Name Reflects a New Era
Name Reflects a New Era
Gender and Equity Resource Center Serves the Needs of a Complex Culture
Hodgkins, Public Affairs
More than 25 years ago, Berkeley opened a center to serve women on a campus oriented toward and dominated by men. Now, with a student population that is more than half female, the Women's Resource Center has a new name -- the Gender and Equity Resource Center -- to reflect a broadened range of concerns.
The name change did not come suddently, says program Director Nancy Chu, but has been in the works for the last two years, as the need for a more inclusive name became apparent.
"They're here, women are here," says Chu, "and the scope and complexity of the issues that come to our campus represent the complexity in our culture."
Today, the Gender and Equity Resource Center provides services and programs that promote and support equity and social justice for all members of the campus community.
Although similar to other centers at UC campuses, the Berkeley center, Chu said, does not limit itself to an examination of gender or equity alone.
"We understand that issues of gender are not necessarily related to equity, and that issues of equity do not always involve gender concerns," says Chu. "Thus, we were deliberate in our choice of Gender and Equity Resource Center."
One new addition is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Services Office, which for the first time has a permanent career staff person, Billy Curtis, to serve as a resource to the community. The needs of its constituency, says Chu, have not been addressed in any institutional way in the past.
"Maybe a gay student could find a sympathetic graduate student instructor or professor," she says, "but there was nothing institutional to raise awareness of the campus at large and provide services."
The newly invigorated program includes Queer Awareness Week, which begins Monday, March 13. (See page 2 for a listing of events.)
Hate crimes are another important agenda item for the Gender and Equity Resource Center. A campus-wide planning committee has developed a full week of activities to bring visibility to the issue.
"People are beginning to understand that [hate crimes] really do happen, and the campus needs to take a more aggressive look at it," says Chu.
Once Hate Crime Awareness Week, which begins April 17, has laid the groundwork, the center plans to develop curriculum and materials for an outreach program and to implement response and support services for those who have been victims of hate crimes.
The Gender and Equity Resource Center is located at 250 Cesar Chavez Student Center. For information or to volunteer, visit the center in person, see http://www2.uga.berkeley.edu/uga/sled/sas/wrc/shape.html or call 642-4786.