Getting our Resource Center
Looking at the truth can hurt, but Colby, it’s time to take a peek. I don’t like all of what I see, and hell, it’s painful. Sexual harassment. Assault. Eating Disorders. Depression. Homophobia.
I am a proud feminist. I am an out Ally. And anyone who knows me in the least knows that I am obsessed with anything Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies-related (the love affair I have with my major is fanatical and fantastic). Given my passions, it would seem natural that I write in earnest to you, Colby College, about the importance of endowing ourselves with a Gender and Sexual Diversity Resource Center. I write to you not because said Center would simply make Colby more comfortable, but because it is a matter of survival—We must make a move to make Colby a safe space in which all can thrive. Simply put, Colby is not living up to the standards and values promoted in Colby’s Mission Statement. We can do much better, and we must.
Get this: Colby is the only NESCAC school without a center of this nature. This is an especially disappointing fact considering the tremendous need for the particular services we hope to offer. At Colby, students and a select faculty have to try to accomplish what hired professionals provide at our peer institutions. It’s quite the load to carry. The issue is: a large handful of us are carrying that load at the sacrifice of our academic pursuits and mental well-being. Have you seen me waking across campus like a crazy zombie? Need I say more?
Students and faculty members formally proposed that a center be created in both 1980 and 2003. Both times, the administration rejected their efforts. This is the year to make our collaborative vision a reality.
A motivated group of students, faculty and staff has begun to work towards the goal of providing the student body with a Resource Center for Gender and Sexuality Diversity. The envisioned Center would provide a safe space for discourse, programming and education centered around sexual assault, homophobia and gender/sex discrimination. A proposal has been written by a coalition of students and faculty, and has been offered to the administration. What is the proposal like? It explains the whys, whats, and how of the Center.
The authors of the proposal acknowledge Colby’s financial situation—in other words, that we are, for better or worse, a lean institution. However, this proposal comes after extensive research by students and faculty and it is clear that a resource Center is quite possible. Colby has the money; it is simply a matter of deciding what the college’s priorities are. So then, let us pose the question: is it not one of Colby’s top priorities to create a safe community that engages in a challenging education, encouraging us to better the world around us?
The truth is that Colby is not a safe place in which this wholesome learning can truly take place. If we want to help the world to our greatest potential, we need to addresses some very big problems which plague us relating to gender and sexual diversity. Sexism and homophobia are strikingly prevalent on campus—rape happens more then we acknowledge and its occurrence is unfailingly silenced. Eating disorders run rampant. You know the saying: “you can’t save others if you are drowning yourself?” Frankly, Colby is drowning. But we who struggle don’t simply want a life vest; we want solid ground.
Now, more than ever, it is time that we unite as a community to make the change we wish to see. Students, faculty, administrators, alumni, and staff must ALL join the conversation. The invitation has been sent, this is the time: ready, set, go!
Not sure how to be part of this movement? Want to get more involved? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.