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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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Senate approves draft of policy on student-employee fraternization


The Academic Senate voted Wednesday to support the current language in the most recent version of a board policy prohibiting inappropriate student-employee relationships

Within the three-page policy, one phrase created the hang-up: whether an employee who suspects an inappropriate student-employee relationship “shall” report it, or “should be encouraged to.” 

The vote to keep the language, that employees “shall” report suspicions, was approved with three senators abstaining and opposing votes from senators Kathy O’Connor, Russel Granger and Patricia Stark.

“We do not support mandatory reporting on this,” said Stark, who represented and spoke on behalf of the fine arts division. 

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The difference between the terms is subtle—but significant. 

Saying an employee “shall” report something commands and compels them to do so. The language “should be encouraged to” removes the requirement, while still maintaining the sentiment.

Some were worried about potentially getting in trouble for not reporting, or mistakenly reporting a suspicion that wasn’t a violation. 

Stark also said it could create “animosity among colleagues” who might end up policing each other. 

“This is a sticking point for my division,” she said.

Those in support of the terminology said the benefits would outweigh potential problems.

“I think having that sentence in there reminds us that, hey, most of the time this sentence is probably going to apply to when a student tells you something has happened,” said representative Tara Carter, who said she’s helped several students file Title IX reports. 

Other representatives agreed with the stronger language.

“It also gives us the opportunity to kind of put it out there knowing this is an expectation of us, and also frees us a little bit of the fear of reporting,” representative Ana Garcia said.

What started as a discussion item was moved and voted on to become an action item. The senate then voted to approve the use of the word “shall,” with three senators voting “no” and three more abstaining. 

The Board of Trustees will likely discuss this policy at its April board meeting.

The senate also continued its discussion surrounding major changes to the Non-Teaching Compensation Committee, which regulates stipends given to various employees. 

In her report, Academic Senate President Raeanne Napoleon said two members of the committee resigned on March 19—senator O’Connor and professor Peter Georgakis, who had served for nearly 20 years. 

Later in the meeting, Senator and Faculty Association President Cornelia Alsheimer-Barthel also announced her resignation from the same committee. 

The three members left at a time when changes to the overall committee and its practices were being drafted, and left a hole in the membership as talks continued.

At its previous meeting, the committee found $66,000 in cuts to non-teaching stipends, meeting a halfway point to Superintendent-President Utpal Goswami’s original mandate of $125,000. 

The savings were mostly found in positions that didn’t exist anymore—and therefore didn’t need a stipend—and volunteers. The committee is charged with finding more savings, and will present those suggested adjustments to Goswami for consideration.

“I will be finalizing that memo this week and providing it to Dr. Goswami by the end of the day Friday,” Napoleon said.

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