Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Faculty senate passes resolutions, will hold business meeting to consider SA resolutions Friday

The faculty senate met in Yokum 200 Tuesday to discuss and vote on resolutions proposed in the wake of student protests against racism and the Plattsburgh State administration’s handling of racial issues on campus.

One of the proposed resolutions called for a reaffirmation from the faculty senate to create a supportive and inclusive community for all individuals on campus and a recommendation to the campus to make a concentrated effort to improve diversity among faculty and staff.

At Friday’s upcoming all-faculty business meeting, faculty members could vote to mirror, at least in part, two resolutions passed by the Student Association.

The first would create a no-tolerance policy for any kind of discrimination on campus, particularly related to hate speech, which the student code of conduct does not currently account for.

The second is a possible vote of no confidence in at least one of three administrators whom the SA has already formally voted no confidence in: PSUC President John Ettling, Director of Student Conduct Larry Allen and Chief Diversity Officer J.W. Wiley.

The faculty senate also voted on its own set of resolutions. Among them, senators requested a follow-up report following last week’s visits from SUNY representatives from the SUNY Chancellor’s office, recommended an annual activity report, in which the administration would “provide clear guidance to employees regarding the value of demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” and recommended communication of an annual report on the college’s Diversity Plan, which was last revised in November 2016.

After opening the floor, one senate member called the proposed resolutions “premature” and a “knee-jerk reaction” to an issue that has not yet been fully discussed by all faculty members, at least in her department. Other senators echoed the sentiment, agreeing the resolutions are “hasty.”

Biological Sciences Department Representative Joel Parker said he was surprised anyone could think the faculty was not yet ready to vote on the resolutions.

“If you have not surveyed your faculty as senators, I don’t think you’ve done your job,” Parker said. “As far as I’m concerned, faculty who have not chimed in yet really don’t deserve to be heard at this point. I have no problem going forward on all of these [resolutions].”

Senate members discussed issues of diversity among the faculty throughout the meeting.

Gillian Crane-Kramer of the anthropology department said of 180 applicants reviewed for a “very widely advertised” position in the department over the last year and a half, “not a single person was a person of color,” a fact Kramer called “disturbing.”

Kramer said the administration, not the faculty senate, is tasked with the responsibility of creating an environment attractive enough for people of color to apply to.

“I can’t have a diverse faculty if I don’t get applications from minority populations,” Kramer said.

The faculty will hold its business meeting Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. in Yokum 200.

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