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April 20, 1994

Date: April 20, 1994

 

         UNIVERSITY COMMITTEE ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

                                    MINUTES

                                APRIL 20, 1994

 

 

  Present:  E. Braaten, C. Burger, T. Dillaha, T. Fairbanks, L. Graham, R.

            Hayman, M. Holmes, G. Holtzman, P. Hyer, R. Purdy, B. Purswell,

            V.  Reilly, L. Roy, S. Short, R. Stith, D. Travis.  Guests:

            Colleen Porter, Delores Scott.

 

  CALL TO ORDER:  Dr. Holford called the meeting to order at 2:35 p.m.

 

  ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA:  Dr. Hyer asked that the Affirmative Action

  Incentive Grants be added as an agenda item. Otherwise, the agenda was

  adopted as presented.

 

  ADOPTION OF THE MINUTES:  Minutes for the March 16, 1994 meeting were

  approved.

 

  EO/AA OFFICE REPORT:  Dr. Holford announced her appointment a EO/AA Office

  Director.  She presented her vision for the office, beginning with the

  compliance process.  To promote timeliness, effectiveness, and equitable

  response, she's developing a policy manual which will outline how

  complaints are investigated and provide a timeline for the office's

  actions.  This will be made available to all parties involved in a

  complaint.

 

  Secondly, Dr. Holford intends to supervise the complaint process by having

  bi-weekly case meetings with the office's Compliance Officer.  She has also

  developed a compliance report format to be used for every complaint that's

  formally filed.  The response to informal complaints will be less

  structured, but follow-up letters will detail what actions have been taken

  in an investigation.

 

  Third, after instituting effective interoffice management, Dr. Holford

  intends for the office to address the two larger issues of broad-based

  retention and campus climate.  She believes the university is past the

  stage of awareness and that the next step is for supervisors and department

  heads to take ownership of the issue of climate.  Devising ways to do so

  will remain a directive of the Committee.

 

  Dr. Holford stated that the office's Compliance Officer should be selected

  by the end of May.  The basic job duty is to investigate complaints and

  handle any ADA issues that should arise.

 

  The office submitted a Phase II initiative which proposed a reduction in

  the number of "Breakfast With" programs.  Additionally, the office will

  coordinate with colleges, departments, and administrative units in advance

  so that speakers can be utilized in classes and workshops.

 

  AFFIRMATIVE ACTION INCENTIVE GRANTS:  Dr. Hyer reported that the selection

  committee reviewed just under thirty applications.  The total amount to be

  dispersed is $20,000, with individual awards of no more than $2,500.

  Eleven projects covering an expanded university community are to receive

  funding.  Dr. Hyer explained to David Travis why projects submitted by

  extention offices were denied.  A major criterion was how closely connected

  to the university is the audience with which they'd be working; the

  audience was felt to be too intermediate, and the projects needed a more

  direct impact on the institution.  Dr. Hyer will send feedback letters

  offering explanations and suggestions to those applicants not chosen.

 

  REPORTS FROM SUBCOMMITTEES:

 

  O   MONITORING SUBCOMMITTEE:  Dr. Holford stated that the EO/AA Office will

      be monitored through quarterly reports of non-confidential case load

      statistics, compliance activities and conflict resolutions, with the

      exception of informal sexual harassment claims whose tracking is

      prohibited by the current sexual harassment policy.  Recordkeeping

      should pinpoint any trends and may thus affect future programming.

 

  o   RETENTION TASK FORCE:  Delores Scott reported that they will do a pilot

      focus group study this summer on tenure-track faculty to include (as a

      mixed group) women, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian

      Americans and Hispanic Americans.  The success of this pilot will

      determine the direction of their actual fall focus group study.  Ms.

      Scott asks for the assistance of members with expertise in this area.

 

  o   DIVERSITY SUBCOMMITTEE:  Dr. Roy reported on the group's upcoming

      Diversity Grants Writing Workshop to be held April 26th.  Attendants

      will first meet as a group to discuss previously successful grants of

      over $50,000.  They will then break into smaller groups to focus on

      actually writing the different parts of grants and then reconvene to

      discuss which foundations to apply to and why, and when, and how.  The

      emphasis will be on the extremely practical aspects of applying for

      grants.  Afterwards, a list of foundations that tend to fund diversity

      initiatives will be produced and circulated.

 

      Dr. Roy added that this summer the College of Arts and Sciences will

      have a diversity grant writing team of about fifteen people; they hope

      to produce at least eight proposals.  They also have a funding

      initiative to invite three junior minority faculty members to join

      them, each of whom will have three or four mentors to work with them on

      their own individual proposals.  Their progress will be reported to the

      Committee this fall.

 

  o   POLICY SUBCOMMITTEE:  Dr. Hyer said that they have met twice, and will

      meet a third time (April 29), with the Commission on Faculty Affairs to

      discuss the proposed revisions to the the sexual harassment policy.  If

      approved, it will be introduced to the University Council this fall, as

      we are past the opportunity to have it considered this spring.  In

      addition to CFA, the subcommittee has met with the Commission on

      Classified Staff Affairs, Commission on Student Affairs, and the

      Commission on Administrative and Professional Faculty; they have made

      contact with all the major personnel-related commissions.

