Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The IVC civility initiative: "Roy Bauer will present his concerns" (What? They're not faculty concerns!?)

Will the IVC Academic Senate defend the policing of "civility"?
5th in a series

     Two weeks ago, an IVC administrator distributed a report that (it said) was based on the results of a December workshop. That workshop—an all-day affair at the IRWD “Duck Club”—was part of a larger effort instigated by Chancellor Poertner, who had asked the college to address some accreditation concerns.
     The latter request led to formation of something called the “IVC Working Group on Civility,” which first met in October.
     In November, a Sacramento consulting firm was hired; they provided a “facilitator” named Spevak. (He was the author of the report.)
     Spevak, the Working Group, and two guests (including to UCI Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky) gathered for the “workshop” in mid-December (some members of the “group” did not participate in the workshop). They were tasked with brainstorming about episodes of “incivility” on campus and what could be done about them.
Will Hays
     As we’ve explained previously, one element of the report was a draft of a “civility statement” that included the following paragraph:
When encountering incivility, members of the IVC community are encouraged to confront it respectfully but directly and to intervene appropriately in situations where others are inflicted with uncivil behavior. Supervisors should call attention to uncivil behaviors of persons they supervise, and when necessary, note such behaviors within with [sic] the processes of evaluation or progressive discipline.
     Let’s call the notion that “supervisors” should note “uncivil behaviors” and include them in the “process of evaluation or progressive discipline”—the Disciplining Incivilitynotion, or DI.
     The report also included a “draft” of “possible elements within an … Action Plan on Civility and Mutual Respect….” That draft presented a list that included the following:
Send recommendations related to civility and mutual respect to the District for its related new or revised policies and procedures.
     Let’s call the action of sending “civility and mutual respect” recommendations to the District for the sake of “revised policies and procedures” the “prospective incivility policy” action, or PIP.
     At this point, I wish to draw attention to some facts:
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  • Given that IVC’s “civility initiative” seemed to be, among other things, an effort to produce or clarify a basis for employee (including faculty) discipline in response to perceived “incivility,” one would have thought that the unions would have been included in the “Working Group,” or at least in the group that met for the workshop in December. But, in fact, they were not invited.
  • Evidently, it did not occur to those who participated in the December workshop to demand or ask that the unions be involved, if not immediately then in future. (I say “evidently” because I have heard nothing from any leadership, including faculty leadership—two academic senate officers attended the workshop—about this oversight.)
  • Board Policies have been wielded against vocal critics of college and district officials (et al.) previously. In 1998, I was called into the Chancellor’s office and told that a letter would be placed in my personnel file. It stated that, in my newsletters (Dissent and The ‘Vine), I had violated the district’s “workplace violence” and anti-discrimination policies. (I protested, but to no avail.) I was ordered to cease violating those policies in my writings. I took the matter to federal court and prevailed. Judge Manella described the district's actions as “Orwellian.” Judge Feess, who took over the case, stated that the district was stretching policies (one of which he declared unconstitutional in itself) simply in order to silence a “vigorous critic.” He said that my writings were plainly protected by the 1st Amendment. The letter was removed from my file. (See “Make things nicer!” and Roy Bauer’s 1st Amendment Battles or "One Gadfly, One Gadfly Swatter")
  • The civility report was initially distributed in a fashion that made it easy for faculty (and perhaps others) to overlook. I cleaned up the messy emailed copy and made the entire report available as a DtB post. I distributed the url to all members of my School. Among them is Lewis Long, the President of the Faculty Association (faculty union).
  • Upon reading the report, Lewis immediately wrote IVC administration, objecting to their failure to include union representatives in the Working Group (he called it a “serious omission”) and strongly objecting to the above-mentioned Disciplining Incivility (DI) notion among other elements contained in the “civility statement” of the report. (Lewis also noted the inclusion of reference to “training the recidivists” in the report.)
  • I am told that Lewis has now been made a “co-facilitator” of the Working Group.

