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Minutes

September 27th, 2010

  • Location: Sayles Hill 251
  • Time: 4:15 pm
  • Present: Staff Members: Sarah Forster, Tami Little, Bev Nagel, Steve Poskanzer, Fred Rogers, Hudlin Wagner; Faculty Members: Mike Hemesath, Jessica Leiman, Beth McKinsey; Students: Jinai Bharucha, David Heifetz, Justin Jack, Henry Rownd, Charlotte Turovsky; Alumni Observer Lee Mauk; Trustee Observer Jim Johnson.
  • Absent: Faculty Members Fernan Jaramillo, Sam Patterson.
  • Guests: Sexual Misconduct Implementation Support and Educational Associate Heather Campbell, CEDI Co-chair and Professor of Religion Michael McNally, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Consultant Joanne Mullen, CEDI Co-chair and Director of Curricular and Research Support Andrea Nixon, Associate Director of Residential Life Amy Sillanpa, and Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center Kaaren Williamsen.
  • Secretary: Laura Michel '12

The minutes from the May 11, 2010 meeting stand as submitted.

 

President’s Report

 

President Steve Poskanzer began the first College Council meeting of 2010-2011 and of his tenure as President of Carleton College by reflecting on the importance of shared governance. In bringing representatives from all areas of the college community, the College Council serves as a microcosm of Carleton, where all voices can be heard. This atmosphere of collegial conversation and mutual decision making will allow the Council to make smarter choices. He noted that the presence of trustee and alumni observers on College Council is unique. Although these representatives do not have a vote, it represents the importance of shared consensus to the Carleton community. Together, through the simple process of listening to each other and paying attention to all aspects of campus life, the work of the College Council will make Carleton a stronger and even better place.

Flood Update

The meeting deviated slightly from the agenda to address an unanticipated event – the remarkable flooding of the Cannon River on Friday, September 24. Vice President and Treasurer Fred Rogers reported that the river is finally falling, but is still well above normal levels. With the retreat of the waters back to their traditional boundaries, Carleton has begun to assess the damage and determine how and when things will return to normal. Fortunately, the townhouses that were evacuated on Friday – Wilson, Prentice, Allen, and Geffert Houses – suffered minimal water damage. They need to be cleaned, but it is expected residents can start to return in about one week.

It is expected, however, to take longer for Stadium and West Gym to return to their normal uses. Sandbagging efforts ultimately proved futile and the Cannon soon included the basements of the two athletic facilities as its own. When it became clear the water levels would likely reach the electrical equipment, power was cut to both buildings, causing a brief outage in other buildings on campus. In West Gym, the equipment for the pool will have to be replaced. It could take two or more weeks to bring the buildings back into use. Alternate arrangements have been made to accommodate game schedules – notably, the homecoming game will be played at the Northfield High School.

The buildings and equipment in the buildings are insured, so it is only a matter of how long it will take for everything to come through. Everything outdoors, including the track, is not insured. Research is currently being done as to whether Carleton would qualify for any state or federal relief funds. The track will most likely not be ready for the 2011 spring season, not only because of money, but also because construction season is quickly coming to a close.

All in all, Fred Rogers thanked everyone for their efforts. Considering the unprecedented nature of the flooding, there was very little extensive damage and, more importantly, no severe injuries. Everyone cooperated and pulled together and did their best for Northfield.

Update on the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication and Implementation Process

President Poskanzer noted that the next two items on the agenda were really two parts to a larger discussion about the sexual misconduct policies and adjudication processes at Carleton. Although, he prefaced, the extensive conversations predate his tenure at Carleton, all share the fundamental goal of ensuring that everyone feel safe to live, learn, and work on campus. The issue has and should continue to be treated in a thoughtful and pragmatic matter. As such, President Poskanzer proposed flipping the second and third items on the agenda, and starting with an update from the sexual misconduct implementation team and the moving to the proposal for the formation of the Sexual Misconduct Committee.

