Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Women’s Center: Pro

Georgetown Women’s Center: Indispensable Asset or Improper Expenditure

PRO

By Carrie Solages

On its 10-year anniversary, the Georgetown University Women’s Center has proved itself to be an important asset to the university and worthy of growth. Just look at the full schedule of programs for the fall and spring semesters, with events ranging from the Take Back the Night rally at the beginning of November to lectures and more. It’s evidently not an institution that solely aids Georgetown’s women. There are programs and duties that relate only to women, but there are also other aspects of the center, such as lectures, self-defense courses and information services, that help everyone. Thus, all Georgetown students benefit by the center. Because of this, Georgetown should further aid the development of the center.

With respect to the growing demands from the increasing number of female students, the administration must further help the center in its growth. According to the admissions office, the class of 2003 has a majority of female students. This statistic reflects the drastic change Georgetown has undergone since its days as an all-rich, all-white and all-male school. Georgetown has sought a process to better suit its new student population. To help the minority students, the Center for Minority Educational Affairs was created.

Why was a women’s center needed? After women were granted acceptance in large numbers, in part because of affirmative action policies, a need arose for a university-sponsored support center. The university finally created that resource in 1990 with the inception of the women’s center. Ten years later, the number of women has dramatically increased, yet the women’s center has not grown proportionately.

Now, the center is somehow expected to expand its functions without the growth of its resource base. According to Nancy Cantalupo, director of the women’s center, the center is the only office that primarily depends on student volunteers. Cantalupo is the only full-time professional staff member. The help of student volunteers is resourceful undoubtedly. Nevertheless, their assistance is limited compared to that of a full-time staff member. The women’s center’s new volunteer and program coordinator, Johanni Guiteau (COL ’99) serves as a great help with the workload, yet her position is only part-time.

Cantalupo stated, “I believe the center’s operations would be aided immeasurably by the addition of another full-time staff member.”

The center faces a similar, yet not as difficult, fate to the African Studies Program. How can these programs undergo growth without a large enough staff to bring about that growth? On one hand, Cantalupo recognizes that the Office of Student Affairs, the department that funds the center, is supportive. On the other hand, she sees no growth, or any indication of it, in the near future. The center lacks a staff position that can devote itself to fundraising duties. Another shortcoming is the fact that Margaret Stetz, the faculty advisor to the center, is not compensated for her services. The department also lacks connections to alumni.

The sort of growth needed requires that the entire Georgetown community support the center by attending its programs, utilizing its various services and becoming a part of its network of supporters. Let us remember that the center plays an important role in university life. Above its duty of providing referral services regarding pregnancy and eating disorders is its work in the prevention and awareness of violence against women.

Those who don’t support the center’s growth contend that it only advocates feminist goals. In their minds, they envision bra-burning, male-bashing women. But let’s think about the true definition of feminism. In accordance with Cantalupo’s definition, feminism is based on two premises. The first is recognizing women as a group. The second is acknowledging that women have a collective identity. In that case, the women’s center and all organizations on campus are feminist.

However, because the women’s center is the only organization on campus whose primary focus is to help women as a group, we must fully support their efforts and recognize the needs of over 50 percent of the Georgetown population.

Carrie Solages is a junior in the School of Foreign Service.

Previous Stories by Solages African Studies Program at Georgetown: Expansion Needed (09/28/99) Race for Awareness (09/14/99) Preference Programs Promote Promise (11/20/98) D’Amato: Don’t Mess with Teachers (11/6/98) Foolin’ Around: An American Legacy (10/23/98) Can You Be My Leader? I Don’t Think So (10/9/98)

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