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March 27, 2003

Senate organizes task force to study United Way

by Linda Charles
A Faculty Senate task force will take a close look at United Way's annual fund-raising campaign on campus. The creation of the task force follows President Gregory Geoffroy's recent rejection of a senate resolution to limit campus United Way activities.

The resolution stemmed from the Boy Scouts' policy of banning gay troop leaders from its organization. Many senators claimed this conflicts with the university's discrimination and affirmative action policies.

Senate president Max Wortman expects to appoint the task force this week. It will consist of two senate members, two United Way representatives and an administrator.

Before naming the task force Wortman will comply with a senate executive committee request to talk to key university people to determine if there are other issues facing gay faculty on campus that should be examined by the task force.

In addition to attempting to resolve the Boy Scout issue, the task force will review the way the United Way campaign is conducted on campus. This includes pressuring people to sign and return donation envelopes even when they choose not to participate, allowing campaign volunteers to collect envelopes on university time and using the campus mail system to distribute campaign envelopes.

The task force will make a report to the senate executive board in November.

Senate resolution would restrict campus campaign
Wortman, with the approval of the executive board, decided to appoint the task force after Geoffroy rejected a March 25 senate resolution to prohibit United Way use of the campus mail system for its annual campaign. The resolution also asked the administration to discourage faculty from collecting donation envelopes.

Geoffroy said he wouldn't accept the resolution because "ending the university's participation in the Story County United Way would cause a great deal of harm to programs and services that many people in the community depend upon."

Geoffroy said the benefits of United Way-supported agencies to ISU students, faculty, staff and their families "far outweigh any concerns over the practices of one of those organizations."

Frankee Oleson, executive director of the United Way of Story County, told senators that the United Way board of directors had decided that its guideline for support should be state and federal laws. "The Boy Scouts organization does follow the law," Oleson said.

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