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February 16, 1994

Date: February 16, 1994

 

         UNIVERSITY COMMITTEE ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

                                    MINUTES

                               FEBRUARY 16, 1994

 

 

  Present:  E. Holford, E. Braaten, C. Burger, C. Eggleston, M. Flynn, L.

            Graham, R. Hayman, K. Heidbreder, J. Hiller, G. Holtzman, P.

            Hyer, L. D. Moore, B. Pendergrass, R. Purdy, V. Reilly, L. Roy,

            J. Snell, R. Stith, V. Tran, B. Whitlock, T. Fairbanks, T.

            Dillaha.

 

 

  CALL TO ORDER:  Dr. Holford called the meeting to order at 2:05 p.m.

 

  ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA:  The agenda was adopted as presented.

 

  ADOPTION OF MINUTES:  Minutes for the December 9, 1993 meeting were

  approved with minor corrections.

 

  UPDATE FROM THE CHAIR:  Dr. Holford commented on the restructuring efforts

  in the College of Education and the proposed reductions in force.  She

  strongly encourages the University to retain its primary charge as a keeper

  of intellectual thought and place a lesser emphasis on the aspect of the

  University as a business.  Also, Dr. Holford charged Kay Heidbreder to

  review any reductions in force to ensure that women and other minorities

  are not disproportionately affected.

 

  Secondly, as Dr. Holford will be involved with this restructuring, she will

  have less time to devote to the Committee.  She asked members if they

  wished to assign someone else as Chair; they declined.  Therefore, because

  of time constraints, she authorized subcommittees to meet more often than

  once a month; to divide into subgroups during the first hour of the two

  remaining Committee meetings; and to establish at least one goal,

  attainable by semeter's end or able to be carried over to 1994-95.

 

  INTRODUCTION OF NEW MEMBERS: Terry Fairbanks, a student in Industrial and

  Systems Engineering, has replaced Karen Tarnoff as Graduate Student

  Assembly representative.  His userid is FAIRB; telephone 953-0492 or

  extension 1-9084.

 

  Muriel Flynn introduced Colleen Porter, Personnel Practices Analyst, who

  may occasionally serve as his substitute.

 

  DISCUSSION OF EO/AA OFFICE'S MINORITY NEWSLETTER:  Ms. Heidbreder reported

  that the University's Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Caucus has requested that

  the scope of the MINORITY NEWSLETTER be expanded to include all groups

  covered under the EO/AA statement and not strictly concern itself with

  ethnic issues.

 

  The Committee agreed that such changes would be in keeping with its goal of

  practicing diversity within the University community and should be made

  effective with the Fall 1994 newsletter.  Dr. Roy recommended that, as a

  matter of propriety, the Black Caucus be notified of the proposed change.

 

  In addition, the Committee suggested renaming the newsletter to reflect

  this broadened format.  Possible names include: the EO/AA OFFICE

  NEWSLETTER, APPRECIATION OF DIFFERENCES, or the DIVERSITY NEWSLETTER.  Ms.

  Heidbreder encourages members to submit other alternatives.

 

  DISCUSSION OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AWARDS:  A voluntary selection committee

  was established to review and make final nominations from all applications

  received.  This committee, composed of Barbara Pendergrass, Leslie Graham

  and Virginia Reilly, will present their recommendations at the March EO/AA

  meeting.  A method of presenting the awards will also be discussed.

 

  DISCUSSION OF INCENTIVE GRANTS PROGRAM:  Dr. Hyer announced that calls for

  grant proposals are being accepted through April 8th.  She is asking

  members to volunteer for the five-member Review Committee.  The obligation

  involves one review meeting of approximately three hours length to meet

  within ten days after the April 8th deadline.

 

  Dr. Hyer also distributed copies of a study funded through the Incentive

  Program, entitled "Defining Barriers to Advancement for Women Faculty at

  Virginia Tech," by Laurie Desiderato, Ph.D.

