Cal Poly was the last of the California State Universities to open a women’s center, called Women's Programs in 1994 under the Student Life & Leadership Department. Women's Programs was located in the University Union and provided educational events and workshops geared towards supporting and empowering women.
In 1998, Safer (Cal Poly’s sexual assault response program) moved under Women’s Programs. It remained a part of Women’s Programs until 2011, when it became an independent program/center. Both centers shared the same space in the University Union.
On February 14, 2011 Women's Programs changed its name and became the Gender Equity Center (GEC). The GEC added aspects of positive masculinity, gender socialization, and wellness to its programming in order to be more inclusive to students of all genders and current events.
In July 2013 the Student Life & Leadership department went through restructuring and became part of the Dean of Students (DOS) Office. With this change, the GEC, Pride Center, and Multicultural Center, joined together to form the Cross Cultural Centers (CCC) under the DOS office. The Cross Cultural Centers aim to provide support, advocacy, and empowerment for under represented students and the Cal Poly community.
2014 and 2015
In 2014 the Dean of Students office was able to expand its space, and offered the Gender Equity Center its very own lounge/center within the University Union. On April 8, 2015, the Gender Equity Center had a Grand Opening to celebrate not only a new home, but new programming style! In order to meet the vision of the CCC’s, and to reconnect with the original purpose/creation of cultural centers on college campuses, the GEC started tailoring its programs, events, and services to serve and support women and feminist students on campus, while continuing to educate on gender socialization and positive masculinity.