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Mark Land
Associate vice president, IU Communications

Last modified: Thursday, April 26, 2012

IU Bloomington launches new initiative to support women on campus

April 26, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington announced that it has launched a new initiative led by the campus's Division of Student Affairs designed to improve the effectiveness of student services and advocacy on gender issues.

The program will result in enhanced staffing for gender-related student services and the consolidation of expertise on issues of importance to all students relating to gender. It is an outgrowth of the first meeting of Interim Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel's advisory group designed to examine how best to serve women at IU Bloomington.

Lauren Robel

Lauren Robel

As part of the initiative, Katrina Reynolds, currently assistant dean and director of student and staff services at the Office of Women's Affairs, will become assistant dean of students for gender issues effective July 1. She will report to Associate Dean for Student Affairs Carol McCord, who will lead the new gender initiative.

Rebekah Olsen also will join the Student Affairs gender issues staff in a similar role. Olsen has been with OWA since 2011 and brings a deep understanding of safety issues affecting women on campus through her role as coordinator of research and the Commission on Personal Safety, a joint program of Student Affairs and OWA.

"Through the creation of this new leadership position and enhanced staffing, Student Affairs has the opportunity to provide stronger and more effective support for students facing gender issues," said IU Bloomington Dean of Students Pete Goldsmith. "The additional resources will allow our office to work even more closely with student groups and other organizations dedicated to addressing issues of critical importance to women on campus such as personal safety, sexual assault, mental health, leadership and professional development."

Robel said the initiative seeks to "measurably improve the lives of students" by bringing previously disparate resources together under the oversight of the Office of Student Affairs.

"By establishing the position of assistant dean of students for gender issues, Student Affairs can provide high-impact services in a central, accessible and highly visible office," Robel said. "This decision reflects the recommendations of the advisory group formed to evaluate services currently provided by OWA, and is just the first in a series of actions we intend to take to create a safe, supportive and empowering climate for all women on the IU Bloomington campus."

Reynolds, who received her undergraduate and law degrees from IU, brings eight years of student services experience to her new role. In her current position she has worked closely with Student Affairs in connection with the Commission on Personal Safety and the Gender Incidents Team, and through advocacy efforts. One of Reynolds' key initiatives, the Women in Science Living Learning Community, will continue to operate though Residential Program Services with support from Student Affairs.

"Student Affairs already does great work on behalf of women on the Bloomington campus," Reynolds said. "I am extremely pleased to build on that partnership as a member of the Student Affairs organization."

McCord credited the OWA for creating a strong foundation of advocacy for women at IU Bloomington.

"We are looking forward to welcoming our new colleagues to Student Affairs," McCord said. "Their expertise and experience will broaden and strengthen our programs on sexual assault awareness and prevention, peer education and advocacy for women. We are honored to continue building on the work done by OWA in these areas, and to add new programs and areas of focus."

Provost Robel and the women's initiatives advisory group will continue to meet in the coming months to discuss other organizational and programing issues related to gender services.

"IU Bloomington has a long history of providing support and advocacy to women on this campus, and that commitment will not waver," Robel said. "Over the coming months, we intend to examine all aspects of our work on behalf women in order to provide the most powerful suite of gender-related services and programs possible."