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What is the Commission for Women?

The Commission for Women (CFW) is a body appointed by the Chancellor of the University of Tennessee (UT) to advise on the planning, implementation, and evaluation of university programs, policies, and services designed to improve the status of women on UT’s Knoxville campus.

How is the commission comprised?

The CFW consists of at least 24 voting members, with proportionate representation from faculty, exempt and non-exempt staff, and students (both graduate and undergraduate), equitably distributed among UT’s various colleges, schools, and administrative units. Appointments are made annually, usually for a three-year term.

What are the responsibilities of the commission?

The primary responsibility of the CFW is to cultivate a welcoming and inclusive campus environment with special attention given to the needs of women. Toward this end:

  1. The CFW advises and consults with university officials, commissions, councils, and committees regarding the needs and concerns of women, and recommends changes in UT policy and/or procedure relative to these needs and concerns.
  2. The CFW makes recommendations concerning new and existing academic, professional development, and extracurricular programs that impact UT women.
  3. The CFW recommends and encourages research to assess the status of women at UT for the purposes of ensuring a welcoming and inclusive campus environment for women (students, faculty, and staff).
  4. The CFW consults in the evaluation, revision, and implementation of UT’s Affirmative Action and Title IX plans for the purposes of promoting equitable practices in the hiring and professional advancement of women, as well as the safety of women on our campus.
  5. The CFW provides information to the campus and wider community on CFW and UT programs and activities of potential interest to women and to promote thinking about gender issues in a broader sense.

Current Priorities

  • Review and revise bylaws
  • Expand advocacy work and improve communications
  • Advocate for improved work-life balance for faculty, staff, and graduate students
  • Review and recommend revisions to parental leave information and policies for faculty, staff, and graduate students
  • Advocate for the establishment of equitable, clearly designated physical spaces in both new construction and major building renovations to address privacy concerns for women and transgender persons, including:
    • Gender neutral/family bathrooms
    • Lactation rooms for faculty, staff, and students
  • Revise and review the current faculty/staff-student relationship policy
  • Review and comment upon UT’s new sexual misconduct reporting guidelines
  • Recruit new members

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