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October 19, 1993

 

         UNIVERSITY COMMITTEE ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

                                    MINUTES

                               OCTOBER 19, 1993

 

 

 

  Present:  C. Morton, L. Woodard (for Ann Spencer), P. Hyer, V. Tran, V.

            Reilly, L. Moore, E. Braaten, L. Roy, J. Hiller, R. Oderwald, R.

            Purdy, B. Purswell, D. Travis, R. Stith, C. Eggleston, B.

            Pendergrass, R.  Hayman, L. Graham, J. Snell, C. Pinder, C.

            Burger, B. Whitlock, K.  Tarnoff, G. Holtzman, T. Dillaha.

 

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

 

  1.  GREETINGS AND INTRODUCTIONS

 

      Dr. Cornel Morton asked everyone to introduce themselves, describing

      which units they represented.

 

 

  2.  ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

 

      The agenda was adopted as presented.  Dr. Morton explained that the

      minutes were not available from the September 21 meeting due to Ms.

      Bobbi Lowe's extra busy schedule over the past few weeks.  The minutes

      will be available shortly.  Dr. Morton reiterated that the last meeting

      was a very lengthy one and that most of it was a review of projects

      that are currently underway, as well as various reports.

 

 

  3.  DISCUSSION OF THE CHAIRPERSON FOR THE COMMITTEE

 

      Dr. Morton shared that he had been the Director of the EO/AA Office for

      the past four years and that during the last year of his tenure in that

      office, he had doubled as the Executive Assistant to the President by

      virtue of Dr. McComas' wishes.  There has been an extensive search

      ongoing and the final decision has been made as to the new director of

      the EO/AA Office.  The position was offered to, and has been accepted

      by, Ms. Kay Heidbreder.  Kay is currently on a trip to China and will

      return to the campus on October 19, 1993, at which time she will assume

      her new assignment.  Dr. Morton and Ms. Heidbreder discussed some of

      her new duties before her departure to China and Ms. Heidbreder hoped

      Dr.  Morton could persuade the committee to delay selecting a chair

      until she returned.  Even though she would prefer to participate in the

      selection process, she did not have strong reservations if the

      committee decided they did not want to make that choice.

 

      Dr. Morton acknowledged his enjoyment at working with the committee

      over the past four years.

 

      After some discussion among committee members, a motion was passed to

      delay the choosing of a chairperson until Kay Heidbreder is able to

      attend.  Ms. Lowe will send out a membership roster to each committee

      member, indicating which members are eligible to assume the role of

      chairperson, thus allowing members to begin to think about selecting a

      chairperson.  According to the Constitution, ex officio members,

      administrators and students are ineligible to assume the role of a

      chairperson.

 

      Once the Committee has selected a chairperson, that name will be

      presented to the President of the University for appointment.  In the

      past, the Director of the EO/AA Office has automatically been the chair

      of this committee.  However, this is a newly formatted committee in so

      far as its charge and membership.

 

 

      Several members of the Committee expressed interest in Ms. Heidbreder's

      present role at the University.  Dr. Morton shared that she is

      presently Associate Legal Counsel, working with Jerry Cain, and has

      been at the University for about 11 years, after having spent about a

      year in the private sector.  She has worked with the Office of EO/AA

      quite extensively in the past few years.

 

 

  4.  CONTINUATION OF REPORTS ON PROGRAMS/ACTIVITIES

 

      Dr. Pat Hyer presented her report on faculty hiring goals, as well as

      activities and programs currently underway.  She shared that faculty

      hiring goals are quite similar to staff goals, especially in the

      procedures for determining the affirmative action goals for the

      University in compliance with the federal executive order.  Dr. Hyer

      provided extensive handouts to the Committee members, explaining each

      handout in great detail.  Dr. Hyer explained that her data is one of

      the mechanisms for providing some kind of accountability to the deans

      for how their hiring practices are being implemented.

 

      A discussion ensued regarding the retention problems at Virginia Tech.

      It seemed to be widely recognized that the recruitment procedures have

      certainly improved, but that the retention issue is still a major one.

      A lively discussion surrounding this issue ensued.  Several committee

      members shared their concerns in this area.  Dr. Charles Pinder

      expressed his concerns that there was more of an emphasis on

      recruitment and not on retention and/or upward mobility.

 

      Dr. Cornel Morton shared the following ongoing programs/issues with

      Committee members:

 

      o   The Faculty Workshop Program will again be offered this year.  Dr.

          Johnnie Miles and Dr. Richard Bambach will serve as facilitators.

          Dr.  Morton feels that the workshops go a long way in nurturing

          diversity, especially among instructional faculty.  The student

          panel that comes in and speaks to the faculty have some very

          revealing things to share.

 

      o   The Breakfast With...Program, a very fine program which more and

          more departments are participating in, will be offered again this

          year.  There are openings for speakers and if any committee members

          have suggestions regarding potential speakers, please recommend

          them to Michele Holmes in the EO/AA Office.

