PULLMAN, Wash. — Ten Washington State University students, faculty and staff members have been selected by President V. Lane Rawlins to be part of the university’s newest diversity group — the Commission on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation.  In October, Rawlins announced his plan to create the commission and implemented a promotional campaign to seek interested members.

“The members were carefully selected to provide advice and counsel to help make WSU a more accepting and comfortable place for people of all sexual orientations.  The membership may be augmented in the future as our needs are clarified,” Rawlins said.

Representing faculty and staff are Eleanor Finger, residence life; Lisa McIntyre, sociology; Alice Emerson, student support services; Richard Kelley, campus involvement; Marcie Gilliland, counseling and testing services; and Lisa Laughter, sciences advising.  Student representatives are Sarah Bailey, counseling psychology; Tina Krauss, American studies; Reginald Duncan, sports management/leadership studies; and Alyson Erb, psychology.  Ex-officio members are Michael Tate, interim vice president for equity and diversity, and Heidi Stanton, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Allies Program.

Two additional ex-officio members, a community representative and urban campus liaisons will be added to the commission during the spring semester.

The role of the commission is to identify gender identity and sexual orientation issues and develop action plans to address them. Rawlins, Tate and others will work with commission members to implement recommended strategies. “I am excited to become part of this new group.  There is potential for us to have far-reaching impact,” said Finger.

Kelley said this is a phenomenal opportunity for our community to become more educated as well as provide a voice for this segment of our population. “Just hearing GLBT students talk—they feel invisible on campus,” he said. 

While much of the focus will be on improving the campus climate, some expect their involvement will have a personal impact as well. “I think being part of this work will help me learn who I am. And, through it all, I am happy to be a resource for others,” said Duncan, a WSU senior.