Academic Senate debates over Gateway Center controversy

Ryan Joel, News Editor

Feelings of discrimination arose at Wednesday’s Academic Senate meeting as a new policy disallowing past and present faculty to become Gateway Center tutors was sanctioned.

The controversy began when the meeting on Feb. 12, hosted by Academic Senate president Kenley Neufeld, reached an agenda item placed by senator Paul McDowell, representative of adjunct staff members at City College.

The item detailed the revision of the Gateway Center’s new tutor hiring policy.

The policy reads that when a faculty member is selecting a tutor, they should ideally be a former student of theirs currently enrolled at City College and cannot, or ever have been, a member of City College faculty.

Adjunct English instructor Celeste Barber lost her designated Gateway tutor because she is also an English as a Second Language instructor.

“My students have lost a gifted tutor just because she teaches English as a Second Language,” Barber said. “She was recommended to me by Gateway the second semester that Gateway was in operation.”

The Instructors Association and the administration support the policy established by Gateway Co-Chairs, Jerry Pike and Sheila Wiley.

“We just wanted to stick to Jack’s vision,” commented Wiley, on Gateway founder Jack Ullom. “He envisioned the peer tutor.”

Research from the National Education Association showed that when students “were explicitly trained in the tutoring process, they were far more effective and the students they were tutoring experienced significant gains in achievement.”

The policy was revised after an incident at Gateway involving an adjunct faculty member serving as a tutor happened last fall.

“This is not an adjunct issue, it’s a faculty issue” Pike said. “There’s no prohibition against specific faculty members.”

Of the roughly 30 in attendance, only six members spoke on the subject, each taking strongly to one side.

“There are other places on campus where anyone can serve as a tutor other than Gateway,” said Pike, in response to an attendee’s comment on having the freedom to choose a tutor they think is most suitable.

Neufeld interrupted by insisting the Senate move on to the next item before the debate escalated, saying that those involved could bring up the topic at a future meeting.

The next Academic Senate meeting is set for 4 p.m. Feb. 26, in the Business and Communication Center Room 214.