Campus-based women’s centers hold a special place in my heart. The five+ years I spent as the Director of the University of Idaho Women’s Center, as you may have read on my personal blog, were incredibly transformative for me as a feminist, as a student affairs educator, and as an activist. Now as a scholar and doctoral student in a higher education program, I keep going back to the tensions I experienced in the women’s center as I consider my emerging research interests. Somewhere in the long list of the potential topics are the questions: What is the continuing role of women’s centers as organizations within institutions of higher education? Where do women’s centers fit?
I bring this topic to the #SAfeminist blog today because the professional association home to women’s centers since the 1990s (thank you to Juli Parker for the history), the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), just removed all formal representation of women’s center professionals from their governing council. The co-chairs of the Women’s Center Committee have resigned and submitted this open letter to the NWSA governing council. InsideHigherEd.com carried the news story today.
In the letter, former co-chairs, Dr. Gina Helfrich and Dr. Adale Sholock state “NWSA has failed to center the work of Women’s Centers professionals, the front line practitioners of feminism in the academy and so often those who carry the burden of translating women’s and gender theory into action for and alongside students. Instead of providing a welcoming and sustaining home for Women’s Centers professionals, NWSA has repeatedly marginalized Women’s Centers professionals, their research, their work, and their needs.” Continue reading Where do Women’s Centers fit?