Tuesday, February 7, 2012

President Pam Gann Admits To Goals, Targets for Minorities on Campus

Please see bold. I will post more when I can.

Interview with Pamela Gann by C. Apollo Morgan 2/11/03
Transcript by Tom Meyer 2/12/03

CAM: Um…So, to begin with, we understand that there has been an ad hoc diversity committee that was established in the fall of 2001 and we’re curious if you could share with us the timeline of the creation of this committee and if indeed that committee is where the Irvine grant began with and who serves on the committee and what its purposes are.

PBG: Ok, I may not be totally factually accurate so if you want to—I’d ask you to do the following: if you in fact want to use this question then, I think I’ll need to do a fact check. But I don’t want to do a fact check if you’re not going really use it.  So I’ll answer it to the best of my recollection but still—I think one of the fundamentals of journalism is factualness, being very accurate.  But my side is really your side

Um…We had, ummm…several different kind of campus issues that came up in my second year as president.  It raised issues—I would say really it must be about campus climate.  Quite a lot of it was much more student-orientated than anything else.  Umm.. there was the cmcstudents.com, for example, and managing the message board issues.  Both from the standpoints of balancing free speech, but also having a community in which everyone feels welcome.  So that was an issue that was pretty regularly coming up.  There had been the issue with the—what do you call the newspaper, there’s like an issue in the Collage or something [garbled] there was articles that were meant to be clearly satire.  And there was a satire piece that really backfired.  And in--by a CMC student.  And I got questions from campus, I got questions from off campus about that.  And there was also a Saturday program that involved gay-lesbian issues, this is all over like the same semester(100) and there was some student conduct issues, not from participates, but non-participants in that.  So there had been just a number of things like that.  So as a consequence I did two things.  One was, every—beginning of every fall semester I sent a memo to the whole community, which you’ve been getting, about free speech, harassment and climate.  And that’s posted on my website.  About what we expect here.  And so I am very care to be totally respectful of free speech, but ask people to basically use common sense, ‘cause you might do something that’s quote “protected”, but it may not be in best interest the overall climate of the community to do that.  So—if you read that memo—that was a consequence of a whole series of things that happened and I did that last fall of 2001 and sent it out again this fall.  The second thing I did was just a president’s ad hoc advisory committee I put together.  It was faculty and a few student administrators—in fact we haven’t met this year.  But that—following that whole semester’s incidents, I invited a group of faculty and some administrators to come together in an ad hoc advisory committee where we could talk through some issues.  And come up with some suggestions.  So, for example, on the student online newspaper we asked Cynthia Humes, whose the associated dean for academic computing, to work on that issue a little bit.  And the question was trying to figure out what the new cmcstudents.com, cuase by that time we made the transition, what their own guidelines were going to be—public, their own public guidelines were going to be about how they handle the message board.  So that we could have a dialogue with them, not to tell them what to do, but to talk to them about concerns and what would be appropriate times when they probably, I mean they got to be aware—they got to monitor the board or they could be subject to issues like slander, libel, harassment and other things as well.  So, that’s a student run, not college run operation.  So that’s a topic we took up, for example.  Now, we used that group to talk about campus climate issues generally, and there was some—I believe as I recall there were some independent studies or theses that were being done by students on campus climate and we looked at some of those, and so on it went.  Then we did receive an invitation from the Irvine Foundation to apply for a grant with them.  And I did talk to that committee about what areas they thought would be useful to put in a grant.  And, as I recall, we also— (200) I think the drafts of the Irvine proposal—this is
where I need to check factually those—again, I ask you again, if you want to use this part of the conversation, let me go back to check our files on this—that we used that committee as one sounding-board, not only for idea generation but also to look at some of the drafts.  I believe that some of them looked at some of the drafts.  It’s not—it wasn’t a policy-making committee or anything, it was an advisory committee for the president, and, as I say, I don’t think we’ve met at all this whole academic year.  I just thought there was some issues going on at the time—it had more to do with student affairs and student climate issues than anything else on campus at the time.

CAM: Do you think that those problems that were happening then—do you think that those are reoccurring problems, or just once-in-a-while things that are more or less beyond the administration’s [control]?

