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Women's Center Moves to A&S

The UW Women's Center has already been through one move this academic year, as Cunningham Hall was relocated from its old home across from Architecture Hall to its new one near Parrington Hall. Now the center is moving administratively too—from its old home under the Provost's Office to a new one in the College of Arts & Sciences.

"The Women's Center has worked with many of our departments and it just makes sense that they become part of the college," says Ana Mari Cauce, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Earl R. Carlson Professor of Psychology.

Women's Center Executive Director Sutapa Basu says the move came as a result of a review of the center to see how the budget cuts would impact its programs and services. The review committee looked at the work of the center and concluded that its mission fits well with that of the college. They recommended the administrative move.

"There are a lot of synergies between the center and the college," says Basu. "For example, our goal is to empower women, and that fits well with the work of Women Studies; we believe that women's rights are human rights, and that makes us compatible with the new Human Rights Center in the Jackson School."

Cauce describes the Women's Center and the Human Rights Center as "natural collaborators."

The Women's Center also provides a variety of important services to the campus and larger community, including the "Making Connections" program that annually works with 100 socioeconomically disadvantaged students from nine public high schools to facilitate the college admission process.

"We are number one in the country in that 100 percent of girls in the program go to college and 70 percent of them enroll in science, technology, engineering and math fields where women are often underrepresented," Basu says.

Additionally, the center offers continuing education workshops and classes for students, staff, faculty, and community members and provides free services to aid the transition into higher education for prospective students who have been out of school for a long time.

The Women's Center provides information, referrals, and educational forums on issues of gender equity and violence prevention. And it offers a safe space and point of contact for students, faculty, staff and community members to address sensitive issues in their lives, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, depression, and eating disorders. The center collaborates with other entities on campus to ensure the needs of these individuals are met.

Basu thinks the college is a "great home" for the Women's Center. "I feel that this is a new beginning for us," she says. "Our building is in a new prominent location and we are in a position to collaborate even more than we already have been. Adds Cauce, "We look forward to working even more closely with the center and strengthening our partnerships, both old and new."

Reprinted from University Week, April 1, 2010.

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