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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Following a year of meetings with concerned students, faculty and staff of MNSU, President Richard Rush appointed a Commission on the Status of Women during academic year 1994-95 to assess the campus climate and formulate an agenda for enhancing the status of women at all levels of the University. In October 1995, the Commission submitted its Commission on the Status of Women Report to the President. Based on recommendations of this report, a standing President's Commission on the Status of Women was established. President Rush charged the Commission with:

  • Identifying and defining both current and emerging issues and formulating recommendations to the University for addressing these issues;
  • Reviewing progress on recommendations to improve the status of women within this community;
  • Providing guidance and advice as the University implements new policies and procedures to improve the status of women at the University.

The President named one of Vice Presidents as his official liaison to the Commission. Commission membership was determined by the President's liaison as follows:

  • Each bargaining unit would be represented
  • Two students and three ex-officio standing members would be appointed, i.e. the Director of the Women's Center, the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Officer, and the Chairperson of the Women's Studies Department
  • Terms of office were not designated at that time
  • Commission members were duly elected and appointed an academic Dean as his liaison and co-chair of the Commission.
  • The other co-chair was elected from the membership of the Commission.

The work of the Commission began in April 2000 after a thorough review of the 1995 Report to the President. A budget was developed and modest resources allocated for the work of the Commission.

Since 2000, the Commission has sponsored and co-sponsored along with the Women and Gender Studies department and the Women's Center several annual events.

  • A spring research colloquium
  • A fall reception for new women employees
  • A reception for the recognition of extraordinary contributions of women at MNSU

The Commission has also provided professional grant opportunities for faculty, staff, and students.

The major work of the Commission has been:

  • Ongoing research into issues concerning gender equity
  • Campus policies and procedures for reporting and dealing with sexual harassment violations
  • Personnel issues

  • Family and work issues for women students, faculty, staff, and administrators
  • Interlocking issues of concern around gender, class, race, sexuality, and age

In the fall of 2002 President Richard Davenport reiterated the original charge to the Commission. He appointed a new administrative liaison to the Commission, and he approved the Commission's recommendation to conduct a formal climate scan of the University. A consultant, Bernice Sandler, met for an all-day workshop with the Commission in December 2002, in preparation for constructing the upcoming Report to the President 2003.