Women’s center bill passed, pending approval by Vice President for Student Affairs

Student Government (SG) Senate voted almost unanimously March 29 to pass a recommendation that the university create a women’s and gender resource center. The authors of the bill, senators David Mejia, Milind Khurana, Dominique Hardy and Justin Grauer and students Carolina Bendaña and Shannon Casey, were relieved to see the project make some progress after weeks of administrative roadblocks and dead ends.

“It’s been extremely frustrating,” said Mejia, a commuter senator and chair of University Affairs (UA).

When UA presented the bill to SG Senate, Mejia said advisers Heather Stevens and Brandon Gross told the committee to get more information about the project, which was kicked off two months ago by a change.org petition that has since accrued 630 signatures.

Mejia said he and his 15-person committee acted and reached out to many different university departments, but the resounding response was “we cannot comment on this.”

The Senate discussed the bill again on March 29, asked questions and ultimately decided to make the resource center a Category D bill, an official recommendation to the university. The bill will now go to Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely, who will then give an approval or denial with reasoning and decide how to proceed.

The goal of the petition is to create a single place where anyone on campus can go to freely express any women or gender-related issues, which include discrimination and harassment as well as heavier issues, such as sexual assault, seniors Casey and Bendaña said.