By Hugo Roos
Following the 2016 Presidential Election many minority groups have expressed a worry about their rights being infringed on. However, the University of Wisconsin-Superior Gender Equity Resource Center are seeing a silver lining with more community activism.
The Gender Equity Resource Center at UWS is working to provide a safe environment within the campus community. During the month of April, the workers are busier than usual with many events hosted by the center, such as the “Feminist Poetry Slam”, as well as an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of violence against women. With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month the center has joined the “Clothesline Project”, hanging t-shirts around Swenson Hall in support of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Written on each shirt is a message to victims, emphasizing that they are not alone.
Lead Student Gabriel Vo explains the center’s work as providing the campus with a safe place to learn and express ideas. Vo believes that the center has a role in “building bridges between political sides.”
After the Presidential Election, the workers have noticed a change in attitude towards feminism and equality. The different sentiment doesn’t discourage Vo who sees the situation as “an opportunity to advocate more and promoting the cause of gender equity.”
Every Tuesday the center hosts a Coffee House for the community. From noon to 1 p.m. the students are able to receive even better coffee than what is provided every other day, as well as an informative talk about a theme chosen by one of the student workers. Vo’s being “Take Back the Night” tied closely to the months’ topic of sexual assault.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to allow students to opt out of paying for certain services at universities around Wisconsin threatens the existence of the student organizations around UWS. Some organizations risk losing their funding in case a large majority of students would be unwilling to fund them. However, the Gender Equity Resource Center does not worry too much about the budget proposal.
“Most of our funding comes from the budget for student organizations. But I’m not too pessimistic about that. I feel like our campus values diversity and equality. I’m sure we would receive support.” Vo calmly expresses.
Events organized by the Gender Equity Resource Center related to sexual assault will continue through the entire month of April.