Monday, May 4, 2009

UNLV NFA urges the Hate Crimes/ Bias policy be referred to Faculty Senate

Last Friday, following the discussion at the UNLV NFA meeting on Wednesday, I sent the following letter to President Ashley.

Dear President Ashley,

I write on behalf of the UNLV chapter of the Nevada Faculty Alliance to urge you to hold off on implementing the proposed Hate Crimes/ Bias Incidents policy until it has been approved by the Faculty Senate.

At our general membership meeting this week, the members of the UNLV chapter of the NFA discussed this matter. Without taking a position on the merits of the draft that has been recently circulated to faculty (on which many individuals including myself have submitted input to your office), the members of the NFA felt strongly that a policy such as this will be most credible, useful and valuable if it is one that is discussed and approved by the faculty through the appropriate venue of the Faculty Senate.

All the members present expressed some concern that, according to published news reports, you have been willing to meet with and negotiate the policy with outside groups (specifically the Nevada CLU) so that the policy meets their approval, but have not expressed a willingness to wait until the policy meets the approval of the Faculty Senate.

Likewise, it is of some concern that in the interest of expediently drafting a policy, you have opted to appoint an ad hoc committee with only one faculty member. This sends the wrong message -- and one that I believe you do not mean to send -- at a time when it is clear that faculty and administration must be preparing to work together closely and collaboratively.

We are cognizant that you are under the pressure of a deadline imposed by the Board of Regents to implement a policy by July 1. However, given the circumstances, it seems evident that the Regents would extend that deadline until the fall so that the policy put before the Board would be able to carry the imprimatur of the entire faculty. Certainly if you were to request such an extension, the Faculty Alliance would be eager to speak in support.

In the meantime, though, we join with the Faculty Senate executive committee in asking that the next draft of the policy, in which faculty input will presumably be incorporated, be referred back to the Faculty Senate for consideration before submission to the Board for its approval.

Respectfully and sincerely,

Gregory Brown
President, UNLV chapter of Nevada Faculty Alliance

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