RUTGERS, THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW JERSEY
UNIVERSITY SENATE MINUTES

Regular Meeting of the University Senate

DATE:  February 7, 1997

TIME AND PLACE:  1:10 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Rutgers Student Center, 126 College Avenue, New Brunswick

MEMBERS PRESENT:  Barone, Bathory, Baxter, Beatty, Belton, Berman, Bethel, Bhoj, Boikess, Borisovets, Boylan, Budd, Caprio, Carlson, Carlton, Catlin, Clarke, Colaizzi, Cooney, Crew, Crozier, Crystal, Davidson, de Boer, DeMicco, E. Dennis, R. Dennis, Dill, Elkouss, Evans, Foley, Forman, Gary, Gaunt, Gillio, Giunta, Goodman, Grassle, Greven, Griffith, Hall, Harris, Hendricks, Hernandez, Heumann, Hosford, Hughes, Hyndman, Idler, Jacobs, Janes, Joel, Katz, Kearns, Kirschner, Klein, Koehler, Krueckeberg, Kuhthau, Kwok, Laskaris, Lattimer, Lawrence, LeFer, Leontiades, Levinson, Li, Liivak, Lippincott, Magryta, Mastrobuono, Mayer, McCloughan, McLoof, Miller, Montville, Nash, Naus, Niesz, Pedersen, Perney, Pifer, Pottick, Puccio, Puniello, Rabinowitz, Reed, Rockland, Rosen, Roth, Salpas, Samuels, Sanchez, Scott, Seneca, Shafer, Sigel, Simmons, Smoyak, Somville, Szatrowski, Taghon, Tortajada, Tripolitis, Vasconcelos, Wadia, Warschawski, A. Watts, T. Watts, Webb, Whiteside, Wilkinson, M. Wilson, R. Wilson, Winterbauer, Znayenko

EXCUSED:  Allender, Benson, Burton, Flanagan, Georgiou, Haska, Keddie, Logie, Manhoff, McCabe, Olsson, Rotker, Shailor, Shapiro, Tarbell, Venezian, Whipple

ABSENT:  Abrams, Bagnell, Bailey, Baltgian, Barber, Bartels, Bartkowski, Bartov, Blumenschine, Bottega, Braun, Burger, Finstein, Frenkel, Gordon, Ipri, Kenfield, LeBaron, Lesser, Marques, Matilsky, McAfee, McCoy, Mulroy, Okusanya, Panayotatos, Perrino, Poole, Rabin, Rodriguez, Rotker, Sass, Scheinbeim, Schmitt, Shavelli, Snyder, Srinidhi, Talabi, Tangri, Varon, Walker, Williams

NON-VOTING MEMBERS ABSENT:  Benevento, Cortese

PRESIDING OFFICER:  Antonia Tripolitis, Chairperson

Chairperson Tripolitis called the meeting to order at 1:15 p.m. and declared that there was a quorum. Chairperson Tripolitis introduced the new Executive Secretary of the Senate, Ken Swalagin.

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY:  Agenda: The Revised Agenda was approved as distributed. Minutes: The minutes of November 22, 1996 were approved as distributed by the Secretary.

REPORTS OF THE REPRESENTATIVES TO BOARDS OF GOVERNORS AND TRUSTEES:

Senator McLoof, Student Representative to the Board of Trustees, reported on the December 19, 1996 meeting of the Board of Trustees, which included a presentation of the Distance Learning Project.

Senator Sanchez, Student Representative to the Board of Governors, reported on the December 13, 1996 meeting of the Board of Governors, including: passage of a resolution honoring Dr. Walter K. Gordon for his many years of service; approval of the recommendations of the Committee on Honorary Degrees for honorary degree recipients for 1997; and approval of the construction contract awards for the Science and Engineering Project - Phase II on the Busch Campus, and of the Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Center on the Douglass Campus.

CAMPUS FACULTY LIAISONS:  Senator Sigel reported on the January 31, 1997 63rd meeting of the New Brunswick Faculty Council, including: presentations by Vice President Seneca and Dean Foley on feedback from New Brunswick Deans on the envisioned role of the New Brunswick Faculty Council; a presentation by Vice President Caprio on distance learning, ongoing and planned outreach initiatives; a follow-up presentation by Associate Vice President Corinne Webb and Vice President Winterbauer on undergraduate recruitment and admissions; a presentation and resolution by the Library Committee on future acquisition of new materials-tracking and online-reference systems, and support for expansion of library holdings; and a report from Prof. Paul Leath, New Brunswick Faculty Council Representative to the President's Liaison Committee.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORT:  Vice Chairperson Szatrowski reported on the January 24, 1997 meeting of the Executive Committee, including: docketing materials for the Senate meeting; the Academic Freedom and Responsibility Committee's response to the Harassment Complaint Process; the Equal Opportunity Committee's motions; and several committee appointments.

ACTION ITEM:  University Policy Prohibiting Harassment and Harassment Complaint Process

Vice Chairperson Szatrowski explained the action item procedure as outlined in the Revised Agenda.

Barbara Lee, Acting Chair of the Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy Review (SH&DPR) Committee, gave an overview of the Harassment Complaint Process, stating that harassment violates state and federal law, and requires a prompt response. She said that the University must ensure that charges of harassment are taken seriously, investigated promptly, and resolved effectively, while protecting the interests of all parties. Prof. Lee then explained that the SH&DPR Committee and the Senate Academic Freedom and Responsibility (AF&R) Committee had worked together to reduce the number of pending amendments to the Harassment Complaint Process from 31 down to 16.

