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The Women's Center: 3 moves and 1 fire later
March 7, 1997
The Women's Center was founded in 1972 to promote, support and encourage the intellectual, professional, personal and educational goals of women. It serves the UConn faculty, staff, students and community.
The idea of having an organized Women's Center goes back to 1969 and a group of feminists interested in promoting feminist ideology and activism on campus. But the center was not officially established until spring 1972, when the Free Women's Collective was formed.
The Free Women's Collective and the Women's Center were first located at Bishop Center. It soon moved to Commons Room 101 - a room only 10 feet by 28 feet. Within one year, space and funding for the Women's Center became inadequate. In 1972 the Women's Center secured funding through the Office of Student Affairs. The Free Women's Collective chose to remain an independent organization.
In 1973 two dozen demonstrators presented eight demands, all dealing with women's rights, to acting UConn President Edward V. Gant. One of the demands was a larger facility. Later that spring, the Women's Center moved into Commons Room 31, a space with four rooms.
In February 1974, the Women's Center became affiliated with the Office of Continuing Education for Women and moved to 10 Gilbert Road. Several months later a fire destroyed the building.
The Women's Center moved to its present location on Whitney Road in 1975.
The center's mission throughout the past 25 years has been to educate the University community about the changing roles of women, to voice issues of concern to women and to promote gender equity on campus. The center has continued to organize educational programs and sponsor speakers, films, workshops and conferences relating to women's concerns.
The staff supports and acts as advocates for people who need help with issues that include sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault and relationship violence. The center has a library with an extensive collection of books, magazines, reference materials and videos on a variety of gender issues. Each year, for the past four years, the center has reached more than 16,000 people through its services.