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Center for Women's Studies and Services (1969-1996) | Special Collections & University Archives

Name: Center for Women's Studies and Services (1969-1996)
Variant Name: CWSS, CCS

Historical Note:

Established in 1969, the Center for Women’s Studies and Services (CWSS) was a multi-dimensional and non-profit organization that maintained educational, cultural, political, and service programs.  CWSS was dedicated to advancing the cause of women’s rights and has a nationwide membership open to men and women.  It was the first women’s liberation group in San Diego and the first women’s center in Southern California. The Center was founded after group of women broke away from what would become the Women's Studies program at San Diego State University, in order to focus on creating tangible social change related to women's issues.

CWSS was committed to developing and maintaining cooperative relationships with other community-based and nationally-oriented organizations.  The Center actively participated in a variety of feminist, social service and inter-movement coalitions, and served as headquarters for the National Feminist Therapists' Association.

CWSS was comprised of four major components: Storefront, Radical Feminist Counseling, Educational and Cultural Programs, and Publications. Each component of the Center provided services and opportunities (via workshops, apprenticeships, consultations, programs, and direct experience) for women to obtain first-hand knowledge and training in the areas of management, creativity, and control.  The academic component was formed on the San Diego State University campus and became the first official Women’s Studies Program in the nation.

The Storefront Component was a drop-in resource center offering crisis assistance, housing, child care, legal and medical referrals, vocational counseling and job referrals. It also has a 24-hour hotline for battered women and rape victims, affirmative action assistance, and open rap groups.

The Radical Feminist Counseling component provided crisis intervention for women, one-on-one counseling, group and family counseling, training for counselors, and community education on a wide variety of women's mental health issues.

The Educational and Cultural component included an annual Women’s Festival of the Arts, monthly Feminist Forum, community meetings, and special events, and organized the "Feminist Free University," a free education program for women throughout the 1970s and 1980s which offered three sessions with between 20 and 40 volunteer-taught classes in each session.

The Publications component supervised publication of the feminist newspaper The Longest Revolution, a poetry anthology titled Rainbow Snake, and other materials by and about women. It also maintained a feminist library and reading room.

CWSS became the Center for Community Solutions in 1996.

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