Prof. Lee said that the procedure covers all University employees, but that the formal complaint process will probably be used infrequently since most charges of harassment would likely be settled through the informal complaint process. The formal complaint process would be employed for the most serious forms of harassment, such as: sexual assault of a student by an employee; repeated offensive behavior by a supervisor or by a co-worker toward an employee; or gross abuse of power by a senior faculty member who pressures an untenured faculty member, staff member or student to enter into a sexual relationship. If conduct is protected by academic freedom, it is not harassment. Prof. Lee concluded by saying that she believed the current Complaint Process document, with the 14 agreed-to amendments, would allow the university to fulfill its legal and moral obligations to students, faculty and staff, and to ensure a learning and work environment free of unlawful discrimination by responding promptly and effectively to claims of harassment.

Prof. Lee then responded to technical questions, stating: that the policy covers anyone employed by Rutgers, including all administrators, deans, staff, faculty, and students who are employees; and that normal University Regulations regarding dismissal of tenured faculty would be used whenever punishment by dismissal was contemplated.

Prof. Eric Neisser, non-senator member of the Academic Freedom and Responsibility Committee, then presented the AF&R Committee’s position, saying that the committee’s mission is to ensure that University policies and practices preserve academic freedom, which is the core value of any university, and which ensures that students as well as faculty are free to explore, hypothesize, investigate, discuss, study, question, teach and learn any subject free from any nonacademic pressure or interference. He reiterated that the vast majority of harassment complaints would be resolved informally, and that the hearing process provision of University Regulation 3.93 would apply whenever faculty dismissal was contemplated.

Prof. Neisser explained that the SH&DPR Committee’s proposal employs that same Regulation 3.93 hearing process for any other complaint which leads to sanctions short of dismissal of a faculty member, but that the AF&R Committee felt that those complaints which may lead to other serious sanctions such as suspension, demotion, loss of tenure should also be addressed by a hearing panel, as proposed in the AF&R Committtee’s Amendment 21.

Prof. Neisser then summarized the content of two letters which had been distributed to the Senate from Rutgers Professors Elizabeth Hull, Annamay Sheppard, and Ann Freedman, feminists and women’s rights advocates, supporting the hearing-panel concept.

Amendment 21

Prof. Neisser then presented Amendment 21, which provides for a three-faculty, two-student hearing panel to address harassment complaints, and urged the Senate to approve the amendment. Prof. Lee presented the opposing view, indicating that the hearing panel concept was not appropriate to the complaint procedure because it would delay resolution of complaints, that it would be applied to potentially illegal conduct, that there are important legal differences between the type of harassment addressed by the Harassment Complaint Process and that addressed by the Student Code of Conduct, and that a trained staff member familiar with the legal requirements would be better able to make determinations of harassment. She also said that Amendment 21’s limitation of sanctions could require a dean or director to impose a sanction harsher than would otherwise have been imposed simply because the list is so limited, and that individuals making decisions about sanctions should not be artificially constrained.

Amendment 21 was then discussed and voted upon by secret ballot. The Amendment was approved by a vote of 61 in favor, 48 opposed, with 2 abstentions.

Amendment 19

Prof. Neisser then presented Amendment 19, which provides that the dean or vice president of the appropriate unit, rather than the Director of University Harassment Compliance, should make the determination of harassment and impose any sanctions, since the director will be involved in advising and informal processes, and may be allied with one side in the dispute. He also said that, because academic freedom questions may be involved, the faculty and academic background of deans is better suited to the complaint-resolution process than the director’s human resources background.

Prof. Lee responded that both the complainant and respondent have equal access to the director, so there is no built-in bias in the proposal, and that, while it is more appropriate for legal determinations to be made by a trained staff member than by a dean or vice president, the dean or vice president will determine any sanctions. She also said that the director can consult with disciplinary experts if the respondent asserts an academic-freedom defense, that the respondent has the right to meet with the dean or vice president to discuss the evidence, and that both a finding of harassment and any sanctions against faculty can be reviewed under Article IX of the collective bargaining agreement and other university policies.

Amendment 19 was approved by voice vote.

Other Amendments

Prof. Neisser explained that Amendments 1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 20 and 22 had been accepted by the SH&DPR Committee as written, that Amendments 3, 10, 12, 14, 18, 29 and 30 had been accepted with slight modifications, and that Amendment 28 had been withdrawn. Documentation of the changes to Amendments was distributed at the meeting, and is attached to the master copy of these minutes.

Amendments 4, 7, 8, 9, 13, 15, 16, 17, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 31 (outlined in the AF&R Committee’s Document A, which was distributed with the meeting packet, and which is attached to the master copy of these minutes) were then presented by Prof. Neisser, responded to by Prof. Lee, discussed, and voted upon with the following results:

The overall meeting time was extended twice during the Amendment review and voting process.

Harassment Complaint Process, Sections III.B through VII

There followed a general discussion of the Harassment Complaint Process Sections III.B through VII as a whole. The Harassment Complaint Process, Sections III.B through VII, as amended, was approved by a Senate vote of 68 in favor, 1 opposed, with 5 abstentions.

Senator Wadia rose to a point of personal privilege to thank the Committees, their chairs, and all those involved for an efficient and excellent debate.

ADJOURNMENT:  On motion and duly seconded, the meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m. by Chairperson Tripolitis.

Kenneth W. Swalagin
Secretary of the University Senate

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