What’s in a Name?

The Carolina Women’s Center is not just for women.

The Carolina Women’s Center is here to serve all students, faculty, and staff at UNC. Its mission is to “create an inclusive education and work environment where gender is not a barrier to success, difference and diversity are celebrated, and everyone is safe to live, learn, teach, and work without threat of harm or unequal treatment.” It provides programming that promotes gender equity for people of all gender identities.

For the past three weeks, I have been learning just how difficult it is to communicate this message to UNC students, faculty, and staff as well as individuals outside the university. For example, in reaching out to UNC employees for recommendations of other staff members who would participate in CWC focus groups, several individuals have responded enthusiastically, saying they knew many women who would be interested, even though I hadn’t said anything about wanting only female participants in focus groups. Similarly, at the first-years’ orientation resource fair, male students didn’t stop at our table, and their parents reacted similarly. I heard more than one mother say, “That’s not for us. I have a son.” When the word “women” is in the organization’s name, reactions like these make sense. However, it makes it difficult for the CWC to promote gender equity if only women participate in programs and use CWC’s resources. Furthermore, students, faculty, or staff who don’t realize that the CWC serves them might need resources that the CWC has.

So what should the CWC do? I’m not sure that changing its name to something like the Carolina Gender Center would make a difference. However, it is becoming clear that many of my internship assignments will involve promoting the CWC in a way that educates UNC faculty, students, and staff and the community about what we do and who we serve. In the MPA program, we often talk about the importance of communicating clearly, concisely, and unambiguously. Creating a communications plan to address the confusion over who the CWC serves and what programs are available seems like it will be a priority for the organization in the future, and it is certainly going to be a priority of mine for this summer.

More on my CWC adventures next Wednesday!

A Staff Perspective on the Senate Budget Proposal

In planning for the CWC staff needs assessment, I have been trying to learn more about staff issues and needs at UNC. So, last Wednesday, my supervisor and I attended the Employee Forum’s community meeting, which occurs at least once every year. The Employee Forum is a group of UNC staff  who are elected by their peers to address staff concerns and communicate recommendations to UNC’s administration. The meeting was an opportunity for employees to express their concerns about issues impacting staff and to hear responses from panelists including UNC President Tom Ross and UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp.

A major point of discussion was the Senate’s budget proposal, which was released Sunday, May 19th. The Senate’s proposal allocates more funding to UNC than Governor McCrory’s proposal, but this still represents a significant cut from last year’s budget. This cut coupled with obligated funds and no pay raises for state employees will make it difficult for UNC to implement its five-year strategic plan. Coming at the issue from a student perspective, I couldn’t help but think about the possibility of tuition increases, so it was really interesting to hear staff raise different questions about potential layoffs and possible tax cuts, shared services among campuses in the UNC system, and the authority of the NC Office of State Personnel.

What was particularly interesting about this meeting was that President Ross and Chancellor Thorp had to field questions about state budget decisions that they seemed to disagree with and that could negatively affect staff or the overall university. Employees asked about a variety of hot-button issues including the current national perspective on the value of higher education, gender-neutral housing, the concealed carry bill, and sexual harassment and assault. During this discussion, I became more aware of the difficulty of supporting and answering to so many constituents. Both Chancellor Thorp and President Ross did an excellent job of making clear the importance of UNC staff to the university’s functioning as well as the importance they personally place on staff issues and concerns. A podcast of the meeting will be up on the Employee Forum’s website later this week, and highlights from the meeting are available here. Check it out!

For my purposes, listening to staff discuss their needs is putting me in the frame of mind for conducting focus groups and considering potential CWC programming for next year. I’m looking forward to the learning experience of planning, recruiting, and moderating focus groups as well as hearing more about UNC staff needs and perspectives in the coming weeks!

Day 4 at CWC!

On Monday, I started my internship with the Carolina Women’s Center (CWC) at UNC-Chapel Hill. CWC promotes gender equity for students, faculty, and staff at UNC. CWC is a really interesting organization in that it is similar to a nonprofit but operates within a public university. Past programs and events have addressed issues like family advocacy, violence against women, sex trafficking, work-life balance, and closing the gender gap. Although CWC has offered several workshops and brownbags to staff this year, most of its programs are oriented toward students.

With that in mind, one of my main projects this summer is going to be conducting a needs assessment with staff across the university to learn what services they want to see from the CWC. This means I get to organize focus groups and interviews to talk to UNC employees about gaps and barriers in services for staff. The information from this needs assessment will be incorporated into next year’s programs.

Along with the staff needs assessment, CWC’s main project this summer is the Moxie Project, which is a combined academic and community engagement project that places UNC students who have completed a summer course on women’s activism in internships with community organizations that advocate on a wide range of gender equity issues.  I will be providing program support, especially by attending and helping out with seminars related to feminism and advocacy at the internship sites. I will also be writing some grant proposals to find funding so Moxie can happen again next year.

More to come on these projects as I learn more about them! Look for another post next Wednesday about my first full week at CWC!

