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University announces change in leadership, location for Carolina Women's Center


Updated Nov. 28 at 4:44 p.m.:

In a campus-wide email statement sent on Monday, University Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz announced alongside Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Leah Cox that the Carolina Women's Center would be moving to 215 West Cameron Ave and welcoming new leadership. 

"For more than 25 years, the center has served as a supportive hub to address gender-related issues for students, faculty and staff, and we are delighted to bring fresh energy to this space," they said in the statement. 

The center, according to the email, aims to "empower individuals, raise awareness about gender-related issues and contribute to the creation of an equitable campus culture." Among other services, it offers lactation spaces, parental leave information, caregiver support and support to those facing domestic or sexual violence crisis.

Shauna Harris will become the center's new director on Jan. 2, taking over for Gloria Thomas who has headed the center since 2016.  Harris is currently assistant dean for student affairs in the School of Education and has worked with housing and residence life, women’s leadership initiatives, advising, student leadership and engagement, as well as graduate student recruitment and retention

Harris studies identity development in biracial women, mid-management supervision and student engagement on campus, the email said. According to the School of Education's website, Harries values the "holistic development of students and cultivating meaningful experiences that will support their academic, personal and professional goals."

Shelley Kennedy, a violence prevention coordinator in Student Affairs and adjunct faculty member in the women’s and gender studies department in the College of Arts and Sciences, will be the center’s assistant director.

"I am excited to return to the Carolina Women's Center as it enters this new phase of growth under Dr. Harris' leadership," Kennedy said in a statement. "I look forward to strengthening the Center's programming and partnerships; bringing a spotlight to gender-related issues on campus; and developing new opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to engage in gender equity work."

According to the Women's and Gender Studies website, Kennedy's work has centered around gender equity and violence prevention in higher education and nonprofits, including previous work at the center and Orange County Rape Crisis Center. 

"Under these leaders, the center looks to enhance its engagement with the community, including fostering closer collaboration with students, faculty and staff and providing internship and work opportunities," the email said.

According to a statement from Media Relations, The University Office of Diversity and Inclusion is working to create a welcoming space at the Center’s new location, which plans to open sometime in January. Guskiewicz and Cox said in the email that they are "excited" to see the center expand upon and report to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in order to better support collaborative efforts.

"Harris’ and Kennedy’s passion for this work makes them ideal leaders. Please join us in congratulating them on these roles, which will help to build our community together and ensure that Carolina remains a place that all Tar Heels are proud to call home," the email said.


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Lauren Rhodes

Lauren Rhodes is the 2024 university editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as an assistant editor and senior writer for the university desk. Lauren is a sophomore pursuing a double major in media and journalism and political science with a minor in politics, philosophy and economics.