SSU Academic Senate Meeting of 17 March 2022

Chair Morimoto announced the results of the recent election for positions in faculty governance:

Chair of the Faculty - Lauren Morimoto (incumbent re-elected)

Vice Chair of the Faculty - Bryan Burton (incumbent re-elected)

Secretary - Christine Cali      

Statewide Senator - Elaine Newman

At-Large to APARC - Emily Acosta Lewis

These are the results only of contested elections. No announcement was made about who is filling uncontested positions.

At Commencement, there will be no paper programs, only digital. However, paper copies of the program will be mailed out with diplomas.

The Chair spoke about recently passed legislation, AB 928, which mandates that all three state-supported higher-education systems in California (Junior Colleges, CSU, and UC) agree on an integrated plan of GE requirements, in order to facilitate transfers. The target is the Fall of 2025 to implement whatever is decided. The UC has no Area E and no Area A-1. The CSU and the UC would have to agree on having them or not having them or some compromise. Given its size and power, the UC will probably prevail.

The President spoke about Decision Day (23 April), and urged faculty and staff to help persuade recruits. There will be many campus tours on that day.

Next week the Board of Trustees will select a new Chancellor to replace ex-Chancellor Castro, who resigned recently over allegations of misconduct as President of Fresno State. They will also be taking up the issues of sustainability, and educational testing; the latter has become a social justice issue.

Faculty are urged to be sensitive regarding the issue of masks in classrooms.

The L A Times recently reported on extremely generous transition and severance packages for high-placed CSU administrators. We may justifiably be outraged, as the CSU leadership are stewards of public funds.

Finally, there were comments about investigating allegations of police bias on our campus.

The Provost announced “research days” will be held in late April. She also gave a report on enrollment projections, which appear to be positive for the coming academic year.

She also spoke of student stress, which is at high levels at this time for various reasons. She urges faculty to pay attention to students who may be in trouble, give them support, show care.

Structures & Functions is seeking faculty for the Search Committee for a new Dean of Extended Education and International Programs.

The Associated Students’ representative also spoke of the problem of mental health issues among students. Many students, even those in their fourth semester, have not been on campus before, and they need help understanding new vocabulary, acronyms, geography of the campus, etc.

Student leaders are concerned about racism in the dorms. Some have suggested that Anglo students should be required to take a class in Hispanic culture, perhaps part of Area E.

A Resolution on Accessibility was considered. All materials required in a class must be widely accessible, to students who have difficulty seeing, hearing, or other disabilities. So, faculty need to get their lists of required materials together early enough before the semester begins that the Disability Office can get materials formatted for students’ needs. But the situation is problematic for lecturers, since often they have only a few days’ notice to prepare for a class to which they are assigned at a late date.

The “United in Kindness” Resolution was approved with no dissenting votes. Hopes were expressed that the change of behavior would be permanent. Faculty were urged to publicize this action. The text of the Resolution is appended to this report.

Miscellaneous matters:

            The Academic Planning Subcommittee is revising its charge for consideration by Structures & Functions.

            The Faculty Handbook is being revised.

            Diversity – not enough of it – is still a concern.

            Policing throughout the CSU is problematic.

            Some are wondering how “Hispanic” this HSI (“Hispanic-Serving Institution”) really is.

            A new phrase “Race-lighting”!, which means gas-lighting about race.

            Palestinian Arab students and faculty have concerns about bias against them.

            Faculty were urged to support the teachers’ strike that is now in progress against the leadership of the CRPUSD (Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District). [PS – The strike was settled during the very time the Senate was meeting.]

-- Submitted by Rick Luttmann

Resolution supporting “United in Kindness” Declaration of Unity

Resolved: That the Sonoma State University (SSU) Academic Senate endorse and encourage a

statement of unity in the pursuit and propagating acts of kindness among faculty, staff and students at the university to benefit everyone from living in a community in which kindness is a guiding principle.

Resolved: That over half-million Sonoma County neighbors come from diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and traditions in pursuit of joyful and healthful living and to be free from hateful speech, bullying, discrimination, and violence and that students require a place to grow and learn in peace and safety, guided in kindness and caring.

Resolved: That the SSU will be joining nearly 1,600 individual Sonoma County residents, 49

Sonoma County organizations, secular and non-secular, and 8 out of 9 city councils which have

endorsed the UIK Declaration of Unity and the Gold Resolution awarded by Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

Resolved: That the Academic Senate of Sonoma State University, through directives and active

engagement with students, faculty, staff and public announcements, written materials, online social media, will encourage all Sonoma County residents to find ways to foster and sustain acts of kindness throughout the community, in their daily life and activities.

Resolved: That in order to sustain the resilience, health, and safety of all Sonoma County residents, we affirm trust in a social fabric that promotes and encourages, acts of kindness and that disallows harm to individuals and groups based on ability, age, appearance, ethnicity, gender identity, language, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic position.

Rationale: The UIK tenets of kindness encourage each of us to be our own beacons of caring one-on-one for another and structure our roles and organizations to foster and sustain kindness by exposing as many people as we can to the urgent need of becoming a kinder society. Each of us, in many diverse roles, has chances to promote kindness around us, more than one chance a

day. Educational institutes like SSU have a leading role, by encouraging and preparing students to create a better society for everyone to live in peace and with respect. Therefore, it is imperative that students practice acts of kindness such as respect, inclusivity, tolerance, compassion and equity during their educational endeavors by undertaking community projects or doing kindness assignments on campus. We can have a campus, which is kindness-certified. A proposition, which is good for students-good for the University and excellent for society.