The Calendar Standing Committee met at its regular time on Thursday despite the meeting being cancelled by a co-chair.
The agenda for the meeting, which was not distributed because it was cancelled, included consideration of a 2013-14 calendar that included a winter intersession and one that did not, according to Academic Senate appointed Co-Chair Krista Walter.
Senior Vice President and calendar committee co-chair Robert Bell cancelled the meeting with out any given reason the day before the agenda was scheduled for release, according to Walter.
“I wasn’t consulted about cancelling the meeting,” said Walter at the meeting, “I did manage to speak with Dr. Bell and he insisted he tried calling me over the weekend, which I actually believe … but we did not speak until [Wednesday].”
Bell explained in a phone interview on Wednesday that he believed the committee was not conducting business at its meetings.
“The decision to cancel the calendar committee meeting was mine … at the last two meetings … we never got to the business of the committee because of the discussion involving winter,” he said. “I don’t disagree with the discussion, but we need to get to the business of the committee. That was my rationale [for cancelling the meeting].”
Walter believed Bell’s explanation to be invalid and it was undermining shared governance on campus.
“The consensus at the meeting was that it was not only improper for Bell to cancel this meeting, as it violates procedure as well as the principle and essence of shared governance, but it was, moreover, extremely impractical,” said Walter via email after the meeting. “It is perfectly valid for a meeting to be held under these circumstances and there was a [majority] … The members of this calendar committee maintain the position that the academic calendar and the student calendar are and must be one and the same, and that PCC’s calendar was, is, and always should be the carefully crafted product of the shared governance process.”
Walter explained that at previous meetings Bell did not understand that the calendar came out of the shared governance process, and was not created by the Board of Trustees or the administration.
“Bell did not understand that the Board does not hand us the calendar. We’ve always made the calendar. When we were handed the calendar … it was perceived as [an] imposition,” Walter said. “The Board of Trustees approves but does not create or determine the calendar.”
Committee member Lydia McDonald believed the cancellation of the meeting was a pattern in trying to stop an approval of a calendar with winter.
“You have to have two calendars. Last year we agreed to have a calendar with winter in October. Then both meetings for November and December were cancelled. This is a pattern,” she said.
Debate arose over whether the current “student” calendar was still a negotiable item in the union contract.
Associated Students President and committee member Simon Fraser explained that since the calendar was no longer called “academic” but instead “student,” it was no longer a negotiable item.
“It was called a student calendar which means it is no longer a negotiable item but a shared governance item now,” he said.
Faculty Association President Roger Marheine said the administration’s decision to change the name of the calendar from “academic” to “student” was a breach of contract.
“This switch to a student calendar as a way of breaking our contract is illegal. We believe that the kind of shared governance [here] is absolutely vital to showing the Board [of Trustees] in particular,” he said.
History Instructor Eloy Zarate said it was important for the committee to keep records of the meeting since there were enough members of the committee, known as quorum, to make decisions and take actions, making the meeting official.
“It would be very important in terms of record keeping for this committee to make a statement, because you do have a quorum, and the behavior of the other chair shows that there has been something officially undermined because the committee did show up,” Zarate said. “The fires are coming … I feel I would like a statement clearly articulating why this meeting was held anyway and what this means in terms of shared governance, [and stating] this is what this meeting meant even if a chair wasn’t there.”
The committee voted unanimously to hold a special meeting on March 12 to discuss 2013-14 calendars with and without winter intersession and to create a statement of recommendation to the Board of Trustees to be presented at its March 13 meeting.