Senators oppose revised classroom safety rules
Student leaders have passed a resolution outlining a stance in opposition to the labor union representing Lane faculty, which has demanded the right to remove any students from the classroom.
The union has been locked in an ongoing labor negotiation with the college for the past 11 months, and classroom safety procedures have recently become a topic of discussion in the negotiations, according to student government President Paul Zito.
The student government’s resolution against the so-called “bargaining chip” was drafted and ratified by the Senate during its April 16 meeting.
The written resolution outlined student support for the current process.
In its current form, the code of conduct stipulates that anyone affiliated with the college may file charges against any student for misconduct. Staff should prepare charges in writing and direct their charges to the executive dean of student affairs within 90 days of the incident.
All charges shall be presented to the accused student in written form. Within five to 15 days of the student receiving a written copy of their charges, the students are granted a private hearing.
A judicial adviser may conduct an investigation to determine the merit of the charges and determine if the charges can be disposed of internally by way of mutual consent of the parties. If the charges against a student can’t be disposed of through mutual consent, the judicial adviser may later serve in the same manner as the judicial body.
A recent proposal from the union representing Lane faculty read that faculty members have the right to permanently remove students from their class for what they interpret as disruptive, threatening or otherwise inappropriate behavior.
In the proposal put forth by the union representing the faculty, students may be returned to the class upon a successful appeal to a review committee.
“(We) understand that this is a very sensitive issue and could be easily misinterpreted, but it is a question of having authority to protect the classroom,” Jim Salt, president of Lane Community College Education Association said. “The administration has not been supportive (of) the faculty when students get extremely violent.”
Salt said that under administration’s current rules, a student can always come back to the next class following their dismissal from a classroom for disruptive behavior. Salt said a student is allowed to return to class, “regardless of how egregious or threatening the behavior.”
According to the college’s online policy and procedure system, faculty members cannot remove a student from their courses unless they continue their inappropriate behavior in class.
Some faculty members have not found safety and comfort in their classrooms, blaming the administration’s inefficient work, according to Salt and LCCEA Vice President Sheila Broderick.
Zito, however, said due process is already in place in the current code of conduct, and taking away a student’s due process won’t make a classroom any safer.
According to Zito, if an instructor isn’t already aware of the tools that are already at their disposal, “that’s on the teacher.”
“They should understand how the college works and not be taking it to the bargaining table,” Zito said. “They have no business changing a process that works for students in a positive way.”
Having classroom safety on the bargaining table makes Zito uncomfortable, he said, because any potential change in collective bargaining negotiations would impact students — a group unrepresented at the collective bargaining table.
Students who find themselves barred from a class may still be liable to repay that course’s portion of the student’s financial aid disbursement, Zito said.
The Senate passed Zito’s resolution unanimously.
“Due process creates a safe classroom — not a teacher’s unilateral authority to remove someone from that space,” Zito said.