Serving more than half

By Jeremy Clarke

Editor, the Gauntlet,

Re: “SU debates women’s centre,” Oct. 23, 2003,

Students’ Union President Jayna Gilchrist doesn’t believe a women’s resource centre should be a priority because “it only assists half of the [university] population.”

As a member of the other half, I would like to disagree.

During the SU meeting after which Gilchrist made her presumptuous statement, Desiree Kopp, facing chauvinist lines of questioning from several elected members, outlined the pressing need for a women’s centre. Without reiterating Kopp’s compelling and articulate arguments, it comes down to a need for a resource to help women take the most from their university education. It’s about equality and inclusion for women, and, Gilchrist notwithstanding, an equal and inclusive university benefits us all, men and women.

According to Gilchrist’s logic, we should probably shut down campus elevators. Why not? Most of us can take the stairs. The elevators use a lot of electricity and really, they only serve the small percentage–far less than half–of the university population that is unable to use the stairs.

Of course, this is ridiculous.

Making facilities accessible to all not only directly benefits those unable to use stairs by allowing them to use the resources necessary for their education, it also benefits the larger community by making the University of Calgary a place where all people might feel equal and included. A women’s centre would do the same thing by figuratively “elevating” the university’s female population to something resembling equal status. Perhaps more importantly, it would serve the wider population (i.e. men) by beginning to make our university education safer, more equal and more accessible to all.

Gilchrist does not speak for this man, or for many of the men I know.


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