Martha Nell Smith

Much of my service to the University of Maryland community has concerned issues around various "minority" constituencies. When I first came to College Park, I became an Affiliate Faculty of the Women's Studies Program (now Department), and now also serve on the President's Commission on Women's Issues. More recently I have served on the President's Commission on Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Issues, of which I am now Chair.

Unfortunately, the REAL Y2K bug--hatred of various constituencies--is still very much with us. Sadly, over the past two years the University of Maryland has witnessed hateful, threatening acts against our African American and LGBT community members. In response, the Coalition of President's Commissions (there are four--on LGBT Issues, Women's issues, Ethic/Minority Issues, and Disability Issues) held a Speak Out last December and maintains a Speak Out page in order to facilitate community conversation that will hopefully result in community action that goes beyond merely reacting to the hateful acts and declarations perpetuated by the true minority--those who are intolerant and cruel toward those who are "different." The President of the University of Maryland, Dan Mote, has recently appointed a Diversity Panel comprised of students, staff, and faculty to foster community building and work with his Commissions and all members of the campus. When he asked me to serve, I happily accepted, for hate is the only Y2K bug that has the potential to dismantle us and our good work.

In the wise words of one of our beloved contemporary poets, "nobody wins unless everybody wins" (Bruce Springsteen). My work on the Diversity Panel and the Commission is to develop a winning strategy for each and all, for everybody.

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