Knowing About the model Equal Employment Opportunity Plan Is a Good Start

May
2007
Lesley Kawaguchi, Santa Monica College, Chair, EDAC
Johnnie Terry, Sierra College, Relations with Local Senates Committee

At last year's spring plenary, the Equity and Diversity Action Committee invited Dr. Arturo Ocampo, Diversity Director at San Jose/Evergreen Community College District and Project Director of the Model Equal Employment Opportunity Plan, to present an overview of the different components to the plan. At the breakout, he highlighted elements of the plan and recommended annual training in several key areas, particularly in diversity and cultural proficiency. Ocampo stressed that the core of the plan is for community college districts to focus on under-representation from monitored groups (men, women, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asians/Pacific Islanders, Blacks/African American, Hispanics/Latinos, Caucasians, and persons with disabilities) and formulate a plan to address under-representation, particularly if significant under-representation is found. In response, several resolutions regarding the Model Equal Employment Opportunity Plan and Guidelines for California Community Colleges (http://www.cccco.edu/divisions/grea/eeo/eeo.htm)were passed.

The first resolution, faculty participation, was based on the Title 5 53005 requirement that each district establish an EEO Advisory Committee to assist in the development of the plan. Delegates supported a resolution that the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges "urge local academic senates to engage fully in the process of developing their district's EEO Plan for faculty as required by collegial consultation." (3.04 S06) A second resolution asked that the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges work with the System Office to disseminate best practices in diversity hiring. (3.05 S06) These two resolutions echoed and reaffirmed the Equity and Diversity Action Committee's resolution, which resolved that the Academic Senate "encourage local faculty to take responsibility in the drafting of their EEO Plans" and "work with the California Community College System Office to disseminate best practices in diversity hiring." (3.02 S06)

Each district received the Plan in June 2006, and Ocampo did training through November 2006. As a result of last year's resolutions, the Equity and Diversity Action and Relations with Local Senates Committees collaborated to present the Plan again, as well as have a breakout on diversity hiring practices. As we discovered at this year's spring plenary, many local academic senates remained unaware of the Plan and its potential impact on local hiring practices. But knowing of the Plan's existence and the need for faculty participation are a good start.

For example, Johnnie Terry, Academic Senate President at Sierra College and a member of the Relations with Local Senate Committee, learned about the Plan only when he was assigned to work on this spring's breakout. When he called the Human Resources officer to ask about the Plan, he was told that HR was very well aware of the Plan and everything was under control. However, in chatting with the Diversity officer, who recognized that the senate and faculty should be involved, Johnnie and the senate became part of Sierra College's process. Indeed, the EEO manager at Sierra College is working with representatives appointed by the local academic senate to recreate the EEO advisory committee so that the plan utilized at Sierra College will be a living plan as opposed to yet another binder on a shelf.

At my college, because of my full awareness of the Plan, I began to pester our Human Resources officers and senior administrators about how they intended to draft the Plan. They responded that I should be the lead faculty person to work with Human Resources on the Plan. (This is a good lesson of being careful of what you wish for!) At Santa Monica College, we have a Human Resources Planning Subcommittee to our District Planning and Advisory Council. That subcommittee is supposed to have equal numbers of classified staff, administrators, faculty, and students on it. While this composition has not been fully achieved, it is the most viable group to devise our Plan.

I took the training in September 2006. In a room full of Human Resources and Diversity officers, another faculty member from my college and I were the only faculty present. Throughout the fall and spring semesters, our subcommittee met. We got derailed by issues that the classified staff members wanted addressed. We had to contend with one member's desire to survey all college personnel on their political party and religious affiliations, which are not part of the Plan. But the biggest stumbling block, which goes to the core of the plan, is the lack of availability data to determine whether our district has under-representation and significant under-representation of the monitored groups.

Originally, the final Plans were due in the System Office in November 2007. However, because the availability data necessary to determine the number of qualified persons in the State of California (for faculty and administration positions) and in a local area (for classified staff) must be updated, the final plans will be submitted to the System Office 12 months from the date the availability data are sent to the districts (the latest projected due date is May 2009). In the meantime, the System Office recommends that districts begin to work on parts of their EEO Plan that do not depend on the use of availability data, which our committee has begun to do.

Local senates should make sure that faculty members are a part of the district's EEO Committee.

Moreover, since faculty members will be hiring other faculty members, the faculty should be the primary voice in shaping the plans for addressing under-representation in their ranks. At the breakout following Ocampo's presentation, "Confronting Challenges in Diversity Hiring," attendees began to talk about best practices in diversity hiring. Among the suggestions were mentoring programs, such as the San Diego and Imperial County Community Colleges Association (SDICCCA) Regional Faculty Internship Program (http://interwork.sdsu.edu/courses/cc/index.html). Another was training faculty in cultural proficiency, which was the subject of Academic Senate Spring 2007 Plenary keynote speaker, Pamila J. Fisher. Colleges can use the City College of San Francisco's "We could do that! A Users' Guide to Diversity Practices in California Community Colleges." (http://www.ccsf.edu/Offices/Research_Planning/pdf/promodiv.pdf)

Faculty should also encourage their Human Resources division to utilize the online application process that is available for free from the California Community College Registry (http://www.cccregistry.org) Discussions regarding your local college's needs and vision for who they would like to be in the next ten years can begin with your local response to the Model Equal Employment Opportunity Plan. In this way, the Plan would be a part of the campus culture and not merely compliance with Title 5 Regulations.

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