Kristen Emhoff speaks truth to power.

Perhaps now I should state my own opinions. I believe prostitution, bestiality, and unconsensual sex is wrong. I believe that saving sex for marriage is a good personal choice medically, emotionally, and spiritually. I believe that other people are not making the best choice when they have casual sex. I believe that both women AND men are currently objectifying themselves through their liberal sexualities. Do I agree with Annie Sprinkle? No. Do I support Positive Sex Week? Not really, though I performed with an a cappella group at Vulvapalooza. Do I believe in equality of the genders? Yes. Do I believe that people should be able to state their minds while I either listen respectfully or excuse myself from their presence? Heck yes, I do.

The central problem with having a “Women’s Center,” i.e., an official organization within the college with its own space, staff and budget is that it will (almost) inevitably be captured by people who disagree with Emhoff. Positive Sex Week is just one manifestation of that disagreement.

Again, it is key to understand the details of the underlying administrative structures, and not just for you Marxists out there! No one has a problem with a student group called, say, the Women’s Collective. Student groups are great! The more the merrier. Such a student group could elect its own leaders, plan its own programs, lobby for funding, advertise for attendance. All good stuff, no different from what other student groups do.

But there is no more reason to have a Women’s Center as an official department of the College than to have an Overweight Student Center or a Republican Student Center or a Marine Student Center or Low Income Student Center. Williams is an inclusive enough place that the normal structure of student groups care handle the concerns and interests of these students. This isn’t to say that Marine students or Low Income students don’t face special issues, that a place like Williams may be foreign to, and uncomfortable for, them. It may be. But that problem needs to be handled by inclusion not separation.

The most telling part of the Sara Ansell’s comment was her praise:

The students on the Women’s Center leadership board took great effort to request funding from as many sources possible. You can see the complete list of sponsors on the posters. Also, while I advise the Women’s Center and love it, there are 8 wonderful and dedicated students who a ridiculous amount of work to put together events, put together discussion, and carry the load of running the Center.

Eight students?! This is all about 8 students! Even after all of Sara Ansell’s endless campaigning and consciousness raising there are only 8 students at Williams committed enough to the cause of a Women’s Center to serve on its Leadership Board?

Note how different this is to the establishment of, say, Rice House. Virtually every black student on campus took part in the protests which created Rice House. The reason that the Women’s Center is a bad idea is that there was no similar grassroots demand for it.

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