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October 10, 1990

       1.1  University Committee on Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action

 

 

 

                            1.1.1  October 10, 1990

 

 

  Present   Allison Ballew, Virgil Cook, Mona Edwards, Doris Evans, Laurie

            Good, Randy Grayson, Janine Hiller, Patricia Hyer, Dawn Maxey,

            Pat Morris, Cornel Morton, Barbara O'Neal, Harry Pence, Charlotte

            Pratt, Nancy Simmons, Wayne Speer, Chris Tayloe

 

  Absent:   Joan Kalnitsky-Aliff, Susan Asselin, Robin Ball, Alan Bayer,

            Doretha Butler, Mark Flora, Muriel Flynn, Jane Harrison, Deborah

            Ho, Melissa Holland, Michele Holmes, Dennis Jones, Michael

            Lambur, Kathy Lewis, Linda Woodard, Glenn Valentine

 

 

  Cornel Morton called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m.

 

  1.  ADOPTION OF AGENDA

 

      The agenda was adopted as distributed.

 

  2.  APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

      The minutes from the meeting of September 11, 1990 were approved with

      minor revisions.

 

  3.  ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

      o   Mr. Speer announced that Dr. William Scales, Director of Disabled

          Student Services at the University of Maryland, has agreed to pres-

          ent the second "Breakfast With. . ." for 1990-91, on Tuesday, No-

          vember 13.  The title of his talk is "Serving Disabled College

          Students in the Classroom and on Campus:  A National Requirement."

 

      o   Mona Edwards announced that the Women's Mentoring Network is plan-

          ning its fall reception on Wednesday, November 7th, from 3:00 to

          5:30 p.m., at the University Club.

 

      o   Dr. Morton noted an upcoming forum on "Race, Reality, and American

          Education, on Wednesday, October 31st, at 7:00 p.m. in the CEC Au-

          ditorium.  Guest speaker, Dr. Acklyn Lynch, is Associate Professor

          of African-American Studies at the University of Maryland.  The

          talk is sponsored by the Virginia Tech Faculty Committee for Social

          Justice.

 

  4.  NEW BUSINESS

 

      a.  SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS SUBCOMMITTEE ON WOMEN

 

          Dr. Hyer noted that the Council on College Deans has reviewed the

          sexual harassment policy and has made several suggestions.  Once

          these changes are incorporated into the document, it will be sub-

          mitted to University Council for further consideration. Dr. Hyer

          then considered the question of maintaining contact with

          constituency groups.  She reported that there are numerous women's

          groups on campus who could easily and regularly be apprised of the

          Committee's work, including the Coordinating Council on Women's

          Concerns, sororities, Undergraduate Women's Network, as well as

          some other student groups. Dr. Hyer added, however, that the Com-

          mittee would need to ascertain exactly what information should be

          conveyed to them before formally establishing those linkages.

 

          SUBCOMMITTEE ON MINORITIES

          Patricia Morris discussed the dissemination of EO/AA information to

          the greater campus community and suggested that a once- or twice-a-

          year forum be held for deans, directors and department heads to in-

          form them about the work of the EO/AA Committee and its

          subcommittees.

 

      b.  SUBCOMMITTEE ON DISABILITY CONCERNS

 

          Dr. Cook reported that the subcommittee met recently and reviewed a

          number of issues.  In particular, the elevator scheduled to be in-

          stalled in Price Hall may be delayed until a manageable bid is re-

          ceived. The money allocated for the project was $212,000, but the

          lowest bid submitted was $320,000. Dr. Cook explained that part of

          the problem with the high estimates is that the external elevator

          project requires the use of costly "Hokie stone." He then described

          tentative plans to publish a guide for accommodating students with

          disabilities that would be available to faculty members. Mr. Speer

          added that he has contacted many of Tech's peer institutions re-

          questing their printed materials concerning students with disabili-

          ties. He also suggested that an orientation session should be held

          periodically to educate new faculty members and graduate teaching

          assistants about working more effectively with these students.  Dr.

          Cook also spoke about tentative plans to establish an informal

          resource/advisory group of students with disabilities.  Mr. Speer

          then noted the need to establish two new positions, namely, a

          learning disabilities specialist and a registered deaf interpreter.

          Although there is wage money set aside for interpreting services,

          the lack of benefits hinders many skilled interpreters from working

          here. Responding to a question from Dr. Grayson, Mr. Speer informed

          the Committee that there are currently 8 hearing impaired students,

          only one of whom really relies on signing (all that is required to

          employ an interpreter). He then noted that a zero balance exists

          for funding physical plant projects (such as curb resetting).

 

  5.  OTHER BUSINESS

 

      a.  REPORT FROM SUBCOMMITTEE ON EO/AA COMMITTEE STRUCTURE

 

          Dr. Hyer provided the background that precipitated the formation of

          this subcommittee to examine the role, responsibility and composi-

          tion of the EO/AA Committee.  In preparing their report, she noted

          that the group had examined documents from various other insti-

          tutions regarding their EO/AA structures.  One of the issues that

          the subcommittee grappled with was the composition of the commit-

          tee.  Dr. Hyer noted that EO/AA Committee members have in the past

          not been officially responsible for affirmative action tasks and

          programs within individual units, or formally connected with

          constituencies who are.  Thus, she explained, the new proposed mem-

          bership would include individuals (one per college or major unit)

          with identified job responsibilities related to college and/or de-

          partment administration and affirmative action. Several committee

          members were concerned that a committee composed of such higher-

          level administrators would have poor representation. In response,

          Dr. Hyer stressed that the proposal also includes representation

          from advocacy and constituency groups who would join the committee.

