Women are not feeling the levels of support they feel they should be given on UC campus, noting that facilities are mostly unknown, and are not promoted enough.
With the current, and historical, the climate of sexual abuse in Australian Universities, UC students are not satisfied with the support towards women, or the priorities of the University. Kathy, a first-year student says she had no idea that a Women’s room existed.
“I only ever see Uni promote study help, not plagiarising and some clubs.”, Kathy said.
Among other students, the facility in 1B4 has been found accidentally, or if they had known about it, they express that not a lot of people know about it. The banner outside the room facing building two reads “Women’s Room”, prompting one first year to see if it was truly a funny way to say “women’s toilet”. Although there is a set of toilets outside the space, she had accidentally come across a safe space for women.
The room is located in building 1 level B, through the sliding doors closest to building 2. It can be accessed between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm. Students must first register their student cards to enter the room, by going to the Security Office in building 8 in the concourse.
Anja, who lived on residence last semester says that her experience has been very safe on campus, but notes that she knows women who work at the uni bar get harassed a lot with general grossness and condescending customers, and knows of people who have been assaulted.
“Maybe it’s not as safe as I thought when you delve into it,” she said after some thought.
In August, ANU’s chief operating officer, Chris Grange, admitted to students that the University falls short in terms of support to students. Students like Anna, a third-year, and Claire, in her second, think that UC is not doing enough either. They do know about the room but believe that better ways of spreading awareness of it need to be implemented. Anna thinks there are many ways which could maybe boost the use of the room.
“A good way to spread it is maybe through the UC life Facebook page and maybe some posters around campus. Announcements through canvas may be a good idea too,” she said.
UC’s SRC Women’s officer, Christina Starr, is in charge of the room and is really happy that the room is being used the way it is, but knows that not enough people know about it. Christina says she tries to tell as many people as possible about the room, and that the other ways to find it are through the UC website and SRC info.
Students who find out through word of mouth do not feel it is a substantial method for making people aware of such an important space. UC, being a progressive institution, should take the care to promote such spaces that are all-inclusive, or for other special uses as much as possible.
The Women’s Room on campus in 1B4 is a card activated room that acts as a safe space for identifying/assigned women with free sanitary products and welcomes breastfeeding. It is there to “rewind, relax and regenerate for the many hurdles life and study bring.” Students in their various years of University study believe that more needs to be done, so that more people know about the room, and use it.