Amherst’s Women’s Group staged a “Val Sit” on Thursday, Oct. 20, in which women students occupied part of the back room of Valentine Hall to spread awareness and start discussion about male-dominated spaces on campus.

Along with sitting at tables in Val’s back room, which are typically used by sports teams, the group displayed posters with questions prompting students to respond.

As the first director of the college’s new Department of Emergency Management, Tamara Mahal manages crises for the college, including coordinating the school’s current response to the ongoing drought in western Massachusetts, and helping the school remain prepared for a potential emergency.

Before coming to Amherst, Mahal created her own emergency management startup company, Firefly, which managed finances for disaster relief. She also worked as a consultant for the FBI and the Federal Emergency Management Agency within the field of disaster response.