Issues in Progress

President's Commission

on the Status of Minorities

Nominations of commission members and methods for stimulating attendance and participation were among the topics discussed at the Commission's April 28 meeting, the last meeting of the academic year.

Sylvester Hopewell, chair of the nominating committee, presented a slate of names to enter into consideration. Concern was expressed that the commission needed to diversify, both in terms of representation of departments and divisions outside Emory College and in racial and ethnic composition. A discussion ensued as to whether the nomination period should be extended. However, those present agreed to submit the present list of names to University Secretary Gary Hauk in order to have a full commission in place by fall. Commission chair Robert Lee also plans to send a letter to deans requesting suggestions for nominees to "fill in the blanks." A suggestion was made to contact student groups and department chairs to increase commission membership of Asian and Latino faculty, staff and students as well.

Plans were made to host a half-day retreat June 20 for commission members to plan next year's meetings. Discussion centered around different ideas for increasing attendance at meetings, including holding regular commission meetings every other month, with subcommittee meetings in the intervening months; cohosting events or speakers with other campus organizations; or placing regular articles in Emory Report or The Wheel to stimulate community discussion around issues pertinent to the Emory community.

In other business, the Commission praised President Bill Chace's support, along with the presidents of 61 other research institutions, of affirmative action on university campuses. Members suggested finding ways to concretely document the benefits of a diverse campus over the summer, perhaps with the help of faculty or staff members appointed by the deans. Pat Marstellar said that there are many published articles and books outlining such benefits and suggested that a reference list might be compiled and published for the community. Lee noted that he and other faculty throughout the country have been contacted by journalists seeking information regarding minority students' standardized test scores and grade point averages and warned that the decision to answer such questions might best be left to the Administration.

Hopewell reported on a meeting with Kevin Lagree, dean of the Candler School. Discussion followed on how commission members may be instrumental in helping deans and search committees find, attract and retain top-notch minority candidates. Marstellar noted that this type of information should soon be available on Diversity Web, an Internet effort funded by the Ford Foundation.

-Stacey Jones