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Kristin Adduci: Putting up walls, all students suffer

I'm writing you in regards to a decision I have been made aware of, that I believe will compromise the safety of students on campus, and will prevent a vital resource from being able to fulfill its mission at the University of North Dakota. I'm a...

I’m writing you in regards to a decision I have been made aware of, that I believe will compromise the safety of students on campus, and will prevent a vital resource from being able to fulfill its mission at the University of North Dakota. I’m a proud alumni; I completed my graduate work at UND in December of 2006. I was fortunate to have worked at the UND Women’s Center as a Graduate Service Assistant during my time there. When I worked at the Women’s Center I saw students that came because they needed a safe haven.

The Women’s Center is located on Hamline Street currently; however, in the next week it is being forced to move to the UND Student Union. This move has been supported by administration as a way to consolidate the other student services into one. The Women’s Center will be forced to give up its safe haven for students, and is being forced to move to the small sterile environment at the UND Student Union. Take the time right now to imagine the unthinkable; you are a victim of a sexual assault. You need help now, but have nowhere to turn.  Instead of being able to discreetly and quietly come to the inviting, confidential, warm environment that the UND Women’s Center has to offer, instead you are forced to enter the Student Union.  You feel exposed because you have to pass by other students and other departments that have no business in knowing why you are visiting the Women’s Center. Unless the rest of the world has been living under a rock for the last 10 years most of us know that sexual assaults, rapes, and domestic incidents happen at an alarming rate on and off college campuses. When students have been victims of these horrible crimes they often have nowhere to turn. The administrative structures on college campuses are not welcoming to victims, and law enforcement can be intrusive and traumatic for any victim to turn to.
The Women’s Center provides the safe haven that students deserve in order to receive the support and information they need.  The Women’s Center works to support any victim of sexual and interpersonal violence. The staff will support any student regardless of whatever path they choose. The center not only provides the safe haven for those that have been victimized during their time as students at UND, they also provide informational seminars, The Annual Clothesline Project, advocacy, information and referral, IMPACT Personal Safety classes, and most of all a hug when you need it most.  I was lucky enough to have worked at the center for 2.5 years. In my time there I met several survivors of sexual and domestic violence.  I know personally that removing this vital service from the house on Hamlin road is not only a travesty it’s huge brick wall blocking all the students at UND from receiving the assistance they deserve. I call upon the administration at UND to reconsider their decision, and to put student’s lives first. The first priority of any college or university campus should always be student safety.Adduci is a UND graduate Alumni, class of 2006.

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