Faculty Senate Discusses Budget Model, Policies on Prohibited Relationships and Sexual Harassment, Violence

Provost Forrest Maltzman, Vice Provost Caroline Laguerre-Brown and Professor Joe Cordes provided updates during the first meeting of the 2018-19 Faculty Senate.

Caroline Laguerre-Brown, vice provost for diversity, equity and community engagement, addresses Faculty Senate about Title IX policies. (William Atkins/GW Today)
May 14, 2018

The Faculty Senate heard a presentation Friday from Provost Forrest Maltzman and  Caroline Laguerre-Brown, vice provost for diversity, equity and community engagement, about two pending policies: the Policy on Prohibited Relationships with Students and the Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Interpersonal Violence Policy.

The former provides guidance on prohibited sexual or amorous relationships, including between undergraduate or graduate students and faculty, administrators or other individuals, such as staff. It was based upon a draft policy crafted by the Faculty Senate’s Committee on Professional Ethics and Academic Freedom.

The latter builds on the university’s current policies in this area by creating a unified policy that implements a comprehensive review process for Title IX issues, which include sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, intimate partner violence and retaliation. The proposed new policy adopts a single-investigator model instead of student, staff and faculty panels and utilizes an outside adjudicator to hear appeals. The policy also identifies those categories of individuals, including faculty, who are classified as “responsible employees” and required to report to the Title IX office any incident of prohibited conduct of which they become aware. 

Both policies were drafted with input from the firm Cozen O’Connor. The law firm’s institutional response group specializes in helping higher education institutions develop policies to adjudicate Title IX complaints.

Some faculty expressed concern about being categorized as responsible employees, saying it may impact their relationship with students. Ms. Laguerre-Brown said this change will increase the amount of information made available to the university’s Title IX Coordinator regarding prohibited conduct in the university community and facilitate the identification of those who repeatedly violate our Title IX policies. She also emphasized that a student is never required to take any action as a result of the Title IX office’s outreach.

Ms. Laguerre-Brown and other administrators have solicited feedback on the policies from student, faculty and staff representatives, including Students Against Sexual Assault, Student Association leadership, the Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and the Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee and Professional Ethics and Academic Freedom (PEAF) Committee.

During Friday's meeting, the first Faculty Senate meeting of 2018-2019, some faculty expressed concerns that the senate as a whole had only had the policies for a little over a week and that the PEAF and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee had only seen both of them about a month ago. Dr. Maltzman and Ms. Laguerre-Brown first presented the polices to the PEAF and Senate Executive Committee on April 11. Subsequently, the committees had a meeting that included representatives from Cozen O’Connor. A number of edits to the policies were made as a result of feedback received from those meetings.

Dr. Maltzman said he shared faculty members’ concerns about the timeframe to review the policies and that various constraints, including extensive consultation with experts and members of the community, made it difficult to share both policies earlier. But, he emphasized that the new policies would require certain administrative changes and training before the start of the upcoming academic year. He also noted that this would not be a static process and that he was sure the university would continue to update and revise policies in the future. 

The university is committed to seeing how the policies operate, engaging in ongoing discussion about the policies, and listening to faculty and considering future changes, President Thomas LeBlanc said.

Both policies—the Policy on Prohibited Relationships with Students and the Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Interpersonal Violence Policy—are pending Board of Trustees approval and will be considered at its meeting this Friday. If approved, they become effective July 1.

The senate also heard a presentation by Dr. Maltzman and Professor Joe Cordes, the chair of the Faculty Senate Committee on Fiscal Planning and Budgeting, on how the three-year-old budget model has been working and some of the adjustments that will be made in the upcoming fiscal year.

Under the model, “open schools” receive a fixed amount of money per undergraduate student credit hour and, for graduate students, a fixed percentage of tuition paid depending on whether the class is taught on campus, off campus or online. They also receive additional funding based upon summer enrollment, external support for research that their faculty receive and a “supplemental instructional payment” based upon the cost of operation. Dr. Maltzman explained that “cumulatively, the five components of the model are designed to cover the costs of operations and to reward units for reputation building, teaching excellence and research contributions.”

Dr. Cordes highlighted that the model makes its “easy for schools to determine the financial consequences of creating new programs or expanding existing programs.”  However, he noted that at the graduate level, it could create an incentive for a school to not allow a student from another school to enroll in its courses.

While a budget model will never accomplish every university objective and does require monitoring and regulation to ensure optimal outcomes, Dr. Maltzman said, the model does seem to be producing outcomes consistent with the goals of the university. Most notably, the model enhances predictability, transparency and accountability for GW’s schools and colleges.

GW’s “closed schools,” the Milken Institute School of Public Health, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Law School, are self-funded and manage their own revenue and expenses and are responsible for funding their own facilities.

The budget model continues to evolve, Dr. Maltzman said. For fiscal year 2019, for example, Milken SPH undergraduates will now be included in the open-school model. This will enhance student flexibility and ensure that more students can take advantage of the school’s curriculum. As a result, the school will now receive both a fixed per credit payment for undergraduate instruction and a supplemental instructional payment that it can use to fund its operation, including facility costs that as a closed unit it covers.

Additionally, adjustments will be made to the model for situations where an open-school graduate student takes a closed-school course (or vice versa). In these cases, each school receives a percentage of tuition revenue regardless of the student’s school of enrollment.

Dr. Maltzman also emphasized the importance of various schools, and the university as a whole, building reserves for unexpected expenses or to make strategic investments.

“The financial health of GW overall is quite good,” Dr. Maltzman added. 

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