Commission looks for more gender-equal campus

Members say they saw more gender neutral bathrooms, wants better data on salaries



Lauren Wells, chair of the WSU commission on the status of women, speaks about the goals of the commission and what it has already accomplished at the Faculty Senate meeting Thursday.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen roots editor

Members of the WSU Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) discussed a study on women’s salaries, as well as updates on gender-neutral bathrooms during the faculty senate meeting.

The commission conducted a study examining equity of women’s salaries at WSU. The college of arts and sciences conducted studies for administrative managers, said Catherine Cooper, former CSW chair.

Results from the study came back inconclusive, she said.

“We’re working on getting our goals together,” Cooper said, “so when the new provost comes in, we can hit the ground running.”

She said the commission also requests third-party hiring groups, which are not required to report demographic information, to provide data about candidate pools to use in an updated study.

CSW chair Lauren Wells sa­­­id the commission was created to gather data and recommend policy updates to the WSU president and vice president regarding issues surrounding women’s salary equity.

Wells said the commission is also transitioning several bathrooms around campus to gender-neutral ones.

“Recently, we had a big win,” she said. “Webster [Hall] has converted all of their single stalls, which are on every [other] floor, into gender-neutral bathrooms.”

Wells said CSW also plans to create more noticeable lactation spaces for women at WSU. There are currently about three designated spaces on campus.

“They are not easy to locate on the [WSU] website,” she said, “but there are spaces that can be easily converted into more.”

Wells said a subcommittee in CSW is working with the Office for Equal Opportunity to ease reporting cases of sex discrimination and Title IX, a law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational settings.

“We’re making it easier to find the process of how to report,” she said. “Our website [makes it] hard for students to find that information.”

Faculty senators also discussed the possibility of a representative from the senate to sit on the legislation ask committee. The committee decides the money it wants to request from Washington legislators.

Matthew Carroll, senator for the college of agricultural, human and natural resource sciences, proposed that the representative should be the same person who is already in Olympia lobbying for WSU funding.

“Currently, other than informally, the legislative [representative] has no role in determining the president’s legislation position,” Carroll said.

Pamela Thoma, senator for college of arts and sciences, said having more than one faculty member’s input in budgeting matters is more important.

This story has been updated to reflect the correct website for the lactation spaces on campus, the location of the gender-neutral bathrooms and the CSW’s role at WSU.