Provide Support for the Youngstown State University Women's and Gender Resource Initiative

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Youngstown State University is one of the few universities in the state of Ohio without a Women’s and Gender Resource Center. This must be corrected. The petition is to advance the creation of a Women’s and Gender Resource Center.

Women’s and Gender Resource Centers are vital to providing support to sexual assault survivors as well as the LGBTQ+ community, educating the campus community on gender issues, and providing support for women’s health, among other things. Issues related to gender are especially pervasive in university settings, and it is crucial that Youngstown State University does all it can to provide students with necessary resources.

In July 2017, the YSU administration promised to provide four minimal means of support for the Women’s and Gender Resource “Initiative”:

A part time interim director
An assistant director
Student workers to cover 40 hours a week
A safe space

As of April 13th, the administration has only provided a part time interim director, which leaves the Initiative initial phase incomplete. As early as September 28, 2017, Provost Abraham shifted the responsibility for creating a Center onto its proponents, explaining that the “administration will put resources into activities as needed.” In a recent statement to the Jambar on March 28, 2018, Provost Abraham argued that it was up to the volunteers to “continue to keep it on the radar, if they don’t continue to push and advocate for the level of funding that it deserves, it’s not going to stay on the list of things that we need to do from an administrative perspective.”

What is most puzzling about these assertions is that volunteers are expected to garner and foster more support in the absence of basic necessities, namely a space. Nevertheless, we as students are up to the challenge.

We, the student body, propose that the old space for the Student Health Center be repurposed for the Women’s and Gender Resource Center. We believe one of the essential building blocks for a Women’s and Gender Resource Center is having this space. The allocation of a space for this Center is of the utmost importance in allowing it to continue the positive progress it has already had on the YSU community. Included within the Youngstown State University Core Values, is the fundamental component of student centrality. The University claims to be '...a student-centered institution committed to the education, development, well-being, and success of students of all ages and from all walks in life.' Without a space for the Women's and Gender Resource Center, the well-being of a significant portion of the YSU student body, arguably the vast majority, cannot be adequately cared for.

We encourage the administration to consider the words articulated here very carefully, and to help the university as a whole move into the future without failing to correct for the disparities currently present.

Respectfully submitted,

The YSU Community