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President's Commission on the Status of Women records

 Sub-Group — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RG05-031

Content Description

Records of the President's Commission on the Status of Women at Union College. Materials are typically filed by academic year and include meeting minutes, bylaws, agenda items, announcements, memoranda, correspondence, reports and recommendations. The Commission also published a monthly newsletter called Focus which are interfiled within the records. Recommendations of the Committee resulted in substantive changes at the senior administrative level and are evidenced in revisions to the plan for equal employment opportunities and affirmative action at Union College. The commission was also influential in prompting revisions to sexual harassment policy and procedure in the late 1980s. Other reports contain useful information regarding demographics and statistics regarding the sex and ethnicity of faculty and students. Information on speakers and frequent events are documented in flyers and event notices. These facilitated discussions among women and allowed the Committee to report back to the President on the prevailing atmosphere on campus with regards to safety and general conduct. The Commission also oversaw awards for scholarship, community service and athletics during the annual Prize Day. These are documented in the form of nominations, announcements, and recommendation letters. Other materials include ephemera, articles on women's issues and campus handbooks.


  • Creation: 1972 - 2010

Conditions Governing Access

Some restrictions may apply. Contact the head of Special Collections and Archives.

Administrative History

In February 1975, Union College President Thomas N. Bonner granted an official charter to a President's Commission on the Status of Women.

The petition for the charter was signed by 13 women at Union College. The signers were: Susan Britain, assistant Professor of psychology; Linda S. Burns, Class of 1975; Ruth Anne Evans, professor and assistant librarian; Cynthia Greenspan, Class of 1977; Deborah Kilgus, director of housing; Gwen Lyon, work control coordinator in the physical plant department; Lorraine Marra, coordinator of student activities; Majorie McGourty, secretary in the athletic department; Cecile McManus, administrative assistant to the director of financial aid; Susanna Miller, director of placement and career counciling; Eleanor Sarnacki, head nurse of the health service; Claudia E. Scholsberg, Class of 1976; and Joanne Tobiessen, Union College Women's Association.

The purpose of the Commission was to concern itself with the status and rights of women at Union College and make reports to the President. Other objectives included collecting and receiving information, making recommendations for change, offering advice and support to women, encouraging and supporting faculty members to examine their teaching, encouraging and supporting the development of new courses, exploring ways in which the College could help women develop skills in continuing education, increasing communication among women, and cooperating with offices, committees and governmental agencies in conducting studies relating to the status of women at the College.

Membership came from all sectors of the Union College community and included three representatives from administration, staff, students and faculty respectively. One faculty member was from the library, one student was from the Women's Network, and one staff member was from the Staff Association. Commission membership lasted for two years. The Commission held regular meetings at least ten times per academic year. The organization was sometimes informally referred to as the "Women's Commission" by its members.


2.61 Cubic Feet

2 Boxes

Language of Materials



Materials are arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The source of most of the collection is unknown. One box was donated by Sharon Gmelch, September 1995. One folder was transferred from the Library Office, September 1992.

Processing Information

In 2018, collection 326 was combined with accession 2013.019 to create RG05.031. In 2021, the collection was processed and a finding aid created.

President's Commission on the Status of Women records
Matthew Golebiewski
Winter 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Union College
807 Union Street
Schenectady NY 12308 United States