PBG: I think they are—they can become, on any campus—predicting them and so on, who knows?  On the other hand, we did—Tory Sun did a formal student climate survey last year, and we looked at all the results from that.  You—I would recommend you talk to him about it, cause he would—I mean, he was the one who did it.  There was preparation—I believe this ad hoc committee also looked at the draft of that survey and made suggestions as well.  But if you look at the results from that survey there are some climate issues on campus as well, that were noted by students.   And so we looked at some of the—as I say, [garbled] independent study or thesis climate work, and we looked at that work.  Just--I think we have some on-going work to do here on student climate.  It’s not a major, major issue with students, or with most students but it is an issue with some students.  And, as a community, we should be attentive to whatever student issues and concerns are—whatever nature they are.  Whether its satisfaction with the athletic program, or the debate program, or community service, or career service, or climate, or curriculum, whatever.  I mean, if you’ve chosen to study here, and be a member of our community, I think we have an obligation to any student to listen, and see whether we have agreement with or not with it. 
So on climate issues, yes.  I think—continuing to work on climate issues is, I think, something the college has to pay attention to.  We have issues—there are some evidence that some minority students—this was a study done by [Name] two years ago off of the regular student surveys—there is evidence that some groups of minority students have statistically significant different—social science methodology being applied—have statically significant difference in their viewpoint towards their educational experience here at CMC.  Well, that shouldn’t be ignored.  We should—we should study that and see.  So it’s not to be ignored.  So there’s a variety of different kinds of studies that have been done (300) that I would say would evidence we have issues – I wouldn’t say major problems – but we should be as attentive to those as we are, as I say, to the quality of the coaching instruction that we get, or faculty teaching, or anything else.  It’s all part of a resident college.

(310) LM: You mentioned an invitation from the Irvine Grant to—from the Irvine Foundation reply to this grant, did CMC solicit that invitation or was it—did it sort of come out of the blue?

PGB: Again, I probably need to check that factually, it—I don’t remember soliciting it.  The fact is, this program has been on-going at Irvine for several years.  Jerry Garris can give you all the background and details factually better than I can on this.  If you—the Irvine Foundation has a history of supporting private higher education in California, not public, but private higher education.  So with respect to this particular program they have already issued millions of dollars in grants under this diversity initiative.  I mean everything from—if you go on their website or any other documents, we have a whole list of all the grants they’ve made under this program, and to whom.  We were actually in the last cycle of grants.

LM: I see.

PBG: We were they very—we are—we were—we have received a grant, we were in the very last cycle.  I believe Pomona and CMC were in the last cycle, all the other Claremont College were earlier, including the Graduate University.  Stanford has had more than one grant.  USC has had more than one grant. They’ve had millions of dollars to Stanford and USC, for example.  So, their intent was to reach all of the institutions that they have supported in the private sector in California, I think, through that grant program.  And so they were cycling so many through their—their budget.  That would be what I would’ve thought was going—and so we were contacted in the last cycle and said “if you want to apply now because this program is ending in several years.”

LM: Right.  Couple other things about this: can you tell us what The Consortium For A Strong Minority Presence at Liberal Arts Colleges is?

PBG: Yes, but you would be better to talk to Dean Ascher.

LM: Ok.

PBG: About that.  But, it is an organization—again, I will do my best on the facts, but I—everything I’m saying—because your asking me very important questions and—but they’re also very factually specific.
LM: Sure, we’ll check this with…

PBG: But Dean Asher’s more directly involved.  Jerry Garris can tell you more than I can about the Irvine Foundation.  Dean Ascher could tell you even more than I can about this.  But it is—I don’t know who started it, I don’t know who founded it.  All I know is that a consortium exists, and it is housed administratively at Grinnel College.  And it has members if you will, liberal arts colleges, top liberal arts colleges throughout the country are there.  And what it is trying to do is match—since we don’t have graduate schools or graduate programs in our liberal arts colleges, so we’re not like a university where you have graduate student automatically in your whole university.  So you have all these liberal arts colleges without graduate students, and the idea then is to have available to you resumes of PHD graduates from the research universities, because that’s where people go to get their PHD available in a network so that you can look at them as possible hiring candidates in whatever way you need to hire (400).  So, they’re usually have just—are about to finish or have just finished their PHD in normal research universities and its to connect the liberal arts colleges with the research university doctoral candidates who are coming out.  It also would help the institutions themselves, we hire a number of vistors and teachers every year and, on the other hand, it helps those candidates have some research or teaching experience as well.  And in a number of our fields, not all of our fields, but in a number of our fields we only hire permanent faculty who have had post-doctoral experience, anyway.  So the candidates themselves benefit from having post-doctoral experience for their own job purposes, and then we get the, if you will, pre-packaged access, if you will to that information, which makes it convenient.  And most of our hiring—a lot of our hiring is done through quote “packaged” access, if its—I mean the Modern Language Association is where you go if you’re an English major, to process through all of that to get a job.  Or the American Economics Association runs all these hiring conventions everywhere.  So there’s all these models of how you pool information out there to help you with hiring and this is another model of what I would call pooling information.

