PULLMAN, Wash. — Women students at Washington State University are more diverse than ever, according to a study released by the university’s Commission on the Status of Women.

The number of undergraduate women of color jumped more than 13 percent, from 886 students in 1995 to 1,008 in 2000, the commission report stated. More are seeking higher degrees at WSU, too, with a 24 percent increase in diverse female graduate students during the same period.

The commission examined institutional climate; student enrollment, retention and degree completion; and faculty and staff recruitment, employment and retention between 1995-2000. Commission members included administrators, faculty, staff and students.

Other findings include:

*The number of women in faculty, administrative and professional, instructional faculty and tenured faculty positions all increased. The most dramatic change was a 48 percent jump in the number of administrative and professional positions held by women.

*Undergraduate women continue to outperform their male counterparts academically, earning higher grade point averages, graduating at higher rates and receiving more scholarships. On the Pullman campus, the average GPA of undergraduate women is 2.99, compared to 2.71 for undergraduate men.

*More women are participating in intercollegiate athletics at WSU. The state gender equity statute requires intercollegiate athletic programs to be within 5 percent of the proportion of undergraduate women. By the 1998-99 academic year, WSU was within 2.5 percent.

* The university is providing better facilities for women intercollegiate athletes, including substantial improvements to the soccer field, outdoor tennis courts and crew docks. Renovations in WSU’s Bohler Gym included locker rooms for women’s tennis, a training room, and equipment and storage space.

WSU President Glenn Terrell appointed the commission in 1971 to gather information and to make recommendations about the status of women at WSU. The commission also acts as an information agency within the university, developing sensitivity to and awareness of attitudes and practices that constitute discrimination and recognizing those striving to achieve gender equity. Reports are released every five years.

For more information, contact Sandra Brabb, Commission chair, 509/335-2190 or brabb@wsu.edu.