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April 24, 1990

         UNIVERSITY COMMITTEE ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

                                APRIL 24, 1990

 

 

  Present:  Susan Asselin, Robin Ball, Danielle Carpenter, Virgil Cook,

            Muriel Flynn, Laurie Good, Janine Hiller, Michele Holmes, Pat

            Hyer, Larry Lawrence, Pat Morris, Cornel Morton, Harry Pence,

            Mary Ross, Wayne Speer, Chris E. Tayloe, Linda Woodard, Anne

            Zajac

 

 

  Cornel Morton called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m.

 

  1.  ADOPTION OF AGENDA

 

      The agenda was adopted as distributed.

 

  2.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

      The minutes from the meeting of March 21, 1990, were approved as dis-

      tributed.

 

  3.  ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

      o   Dr. Morton announced that the three "Black Students/White Faculty"

          workshops were attended by approximately 150 faculty members.  He

          expressed his appreciation to the members of the Black

          Students/White Faculty Committee for their assistance in presenting

          the successful workshops.

 

      o   Dr. Morton noted that the search for the EO/AA compliance officer

          must be reconstituted next year.  The offer to Carolyn Green, who

          had previously accepted the position, had to be withdrawn because

          of her hesitancy in committing to a starting date.  She later with-

          drew her candidacy due to personal problems. A one-year interim po-

          sition has been offered to Mona Edwards, currently a Governor's

          Intern at Virginia Tech.

 

  4.  NEW BUSINESS

 

      a.  SUBCOMMITTEE ON WOMEN

 

          Anne Zajac initiated discussion of the draft edition (dated

          4/18/90) of the sexual harassment policy.  She noted that the EO/AA

          Committee must approve the policy before it can be submitted to the

          governance system for full university approval in the fall. Pat

          Hyer explained that the subcommittee decided to revise the previous

          sexual harassment policy because it is excessively legalistic and

          complicated.  Nor, she added, does it demonstrate strongly enough

          the university's position against sexual harassment.

 

          Virgil Cook expressed his concern about the section dealing with

          consensual relationships in that there seems to be a "thin line"

          between such relationships and those actively demonstrating some

          form of sexual harassment.  Dr. Zajac responded that the subcommit-

          tee discussed this issue at some length and agreed that there are

          certainly situations that can impact either one member of the re-

          lationship (usually the subordinate) or a third party.  Dr. Hyer

          gave examples of a "third party complaint where 1) a faculty mem-

          ber's honest assessment of a student is inhibited because his/her

          colleague is engaged in a relationship with that student, or 2) a

          student feels that a peer involved in such a relationship may be

          receiving preferential treatment from that faculty member.  Dr.

          Zajac also mentioned that so-called "consensual relationships" may

          not truly fit that description if one person is in a position of

          greater power. Michele Holmes, who deals with sexual harassment

          complaints, inquired how the Office of EO/AA would handle a third-

          party complaint. Dr. Zajac responded that there would have to be

          evidence of damages or a "hostile environment" before a legitimate

          complaint could be filed. Dr. Morton agreed that a consensual re-

          lationship could easily proceed to constitute at some level sexual

          harassment of one of the concerned individuals, and could also lead

          to discrimination against a third party. Thus, he felt it was im-

          portant to include a statement on consensual relationships in the

          policy.  Dr. Hyer noted that the draft includes a paragraph that

          gives "fair warning" to faculty members or administrators who might

          attempt to use the "consensual" nature of the relationship as a de-

          fense against a complaint filed at a later date. Dr. Zajac men-

          tioned that Kay Heidbreder, Associate General Counsel, attended

          many of the meetings of the subcommittee and thus has reviewed the

          document from a legal point of view.

 

          The EO/AA Committee voted to approval the document pending minor

          revisions to section #3C.

 

      b.  SUBCOMMITTEE ON MINORITY CONCERNS

 

          Patricia Morris distributed the subcommittee's final report for

          1989-90. This document is an update on the progress of the five

          priority recommendations from the Subcommittee on Minorities' dis-

          cussion during the meeting of January 31, 1990.  These five recomm-

          endations are from the larger list of recommendations contained in

          the Year 2000 Report submitted by the EO/AA Committee to the uni-

          versity.

 

          Ms. Morris summarized the five recommendations and updated the com-

          mittee on current progress in these areas.  Dr. Hyer referenced re-

          commendation #18 and suggested that the subcommittee speak with

          Joyce Williams-Green regarding the state-wide survey on black fac-

          ulty and administrators.  Dr. Hyer explained that data specific to

          Virginia Tech might be gleaned from that survey.  Dr. Morton added

          that at the very least it would be an appropriate model for the

          subcommittee to use if that data is not available from Dr.

          Williams-Green.

 

      c.  SUBCOMMITTEE ON DISABILITY CONCERNS

 

          Virgil Cook and Wayne Speer initiated discussion of the Guidelines

          for Disabled Employees (dated March 9, 1990).  Meetings were held

          with Greg Ritter and Linda Woodard to discuss the implications of

          the guidelines.  Ms. Woodard explained that Judith Jones had devel-

          oped a set of guidelines that were "attached" to the university's

          affirmative action plan. But over the past several years these

          guidelines have not been found to be sufficiently comprehensive or

          inclusive, resulting in significant ethical issues.  Thus, the re-

          vised set of guidelines is intended to be "more ethical, more le-

          gal, and more humane." Mr. Speer suggested that the document should

          include the Federal definition of the word "disability."

 

          Dr. Zajac questioned the meaning of the phrase "reasonable accommo-

          dation" of disabled employees; Mr. Speer responded that while there

          is no hard and fast definition, departments are fully expected to

          work cooperatively to accommodate the needs of the disabled.

