Applications are being accepted from residents who may be interested in serving on the Columbus Human Rights Commission.

The commission’s main responsibility is to enforce the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodation, credit and education on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, veteran status and familial status in housing only.

The commission sends out the call for applications every 18 months so there is an up-to-date applicant pool in case of an opening, said Aida Ramirez, commission director.

Commissioners are appointed by the Columbus City Council for three-year terms and serve without pay, said Tim Shuffett, who is the city council’s liaison to the human rights commission.

The terms of four commissioners are set to expire in 2017 — those of Wayne Baba, Trena Carter, Gil Palmer and Sameer Samudra. Ramirez said she has not yet asked them whether they want to be reappointed by Columbus City Council.

The reappointments, she said, are left up to council members to decide.

In addition to the duties of enforcement, the commissioners’ public education activities include involvement in an essay and art contest in the schools, an annual dinner for the community, diversity dialogue circles and support of the Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization.

New commissioners who are appointed receive six to eight hours of human rights training from commission staff members.

The city council is seeking applicants who represent the diversity of the community and who are willing to devote time and commitment to the goal of making Columbus a fully inclusive community, according to a news release.

Members of the public who would like further information or would like to express an interest in being considered for a commission appointment should contact the Human Rights Commission office at 812-376-2532 or TDD 812-375-2720 for hearing-impaired individuals.

People interested in applying for the position will fill out an applicant questionnaire that is also available by emailing

A detailed list of commissioner duties and responsibilities is also available upon request.

Questionnaires should be returned to the commission office by 5 p.m. Feb. 10. Applicants will be reviewed by Shuffett, with selected applicants being notified to schedule an in- person interview.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or