At the first Commission meeting of the year Sept. 5, Chair Martha Talbott outlined a fall timeline for moving forward a number of issues the Commission's three principal committees addressed last year.
Talbott said that the three committees (focusing on faculty, staff and student concerns, respectively) were all in a "data gathering mode" last year, conducting informal surveys and focus groups with women from across the University to obtain their opinions and feelings about an array of campus issues. Talbott said the next step is to determine which of the issues raised in those sessions are gender-specific and fall within the Commission's purview. Issues not considered to be gender-specific, such as campus parking, will be forwarded to an appropriate campus group or unit.
The committees then will formulate solutions for dealing with the issues that specifically relate to women, and those solutions will be presented in a special meeting with President Bill Chace on Nov. 20. Last year Chace advised the Commission to make concrete, specific recommendations for dealing with problems they bring to his attention.
The Staff Concerns Committee has decided to focus on issues of pay inequity between men and women staff during the coming year.
In other business, Women's Center Director Ali Crown announced that a reception will be held Wednesday, Oct. 30, for new women faculty. Crown also announced preliminary plans for a spring reception honoring the research of women faculty.
Ildi Flannery, director of the Office of International Affairs, and Emory College junior Angela Miles were elected as Commission representatives to replace two representatives elected last year, but who were unable to serve their terms.
The Commission is planning to implement a monthly coffeehouse series to provide a forum for discussion of LGB issues as well as social interaction. The Commission approved a proposal for the series at its Sept. 9 meeting. The first coffeehouse is planned for Thursday, Oct. 10, from 4:30-6 p.m. The location will be announced later. Subsequent coffeehouses have been tentatively planned for the second Thursday afternoon of each month.
The Commission also voted to contribute $500 toward a Dobbs Center Art Gallery exhibition titled "The Shared Heart," which was on display at the Gay Visitors Center during the Olympics. Saralyn Chesnut, director of the Office of Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Life, said the exhibition of photographs depicting young lesbian and gay people will be in Dobbs Center at least through the month of October and possibly longer. Several Commission members discussed the possibility of coordinating an opening event for the exhibition with the Oct. 10 coffeehouse, which immediately precedes National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. Details on the opening event will be announced later.
In other business, several Commission subcommittees were formed at the meeting, including a subcommittee to recommend honorary degree and commencement speaker candidates and one on LGB Studies.