          Should disputes arise that are unresolvable at the departmental

          level, the president could ultimately decide the outcome.

 

          Mr. Speer suggested a textual change on page 2 (reversing the

          sections on placement and termination).  Mary Ross also pointed out

          a section of ambiguous phrasing on page 2.

 

          Dr. Hyer inquired if this policy applied to disabled faculty mem-

          bers as well as to employees.  Ms. Woodard replied that it did not.

          Wayne Speer explained that the policy applies less to faculty mem-

          bers because of the general nature of their jobs:  a disabled fac-

          ulty member would more often confront building inaccessibility

          problems rather obstacles to actual job performance.

 

          A question was raised about the approval process of the document.

          Ms.  Woodard responded that a new draft incorporating the changes

          suggested at this meeting would be distributed in May.  She was not

          sure, however, whether it should be submitted to University Council

          for approval, as many personnel policies do not go that route.  In

          addition, she expressed concern about a lengthy approval process,

          given the urgency of some of the cases.  Dr. Hyer asked how many

          individuals could be affected by the guidelines?  Mr. Speer re-

          sponded that while in general the number is not large, a signif-

          icant number of people affected by "tight building syndrome" might

          utilize the guidelines.  Dr. Hyer suggested that, as an alternative

          to approval at University Council, the subcommittee might consider

          submitting it to Minnis Ridenour and to the Deans' Council.

 

      d.  FACULTY/STAFF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PLANS

 

          In reference to the document, "What Are We Doing to Recruit and Re-

          tain African American and Women Faculty?", Dr. Morton noted that

          this copy is intended to be a draft of the faculty recruitment

          plan. The staff recruitment plan will be discussed at the following

          meeting.

 

          Virgil Cook expressed his belief that the plan should address the

          recruitment of disabled faculty, in addition to minorities and

          women. Dr.  Hyer responded that this plan does not do so because

          the university has not established any hiring goals with regard to

          the disabled.  Wayne Speer agreed that Statutes 503 and 504 do not

          address the creation of affirmative action hiring goals, but in-

          quired whether a statement could be added to this plan that would

          indicate the university's commitment to hiring the disabled.  Dr.

          Morton felt that it should and suggested that next year's Subcom-

          mittee on Disability Concerns consider drafting a similar plan for

          the disabled.

 

          Susan Asselin questioned why other minorities were not included in

          this plan?  Dr. Morton replied that he and Drs. Williams-Green and

          Hyer did consider this issue and decided to develop a statement

          (included in the preamble) that addresses this question. He added

          that academic departments ought to be appointing Hispanics, Asians,

          and Native Americans on hiring lines that are permanent and not re-

          stricted to Target of Opportunity positions.  He also noted that

          while blacks represent the largest proportion of ethnic minorities

          in Virginia, they are the most dramatically underrepresented group

          among the ranks of Virginia's faculty.  He summarized that it is

          both a question of proportionality and historical neglect.  Addi-

          tional discussion focused on ways to rewrite the title and preamble

          to stress that the university is committed to hiring all minori-

          ties. Chris Tayloe noted a correction that is needed on page 5,

          sixth paragraph, first sentence (. . .and "selling" African Ameri-

          can women . . .).

 

          Dr. Zajac inquired how the numerical goals were established? She

          stated, for example, that most departments have a printed goal of

          zero for hiring blacks.  This may give department heads the im-

          pression that they need not actively recruit minority faculty. Dr.

          Morton responded that the figure is a theoretical goal based on a

          mathematical formula which incorporates national availability of

          African Americans.  Given that the pool is often so small, the for-

          mula can compute to a total goal of less than 1. Dr. Morton agreed

          that this is a problem that often requires clarification among hir-

          ing faculty. Dr. Hyer followed up this discussion with an explana-

          tion of the legal concerns behind some of the target of opportunity

          positions.  She also expressed concern that the university has a

          target goal of only 13 black faculty.  Dr. Morton responded that if

          that target were met, it could easily be expanded given the chang-

          ing labor market.  Ms. Morris asked if the hiring goals were refor-

          mulated every year and Dr. Morton responded that they were.

 

          Linda Woodard mentioned that the staff portion of the plan has not

          yet been completed.  She indicated that it would be circulated for

          EO/AA approval well before the final meeting of the year (now

          scheduled for May 29th, at 2:00 p.m., in the President's

          Boardroom). Those who are not able to attend the meeting are en-

          couraged to contact Ms. Woodard with their comments.

 

          Dr. Hyer noted that the student portion of the plan is still very

          young and will incorporate a number of areas, including recruitment

          goals, programming, funding availability, etc.  Ms. Morris inquired

          whether it would include a comprehensive summary of the programs

          available for students at Virginia Tech.  Dr. Morton responded that

          there was talk of creating a brochure addressing Tech's

          programmatic activities, but he is not sure of the status of that

          document.  Dr. Hyer noted that she had been asked to prepare a fi-

          nancial summary of how much had been spent this year on affirmative

          action efforts.  Her estimates place that figure between

          $750,000-$800,000.

 

  5.  OTHER BUSINESS

 

      o   Dr. Morton raised the issue of EO/AA representation from the Fac-

          ulty Senate.  He indicated that he would ask Dr. McComas to contact

          the President of the Faculty Senate (Lud Eng) to nominate someone

          to this committee.

 

      o   Mr. Speer suggested that the subject of the composition of the

          EO/AA Committee be added to the May agenda.

 

 

  The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.

 

 

  Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

 

  Laurie S. Good

  Executive Secretary

 

 

 

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