Women, Gender, & Sexual Equity Department (WGSE) includes Women’s Center Programs, LGBT Resources, Campus Advocacy Resources & Education (CARE), and Non-Traditional Student Resource Center.
The WGSE oversees three distinct resource centers:
- The Non-Traditional Student Resource Center
- The Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity (RCSGD)
- The Women’s Center
The Women, Gender, & Sexual Equity Department uses a feminist approach to provide support, advocacy, resources and education to the UCSB community. We value and respect all genders, gender expressions, bodies, sexual orientations,and racial and ethnic identities while challenging all forms of oppression. We work towards creating a campus environment that is safe, equitable, and just.
We envision a world free of oppression and violence. We strive for inclusion and equity through our programs, services, and work. We celebrate the richness of our differences while working collectively to create a community of leaders, scholars, and global citizens for the future.
On June 12, 1974, the Ad Hoc Planning Committee of the Women’s Assembly submitted a proposal to Chancellor Vernon Cheadle recommending the establishment of a Women’s Center at UCSB. This group laid the foundation for the first Women’s Center based upon feminist principles. We applaud their initiative, vision, and perseverance. In the Fall of 1975, the UCSB Women’s Center opened its doors, funded as a one year pilot projected through the Office of the Dean of Students, located near the east entrance, on the ground where the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics now stands.
AdHoc Planning Committee of the Women’s Assembly:
- Arocoles Aguilar
- Lois Phillips
- Elizabeth Baker
- Ellen Pitcher
- Elaine Fukuda
- Lynne Riddle
- Joyce Gould
- Elin Pratt (Scheff)
- Jan Keller Vera Skubic
For more than 40 years, the UCSB Women’s Center has been a place of empowerment and support, addressing the needs and providing the means for women to envision and achieve their full potential. The original mission was three-tiered: education, research, and advocacy. Leslie Zomalt, the first director of the Women’s Center, remarked on the 10th anniversary, “When we opened there was a lot of energy, a sense that ‘we did it,’ a sense of the possibilities. A very diverse group of people had come together and really accomplished something. There was enthusiasm and a feeling that, ‘no matter what happens from now on, we’ve got to hold on to this.’”
Indeed over the past four decades the UCSB Women’s Center has distinguish edit self among our sister resource centers throughout the University of California system and compares favorably with centers at other top research universities across the nation. After 27 years in Building 434, across from Storke Tower, where so many women shared their journey, where artists exhibited their work, where writers, poets, and politicians imparted their message, the Women’s Center moved to its present location in the Student Resource Building. It was included as a vital component in the original charter by the students who conceived of a building to house a myriad of resources in one place. They campaigned for the student-funded building and won.
In the fall of 2011 UCSB announced that the Women’s Center Department would take on the new name of Women, Gender, & Sexual Equity Programs (WGSE). The new name reflected the myriad of services provided by the department which include the Women’s Center, LGBT Resources, Rape Prevention Education Program, and Non-Traditional Student Resource. A substantial consultation process which included students, faculty, staff, and constituents occurred during winter and spring of 2011. It was concluded that “Women, Gender, and Sexual Equity Programs” accurately maintained the history of the department while bringing the current functions under a broader umbrella name. Historically, the Women’s Center was founded to provide programming and services focused on women and women’s issues and over the years the department has evolved to include services for the diverse survivors of gender-based violence; the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community; and non-traditional and re-entry students. The desired outcome of the department name change was to better recognize and bring equity to the diverse programs within the department, so that each area functioned as an equal entity under a common name.
The UCSB Women, Gender, & Sexual Equity Department provides the campus community a multitude of resources: a comprehensive lending library including books, magazines, and videos; an art gallery; conference room available for meetings, study sessions, or presentations; the Rape Prevention Education Program; Sexual Harassment Prevention Education Program; the Non-Traditional Student Resource Center; the Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity; quarterly program offerings; and support groups from gender issues to being a care taker for aging parents. There are student groups that are affiliated with the Women, Gender, & Sexual Equity Department such as Men Against Rape, A.S. Women’s Commission, Take Back the Night, VOX - the Voice of Planned Parenthood, Women’s Ensemble Theater Troupe, Women in Science and Engineering, Student Veterans Organization, Queer Student Union, A.S. Queer Commission, and several other queer organizations.
The Women, Gender, & Sexual Equity Department has garnered support through coalition building with academic departments, other Student Affairs, and Associated Students departments, as well as ties to the greater community as evidenced by our recognition for outstanding community service by the Santa Barbara County Women’s Commission in 2007. The Center is also supported by the Office of the Chancellor and the Executive Vice Chancellor for our signature events that feature and support our women faculty. The Office of Equal Opportunity annually funds the programming budget to bring a diverse and relevant offering each quarter.