In the world of NOW, all groups seeking to become
chartered NOW chapters must abide by all National and
State NOW Bylaws.
In the world of the University of Houston, all groups
seeking formal status as a Student Group, must abide
by the rules of the University.
NOW at the University of Houston has problems --
NOW national bylaws Article III Membership state:
"Any person who subscribes to NOW's purpose shall be
eligible to become a member of NOW and upon payment
of national dues shall be enrolled as a member, with
all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities
thereof. All members of subunits of NOW must be members of the national organization. No person who
subscribes to NOW's purpose shall be excluded from
membership, segregated, or otherwise discriminated
against within the organization."
The Organizations Handbook, Section VII. Members and
Offices (sic) of Registered (Student) Organizations
1. Registered student groups have freedom of
choice in the selection of members, provided that
there is no discrimination on the basis of race,
handicap, creed, ethnic origin, or sex; except that
a waiver of this section may be granted if
membership restriction is necessary to achieve the
lawful stated purpose of the organization.
2. Membership in registered student groups is
restricted to currently enrolled University of
Houston Central Campus students, faculty, staff and
We already have members who do not meet the University
rule because people who join NOW nationally by mail
may elect to join any chapter and we have gotten several dues paid members in this way. Also, we anticipate that some of our members are students who may be
forced to temporarily drop out to earn enough money to
continue their education. Additionally, there are
faculty, staff and student spouses who feel they are
members of the University "community" in the most
literal sense who would be denied membership by this
There are several possible ways to cope with these
1. Seek changes in the University Rule through the
Organizations' Board. Since exceptions can be
made to allow discrimination, perhaps we can get
an exception to prevent discrimination.
2. Seek changes in National NOW's policy for a special case for college/university based chapters.
3. * Stop being a student group and become (say)
"University NOW" and meet in some nearby church or
4. Stop being a NOW chapter and continue as (say)
"Feminists at the University of Houston".
To change NOW bylaws, we need to solicit support for a
change from other University/college based groups. If
two state organizations put it forward, a bylaw change
will be considered at the next national conference in
October 1982. We need to go to the next state council
meeting, (March 20 in Austin) to seek support from
Texas NOW. It seems likely that Pennsylvania NOW and
California NOW would also support us.
Please be thinking about what to do about this and
come for discussion to the next business meeting,
March 3rd, 7:30 Judicial Room, UC.
Jo Ann Evansgardner
COUNCIL OF NOW CHAPTERS IN HOUSTON
Organizing a Council of NOW chapter in Houston is
still in an early stage. The dictionary definition
makes it clear that the term "council" has several
but at least one of the usages explicitly includes the
idea that members of a council should be "equal in
power and authority". However, when some chapters are
small and others are large, when some have a dozen
committed workers and others only one or two, equality
in "power and authority" for chapters in a Council of
NOW must be negotiated. And the negotiations will
take time. Such negotiations also require a commitment to one or more of the following:
1. the more viable NOW chapters there are in the
Houston area the better, (since the more chapters,
the more leadership that will develope)
2. every NOW chapter is stronger if each NOW chapter
is strengthening - each chapter will be strengthened by the loyal support and cooperation of all
3. support and cooperation among chapters is
necessary and achievable - if we don't hang
together we shall hang separately, twisting
slowly, slowly in the wind
4. there are work areas that can be supported better
financially by a council than by chapters working
independently - e.g. newsletter, NOW telephone,
P.R., fund-raisers such as Walk-a-thons, etc.,
5. by working together in a Council, the leadership
persons of each chapter get to know and appreciate
the strengths and difficulties of the leadership
persons of each other chapter, and thereby learn
to cooperate more effectively.
The next Council Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, o
March 24, at the University Center, at 7:30 pm. If 3
you'd like to be a part of a developing and important
effort in Houston feminism, be sure to come. We in <
NOW at the University of Houston are committed to a 3
strong Council of NOW chapters because we believe that <g
the surest road to equality between women and men is a ^
strong National Organization for Women and that coop- §"
eration among NOW chapters is essential to that end. -1
MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION FORM
I wish to join the National Organization for
Women, NOW at the University of Houston, Central Campus.
(Dues for NOW are on a sliding scale from $11.00 to
$35.00. This amount is divided among the Chapter,
Texas NOW, and the National. Please send an amount
for your dues according to your circumstances.)
Enclosed are my dues in the amount of $ .
(from voter registration card)
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