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Harassment policy revised

By Bill Burleson

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 08 - October 13, 1994

The Commission on Faculty Affairs resolution revising the sexual-harassment policy sailed without dissent through its second reading before the University Council.

Elyzabeth Holford, director of the EO/AA Office, said she had talked to all members of the Commission on Faculty Affairs and that all commissions had looked at the policy and made comments. She noted that the new section on administrative and supervisory responsibilities (see September 29 Spectrum) was adopted to conform with federal law.

In discussing the section on consensual relations, she said the most frequent misconception is that there is a ban on all relationships between faculty members and students, or between supervisors and their staff members.

"That is not what the policy says. What the policy suggests is that certain ethical considerations are presented when relationships such as these exist and where they can lead to a violation of the sexual-harassment policy," Holford said.

"The new policy suggests that one must remove oneself from a supervisory situation when such a relationship exists."

She also noted that where information has been shared in confidence with administrators or supervisors, they must respond to the matter.

A revision of the constitution of the Tech Honor System passed first reading. Tom Hunt, faculty advisor to the court, and Eric Burnette, court chief justice, explained that the proposed revisions are designed to provide language to better reflect how the system operates and to reduce the time it takes for a case to be taken to fruition.

They noted that the revisions are procedural rather than substantive and could be accomplished by removing one level of bureaucracy, the investigatory panel, where cases are frequently delayed.

The new process will allow cases to go directly through the associate justice to the case coordinator for investigation, back to the associate justice, and then to the judicial panel where guilt or innocence is decided.

Burnette explained that this process could take as little as six weeks instead of the semester required under the current policy.

Burnette cleared up a misconception, saying it never was an offense not to report an offense if the student was a member of the civilian student body. This rule applies only to cadets.

He said the review board deals with between 100 and 120 Honor Code violations annually.

Provost Fred Carlisle said the College of Education has prepared a plan to deal with its budget situation, a reduction in force, and programs which would be continued.

He said the original schedule called for the plan to go before the Board of Visitors at its February meeting. It would, however, benefit the college if it could be taken up at next month's board meeting.

For this to happen, the council would have to go through the first and second readings at the October 17 meeting. Unless there are objections, council will make its feeling known at that time, Carlisle said.

Members can obtain copies of the proposed restructuring plan council from secretary Robin Lowe if they would like to study the proposal prior to the meeting.

President Paul Torgersen told members that the university's restructuring plan has been "well received" by the governor's office. Although it has been indicated that there will be no reduction in the university budget, Tech will have to submit a 2-percent, 4-percent, and 6-percent budget-reduction plan

The university can then begin the task of recapturing some of the budget reductions that were received last year. He said there still is a lot of work to be done with the General Assembly.