Academic Senate

Reports from the Standing Committees:
Faculty Affairs Committee (FA)

Manzar Foroohar (San Luis Obispo), Chair
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This Month's Issue
Front Page
Message from the ASCSU Chair
Report of the Faculty Trustee
Reports from Standing Committees

Academic Affairs
Academic Preparation &
   Education Programs
Faculty Affairs
Fiscal and Governmental

General Education Advisory Committee (GEAC)
Capitol Watch
The California State University Emeriti and Retired Faculty Association (CSUERFA)
Book Review - Lesson Plan
Resolution Summaries

The Faculty Affairs committee discussed and prepared a resolution: AS-3251-16/FA (Rev) ”In Support of Increased Funding for the Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (RSCA) Program.” This resolution urges the Chancellor’s Office (CO) to increase funding for the Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (RSCA) program to a level commensurate with the intent behind the program, the recognized value of faculty and student research as a significant factor in the quality of education, the amount of external funding faculty research brings to the California State University (CSU), and the fact that lecturers, as well as tenure-track faculty, are now eligible to receive RSCA funding.
Faculty affairs also had a long discussion on the state of shared governance in the CSU and possible ways to improve shared governance both on local campuses and the system-wide structure.
We had several guests, including Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Lori Lamb, who discussed the new revisions to the policy on background checks for new hires. The committee members noted improvements made in the policy, including a definition of “sensitive” positions, which require full background checks, including criminal background check. However, the improvements in the policy only apply to student employees and volunteers. New faculty hires still have to go through a full background check, including criminal background check, even when they apply for jobs not categorized as “sensitive” positions or positions where criminal background check is required by law. When asked the reasons behind differences in treatment of new faculty versus student employees and volunteers, Vice Chancellor Lamb justified the different treatment as a result of Risk Management policies. This demonstrates another case where the CSU has implemented policies not based on their merit by unfounded fear, driven by risk management. Vice Chancellor Lamb was reminded that the University of California (UC) system does not have such a policy.
Another point of discussion was the likelihood of discrimination against potential candidates who belong to specific groups such as ethnic minorities, who have been historically targeted by the law enforcement agencies, and also political activists, who often get in trouble with law enforcement because of the nature of their activities. Vice Chancellor Lamb stated that the CSU will be very careful to make sure that only convictions related to job performance will be considered as basis for disqualification of a candidate.  She also acknowledged that the CSU cannot compile data on potential candidates, who would not apply for CSU positions knowing that they will be subjected to a criminal background check. The new revisions to the policy, although applauded as a step in the right direction, still do not respond to main concerns about discriminatory nature of the policy, and the fact that this policy contradicts the CSU commitment to diversification in faculty ranks.
As the chair of the FA Committee during the past three years, I would like to thank the committee members for their hard work and their passion for faculty rights, shared governance, academic freedom and other important university issues.
For more information, please contact Faculty Affairs Committee ChairManzar Foroohar