Many students on campus are not aware that Whittier College has a Gender and Equity Center (GEC) on campus tasked with promoting an “equitable learning environment for all genders and identities” on campus. The GEC is a community located in Platner Hall that provides resources for all gender-related and LGBTQ+ issues. The center is professor and student ran; they promote an inclusive environment by using “dialogue, resources, advocacy initiatives, and the building of community.”
The GEC is coordinated by Professor of Anthropology, Dr. Ann M. Kakaliouras (Dr. K), she first started running the center in Jan. 2021, but was appointed in Sept. 2020. Dr. K has been a professor at Whittier College for the past 16 years. She “brings a wealth of knowledge and skills regarding gender equity” as she teaches various courses on biological anthropology, archaeology, Native American studies, gender studies, science and technology studies, and theory in anthropology. With this knowledge Dr. K is able to teach student coordinators how to navigate gender and equity, thus allowing them to help other students on campus.
Melina Martinez, a GEC student coordinator, describes the Gender and Equity Center as a place that “promotes gender equity for Whittier College students. We try to do that through activism resources, support, and community.” The GEC hosts office hours most days of the week, on Mon. 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm, 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm, Wed. 12 pm to 1 pm, 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm, Thurs. 1:30pm to 2:30pm, and 4:30 to 5:30pm. These times are also posted on their Instagram @akakalio along with updates of events the GEC hosts.
Each office hour is led by their many coordinators such as Martinez. Other coordinators include Daquan Moeller, Tanya Garcia, Coda Sturkie, and Elsie Johnson. According to Garcia, their job as student coordinators is to “promote gender and equity across campus… by providing information through pamphlets, events, office hours, and social media.” Garcia encourages everyone to come to their office hours to “hang out” or “gain more knowledge on equity and inclusion on campus.”
There are many things the Gender and Equity Center can help with. The center makes sure its participants are familiar with reproductive health resources on campus and connects them to the Health and Wellness Center or nearby resources when needed in regard to healthcare. They also offer victim support counseling services and provide information on coming out; some quarantine, pregnancy, and women’s rights resources.
The Bias Report Team associated with the GEC is working on constructing a more in-depth tutorial on reporting through Title IX. Last year, they worked on updating the athletic department’s Code of Conduct Student Handbook to include transgender and nonbinary students in their Equity Policy ensuring that they’re recognized in other college policies. Martinez explains that “right now a lot of our support comes through student programming. So, we’re essentially trying to strengthen the community through the events we hold on campus. If there are students that need support, we have a lot of resources. Our center kind of goes through a lot of other sectors at Whittier.”
The GEC has hosted several events on campus including conversations about Women in the Workplace, a Trans Talk, an Open Mic Night, National Coming Out Day, International Pronoun Day, and a Poet Drag show where many fellow students performed along with some professional Drag Queens. Lastly, an upcoming event is on Oct. 27th, a movie screening of “But, I’m Cheerleader” that the GEC will be hosting with the Program Board. The movie will involve a discussion on gender roles within the film.
This is the Gender and Equity Center’s second year on campus, so they would appreciate any feedback or ideas that students may have. If you’re interested in getting involved and attending any events, please visit their Instagram page or the office in Platner 125. No appointment is needed! In order to contact the Gender and Equity Center please email Dr. K at email@example.com.
Featured Photo Courtesy of Whittier College