In Proposal, Committee Demans Women's Center

Leaders from prominent campus women's groups have joined together to write a proposal urging the College to create a center for women's issues.

Representatives of the Committee for a Women's Center at Harvard will meet with Associate Dean of Harvard College David P. Illingworth '71 today to present him with a letter detailing their plan.

The proposal was developed at a Monday night meeting of members from the Coalition Against Sexual Violence, Girlspot, Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS), the Women's Leadership Project (WLP) and other campus women's groups.

Shauna L. Shames '01, a member of Students for Choice, said the ad hoc coalition wants the College to devote three rooms in the basement of a Yard dorm to a new women's center.

She said one room could be used for meetings, another could serve as office space and the third would be a "living room area...a homey space."

College administrators have said in the past that they would not define as space solely as a women's center because doing so violates a policy that prevents restricting College resources to one gender.

But Shames said the women's center would also be open to men.

"We don't see this as an exclusive space," she said. "We envision a safe space for people who have been victims of gender violence."

Peggy T. Lim'00, outgoing chair of the WLP, said she supports the proposal because she believes a women's center would facilitate interaction between women's groups.

"We are interested in interacting with more groups. A women's center would be useful for all sorts of women's issues and it would make us more productive in general," Lim said.

Shames said the group would like to have the women's center up and running next fall.

"We would like to make this a major issue before we leave. We will continue to push for space over the summer," Shames said. "By next year, we would like to be setting up the space."

In an interview with The Crimson yesterday, Illingworth said he was unaware of the proposal.