Issues in progress

President's Commission on the Status of Women

The results of a continuing series of forums with women students conducted by the Commission's Student Concerns Committee were discussed at the group's Dec. 7 meeting.

Christa Davis Acampora, who gave a report in November on the committee's initial forums, said that a primary concern raised in the most recent forums is the plight of pregnant graduate students, who lose their stipends if they take leave time from school. Acampora said students who take leave due to any other medical reasons are allowed to negotiate their medical leave and keep their stipends.

Other concerns raised in the forums include: the absence of an organized mentoring effort for women graduate students, improved academic advising for graduate students, a feeling among graduate students that living in University Apartments is becoming economically unfeasible because of increasing rents, and a reluctance among women students of talking openly about rape and eating disorders for fear of being labeled irrational or emotionally immature.

Leslie Taylor of the Faculty Concerns Committee said her group is analyzing results from a survey of women faculty regarding maternity benefits. Taylor said once the committee has gathered information from other universities about their handling of faculty maternity leave, they will compile a report and set of recommendations.

President's Commission on Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Concerns

The LGB Commission discussed at its Dec. 11 meeting several informal arrangements providing same sex domestic partners of students with access to campus facilities.

The informal arrangements now in place include access to the P.E. Center, the libraries and graduate housing. Commission Co-chair Saralynn Chesnut said approximately 15-20 domestic partners of students are affected by the arrangements. Chesnut said that through an agreement with Athletics and Recreation Director Chuck Gordon, students' partners register for P.E. Center membership through the Office of Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Life, which in turn forwards the partners' names to the P.E. Center for registration. She said the situations with Graduate Housing and the libraries are even less formal.

Because the P.E. Center requires its members to obtain an EmoryCard for access to the center, Commission member Darryl Gossett suggested asking the EmoryCard Office to issue EmoryCards to students' same sex domestic partners upon request to simplify the registration process. University Secretary Gary Hauk, an ex-officio Commission member, said he will work with an existing committee of the Commission to explore the possibility of formalizing the arrangements.

In addition, Chesnut announced that nine employees enrolled their domestic partners in the benefits program during the November open enrollment period.

The Commission also voted to allocate $1,000 for Emory's annual L/G/B Film Festival scheduled for early February.

President's Commission on the Status of Minorities

At the Commission's Dec. 13 meeting, Minority Conference Travel Fund Committee Chair Calvin Banks announced that the committee has considered 30 award applications requesting a total of $26,000. The committee awarded its full budget of $4,500 to 11 faculty and staff members for 1995-96. The awards are intended to assist minority faculty and administrative staff with travel expenses for academic conferences in which they participate. This year's recipients include:

Paulette Dilworth, Equal Opportunity Programs; Mary Gullatte, Emory Hospital; Leslie Harris, history; Colleen Hawthorne, psychiatry/behavioral sciences; Lillian Lin, biostatistics; Deepika Petraglia-Bahri, English; Rani Singh, pediatrics; Yvonne Singh, theater studies and African studies; Rajeshwar Tekmal, gynecology/obstetrics; Guillermo Umpierrez, medicine; and Vince Vargas, business.

In other business, the Commission approved Chair Pat Marsteller's letter responding to President Bill Chace's address to the Commission in November. Focusing on the importance of community building at Emory, Marsteller stressed four recommendations to the president: 1) holding a town hall meeting on building community in the spring; 2) holding a forum/workshop next fall similar to the "Choices and Responsibilities" forum; 3) holding a retreat of senior administrative officials this spring to focus on materials such as the American Council on Education's "Dialogue for Diversity: Community and Ethnicity on Campus"; and 4) incorporating consideration of community and diversity into routine business as an agenda item for each senior staff meeting.

In lieu of a January meeting, the Commission voted to observe the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by assisting with fundraising for a Habitat for Humanity house being planned jointly by Emory and Morehouse College.

--Dan Treadaway