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By Selena Stevens


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"Gender equity at UK is not an option.  We must make our work environment supportive and fair for everyone."

--Lee T. Todd Jr.,
University of Kentucky

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Oct. 30, 2000 – (Lexington, Ky.) – A new presidential commission, appointed to address issues relevant to women at the University of Kentucky, will meet for the first time at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, on the Patterson Office Tower 18th floor.

UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. created the commission and, at the Sept. 18 meeting of the UK Board of Trustees, named Carolyn S. Bratt, the W.L. Matthews Professor of Law in the College of Law, as its chairperson.

"Gender equity at UK is not option. We must make our work environment supportive and fair for everyone," Todd said. "We must have a priority on getting information about the environment for and success of our female employees. The recent report by the Ad-Hoc Committee on Women showed us there is room to improve. I hope this commission will guide us in how do that."

In the past month, Todd and Bratt have discussed the commission’s charge and membership. In early October, 19 UK faculty, staff and students were selected to round out the 20-member commission.

“I’ve been at UK for 27 years, and we’ve never had this kind of support to address the issues and challenges facing women at the university,” Bratt said. “To have a commission at the presidential level is very exciting and promising. It shows that the University is willing to recognize that there are problems and commit resources to alleviate them.”

Bratt, who had previously served with several other commission members on the university’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Women, said the commission will have many advantages over the committee and will build on the work of the committee, including its spring 2001 report on the Status of Women at UK.

“We’re not going to be the place to resolve individual complaints,” she said. “We’ll be looking for institutional impediments and the kinds of things that we need to do to make women full participants in the university community. With data from the 1988 and 2001 Ad-Hoc Committee reports, we have a wonderful starting place. We can see trends – some good, some bad.”

The commission also will work hand-in-hand with the soon-to-be formed Commission on Diversity. The two commissions will share space in Gillis Building offices and will assist each other in gathering and reviewing data.

The Commission on Women officially begins its work on Oct. 31, meeting as a group to hear its charge from President Todd. Monthly meetings are being planned for the full commission, and subcommittees are being planned that will likely meet more often, Bratt said. A half-day retreat and campus forums also are being planned to orient the commission and gather input from the campus community.

Information about the commission, including meeting schedules, will be posted on a Web site being created. To contact the commission, send an e-mail to

Members of the Commission on Women

Carolyn S. Bratt, Law, chairperson

Susan J. Scollay, Education

Lois M. Nora, Medicine

Debra A. Harley, Education

Mitzi M. Johnson, Behavioral Sciences

Suzanne Scheff, Engineering

Janet Hurley, University Health Service

Bessie Guerrant, Research Assessment

Edythe T. Lach, Medicine Dean's Office

Michelle P. Sohner, Academic Ombud Services

Bettie M. Allen, Custodial Services

Dwight Billings, Arts and Sciences

Jeffrey P. Bieber, Education

Ryan J. Kilpatrick, WUKY

Joy Myree, Graduate Student

Sara Sahni, Undergraduate Student

Azadeh Shirazi, Professional Student

Joan C. Callahan, Women's Studies

Deborah C. Kwolek, Women's Health Center

Jeanie Caldwell, Women's Forum

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