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April Faculty Meeting Materials: No More Sex with Students!

From: Faculty Steering Committee
Date: Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 1:26 PM
Subject: April 11 Faculty Meeting Agenda
To: WILLIAMS-FACULTY@listserv.williams.edu

Dear Colleagues:

We look forward to seeing you at the next faculty meeting on April 11 at 4:00 p.m. in Griffin 3. The agenda and related materials are attached to this email.

Best,

Tiku Majumder, Interim President of the College
The Faculty Steering Committee
Safa Zaki (Chair), Division II
Colin Adams, Division III
Matt Carter, Division III
Annelle Curulla, Division I
Edan Dekel, Division I
Gregory Mitchell, Division II

Materials here.

Biggest change (I think) is from the current faculty handbook which says: “All faculty are in a position of power with regard to students; hence, sexual relationships between faculty and students are almost always inappropriate.” Proposal is to replace this with:

All faculty are in a position of power with regard to undergraduate students; hence, sexual relationships between faculty and undergraduate students are prohibited. Sexual relationships between faculty and undergraduate students put claims of consent in question. It is difficult for a student to be certain of the motives of a member of the faculty. A person in a position of authority cannot be certain that the student’s consent is genuine, rather than motivated by an unspoken fear of the consequences of not consenting. In addition, a sexual relationship with a student may raise questions of unfair academic advantage or of unwarranted negative evaluation. These questions may adversely affect the educational environment of other students, as well as the student directly involved. Should any of these questions arise, sexual discrimination is at issue.

I expect the change to pass and would vote Yes. I hope that the Record follows up on this:

The Dean of the Faculty may grant exemptions to this policy in reasonable cases of pre-existing relationships. Any faculty member who wishes to request such an exemption should submit a written statement to the Dean of the Faculty explaining the reasons for the request. The Dean of the Faculty shall provide a response in writing to the faculty member and the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity/Title IX coordinator.

Does Professor Jim Shephard’s relationship with his wife (and former student) Karen Shepard ’87 require retro-active permission from the Dean of the Faculty? Just curious!

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March Faculty Meeting

The March faculty meeting is tomorrow. See (here) for the relevant material. Comments:

1) Thanks to our sources! At some point, we will create a full collection of faculty meeting material. To see what we already have, start here.

2) Given that these documents are sent to 300+ people, they ought to just be posted publicly, especially since they represent Williams at its best.

3) I don’t see much of interest here. Do you? I would probably vote against this:

In addition to the divisional motions, there will be motions for proposals by the Theatre Department and the Dance Department to provide a record of student participation in productions and in studio courses, respectively, in the form of a 0.5 partial credit fifth course that would not count towards the 32 courses needed for graduation, analogous to the credit offered for lessons and some small ensemble participation in Music.

I don’t see a reason to load up the transcript, or bother the registrar, with this sort of stuff. Contrary opinions welcome!

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December 2016 Faculty Meeting Notes

These (pdf) are the notes for the faculty meeting held in December 2016, as distributed at the next faculty meeting in February 2017. Worth going through in detail?

Perhaps an anonymous source could send me these notes for the last year or so (daviddudleyfield at gmail)? Given that these documents are distributed to 250+ (300+?) people at Williams, there is no reason to keep them hidden. More transparency, please!

UPDATE: Here (pdf) are the Faculty Meeting Notes for October 2008.

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Difference, Power, and Equity I

The plan (pdf) to replace the Exploring Diversity Initiative (pdf) with a Difference, Power, and Equity (DPE) requirement will be discussed at this week’s faculty meeting. Day 1 of our discussion.

Requirements are bad. Beyond demanding that students major in something and take 32 classes, Williams should place no further limits on student course selection. As former President Morty Schapiro was fond of pointing out, your time at Williams is limited. You only have 32 “golden tickets.” Every time the College makes you take a class that you would otherwise not have taken, it (potentially, at least) burns one of those tickets. Even the number 32 is often an overestimate since it does not include the 9 (or more) courses in your major or the 4 (or 8) courses you miss while studying abroad. In terms of pure discretion, the number of golden tickets might be as low as 15. Unless the Administration has a compelling reason to believe that a student is making a mistake when she picks course X over course Y, they should let her decide. She knows best.

The proposal:

dpe1

Can any insider give us the background? This seems to be a revised proposal. How does it differ from the first? Is it likely to pass? What is the constellation of forces for and against?

If you are the Record and you use this document, you should credit EphBlog. The College (stupidly) refuses to make the material distributed before faculty meetings public. More transparency please! Putting faculty meeting materials (and the notes which follow) here makes sense because, first, this is high quality work! Second, any document that you e-mail to 300+ people is more-or-less public anyway.

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Faculty Meeting Notes February 2015

Here pdf are the notes for the February 2015 Faculty Meeting, as distributed the next month. Fascinating stuff! And many thanks to our anonymous source for sharing with us. Comments:

1) The College should make these meeting notes public. Since they are distributed to 350 (?) faculty members, they are mostly public anyway. They also show the College in a good light, demonstrating that Williams is run by smart, thoughtful people who are honestly wrestling with difficult decisions.

2) There is a ton of interesting stuff here! Any readers interested in a section-by-section review?

3) Best part is this requirement concerning the newly created Pass/Fail option:

Third, the CEP (in full agreement with those who raised this issue at the last faculty meeting) has added a five-year sunset clause to the option. This means that after five years – a length that will allow one student cohort to experience the option for a full four years – the CEA will have to bring a proposal for a renewal of the option to the faculty for a discussion and vote. Such a deadline will guarantee that the option is monitored, and that any problems be identified and corrected – if the option is to survive – at that five year point.

Well done! Who are the unnamed faculty members responsible for raising this issue? They deserve kudos! The pass/fail option, like the poorly conceived Gaudino option, is a bad idea. With luck, five years experience will demonstrate that. The proponents should be forced to make their case again, with evidence.

Almost every major change at Williams ought to come with such a sunset clause.

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