TO: Diversity Coordinating Council

FROM: Cara J. Neth

SUBJECT: Charge to the Commission on Women and Gender Equity

DATE: September 28, 2001

Last summer, the Task Force on Diversity Committee Structure recommended that the President’s commission be reorganized, that their charges be rewritten, and that they be more closely aligned with the University’s planning process.  It was also agreed that members of each commission should possess some expertise on the issues and an ability to have an influence within the institution and its planning structure.  In a subsequent conversation at the President’s Cabinet, it was agreed that the two commissions needed a more explicit role and a stronger alliance with the Office of the President’ and key vice presidential areas.

A subcommittee of DCC has recommended to the President, who has approved, the appointment of Pattie Cowell, English professor and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, to serve as chair of the Commission on Women and Gender Equity for the 2001-2002 year.

The President also has approved the following revisions to the Commission’s charge, based on the recommendations of the Task Force on Diversity Committee Structures and on discussions with those who have been involved on the commission to date.

Original Charge to the Commission on Women and Gender Equity

“The purpose of the Commission is to assist the University in designing, implementing and evaluating strategies for achieving gender equity, based on issues and recommendations raised in the (1994 Task Force on the Status of Women Report).  The charges for the Commission on Women and Gender Equity are:

  • Design strategies to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on the Status of Women and evaluate progress toward gender equity.
  • Provide information about resources such as seminars, training sessions and discussions that will help develop viable plans for gender equity in departments and units.
  • Make information available about resources related to advocacy, conflict resolution, grievance procedures and legal recourse.
  • Produce and disseminate progress reports on the status of women.
  • Coordinate with the Commission on Ethnic Diversity Issues, the Fort Collins Commission on the Status of Women, the Office of Women’s Programs and Studies, the Diversity Advisory Committee, the Institute for Women and Leadership, and other groups focused on gender and diversity.
  • Communicate with administrative Professional Council, Classified Personnel Council, Faculty Council, Associated Students of Colorado State University, and graduate Student Council.
  • Interface with the University Strategic Planning effort.
  • Promote activities that enhance gender equity and address women’s issues.”

Comment: It is felt that this charge is too explicit and creates an administrative decisionmaking role for the Commission that is not appropriate and duplicates existing campus services.  The Task Force Report also is becoming quite dated and it makes sense to move away from using the report as the primary basis for the work of the Commission.

Proposed Charge – Eliminate references to the Task Force on the Status of Women Report in place of coordination with the University’s Strategic Planning Process

“The President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity is charged to assist in the creation of an environment at Colorado State University that fosters healthy relationships and interactions among people.  Such an environment is one in which both women and men feel safe, freed from limitations and restrictions of culturally defined gender roles, and empowered and supported by the University in pursing their goals.

“The Commission is charged to monitor campus issues and developments in light of local and national trends and to forward recommendations, concerns and program ideas in support of its charge through the Diversity Coordinating Council, for consideration in institutional planning and budgeting efforts.  The Chair of the Commission will serve on the Diversity Coordinating Council.  The Commission is also charged to meet annually with the University President to review issues and concerns related to the status of women at Colorado State University.  The University will support the Commission by assuring access to information and individuals that are vital to the success of its efforts.”

Proposed Structure of the President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity

The Commission will be composed of 12 members, 6 standing and 6 at-large who serve staggered two-year terms.  Standing members are:

  • Assistant to the President (ex officio);
  • Vice Provost (ex officio);
  • the Director of the Office of Women’s Programs and Studies;
  • the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity;
  • the Human Resource Services Coordinator for Training and Development;
  • and the Chair of the Women’s Studies Interdisciplinary Program.

At-large members will be appointed by the President from a slate of individuals proposed by the Diversity Coordinating Council, in consultation with the Office of the President and the Chair of the Commission.  Members will be chosen for their knowledge of women’s issues and concerns, interest in promoting gender equity, and leadership.  At-large membership will include a graduate student and an undergraduate student.  At least two at-large members, including the Commission Chair, must be tenure-track faculty.

For those occasions when the Commission must respond quickly, an Executive Committee comprised of the Chair, one standing member, one at-large member and one member of the teaching faculty may act for the Commission.  Any such actions must be reported to the entire Commission at the next regular meeting.

The Commission will expect to draw freely from campus and community individuals when the expertise needed to address its issues is not otherwise available.