Issues in Progress
How to measure the value of affirmative action in a university setting was
one of several issues Commission members raised with Associate Vice President
for Human Resources Alice Miller at the group's Jan. 27 meeting.
on the Status of Minorities
Commission member Pat Marsteller said that while Emory's record on hiring
and promotion of minorities and women looks very strong for 1995-96, she
wonders how the University can demonstrate that such diversity has "added
value" for Emory. Marsteller said that being able to demonstrate that
value is especially critical now that affirmative action is being challenged
in the courts.
"I don't know how one would assess that," Miller responded. "I
have not seen anything quantitative that addresses this issue." Miller
said Emory's voluntary separation rate of 7 percent reflects a highly stable
workforce, "which usually tells you that people are reasonably happy."
The national average is 15 percent to 20 percent, she said.
Miller asked Commission members to share with her whatever methods they
might discover for measuring the value of diversity on campus.
Marsteller also raised an issue regarding Tuition Reimbursement from a few
years back: a proposal that Emory advance tuition money to low-income employees
wishing to take courses at other colleges and universities. Under the current
Tuition Reimbursement program, employees pay tuition up front and are reimbursed
for most of the amount when they successfully complete courses.
Miller said that none of the 25 peer institutions surveyed by Human Resources
offers tuition advances to staff. She also said the administration has no
plans to adopt such a program. She added that Human Resources has assisted
several low-income employees in identifying sources of funding to pay tuition
for their initial college course and that the Division will continue to
provide such assistance on a case-by-case basis.
For the near future, Miller said her office is continuing to work on finding
a better way to generate employee performance feedback. While Miller said
she does not necessarily want every unit to use exactly the same method
for evaluating employees, she is committed to making evaluations as
equitable as possible across the units.
In other business, the Commission voted to extend the term of office for
its chair and chair-elect from one year to two years. Commission Chair Bob
Lee said the change will provide much-needed continuity of leadership between
academic years. The Commission also elected David Patton of the law school
as chair-elect for the remainder of this year and for 1997-98. Patton will
become chair in the fall of 1998, when Lee's term expires.
The Commission also voted to change the name of its Travel Fund Committee
to the Professional Development Fund Committee, to more closely reflect
the purpose of the fund. The vote also made the fund available to students
for the first time. It was already open to faculty and staff traveling to
professional conferences and similar events.
Bob Ethridge, associate vice president and director of Equal Opportunity
Programs, attended the Senate's Jan. 28 meeting to remind senators of appropriate
procedures for handling reports of sexual harassment.
Ethridge told Senate members that if any Emory community member brings to
their attention an instance of alleged sexual harassment, the person receiving
the information is obligated to report it to the Office of Equal Opportunity
Programs, even if the alleged victim shares the information in confidence.
"Once you become aware of an incidence of sexual harassment, both you
and the University become responsible," Ethridge said. He said that
if an alleged victim waits a period of time before filing a formal complaint
and reports that he or she told someone about it who did not report it,
the University could be held liable for not taking action.
Regarding the issue of violating a confidence, Ethridge suggested immediately
informing the alleged victim that Equal Opportunity Programs must be notified
and that their complaint will be kept as confidential as possible.
Ethridge and his staff may be reached at 727-6016.
In other business, the Senate heard a presentation from the campus master
planning firm, Ayers/Saint/Gross, on the planning process that has just
began for Emory's physical facilities. Following that presentation, representatives
from each of the Senate's standing committees gave reports on their reactions
to the planning process and concerns they believe planners should take into
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