OP-EDS

  /  

February 14, 2005

Good motives, bad ideas

The most recent student mobilization efforts to create a University women's center seek to create a "home for women's social and activist groups and for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Queer Community (LGBTQ)". While it is true that the U of C is the currently the only university in the Chicago area without such a center, peer pressure is not a good enough reason to go forward. Further, the argument that a women's center would be a useful and lucrative investment of University funds remains vague and undeveloped.

As proposed thus far, the new center seems to be serving too many purposes. It is not feasible to open up a women's safe house that would also host support groups and make a profit serving refreshments. Ignoring the fact that no existing student-run coffee shop on campus actually turns a sustainable profit, the University already offers all of the women's centers proposed purposes except for the safe house element. The Student Care Center can provide information about women's health issues and the Student Counseling and Resource Center provides a forum for discussion and establishing a support network.

There is also the issue of location. The questions of how big and where the space will be remain unanswered but, most importantly, how can the new women's center serve as a true safe house if its location is well known around campus? A public reputation might undermine such a center as a location safe from abusers of women.

An always available location for women in danger to find safety is not an unreasonable idea, and one that has worked elsewhere and obviously has some demand. However, feasible plans for realizing such an idea have not yet been voiced. The University should keep an open mind, but the student organizers should put more thought in before demanding change.