LM: Right.  Ok.  So CMC is a member of this of this consortium.

PBG: [hums in approval] And we are a member a member of it.

LM: Ok.  What are going to be the duties of the new Assistant Dean of Students of  Minority—for Mentoring of Programming.

PBG: Again, I would recommend that you talk to Tory Sun…

LM: Ok.

PBG: He was written a job description for that, and there will be a search committee established this semester.  So, he would be the best to person to talk to about that.

LM:  Alright.  Is it true that while the Irvine Foundation grant affects hiring practices for certain future factually, including visiting and post-doctoral positions that grant application wasn’t formally discussed in advance by the Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure committee? (451)

PBG: It was not formerly discussed with the ATP committee.  It was discussed with, I believe, the ad hoc diversity committee.  It was formerly discussed with elected administration committee and the faculty, and it was on numerous occasions formerly discussed with the Academic Affairs Committee on the board of trustees, as well having been fully sub-circulated before submitted to the entire board of trustees.  And it was not, correctly, formerly processed through the APTC.

LM: Now, CMC is taking an action that’s going to affect the practices of faculty hiring, is that, would you say, typical for it not to be a matter that’s discussed by ATP first?

PGB: I would say that it would be typical, yes, to discuss things through the ATP process when they are certainly written policy decisions, and you will interview and hear some faculty take the position that nothing should ever be done, with respect to anything doing with hiring faculty that does not formerly go through to committee.  I’ve been told that by faculty and you’re going to hear that by faculty.  With respect to—this is not a written rule or regulation, a written policy of that kind.  Secondly, we have in our written policies that we will affirmatively pursue candidates broadly, that means including affirmatively pursuing women, affirmatively pursuing minority candidates, that is in our written policy.  You will hear some faculty members take a very narrow interpretation of that, as opposed to a broad interpretation of that…and the other thing that you may or may not hear from other faculty is that I do not agree with the faculty opinion, and have so stated publicly, that takes a narrow viewpoint that only the full professors of the APT have an interest in the diversity of our faculty.

LM: Ok, just to nail you down on this, can sort of elaborate your opinion for us on why this it wasn’t necessary to go through APT? 

PGB: I have been giving you all my reasons: that it did not change a written policy, on the other hand we have a written policy that incorporates that the departments have to prepare affirmative action hiring plans and so on…that is in the policy.  You can see this program or the Irvine Grant as a way that we are promoting affirmative behavior, not changing policy…  Also, our strategic planning documents specifically state that, unanimously approved by our board of trustees, that it expects us to develop, over time, a more diverse faculty.  That has been in this plan and the past two plans; it is in writing.  It is the affirmed policy of our board that this college is to develop a more diverse faculty, that is a board policy.  Because of all of that, I disagree with any faculty member who says that this whole issue is only a hiring questions before the APTC.  To the contrary, it is a board policy.  It is also of interest to alumni…all faculty, all students, all of those who have an interest in this college.   So I don’t see this issue as just in the domain of a certain sub-set of this faculty.  Now, some of the faculty will disagree with me…this is an issue about the whole future of the college: who teachers here, what kind of community we’re going to have, and that is not just an APT decision.

CAM: Why do you think we have to affirmatively seek out  minority and female candidates?  I wanted to get your thoughts on the matter.

