(Shaded areas in [square brackets] reflect editorial revisions made after the Senate meeting. )
SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATIONAL EQUITY AND CAMPUS ENVIRONMENT
Modification of University Faculty Senate Policy 43-00 Syllabus to Include Report Bias Website
Implementation: Upon Approval by the Senate and development of procedures when applicable
Introduction and Rationale
The Educational Equity and Campus Environment Committee (EECE) has considered the request of the University Park Undergraduate Association’s (UPUA) to change University Faculty Senate Policy 43-00 Syllabus in order to include the report bias web site (http://equity.psu.edu/reportbias/statement) as a requirement for all syllabi at the Pennsylvania State University. Furthermore, EECE has considered the report titled Addressing Issues of Classroom Climate and Bias in the Classroom, which was accepted by the University Faculty Senate at the January 24, 2017 Plenary Session (report is Appendix K of the Meeting Agenda). As well, the EECE has considered the Senate discussion during the EECE sponsored Forensic Report titled Educational Equity and Faculty in the March 21, 2017 (report is Appendix B of the Meeting Agenda). All of the deliberations have led the EECE to pursue changing University Faculty Senate Policy 43-00 Syllabus in order to include the report bias web site (http://equity.psu.edu/reportbias/statement) as a requirement for all syllabi at the Pennsylvania State University.
The Educational Equity and Campus Environment Committee recommends that the following statement be added to all Pennsylvania State University syllabi:
Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment [(Delete)and/or incivility(End Delete) due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, [(Add) gender identity (End Add)], national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity at the Report Bias site: http://equity.psu.edu/reportbias/statement.
Please note that the following contains bold text for additions. Added text is notated with [Add] [End Add].
A written (paper or electronic form) syllabus must be distributed to students in each course on or before the first class meeting, and the syllabus must remain available to students electronically until the end of the semester. In addition to course content and expectations, the syllabus must include contact information for all course instructors, the course examination policy, grade breakdown by assessment type and percentage, required course materials, and the academic integrity policy for the course, and information on procedures related to academic adjustments identified by the Office of Student Disability Resources, [Add] reporting educational equity concerns through the Report Bias site, [End Add] and information on available Counseling and Psychological Services. Changes to the syllabus shall also be given to the student in written (paper or electronic) form.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATIONAL EQUITY AND CAMPUS ENVIRONMENT
- Kimberly Blockett
- Denise Bortree
- Julia Bryan, Vice Chair
- Dwight Davis
- Erinn Finke
- Timothy Lawlor
- Robert Loeb, Chair
- John Malchow
- Adam Malek
- Karyn McKinney
- Dara Purvis
- Eileen Trauth
- Marcus Whitehurst
Resolution # 23-11
The University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA)
The Pennsylvania State University
of the 2016 – 2017 Session
November 9th, 2016
Be it decided by the Assembly, having been considered by the Committee on Academic Affairs, a
Support of Report Bias Resources on Course Syllabi
(Decided: [ Y / N / A ])
Nature of the Situation:
The first Faculty Senate meeting of the 2016-2017 academic year began with a student panel discussion focused on the topics of diversity and inclusion. Students were chosen from various backgrounds by Vice-Provost of Educational Equity, Marcus Whitehurst, to speak on both their positive and negative experiences within the classroom at this point in their undergraduate careers. The discussion was led by Robert Loeb, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Educational Equity and Campus Environment, where each student was asked to speak shortly about themselves and any recommendations they had for making The Pennsylvania State University more inclusive.
Senate Chair Jim Strauss also announced at this meeting, that for the rest of the year and at every Senate meeting, diversity would be included in the conversation. This was to encourage the entire Senate to not only pass pieces of legislation in support of diversity initiatives, but to remain actively aware of ongoing issues.
Additionally, President Eric Barron has made diversity and inclusion a top priority for Penn State with the All In Commitment, as it benefits not only a student’s learning experience but the greater University at large.
According to the latest data on hate crimes nationwide, in 2014 the FBI’s Uniformed Crime Reporting Program reported 5,479 incidents. Of these crimes 47% were racially motivated, 18.6% were based on sexual orientation and 18.6% were based on religion.
Penn State University Policy AD42: “Statement on Nondiscrimination and Harassment,” states, “The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, including harassment. The Pennsylvania State University prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status. Discrimination or harassment against faculty, staff or students will not be tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University.”
Additionally, according to the Office of Educational Equity, thirty-nine reports were filed in the Spring 2015 and Summer/Fall semesters. The motives of the bias or target issue(s) include ethnicity/culture, race, color, gender, ancestry, national origin, religious beliefs, age, sexual orientation, and status as a veteran as seen in the Bias Motivated Incidents Report (APPENDIX A).
Currently students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests can use an anonymous web form found at equity.psu.edu/reportbias to report any type of hate or intolerance(s) that occurs at Penn State. All reports are handled by the Report Bias officer under the Office of Educational Equity.
Current non-course related information mandated through Senate Policy 43-00 Syllabus to be included on all syllabi includes the University’s academic integrity policy, information for procedures relating to academic adjustments from the Student Disability Resources office and recently- information on available Counseling and Psychology Services at Penn State.
During the UPUA 10th Assembly, Academic Affairs committee members and student faculty senators advocated for the addition of Mental Health Resources to all course syllabi. These documents are the only consistent resource students have access to on a semester-basis, as most University-affiliated documents are distributed during New Student Orientation and First- Year information sessions. Although it is recognized that syllabi are not supposed to be a “catch-all” of information that needs to be relayed to students, it is with hopes that there will soon be an Online Syllabi Database system that makes this easier for all parties involved.
Members of the UPUA presented to the full meeting of the President’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Diversity (CORED), Title IX Office, Vice-Provost of Educational Equity Marcus Whitehurst and the Report Bias Officer Debra Simpson-Buchanan, to advocate for their support of Report Bias resources to course syllabi. The Commission has been preparing both a report and presentation to the University Faculty Senate, in which they agreed to advocate for the revision to Faculty Senate Policy 43-00 to include these resources.
Recommended Course of Action:
The University Park Undergraduate Association, on behalf of the University Park undergraduate student body, commends the University Faculty Senate’s efforts to advance discussion on Diversity and Inclusion at The Pennsylvania State University. However, the UPUA recognizes the disconnect between the University’s resources for such issues and the student body’s general knowledge of their existence.
Thus, the UPUA resolves to support the following addition to Faculty Senate Policy 43-00 Syllabus:
“A written (paper or electronic form) syllabus must be distributed to students in each course on or before the first class meeting. In addition to course content and expectations, the syllabus must include contact information for all course instructors, the course examination policy, grade breakdown by assessment type and percentage, required course materials, and the academic integrity policy for the course, information on procedures related to academic adjustments identified by the Office of Student Disability Resources, information on available Counseling and Psychological Services as well as the Office on Report Bias. Changes to the syllabus shall also be given to the student in written (paper or electronic) form.”
The University Park Undergraduate Association also charges the Department of Communications with disseminating this stance through all appropriate platforms including, but not limited to, all UPUA social media accounts and news sources such as Onward State and The Daily Collegian.
Eberly College of Science
Chair of Academic Affairs
At- Large Representative
Chair of Student Life
At- Large Representative
Vice Chair of Student Life
Chair ___________________________________________________ Committee Vote: [12-0-0]
President __________________________________________________________ Affirm Veto
The University Park Undergraduate Association