Gender Inclusiveness on the WSU campus

Larry Wallace, Wayne State University Update 04/28/2016 EST 9:47 am

As time progresses, Wayne State University is striving for a gender inclusive campus to make students feel more included. 

Gender Inclusive restroom sign inside of Community Arts

While encouraging students to aim higher, Wayne State University is also motivating people to support gender inclusiveness on campus.

The push for gender inclusiveness at the institution started in fall 2015, when WSU announced their first ever gender inclusive homecoming court.

Homecoming court
WSU’s gender inclusive homecoming court

WSU student and American Association of University women President, Kajun Lloyd said she believes that the gender homecoming court should be tradition that WSU aims to keep alive.

“I thought the whole idea of this year’s homecoming was great,” said Lloyd. It allowed more students to feel included and eliminated gender roles. I definitely think the revise homecoming court should be one that stays around for years to come.”

However, Lloyd do believes that there are a few adjustments that can be made to the gender inclusive homecoming court.

Aside from the homecoming court, during fall semester, students were introduced to a brand new student center, which came a long with gender neutral restrooms on every floor. However, some believe that there should be gender inclusive restrooms in every building.

WSU alumna and transgender woman Ahya Simone, believes having gender neutral bathrooms at every location on campus will make the transgender community feel more included on campus.

“Honestly, I think Wayne State should have been pushed the gender inclusive restrooms on campus,” said Simone. “ Because for the longest time, even when I went here, so many trans students felt left out because they couldn’t use the bathroom that they wanted. But now since there are gender inclusive restrooms, I think trans students won’t feel like outsiders.”

Dean of Students Student Activities Coordinator, Jamilah Jackson also believes that there should be gender inclusive restrooms at other locations on campus.

However, Director of Office of Multicultural Student Engagement Dr. Leonardo Savala believes that the university is making progress with the gender inclusive restrooms inside of the new student center.

Below is a map that displays the one place on campus (student center) where students have the option to use a gender inclusive restroom.


Recently, the Mort Harris Recreation center published a press release informing students that there is no changing in the gym’s restroom. In fact, all changing must be made in either the male or female locker room. Some believe this is problem, because the gym does not offer gender inclusive restrooms or locker rooms for students who do not identify with their birth sex.

Mort harris
WSU’s Mort Harris Recreation Center

Ashton Niedzwiecki, WSU’s current GLBTA President, said he thinks the Mort Harris should definitely provide gender inclusive locker rooms.

“I think gender inclusive locker rooms are a great idea,” said Niedzwiecki. “Hell if you don’t want students changing in the bathroom, inside of a stall, then you should provide them with a locker room that they actually feel safe and comfortable changing in.

Director of Campus Recreation Christy Nolan said that there has not really been a push for gender inclusive restrooms and locker rooms to go inside the university’s gym.

“The Mort Harris Recreation center is a pretty new building,”said Nolan.  And throughout the years of me working here, no has really advocated to add gender inclusive restrooms or locker rooms at this location.”

Lastly, WSU has just initiated a new gender inclusive housing option, which allows students to live at either Chatsworth, Deroy or University Towers with the opposite sex.

campus housing
WSU’s Deroy, Chatsworth and University Towers

Simone said this is great because when she was attending WSU, the housing department constantly paired her with male roommates and it made her experience living on campus a bad one.

“While I was attending Wayne State, the housing department kept pairing me with male roommates, even though I said I felt very uncomfortable,” she said. “So every single male roommate I had, I did not get along with. I did not enjoy living on campus until I had the chance to get a single room.”

While a lot of people believe WSU has done a great job their gender inclusive movement this year, some students like Jame Mallare thinks that there are still some improves needed to be made to make more students feel included.

WSU’s CAPS Department

Larry Wallace, Wayne State University Update 04/26/2016 EST 1:23 pm

Wayne State University’s CAPS Table at new student orientation

The Counseling and Psychological Services on campus is meant to provide students with a solid foundation of consultation and outreach, said WSU Associate Professor and CAPS Director Jeffrey Kuentzel.

CAPS is a multi-purposed program that focuses on helping students with anxiety, depression, stress, social problems, substance abuse, and other personal and emotional problems.

Psychology and anthropology Major Ieyeshia Bates said CAPS provided her with different viewpoints of a former problem.

“CAPS actually helped me a lot,” said Bates. “I went to see a counselor there and she gave me a different perspective of a problem I was facing with close friends and relatives. By the end of my session, I had a new, positive outlook on the situation.”

According to the university’s website, “CAPS promotes a culture understanding and growth through professional collaboration among the dynamic staff, which consists of licensed professional counselors, psychologists, and social workers.”