PGB:  That’s a complicated question, in a way, and it is not easy to verify it some kind of empirical way, so I’m really drawing much more on sort of, my 28 years in higher education, as a faculty member, and as trying to run something now for 15 years…First of all, let me say that you have to recruit all faculty members.  This is a very competitive market place.  Now, the econ department is a really good recruiting department, and it you talk to them, its all about recruiting; it’s not about women and minorities, it’s about recruiting.  [gives anecdotes]
[603] So the first point I want to make is that if you’re a really good place and you want to be out there recruiting the best, most superb faculty you can, every position with everyone is a recruitment…Number two, with respect to women, I think this college is in reasonably good shape with respect to its attractiveness to women, but one has to remember that it was a men’s college at one point in time.  I think we’re very co-ed now. [stats on women, women “firsts”]  So if you’re recruiting a woman to think about coming here, she may sort of look at the history, the context, the overall demographics, what’s going on in her particular department that’s recruiting her.  Some women, might not look at it at all, some do…[It’s] a recruitment issue…Now with minority candidates, for some of them, it won’t matter, but for some of them, they would look at the demographics of our campus and say “why aren’t there more minorities here? Is there an issue in my department?” [there’s also some anecdotes here]

[Leo asks whether she agrees or disagrees with the letter of dissent sent by the faculty]

PBG: [700].  I do agree that hiring someone on account of her gender—I mean literarily a hiring decision, is not correct…I agree with that.  Where I disagree, and I have interviewed a number of faculty that have signed that statement…but the reasons that people signed that statement fall into four categories, so you cannot put all the people who signed that statement into “they signed it because they’re in uniform opinion about why they signed it, because that’s not the evidence I have from individually interviewing them. 

“A board mandate to obtain a more diverse faculty.”  As we narrow the pool down, at the end of the day you shouldn’t hire the candidate because of her gender.  But getting women to apply here, yes.  So my position has been with the faculty quite clear.  A agree that you don’t believe you should hire some one on account of her gender, but this is about recruiting

[740] preferential treatment? 

PBG: If the department believes that a woman is the best candidate—or since the Irvine grant is limited only in its way only to minority candidates—if, in recruiting, the department felt that the best candidate was a minority candidate, and that’s who they want to hire, then we can use the funds to pay for that appointment.  But it’s in that order.

[771] PBG: …I do believe that for a CMC student to be well-educated today, and we’re educating leaders for business, the professions, politics and public affairs that we need to have in our curriculum, ways in which diversity issues get incorporated in mainstream…curriculum…if you were studying labor economics – wage rates, men and women, blacks vs white, completion of education [and] what does that mean with respect to wage returns, political psychology…politics and ethnithity, [for instance] the census issues are huge with respect to race, as we just know from the last census…[Professor] Peter Scary wrote a whole import book on that.  It’s important that our students study politics, think about the census and race, and it’s a very complicated issue as to what to take into account, what not to take into account. [800]…CMC has historically not bought into the system of segregating diversity topics into ethnicity study centers…and I think that was exactly the right system.  Because theses kinds of issues, from an educational standpoint, if you segregate them out you’re likely only to reach a small subset of our students who would even chose to take those courses…If you make sure that these kinds of issues get mainstreamed into curriculum through modual development, which is what that grant is about, then all CMC students have opportunities to look at issues such as gender and public policy…or race and public policy issues…[The grant is] an incentive, because it’s money, for faculty members to do…research in areas that relate to diversity, such as labor economics…and it would help faculty members take the time to think thoughtfully about how to develop modules in their courses to take up diversity issues…

[Gann compares to Freeman grant]

[863] CAM: Do you think that CMC is insufficiently diverse [racially]?

PBG: I don’t think there’s some golden number out there, I think what we do is contextualize and then think about our future and our mission.  We are geographically located in a state with no majority…in a county where there is no majority, and the largest number are Hispanics.  We are located in a state that will become majority Hispanic…about 55% of our applications are out of state, but 45% are in state.  So in order to be pragmatically a successful institution we are going to need to be attractive to the most talented students available to us and…they are and will increasingly be over time…a more diverse applicant pool.  So, the Irvine Grant does not see the diversity of the student body as a super-big issue for us because, in fact, CMC one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges by students in the country, but it is something to pay constant attention to, so we do have something in there to address that. 

[900] you need to continue to be attractive to the best possible students to enroll here from CA and the country.  Now, on faculty diversity, that’s quite different.  I do not think our faculty is diverse enough, our board does not think it is diverse enough, and our strategic plan does not think that its diverse enough.  So on the faculty side I do feel that…for educational outcome reasons of our students and for pragmatic reasons of security of the institution and its future and continuing to be an attractive place…we will be better off to have a more diverse faculty, both educationally and pragmatically.

