Student-Focused Resource Center to Open at MC

by SHANNON GLEBA, Copy Editor

Manhattan College’s campus will have a new addition after the Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center opens later this fall semester. The center is under development now in Kelly Commons, down the hall from the Multicultural Center in Kelly 3C.

While The Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center is not fully finished, Jordan Pascoe, Ph.D, the center’s co-director and associate professor of philosophy, already has plans for the space. 

“We don’t have furniture, or a full staff schedule, but we plan to make use of the empty space to offer yoga and meditation opportunities, office hours, and meeting space for our planning committees, as well as any student groups looking for a space to meet,” said Pascoe.

She continued, “Our purpose is to centralize resources and create an intentional space and community for students grappling with issues related to gender, sexuality, gender-based violence, and other embodiment issues, as well as to foster research, scholarship, and other tools for thinking about gender, sexuality, and embodiment within the Lasallian tradition.”

The initial inspiration for the center came from three students who brought their idea to Pascoe during the 2016 school year. One of the students involved in the idea for the center was Alannah Boyle ‘18.

“My sophomore year I recognized a gap in the services and resources in place for survivors of sexual violence. I quickly realized the need included resources for students, particularly women, and members of the LGBTQ community,” said Boyle.

Pascoe remembers the students who sparked the idea for the center.

“These students were thinking about the way that consent and sexual assault issues were being communicated on campus, and especially about the tricky role that Residence Assistants play in these dynamics. But once we started talking about it, we realized the issues were much deeper than that, and we had lots of questions about how a Lasallian school could or should be thinking about those issues,” said Pascoe.

As a result, the Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Committee was formed. The committee began conversations between students, faculty and administrators that lent themselves to the formation of the center.

According to the Manhattan College website, “This committee has reworked Title IX discussions with students at orientation, hosted a day long conference on sexual assault and the Lasallian tradition last spring, and expanded that into a Women’s Week this spring with 20 events.“ 

After the formation of student-faculty reading groups and countless conversations, the committee decided that there should be better resources on campus for students dealing with gender-related issues.

“The center has always been envisioned both as a concrete resource for students, and as a place to engage with the Lasallian tradition and to think about issues of gender and sexuality within that tradition,” said Pascoe.

In addition to Pascoe, the center will be directed by Roksana Badruddoja, Ph.D, associate professor of sociology. Also, Graduate Assistant Jo-Ann Mullooly ‘16, will be responsible for organizing the daily operations of the center. 

Mullooly is optimistic that the center will be an effective resource for students at MC and is excited to support students at the center.

“We hope to support students through activities including, but not limited to, facilitate support circles, run retreat weekends, create off-campus community/academic service learning opportunities, offer tools and materials for successful self-care, invite relevant guest speakers and provide information to students regarding how to obtain various services on and off-campus,” said Mullooly.

The center had a soft opening with partial staffing, on Aug. 27. The official opening ceremony for the center will be Oct. 19. However, there are some events planned prior to the center’s official opening.

“We’re partnering with Student Engagement to bring the journalist Rebecca Traister to speak on campus on September 7th. We’re working with the WISE program to organize a symposium about women and work on September 13th, including a luncheon on women and imposter syndrome,” said Pascoe. “We’re working with WAGS to do a panel on sexual harassment and the future of the #metoo movement on September 25th.”

The Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center is intended to be a student-centered space, and those involved encourage MC’s students to communicate their suggestions and to take advantage of this new resource.

“I want people to know that the center exists, that it is a space for everyone, and that its primary purpose is to respond directly to student interests and needs,” said Boyle.

In addition, Mullooly hopes students visit the new center upon its opening.

“I would encourage all students to stop by and visit the Center because this office came to life after administration heard students and faculty members wants, needs and expectations from their college. It exists because this is the direction this institution is heading in,” said Mullooly.