As a first-year student at Michigan State, my exploration of all that campus has to offer is far from over. However, as I’ve made my way through the many landmarks, as a female I was surprised to discover the women’s lounge in the Union.
A quick check of MSU’s history tells that it has been around for nearly a century, but its existence today is dated. I find it insulting that a forward-thinking university would condone separating women from men in academia.
This practice is extremely damaging to learning and research, and cannot be considered an acceptable institution. Keeping this relic of a room only perpetuates a chauvinistic attitude that Michigan State should be striving to do away with.
This year in particular, the university has emphasized fostering differences as a source of growth, evident in President Lou Anna K. Simon’s October 2011 email to students regarding racist incidents on campus, in which she reminds the student body “each of us has a responsibility that extends beyond respect and tolerance to being an active part of shaping the community we want MSU to be.”
Drawing from this encouragement given by President Simon, it seems only natural that we should work to rid ourselves of facets of the past that separate students as well as create barriers to learning in our university. Replacing the women’s lounge with a gender neutral area to facilitate and encourage further learning is a much more reasonable option. Gender discrimination is by no means an issue that has been resolved, but only through our positive changes can we reduce its impact on campus.
The women’s lounge is a detriment to the academic community and the values that Michigan State University stands for. The university has created divisions instead of encouraging a free forum, and has damaged student opportunities to grow as individuals outside of gender constructs.
Elise Thompson, political theory and constitutional democracy sophomore