Meetings: 2001 (11.7) | President’s Commission on Women’s Issues
President's Commission on Women's Issues Meeting Minutes
MINUTES – November 7, 2001
0154 Tawes Building
Meeting commenced at noon.
Chair: Lauri Grunig
Welcome and Best Wishes:
Lauri Grunig welcomed new and continuing commission members. Joanne DeSiato gave an update on Laura Nichols’ medical condition and members joined in best wishes for her recovery.
Approval of Minutes:
The October minutes were approved without change.
Distribution of Committee Lists:
Lists of PCWI committee members and chairs were distributed. Grunig outlined the committee structure and indicated that some committees (Non-Exempt Staff Issues and Outreach) need chairs.
Grunig reminded the Commission that Ellie Weingaertner, chair of the Campus Senate, would join the meeting at 12:30 p.m. as today’s guest. Commission members are invited to ask her questions
Building Community Day: Grunig thanked everyone who submitted ideas for programs and attended Building Community Day Oct. 9, 2001. Some commission members expressed the need for more programs to be included in Building Community Day; others believed there were too many events. Additional concerns included the fact that these programs were scattered across the campus (with the Stamp Student Union suggested as a good single venue in future); lack of involvement and attendance; too little opportunity for staff to attend; inadequate advance notice; need for a printed schedule of events as well as the web page; and need for this day to be included as part of a larger, campus-wide calendar of events for the entire year.
Laura Slavin reported on the Diversity Scholarship Showcase presentations that were relevant to women’s issues and a part of the Building Community Day program. She selected two pieces of scholarship, one a dramatic presentation and the other a research paper on Hull House, for monetary awards from the PCWI. These research and dramatic presentations may be future topics for PCWI meetings, particularly appropriate for Women’s History Month.
Grunig welcomed Weingaertner to the meeting and introduced her as the first female staff member to chair the Campus Senate. Weingaertner is an executive administrative assistant to the vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School. She reported on activities of the Senate this year that have implications for the PCWI. They include the importance of nominating women for awards (with special emphasis on nominating non-exempt staff women for honors), women serving on the standing committees of the Senate (only two of which are chaired by women), and continuing to support day care as part of the Facilities Master Plan.
Weingaertner also discussed the question of a maternity leave policy for faculty and for staff. She talked about students’ conduct with regard to sports. (Members of the Commission agreed that involving students would be a good process for helping address this problem.) She informed the Commission that the Senate is looking into questions of safety and security and that installing more blue lights is an ongoing project. The safety of crossing University Boulevard near the Commons has elicited suggestions about building a tunnel or overpass at the intersection, which is believed to be dangerous for students crossing on foot. Members expressed their interest in someone representing police security to attend a future meeting of the PCWI.
Non-Exempt Staff Issues: Andrianna Stuart informed the Commission that there will be a meeting Nov. 9, 2001, and requested a name change to “Staff Issues” Committee. Roberta Coates agreed to join this committee.
Outstanding Women of the Year: Chair Andrea Levy explained that this award “affirms” the campus. She suggested the importance of an early nomination process as a way to generate more interest.
Outstanding Woman of Color Award: No report.
Outreach: There was a general agreement among Commission members that this committee can be put on hold for another year if there is inadequate time and interest now. Grunig explained the purpose of this committee as serving a basic public relations and publicity function for the work of the PCWI.
Safety, Security, and Campus Environment: No report.
Special Populations: Co-chair Barbara Goldberg reported on a meeting with returning students. She had asked how they perceive the university and what their concerns are. Students responded that canceling classes was a particular problem for them because of the inconvenience and waste of commuting time it causes.
In a related matter, the Commission learned there is an increase in women attending the university who are in need of emergency food. These women typically work part-time while trying to finish their degrees or are international students with no work visas. Commission members then discussed various sources of emergency aid available to students here. Members also were reminded, however, that dealing with emergencies should be a community effort that is not restricted to the university.
Deidre Francis expressed interest in serving on this committee.
Women’s Leadership: Joanne DeSiato reported that she was invited by students who met to brainstorm plans for the annual spring CUWL conference. Grunig will be invited to attend one of these planning meetings to give the students a charge. Goldberg expressed interest in serving on this committee.
Professional Concepts Exchange Conference: A tentative date for next year’s conference is set for June 3 or 4, 2002. Because of the renovation activity in the Stamp Student Union, there will be fewer workshops than last year. A PCEC Committee meeting is being planned to discuss next year’s conference. An Awards Committee chair is yet to be selected.
Next meeting: The December meeting was to have focused on collective bargaining. However, Stuart notified the Commission that the vote on collective bargaining had just been scheduled for the day before that Dec. 12 meeting. The new topic for the PCWI’s next meeting, then, will be safety and security on campus.
State of the World: Commission members reflected on the Sept. 11 terrorist acts. They discussed institutional responses and what more can be done. Goldberg announced that beginning Nov. 15, there will be a program called “Dealing with the Aftermath” sponsored by the Counseling Center for students. Members of the PCWI expressed their concern with the university’s policy on grading during times of stress and about whether professors are equipped to handle this issue in the classroom. There was general agreement that faculty and staff should “be there” for students and should accompany them, if necessary, to the Counseling Center. Rob Waters extended compassion and concern and suggested that the Commissioners should also be there for each other and their own staffs.
Tornado: Members of the Commission discussed this disaster and the toll that it took on the campus and on female students, in particular, with the deaths of the sisters killed the tornado. Grunig informed the Commission that the campus’ administration intends to plant trees in their memory near the new fire and rescue building.
The next PCWI meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2001, at noon in 0154 Tawes.