Smith College Staff Council
November 6, 2002 (Approved at the December 4, 2002 meeting)
The November monthly meeting of Staff Council was held on Wednesday, November 6, 2002 at 2:30 p.m. in the Mary Maples Dunn Room at Pierce Hall.
Attending: Kim Allen, Stacey Anasazi, Cyndee Button, Connie Dragon, Serena Harris, Chris Carr Hill, Patty Kimura, Karen LeHouiller, Merrilyn Lewis, Laura Matta, Ann Mayo, Janice McDowell, Janine Nye, Laura Rauscher, and Tara Zidonik
Cristen Abrams, Lakisha Coppedge, Gary Duffy, Alicia Guidotti,
Hollingsworth, Anne-Marie LaFosse, Dianne Mikucki, Steve Monteiro,
Sam Rush, Patricia Swan, and Michael Washut
Patty Kimura called the meeting to order at 2:35 p.m.
1. REVIEW MINUTES
I suggested one addition to the October minutes: On page 2, the paragraph that follows section D, line 9: add the word of to the phrase that came out the study circles, so that the corrected phrase is that came out of the study circles. I made a motion to approve the minutes with this correction and Stacey seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.
2. Discussion on Staff Council focus on diversity
Patty reported that the steering committee had a discussion about restructuring our meetings to focus less on committee reports (possibly limiting each committee to a three minute report) to allow more time to talk about planning new initiatives and stumbling blocks that may arise when different styles work together on objectives. She also said that it is o.k. to try some activities that don't work, that we should not be afraid of failing.
Stacey suggested that each committee prepare and submit minutes to the group shortly before the monthly meeting so that they can be reviewed ahead of time. These reports should be sent to the co-secretaries since they typically send out a draft of the minutes a few days before the meeting. These reports will also aid the co-secretaries in the preparation of monthly minutes.
President Christ had sent an e-mail to the campus community about the progress Smith is making on diversity initiatives. Because we are observing Otelia Cromwell Day this week, she felt it was an opportune time to send us this update. She pointed out when she arrived on campus in June one of the first documents to come to her desk was a recommendation from Staff Council for mandatory diversity training for all employees.
The steering committee also talked about it being up to each committee to continue to work on diversity issues. They wanted to ensure that the formation of the ad hoc diversity committee did not minimize the ongoing efforts of other committees toward diversity.
Sam has read the play, Spinning into Butter, and we're exploring doing a sectional reading of it. Since the play is controversial, it may be something we'll try out first on staff council members.
Cyndee said the Kahn Institute has been involved in doing a Reparations Project, involving a student/faculty panel, and she was thinking this might make a good community forum. A discussion was then held about exploring things like the term faculty/staff and instead using a term that is less divisional, such as Smith community or Smith employees.
Laura Rauscher is brand new to Staff Council and she asked the question, "What does diversity mean?" Is diversity too broad a word, and should it be broken down into categories such as racial diversity, disability diversity, etc. She thinks Staff Council could take a lead in clarifying "diversity". Patty said we have talked about it broadly, which has its pros and cons.
Merrilyn said she asked at the steering committee if we were going to continue diversity training for staff council. Laura Matta suggested having diversity as a regular agenda item and making it part of every meeting. Many committee members feel there should be training for new members.
It was mentioned that the Personal Policy Committee could speak with Carol Bevan-Bogart to see if Training & Development sessions are an avenue for diversity training. We might be instrumental in proposing some areas to be covered in future sessions.
Kim suggested that each committee talk about what their committee is doing to continue diversity training.
Laura said she feels we need to spend more time discussing diversity. A discussion resulted in the suggestion that each meeting have as an agenda item a specific topic related to diversity and someone with knowledge of that topic will be invited to speak at the meeting. This may mean inviting speakers outside of staff council, and outside of Smith College.
Merrilyn then asked Laura if she would be willing to speak at the December meeting, and she said yes.
I asked Laura if she had chosen a committee to join yet and she said she had not. I asked her to consider joining the Communications Committee and she said yes to that also.
3. New/Old Business:
A brief discussion was held on President Christ's decision to hold two intimate holiday parties at the President's House rather than one large winter party at the ITT, to specifically accommodate the service staffs from RADS and Physical Plant who have not had an opportunity to be invited to the house. The underlying concern was stratification within the staff after so much work has been done to erase it.
Budget: Food for thought: In light of budgetary restraints, should we consider taking the refreshments money (as often we do not consume all of the refreshments) and either using it all or a portion of it towards activities, events, etc.
No committee reports were given, as there was no time remaining.
The next regular Staff Council meeting is set for 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 4th in the Mary Maples Dunn Conference Room.
The Staff Council meeting adjourned at 3:45 p.m.
Chris Carr Hill, Co-Secretary
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