President’s Commissions on Campus are Inciting Positive Change

Alexander Bershtein

Staff Writer

The three President’s Commissions on the Status of Women, Cultural Diversity and Inclusion,

Gender and Sexual Diversity are three programs that try effect students positively across

campus. All commissions, while independent, work very closely together.

All chairs are nominated and confirmed by the current Millersville University President, and

have an initial 3-year term, which can be renewed for another 3-years. The commissions are

not only made of the university’s faculty, but local members of the Lancaster community as

well as Millersville students, who have an initial 1-year term.

The current chairs of the three President’s commission stated, “We want diverse

representation on all three commissions, not just the primary focus of those in the mission

statement.” To represent the community, the commissions take into account with an assort of

member no matter what ethnic, racial, religious, or class categorization.

Although all three commissions work across the entire campus the central meeting

facility is in the Washington House on the corner of George Street opposite to the Student

Memorial Center.

However, monthly meetings for individual commissions is different. The President’s

Commission of Cultural Diversity meets commonly in the University Room in Gordinier Hall,

whereas the Women’s Commission and President’s Commission of Gender and Sexual Diversity

have their monthly meets in locations at McNairy Library. These meeting revolve around

discussions on budgets and representation of missions through open houses, wellness events,

community events,

Some recent endeavors that were put together by all the commissions include the

recent Social Justice Day events, as well as the inviting of the mental health advocate,

Chamique Holdsclaw, last month. However, there are some fixed funding that the commissions

do include MLK Breakfast, Hazel Jackson lectures, student organization sponsored events,

graduation student of color receptions, field trips, and many others. However, student

organization have to do their application ready, as the budget has to be equitable.

Millersville’s Women’s Commission
The President’s Commission on the Status of Women, originally the Women’s Commission, is
the oldest of the commissions as it was created in 1988, and highly purposed on enact of Title
IX. Millersville website defines Title IX as follows:

“Sexual violence that occurs in the educational setting (on or off campus) implicates a federal civil rights law called Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities and which triggers certain responsibilities on the part of the University. Educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance are covered by Title IX. Since Millersville University is one of those institutions, ALL students are covered by Title IX.”


Its current chair is Dr. Beth Powers. The commission was formed to consider the status of women, as well as women’s issues that

end up reflecting as Human Rights issues. Things the commission looks at include gender


This eventually led to the creation of the Women’s Commission in 1988.

Students involved on the women’s commission Currently there are female, male, and

transgender student members.

The Women’s Commission works with associations outside of campus like YWCA as well as

a recent additional association brought to campus, the American Association of University

Women, with some special help establishing the first chapter on campus from Millersville’s Dr.

Jill Craven. Every other year The Women’s Commission send two representatives to the PASSHE

Women’s Consortium every other year, two faculty or two student staff. And projects are

created by the attendees to support staff of commission.

The current initiative being worked on by the commission is the recent Climate Survey,

involving childcare and needs, staff getting professional development for faculty, and making

the campus has a safe climate for all people. The survey address dating violence, fighting hate-

speech, and well-being.

President’s Commission of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion:

The President’s Commission of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion is the second oldest of the

Commission, and is currently chaired by Dr. Leonora Foels

There are several student organizations that work with the commission including, African

Student Association, Black Student Union, Society for Latino Affairs, and National Association

for the Advancement of Colored People. The promoting given by these organizations, as well as

the Lancaster community members, for the commission’s mission of racial and cultural

diversity, advocating, expanding and understanding the racial differences, cultural programing,

and speakers. The commission has the job of addressing certain current policies for the

president of the university related to race or culture, in which there is advisement debating

how such policies and diversity issues that could affect certain students.

The commission’s current initiative is known as the Summer Research Initiative: 5-week

research period for undergraduate that are underrepresented racially and ethnically work

closely with faculty. They are going to have sign-ups for applications in the Spring.

President’s Commission on Gender and Sexual Diversity

The President’s Commission on Gender and Sexual Diversity focuses on issues of sexual

orientation, and gender identity. It is youngest of the commissions, as it is only five years old. Its

current chair is Dr. Tiffany Wright. The commission gains its students mostly voluntarily, but

there is always a general graduate and undergraduate student, as well as the student president

of Gender and Sexual Alliance, who always has a designated seat on the commission. All

inclusive, major does not matter. The commission added a substantial amount of $3000 for the

Millersville University Pride Festival every Fall. There is also funding for a LGBT Series of

speakers coming to campus, last Spring they brought the first judge of Philadelphia to

outwardly say he was LGBT. The current initiative that the commission is working with

organizations on campus, including Human Resources and Registrar’s Office, to make a

Preferred Name Policy. A form is in the making for students to have a preferred name, and

computer systems will these for classes and other programs, but complications will still appear

in financial aid, major designation, and clearances.

The ultimate goal of the three commissions is to have a systemic and interpersonal way of

serving all students well, social justice, responding to call to take action, and keeping mind of

identity factors of those people represented.