Monday, April 27, 2009

John Filler, UNLV Faculty Senate chair, statement on proposed "hate crimes/ bias incident" policy

UNLV Faculty Senate chair John Filler last week issued this statement on the proposed UNLV hate crimes/ bias incident policy. The UNLV chapter of NFA supports Chair Filler's efforts to bring the insights of faculty into this proposed policy before it is adopted, and to produce a policy that will be embraced by the entire campus community.

"Fundamental to the business of any great university is the free exchange of ideas. If we wish to aspire to greatness as a university, particularly if we wish to achieve international recognition as a research university, we must protect our ability as teachers and scientists to openly engage divergent points of view, even when some may find them offensive. Any behavior, which fails to rise to the level of a crime, but which is deliberately harmful to others should be discouraged if, for no other reason, than that it limits discussion and objective inquiry.

Among other things, I believe it is the responsibility of the Faculty Senate to provide the forum for full and open discussion of any policy that may be interpreted, intentionally or unintentionally, to place boundaries upon the limits of critical discussion and free expression. Because of this fundamental responsibility I am disappointed that President Ashley evidently feels the need to implement a bias policy before a full and open review at a regular meeting of the Faculty Senate has occurred. I have asked him that he not proceed with adoption of the policy until we have had a chance to formally discuss it in its current form. My hope is that he will agree to do so."

1 comment:

  1. Tuesday, April 28, 2009
    TO: Juanita Fain, VP, Student Affairs
    Christine Clark, VP, Diversity and Inclusion
    Richard Linstrom, VP and General Counsel
    Cecilia Maldonado, Vice-Chair, UNLV Faculty Senate
    FROM: David B. Ashley, President
    SUBJ: ad hoc Task Force on Hate Crimes/Bias Incident Policy
    I request that the four of you serve as an ad hoc task force to help move our “hate crime/bias incident” policy(ies) forward to adoption. My goal is to have a policy in place no later than July 1, 2009, in advance of the next academic year. In asking you to serve in this role, I recognize that there are multiple perspectives and, at times, diverging opinions on the content and implementation of this proposed policy. Thus, I request that you execute this task by addressing the following issues/components:
    1) Analyze/develop three options for the proposed policy:
    a. Option 1 – Draft policy as currently formulated,
    b. Option 2 – Revision of current draft policy to incorporate feedback from UNLV faculty on proposed draft and ACLU legal review, and
    c. Option 3 – Revision of draft policy isolating “hate crime” components for
    adoption at this time only.
    2) Comment on each option separately indicating strengths and weaknesses, as well as appropriateness for adoption at this time.
    3) Overall recommendations for what should be adopted now and any next steps for further policy development.

    I shall forward under separate cover additional background materials for your consideration. These will include the latest policy draft (Option 1) and e-mail responses to Senate Chair Filler’s request for comment on this draft. I am also including a draft revision prepared by Dean Chris Hudgins as an example of what might be developed under Option 2; this revision would need further refinement to address concerns raised by faculty and the ACLU. I stress this is only an example and you are not limited to using Dean Hudgins’ proposal as a starting point. We will also forward to you when available the legal review offered by the ACLU. As mentioned earlier, I am committed to having an adopted policy in place no later than July 1st; thus, please work toward a June 1st completion of the above charge so that we can meet this target date. Finally, I would like to ask VP Clark to serve as task force chair and continue her leadership in developing this important campus policy.