October 27, 2003

LGBT commission to sponsor HR meeting

By Eric Rangus

The President’s Commission on the Status of LGBT Concerns will sponsor a same-sex domestic partner benefits information session Thursday, Oct. 30, at noon in room 355 of the Dobbs Center. The details of that event were outlined at the commission’s latest meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 21, in 400 Administration.

Policies and procedures chair Kathy McKee said a Human Resources (HR) staff member will facilitate the session for faculty and staff interested in HR’s domestic partner benefits program. She invited prospective attendees to e-mail commission chair Jeff Martin (jdmarti@learnlink.emory.edu) with questions and ideas for discussion. The deadline to submit questions is Tuesday, Oct. 28.

In other commission business, the Pride Banquet committee sketched out plans to start a grass-roots fundraising campaign to help cover some of the costs of what historically has been the commission’s most expensive activity each year. The plan is to contact former commission members, LGBT alumni and other commission allies for donations. In return, donors could receive banquet tickets and/or be noted on a donor list that would be incorporated into the event’s program. The 2004 Pride Banquet is scheduled for March 18 in Miller-Ward Alumni House and will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Margaret Edson.

The commission budgeted $500 for advertising in the fall semester. The core of this money will go toward print ads related to the commission’s essay contest. The commission also donated $250 to help cover costs for the Tony Award-winning Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam’s appearance at Glenn Auditorium, Nov. 19. Primarily sponsored by the student newsmagazine The Fire This Time, the event features dramatic poetry readings by a predominantly African American cast. Marcus Thomas from The Fire This Time said all three president’s commissions were approached for co-sponsorship; he asked for $250 from each. Including the commissions, 25 campus organizations are co-sponsoring the event. The donation was approved unanimously.

The creation of a standing fund from which students, faculty or staff could draw in order to cover travel expenses and other costs related to LGBT conferences, presentations and the like was discussed. It was resolved that a proposal to create such a fund be written and presented to the commission at an upcoming meeting.

Nomination and outreach chair Nathan Woodling gave a review of this month’s AIDS Walk and discussed volunteer opportunities for commission members. He said Volunteer Emory (VE) has a standing service trip to Project Open Hand on Friday afternoons, and that commission members could take part. Anyone interested in taking part should
contact VE service trip leader Andrew Wilson at acwilso@learnlink.emory.edu.

LGBT studies chair Bill Gilders said a draft report on the state of LGBT studies prepared by former commission chair Mark Jordan, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Religion, soon would be making the rounds for review and comment. Emory College Dean Bobby Paul had asked Jordan to prepare the report to begin the effort to introduce LGBT studies to the college curriculum.

As with the University’s other governing bodies, the commission has been asked to comment on the draft Vision Statement prepared by President Jim Wagner. Chair-elect Cathi Wentworth, who led the meeting, said commission members could provide their comments by e-mail and that they would be compiled for submission to Wagner.

The next LGBT commission meeting will be held Tuesday, Nov. 18, in 400 Administration.

If you have a question or concern for LGBT send e-mail to chair Jeff Martin at jdmarti@learnlink.emory.edu.