 

      This summer the subcommittee will consider how to develop an

      educational program for next year, may draw up a request for proposal,

      and draft a handbook for individuals and supervisors who might deal

      with sexual harassment complaints.

 

  Dr. Holford thanked all the subcommitees for following through on their

  pledge to focus on specific issues and originate plans of action.

 

  SUMMER PROGRAMMING SUBCOMMITTEE:  Dr. Holford called for volunteers for

  this group which will discuss ideas for programming in the next year that

  have been brought to her attention by various people and organizations.

  Members will not be required to prepare any programming, but rather will

  act on a directional level.  Susanna Short, Jennie Reilly, Terry Fairbanks,

  Richard Hayman, Leslie Graham and Dr.  Hyer agreed to serve.

 

  OTHER BUSINESS:  Dr. Hyer asked Dr. Braaten about the status of the CAMPUS

  CLIMATE COMMITTEE and what, if anything, this committee should do about it

  next year.  Dr. Braaten said it was disbanded because it felt it had no

  clarion call for any responsibility.  Out of the 15 members, eight met on a

  regular basis.  They discussed administering a survey, but were sidetracked

  by questions of to whom they were to report, how they could effect change,

  and how their charge differed from that of the Committee on Human Rights

  and Social Responsibility. They asked then-President McComas for a letter

  clarifying their purpose and responsibilities and offering his support, but

  this wasn't received until after they had disbanded.  Dr. Braaten feels

  that the CCC should become part of the EO/AA Committee.

 

  Dr. Hyer proposed for next year's agenda that the EO/AA Committee rethink

  its structure and conscript the CCC into its ranks, citing that the EO/AA

  Committee is now composed of faculty and representatives from colleges who

  are concerned with classroom climate and who can provide leadership; that

  the Committee focus and re-energize the CCC and give it a charge it can

  manage; and that the CCC be required to report to the Committee.

 

  Dr. Holford agreed that the CCC should become a subcommittee, but composed

  of members and a chair with expertise from outside the current membership.

  This proposal will be more thoroughly discussed in the fall.

 

  Dr. Roy suggested as a topic for next year, ways to get SUBSTANTIAL

  FUNDING, externally and internally, for projects and initiatives the

  Committee deems significant, such as Ms. Scott's faculty retention study.

  Dr. Holford agreed.

 

  Dr. Dillaha asked if there have been any changes in opinion in classifying

  CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS as sexual harassment.  While he understands the

  prohibition of consensual relationships between direct superiors and

  subordinates, and that they are also prohibited because a third party could

  make a charge of favoritism or bias, he feels that there should be a

  separate mechanism for handling charges of favoritism because sexual

  harassment, per se, is not really a factor.

 

  Dr. Hyer said that nonetheless it is, by federal law and evolving case law,

  interpreted as sexual harassment because it could aggrieve a third party

  and create a hostile work environment.  The adverse favoritism/bias could

  be perceived as harassment toward the third party that is arising out of a

  consensual, albeit in itself nonharassing, relationship.  As an additional

  sanction, CFA may decide to include a statement prohibiting consensual

  relationships in the ethics section of the faculty handbook.  Dr. Holford

  added that, from a legal standpoint, it's wise to have school policy

  reflect the law, and the university really doesn't have much choice to do

  otherwise.

 

  Dr. Roy raised the issue of how the COMMITTEE CAN MAKE ITSELF MORE

  EFFECTIVE next year.  She said while the subcommittees were a good idea,

  time was wasted by not being focused enough at the beginning.  She suggests

  focusing on two or three things that will have substantial impact and

  stressed the importance of finding a continuum to carry the Committee's

  energy into next year.

 

  Members stated that part of the problem was the reorganization of the

  Committee, that initially there wasn't a chairperson for some months, and

  that the EO/AA Office had two different directors this year.

 

  Dr. Braaten said it would be helpful if past members were to come together

  with current committees at least once a year to offer advice and

  perspective.

 

  Dr. Holford asked those members whose term expires this year to meet with

  their replacements, share information, and explain what your role has been.

  She said the Committee accomplished phenomenal things this year in a short

  amount of time.

 

  Members suggested that the Committee expand its membership as a way to

  educate its target audience; that department heads be invited to sit in and

  discuss diversity issues and be available for direct questioning; that by

  only talking among ourselves, we aren't educating enough people.

 

  Other members opposed this, stating that disinterested members would slow

  the Committee down; that these members would continue to be resistant; that

  it could turn into a "dog and pony show"; that the whole focus of the

  Committee would change, and it would lose its activist stance and become

  "department minders".  The Committee agreed next year to consider more

  sophisticated ways to reach the university community.

 

                    THE MEETING WAS ADJOURNED AT 4:05 P.M.

 

           THIS WAS THE FINAL MEETING FOR THE 1993-94 ACADEMIC YEAR.

 

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