Office of Women's Affairs redistributes services

Though the Office for Women’s Affairs no longer exists in name, many of its services continue to exist.

OWA was officially disbanded July 1, 2012, and the tasks and services it provided were assigned to other offices and facilities at IU.

“I think the administration looked at the office and realized they were duplicating a lot of services,” said Katrina Reynolds, assistant dean of students. “They decided to consolidate.”

Reynolds said that based on the recommendations of a committee of three former OWA deans and several women who worked with the office, the Office of the Provost made the decision to redistribute the OWA’s responsibilities.

According to a brochure printed by the OWA, the mission of the office was to “provide advocacy services to women faculty, staff and students.”

When it was operating, the OWA provided information and support for gender-related issues in the workplace and in the classroom.

Reynolds currently works in the Office of the Dean of Students and does similar work, but only for students. She said some students did not know that OWA services were now being provided by the Dean of Students office and had to search to find them. She is trying to reach out to graduate and international students so they know where to go.

“Undergraduates know to go to the Dean of Students, but graduate students don’t always think of that,” she said.

When Reynolds worked with OWA, she handled cases of sexual assault, bullying, stalking and conflicts with supervisors or professors. She said she considered herself an advocate for staff and students.

“We can’t fix all concerns, but we can be the place where they can be voiced,” Reynolds said.

Although they are not consolidated in one office, these services are still available from different offices on campus. Catherine Dyar, chief of staff for the Office of the Provost, said students who need to access resources and services that the OWA provided should call either the Office of the Provost or the Office of the Dean of Students.

“We are making sure no one gets lost in the shuffle and every issue is addressed where it needs to be,” Reynolds said.

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