A message from Women’s Center Director, Abby Palko

In my four months as Director of the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center, I have come to understand that leadership is the culmination of a thousand small and large actions undertaken with the best interests of the group as the guiding principle. It is digging into the weeds of fire code regulations and seeing a decade-long picture of services provided in a single frame.  It is making informed decisions that balance competing needs and desires.

Some of us woke up this morning (or never went to sleep) elated at the results of the election; others woke up (or never went to sleep) devastated by the results. In the days and months to come, pundits and citizens will examine the results, looking for insight into why one decision was made rather than the other.

We as a nation, we as a globe, face many serious issues, among them: the climate, an economic structure radically changed by technology and globalization, changing social norms about interpersonal relationships and gender roles, fear and longing to belong. The preamble to our constitution opens, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” Last night was one moment in our efforts to “form a more perfect union,” one moment when we take stock of whence we have come, of what has worked and what hasn’t. Just as the profile of the UVA student body has expanded so far beyond what Jefferson was able to envision when he founded the university, the “who” that is included in “the people of the United States” has grown and changed in the centuries since the Constitution was written. We have growing pains as a result, but we must remember that everyone it includes shares in our common humanity. On behalf of the Women’s Center at UVA, I urge all of us to engage in serious, sustained dialogue about the issues our country faces, to fight for the ideals of the Constitution: domestic tranquility and the blessings of liberty, and to do the hard work of forming this more perfect union.

As President Sullivan noted earlier today, “We define ourselves by a shared commitment to reasoned discourse, mutual respect, and steadfast support for every member of our community regardless of race, religion, or any other human difference. Political elections will come and go. The values that we share will remain a timeless source of affirmation and hope.”

As always, any of you in need of a quiet space may visit our Room to Breathe. We encourage you to read this statement from your student council, take advantage of the safe space offered by Alderman Library, or participate in this open-mic event. For information about additional support services, you can inquire by phone at 434-982-2361 or in person at the Women’s Center.