Heather Campbell, Sexual Misconduct Implementation Support and Educational Associate, began her update on the sexual misconduct adjudication and implementation process by thanking the College Council for all of the support they had provided over the last year – particularly for the fifth year intern position, which has allowed consistency in the project and for change to happen quickly and well. This summer, the implementation team, including Heather and a number of Student Life staff began their work to realize the recommendations presented and approved last spring. Highlights of their work include a new, comprehensive website, which will make the policy and new processes known in a clear, transparent manner. Within the changes to the process itself, Amy Sillanpa, Associate Director of Residential Life, has been named Complaint Process Coordinator, to serve as a single source of information and organization for cases. Additionally, the Community Board on Sexual Misconduct, which now holds the first adjudicating role, has been meeting regularly for training since the start of term. This reflects an overall push by the implementation team to increase training to ensure that all constituencies of the Carleton community – administration, faculty, staff, and peer leaders – are aware of how the system works and are able to help others who may need help.

Going forward, the implementation team is looking to start a major drive to improve education on campus, in the hope that many situations can be preempted. A large part of this involves the new ‘Community Concern Form’, which was created to allow individuals to report any concerning behavior they may witness. It is not an official complaint and thus will not necessarily lead to direct discipline, but it will help inform general education and keep deans aware of specific patterns of behavior. This form, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Consultant Joanne Mullen pointed out, is particularly helpful because it will allow for earlier intervention from professional, trained staff.

President Poskanzer asked if there was an example of how the Community Concern Form was used – would it merely list individual names or go more in depth? Kaaren Williamsen responded that the most important aspect of the form was the identification of concerning patterns of behavior. However, the forms will not be anonymous – anyone filling out a form must sign-in with their Carleton username. Vice President and Treasurer Fred Rogers added that this was discussed extensively at the Board of Trustees meeting to ensure that the form was not used as a means of anonymous complaints, but a way for everyone involved to be aware of situations before they become disciplinary in nature.

To conclude the presentation, Heather Campbell told the group about an exciting new program starting later in the term. The Healthy Community Advocate program is meant to involve more of the community in the implementation and operation of the policies on sexual misconduct. By giving a larger part of the campus population a stake in education, prevention, and advocacy, it is the hope of the implementation team that the efforts be self-sustaining. Those officially dealing with sexual misconduct policies at Carleton will do their best to ensure that information is readily available by keeping the website up-to-date and try to maintain a holistic perspective on policy and procedure, but it is also important for the entire campus community to take ownership of and responsibility for their own policies

Sexual Misconduct Committee Proposal

As an introduction, CEDI co-chair Michael McNally reminded the College Council of the origins of the proposal for the creation of the Sexual Misconduct Committee. After the CEDI retreat in the spring, there emerged a new focus on efforts to reduce inefficiencies and redundancies in governance and build alliances between different groups on campus. Out of this campaign, continued Kaaren Williamsen, as chair of the Task Force on Sexual Assault and a member of SHARE, that the two groups, with overlapping membership, were doing the same work.With the enthusiastic support of SHARE, a proposal was developed for a revamped SHARE that will also serve as a CEDI task force, under the new name of the Sexual Misconduct Committee.

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Consultant Joanne Mullen assured the College Council that this proposal does not mean the dissolution of SHARE, which was mandated into existence almost twenty years ago. Rather, it will fulfill the mandate of SHARE while also reflecting the desire expressed in the Campus Climate Survey for broader transparency. SHARE, she explained, which stands for Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Resource and Education Committee, has, in recent years, become mostly a policy committee as other groups on campus, such as the Gender and Sexuality Center have taken over the resource and education aspect of the SHARE name.

The Sexual Misconduct Committee, then, will serve the same function as SHARE has over the last several years as a policy-making body. However, as part of CEDI, this committee will have the benefit of being a part of the CEDI Leadership Board, thus involving discussions on sexual misconduct policies to be part of a larger discussion on campus climate. As such, the Sexual Misconduct Committee will be more accessible as it connects to the campus on issues of climate, not just as a policy-making body.

