Guidelines and Bylaws

I. Mission

The commission shall be the primary channel by which advice is given to the president on issues and concerns related to the status of women at NIU. It shall advise the president on research and actions needed but will not be the body primarily responsible for performing indicated research or information gathering. Commission members shall serve on behalf of the whole university community in a spirit of independence and impartiality to foster a supportive climate for women.

II. Role and Duties

  1. The commission shall advise the president on issues pertaining to the status of women at NIU. This will include informing the president about issues identified by the commission itself by other units or persons within the university community or by the president.
  2. The commission shall make recommendations to the president on studies, reports or other actions needed to address particular issues related to the status of women. Where there are dissenting opinions, the commission is responsible for reflecting the full range of thought on the issues.
  3. The commission may hold hearings to collect information or request information from units within the university.
  4. The commission, in carrying out its charge, may establish subcommittees whose membership may be drawn from non-commission members in the university.
  5. This commission may suggest and sponsor programs that carry out the PCSW mission.

III.  Membership

  1. The commission shall be composed of at least 15 members drawn from all major constituencies of the university: faculty, staff and students. In addition to the 15 members, the following six areas will have an appointed representative: Provost's Office; Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality; Gender & Sexuality Resource Center; Affirmative Action and Equity Compliance (AAEC); Human Resource Services; Athletics.
  2. In keeping with Section 15.9 of the Northern Illinois University Constitution and Bylaws, the commission will include minority representation. Members shall be appointed by the president from a pool of nominations and volunteers solicited from major university constituencies.
  3. Non-student members shall be appointed to serve staggered three year terms. Non-student members may not serve more than two consecutive terms; however, they may be reappointed after a one year absence from the commission. Student members will serve one year terms and will be eligible for reappointment. Any commission member may remain beyond the three years’ commitment if elected to serve as chair for the coming year. Additionally, to preserve continuity, the chair of the previous year(s) may be reappointed as a regular member for an additional year after the completion of her term.

IV. Operations

  1. The commission will elect a chair and vice-chair for the coming year at its last regularly scheduled meeting in the spring semester.
  2. The commission will appoint a member to act as liaison to the Affirmative Action and Equity Compliance Advisory Committee, who will be assigned to attend all its meetings as a means of facilitating regular interaction with other presidential commissions, AAEC and through them, the president.
  3. The commission chair and members will make themselves available to meet with units or persons within the university, at the president's request.
  4. The chair of the commission will provide the president with an annual report in June following each year as chair as well as other reports if necessary during the academic year.
  5. The commission will meet once a month, usually the second Wednesday, in accordance with a schedule prepared by the chair. Special meetings will be called as necessary.
  6. Members will be expected to attend all regularly scheduled meetings or to notify the chair or the secretary of their absence in advance of the meeting date. The appointment of persons with excessive unexplained absences will be reviewed by the commission in February. Recommendations for action will be forwarded to the president.
  7. When a vote is necessary, the commission will decide the issues based on a majority of votes by the members in attendance.
  8. The commission's budget shall be developed by the chair and vice-chair. It will be presented to the commission at the September meeting. Minor modifications in the budget (under $300) may be made by the chair to ensure that approved tasks are carried out.
  9. A nomination subcommittee of three people will be selected by the commission. This subcommittee will convene beginning in March and will be charged with the responsibility of identifying/soliciting candidates for chair and vice-chair of the PCSW. The chair will serve for a two year term and the vice-chair will serve for a one year term, which may be renewed for a second year.
  10. The commission will consider requests from university employees or students to seek information regarding situations which have policy implications for the status of women in the university. Individual grievances and situations not having policy implications will be referred to the appropriate University office for action. Procedures relating to such requests are set forth in a separate document in the appendix.


Updated May 2011