|Will the IVC Academic Senate defend the policing of "civility"?|
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.
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 Incivility” notion, 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:
- 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
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 RespectMy concerns?
H&L Senator Roy Bauer will present his concerns on the Statement of Civility and Mutual Concern [sic].
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.
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