After numerous efforts in a month-long campaign to save the Gender Education program, things are finally looking up.
The GE campaign received word from Griselda Castro, assistant to Vice Chancellor Fred Wood, in an emergency meeting on Tuesday night that the provost’s office is looking to incorporate the program into the permanent budget.
As the budget is not yet official and because Castro only made a verbal agreement, the GE campaign members are still skeptical.
“We’re really excited that the provost is looking to permanently fund the program but we are not going to celebrate until it actually happens,” said Katie Davalos, senior women and gender studies major who is on the GE campaign. “We are going to continue to be vigilant.”
The Gender Education program, which originated in 1999 with a Department of Justice grant, offers free workshops and classes to students about topics including sexual assault and self-defense. The program’s funding has been maintained over the years by various organizations including the Campus Violence Prevention Program and the Women’s Resource and Research Center, but was facing elimination due to budget cuts this year.
A mass e-mail was sent to students involved with the campaign on Wednesday afternoon with the subject “GE program saved!” Though some are celebrating, not all consider this to yet be a victory.
“We do not consider this the victory we desire, and that we will continue to run the campaign to ensure administrative accountability,” Tanner said in an e-mail interview.
On Thursday’s Brown Bag chat with Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, some members of the campaign continued their fight by asking for support from the chancellor.
“I thanked the provost for their support and that we really look forward to working with the administration and looking to make sure that they put it into the budget,” said Sarah Raridon, a senior gender studies major also working on the campaign.
Raridon said that the chancellor reiterated his main point of the day’s speech, that though difficult, students should remain patient during these times of budget cuts.
Tuesday’s meeting with Castro stemmed from a Thursday meeting with vice chancellor of students Fred Wood and Castro, the first time that students were able to meet with the administration regarding the topic.
ASUCD President Ivan Carillo, Senators Laura Pulido and Mo Torres, presidential candidate Lula Ahmed-Falol, Gender and Sexualities Commission Chair Laura Brown and members of the campaign Davalos and Allison Tanner attended the meeting. They presented informational statistics about sexual assault and Senate Resolution 14 that was passed to support the GE program.
“Our stance is that this program needs to exist,” Brown said. “We are not willing to compromise making this program a permanent aspect of our campus.”
ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at email@example.com.