by Brooke Wolfe, Staff Writer
Jonathan Yglesias joined the Pacific Lutheran University community this year as the men’s coordinator in the Women’s Center.
The men’s coordinator position was created in 2005 under a Department of Justice grant given to PLU. From that grant, the Men Against Violence group and the Men’s Project also took off.
Yglesias said his focus is supporting students who are also interested in social justice.
Jonathan graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a master’s degree in Sociology after previously majoring in Biology and Women’s and Gender studies.
“I accidentally took a women’s studies course,” Yglesias said, “and [in that course] they laid out a lot of language and concepts that I didn’t know I was already familiar with but that I just didn’t have names for.”
After that class, Yglesias added Women’s and Gender Studies to his Biology degree before starting the gender violence intervention post-baccalaureate degree that was a part of his master’s.
Yglesias has been at PLU for six weeks and organizes the Men’s Project and the group Men Against Violence. The group’s purpose is to end sexual and physical abuse against women.
Along with discussing aspects of abuse, the group also gives men the opportunity to talk openly about growing up as a male in this society, expectations and masculinity.
The Men Against Violence group is primarily for men, as the name suggests, but like the Women’s Center, it continues to be gender inclusive. Women are welcomed to join the conversations brought to the group, Yglesias said, because other opinions and view points are appreciated in expanding the conversation.
Leading those changes is the possibility of renaming the Women’s Center to show more gender inclusivity.
The Women’s Center heads events like Take Back the Night and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is coming up this spring. The Men’s Project also holds a Mother’s Day Brunch and is planning to continue the Men’s Health Awareness campaigns on campus.
“I think there are good collaborations not just among offices, but of different student groups [at PLU] that I haven’t seen on other campuses,” Yglesias said.
”Partnerships with the Diversity Center, Residential Life, and Student Athletics are all possibilities moving forward.”
The Men’s Project and the Women’s Center are determined to continue outreach from their office, and keep reaching students who are not already involved.
“I am very grateful to be here,” Yglesias said.