Seth MacFarlane Should Never Have Been the Host of the Oscars

Seth MacFarlane should be publicly shamed and humiliated for everything he said at the Oscars last night. Nothing he said was even remotely funny, and I can tell you why.

First, why is it funny to announce whose boobs you have seen in films?

It’s not. It’s a fact; their boobs were exposed on film. So why did MacFarlane use this as a joke? Well, it must be degrading (being a woman and) having your anatomy exposed on camera. Of course it must have been done for his entertainment, but the actresses should also be embarrassed by this fact. That is the only way that these things could be considered humorous. Beyond the absurdity of his song, four of the scenes in which he thought to bring up in his humor were depictions of rape. That’s just not funny.

Second, you can’t/don’t/shouldn’t ever sexualize a nine year old. But you definitely shouldn’t sexualize and humiliate a nine year old in front of millions of people. Also, she was nominated for an Academy Award- the highest distinction in Hollywood; she doesn’t need his shit, or anyone’s. Quvenzhané Wallis absolutely deserved that award, and Seth Macfarlane is disgusting.

Third, none of the following were funny either:

1)                   Calling Jennifer Aniston a stripper. She wasn’t a stripper, and he think it’s funny because he thinks being a stripper is shameful.

2)                   Making fun of the Kardashians for having dark facial hair. We will probably never know if they do or not, but who cares? It isn’t shameful or funny to live in your body the way it exists.

3)                   It’s not funny to objectify Selma Hayek and it’s racist to say that you can’t understand her just because she’s Latina. She’s an actress; we can all understand her perfectly well.

4)                   Domestic Violence is also, not funny. Making fun of Rihanna and Chris Brown is unacceptable, it’s also old.

Seth MacFarlane does not seem to be able to make jokes without being largely inappropriate, shaming, and derogatory. He should never have been allowed to host such a glamorous and prestigious awards ceremony. It just is not funny to shame women, their actions, or their bodies in front of millions of people. It’s not funny to be racist and to perpetuate racist stereotypes. Seth MacFarlane was a terrible host for the Oscars. He was offensive and harmful, and good lord I’m sure Tina Fey and Amy Poehler would have hosted this too if the Oscars couldn’t pull anyone better than MacFarlane.

Human Trafficking and the Super Bowl

Human trafficking is probably not something that many people were thinking about as they geared up to watch the Super Bowl with their beer and wings this Sunday evening.  I know that, personally, it never crossed my mind.  That’s why I was shocked to see the headlines of several articles this morning claiming that the Super Bowl, one of the biggest sporting events of the year, is “the single largest human trafficking incident in the US”, as stated by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.  With over 70,000 attendees, it shouldn’t be surprising the large number of women brought in to sleep with the many men with extra cash in their pockets, looking for a good time while away from their wives or girlfriends.  High attendance means high demand, and it also means tracking down all the people involved is much more difficult.  In 2009, around 10,000 women, including many minors, were trafficked into the Miami area for Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, according to the Florida Commission Against Human Trafficking.  But while this all somewhat makes sense, in a very disturbing way, it was still startling to me to hear about all of this.  Why is that? For such a major event, why do we not hear more about this incredibly negative aspect of it? I asked many of my friends around campus if they had ever heard anything about sex trafficking and the Super Bowl, and none of them had.  To me, this seems very, very wrong.  And I have to wonder if the people in charge don’t want this to become a hot topic since it would put an extremely negative spin on such a huge moneymaker.  But something needs to be done.  People need to be aware of the ugly consequences of such a huge event and educate themselves on this very real and serious problem.  I really hope that many people will read these articles so that next year, they will be thinking about more than just the game during the Super Bowl.


For more information, please read these articles about trafficking and the Super Bowl:




Support for Survivors of Sexual Assault

The Carolina Women’s Center is deeply committed to preventing sexual assault and relationship violence in all forms on UNC’s campus, and we are  deeply committed to creating services and responses that meet the wide range of  needs of survivors.  We continue to advocate for survivors on campus and within the community.

For a list of resources and information about campus prevention efforts, please go here.

For information about what to do if you or someone you know is assaulted, go here for information about resources and options.

UNC Student Wellness (formerly part of Counseling and Wellness Services) offers education resources about interpersonal violence prevention and response as well as healthy relationships.  To participate in a HAVEN or One Act training (which we recommend highly) please sign up here.

To learn about UNC’s student-based interpersonal violence prevention groups - more information here.

To contact the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, please call 919-967-7273 or  check out their website here.

To contact the Compass Center for Women and Families, please call 919-929-3872 or check out their website here.

For more information or to contact the Carolina Women’s Center, please call us at 962-8305 or email cwc@unc.edu.




2013 Triangle Resource Fair

Triangle Resource Fair

Friday, February 1st, drop by between 4pm-6pm


211A West Cameron Street (across from the Carolina Inn, and across from Hillel)

Spring Semester is a great time to begin looking for local groups and organizations that might provide support, resources, volunteer/intern opportunities, or potential employment. Join us at the Triangle Resource Fair to learn about a number of local (campus and community) organizations. Take charge of your participation in leadership activities and seek out ways to enhance your social and professional networks.

