The University Record, September 14, 1992

Women’s Center opens Sept. 23 in Flint’s University Pavilion

By Lew Morrissey
U-M-Flint

U-M-Flint’s Women’s Center, designed to meet the needs of the campus’s 3,900 women students, will open Sept. 23 in the University Pavilion.

“We are very grateful for the support of the chancellor and the many students, faculty and staff who are helping us inaugurate an exciting era at U-M-Flint,” says Lora Purcell, director of academic advising. (The Women’s Center is affiliated with the Adult Resource Center, which is part of the Academic Advising Center.)

Poetry, music, speeches and refreshments will be included in the opening event, set for 4–6 p.m. in the Pavilion’s second-floor atrium.

Poetess Melba Boyd, director of the African-American Studies Program, will read from her work, as will English Prof. Sybil Kein, poet and chronicler of Creole poetry and music.

Jacqueline Zeff, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will deliver welcoming remarks. Music will be provided by Robbie Grier, assistant director of admissions.

The Women’s Center houses a small library of classics in women’s literature, sociology, health, politics and economics. It sponsors day and evening women’s support groups, provides administrative support for the Women’s History Month Committee, offers academic counseling, is an advocate for women’s concerns on campus, and is a liaison among women’s on- and off-campus groups.

The center is staffed by coordinator Jan Worth; Peggy Holcomb, an adviser; and secretary Beverly Williams.

Worth hopes the role the Center plays will be shaped by needs as they arise. She would like to see support for research on women’s lives offered by the center.

Efforts to form a center began several years ago when representatives from the Women’s History Month Committee proposed an office to address the concerns of women students as their numbers on campus became more and more apparent in the mid- and late 1980s.

“Many of the economic ills that have hurt society over the past decade have hit women and families hardest of all,” Worth says. “That, in part, accounts for the marked increase in women returning to school. In many cases, education is the only hope for improving women’s lives, and the lives of their children.”

The Flint campus recently has undertaken a number of initiatives addressing women’s concerns:

—Approval of a minor in women’s and gender studies.

—Subsidized child care through the YWCA.

—Women’s History Month celebration each March.

—Formation of a campuswide Women’s Council, prompted by President James J. Duderstadt’s initiative encouraging study of the status of women.

“Thanks to campuswide support for women’s issues from faculty, staff and the administration at all three campuses, our commitment to supporting women students is becoming concrete. Now we have a Women’s Center to grow from. It’s a wonderful beginning,” Purcell says.