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AAUW national convention sets ratification on ERA as No. 1 priority

Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment is again the No. 1 priority of the American Association of University Women. Some 3,900 delegates gave their support to the amendment at the AAUW centennial convention here last week. The ERA must be ratified by three more states before June 30, 1982, to become a part of the US Constitution.

To further show their support, AAUW delegates raised $23,670 to support that goal in an hour-long ERA rally.

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"If anyone thought the enthusiasm and support for ERA ratification was diminished, the sum we raised so quickly should put the myth to rest," says Mary A. Grefe, immediate past president of AAUW.

Mary Purcell of Wallingford, Pa., is the newly elected president of AAUW.

AAUW delegates have charged their board with implementing resolutions promoting women's history week in March, affirmation of the separation of church and state, and continued support for adequate legal protection and establishment of shelters and counseling services for victims of domestic violence.

Other resolutions support a national project on families and work, the development of consistent policy and transition programs for refugees, and endorsement of energy conservation measures, educational campaigns on all aspects of energy, support of alternative energy, and concern for regulation, safety, and disposal of nuclear wastes.

AAUW urges stringent regulations for the safe management of hazardous wastes and stresses the importance of local input into waste-site decisions.

A resolution adopted from the floor urges the elimination of all taxes that discriminate against married couples with two incomes. And to reinforce a message sent to President Reagan from the AAUW board listing 12 women candidates for the Supreme Court vacancy, the delegates drafted a message again urging the President to name a qualified woman to the position.

A two-year legislative program adopted by delegates supports legal and human rights for individuals, including a provision for the right of individual choice in the determination of one's reproductive life; the improvement and conservation of the environment through rational community development; and "protection of pursuit of knowledge and access to that knowledge," in response to calls by conservative groups for the banning of certain books, magazines, and curriculum.

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A priority item under cultural measures adopted is adequate funding of public broadcasting for public affairs. AAUW also urges continued support for programs in the arts and humanities.

Under foreign policy, AAUW calls for an end to all forms of discrimination against women. They support measures to promote "resource allocations" to peaceful use.

A 10-year plan aims to promote the movement of women into decisionmaking positions, offer broad-based programs within AAUW on timely issues and concerns, and maintain and increase AAUW action in public policy (including investigation of an AAUW political action committee and legal defense fund). AAUW also seeks to increase membership to be more representative of the college graduate population and stimulate coordinated activities with other organizations t o achieve AAUW goals.

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