Staff Council weighs in on proposed 'intellectual diversity' guideline

Regents' latest draft of guiding principles too narrow, members say

Saying an amendment to the University of Colorado's guiding principles that focuses on faculty "intellectual diversity" was too narrow, the University of Colorado Staff Council on Thursday, May 6, unanimously agreed the principle should be rewritten to include all members of the university.

The amendment was introduced during the April meeting of the Board of Regents by Regent Jim Geddes, R-Sedalia, and reads:

"Promote faculty, student, and staff diversity to ensure the rich interchange of ideas in the pursuit of truth and learning, specifically including faculty diversity of political, intellectual and philosophical perspectives."

Geddes wrote in a recent guest column in the Faculty and Staff Newsletter that the principle is "meant for all members of our complex university family, but places with our esteemed faculty the prime responsibility of fostering political, philosophical and intellectual diversity."

Chairs of the student, staff and faculty councils strongly oppose the changes and asked the board for time to discuss the amendments with constituents.

"The free flow of ideas doesn't stop at the door of the classroom," said Lori Krug, chair of the staff council. Others at the meeting at 1800 Grant St., Denver, agreed.

"Students learn from people other than faculty," said Mary Lou Kartis, a Staff Council member from the Colorado Springs campus. "This sets up a class system."

A separate principle also was added during the regents' meeting that reads, "Ensure that the university attracts, develops and supports a diverse faculty, staff and student body."

The Staff Council agreed a better solution would be to combine language of both principles to include all university members.

Their proposed principle would read:

"Attract, develop and support a diverse faculty, staff and student body to promote the rich interchange of ideas in the pursuit of truth and learning, including diversity of political, geographic, cultural, intellectual and philosophical perspectives."

In another matter concerning diversity, the council reaffirmed its request that Article 10 of the regents' nondiscrimination law should be amended to include "gender identity and gender expression."

While the board has said that CU's nondiscrimination law is in line with current state laws prohibiting discrimination, Krug argued that employees shouldn't have to dig through state statutes for the language. Students have strongly advocated for the language, and the council agreed to stand by them.

Council members also discussed the presidential search process, including the makeup of the search committee. As proposed, the committee would consist of one regent; one dean of a school, college or library; four faculty, one representing each campus; one student; two staff; two alumni; and four community members.

Students have asked for two spots on the committee, one for an undergraduate and another for a graduate. The Staff Council agreed to back the student request.

The council also will ask the regents to add clarifying language to the document to ensure one classified staff member and one exempt staff member be appointed to the committee.

The Board of Regents is expected to revisit these issues at its June meeting in Boulder.

In other matters, Staff Council members:

  • Heard from Ken McConnellogue, associate vice president for university relations, concerning the status of the branding initiative. McConnellogue said university logos are currently being stylized and a set of identity standards has been drafted. Guidelines for use and an implementation plan should be ready within the next 30 days. He also said the university would transition to the new branding program over the course of a year.
  • Heard from E. Jill Pollock, senior associate vice president and chief human resource officer, concerning leave sharing and alternate work arrangements. A draft has been discussed with chancellors and vice presidents and could be approved by June, she said. Pollock also reported that dependant enrollment verification is 90.6 percent complete.