EOIRS Helps to Encourage Environment of Respect
For more than a year, Human Capital Development (HCD) has conducted a campus-wide educational outreach effort to familiarize the Syracuse University community with the policies, laws and available resources that relate to issues of diversity, inclusion, equity and discrimination.
The Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services (EOIRS) is a key facilitator in programs and services in these areas. Cynthia Maxwell Curtin, recently appointed associate vice president for HCD, leads EOIRS and is the University’s Title IX officer. She and her staff have been meeting with leaders and members of faculty, staff and student units across all divisions on campus, including academics, business, athletics and others.
“We talk about treating people with respect; we talk about the kinds of concerns we’ve heard from faculty members, staff and students; and we talk about how we can create an environment in which people are treating each other appropriately,” Curtin says. Discussion includes legal requirements —laws against discrimination, harassment and retaliation against complainants, for example—as well as expectations anchored in the University’s ethics and culture. “Our Code of Ethical Conduct talks about treating people with respect and dignity. This is fundamental to who we are as a university and as a community.”
The Faculty Manual, staff and student handbooks, and other documents available through the University’s policies web page (http://supolicies.syr.edu) offer further guidance.
EOIRS continues to be available to talk with any campus unit or organization about the policies and practices that arise from the University’s statements of mission, as well as SU’s intent to comply with internal and external rules about discrimination in any form.
In addition to educational outreach, EOIRS is responsible for conducting and assisting in investigations of allegations of inappropriate conduct by members of the University community. Related to this, HCD has announced the appointment of two highly respected faculty members to the intake panel for complaints against a faculty member for inappropriate conduct, as outlined in Section 4.11 in the Faculty Manual. (Section 4.1 provides a policy statement and definitions of inappropriate conduct.) Julie Causton, an associate professor in the School of Education, and Shiu-Kai Chin, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, will serve as intake facilitators, along with Curtin.
“We are very lucky to have these two qualified, engaged, intelligent, caring, wise members of our faculty agree to serve in this very important position within our organization,” says Curtin. Both have received training in guiding complainants through both the informal and formal complaint process.
Members of the University community who wish to discuss concerns or file a complaint about the conduct of a faculty member may contact any member of the panel: Causton (firstname.lastname@example.org, 443-9652), Chin (email@example.com or 443-3776), or Curtin (firstname.lastname@example.org, 443-1520).
Meanwhile, Human Capital Development is moving ahead with its effort to recruit and hire an assistant vice president and chief ADA compliance officer. The new position will provide leadership and coordination for University-wide disability programs, and for assuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal and state regulations concerning people with disabilities, as well as for campus programs that go beyond compliance. The scope of responsibility includes faculty, staff and student employment, as well as public and student access to programs and facilities.
“The hiring of an ADA coordinator in a leadership role in HCD is part of the University’s ongoing commitment to providing an open, inclusive, accessible campus environment for all people to work, learn and participate equally in the many opportunities for enrichment here at Syracuse University,” says Kal Alston, senior vice president, Human Capital Development. “The recruitment process is going well, and we are looking forward to bringing candidates to campus this fall, at which point we will provide opportunities for members of the Syracuse community to meet them.”
Finally, there has been progress in identifying office space for EOIRS on Main Campus, and Curtin and her staff are looking forward to moving from Skytop on South Campus sometime this fall. “We’ve enjoyed being at Skytop, and it has given us the opportunity to develop a very close partnership with Human Resources, also a part of HCD, especially on issues where we need to get involved in terms of resolution services, which is one of the things we do,” Curtin says. “That said, we are very excited about moving onto Main Campus, which will allow us to be more accessible to our students, as well as to faculty and staff there. EOIRS is a campus-wide resource, and this will enable us to be more accessible to the campus community.”