April 21st, 1992
- Location: Library 170
- Time: 4:15 pm
- Present: Robert Bonner, Marion Cass, Carol Campbell, Jordi Comas, Carleton Crawford, Martha Kaemmer, Brian Kettenring, Susan Jaret McKinstry, Stephen Lewis, Elizabeth McKinsey, Aaron Mysliwiec, Martha Paas, Mark Pihlstrom, Cris Roosenraad, Christian Ruzich, Steve Soderman, Clement Shearer, Robert Tisdale, Constance Walker, Mike Wickersheimer, Cathy Yandell
- Absent: Charles Johnson, Geri Joseph, Kit Naylor
- Guests: Diana Anderson, Judy Becker, Kelly Besecke, Tom Bell, Maia Bloomfield, Jen Brennan, Pat Carriere, Bruce Colwell, Tricia Cornell, Chaplain Jewelnel Davis, Amy Elliott, Julie Englander, Zandy Garrard, Julie Heimbach, Rob Hichman, Ben Johnson, Miriam Kass, Debbie Kleinman, Lisa Lazarus-Black, Liza Linnell, Mark McClusky, Jane McDonnell, Don Moore, Rachel Resnik, Deb Schmidt, Liz Salomon, Sy Schuster, Chris Snowbeck, Jim Shoop, Chris Tauber, Julie Ulanov, Attorney Karin Wille
- Secretary: Marge Symens
- Keywords: executive committee, board of trustees, campus governance, budget, alcohol policy
The meeting was called to order at 4:20 p.m. with President Lewis presiding. President Lewis welcomed new student members Jordi Comas and Carleton Crawford and noted two spring term representation changes. Student member Aaron Mysliwiec, former SPC chair, now represents the CSA as president, and student member Christian Ruzich, formerly representing the APC on Council, now is SPC chair.
1. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes for the March 10, 1992 meeting were approved as written.
2. President's Report
President Lewis commented on the recent campuswide memo informing the community that the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees approved the three recommendations made to it by the College Council: the new Model of Campus Governance, the operating budget for 1992-93, and the statement of alcohol policy developed by the Social Policy Committee.
President Lewis then initiated discussion of the requirement that Resident Assistants (RAs) ensure reporting of known incidents of sexual assault and sexual violence. He has had conversations with past, present, and future RAs, CSA President Aaron Mysliwiec, and others about the issue and related concerns. He will be providing information outlining aspects of the requirement to the Carletonian. At the suggestion of CSA President Aaron Mysliwiec, President Lewis will seek a committee to determine how the College can best meet the reporting requirement while preserving the students' confidence in the RA system. President Lewis compared this reporting requirement to the Alcohol Policy requirements, in the sense that it is imposed on the College by the legal climate off campus. He assured Council members and visitors that the College will take adequate time through appropriate channels to formulate effective implementation and meet obligations of reporting requirements. He projects that implementation will commence in the fall of 1993.
President Lewis explained that RAs, as agents of the College, or employees of the College, are obligated to report knowledge of incidents of sexual assault and sexual violence to appropriate personnel. From a legal standpoint, what an RA knows the College is assumed to know, and the College must accept responsibility, liability, and risk for that knowledge. An agent of the College is the College from the standpoint of legal responsibility. He acknowledged the pressing concern that RAs may have discussions with victims who do not want to proceed with a complaint, press charges, or make it public, but affirmed that RAs will need to communicate known information to professionals, such as Chaplain Davis or a counselor in the Counseling Center, to ensure that the victims get appropriate support.
President Lewis reminded the Council that we are not an island; we cannot ignore the requirements of the law. The College does not have a privileged position and cannot be blind to litigation and liability risks. Based on his knowledge while at Carleton, he feels that if reporting requirements had been in place, the College quite likely would have been less affected by past incidents and a safer climate could have been created. Discussion included questions or comments by several visitors on the imposed requirement, how and by whom the requirement decision was made, and the lack of campuswide discussion prior to its adoption by the College. Further discussion raised the concern that victims who may want complete confidentiality may not go to an RA and, therefore, reporting of sexual assault and sexual violence may decrease, defeating the goals and purposes of an established policy. President Lewis reasserted that the issue is not whether but how to get the reporting requirement into the system while maintaining a positive relationship with the RAs. He said the Trustees, as the final legal authority of the College, would have to agree on how the policy will be implemented, and they will be kept informed of the issue. Professor Bonner commented on the apparent surety of change and how everyone's energies should be directed toward how we can best adjust to it. He felt that the reporting responsibility may not be fully known or understood by everyone concerned and further communication may make it more acceptable and workable.
