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Discord at the Faculty Senate Meeting By Jason samp

Issues discussed on May 8 at the Faculty Senate meeting have been circulating for the past couple weeks.

We offer an account of the meeting that discussed topics ranging from last year’s vote of no confidence, to bullying, to controversies surrounding international education issues.

The welcoming and friendly environment accompanied by various deserts and refreshments quickly changed when the meeting began.

After a quick procedural opening, Karen Kolehmainen, Faculty Senate Chair, began discussing the vote of no confidence against President Morales that the Faculty Senate began this time last year.

“Concerns about faculty workload with the semester system has not been addressed and multiple faculty recommendations have been ignored” -Kolehmainen

“On the anniversary of this sad event, please permit me to offer some thoughts on the state of shared governance at CSUSB,” Kolehmainen said. “Concerns about faculty workload with the semester system has not been addressed and multiple faculty recommendations have been ignored.”

This one year revisit of the no-confidence vote brought some tension to the room as Kolehmainen continued with her statement.

“You also mentioned joint meetings between the president’s cabinet and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee as an example of progress,” said Kolehmainen. “However, the last such meeting took place in November 2017. Before that meeting, you dictated that shared governance should not be on the agenda due to the agenda of the task force.”

The statement brought up multiple concerns that some of the Senate members may be feeling about the progress President Morales has made since the vote.

Though it has been over a year since the vote of no confidence, there still seems to be a strong disconnect between President Morales and the Faculty Senate.

Bullying on campus:

“You mentioned alleged incidents of bullying by senior faculty against junior faculty and you implied the Senate might be responsible for it,” Kolehmainen said.

She then reminded the members that it was the Senate sponsored campus climate survey that first drew attention to the problem of bullying on campus.

“Surveyor’s results specifically call to attention to the bullying of faculty and staff by administrators,” remarked Kolehmainen.

Kolehmainen believes there may be a few occurrences of bullying among faculty members but it is not a systemized problem.

“There is considerable bullying that’s going on so I can attest to that systematically” -McMahan

“There seems to be an implication at times that senior faculty are responsible for some sort of systematic bullying behavior against junior faculty,” Kolehmainen said. “There might be isolated incidents but I see no evidence of a systematic pattern.”

Shari McMahan, Vice President for Academic Affairs, acknowledged the bullying discussion.

“There is considerable bullying that’s going on so I can attest to that systematically,” McMahan said. “We are doing our best to wrap our little arms around the situation that is continuing in multiple departments and we all have to work together on this and stop the divide between administrators and faculty,”

With the multiple accusations and concerns that came from the report, it is evident there is still much to be done to bridge the divide between President Morales, the administration, and the Faculty Senate.

Morales did not respond to any of Kolehmainen’s statements yet.

International education:

After the report from Kolehmainen, professor of English Rong Chen was given time to speak about some issues that the school is experiencing with the international student process.

This presentation took up the majority of the meeting time and was filled with detailed slides, charts, and infographics and had one singular goal.

“To draw the attention of the campus community, particularly the Faculty Senate, to the serious issues involved in CSUSB’s international education,” stated Chen.

Chen’s presentation brought up multiple points of discussion regarding the College of Extended Learning (CEL), quality of education, revenue, and course access.

According to Chen, "CEL has programs that admit students who do not meet CSUSB admission standards, for example Academic Pathways, and allows students in one program to articulate their lower division classes as CSUSB upper division."

“Besides being a serious violation of the university’s articulation policy, this would place insufficiently prepared international students in our classes, hence negatively affecting the educational experience of all students in these classes,” Chen stated.

Some of the information regarding revenue had to do with CEL attempting to transition international students from the state side to the self-support side.

“An international student paying to the state side contributes an average of at least $16,000 a year to the university’s general fund, which can then be used to provide instruction for all students,” stated Chen. “However, once that student is moved to the self-support side, she will not pay anything to the general fund.”

Aside from revenue, international students who pay into CEL to use the Open University platform to get their classes which may potentially take away spaces from matriculated students.

These students paying to CEL use the Open University platform. An open university student has the potential to take away seats from matriculated students.

Chen provided an example of this situation.

“I have three available seats in Eng XXX that I am teaching. On the first day of classes there come three Open University students to petition to add. I sign them up. In the next few days, you and two other students decide to add to Eng XXX and search for available space. There is none. You and your fellow students would be denied the seats without knowing that you had would have been enrolled if not for the three Open University students I had admitted,” stated Chen.

New exams cause turmoil:

"85 students had dropped the class" -Texeira

Professor of sociology Mary Texeira brought up an alarming point of interest regarding an experience she had with a large group of international students in one of her courses.

Professor Texeira gave exams for her courses online until she got an interesting call from the Office of Student Conduct.

“A year or so ago I got a call from the Office of Student Conduct and they told me that my online exam had been hacked in the class,” said Texeira.

After an investigation, it was discovered students were going through an internet service provider located in Africa. Three students who were involved with the hacked exam failed the class.

“As a result of that, I completely changed my class this year,” said Texeira. She spent her last summer revamping her class.

“I only give exams in class now,” Texeira said. “I began with 225 students in that class and about 90 of whom were international students.”

After handing out the syllabus for the new version of her course, something alarming happened.

“I checked MyCoyote and, hold onto your seats, 85 students had dropped the class,” Texeria said. “They were all international students with the exception of about six.”

This was extremely frustrating for Texeira and she does not want something like this to happen anywhere else on campus where those open seats could have been filled by qualified students.

However, during this discussion, it was brought to the attention of the faculty senate that the quotas are different. California residents are funded by the State of California. The chancellor’s office will not allow CSUSB to exceed this quota of California residents at the campus. International students are not counted as part of this quota. The State of California does not support them and if they walk away there will be no one to replace them.

Though the meeting was May 8, professor Chen’s report has been circulating for a while now and it is still uncertain if anything has come of it.

“The presentation is based on a report that has been sent to a lot of people, including Chancellor White of the CSU, beginning from December 2017. Five months have passed and there seems to have been no action addressing what I discussed in the report,” stated Chen.

The conversation was cut short due to the two-hour time frame of the meeting which left the conversation up in the air.

One idea to further this discussion while also increasing transparency about how the international student program works is to host an open forum.

As the meeting neared the end of the allotted time, this issue and other topics that were not entirely discussed were pushed onto the next meeting’s agenda.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, May 29 at 2 p.m. in the Pine Room.

The two-hour meeting concluded as quickly and procedurally as it began.

Credits:

Story by Jason Samp, Photos by Dustin Alexander

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