Student activists at Michigan State University in Lansing are this week staging a sit-in on campus and demanding that the school re-open a single-gender lounge that it closed over the summer.
The students, who say they have gathered 600 signatures on a petition in support of their cause, gathered at the student union on campus Wednesday to protest the closing of the women-only study lounge. They said the lounge is a vital safe space for women on campus.
“It’s used by Muslim women so they can remove their hijabs. It’s used by sexual assault survivors so they can distance themselves from their attacker,” Alyse Maksimoski, a senior zoology student who organized the event, told WSYM-TV. “It’s used by a vast majority on the campus as a safe space from predation and harassment.”
The lounge, which had been open since 1925, was opened to all students over the summer. Administrators turned it into a gender-neutral space after a professor filed a civil rights complaint about it; Economics Professor Mark Perry argued that allowing only women into the lounge was discriminatory against men.