 

  REPORTS FROM SUBCOMMITTEES:

 

  o   POLICY SUBCOMMITTEE:  Dr. Hyer distributed their proposed revisions to

      the University's sexual harassment policy.  They recommend that a

      statement proscribing consensual relationships be added to the ethics

      section of the Faculty Handbook.

 

      Their second proposition is the inclusion of line management into the

      policy, i.e., that management should be aware of, and will be held

      accountable for, instances of sexual harassment.  Ms. Heidbreder said

      this is the current direction of the law and that such responsibility

      is good not only for policy reasons, but also for legal reasons.

 

      Some members expressed the opinion that the terms "position of

      authority" and "manager" as used in the revision are too vague and

      should be more specifically defined to include the several possible

      relationships characterized by an imbalance in power.

 

      The subcommittee will work to further refine the sexual harassment

      policy.

 

  o   DIVERSITY SUBCOMMITTEE:  Dr. Roy distributed reports outlining

      strategies for improving  diversity within the Colleges of Engineering

      and Veterinary Medicine.  Her subcommittee is attempting to collect

      similar project materials from other colleges and offices in order to

      track diversity activities.  They intend to set up a campus-wide

      computer network and present a workshop this spring concerning the

      application process for external grants.

 

      Dr. Roy stated that many colleges and departments haven't developed

      diversity initiatives.  Dr. Moore said that while college

      administrators are aware of diversity mandates, faculty members aren't

      always informed of these discussions.  He proposed that a group of

      three or four EO/AA Committee members be available to meet with

      interested faculty and departments.

 

      Dr. Reilly asked the subcommittee to keep the disabled in mind as a

      constituent group when monitoring diversity projects or developing

      workshops.

 

  o   RETENTION TASK FORCE:  Dr. Purdy stated that this subcommittee will

      focus on retaining minority faculty, staff and graduate students and

      will utilize the pool of data already collected by the University.  Mr.

      Flynn suggested that workshops to train supervisors in sensitivity to

      diversity issues be resumed as a means to stem the high turnover rate.

 

      A second interest of the subcommittee is why minority undergraduate

      students don't utilize the services and opportunities already in

      existence.

 

  o   MONITORING SUBCOMMITTEE:  Dr. Holford said the group was unable to

      meet.  However, at this time she reiterated the directions for the

      other subcommittees: she stressed the importance of continued work on

      the sexual harassment policy; that the goal of establishing an

      intra-university network for discussion of diversity is a worthy one;

      that, pending a more strenuous mandate from University administration

      on diversity, a grants workshop and three to four-member group to meet

      with different departments are good methods of implementing policy.

 

 

  OTHER BUSINESS:  Richard Hayman mentioned that some housekeeping staff are

  upset at being classified as essential personnel, which requires their

  working in inclement weather when other personnel are exempt.  He stated

  they feel they have an EO/AA grievance based on classism.  Ms. Heidbreder

  responded that the complaint is a departmental management or personnel

  issue and that the EO/AA Office doesn't have authority to intervene.  The

  matter was tabled for possible later discussion.

 

                    The meeting was adjourned at 4:10 p.m.

 

            NEXT MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 1994

 

        SUBCOMMITTEES WILL MEET FROM 2:00 - 3:00 P.M., IN THE FOLLOWING

        CEC ROOMS:  POLICY SUBCOMMITTEE - EXECUTIVE CONFERENCE ROOM;

        RETENTION TASK FORCE - COMMITTEE ROOM; DIVERSITY SUBCOMMITTEE

        AND MONITORING SUBCOMMITTEE IN CONFERENCE ROOM G, WHICH WILL BE

        DIVIDED TO ACCOMMODATE BOTH.  THE GROUP WILL RECONVENE AS A

        WHOLE FROM 3:00 - 4:00 P.M. IN THE EXECUTIVE CONFERENCE ROOM.

 

 

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