ANNUAL REPORT TO THE FACULTY SENATE, AUGUST 1997
During the 1996-97 academic year, the Committee considered a variety of subjects that were brought to its attention, including campus safety, proposed revisions to sexual harassment investigation procedures, the need for improved communication to faculty of existing benefits, faculty wellness, lobbying, and salary equity and compression.
The Committee consulted with University Police regarding any measures that might be desirable in response to the adoption of state laws allowing persons to carry concealed weapons. The Committee expressed concern that, although concealed weapons are not generally permitted on campus, the law would increase the likelihood of persons carrying concealed weapons and not removing them upon entering the campus. Campus police indicated, however, that, while they would support any faculty initiative to promote safety, they had no plans to respond specifically to the change in the concealed carry law. Given the apparent sense of law enforcement that the concealed weapons law did not warrant any immediate action, the Committee did not forward any recommendations for further action.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT PROCEDURES
In February 1997, the Committee received a copy of proposed changes to the sexual harassment investigation procedures. The changes were proposed by the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. The Committee submitted comments to the Provost urging that two parts of the proposal not be implemented. Specifically, the Committee expressed concern that language permitting the accused to review the investigation file was deleted and that the time periods for conducting an investigation were to be doubled. After discussions between Committee representatives, EOP officials, University Legal Counsel, and the Provost, the proposal has been modified to retain the current right of the parties to review the investigation file and lengthening the investigation period to 45 working days (from the current 30 working days) instead of 60 working days as first proposed. Cross examination of witnesses would not be allowed during the investigative phase of the process.
The Committee may review the entire procedures further this next year in light of concerns that the parties should have a right to a hearing prior to the imposition of discipline for an harassment violation.
COMMUNICATION OF BENEFIT INFORMATION
The Committee considered whether there are better methods to inform faculty of various benefits that are not necessarily direct financial compensation. Examples include book store discounts, athletic facility use, dependent enrollment in the University, etc. The Committee has informally discussed with the benefits office the desirability of including as much of this information as possible in an easily accessed format on the University Home Page. Continuing efforts will be needed to ensure that as much information as possible is collected and made available by this means.
The Committee was briefed on plans for construction of a wellness facility and the creation of wellness programs. The Chair reported on those plans to the Senate.
SALARY EQUITY AND COMPRESSION
The Committee communicated with President Palms and Vice President Jameson in an effort to determine the extent to which recommendations set forth in the Salary Equity Task Force Report of 1994 had been rejected, implemented, or tabled. The Committee determined that issues relating to salary compression appear to have received little attention while apparent gender and race equity discrepancies were addressed. The Committee did not follow up the issue of salary compression and will undertake a study of that subject in the upcoming year. It is a strong recommendation of the Committee that a faculty committee be designated to monitor University efforts to address these compensation issues.
In Fall 1996, the Committee urged an early autumn report to the Faculty Senate by the University lobbyist, pursuant to a standing resolution of the Senate adopted in Spring 1996, to encourage an organized and effective use of the faculty in state budget lobbying efforts. Members of the Committee expressed concern that the University could better organize faculty lobbying efforts.
The Committee has been asked to look into programs to provide tuition assistance for children of faculty who attend the University. This matter will be on the agenda for the Committee in the upcoming year.
The Committee has not yet elected the Chair for 1997-98. I will continue to serve as Chair at least until our first meeting in August 1997.
Robert M. Wilcox
School of Law
This page updated 27 September 1997 by the Office of the
and copyright 1997, The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.