Emory Report

March 20, 2000

 Volume 52, No. 25

University Governance:

President's Commission on Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Concerns

The President's Commission on LGBT Concerns opened its March 7 meeting by discussing the Pride Banquet, which was held in the Carlos Museum reception hall March 2.

Ninety people, including a large number of students, attended the event, and $150 was raised through voluntary donations. However the banquet's total price tag was $4,100, and the commission discussed ways to more cost-effectively hold the event.

Suggestions included charging $5 at the door for all attendees or charging full admission for faculty/staff, while letting in students for a discount or free, to prevent them from being priced out of the event. Serving food buffet-style rather than as a sit-down dinner was also mentioned.

Craig Washington of Southerners on New Ground (SONG) was the featured speaker. The message of SONG, described as an organization that fights for social justice among marginalized groups, resonated strongly with LGBT-- so strongly that LGBT decided to formally approach SONG about facilitating a joint meeting with Emory's two other president's commissions.

The results of the LGBT essay contest were announced. Formal announcement of the winners and distribution of the prizes took place at the Pride Banquet. A total of eight graduate essays and six undergraduate essays were submitted, the highest ever. A discussion followed over whether the winning essays would be posted on the LGBT website. This is not practical at this time, the commission decided, because authors would have to give permission first.

Regarding the website, the LGBT web committee reported that work has begun on a redesign, but changes have not been implemented. There will be an update at the April meeting.

The commission discussed amending its bylaws to change its leadership from two co-chairs (the current structure) to a chair and chair-elect. The chair-elect would serve a one-year term, followed by another year-long term as chair. One complication to this plan is that students are only required to serve one-year terms; faculty/staff terms are for two years. The proposed measure received solid support.

In order to change bylaws, proposals must be presented at two consecutive meetings and a two-thirds vote in favor is required. Therefore, this proposal will be debated again at the April meeting, then voted upon.

LGBT is still seeking nominations for committee openings. While nominations are accepted voluntarily (to nominate yourself or someone else, send e-mail to davarma@learnlink. emory.edu), commission members will also actively seek people they feel would be positive influences on the commission. The goal is to have a diverse group that represents all sections of the Emory community. All nominations must be in before the April meeting, when the commission will vote on the new members.

The commission was invited to participate in Emory's first Allies Day, scheduled for mid-April. It is being sponsored by the students concerns committee of the President's Committee on the Status of Women.

A letter to the commission described Allies Day as "a day in which people of all sexual orientations are invited to indicate their commitment to tolerance, respect and fairness for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people at Emory." While not intended to be a political event, Allies Day will feature a declaration of support available for signature.

The event is still in its planning stages and members intend to investigate ways to lend support.

-Eric Rangus

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