Date of Defense



Gender and Women's Studies

First Advisor

Cathryn Bailey, Gender and Women's Studies

Second Advisor

Susan Freeman, Gender and Women's Studies


Since the early 1970’s, universities throughout the United States have opened women’s centers on their campuses in response to the injustice women experienced in the classroom and out. Currently, many universities have women’s centers in order to highlight gender-related issues and to advocate for gender justice in the form of education and empowerment. Presently, Western Michigan University remains one of the few public Michigan universities that does not have a women’s center on its campus. This project will help to discover what WMU would gain from a center dedicated to gender justice and what tools, affiliations, and goals have worked best in starting and maintaining several other public Michigan university women’s centers. We will also examine the history of women’s centers on WMU’s campus, including but not limited to the reason for its struggle to survive and ultimate demise. A broad examination of the administrative structure at Western Michigan University will also be necessary in determining where a women’s center would fit within the institution. The other universities targeted in this research will be Grand Valley State University and Eastern Michigan University. Information regarding each center’s beginning, university program affiliation, mission statement, support, staff and events will be gathered in the hopes of developing a rationale for starting a women’s center at WMU and creating a mission statement that will be beneficial to students, faculty, and staff (Goldsmith).

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only