With campus-wide elections quickly approaching, the Women, Gender and Sexual Equity Center is campaigning for a reaffirmation of their $4.25 fee per student, per quarter and hopes to receive approval for a measure increasing the fee to $8.38 per student, per quarter to support new programs and build a larger staff.
The WGSE, based in the Student Resources Building, encompasses four different service areas: the Women’s Center, the LGBT Services and Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, Campus Advocacy Resources and Education and Nontraditional Student Services. With the new funding they hope to receive, WGSE plans to increase student employment, expand community outreach programs and maintain up-to-date libraries and lounge areas.
According to Kim Equinoa, the Assistant Dean of Students for Student Life, money from this election would help to operate three spaces in the SRB, maintain two libraries, add 13 student workers and staff members in six areas of employment, continue education programming in the community and allow more effective and timely responses to groups in need of training or services pertaining to WGSE’s specialties.
“This money goes to continue to help educate the community, absorb some of the cuts from the state level and keep working on the issues that the campus has told us are important to them,” Equinoa said. “Our goal is to help create a really inclusive environment at UCSB.”
Jill Dunlap, Director of the Rape Prevention Education Program, said the WGSE needs the additional funding in order to comply with unfunded federal legislation that requires campuses to expand the scope of their efforts in educating students on topics such as domestic violence and stalking. According to Dunlap, in order to continue educating students through programs such as Gaucho FYI, the WGSE needs additional funding to ensure there is enough staff to be able to work three 90-minute sessions a day for the first five weeks of school.
“What this [additional funding] would allow us to do is increase our programming and outreach to students around a broader set of issues,” Dunlap said. “Every student has probably been impacted by our programs and services whether or not they know it.”
One of the services that the WGSE offers is the option to talk to state-licensed advocates about issues that may be too sensitive for peer counseling. According to Donna To, second-year political science major, the WGSE provides both a calm environment for studying and a sense of security for the students.
“I like to study in a quiet space and the Women’s Center definitely offers that,” To said. “It also provides a safe space if people need to come and talk to someone. I think people should take the time to stop by and check out all the services they offer.”
For more information on the WGSE, visit their offices located at the SRB or go to their website at wgse.sa.ucsb.edu.