The University of Maine
The President's Council on Women
Present: Sharon Barker, Ann Schonberger, Jean MacRae, Sue Estler, Cathie Berardelli, Dianne King, mary Cathcart, Diane Genthner, Sandy Butler (recording)
Ann S. updated us on various Women's History Month events.
Sharon B. asked us to discuss the practice of the President's office sponsoring tables at various women's organizations' events (e.g. Maine Women's Fund, Maine Women's Lobby). She has brought this up before, but wondered if we shouldn't have a more deliberate policy on how this is done. After considerable discussion, it was decided that we should write up a recommendation that the President's Office continue to support the annual awards ceremony of the MWF, the Breakfast of Champions of the MWL, and to continue to be an institutional sponsor of American Association of University Women. In addition it was decided that we should recommend that the annual functions of local women's agencies (Spruce Run, Mabel Wadsworth Women's Health Center, and Rape Response Services) should also be sponsored by the University at their annual events, as well as another statewide women's organization: Women, Work and Community. Sharon and Sandy will get together in May to write up that recommendation.
Debriefing Meeting with the President
We had some good discussion about the meeting we had with the president on February 13. We discussed the value of coming up with a few focused recommendations, as he suggested. We decided that many of the recommendations would be similar to those that have been put forward in the past by other groups of women on campus (e.g., the Task Force on Women in the late 1980s produced a substantial document with over 100 recommendations [one of which was to created the Council] and more recently the vision 2000 was drafted by New England Council on Land Grant University Women). It was decided that perhaps a good way to initiate more dialogue about the status of women on campus in this time of reactionary backlash might be to invite individual administrators to our meetings next year in order to hear from them about what they believe they are doing to improve the status of women on campus. We would provide them with copies of the documents mentioned above to find out how they think past recommendations have been addressed. Some of the suggested guests were: President Kennedy, the Provost, the VP of Research, the VP of Development, VP of Finance, the Dean of Students.
We also discussed whether to follow up on President Kennedy's invitation to hold an event at the President's House in order to bring attention to the Council and women on campus. After some discussion we decided to see if it would be possible to hold the tea which Ann and Sharon typically do for women who have been promoted or who are retiring, but to do it at this house rather than at Fernald Hall. Sandy will investigate with the President's office whether a date can be arranged, and Sharon and Ann will work on the invitation list. This will be a tea to honor women's accomplishments.
We discussed how we might use the PCW website more fruitfully. Sandy has been in contact with Cindy Lilley about updating the site with current membership and this year's minutes. It was suggested that we might want to add some of the historical documents such as the nonsexist language policy (which Jean M later found on the University handbook website) and the Task Force on Women document from the 80s (which would need to be scanned in).
Another Meeting with the President
We decided to take Bob Kennedy up on his suggestion to meet again this year. Sandy will try to arrange a meeting for mid May. We will discuss with him our plan for bringing administrators in to speak with the Council next year.
In April we will have speakers (Janet Waldron, Robin Toderian, and Maggie Palmer) come to update us about the recent changes in the Women's Program at the Cutler Health Center. We will also use some of the meeting to discuss three readings (on campus climate and diversity) which Susan Iverson provided for us. She will facilitate this discussion. If you plan to be at the April meeting and did not get copies of these readings today, please let Sandy Butler know how she can get you copies.
Agenda Items not Discussed
As Pauleena was unable to be at the meeting, we did not talk about her idea regarding conducting an oral history project on the experiences of women on UMaine campus. Perhaps we can take that up in April or May. We also did not discuss next year's co-chairs. Pauleena and Sandy are willing to do it a second year, but then the Council will be in the same position of needing two new chairs for the following year. So if we wanted to have overlap as has been the practice in the past, either of us is willing to give up our seat to someone who could carry on in the 2007-08 year.
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