Facing staunch pressure from students and faculty members, President Sheldon Hackney announced at last month's University Council meeting that he will release a second proposal of a new racial harassment policy in March. Hackney's first revision has been met with harsh criticism since its release in October, and the president said that the updated code will incorporate suggestions he had heard from faculty members and students. Council members reiterated previous criticisms of the proposed changes, saying the narrowed definition of racial harassment would give too much leeway to people whose intent is to insult others rather than to promote open discussion. According to Hackney's October proposal, an act would only be defined as harassment if it passes a three-part test. It must be intended to "demean, insult or stigmatize" a person on the basis of race; be addressed to the person or group it demeans; and make use of "fighting words" -- intended to incite violence -- or their non-verbal equivalents. Hackney's critics said at the December 12 meeting that insisting all three requirements be met would make it impossible for victims to prove they had been harassed. In other University Council matters, members discussed a Graduate and Professional Student Assembly resolution calling for "adequate" graduate representation on University-wide committees. GAPSA chairperson Susan Garfinkel presented the resolution in the wake of graduate student criticism of the diversity on the Walk committee, on which only one of 20 members is a graduate or professional student. GAPSA representatives to Council said graduate students should be included in every University-wide committee because they make up the majority of the student body and have a vested interest in all aspects of the University. "Graduate students have some ongoing concerns as well," GAPSA Vice Chairperson Michael Goldstein said at the two-hour meeting. "We'd like to have some input on almost every issue on University-wide committees." Although many Council members said they supported the concerns raised by the resolution, some faculty members said students do not belong on every University committee. Members at last month's meeting also spent time discussing the proposed demolition of historic Smith Hall, currently the home of the History and Sociology of Science and Fine Arts Departments. Some student representatives, including Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Duchess Harris and GAPSA Vice Chairperson Elizabeth Hunt, criticized the administration for its plan to demolish Smith Hall, one of the oldest structures on campus. They also condemned the University's decision to relocate the H&SS; department to the University Science Center at 34th and Market streets, citing safety concerns.Comments powered by Disqus
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