In response to questions, Attorney Karin Wille, from Briggs and Morgan, explained fully the agency relationship from a legal perspective and interpretation. She said that, as employees, RAs act on behalf of the College and any knowledge by an employee (agent) of the College is assumed to be known by the College, or should be known, and the College has the responsibility to act on it. Information will be imputed to the College. She recounted that it is the obligation of RAs to relate information but the duty of the College to act on it. If the College's goal is to achieve a sexual harassment-, sexual assault-, and sexual violence-free community, then we must do all that is necessary to accomplish this, and withholding information impedes reaching this goal..
At this time, President Lewis turned the meeting over to Chaplain Jewelnel Davis, chair of the ad hoc committee charged to review the Sexual Harassment Policy. The draft Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Policy is an outcome of the committee's review. Chaplain Davis spoke briefly and introduced the committee's members: students Maia Bloomfield, Debbie Kleinman, Brian Kettenring, faculty members Jane McDonnell and Sy Schuster, Assistant Dean of Students Deb Schmidt, and Attorney Karin Wille. Liz Gilbert, human relations assistant in the Office of the Chaplain, also is working with the committee.
Mr. Brian Kettenring reported that at the May 26 Council meeting the committee plans to present a revised Sexual Harassment Policy and a final draft of the Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Policy, as well as recommendations for consequential changes to the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities. There has been one open forum to date. Council member interaction and input on this issue is encouraged prior to the May 26 meeting.
Mr. Kettenring reviewed the statement of purpose of the ad hoc committee: 1) include sexual assault and sexual violence explicitly in the policy, 2) clarify role of criminal authorities in relation to internal proceedings, 3) ensure that associated pamphlets and other training materials are instituted to deal with assault and violence, 4) amend existing policies where necessary to take account of these additions and distinctions, 5) review provision in the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities to ascertain if we are promising things which we can't deliver, 6) provide some alternative mechanisms for consideration which would give the Dean of Students authority to act in cases requiring disciplinary action while still fully protecting students' access to full disciplinary hearings if they so choose, and 7) address the jurisdictional issue.
Assistant Dean of Students Deb Schmidt recounted some common concerns that the Policy seeks to address about sexual harassment, assault, and violence issues. These include concern on the part of the victim in determining if assault has occurred, who should be contacted, what options are available, how to pursue reporting to local police, what happens if the incident takes place downtown or off campus, what happens after a complaint is made, and, in general, how the matter proceeds. It was noted, too, that the Sexual Harassment Resource Committee has compiled materials to help address these concerns.
Attorney Karin Wille briefly reported on the background and formation of the draft Policy Against Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence. A number of informational sources were contacted before drafting the Policy and an attempt was made to have a concise, understandable Policy that clearly explains objectives, describes and defines issues and procedures, states alternatives available to victims, and provides some sense of what would happen after the filing of a complaint. She reviewed and explained the contents of the six sections in the Policy. Professor Martha Paas questioned as arbitrary the Policy's wording in Section IV, page three, first paragraph, where it states " ... President or his or her designee may take such action as is .... " Attorney Wille said that the committee should think about making this action mandatory.
Mike Wickersheimer questioned the wording in Section IV, page three, second paragraph: "Every complaint that sexual assault has been committed ... will be promptly and thoroughly investigated by the Consultant." He asked whose complaints this would be, if it could be by other than the victim, and if the Policy should be more explicit. Attorney Wille said that she would advise investigation of any complaint, even a third party complaint. Concern was again voiced for the victim who may want nothing done or prefers no action taken. It was questioned whether more assurance of confidentiality for the victim in this situation could be included in the Policy. It was noted that support services, including medical attention, can be kept confidential and educational materials include information on this issue. It was pointed out, also, that in some instances Carleton may be legally obligated to take action by statutory and/or state law. Attorney Wille stated that is particularly true in cases of sexual harassment or discrimination. She acknowledged that reasons why victims may not wish to report incidents include a preference that no one know, lack of trust in its handling, or uncertainly about what they want to do.