Kuentzel thinks the CAPS employees demonstrate deep passion and care for each student who takes advantage of the program.

“Our excellent professional counselors are experts who care deeply about WSU students and understand their needs,” said Kuentzel. “They provide a variety of helpful services.”

Bates believes the staff played a major role in making her experience with the program a positive one.

“The experience with CAPS was a good breath of fresh air,” said Bates. The workers are so nice and they are super eager to help you. They definitely do their job and know what they are doing when it comes to giving you good advice. Their experience really do shine.”

CAPS also guarantees a confidentiality policy. Bates said the presence of confidentiality eventually allowed her to be more open about her problems.

“When I first met with my counselor the first thing she explained was the rule of confidentiality,” said Bates. “After hearing that rule, I instantly developed a sense of secureness and safeness with my counselor. And I even felt more willing to tell her about some of the challenges I was going through.”

Just like it helped her, Bates thinks CAPS can be beneficial to other WSU students.

“I truly believe that CAPS have the capability to help other students,” said Bates. “The reason for this is because the department consist of highly qualified individuals who know how to deal with situations. Also, because I believe everyone needs a shoulder to lean on at some point in their life and I think CAPS always provides the shoulder.”

Today, CAPS is continuing to make changes, which will allow them to bring support to more students.

“We have been expanding our training program dramatically,” said Kuentzel. “We have also increased our pursuit of external grant for research and special programming. Our goal is to keep getting better at what we do and supporting larger number of students.”

For more information regarding CAPS, please visit caps.wayne.edu.

 

 

Itś Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

Larry Wallace, Wayne State University Update 04/06/2016 EST 11:02 AM

In Feb 2014, Social Media Scholar and Youth Researcher Danah Boyd published a book titled ¨Itś Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.¨ Throughout the book, Boyd entices the reader by revealing some of the major myths that deal with teens’ use of Internet and social media sites. Boyd also challenges the readerś belief surrounding this topic by discussing the privacy, safety, danger and bullying that occurs through online communication.

In the beginning of the book, Boyd instantly tries to prove her credibility to readers by describing herself as ¨one of the first cohort of teens who grew up online in the 1990ś. One of the strongest points Boyd describes is when she explains some of the main reasons why teens/young adults are making the decision to turn to Internet for entertainment. She mentions the reason why so many teens are spending countless amount of hours on social media is because how narrow and circumscribed many of these teens’ lives have become. For instance, being closely watched by parents, being grounded, not allowing to ride on a bus unchaperoned, etc.

Throughout the book, one might notice how Boydś writing style comes off as very academic and scholarly. She even uses ¨properly, formal conducted¨ interviews with teens. The authorś writing style really made the piece of writing seem like a research paper or thesis instead of a normal book. This will come across as a weak point because some readers might instantly get bored or fed up with Boydś writing style after reading a few chapters. Another weak point in the book would be Boydś failure to describe the social media apps she was discussing. Some readers may not know what an Instagram or Whatsapp is. But, the book definitely would have been better if she took the time to explain and even give a brief history overview of each app.

All in all, the book was very informative and helpful.

Related reviews:

It´s Complicated By Danah Boyd 

Itś Complicated review-´online space is teenagers’only public space 

 

 

Journalists Using Social Media to Express Their Opinions

Larry Wallace, Wayne State University, Update 04/04/2016 EST 10:40 AM

If you are an individual who identifies as a journalist, it is usually not a good idea to use social media as a platform to express opinions. The reason for this is because as a journalist you are expected to remain unbiased and this means avoiding expressing opinions on all contentious issues. Publishing opinionated Tweets and posts can easily can easily become associated with the news organization you work for and can ruin its reputation as an impartial outlet.

When thinking of ways to avoid providing opinions online, it is also a good idea to avoid most conversational topics no matter what. Always think whether a journalist may, some day, cover different topics, or if one employeeś opinion might impact another employeeś ability to report the news.

Providing opinion on entertainment or sports might be acceptable for journalists who do not cover these beats. However, ¨gushing praise or angry vitriol may still be an issue.¨ Also, if a news organization is open to certain point of views, it may not be a bad idea for a journalist to express his or her opinion. In fact, if this is the case, the journalist may want to fit in with the character of the operation and produce some opinions to the public.

According to The Buttry Diary, in traditional journalism, expressing opinions are fine for editorial writers and columnists, but can be troublesome or forbidden for reporters and some editors. So that is why opinion is sometimes viewed differently depending on the particular journalistś circumstances.

Personally, I think opinions from journalists are never okay. Part of our job is to be unbiased and that is what I think we should do at all times.