Academic Senate addresses romance

    An amendment providing additional wording in the Faculty Code of Conduct to directly address romantic and sexual relationships between faculty members and students was the target of discussion at the April 29 Academic Senate meeting.

    The proposed enactment of the faculty bylaws and academic requirements of Sixth College, as well as an amendment to the academic requirements for Thurgood Marshall College, were approved at the meeting. Recipients of this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards were also announced and approved.

    The Faculty Code of Conduct amendment, APM 015, has been under review both locally and throughout the entire UC system. The amendment would explicitly prohibit romantic and sexual relationships, even if fully consensual, between educational faculty and students. Any such relationship, it is asserted, “”jeopardizes the integrity of the educational process.”” The language of the amendment as it currently stands would prohibit such relationships if a faculty member has, or can reasonably expect to have in the future, “”academic instructional, evaluative or supervisory responsibility”” over a student.

    “”The intent of this revision of APM is to address an important issue in the Faculty Code of Conduct that was not ever directly addressed, and that has to do with the nature of faculty-student relations, romantic, sexual relations between faculty and students,”” said Joel Dimsdale, chair of the San Diego division of the Academic Senate.

    According to Dimsdale, the amendment addresses issues that are subtly different from those of sexual harassment. The effort for such an amendment began in 1983; it eventually lost steam and was revived in 2001. Similar policies at other universities were studied in order to evaluate how such issues were addressed on other campuses.

    Although the amendment was not voted on at the meeting, its merits and faults were debated. Concerns raised about APM 015 included the ambiguous language of the amendment, its enforceability and the nature of the punishment for violations. The amendment will be taken to the Academic Council for consideration.

    The proposed enactment of the bylaws of the faculty of Sixth College, as well as the enactment of Regulation 630, which sets the academic requirements for Sixth College, were approved by the Senate at the meeting as well. The general education requirements for the college emphasize cross-disciplinary studies and creative and ethically informed thinking.

    Michael Schudson, acting provost of Thurgood Marshall College, presented an amendment to his college’s general education requirements. The amendment, approved by the Senate, requires engineering majors to complete four, instead of three, disciplinary breadth courses. This would bring the general education requirements of engineering majors in line with those of all other majors at Marshall.

    The change is not expected to impede engineering majors’ progress toward the completion of their degree, since most students bring in units through AP or transfer credit to meet the lower-division requirements. Of this year’s 121 entering engineering majors, only nine students did not clear the lower division breadth requirement through approved credit.

    In order to better accommodate six-unit courses from the University of California and the Education Abroad Program, as well as the increase in one-, two- and three-unit labs, the amendment will allow Marshall College to adopt the sixty-unit measure for graduation requirements. Thus, students will need to complete a minimum of 60 units at the upper-division level out of the 180 units needed to graduate. Previously, a minimum of 15 upper-division units had to be completed out of 45 courses.

    The Committee on Distinguished Teaching Nominations for 2002-03 also presented its list of winners for this year’s awards. Awards were presented by division, and awards were also given to a nonsenate faculty member and a graduate student. The list of recipients was approved by the Senate, and the awards ceremony will take place on May 12 in the Faculty Club.

    “”There’s an awful lot of good teaching that goes on at this campus,”” said Daniel Hallin, vice chair of the committee. “”It always makes me want to go and hear some of these lectures and possibly makes me a little envious of the skill of some of the teachers.””

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