President Lewis said that reporting is different than pressing charges and the distinction should be understood. It is important to take down information about an incident fairly immediately, while information is still fresh; the victim can decide later if further steps will be taken. He felt that we, as an institution, have an obligation to do something about a known incident, but we are not a civil court that decides what should be done or executes the final settling of disputes. However, College policy violations are within our jurisdiction. The Judicial Hearing Board determines if violation of Policy has occurred and takes appropriate action. Attorney Wille again affirmed that "appropriate action," as required from knowledge of assault, is a legal requirement. The key concerns of the discussion centered around RA obligations and victim confidentiality, legal requirements for appropriate action, and concern for ensuring a safe environment on campus.
Professor Bonner commented that there are always two parties to this issue and asked if the College would provide some supportive resources for the accused. Attorney Wille said the Policy includes reference to assistance for those who feel they may have committed sexual assault but that the Policy is directed mainly to victims.
Chaplain Davis closed the discussion and encouraged the group to provide further input and comments. The ad hoc committee is meeting weekly on Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. in the Chapel Red Room.
3. Committee Reports
Administrative Policy Committee
Dean for Budget and Planning Clem Shearer, APC chair, outlined APC's agenda for spring term. It includes reassessment of the financial planning model, review of our competitive position in regard to compensation, fees, etc., setting a schedule for the compensation goal, and setting budget parameters for the next several years, which in turn should facilitate yearly budget discussions.
Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Patricia Martin, as chair of the Benefits Committee, recently presented to the APC a proposal for revisions to the College's retirement plan. APC student member Carleton Crawford is scheduled to present a student damage deposit proposal. And several other hearings may be scheduled for APC discussion. Other topics for Committee discussion include tuition/pricing/aid issues for the '90s.
In response to comments by Council member Jordi Comas that students are drawn to Carleton because of our available financial aid package, Dean Shearer assured him that students are admitted on the basis of merit. He added that the present aid policy is straining the College and this issue needs to be addressed. We need to determine what our need-blind admissions policy allows and doesn't allow us to do, along with whether modifications are needed.
Educational Policy Committee
Professor Robert Bonner, EPC chair, presented four resolutions related to College grading policies. They have been discussed at length and are ready for Council action.
Professor Bonner moved the resolution, "in cases where a grade has been withheld, faculty will be required to submit grades for students who fail to complete work as required within the first two weeks of the following term." The motion was seconded. This would eliminate an automatic administrative F grade for incomplete work and put the responsibility for the final grade on the faculty. The resolution was passed by a voice vote without dissent.
Professor Bonner moved the resolution, "no course in which a student has earned a grade lower than S or C- may be applied toward the satisfaction of a College requirement." The motion was seconded. Discussion followed on the various pros and cons of the resolution, including whether there was any recourse for the hard-working but weaker student or learning-disabled student in a course. It was pointed out that in the expanded description of grades, a D was described as creditable and that perhaps a creditable grade, even though a D, should have merit toward satisfaction of requirements. In support of the motion, it was noted that permitting a requirement to be satisfied with a D grade may result in a less-than-proficient, poorly prepared student. Several felt that the resolution, as it stands, might improve the quality of classes overall. The resolution applies only toward fulfillment of college requirements. The hand vote yielded 8-yes, 6-no, and 2 abstentions. Because of the divided vote and the various issues and concerns voiced, consensus to reconsider the resolution was reached. Professor Bonner moved to take the resolution back to committee for further discussion. This motion was seconded and passed by a voice vote without dissent.
Professor Bonner next moved for the acceptance of expanded descriptions for grades A, B, C, D, and F. The motion was seconded. The resolution was formulated to provide a clearer statement of what is intended by each letter grade for a more effective calibration of grades across the curriculum. The motion was passed by a voice vote without dissent. (See attachment for a full description of the resolution.)
Last, Professor Bonner moved that a resolution requesting that Council lift a mandate to survey students on the S/CR/NC grading policy, imposed January 17, 1989, be approved. This resolution also was passed by a voice vote without dissent.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, 1992.
4. Council Decitions
The College Council approved three resolutions submitted by the Educational Policy Committee. All three passed by voice vote without dissent.
- When grades are withheld, faculty will submit grades for students who fail to complete required work within the first two weeks of the following term.
- Expanded descriptions for grades A, B, C, D, and F
- The mandate to survey students on the S/CR/NC grading policy was rescinded.
A voice vote without dissent approved taking back to committee the resolution stating "no course in which a student has earned a grade lower than S or C- may be applied toward the satisfaction of a College requirement."
* These minutes are unofficial and subject to correction and final approval at the next meeting.