PULLMAN, Wash. — A Pullman Human Relations Commission, which would address issues of social climate in the community, is being proposed by a group representing Washington State University, the City of Pullman, the Pullman School District and the Pullman Chamber of Commerce.
The proposal is presented by a Livability Task Force formed last fall in response to a recommendation by WSU President Samuel Smith during a joint meeting of university officials and City Council members. Smith urged that a group be established to seek ways to enhance the attractiveness of the Pullman-WSU community.
According to a draft document articulating the objectives and function of the commission, the Livability Task Force set out to look for ways to “ensure that the community — broadly defined — was hospitable to all who lived here and that there were mechanisms in place to support a harmonious and economically viable city.”
While task force members recognized there were several groups addressing climate issues, they determined a need for a more formal structure that would bring together the many constituencies involved to address common problems and to forge common solutions.
The draft preamble states, “The Commission shall be charged with addressing climate issues within the community, particularly as they relate to persons of color, international members of the community, persons with disabilities, gay/lesbian/transgendered persons, women, seniors and low-income individuals and families.”
The draft was prepared to stimulate wider discussion of the issues identified. It is general enough to stimulate thought and specific enough to elicit response for detailed changes, according to T. L. Purce, WSU vice president for Extended University Affairs.
He says the Livability Task Force encourages community groups to discuss this proposal, to provide input by March 16 to the Mayor’s Office, and to participate in public forums that will be planned to discuss the ideas.
The commission would be composed of 12 volunteer members, three each appointed to represent the university, the city, public schools and chamber of commerce. Members’ terms would be for three years, with initial terms staggered to allow for orderly rotation. Commission members would elect the chair.
The commission’s charge would include identifying current efforts and existing programs; identifying barriers to the attainment of a diverse community; developing recommendations; addressing specific issues brought to the commission through dialogue, intervention as necessary, or referral to appropriate entities; and addressing policies, laws and actions that may be counter to the goals of the community and Human Relations Commission.
Members of the Livability Task Force are Mitch Chandler, mayor; John Sherman, city supervisor; Doug Nelson, school superintendent; George Sharp, executive director of the chamber; Gretchen M. Bataille, WSU provost; Sallie Giffen, WSU vice president of Business Affairs; Marcia Garrett, executive assistant for administration, Extended University Affairs; and Purce.
Copies of the working draft for the commission can be obtained at Neill Public Library and the Office of Vice President for Extended University Affairs, 442 French Administration Building.
Editors and Reporters: WSU Vice President T. L. Purce and City Supervisor John Sherman will be available to answer questions regarding the Human Relations Commission.