Bucknell University, like most colleges, has a lot of “resource” centers. I remember as a freshman being curious about these mysterious centers of resources, particularly the Women’s Resource Center (WRC). I’m a woman. I like resources. The logical conclusion is that I would love the WRC. Yet it quickly became clear to me that the “resources” offered by the WRC were a little too left-wing for my tastes.

In my first three years here, I spent a good deal of time trying to make the WRC more balanced. I wanted pro-life links added to their website alongside the pro-choice ones. I wanted them to sponsor conservative feminists like Christina Hoff Sommers in addition to the left-wing speakers they were already sponsoring, like Catherine MacKinnon and Susan Estrich. I just wanted some balance to their agenda. Heck, I wanted them to acknowledge the fact that they had a biased agenda. But this year I’ve had a change of attitude with the WRC. Forget about balanced programming; the WRC shouldn’t exist. There is nothing the WRC does that couldn’t be done by other groups.

First, I should give you a little background on the WRC. I’ve had three years to debate the WRC directors on political and “gender” issues. I’ve talked to three different WRC directors, and there has been one common bond in how they’ve communicated with me: the WRC mission statement. No matter what question I ask them, they always answer by reciting their mission statement (regardless of its relevance to my question). So for the sake of those readers who have not engaged in such enthralling debate with a WRC director, allow me to share the WRC mission statement with you:

Educate about gender and its implications.

Advocate for equity.

Celebrate the contributions of women to society and culture.

Empower students and community members to reach their full potential in a world where gender categories have enduring influence.

Quite catchy, really. There are even some words in bold. That’s always nice for a mission statement. But it is a little too broad to fully understand the WRC. So the next logical place to look is at the “resources” the WRC provides. Bucknell students who actually read those all-campus emails will have noticed that the WRC sponsors a lot of events. Recently there has been a critical media literacy film series including such feminine gems as “Independent Media in a Time of War,” “Outfoxed” (about FoxNews media mogul Rupert Murdoch), and “Rich Media, Poor Democracy.” There are also the annual events like Sex Discussed Here, the Safer Sex Forum, and the Love Your Body Fair. And who could forget when the WRC educated Bucknell students about domestic violence by hanging up T-shirts in the LC for the Clothesline Project?

Now, I might not be the biggest fan of these events, but there could certainly be a place for these events at Bucknell. Different types of events contribute to an atmosphere of open exchange of ideas and informed debate on campus. But why do the events need to be conducted by the WRC?

There is certainly a liberal agenda to the events, which would be fine if they were sponsored by, say, liberal student groups, but it seems highly inappropriate to have a university office in charge of spreading feminist propaganda. There are many active feminist organizations on campus, and it makes a lot more sense to have them sponsoring these events instead of a university office that supposedly represents all of the women on campus.

As for the other events, Bucknell already has that crazy “condom lady” doing safe-sex events, not to mention academic departments with a more vested interest in, say, a film series on journalism. And if students really needed information on health issues, don’t forget about Health Services. In fact, there has already been a move in this direction. Last spring the WRC sponsored a bus trip to Washington, DC, for a pro-choice rally. This year a similar bus trip was sponsored this time by SIRENS, not the WRC. I can only hope that the trend continues.

The inevitable objection to disbanding the WRC concerns victims of rape and violence. Now we get to the one thing that the WRC does that is useful: assisting the victims of rape and violence. Someone needs to be available on campus to assist victims of these horrible crimes. The WRC claims to fill this need. That seems like a reasonable justification for the WRC’s existence. Then I realized that there already is such a resource, and they are more qualified to help victims than the WRC is. The answer, of course, is Psychological Services.

If you had any other distressing problem in your life, you would go to Psych Services; why should rape or violent relationships be different? It seems a lot more credible and reliable to go to Heath Services or Psych Services in a situation like that. I would even be in favor of having a person at Psych Services in charge of just helping victims of sexual assault and violence. That person would be highly qualified, and I imagine a lot more practical than a whole University office.

So, the fact that everything the WRC does can seemingly be done by other groups on campus (not to mention the myriad of great off-campus resources like the local Pregnancy Care Center and Susquehanna Valley Women in Transition) leads me to the conclusion that the WRC is a poor utilization of university resources. Why should Bucknell continue to waste its time with an office that is eating up university funds and not offering anything unique to the campus community?