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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Why Quinnipiac needs a women and gender center

If you needed resources regarding gender and sexuality on campus or wanted a safe space to voice concerns from an intersectional standpoint, would you know where to go?

Historically, most campus women’s centers were founded in the late 1960s to early 1970s during the peak of social and political movements for women’s rights, civil rights and gay liberation. These centers are meant to implement support and hold universities and colleges accountable for creating a safe environment where all people can learn, work and live.

Furthermore, these centers provide vital educational resources about consent, safe sex, intimate partner violence, gender, sexuality and more. In this centralized location, there is an abundance of resources, provided by the university and off-campus community providers, that make it easier for people to get the support they need. For example, a 24/7 sexual assault and victim advocate, Title IX coordinator or counselor.

At the University of Connecticut — About an hour away from Quinnipiac — there were almost 19,000 undergraduates enrolled in the fall 2022 semester, with a gender distribution of 47% male students and 53% female students. With a majority of enrolled students being female, UConn has a women’s center.

That same semester, Quinnipiac University had a total undergraduate enrollment of 6,073, with a gender distribution of 39% male students and 61% female students. With a majority of female enrolled students, Quinnipiac does not have a women’s center.

So why not? Although one is public and another is private, does this mean prospective students must commit to a college solely based on which will support and provide them with more consolidated, accessible resources when it comes to issues of gender and sexuality?

If Quinnipiac were to have a women and gender center, it would demonstrate its flexibility and adaptability to proactively support the evolving needs of students, faculty and staff.

Women’s centers are also known as women and gender centers because they are meant to be a place of community building and create a safe, welcoming space for intersectional identities. Students that are a part of the LGBTQ+ Quinnipiac community deserve an inclusive, safe place on campus.

Sexual violence on college campuses is not only highly stigmatized, it is prevalent. 23.1% of transgender, genderqueer or nonconforming college students have been sexually assaulted, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. College-aged women are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted than robbed.

Quinnipiac does have a Department of Women and Gender Studies, but that is simply not enough. The WGS curriculum includes learning about human sexuality, sexual violence and queer history. However, what is the effectiveness of learning about it if the university won’t put it into practice outside of the classroom?

The university can provide many resources, but these can be difficult and retraumatizing to navigate through if there isn’t one centralized location available. If that’s the case, I guarantee that there are students who will not pursue or utilize the resources.

As things stand at Quinnipiac, you have to call, email or visit several offices or departments — such as Title IX, Student Affairs, CARE, Residential Life and Public Safety — to obtain resources. This system is not trauma-informed, as all survivors react differently. Immediately after experiencing a traumatic event, it is unlikely that you are thinking about making that phone call or sending that email.

I say this from personal experience, and I’m certainly not the only one.

You may ask: aren’t there student organizations to help support students? Yes, there is the Survivor Advocacy Alliance.

The Survivor Advocacy Alliance advocates for gender equality and empowerment, with the mission to support survivors of gender or sexual-based violence on college campuses. I am proud to be the secretary.

I was extremely disappointed that an organization which creates a welcoming safe space for survivors and allies was given an insufficient amount of funding by the Student Government Association. SAA received $1000 less than the budget requested for the spring 2024 semester.

Students may utilize a women and gender center within their first semester on campus.

The Red Zone, taking place from the beginning of the fall semester to Thanksgiving break, is the time of year when the majority of college campus sexual assaults happen, according to Promoting Awareness/Victim Empowerment, a national nonprofit that works to prevent sexual assault and heal survivors.

First-year undergraduate students — statistically — are the most vulnerable because this may be the first time they are exposed to college campus culture with Greek life rushing and parties celebrating the return to campus that coincides with the fall semester. Many students may also have a limited education on sexual violence and consent.

Sexual violence is vastly underreported to campus safety officials and law enforcement. 90% of sexual violence instances on college campuses in the United States go unreported, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Common reasons that a college student might not report is their belief that the victimization is a personal matter or not important enough to report, fear of retaliation, not wanting to get the perpetrator in trouble or the belief that nothing could be done by authorities or administration even if they did report.

It is imperative that there is a centralized location where students can voice gender or sexuality based concerns directly or be referred to university resources or off campus providers.

— Lily Philipczak, staff writer

It is imperative that there is a centralized location where students can voice gender or sexuality based concerns directly or be referred to university resources or off-campus providers.

Quinnipiac, please do more to support your students. Students, remember that you are never alone.

In the meantime, here are some resources for students who need them:

Quinnipiac Survivor Advocacy Alliance Instagram: @saa_quinnipiac

Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment:

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network crisis hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network online hotline:

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