which consists of a candlelight vigil and march, will be held on May 17. The first event of the series will be an inaugural speech by bell hooks, a cultural critic, feminist and writer, on Jan. 27.
Although organizers believe the series will be beneficial to the campus community, Norris believes that there should eventually be a permanent resource geared toward gender education for students on campus.
‘I think it is important to have a group that looks specifically at gender equity issues. The series is a good temporary solution. It is better than not having anything,’ Norris said. ‘But I think ultimately there should be a specific center on campus committed to gender education for the sake of permanency.’
The CWM was closed due to budget cuts and the resignation of its director, Christine Fredericks. Norris explained the various resources that CWM offered.
‘The Center for Women and Men had four main elements