Hart named to West Virginia advisory committee to U.S. Commission on Human Rights


DebraHartDebra Hart, director of equity programs at Marshall, has been appointed to the West Virginia State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Human Rights.

This is her second term on the advisory board, as she was appointed for a previous two-year term in 1996.

The U.S. Commission on Human Rights is an independent, bipartisan and fact-finding federal agency with the mission to inform the development of national civil rights policy and enhance enforcement of federal civil rights laws.  This mission is pursued by studying alleged deprivations of voting rights and alleged discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin in the administration of justice, Hart explained.

The West Virginia committee has formed three working groups to review issues affecting local communities and citizens of the State of West Virginia. Prior to deciding on a project, the committee will conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation and research the issues. The committee will also vote to invite experts representing a broad cross-section of views, including government officials, advocacy group representatives and other subject-matter experts.

The project proceedings, including statements submitted for the record as studies and reports by third parties, are summarized in the State Advisory Committee report.  The report includes a thorough background of the issues, a summary of the experts’ presentations and the observations and conclusion of the WV SAC.

Before coming to Marshall, Hart had a long and distinguished career working with equal opportunity and civil rights for more than 26 years. She served as director of the State of West Virginia’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office during Gov. Cecil H. Underwood’s administration and worked closely with the West Virginia Legislature, serving on several committees including equal pay for women.

Now, referring to the advisory committee, she said, “It’s exciting to return to this advisory committee, select a  project and lead a working  group by researching critically important civil rights issues in the State of West Virginia.

West Virginia is part of the U.S. Commission’s Eastern Regional Office, which includes 13 eastern states and the District of Columbia, Hart explained, with the country divided into districts that encompass all the states.

“I’m enthusiastic as a member of the commission to engage in the opportunity to play a vital role in advancing civil rights … through objective and comprehensive investigations, research and analysis on issues that we feel are of significant concern to the Federal government and the public,” Hart said.