Carolyn Lipshy Galerstein
Just as women provide the basis for ancestral structure in the created society, they supply the point of view, the thematic substance, and the dominant interest.
Excerpt from: Feminine Concerns in Contemporary Spanish Fiction by Women By Carolyn Galerstein, Scripta Humanistica, 1988.
Who Do We Think We Are?
Two rooms, a desk and a chair
The idea of a campus proposal to formalize support for women at UT Dallas began with discussions of female faculty who were meeting regularly as the Association for Professional Women (APW), which was primarily established in the early 90’s to address institutional policy issues, recruitment of faculty women, chilly climate, harassment, tenure, equity, support, and maternity leave. Work towards intentional change was begging to be continued, as the original seeds were already planted through the efforts of Dr. Carolyn Galerstein, the first female dean at UT Dallas. Although feminist ideology was dormant, no protests of sexism or gender discrimination, no petitions, no climate of activism, there were gender issues that campus women and men noticed. The landscape starting changing and growing across UT Dallas, and appreciation of our campus diversity was essential.
With scant space and resources, the Carolyn Lipshy Galerstein Women's Center began in the old Student Life Suite of the Student Union. It was a warm and humid fall of 1996. Our good friends in Student Affairs welcomed us somewhat hesitantly as we stormed in, roamed the campus, knocked on doors and asked the question, “what do you want in a Women’s Center”? We assured our suite neighbors that we would not be burning bras in front of Founders, but that that we might be loud and proud. We were 30% women at UT Dallas, and RISING. We were educating the campus on the wage gap between men and women by serving 77% of a cookie for Pay Equity Day. We invited Gloria Steinem to tell us more feminist stories, and encourage young women to continue to be advocates for each other.
The GWC answered the call for support and representation in harassment and equity cases, launched training on sexual assault prevention, addressed safety issues on campus, initiated the annual flu shot program, a visiting mammogram van, identified gender-neutral bathrooms, established the first and only dedicated lactation facility, and invited students, staff, faculty and community to proactively participate in wellness activities such as yoga, meditation and retreats. We provided a safe haven for those needing counseling and resources and bring women of distinction and motivation to speak of their accomplishments, while honoring women at UT Dallas who shine in their academic and professional careers. We are proud to advise and mentor student organizations who have expressed a passion for feminism, advocacy and service. The UT Dallas LGBTQIA community is spirited, and the GWC has been the guiding force in developing Safe Zone Ally Trainings, scholarships, community education and advanced dialogues to support an environment of inclusiveness.
We now have more than two rooms, a desk and chair! Our suite is located on the fourth floor of the Student Services Building, SSB 4.300, home to many of our drop-in students and friends of the Center. Visit soon and study in our lounge and lending library. Find out how you can be involved in one of the most recognized campus women’s centers in the country. WHOOOSH!Lauren M. DeCillis, LMSW
Founding Director, Galerstein Women’s Center