Women’s Center Holds Forum to Discuss Possible Name Change

The Women's Center held an open forum to reveal the results of a survey sent out to the Ramapo community last year and to further discuss with students the possibility of changing the Women's Center's name.

"We as a center were asking ourselves, 'What could we do to get students more involved?'" said Adlyn Maldonado, office manager at the Women's Center.

The open forum allowed students to have an open conversation about the name's meaning.

Maldonado explained that many people at Ramapo assume that, because of its title, the Women's Center is only for females.

"Maybe the name doesn't really encompass what we do as a center," Maldonado said.

She described hearing male students passing by asking, "Can I go in there?"

The forum followed a survey sent out by the Women's Center last year that asked members of the Ramapo community questions like: "Do you think the name 'Women's Center' adequately represents the services it provides?" and "Would you come into the Women's Center more if it had a different name?"

The survey, which over 150 students, 30 faculty members and 20 staff members participated in, hoped to determine whether a name change was really necessary. The results of this survey were revealed at the forum.

When asked if the name "Women's Center" adequately represents the services, 84 percent said it did not. When asked how often they visit the Women's Center, 66 percent of the participants claimed they visited less than one time per semester, 19 percent claimed they visited two to four times per semester, six percent claimed they visited five to 10 times per semester and seven percent claimed they visited more than 10 times per semester.

However, when asked if they would come to the Women's Center more often if the name was changed, the majority, 44 percent, claimed they were unsure.

"Right now, we're still deciding whether or not it needs to be changed," Maldonado said.

Nonetheless, the Women's Center felt an open forum would be helpful to further discuss the results of the survey.

"It was interesting to see how the information changed based off the different groups," Marissa Hatten, volunteer coordinator at the Women's Center, said.

Students openly discussed their own opinions about a name change at the forum, many starting to consider the possibility more and more.

"When I personally first heard about the possibility of a name change I thought-no! We can't do that," Hatten said, "but then I thought about it-we're discriminating against a lot of different groups by just calling it the 'Women's Center.'"

Many students felt similarly to Hatten and voiced their opinions at the forum. Some felt that it was uncomfortable for male students or didn't fully encompass all the Center's goals. On the flip side, some questioned why males were uncomfortable with the title "Women's Center" in the first place.

"A lot of different ideas were thrown around," Hatten said, reflecting on the event.

New names, such as the "Equality Center" and "Diversity Center," have been discussed as possibilities, according to Maldonado. However, Maldonado did clarify one last thing about the Women's Center.

"It's not just for women."