By A. Lehman
As KU’s Women’s Center celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, Director Christine Price is hoping for all students to utilize the centers on campus for support, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
Price attended Millersville University for her undergraduate degree. While there, she had an internship in the Women’s Center, beginning her women’s opportunities journey.
After MU, she moved to San Jose State in California to continue educating about diverse populations of students.
Price moved back to Pennsylvania and came to KU in 2002. She worked for residence life for 17 years as the assistant director for programming and leadership development.
While at KU, she spent time with Grace Hill, former director of the Women’s Center, learning more about diverse populations. Hill later chose Price to take over as director of the Women’s Center, beginning her position in March of 2016. Price is also the director of the GLBTQ resource center on campus.
“This is my dream job,” Price says about her director positions on campus.
Brit Barlup, graduate assistant in the GLBTQ resource center and the Women’s Center, said Price does so much for everyone on campus and takes time out of her day to help anyone in need.
“She’s like the mom here,” Barlup said about Price.
Something most students and parents are concerned about is sexual safety on campus. When asked how she personally affects the safety of students, she gave a huge list of services that are available on campus.
The Women’s Center and the GLBTQ resource centers are locations on campus that stress sexual crime prevention and provide support to survivors of sexual crimes; this is something that is unique to Price’s centers.
Anyone who works with Price in her offices partakes in HEART training, a department whose mission is to promote sexual health and sexual violence awareness.
Price applied to become a partner of the “It’s on Us” group, a movement to end sexual assault. She also applied for the “It’s on Us” grant; the university has received this grant for the past three years, thanks to Price.
In addition to partnerships with these two organizations, Price also organizes speakers to talk to the university about sexual assault and sexual violence prevention. Some of the groups that have come to the university are “Men Can Stop Rape,” “End Rape on Campus,” “Respect My Red” and “1 in 6.” “1 in 6” is an organization that focuses on sexual crimes against men, a topic that typically gets less recognition than female-effected sexual crimes.
Price explained that those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community are more vulnerable to sexual crimes. The vulnerability could potentially come from having fewer family networks and less familial support. Trans individuals are more likely to be at risk of violent sexual crimes. In addition to the vulnerability, crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to go under-reported.
Chief John Dillion, of KU Public Safety, provided the yearly statistics for sexual crimes. In 2017, there were 13 rape cases, four cases of domestic violence, 32 cases of dating violence and eight fondling cases. For the size of the campus, this is a low amount of sexually based crimes.
William Lendzinkski, the assistant director of clinical services at the Health and Wellness Center, states that in a single year, greater than 800 students partake in reproductive health services on campus. This could involve birth control, STI testing and symptom investigation. KU is aggressive in screening in sexual health.
The Women’s Center was founded in 1988 by Dr. Constance P. Dent, the center opened the following year. The first director was Dr. Sandra McSwine.
With the 30-year anniversary, Price continues into her third year as director. She wants students to know that both the Women’s Center and the GLBTQ+ resource centers are open to all.