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Student Senate asks ND to form Women’s Center

Maureen Reynolds | Thursday, November 6, 2003

The Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday asking the University to “commit the appropriate resources to the creation and maintenance of a Women’s Resource Center.”

The resolution addresses what Senators perceive to be a large hole in the University’s services available to students, acknowledging that many of the top 20 institutions in the country have their own women’s resource centers sponsored, staffed and funded by the universities themselves.

Pangborn Senator Kaitlyn Redfield presented this resolution to the Senate, along with a separate statement regarding a women’s resource center at Notre Dame.

“It is widely acknowledged that Notre Dame’s gender relations are below the socially acceptable standards required for fostering the supportive community needed to encourage student growth,” the statement reads.

“Notre Dame has an ever-increasing responsibility to educate its students on matters of gender relations,” it says.

Currently, there is a student-run club addressing women’s issues, but it cannot meet the needs of students as well as a University-sponsored facility would, Redfield said.

Redfield cited the University’s Multicultural Students Programs and Services as an example of a University-sponsored facility that is able to meet the needs of a large portion of the student body. She said that, with University sponsorship, a women’s resource center would have the same capability.

“We’re expressing a need as a concerted voice of the student body to say, ‘This is something we need and expect,'” Redfield said. “We have a number of the administration, most students and most rectors on our side.”

Redfield also addressed questions regarding potential controversies surrounding a women’s resource center on a Catholic campus, such as birth control and abortion.

“We’re hoping that the administration will realize that [possible controversies] should not block its creation,” she said. “I have enough faith in the administration to believe they will realize that this is more than just contraception and birth control. It’s about sexual assault and women’s lives, etc.”

The resolution will be presented to the Campus Life Council at their meeting Monday.

In other Senate news:

– Senators brought petitions calling for the ROTC Presidential Pass-In-Review to be moved to an outdoor location back to the Senate after spending the past week gathering signatures from residents in their dorms. Senators reported a good response to the issue from the student body. Pasquerilla West Senator Jana Lamplota collected the petitions and said there will be a decision soon about how the petitions will be presented to the administration.