This is in response to first-year Ryan Bartecki’s letter to the editor regarding the Center for Gender Equity. Though we respect Mr. Batecki’s passion to improve living conditions for him and his fellow Stewie residents as Programming Assistant and board member of the CGE we wish to clear up a few false assumptions and inaccuracies presented in his letter.
First and foremost, we wish to emphasize that the space below Stewie is not only home to the Center for Gender Equity but also to Project SAFE (Sexual Assault Free Environment), which provides a vital service for the Occidental community. Project SAFE is where survivors of sexual violence, assault or harassment can go to receive aid, talk about their experiences and file reports against their perpetrator. The large space is required for both of these organizations to run successfully and to host the types of events that we feel enrich the experience for the student body. We would also like to point out that the Center for Gender Equity is in fact open from 11am-5pm M-F, with at least one CGE and/or SAFE member always present during those hours. While we regret that Stewie residents no longer possess a pool table that is not the fault of CGE; the table was damaged by rambunctious former inhabitants.
As a newer campus organization we are always striving to increase our visibility and participation. However, we disagree with Mr. Bartecki’s assertion that not many students know what the CGE is. Although no member of the Center for Gender Equity has ever recalled seeing Mr. Bartecki at a CGE or Project Safe event we would like to point out that the space is consistently full for the myriad of events we host and co-sponsor. This semester alone the Center for Gender Equity hosted 3 Feminist Faculty Series lectures, co-sponsored Coming Out Week, Love Your Body Day, as well as countless other events and organized Masculinities Week, which had a cumulative attendance of approximately 800 students. The CGE also provides a weekly meeting spot for Queer-Straight Alliance, Women! and the Vagina Monologues.
Though, it is unfortunate that Stewie residents no longer possess a designated second common room, the Center is not a members only organization. It is always open to residents of all halls as a place to hang out, study, relax, and plan activities. We welcome Mr. Bartecki to utilize the CGE as a “hang out” space or attend our events in the future.
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