YSU student moves forward with Women’s and Gender Resource Center


By Amanda Tonoli

atonoli@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The vice president of Youngstown State University Student Government Association has started a petition to help move forward an initiative dedicated to bringing a Women’s and Gender Resource Center to campus.

“The Women’s and Gender Resource Initiative is something that has been underway for about a year now, and it has unfortunately not received the kind of support that is needed for the project to take off,” said Ernie Barkett, YSU SGA vice president.

To get the ball rolling a little faster, Barkett created a petition proposing the current Student Health Center be re-purposed for the Women’s and Gender Resource Center.

Long term, Barkett said the initiative will hopefully grow into an actual women’s center “that would provide support for women’s health, support survivors of sexual violence as well as the LGBTQIA community and educate the campus population about gender-related issues.”

LGTBQIA stands for lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual queer/questioning, intersex and allies.

But the space is the issue, Barkett said.

“The provost [Martin Abraham] has indicated through a couple statements that unless those working with the center, who are volunteers, ‘prove’ the center’s worth, it will continue to be placed on the back burner,” Barkett said.

The Student Health Center, the potential Women’s and Gender Resource Center site, is on the first floor of Kilcawley House.

The petition for the center site can be found at goo.gl/forms/gwswEEQh4vWYPySB3.

Barkett said the goal is to obtain 500 signatures “to demonstrate overwhelming support and need for the initiative, and to then take the petition to the high-up administrators, namely the provost, to begin to demand more of a commitment from them on this issue.”

Recently students voted on a proposed new Student Health Center, a 5,000-square-foot building at 23 Lincoln Ave. on campus adjacent to the new Enclave apartment and retail complex now under construction.

Of the 1,126 students who participated in the poll, 870 were in favor, 217 were not and 39 abstained.

Barkett said 9.6 percent of enrolled students voted.

“The next step in the process is to confer with the chancellor’s office to determine if we have enough votes to move forward,” he said.

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