SACUA talks about public safety, anti-racism and faculty representation

The Senate Assembly University Affairs Committee (SACUA) met in a hybrid format in the Ruthven Building on Monday afternoon to discuss public safety, anti-racism efforts and representation in faculty governance.

SACUA heard a presentation from Jessica Drake, representative of 21CP Solutions, and Alexander Pietrantoni, project manager for the Advancing Public Safety Task Force of the Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) ). 21CP Solutions is a private consulting firm dedicated to law enforcement reform that the University has employed to help DPSS assess its internal practices and community outreach.

Drake began by outlining the scope of 21CP Solutions’ work at the University, which includes analyzing and making recommendations on technology services, data collection and dissemination, recruitment and retention, and community engagement. . Drake also highlighted the unique challenges and opportunities presented by public safety departments at universities.

“We think universities have such a special, amazing space when it comes to public safety,” Drake said. “In order to address community care, (we need to consider) what do University stakeholders need to feel safe, to feel supported and supported on their campus? »

In response to a question from Simon Cushing, a SACUA member and professor of philosophy at the University’s Flint campus, Drake provided examples of previous recommendations made to other universities.

“Often, different departments are siloed in their work and do not collaborate in their mechanisms to serve the community,” Drake said. “Right next to Yale’s public safety building was their mental health building, both of which served the community wonderfully, both of which responded to mental health calls, and neither was cooperating. And so within weeks, we’ve brought them together around the table, reimagining public safety on campus and how they can create their own version of a co-respondent model.

Drake also mentioned 21CP Solutions’ role in forming community public safety advisory boards on campuses at Harvard and the University of Southern California.

Rebekah Modrak, SACUA member and professor in the School of Art and Design, asked Drake to explain how 21CP Solutions works with Ann Arbor residents who are not directly involved with the University but who may still be affected by DPSS and University policy. Drake spoke about the local partnerships the company is engaged in and how they have applied their work with other universities to their work at the University of Michigan.

“21CP has a larger contract with the Southeast Michigan Community Foundation and has a long history of working with the Ann Arbor Police Department and the Ann Arbor Community Board of Supervisors,” Drake said. “We have collected a lot of knowledge about community public safety through our previous work on another campus, and the University of Michigan benefits from what we have learned from the community in this space. More than that, we’ve been targeting the community in our on-campus interviews right now.

SACUA also heard a presentation from the Senate Assembly Committee on Anti-Racism (CAR) regarding a proposed resolution to include recognition of caste discrimination in the University’s anti-discrimination policies.

Dinesh Pal, CAR Fellow and Assistant Professor at Michigan Medicine, addressed common misconceptions about the caste system, including that it is confined to India and the Hindu religion. Castes, Pal said, are present in other South Asian countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, and in all religions. Pal stressed the importance of including caste in anti-discrimination language, citing a recent example of a violent attack on a man who married a woman from an upper caste.

“What we are asking is that caste be included as another protected category,” Pal said. “It doesn’t ask for any tangible benefit… but it does raise awareness. It gives a voice to those who might find themselves trapped in such situations.

Pal added that other institutions have already implemented this language in University policy and said he thinks the University is lagging behind in this regard.

“We always talk about being the leaders and the best,” Pal said. “I think we are behind the two in this because there are so many other institutions that have already done it. We are just following. So we are neither the leaders nor the best when it comes to is to identify caste as one of the protected categories.

Durga Singer, a SACUA member and associate professor at Michigan Medicine, then moved a vote. The resolution was adopted unanimously.

SACUA also heard an update from the clinical faculty working group. Allen Liu, SACUA Fellow and Associate Professor in the College of Engineering, presented the group’s recommendations for clinical faculty representation in faculty governance. These recommendations included the incorporation of clinical professors at all ranks into the Faculty Senate, increasing the number of seats in the Senate Assembly in proportion to the number of clinical professors, and allowing all clinical professors to run for a SACUA seat.

Kentaro Toyama, member of SACUA and professor in the School of Information, presented a proposal for a complete restructuring of the Faculty Senate. Toyama proposed having four separate and parallel governing bodies for the Flint campus, the Dearborn campus, the non-medical Ann Arbor campus, and the Michigan medical campus. This proposal would also create a centralized body with representatives from all four bodies who would be responsible for communicating with the university’s central administrators, such as the president.

Toyama also proposed the incorporation of lecturers and clinical professors into the Faculty Senate and asked SACUA to consider a system that would record which types of professors vote on certain resolutions.

“Any matter subject to a vote of the Faculty Senate must be explicitly submitted to a relevant subset of the above FS subgroups,” the proposal states. “For example, a vote on a policy affecting only the Michigan Clinical School of Medicine might seek votes only from the Michigan Clinical School of Medicine. A vote affecting all instructors in Dearborn or Flint would seek votes from all types of instructors at those two campuses, but not from anyone in Ann Arbor. Votes should of course also be reported accordingly, “The Faculty Senate speakers voted overwhelmingly for…” or “The entire Faculty Senate voted in favor of Resolution X”.

Silvia Pedraza, president of SACUA and professor of sociology and American culture, raised concerns about the incorporation of lecturers into the Faculty Senate, pointing out that they already have union representation through the Organization employs lecturers, unlike clinical faculty.

“I care a lot about speakers, but they have the union, and the union represents them,” Pedraza said. “They have to say, and they have to think, what the union says or what the union thinks. So I think we should talk about clinical professors and lecturers separately because the issues are very different.

Cushing disagreed with Pedraza and pointed to differences in the benefits offered by unions versus faculty governance.

“Union representation is a very specific type of representation,” Cushing said. “He has representation on salary and legal protections in case of complaints, but the Faculty Senate doesn’t just deal with those kinds of issues. So I don’t think the fact that teachers are unionized should be the reason they’re not represented.

Liu suggested the creation of a new Senate Assembly subcommittee to deepen and improve faculty representation. Pedraza agreed that such a committee would be beneficial and gauged the interest of SACUA members at the meeting to determine who would attend. Based on members who have expressed interest, Pedraza said the committee will include Toyama, Liu, Singer and Cushing, as well as representatives from the Rules, Practices and Policies Committee. Sergio Villalobos Ruminott, SACUA member and Spanish teacher, offered to create the committee. The proposal is adopted unanimously.

Summer News Editor-in-Chief Samantha Rich can be reached at [email protected]