Enjoy catered food, and the possibility of winning a door prize. All attendee’s will be entered into a drawing to win items donated by local organizations and artists. Drawings will take place on the half hour starting at 4:30. Must be present to win.

Participating Organizations Include:


UNC CH Affiliated Groups/Organizations:

  • The Campus Y
  • http://campus-y.unc.edu/
  • Carolina Women’s Center
  • http://womenscenter.unc.edu/
  • Feminist Students United
  • Graduate Professional Student Federation
  • Omega Phi Beta
  • Playmakers Theater
  • Theta Nu Xi
  • Carolina Latino/a Collaborative
  • Sexuality Studies Department
  • Career Services


Community Based Organizations:

  • Crape Myrtle Festival-


  • Internationalist Books & Community Center
  • NC Harm Reduction Coalition
  • NC Hillel
  • Orange County Rape Crisis Center
  • The Compass Center
  • St. Francis of Assisi




The Graduate Student Center is located on Cameron street directly across from NC Hillel. Also, if you are walking down Cameron, pass by the Carolina Inn on your left, cross through the light after passing the Carolina Inn, the Graduate Student Center will be on your left at 211A West Cameron Street.


CWC Alternative Spring Break Trip!

Please join the Carolina Women’s Center for an Alternative Spring Break trip!  We are going to pack up and head to eastern NC to work with local domestic violence, sexual assault, and child serving organizations in March.  The cost for the trip is $60, and the trip will start on the morning of March 9th, with students returning to campus the morning of March 17th.  Participants will need to cover the cost of some incidentals, such as meals on the road.  The CWC will cover the cost of travel, shelter, and most meals during the week.

Please contact Shelley Gist (sgist@live.unc.edu) with any questions.  Applications due by 5pm on January 18, 2013.

Application link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WFBJLWD

Now Accepting Nominations for University Awards for the Advancement of Women!

On behalf of the Offices of the Chancellor and the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, the Carolina Women’s Center is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2013 University Awards for the Advancement of Women.  This award recognizes contributions to the advancement of women at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Each year, three individuals–one faculty member, one staff member, and one undergraduate/graduate student/postdoctoral scholar–may be selected to receive the award. The faculty and staff recipients each receive

$5000 and the undergraduate/graduate student/ postdoctoral scholar recipient receives $2500.  Awardees are honored in a ceremony during the Carolina Women’s Center’s annual Gender Week Celebration in March.

Please submit nominations for women and men who have contributed in one or more of the following ways:

  • Elevated the status of women on campus in sustainable ways;
  • Helped to improve campus policies affecting women;
  • Promoted and advanced the recruitment, retention, and upward mobility of women;
  • Participated in and assisted in the establishment of professional development opportunities for women; and/or
  • Participated in and assisted in the establishment of academic mentoring for women.

**To submit a nomination, please use the online form at:


All faculty and staff nominees must be permanent employees.   No self-nominations or posthumous nominations will be accepted.  Carolina Women’s Center administrators and staff are not eligible for nomination.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, January 11, 2013, at 5:00 p.m.

Previous award winners are:

(2012) Sherryl Kleinman, Beverly Pearson (Yuhasz), Alison Grady

(2011) Lillie Searles, Bob Pleasants, Caroline Fish

(2010) Laurie McNeil, Melinda Manning, Parastoo Hashemi

(2009) Etta Pisano, Aimee Krans, Annie Clark

(2008) Kay Lund, Cookie Newsom, Emily Joy Rothchild

(2007) Barbara Harris, Annette Madden, Emily Dunn,

(2006) Jan Boxill, Terri Houston, Matt Ezzell

Please contact Christi Hurt, Interim Director of the Carolina Women’s Center, via email (christihurt@unc.edu) or by phone (843-5620) if you have questions about the awards or nomination process.

Your Vote Matters!

Do you believe that it’s not important to vote in the presidential election? Is it because you think that the president doesn’t have any power to really change anything?  If so, then my response to you is this:

Over the next four years we have the potential to lose at least one of the members of the Supreme Court.  This means that the president could have the opportunity to pick a replacement member of the court whose ideals vary on issues that have a particularly important influence on people’s lives.  Examples of such issues include access to women’s health and  reproductive care.  For example, if a member of the Supreme Court who is known for their liberal stances retires, they could be replaced by someone who represents the opposite end of the spectrum, which could significantly impact the outcome of new court decisions, as well as affect cases that have already been discussed.

For this reason, and many more it’s very important that we all exercise our right to vote. The president can change and influence things, particularly the Supreme Court.  Four of the Nine Supreme Court justices are 70 or older, making the chance that one or more will retire considerable.  Your rights are at stake, so vote like it.


-Amanda Copeland, WMST Intern for the CWC