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Women’s Center remains open

The Women’s Center keeps its doors open following departure of former director

Students create door hangers at TGIF event

Students create door hangers at TGIF event

Megan Swett

Megan Swett

Students create door hangers at TGIF event


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One of the many changes that impacted UIS over the summer was the abrupt departure of Lynn Otterson, the now former-director of the UIS Women’s Center for over 20 years. When Otterson retired over the summer, leaving the student-oriented center without the director it needed, questions arose over whether or not the center would keep its doors open.

Clarice Ford, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, temporarily took charge of the center, and will remain in position until the university can find a suitable replacement.

According to Ford, the new director will have to be “very student centered, very aware of women issues globally, and someone who is approachable.”

Bhanu Sheetah Muthyala has been a graduate assistant with the center since fall 2016. Of the changes, she said she was “pleasantly surprised at how everyone has banded together to help our staff lead the Women’s Center.” Muthyala noted how various administrators and campus employees have offered their help to keep the center going.

“Of course, the situation and lack of director isn’t ideal,” she said,“but we are all working together very well.”

The center currently plans to maintain much of their original programming, including Thank Goodness It’s Friday(TGIF), a series of weekly gaming and crafting events hosted at the center in SLB 15. Another event they plan to keep around is Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.), which is co-sponsored by the UIS Police Department.

According the police department website, R.A.D is a “program of realistic, self-defense tactics and techniques” taught by three certified instructors from the department. Those interested in signing up can do so by contacting the Women’s Center.

While Ford is confident that student favorites, like TGIF, will stick around after the new director is hired, she does anticipate some program changes.

“I think whoever is hired will ask students for their opinions and suggestions on things to do at the Women’s Center,” Ford said.

As it stands, neither Ford nor Muthyala anticipate establishing any additional programs before a new director is in place.

“As of right now,” Muthyala said, “we are only taking on traditional programs –RAD, TGIF, and outreach events such as the involvement expo. We won’t be tackling larger events until we get a new director.”

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Award winning, student run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield..
Women’s Center remains open