 

      o   The Minority Newsletter.  This project has expanded dramatically

          over the past two years and is now distributed across the

          Commonwealth, as well as in our own community.  Michele Holmes in

          the EO/AA Office is very happy to receive comments, suggestions,

          and articles for this project.

 

      o   Dr. Morton reported that the perceptions of faculty who participate

          in the campus climate workshops is that our university is willing

          to change but that the change will be very slow because we are very

          conservative, very traditional, very white-male dominated, and very

          selective.

 

      o   Dr. Morton hopes that as the Committee members think about what

          type of work they might do this year, they will address policy

          implications and administrative institutional culture implications.

 

      o   Dr. Morton feels that there are not outward signs of alarm, but

          that we are sitting on a tension-filled community.  He feels we

          have very strong leadership among the minority students but that we

          still need to pay close attention to all students' needs for

          cross-cultural interaction.

 

      o   The EO/AA Committee was restructured, in part, to persuade and

          encourage a proactive posture.  The new membership has been

          designed for closer representation with the colleges.

 

  5.  ISSUES AND PROGRAMS FOR 1993-94 ACADEMIC YEAR

 

      Areas/items of concern expressed from Committee members:

 

      o   Dr. Carol Burger expressed interest in the development of a Women's

          Center at Virginia Tech.

 

      o   Dr. Ellen Braaten is most interested in a proposal for a master

          plan of physical accessibility at Virginia Tech.  She shared that

          in her 20 years at the University, Va. Tech has been reactive to

          the problem but not proactive.  Dr. Braaten feels that there is a

          perception that handicapped people are not able to do as much as

          non-handicapped individuals and that this perception needs

          attention.

 

      o   Ms. Leslie Graham responded to Dr. Braaten's concern by sharing

          that her college is conducting studies regarding laboratory

          accessibility for handicapped students.  She feels there is

          definitely a movement toward accessibility.

 

      o   Dr. Cornel Morton also responded to Dr. Braaten's concerns by

          discussing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Management

          Committee and ADA Advisory Committee.

 

      o   Dr. Virginia Reilly wanted to share with Dr. Braaten and the

          Committee the goals of the Disabled Student Services Office.  She

          is hopeful that disabled students will get more involved in

          leadership roles.  Her office is open to any and all suggestions

          for improving conditions at Virginia Tech.  She is currently trying

          to set up mentoring programs for handicapped students.  Dr. Reilly

          feels that people with hidden disabilities may even have a more

          difficult situation than those with visible handicaps.  She wants

          to work to increase awareness and training programs on campus

          climate regarding the handicapped.

 

      o   Dr. Lucinda Roy was most interested in what this Committee does

          exactly; does it have actual goals/challenges; or is it mainly a

          discussion forum.  She wondered if the Committee could have any

          practica effect on the community.  Dr. Roy expressed her

          frustration at serving on committees where no significant changes

          are actually made.

 

      o   Dr. Morton responded to Dr. Roy by sharing that while significant

          contributions to university policy (sexual harassment and family

          leave) have been made, in the past this Committee has mainly been a

          place where people express disdain, share ideas, and have an

          opportunity to vent their frustrations.  He hopes the Committee

          would work this year to effect change on policy level and

          administrative levels.  He feels the Committee must be more active

          in order to make tangible differences.

 

      o   Things the committee might do:

 

      o   The Committee, in general, feels that sub-committees might be very

          useful.

 

      o   Dr. Larry Moore suggested that the Committee work as a "family"

          when attending conferences, etc.; for example, they might attend a

          conference as a "group" rather than as individuals.  Dr. Moore also

          felt that the Committee might develop several subgroups to study

 

 

          retention in all areas -- graduate and undergraduate students,

          faculty, classified staff.

 

      o   Dr. Richard Oderwald expressed interest in the College of Forestry

          participating in a recruitment and retention of graduate students

          program.

 

      o   Dr. Janine Hiller shared her College's approach.  A standing

          committee on multicultural diversity was instituted three years ago

          and integrated into the College's strategic plan.  The committee

          defined goals and assigned responsibility for their implementation.

          In 1992-93, the committee received reports from administrators and

          others concerning the progress towards those goals.  The committee

          was a part of this process and assessed its progress as well.  The

          administrators accepted the recommendations of the committee

          following the assessment.  Overall, progress has been made towards

          reaching the goals, but some areas are slower than others.*

 

      o   Dr. Pay Hyer passed out a handout entitled "Possible Roles and

          Projects for he New EO/AA Committee."  This handout defined

          possible task forces as well as on-going functions and needs that

          the EO/AA Committee might wish to address.

 

      o   Mr. Richard Hayman expressed his interest in the Committee studying

          the classified staff system where the grievance procedure is the

          only mechanism for classified staff to voice their complaints.  He

          would like to see classified staff be able to have their concerns

          dealt with in various ways, as well as have the committee dig into

          discriminatory behavior.  Mr. Hayman was very interested in

          modifying hiring goals regarding classified staff also.

 

          The Committee meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

 

          Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

          Bobbi J. Lowe

          Executive Secretary

 

 

 

 

          * Paragraph amended per EO/AA Committee request / klp

 

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