Wednesday, April 19, 2006

SOT Executive Committee Update...

For those who care:

Ann Fraser wrote:
Friends,Two items for your attention:
The Executive Committee meets on Friday, April 21, at 1pm in HH217. If you have an item for the agenda, please let your representative and me know by Wednesday, April 19.

Regarding the charter amendment: Some folks have said that it would be helpful to have some background information on the necessity of removing the position of Female Student Representative. We will vote on that charter amendment, as well as for rising Middler and Senior and Single Student reps, on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Please see below for background information, and attached proposed charter and amendment.Faithfully yours,Ann

On removing the Female Student Representative position:As I understand it, for the past several years the student body has struggled with the appropriateness of having an elected Female Student Representative on the Executive Committee (EC), as well as whether that position should be nominated/elected/filled by any/all students or by female students only. At issue are: 1) having a voting position on EC that (in election/representation) discriminates on the basis of sex and 2) attending to needs of a (minority) female student population and the reality of the various, sometimes subtle, ways women still swim upstream (even and especially in the church), due to gender discrimination.

Last year, the EC spent considerable time revising the old charter, a process which was long overdue and necessary to bring the document in line with the practices of the community. Initially, those revisions removed the Female Student Rep position altogether. In response to protests from many students, the EC decided to postpone the vote on the charter revision; the election was held this past fall (2005), and the charter that the student body approved retained the position of Female Student Rep. The charter could be amended should the student body wish to change/remove that position. A concerned student opposed to the position took the matter before Dean Stafford and finally before the University’s attorney.

The concern was that the charter, as it contained an elected position, with voice and vote on EC, that did not represent all students, was not in accord with University anti-discrimination policies (which comply with federal Title IX). The attorney responded that the position was in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (federal law best known for equal funding for men’s and women’s college athletics), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender or race. The EC supports approving the charter amendment to be in compliance with Title IX; at the same time, we need to live into the call to make this community a safe and prosperous place for student formation.

My hope is that we will cross the requisite t’s, so to speak, but not neglect to address the ways women have been and are yet discriminated against. Please talk to me or any other member of EC about your experiences as a female student (or as one in community with such) and about your ideas for making this a welcome and fruitful place for women to live and grow in preparation for ministry. Your imagination and sincerity are welcome and needed.In peace,


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