Gender center modifies name

by Anthony Lafontant | 2/5/13 11:00pm

by Rebecca Shantz / The Dartmouth

The center is planning a symposium on gender-related issues next term.

The name change underlies the center's mission to advise both male and female students, director Jessica Jennrich said.

"We wanted to recognize that all students have a gender identity and that they all have issues that we could help them address, whether it has to do with masculinity or femininity or how they interplay on our campus," she said.

Several organizational revisions at the Center for Women and Gender influenced the name change.

The center will now stand apart from the Office of Pluralism and Leadership and its employees will report directly to assistant Dean of the College Inge-Lise Ameer instead of the OPAL director.

While OPAL and the center will continue to work together, the offices are heading in different directions.

"OPAL is moving toward uniting with the undergraduate deans and the student advising center," she said. "We thought it made sense for us to make this change because of the needs of our center here and to have the primary focus be based on the entire campus community, and not so much individual advising."

Carla Sung Ah Yoon '15, an intern at the center, said the name change reflects progress in campus gender discourse.

"The change does show that the school cares about gender issues," Yoon said. "However, the fact that the center is hidden in the Choates in a very remote location and has been for a very long time tells me that it can still do a lot more."

The center is working with the President's Office and the women's and gender studies department to host a symposium on gender-related issues this spring, Jennrich said.

"The spring symposium will hopefully be a pilot program for something that we can offer every year that will create a gender-based research institute at Dartmouth," she said.

The symposium will welcome community members to attend discussions and lectures from prominent gender studies scholars.

Kathryn Blair joined the center as assistant director on Jan. 22. Blair previously worked as the activism director at Planned Parenthood of Indiana.

Blair will replace former assistant director Stephanie Chestnut, who left the College in mid-August to pursue graduate studies.

Despite changes to its organizational structure, the center will continue to advise student groups and host V-week, beginning Feb. 18.

"One of my big passions is social media, so we were hoping to roll out a big social media campaign to increase our outreach to the student body," Blair said. "It's aimed at getting people into the center and making sure people see that the center is a space for everyone."

The center employs four student interns, who help reach out to all students interested in receiving support.

Some students interviewed questioned whether the name change would have a large impact on the center.

"It's good that they want everyone to feel accepted, but they should probably make sure that people actually know its exists first," Kevin Guh '16 said.

Other students said they appreciated the center's emphasis on inclusion by not specifying a single gender in its name. "The new name allows for an expanded exploration of gender sexuality," Harrison Han '16 said. "When they choose to engage a broad base of students, it really expands the discussion."