Inside Iowa State
February 19, 1999
Senate sees racial harassment policy draft
by Linda Charles
The Faculty Senate got its first look at a Policy on Racial and Ethnic Harassment during the Feb. 9 meeting. Paul Tanaka, director of legal services, and Derrick Rollins, the president's diversity adviser, presented a draft of the policy.
Tanaka said procedures for the policy will come later. He outlined three reasons the university should have a racial/ethnic harassment policy:
- The U.S. Office of Civil Rights noted in its review of the campus last spring that there is no clear route for minority students to follow to let the university know of their concerns.
- Such a policy provides a statement of support as the university welcomes minority students and others to the campus.
- This type of policy can be useful in defending lawsuits alleging discrimination. The courts have ruled that if an employer has a policy that is widely communicated, it's reasonable to question a plaintiff who hasn't made use of that policy, Tanaka said.
The proposed policy, which is very similar to the university's policy on sexual harassment, states, "(T)he university will not tolerate racial or ethnic harassment and is committed to preventing it or stopping it whenever it may occur at the university or its programs."
When asked why it wasn't combined with the sexual harassment policy, Tanaka said the implementation of each policy would be different.
One senator asked if there would be any penalty against someone who, it is determined, has made a false claim of racial discrimination. Tanaka didn't rule out penalties, but said he believes they generally aren't effective.
In other business, the senate tabled until March discussion on a post-tenure review policy. A three-paragraph proposed policy is based on the one used by the University of Iowa and charges faculty in each department with developing a plan to review each tenured faculty member at least once every seven years.
If the senate approves the post-tenure review proposal, a second resolution, also tabled, would require that it be approved through a general faculty vote.
Also presented, but not discussed, was a proposal to encourage Gov. Tom Vilsack to appoint a faculty member from one of the regents' institutions to serve on the board of regents when a vacancy occurs.
The next regularly scheduled senate meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, in 260 Scheman.
The senate will hold a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 2, in 260 Scheman to discuss the new strategic plan. All faculty members are encouraged to attend to provide input.
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