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DePauw Women's Center Provides a Mechanism for Change, President Bottoms Says at Dedication Ceremony

DePauw Women's Center Provides a Mechanism for Change, President Bottoms Says at Dedication Ceremony

September 24, 2004

womens-ded1.jpgSeptember 24, 2004, Greencastle, Ind. - Audio Link [Download Audio: "A Change Mechanism" - 347kb] "I hope this will be not only a symbol, but will be a change mechanism for the whole campus," DePauw University President Robert G. Bottoms said today at noon as the new DePauw University Women's Center was dedicated. Students, members of the faculty and staff, and top administrators gathered for the ceremony at the center, located at 306 East Hanna Street.

The establishment of a center was a major recommendation of the Task Force on the Status of Women. In the Spring of 2002, the Task Force reported that, while DePauw has made considerable progress toward gender equity, "Women continue to struggle to feel at home here, both in terms of the cultural climate and institutional support of their needs." The Task Force recommended the creation womens-ded3.jpgof a Women's Center, to "serve as a resource center for students, faculty, staff, and the Greencastle community interested in and acting on behalf of women's issues at DePauw" (read more here).

"If things change for the better, if the campus gets better and better, the change will not be brought about by outside speakers, or by the president ,or by some of the administrative leadership," Dr. Bottoms said today. "It'll be brought about by people like you -- the women who work in the center, the students who use it -- that's the way change really takes place."

Lisa Hollander, vice president for development and alumni relations and chair of the Task Force on the Status of Women, said the center, as envisioned by the Task Force, would Audio Link [Download Audio: "A New Asset" - 264kb] "strengthen the resources available for women... [provide] a centralized place where DSC_4289.jpganybody could have access, and to also show that there's a real commitment to the lives of women and the careers of women and all things related to women, and making this a supportive place for them on our campus."

The day after the task force delivered its findings, Hollander says President Bottoms promised her, "This is a good report and it's not going to sit on a shelf." This afternoon, she remarked, Audio Link [Download Audio: "First Champion" - 127kb] "I want to be sure that everybody knows that the first champion of the Women's Center at DePauw was Dr. Bottoms, and it's because he was supportive from the beginning that we're here and we have this center."

Before cutting the ribbon to symbolically open the Women's Center, its coordinator, Nissy Stetson, assistant director of multicultural affairs (seen at right), stated, Audio Link [Download Audio: "The Coordinator's Vision" - 342kb] "I see the Women's Center as a place for education [and] advocacy.  womens-ded2.jpgI see it as a place that's warm, that is women-centered, but that welcomes all people: men and women. I look forward to talking to all of you about your ideas and input, because of course we want this to be a center that serves this community in the best possible way that it can."

DePauw senior Madeline Mitchell, the student resident intern at the Women's Center, described the center's "safe room." Audio Link [Download Audio: "The Safe Room" - 287kb] "It's an area where students can come that feel unsafe or uncomfortable going back to their living units for whatever reason... and their safe space is not longer safe. I will be here to provide moral support until professional staff comes."

Plans for creation of the Women's Center were announced in April. Read the announcement by clicking here.