[920] Question about national diversity.

What’s really important and where the big buck are is permanent hring.  Now you’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The strategic plan defines diversity very broadly, and I’m defining diversity very broadly. [959]

[987] LM: With respect to minority student enrollments, we hope to reach an enrollment goal of 37% by the end of the three-year period of the grant.  We believe setting a numeric goal for underrepresented students will focus greater attention on increasing the enrollment of students of color.  The goal is based on our intention to increase the enrollment of under-represented students by 2% during the three years of the grant.  In other words, CMC intends to apply racial quotas to the student admissions process under this grant.  Is that correct?

PBG: That’s totally incorrect.

LM: Can you explain to us why it would be incorrect?

PBG: Did it say quotas?  You read that into it.

LM: I read that CMC intends a specific numerical increase in underrepresented students .

PBG: What that is about is if you have an objective of trying to increase anything—if you have some objective out there, it tends to motivate people and make people work harder…The grant is about a fly in program to help us attract and recruit minority students.  It’s all about recruiting.  Everything is a funnel, whether it is students, or whether it is faculty.  It’s like this.  So, we send out brochures to sophomores—we 100,000 new brochures that are going to go out in the mail.  Now, we have all kinds of mailing lists: PSATs, SATs, I mean, I don’t know all of the filtering devices that admissions office uses and so on.  So it’s like this: fly-ins McKenna weekend, minority weekend that’s all about this and moving down the funnel to get them to want to be here.  So the point there is if we recruit harder, and these are recruitment moneys—What does the grant ask for?  It’s recruitment money for admissions.  What we’re saying is, if you recruit harder, you should have an outcome change, and this is a reasonable outcome measurement.  Now, some of the faculty, in that statement, objected to counting anything, because if you counted it would suggest that you really are going to be doing things on account of race, for example, you can read that into it.  But counting has multiple functions.  Counting is important because…it motivates and helps focus people on goals and objectives, and secondly, in the employment or faculty recruiting area if you had a case filed against you where a disappointed minority candidate, who did not get a job offer, and said you discriminated against him or her—I’m not saying that one does discriminate, but if you become a defendant in a law suit of that kind the fact that you were self-conscious about what you were doing in that area by keeping a numeric record doesn’t mean that you’re hiring on account of race, it shows that you are behaving affrimitively toward your recruitment…there is a major distinction between that [and quotas] [end of side one].

[side two]

LM: Ok, let me clarify [this] with you: you’re unwilling to say that there is a quota system involved, but—

PBG: I’m not only unwilling to say, I can assure you that there is no quota system.  We have no quotas…in admission at CMC.

LM: Just to clarify that, you’re saying that while, you have no quotas, without even seeing an applicant pool for the next three years, you’ve set a designated amount to increase minority admitted students—without even seeing those applicant pools.  It’s not a quota, but you’ve set a designated amount.  Is that correct?

PBG: It’s a motivator target.  It’s not a quota system; not in anyway whatsoever.

LM: But this is, in fact, something that you have, in effect, pledged to the Irvine Foundation, that their money will be used to help accomplish.  Is that right?

PBG: In the grant application we have set a goal…to work to increase the diversity of our student body.  Yes.  And we applied for recruitment money, on the basis that recruiting is the way you get people to apply—

LM: But this isn’t about recruiting, this is about admissions, and it’s about percentage designations—

PBG: It is recruiting minorities into the pool.  I said it’s a funnel.  What is the Irvine money for in the admissions area?...And if recruit…all students are going to improve the quality of our applicant pool if not numbers. So part of what we’re about—generally, in admissions we’re continuingly trying to recruit the right kind of student for CMC, given our mission.  It’s all about recruiting.

LM: I under stand  

[135] “bachy case”? “race and gender are noted”

[168] “There are many characteristics that we take into account, athletics, alumni children, race, gender, APs…”

[200] why Hispanics and Blacks accepted at a higher rate

[260] divisive effect on the faculty?

[320] then catching her with the narrative.

[380] does not agree that is it illegal

[410] does want to know race and gender, but only for recruiting faculty applicants, not eventual hiring.

[475] students complaining about faculty advisors not of their own race.

[505] critical mass…do we want to consider a student who considers race above quality?

[560] faculty’s charge of “overt and covert discrimination”

[593] Gann’s answer 


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