Dean of the College Bev Nagel asked for further clarification on the leadership and make-up of the new committee – would the chair be a CEDI designate? Michael McNally answered that the change in structure will actually be helpful in terms of leadership. In the past, SHARE has always been chaired by tenured faculty. However, interest in the leadership position has not come from tenured faculty this year, and the creation of the Sexual Misconduct Committee will allow these individuals to be involved. The FAC, Professor Beth McKinsey noted, has been working with CEDI to determine appointment of faculty positions.

Vice President and Treasurer Fred Rogers asked, when the statement was made that SHARE will not actually be dissolved, if that was literal or figurative. Joanne Mullen explained that that was more figurative but representative of the fact that if CEDI were to dissolve or drastically change its mission, the Sexual Misconduct Committee would still remain. CEDI co-chair Andrea Nixon added that the discussions have made it clear that the committee, although part of CEDI will separately be in and of itself part of the governance structure.

The creation of the Sexual Misconduct Committee as proposed was approved by unanimous voice vote.

Report from the Benefits Committee on Health and Dental Insurance Premiums for 2011

Representatives from the Benefits Committee Mike Tompos and Austin Robinson-Coolidge presented to the College Council a basic overview of changes in health insurance benefits for 2011. Very little has changed this year - the plan offerings remain the same. Any minor changes were made in order to comply with the new Healthcare Reform Act. A positive outcome of this legislation for Carleton is that the $500 cap on preventive care has been removed from all plans.

Cost increases will only be 2.6% this year, which is minimal, especially in comparison to national averages, which are closer to twenty percent. This low percentage is in most part due to the plan design changes implemented in previous years coming to their cost-saving fruition. Additionally, utilization rates have trended downward as individuals and families make more efficient use of their plans. Additionally, dental insurance will increase about 6.4%, which is still minimal as compared to national averages. Looking toward the future, the Benefits Committee will assess the situation on a multi-year horizon, with the hope that they can keep ahead of changes, and create plans that are both the right things for employees of the college and fiscally responsible.

Trustee observer Jim Johnson pointed out that the efficient usage that led to the very low increase in price is in large part due to employee participation in the budget challenge project ---and that those involved should be recognized. President Poskanzer emphasized the importance of education and ensuring that everyone understands how to best take advantage of their different plans. He implored the group, as representatives of the College Council, to encourage attendance at educational workshops that will be held throughout the term.

Summer Construction Update

Vice President and Treasurer Fred Rogers began his update on summer construction projects by outlining the various priorities that must be considered when deciding which projects to undertake. Important in consideration are ideas such as academic mission, reduction of operating costs, student life, and campus sustainability efforts. The college has an extensive, and pricey, to-do list, and these priorities and other circumstances of physical necessity inform the order of undertaking.

The major construction project at the moment, of course, is the Arts Union, where building, Vice President Rogers reported, is proceeding nicely. This summer, many projects related to the exterior shell of buildings were completed – new roofs, windows, and masonry. Notably, the windows in Goodsell were replaced for the first time ever, a testament to both the original quality of the windows and the necessity of repair. In other places on campus, such as the so-called ‘Bike Zoo’ outside of Sayles and the Arb/Leighton lot, repaving and landscaping projects were undertaken to maximize efficiency and add extra parking. Finally, elevators were upgraded in several buildings to comply with state codes.

Student Henry Rownd asked about the future of plans to renovate the Evans dorm. President Poskanzer responded that while everyone can definitely agree that Evans could use some renovations, there is only a limited amount of money and projects much be prioritized and that in physical plant decisions there are always trade-offs. Charlotte Turovsky ’11 asked if the plans included anything about the Wellness Center, both programmatically and facility-wise. Dean Hudlin Wagner said that conversations were moving forward regarding the Wellness Center and that, although process may seem slow, it is important to take the time to make the right decisions.

Professor Mike Hemesath took this time as an opportunity to publicize an event being held by Fred Rogers during Common Time, in Leighton 304, for students who are interested in learning about and discussing various budget priorities.

The meeting concluded at 5:40 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Laura Michel ‘12

College Council Secretary