EPC chair Meredith outlined the
background of the suspension policy. EPC’s role was to insure that all
sections of the policy had been honored and all procedures properly followed.
EPC would forward completed recommendations to all participants and the
senate, who would not be able to actually vote on any suspension. In effect
the suspension document would be an information item. No further
recommendations would come from EPC.
The suspension document would be quite
different from a discontinuance proposal. Discontinuance could be started by
several different people and offices, but suspension must come from the
faculty alone. Gerontology was undertaking a one-year suspension.
Senator Abella spoke from his work
from the statewide senate’s perspective. He observed that heath and human
services, including gerontology, had been identified as one of most needed
programs around the state. Nowhere else could students get this sort of
education. He also spoke to budgetary issues. He asked if no faculty were
actually losing their positions, how the university would be saving money. It
seemed possible that faculty might in fact be even busier than before and
would need to work harder. He did not see how such an increase in faculty
workload would benefit students.
State Senator Gregory indicated that
she had been asked by other senators and guests to speak on their behalf.
Their concerns had also been expressed by Senator Abella. She did not see
this action as a very compelling way to deal with a budget issue. Her other
issue involved process. The first sentence in the suspension document offered
some historical context, but raised important procedural issues. EPC might
not be the problem but could easily be the solution. She urged a rapid
restoration to admissions, and saw this tying in with the missions of both
the CSU and the campus. She finished by observing that if we do not do a
proper job of training students, we would likely be making trouble for the
Senator Steier observed that some
sniping was in order. As far as the notion of “self-originating suspension”
is concerned, he noted that if someone was holding a gun to one’s head, and
one “decided” to undergo a suspension, just how self-originating could this
proposal be? The APRC review of the program had been glowing in the previous
year, and he thought that gerontology was a subject that needed to be done at
a graduate level. The quality of the program ought to determine the program’s
future, and not just be a capitulation to external recommendations.
spoke as a representative from EPC and wanted to remind senators that
nothing in the discussion could affect the suspension process. While good
questions were being posed, the senate could not affect the progress of
State Senator Monteiro was sensitive
to the previous speaker’s point, but realized that some discussion was
needed. What mattered was what was best for gerontology for the future. In
highlighting the opening line, it revealed a piece outside the policy that
would be helpful in formal process. He asked if the proposal actually
explicitly requested a one-year suspension.
recognized that he might not have any actionable points, but it appeared to
him that there was a lack of farsightedness in the proposal. He thought that the
negative reputation of a suspension then has an effect on a program. The
outside world might not see suspension the same way the senate might. He
thought that reason given for suspension in the document was a flimsy one,
and that other departments and programs could engage in planning and review,
but this could be done without suspension. It felt odd to him that the whole
discussion had begun with the goal of discontinuance, with the budget as the
cause, but that no money figures were mentioned in the proposal.
Senator Meredith responded to Senator
Monteiro’s question that the proposal did indicate a time frame of one year,
but that it might take longer.
Senator Noble observed that the name “temporary
suspension” gave a negative view to an outsider, and that the wording needed
to be clarified for readers of the bulletin.
Senator Bernard-Powers stated that
given that the original cause of the proposal was budget-based, and that the
senate planned discussions of discontinuances, but now there had been changes
in budget picture, and yet still we were having a discussion of
discontinuance. She asked what was the relationship between the two. The
initial discussion was due to the budget but suspension was apparently now an
alternative to discontinuance.
Chair Colvin thought that many on
campus would agree to this observation.
Senator Gerson echoed Bernard-Powers,
and suggested that it seemed like the senate was called on to discuss
something that has already happened. It called into question the whole nature
of shared governance.
Senator Stowers shared this concern;
and suggested that perhaps proponents of the proposal could be asked to
address some of these issues.
Professor de Vries from Gerontology
indicated that there had been some ambivalence in the process, and outlined
that due to enrollment issues the program would not be able to accept new
students. The department would make the best of the situation, and would take
advantage of available resources and support to capitalize on this. He
likened it to making lemonade when served lemons. He thought the program had
support from the broader body and college to improve the program.
Vice-chair Williams thanked senators
for their comments. He reminded senators of the IAC program a few years
before that had also been discontinued. He did not think that this situation
could have been predicted, which led to a feeling of disempowerment. The
process was still open to a review of the suspension policy. However,
Gerontology has agreed to this plan on the table, and needed to be able to
Senator Hom noted that on page three,
section four, was a listing of courses to be cancelled, effectively removing
one FTE. When suspension ended, he asked if there would be resources to
reinstate the FTE.
State Senator Yee thanked senators and
the community for their support. She sought to bring to senators attention
that the department as faculty had proposed “temporary” suspension, section
two, item two, as a means of addressing workload and enrollment. She also
noted legislation that required addressing gerontology curriculum across
campus, and that faculty needed time to do this. Campus needed to report to Sacramento as well as
the chancellor’s office.
Senator Stowers spoke to the
suspension policy. During a suspension, a program admits no new students, but
in this case that implementation had been taken before any approval of
suspension. There were no new students anyway, but admissions should not be
suspended until approval was granted.
Senator Bernstein saw two issues: one
related to the suspension process, and the other that it was disturbing to
her that a program could be crippled before they had an opportunity to deal
with any problems.
Senator Langbort expressed some
questioning, from the committee, why this issue was coming up. As a proposal,
it did not fit in and her understanding was that there would be more
suspensions, perhaps as a way around discontinuances and having the senate
respond in any way.
Li did not understand the policy, which suggested that suspended programs
were not slated for discontinuance.
Senator Steier posed one comment,
about the relationship between information noise and content. He thought that
the senate could speak to that. It seemed important to know the people who
might know better. He asked what the senate needed to do handle suspension
Chair Colvin expressed thanks for