There are very few places on MSU’s campus that aren’t open to everyone, but one of them is the Women’s Lounge inside the [student] Union.
Tina Timm, an assistant professor in the College of Social Sciences, feels the lounge is outdated. “This will probably get me in trouble with my feminist friends but it doesn’t make sense to me to have that in this day in age,” Timm said. “If there was a lounge or study area specifically for men, I think there would be a lot of push back.”
Patricia Lowrie, director of the Women’s Resource Center, said the needs the lounge serves have changed with society. Getting rid of the private space would be equivalent to saying women’s needs that are currently being served by the lounge are irrelevant, Lowrie said.
“Women’s needs now are certainly different now than they were in 1925,” she said. “But that does not mean that public space is the appropriate space to serve those needs.”
Opening the lounge to men has been a topic of debate dating back to 1978 when Bruce Guthrie, a history and economics senior, filed a complaint after entering the lounge and being asked to leave. His complaint went on to be dismissed by the by Michigan Civil Rights Commission in Detroit in 1980.
Lowrie said she has yet to hear of male needs that could be satisfied by a lounge.
MP: According to the Title IX portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Wouldn’t a women-only lounge that discriminates against men be in violation of Title IX? Or since Michigan State is required to provide gender equality for its athletic programs, wouldn’t Title IX require that MSU provide equivalent space on its campus for a men-only lounge?