The Gender Resource and Advocacy Center (GRAC) is a crucial resource for LGTBQ+ students on Willamette's Salem campus. In the last year, there has been some uncertainty surrounding the center’s funding as the federal grant given to Willamette to fund the GRAC will run out on Sep. 30, 2022. The university has decided to take over funding for the GRAC once the grant expires and will be hiring a new director, and is currently in the process of developing an annual budget for the GRAC.
A hiring notice for the director position for the GRAC has been posted, and a hiring committee is being formed with hopes to have someone in the role by the end of the semester. Andrea Doyle Hugmeyer, the current director of the GRAC, will be holding the new position of Assistant Dean for Community Care and Inclusion in Student Affairs once the new director has been hired. A search committee has been created to start looking for stakeholders, which Hugmeyer was involved in creating. Overall, Hugmeyer said the hiring of a new director in her place is a “move towards a more sustainable center.” The director will be hired as a full-time position, and will be able to oversee and continue all of the work that Hugmeyer and student volunteers and employees have built in the last four years.
Hugmeyer stated that “for someone who started in a very part-time position four years ago, where I worked 10 hours a week doing direct advocacy services, and then we obtained a federal grant in hopes of building capacity for a more sustainable program that supports victims and survivors on campus... seeing that through as intended” is “the most exciting and most rewarding aspect of this change.” No new positions have been created within the GRAC for the time being, but there is an awareness that it would be helpful to get an assistant director or a coordinator that would enhance work for the LGBTQ+ community.
The GRAC provides crucial resources for the Willamette community. Students can access free chest binders and breast forms through Binders and Breast Forms 4 Bearcats (B4B), contraceptives and the Sexual Assault and Response Advocates (SARAs). Marginalized students can also access specific hours and resources in Sparks Fitness Center through the Lift Up project. More information on B4B and Lift Up can be found here.