Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another chapter in the misbegotten "civility initiative" saga

     Today, at the meeting of the Irvine Valley College Academic Senate, the assembled reps considered whether to approve various new and revised board policies and administrative regulations, including the poorly written BP180:
The Board of Trustees of the SOCCCD is committed to fostering a district-wide environment which maximizes mutual respect and promotes a cooperative climate of civility.
     Evidently, the Saddleback College Academic Senate has already approved a slightly reworded version of BP180:
The Board of Trustees of the SOCCCD is committed to fostering a district-wide environment that promotes mutual respect and a climate of cooperative civility.
     You’ll recall that, last spring, considerable controversy erupted when IVC administration pursued a heavy-handed approach to addressing a “civility” deficit in the district that had been noted by accreditors. Those fools were about to sick the Civility Police on us. We squawked plenty. After the Sturm und Drang, administration backed off.
     During an earlier workshop concerning the “civility” issue, guest Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UCI law school, suggested that the college should not seek to “legislate civility.” No surprise there. Evidently, college administrators paid 'im no heed.
     Well, they're back to the Police idea.
    According to a document provided for our discussion at today's meeting, the review process will also yield an administrative regulation “stating that the Chancellor and Presidents [of the two colleges] will implement BP 180 at their sites….”
In 2003, an IVC admini-
strator declared that instruc-
tors may not discuss the war
in Iraq unless they got his
permission first.
     "Implement," eh? It seemed to me that the BP and AR 180 combination amounts to an attempt to legislate and enforce “civility,” precisely the approach that Chemerinsky wisely advised against.
     At today’s senate meeting, I, along with another rep, voiced strong opposition to the proposed BP/AR 180 essentially on that basis. I suggested that the proposed policy and regulation were contrary to ideals of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. Another rep argued forcefully that this policy is wholly inappropriate and that the college could address and promote civility in many other ways that fall short of this kind of enforcement.
     After a few minutes of discussion, the gathering unanimously (there may have been one abstaining vote) approved a motion to reject the proposed policies and anything of their kind. It was further recommended that the board instead pass a resolution concerning the desirability of civility.

SEE ALSO Who argued that college Poli Sci professors should teach the Board’s political views? Guess!

6 comments:

  1. Was anything ever done about Derek Reeve, the instructor who made disparaging remarks about students from middle eastern countries?

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  2. Reeve no longer teaches for Saddleback College. Check the fall and spring schedule of classes.

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  3. I think it is so interesting how faculty are the targets of this civility initiative when everyone knows, including the accreds, that is the administration that are the uncivil bullies.

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  4. Re: Reeve: thanks, Roy. Good news!

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  5. Are faculty the targets? Arent all the uncivil bullies the targets? They are in every group.

    ReplyDelete

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