May 19, 2004

Officers attending: Pam Chambers, President; Cindy Beckett, President Elect; Fred Thomas, Secretary

Senators attending: Jim Brooks, Susan Callender, Frank Clay, Myra Grinner, Kenneth Melendez, Jackie Myers, Nick Reeder, Shari Rethman, Ellen Rosengarten, Marsha Wamsley, Charles Williams

Senators not attending: Marti Shapiro

Others attending: Debbie Badonsky, Jeneal Bolden, Sarah Kiewitz, Jennifer King-Cooper, Laurel Mayer, Bonnie Shane, Susan Sutton

Pam called the meeting to order at 2:30 in Room 6142

1.      Announcements

1.1.           Pam encouraged faculty and students to participate in Sociology Career Night, May 19th.

1.2.           Laurel recommended that everyone consider participating in the World A’Fair, May 21-23.

2.      Minutes from May 5, 2004

Ellen moved to approve the minutes as distributed. The motion passed.

3.      OATYC Nominations Discussion and Vote

Pam distributed material about the faculty recommended to be Sinclair’s nominees as 2003-04 OATYC (Ohio Association of Two-Year Colleges) Teacher and Adjunct Teacher of the Year. There were more candidates than in previous years, all with very impressive qualifications.

Senate selected Surinder Jain, Chairperson and Professor of Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology, as Sinclair’s nominee for the 2003-04 OATYC Teacher of the Year. Professor Jain was recognized for his innovative approaches to teaching, his extensive on-campus service, his many community activities and his leadership at the national and international levels.

As Sinclair’s nominee for Adjunct (part-time) Teacher of the Year, Senate selected Frederick Gillenwater of History and Humanities. Mr. GIllenwater provided over 36 quarter hours of outstanding History instruction during the 2003-04 academic year. He also developed new distance learning options for students and delivered two-way interactive courses to high school students in Southeast Ohio. In addition, Mr. Gillenwater developed and provided very successful workshops for other Sinclair faculty in the use of technology to enhance student learning.

4.      Diversity

Pam welcomed some members from a subgroup of the Cultural Diversity Committee and other interested faculty and staff to consider the possible addition of “sexual orientation” to Sinclair’s non-discrimination statement and its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy. Sarah Kiewitz shared a Power Point presentation (attachment FSMA20040519-04A) which summarized the rationale for their request. She and others in the group distributed information about policies at League of Innovation and Vanguard Colleges (attachment FSMA20040519-04B), noting that a significant majority of colleges in both groups include the phrase, “sexual orientation,”  in either their Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy or their non-discrimination statement or both. They also distributed copies of an article, “Respecting Sexual Orientation: The Time Is Now” (attachment FSMA20040519-04C), which is scheduled to be published in Sinclair’s Faculty Forum.

The group emphasized that Sinclair’s current non-discrimination statements include a great many different groups but that “sexual orientation” is not mentioned in any of those statements. Lesbians and gay people represent a significant minority at Sinclair (estimated at 50+ employees and 400+ students) who are not protected against discrimination. Addition of the two words to Sinclair’s EEO policy or the non-discrimination statement would not provide any automatic provisions for affirmative action, partner benefits, etc. and it would not provide legal protection under existing state or federal non-discrimination laws. Inclusion of the statement in the Faculty Handbook would, however, provide some protection since it would then be part of faculty contracts. The group said that adding the phrase would serve as a pledge by the College not to discriminate against gay and lesbian faculty, staff and students, and they said they hoped this pledge would create a more positive, inclusive environment for everyone.

Several Senators asked questions and raised additional points about the history and the social, political and moral context of the proposal and about the proposal itself. After several minutes of discussion with the group, Senate went into executive session at 3:29 for further discussion.

Senate reconvened at 3:38. Ellen made a motion that Senate express its general support for including “sexual orientation” in Sinclair’s non-discrimination statements. Charles seconded the motion. Discussion among the Senators about the motion included both strong support and strong opposition. The motion passed.

Pam noted that the actual addition of the phrase to the Faculty Handbook would require a specific recommendation and further discussion and action by Senate.

5.      FITs Faculty Membership Vote

Pam explained that Barb Wallace will no longer be serving on the FITs team and that Senate needs to select a faculty member to replace Barb beginning with the 2004-05 academic year. Pam provided the names of three other faculty who have expressed an interest in serving on that important team. After discussion, Senate decided to delay consideration to provide an opportunity for additional faculty to express their interest and to obtain additional information about the faculty who are interested.

6.      May 24th and 25th Election coverage

Cindy reviewed the plans for elections to select the next Vice President of Faculty Senate through open voting on May 24th and 25th. She circulated a signup sheet to insure that there would always be at least one Senator present during the voting.

7.      Open Forum

7.1.           Susan complemented Pam and Cindy for their excellent work with regard to the Presidential Inauguration.

7.2.           Jim distributed a draft recommendation to modify Sinclair’s office hour policy (attachment FSMA20040519-07A).

7.3.           Pam announced that she is making a donation to the Sinclair Foundation as a token of appreciation to the Senators who have served with her during her term as President of Faculty Assembly and Senate. The appreciation will be commemorated with a paver.

The meeting adjourned at 4:20.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate, May 27, 2004