Not long ago, the IVC Senate supported free speech and
successfully fought administrative & district overreach
—even in court! A golden era of senate leadership
     Last Thursday, I emailed the President of the IVC Academic Senate, Lisa Davis Allen (a workshop participant), asking if it would not be wise to agendize the inclusion of DI in the civility statement of the report:
I'm assuming that you are as appalled as I am by that paragraph and especially its direction that supervisors note "uncivil behaviors" "within the process of evaluation or progressive discipline." Might we therefore add an agenda item about this?
     In the five days since I sent that email, I have not heard back from her. But, today, I did receive the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of (the Rep Council of the) Academic Senate. Item 14 is the following:
Statement on Civility and Mutual Respect
H&L Senator Roy Bauer will present his concerns on the Statement of Civility and Mutual Concern [sic].
     My concerns?
     I’m not sure what to make of this. Am I to assume that my “concerns” are not shared by LDA or the senate cabinet? Dunno.
     I’ve apprised Lewis and the members of my School of these developments.
     And now I've apprised you, dear reader.

For previous posts in this series, see top of left sidebar.

42 comments:

  1. That's strange. In the past when a Senator has asked for something to be agendized, it simply was. The particular Senator making the request wasn't singled out like that.

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  2. This groupthink mentality must not stand. I guess you're now left holding the bag. Good luck with your presentation.

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  3. Managers already have the discretion to note precieved unaccapable behaviors in evaluations, always have. This civility report accomplished absolutely nothing. What a total waste of resources.

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  4. But they don't have a "Statement on Civility and Mutual Respect" that defines incivility. That could come next.

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  5. At a recent conference, key participants discussing Accreditation pointed out that when we are working for the better good of the college and the students served we should not consider rank in the room since this is OUR college. Clearly rank is considered in the civility arena at IVC where some administrators appear to know civility when they see it or hear it. Like Natural Law Theory, they are in tune with the greater beings of the universe and are required to squash those who are not in tune, i.e. most faculty and classified staff.

    What a crock.

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  6. There's something strange going on.

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  7. 6:24, you must not have made requests for something to be agendized in the past year or so. Suggestions for agenda items are routinely ignored or denied. IMO the senate does not represent the faculty as much as it represents the wishes of one administrator.

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  8. More whitewash of the problems at IVC. Two or three top administrators at the college are guilty of retalition, inducing fear, singling out certain faculty, etc. Now they want the Senate to sanction their actions. The results of the taskforce should be for admin to take a hard look at their practices.

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  9. The OI needs to do a survey of satisfaction and an open program review. Pronto. Send that civility statement to the moon, Alice!

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  10. And what about the results of the "employee satisfaction survey"? Awfully uncivil not to publish them.

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  11. When the civility work group set to accomplish the daunting task of addressing civility on campus, they never realized it would turn into an uncivil debate. This is total incivility.
    Personal attacks, rudeness, disrespectful comments that disrupt the mission, defeat the purpose, and lead to stress, conflict, and lack of productivity is pure incivility.

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  12. This is "total incivility"? Lady, you need to get out more often.

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  13. 1:19, I concur, why haven't they published that survey?

    Bvt, you ought to begin a new topic entitled "Where's the survey results?"

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  14. 6:12

    what continues to make incivility at IVC a "daunting" task is not comments made here(although personal attacks in any forum seem a waste of everyone's time and rather rude).

    If its stressful for anyone to hear legitimate concerns on this process or lack of process--that is truly unfortunate.

    The legitimate and passionate concerns aired in the open lead to resolutions. Sometimes giving birth to a healthy child is not pretty but necessary nevertheless.

    Whitewashing, innuendos, and decision making under the the mere pretense of civility and transparency--this is where incivility lies. We are foolish to think otherwise.

    If our mission is real civility and not stepford wife behavior--this is how we get there.

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  15. Damage control mode!

