Commission on Women's Issues meets;
launches comprehensive agenda
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's President's Commission on the Status of Women gathered Wednesday for the first time this semester and the year's agenda is already jammed packed, said Traci Zillifro, assistant professor of physical education and committee co-chair.
"It was a great meeting. We welcomed new members to the commission and began what I think is a full agenda. There were lots of ideas and lots of discussion, all of which will make our work challenging and exciting this year," Zillifro said.
Jennifer Sanftner, associate professor of psychology, is the commission's co-chair.
The commission's charge calls on it to "seek the total participation and equitable reception of all women - students, staff, faculty, administration - in all facets of the University."
The mission statement notes, "Participation and reception may include, but not be limited to classrooms that acknowledge women as learners worthy of faculty's best professional efforts, a campus that regards the safety of the female community as a high priority, access to professional opportunities and advancement that recognizes the multiple roles played by women, a curriculum which reflects that contributions of women to the construction of knowledge and departments and administrative areas in which women are no longer a minority."
"In other words, the mission of the President's Commission on the Status of Women is to lead as well as support efforts to develop a university community that is indeed providing a high-quality academic experience in an environment that is not only open, caring, nurturing and personal, but also fair and respectful."
"We are going to be working on expanding the circle in an effort to bring a broader cross section of people into the commission's work," Zillifro said.
The commission will also join in supporting the campuswide, comprehensive assessment of all faculty, staff and students through a confidential, online survey planned for Oct. 3-17.
Wednesday's meeting included a discussion of the commission's mission and goals and presentations requesting funding support of upcoming campus programs, she said.
The commission agreed to provide financial support to the Sept 30 "Sex and Money" program in Eisenberg Classroom Building that includes a documentary and discussion concerning the international sex trade and ways to prevent it.
The commission also agreed to support a Dec. 1 lecture by Asra Nomaoi, a Muslim feminist and reporter for the Wall Street Journal, author of "Standing Alone: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam" and a Georgetown University professor, being organized by SRU's women's studies department.
"We also began work for our annual Young Women at The Rock Day, a spring semester tradition. We are looking at new directions that program may take, and we continued work on the annual Women's Mentoring Dinner where the Women of Distinction Awards are presented," Zillifro said.
SRU's four Presidential Commissions have been asked to expand their interactions with other campus and community groups this year. Zillifro said the status of women commission would expand its work, in part, by working with SRU Feminist Majority Leadership Association and the SRU Women's Center as well as additional programming with the women's studies program, including planning preventive programs concerning assault.
SRU's other commissions established by SRU President Robert Smith are:
* President's Commission on Disability Issues, chaired by Colleen Cooke, associate professor of parks and recreation/environmental education;
* President's Commission on LGBTQI Issues, co-chaired by Catherine Massey, associate professor of psychology, and Patrick Beswick, associate director of residence life; and
* President's Commission on Race and Ethnic Diversity, co-chaired by Frederick White, associate professor of English, and Michelle McCollin, associate professor of special education,
Each commission is comprised of faculty, staff and student members.
"The four commissions have already launched efforts to become even more involved in campus and working closer with the various students clubs, organizations and programs to make all of their efforts more productive and more effective," said Jessamine Montero, special assistant to the president, senior officer for diversity and inclusion, who is leading the work of unifying and streamlining the various commission's efforts.
Each of SRU's commissions meets monthly.