Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Dec. 12, 1997

P&S Council

Council: Separate affirmative action, human services duties

by Anne Dolan

After much discussion at its Dec. 4 meeting, the Professional and Scientific Council recommended to President Martin Jischke that the positions of human resource services director and university affirmative action officer be separated. Jischke asked for a recommendation from the council. Carla Espinoza has been wearing both hats since August 1996 (the affirmative action hat on an interim basis).

While council sentiment is very favorable to Espinoza's performance in both roles, some council members said it's critical to consider the positions, not the personalities filling them.

Some argued that the skills required for each of the positions are similar; therefore it's reasonable to expect other individuals could serve in both capacities as well. They also argued in favor of keeping both titles with one person to "accomplish more with less resources."

Council President Rob Bowers said Espinoza's recommendation is that she continue to serve in both capacities.

But others argued that it's important to separate the two to avoid potential conflict of interest situations -- or even a perception of conflict of interest -- and to maintain a system of checks and balances. Council member Tamara Bloomer said a separate affirmative action position may positively impact student and employee recruitment and retention efforts. Iowa State should separate the two positions and send the message that affirmative action, which is under attack across the country, is important on this campus, she said.

The recommendation to separate ISU's affirmative action leadership from the human resource services director position passed by a 23-5 margin.

Following are other meeting highlights:

The next P&S Council meeting begins at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, in the Memorial Union South Ballroom.

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