By Phoebe Laidley-Collias
Following the layoff of Micalee Sullivan, former director of the Center for Women and Gender, the school has appointed new staff to work at the Center. In addition to Gabby Elmoussaoui, a current graduate student at the college and current coordinator of the CWG, the school has also brought Kelsy HenneBarrows from the Bergeron Wellness Center to assist in running the CWG and to collaborate on projects with Elmoussaoui.
Vice President of Student Affairs Dawn Ellinwood said the decision to let Sullivan go was purely a financial decision. The school budget could not afford to continue to pay Sullivan’s salary.
“Micalee wasn’t replaced,” Ellenwood said. “Gabby was hired through the CMAS [Center for Multicultural Affairs and Services] as a graduate coordinator for CMAS.” This was decided after Sullivan’s leave. The school wanted the CWG to remain open for structure and support for the school. Elmoussaoui’s job is to oversee the clubs and events that meet in the CWG.
HenneBarrows is finishing her psychology degree by working at the Bergeron Wellness Center and will be aiding Elmoussaoui with programs.
On Monday evening, HenneBarrows and Elmoussaoui hosted a “Tea and Talk” session in the CWG that was open to the St. Michael’s community. Although the turnout was small, there was no lack of conversation.
“It has been not easy with the sudden departure of Micalee,” HenneBarrows said. “Nor was the transition of the CWG. There is still shock from the students.” Both HenneBarrows and Elmoussaoui are aware of how much the Center meant to students when Sullivan was there. They said they wish to continue to keep the CWG running for the St. Michael’s community with all that was offered when Sullivan was there.
During the “Tea and Talk,” the group discussed ideas about how to grow the CWG’s programming and outreach. The guests vocalized their concern about hours of operation, asking for better hours and a more set schedule.
Common Ground President Deirdre McPhee ’18 said outreach has already been established between the club and the Center. “We are very excited to be working with both of them and are looking forward to collaborating,” she wrote in an email interview. “Gabby has done a fantastic job of reaching out to me and asking what more the CWG could be doing for St. Mike’s LGBTQIA+ students.”
Amidst the changes this semester, the Center remains open with the new management and its future appears strong.