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  16. 6:12, I don't know your gender--that's insignificant, but you need to rethink your position. Follow the logic from a communication problem with the district to the civility statement--a thinly disguised hammer. How did we get here? Down the rabbit hole, that's how.

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  17. What's less civil? A four letter word or administrative skullduggery?

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  18. Open a can of whoopass, BvT.

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  19. 6:12

    With all due respect, whatever does it mean to "disrupt the mission?"

    If the mission was to-at whatever cost-keep the seas calm and some have made waves and maybe some large, foamy waves maybe the mission as it currently stands needs some disruption.

    At the same time, many really do appreciate the efforts of this group as well as all the groups over the years who have worked on this matter.

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  20. Brain Trust Gate

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  21. You'd better stop now.
    What's that sound?
    Everybody look what's goin' round.

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  22. What survey? Dang, I missed that chance to give 'em an earful. My message - NO CONFIDENCE!

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  23. They are not just faculty concerns, they are concerns of students, staff, and many of the well-intentioned administrators.

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  24. Something stinks.

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  25. 4:23: I'm sure that others beyond faculty have these concerns, but my agenda request was sent to the organization that represents faculty.

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  26. I'm looking forward to Senate tomorrow. I would like to know what consequences there are for administrators who act uncivilized, not just staff. I can tell you plenty of stories about a particular uncivil bullying psychotic administrator who has gotten away with incivility time and again.

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  27. Is it possible that people of good will are being used without their knowledge? I really find this puzzling.

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  28. I recall a few years ago the senates were notified in writing that they refrain from having any discussions and/or making any decisions that fall within the purview of the collective bargaining agreements. It’s my understanding there’s supposed to be a memorandum of understanding to that affect, which requires a union rep. to be present and included in any such discussions that encroach on the collective bargaining agreements. Administration should have been well aware of this.

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  29. I hope Lewis will be at the senate meeting.

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  30. I also remember the notification mentioned by 12:11 am - whereupon the Senate leadership was duly informed to refrain from discussions or decisions that fall within the purview of the collective bargaining agreements. It's a no-brainer, really.

    I do believe there is a MOU which requires a union representative to be present and included in any such discussions that encroach on the collective bargaining agreements.

    No only should the administration have been well aware of this - so should have the leadership of the Senate.

    These agreements protect all of us. Some may recall when a certain faculty member almost had tenure denied because of "free speech activity" deemed "uncivil."

    Thanks to Roy and Lewis for looking out for us on this.

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  31. By the way, why haven't they released the "action letter" from the ACCJC that supposedly took IVC off of "warning" status pending another October 15 report and visit?

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  32. I surely hope that Roy will have supporters at the meeting brave and honest enough to speak up with their own faculty concerns--that he will not have to carry this all alone, as has sometimes been the case.

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  33. It's very "groupy" in there. Les't hope those concerned can shatter the groupthink and actually have an impact.

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  34. I can't attend the meeting, but I did send an email expressing my opinion to my senate reps. There is still time for you to do the same.

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  35. I hope we get a detailed account of the Senate meeting.

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  36. Roy Bauer on uncivil behavior Jan. 11, 2011. "Administration should have some sort of policy or procedure to relieve faculty of this kind of burden, to give them a sense that somebody is covering the waterfront. Surely, there ought to be something, a protocol, that kicks in fast and can be depended on!"

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  37. we are beginning to confuse incivility with outright hostility in the working environment and the two should never be confused. An institution moves forward at times when there is an irritating squeak or mashing in the gears. when we hear nothing we walk away. i am thankful for the squeaks.

    in matters of hostility and abusive behavior something must "kick in" fast to stop the worsening of the situation.

    lets not be silly enough to confuse the two.

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  38. 4:41, nice of you not to place my remark in context! I believe that I made that remark in connection with a student's physically threatening behavior toward a faculty member. The discussion was not about incivility, but about physical endangerment.

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  39. The Senate Meeting went well. I'll have a report late tonight (or tomorrow).

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  40. I agree. People often confuse the two.

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