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For the Record: Dr. Renee LaFleur

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

Dr. Renee LaFleur is the Director of the Center for Women and Gender Equality as well as an associate professor of history at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

I had her on my show, which you can listen to here, at the end of the Fall 2019 semester, and we talked about the Center. LaFleur has high hopes for the future of the Center, as well as high hopes for the campus of UT Martin. The show aired on Friday, Feb. 7 at 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

The Center for Women and Gender Equality has been open for 11 years. Dr. Teresa Collard, a communications professor at UT Martin, started the Center. It is currently located in room 255 of the Paul Meek Library on UT Martin's Main Campus. The Center reopened last year in the library after being housed in the Grove Apartments.

The Center hosts a WRAP (Women and Men's Rape Assistance Program) advocate from 1-5 p.m. on Mondays for people experiencing domestic or sexual assault or abuse.

There is a lactation room, which is the only one on campus, and that is for mothers who need to feed or pump.

The Center also has Period Supplies Drives in October so that they can provide students experiencing period poverty feminine products in discreet brown bags. The supplies can be found on a shelf outside of the Center for Women and Gender Equality.

They also host educational sessions, like Domestic Violence Awareness and the lunchtime speaker series.

LaFleur believes that every student should feel safe, welcomed and represented on campus.

Students in the LGBTQ+ community may, LaFleur said, "look for clues while they're in professors' offices" as to whether the professor will welcome them. "I want to create a more welcoming place for all students, but that's one that I'm focusing on right now."

During the interview, LaFleur donned a pin claiming "representation matters."

"Having a diverse group on every committee that makes any decision anywhere is so important so that you get all different types of perspectives and you can really make the university a place that's welcoming to everybody."

The Women and Gender Symposium is coming up; LaFleur said she is looking forward to it. They are focusing on women in leadership roles, hoping to build off of the stories of suffragettes.

LaFleur and other professors are working on creating a Women's Leadership Institute. The group is designed for "emerging leaders who have leadership qualities but don't recognize it in themselves."

In addition to all of her work at the Center, LaFleur is also a professor. LaFleur said her favorite class to teach is Women in American History. The Spring 2020 class also includes a travel study component. The group is going to Nashville, D.C. and London over a span of 10 days.

For more information about the Center for Women and Gender Equality, contact LaFleur at

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