February 23, 2004

LGBT reviews retreat, previews banquet

By Stephanie Stinn

Change is in the air for the President's Commission on the Status of LGBT Concerns, prompted by the results of the group's Feb. 6 retreat. One of the first things to be revamped is how meetings are run, Chair Jeff Martin said at the group's Feb. 17 meeting.

The retreat (held at an off-campus location) was facilitated by Joanne DeMark, an adjunct faculty member in the Rollins School of Public Health and a member of the National Coalition Building Institute. DeMark urged the group to get to know each other on a more personal level.

"The retreat structure was different and perhaps set the tone for future LGBT meetings," Martin said. Margaret Clawson will head an ad-hoc committee to restructure the group's meetings. The commission's current structure is very programmatic and the group will look to other presidential commissions as examples, Martin said.

In other business, members proposed asking President Jim Wagner to write a letter to the Druid Hills Golf Club (DHGC) about its non-recognition of gay and domestic-partner benefits. Emory has had a long relationship with the club, personally and professionally (some Emory employees are members at the club, and the University has paid for the memberships of some senior administrators), and the club's membership tenents oppose Emory's domestic-partner policies. Members echoed sentiments expressed in a recent Emory Wheel editorial by former Provost Woody Hunter, who said the University should not continue to host events at the club and cease paying for certain membership initiation costs and fees.

Members also posed the question of having a similar letter written by Wagner to the state government in regards to the same-sex marriage issues being debated in the state legislature. Saralyn Chesnut said she would discuss that proposal with other University offices, while Martin said he would write a letter to Wagner regarding the DHGC issue.

Martin thanked members for participating in the recent provost candidate open forums and asked them to e-mail him their comments, which he will forward to Wagner.

The commission finalized details for its annual Pride banquet, to be held on March 18 in Miller-Ward Alumni House. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Margaret Edson will be guest speaker for the event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($10 for students) and are available at the Dobbs Center information desk or through Doug Lothes at 404-727-0332.

The next LGBT meeting will be held Tuesday, March 17, at 5:30 p.m. in 400 Administration.


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