Wayne State University

Aim Higher

1976 - 1979

The rejuvenated Commission began the new year by sponsoring in January a play, Walking the Tightrope: Herstory, and an open house to familiarize more students, faculty, and staff with the Commission. The work of the Commission continued to bring additional advances in the position of women at WSU. In February, a director was selected for the newly-created Women's Center, and the Center was housed in MacKenzie Hall. After months of encouragement from the Commission, the Liberal Arts Council adopted a women's studies co-major, with courses offered for the first time in the fall of 1976. By spring, ten students were in the program.

On November 15, 1976, President Gullen requested the Commission Chair, Dr. Marisa Keeney, to enlist the Commission in determining the extent to which affirmative action plans within the University addressed the needs of women. The Commission formed an ad hoc committee to interview the executive officers and the deans with respect to their affirmative action plans as these related to women. Later, President Gullen also established the President's Task Force on Affirmative Action to study the effectiveness of affirmative action policies on campus, an assignment similar to that of the Commission. Both groups proceeded with their projects and prepared reports on their findings.

Other ongoing Commission concerns also saw action. The Commission worked toward implementation of campus child care at Wayne State, setting up a task force with members of the Family and Consumer Resources Department and the Early Childhood Care and Education Program. Affordable comprehensive health care and gynecological services, long advocated by the Commission, were provided for all female students, beginning in April 1977. The Commission continued to observe Women's Equality Day every August 26, commemorating the passage of the XIX Amendment.

On November 18, 1977, the Commission celebrated its successes in the first of the recognition events that continue today. The 1977 reception focused on the contributions made by past Commission chairs: Professor Nancy Schlossberg (1971-73), Dean Marilyn Heins (1973-75). and Dr. Marisa Keeney (1975-77). Special recognition was also given to Governor Mildred Jeffrey, the only woman on the WSU Board of Governors at the time.

Career-related needs of campus women had been a Commission concern since its inception. On April 29, 1978, the Commission once again sponsored a leadership conference. Called "Women on the Move In the World of Work," this successful program aimed to help women choose a career.

Sadly, the Commission became inactive in the spring of 1978. The illness of Chairperson Dr. Joella Gipson, lack of budgetary and secretarial support, and a change in the Presidency of WSU may all have been contributing factors in this situation.