Centre gets go-ahead
Men’s issues the focus of SFU initiative
At university campuses across the country, female students use women’s centres for counselling services, self-defence classes and other resources they need.
There are few equivalents for men. But SFU student Keenan Midgley is looking to change that.
Midgley, treasurer of the Simon Fraser Student Society, spearheaded a motion that will see $30,000 allocated for a men’s centre at SFU.
‘There are men’s issues that aren’t being addressed on campus and in society.’
— Keenan Midgley
“We have a lot more money in our operating budget this year compared to last year,” said Midgley, “and we felt this was a worthy issue to fund.
“We have a women’s centre, and they do a great job at addressing women’s issues, but there are men’s issues that aren’t being addressed on campus and in society.”
UBC School of Nursing professor John Ollife agreed, citing higher suicide rates among males, but lower reports of depression, as evidence that more safe spaces are needed for men to discuss health issues.
“Guys are good at ending their lives, but not so good at seeking help,” he said. “Men’s depression often manifests itself differently. Guys are using substances to blunt their issues or treat their depression.
“We see irritability, depression, violence . . . as symptoms of depression, but they’re categorized as different manly behaviours that we deal with in the courts rather than in medical practice.”
Before the motion was passed, a video was made by some SFU students who were against the idea. On the SFU Women’s Centre FAQ Internet page, the first sentence to the question “where is the men’s centre?” is “The simple answer is that the men’s centre is everywhere else.”
But Midgley said that opponents have been receptive to the centre after hearing its aims and being assured that it will not be a men’s “club” to perpetuate stereotypes.