Students Discuss Origins, Purpose of Women’s Center

The Women’s Center, located in the C-wing next to the Fishbowl, strives to be a safe haven for anyone that is interested in speaking on women’s issues, seeking assistance or needing someone to talk to. On Wednesday, the Women’s Center held a discussion to explore the Center’s history, led by its former coordinator, Kat McGee.

The mission of the Women’s Center is to “dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation,” said McGee.

The discussion started by asking all of the students what they know about the Women’s Center and what they would like to know. Many students did not know that the Women’s Center was a public space open to anyone. Students were also unaware that the Center offers student jobs.

The Women’s Center was built from scratch. It was founded in 1974, around the same time that women across the country were starting to attend college and universities in large numbers. The Center was practically built overnight by throwing some couches and chairs from the student center into a room.

“Domestic violence and sexual harassment were the first serious topics brought up by the Women’s Center,” said McGee.

Ramapo’s Women’s Center was the first of its kind in Bergen county when it opened. Several women from around Bergen County were constantly contacting the Women’s Center by phone to discuss their issues. The Women’s Center not only provided counseling services to women, but also gave out free condoms and toiletries, as they still do.

In its history there has been some controversy involving the name “Women’s Center.” Some people have felt that the name should be the “Everything Center.” The talk of changing the name of the Center still continues, but for now the name remains the same.

The Women’s Center has basically, all of the same things that the Center had in its past, its just more new and improved. The Center now has several different services and workshops that students can attend, such as body image workshops. Since March is Women’s History Month, the Center is very busy and excited for what’s to come.

Students that attended the talk left the Women’s Center with a better understanding of the Center’s history and what they currently do there.

“I learned that they have more services other than for clinical and health needs,” said junior Amanda Silvers.