Board eyes Spilde plan; Diversity training talks set for Feb. 5

Lane moved one step closer to requiring every employee to attend cultural competency training when the Board of Education on Jan. 8 discussed, for the first time, a policy proposed by Lane President Mary Spilde.

In December, the board set a 30-day deadline for a task force to propose a policy for training college employees to be conscious of cultural differences, after growing impatient with the progress made by the college’s Diversity Council.

The council did not provide a policy by the deadline, so the board began considering Spilde’s proposal.

Staff and faculty spoke for and against the implementation of the policy.

“My fear is that the Board of Education will act arbitrarily without hearing all sides of an issue based on unexamined assumptions,” Roger Gamblin, a classified employee, wrote in a letter distributed during the meeting. “All parties seem to want to get this behind us as soon as possible, but I strongly recommend against the Board of Education ‘imposing’ any policy because that will only extend the issue and probably end up making it public and embarrass us all.”

Board member Bob Ackerman proposed an amendment to next month’s agenda and requested the Diversity Council’s policies be reviewed by the board.

Board members Dr. Gary LeClair and Pat Albright said they disapproved of the consensus system.

“Any organization that leads by consensus is a flawed system,” Albright said.

Faculty union President Jim Salt said he’s not a fan of the consensus system, but he still defended it.

“I think it makes us work through the issues and come up with something everyone can live with,” Salt said. “Had we all focused on this during this process, then I think we would have accomplished it in a more timely manner.”

“The system we have currently is not effective,” said Elizabeth Andrade, the executive assistant to Lane’s president, who served on the council until Dec. 16. “At this time it’s hard to have such an expensive governance system that is not working.”

Andrade was removed from the council by Bob Baldwin, president of Lane’s classified employee union, who accused her in an email of adopting “an approach of negativity and public disparagement towards” the faculty union, as well as using her position to advance her own “personal agenda.”

More details were unavailable at press time.

“This feels like a tremendous abuse of power,” Andrade said at the meeting. “It feels like a witch-hunt.”

The board suggested amendments that will take place in the second reading of the draft at its Feb. 5 meeting.

“This is happening,” said board member Matt Keating. “If you have anything to amend or to add, do so in the next 30 days.”