          They include an individual from the Faculty Senate, one from the

          Classified Staff Advisory Group, a member from the Black Faculty

          and Staff Caucus, a member from the Women's Coordinating Council,

          and an undergraduate and graduate student.  Dr. Hyer then described

          the proposed responsibilities of the group, such as overseeing fac-

          ulty searches so as to provide greater accountability.  She noted

          that the reporting structure of the Committee would remain the

          same.

 

          Dr. Cook expressed concern that there is currently no advocacy

          group for the disabled on campus, thus they would not formally be

          represented through this new structure.  Dr. Hyer noted his concern

          and agreed that an identified constituency group should be formed

          to represent a voice for the disabled.

 

          Dr. Grayson referred back to the proposed membership structure and

          stated his objections to appointing senior administrators who, for

          various reasons, might not be genuinely interested in the issues

          this committee faces.  Dr. Morton acknowledged the concerns ex-

          pressed by Dr.  Grayson but noted that the addition of assistant or

          associate deans would provide greater means to influence and set

          policy. He also concurred with the suggestion that each of the spe-

          cial interest groups provide a member to the Committee.

 

          Dr. Grayson also expressed his frustration with colleagues who,

          when considering the hiring of a minority faculty member, tend to

          use the phrase "if they are qualified," as if an affirmative action

          hire necessarily translated to the employment of a less qualified,

          minority, candidate. Dr. Morton agreed and added that minority can-

          didates are often expected to be even more qualified than their

          peers. He added that one of the important tasks of his committee

          and of the EO/AA Office is to reverse these misconceptions.

 

          Prof. Pratt stressed the importance of acting at the "grass-roots"

          level and thus suggested that department heads have a link to the

          committee, either as ex-officio members or in some other fashion.

          She also suggested that a representative be included from the Black

          Student Association.  Dr. Morton concurred, especially since black

          students comprise over 4% of the total student body. Dr. Hyer noted

          that when the subcommittee considered a new membership structure,

          they tried to limit the size so that it might be more effective.

 

          Given the broad changes proposed by the document, Dr. Hyer asked

          that the Committee carefully consider the proposal and contact her

          with criticisms or comments by the 19th of October.  This document

          will be discussed again during the next meeting on November 13.

 

      b.  THE COMMITTEE ON CLASSROOM AND CAMPUS CLIMATE

 

          Dr. Morton noted that three additional Black Students/White Faculty

          workshops are planned for October 25 & 26, and November 7. Approxi-

          mately 50 faculty members will participate during each workshop.

          The committee is also organizing a half-day workshop that will deal

          with recruitment and retention of black students (November 29 at

          the CEC), and another half-day meeting to address the recruitment

          of faculty (planned for November 28 at the CEC). Dr. Hyer suggested

          that the committee consider planning a workshop dealing with gender

          issues.

 

      c.  DRAFT OF UNIVERSITY PLANNING DOCUMENT 1991-96

 

          Dr. Morton explained that a unified EO/AA Committee response to the

          planning document is expected by November 15th.  Dr. Morton asked

          for the formation of an ad-hoc group to examine the document and

          deliver their recommendations to the larger committee at the next

          meeting.  Those agreeing to serve on this committee include Randy

          Grayson, Dawn Maxey, Virgil Cook, Allison Ballew, Mona Edwards, and

          Pat Morris.

 

      d.  AFFIRMATIVE ACTION GRANTS PROGRAM

 

          Dr. Hyer described a proposed program whereby local level

          constituencies could develop affirmative action initiatives respon-

          sive to their own needs. She distributed a copy of Purdue Universi-

          ty's written guidelines for a similar program and noted that their

          grants run between $500 and $2,500, with approximately $20,000

          available per year; she envisioned a similar level of funding for

          Tech. Dr. Hyer gave several examples of what Purdue has funded in

          the past, and described several programs currently in place at

          Virginia Tech that would meet proposed funding criteria. Dr. Hyer

          noted that the faculty affirmative action plan has money available

          that could be used to fund these local-level ideas.  She suggested

          that the program be administered by the Office of Affirmative

          Action, with a review subcommittee formed from the larger EO/AA

          Committee. Members agreed that the grants program would be an ef-

          fective way of raising the visibility of the Committee, as well as

          funding worthy proposals.  Dr. Hyer added that there is money

          available this year, thus the program could get underway imme-

          diately. Dr. Morton stressed the potential long-term benefits of

          the Small Grants Program and suggested that the chairs of each of

          the subcommittees could initially screen the proposals.  He asked

          Mona Edwards to convene a subcommittee that would revise Purdue's

          guidelines to meet the Committee's recommendations. That subcommit-

          tee will consists of Barbara O'Neal, Nancy Simmons, Pat Hyer,

          Charlotte Pratt, Virgil Cook, Pat Morris, and Mona Edwards.  The

          Virginia Tech Small Grants Proposal guidelines will be reviewed at

          the November meeting.

 

 

  The meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

 

 

  Respectfully submitted,

  Laurie S. Good

  Executive Secretary

 

 

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