Senate Beat: Senate Has Questions About Luis Giraldo

This week’s Senate Public was centered around the allegations of workplace misconduct and discrimination made in a now-dismissed lawsuit against new Director of Student Support Luis Giraldo while at his former place of employment, Santa Barbara City College (SBCC). 

Student Body President Safi Zenger read portions of an email sent to her and Student Body Vice President Margot Becker from Vice President for Student Life Karnell McConnell-Black that addressed some concerns about the hiring process for Giraldo.

Zenger and Becker had reached out to McConnell-Black and Dean of Students Tawana Parks asking who was on the committee that hired Giraldo and how the college would go about addressing the concerns raised in last week’s Quest article about Giraldo and the allegations made against him. McConnell-Black’s response found its way into Zenger and Becker’s email inboxes just hours before Senate Public, and gave information on the hiring process, saying that the college engaged in a rigorous interview process, developed a list of attributes which guided their decisions based on the requirements of the Dean of Student Support position, solicited feedback from the hiring committee to develop follow-up questions specific to each candidate, electronically searched candidates, and communicated with references. The Quest asked Zenger if McConnell-Black’s email made any specific references to the 2018 Title IX investigation which The Channels reported in a 2019 article to have allegedly uncovered racial and gender disparity issues in SBCC’s Equity Department and with Giraldo specifically. Zenger said it did not. The Quest also asked whether McConnell-Black’s email made any mention of the hiring committee being aware of the 2019 lawsuit prior to hiring Giraldo. Zenger responded that while McConnell-Black’s email said that the college “did [their] due diligence to understand the allegations,” it was unclear whether this was done during or after the hiring process. 

Zenger affirmed that this is something that Senate takes seriously, saying that “our institution likes to promote the kind of student that asks questions… and that’s what I think people are doing and that’s what we’re trying to do.” Zenger and Becker plan on following up with McConnell-Black, and want to ask more questions face to face. “It doesn’t end here, but this is what we have right now,” said Zenger.

Now, back to the opening of the meeting, where Zenger began her committee reports by saying that she would meet with Director of Student Engagement Janice Yang to discuss student spaces later that day. Zenger also reported that she had met with Assistant Dean of Students for Academic Life Steve Abrahão to discuss changes Zenger wanted to make to student services, such as letting freshmen who are registering for HUM 110 see whether their HUM 110 conference had a HUM consultant or not, diminishing bias incidents within conferences, and addressing bias incidents between students and their academic advisors. Zenger also discussed that fauctly in the Academic Success Committee were working towards an advisor evaluation process similar to the faculty evaluations that students submit.

Senator Jefferson Ratliff said he had a fairly quiet week, but that tomorrow, the Appointments Committee would appoint a Pool Hall Assistant Manager. Ratliff also announced that J-Board Member, J-Board Secretary, and Renn Fayre Czar applications are now open. “Handshake is open all throughout break. Got nothing better to do? Apply!” said Ratliff.

 Vice Treasurer Wani Pandey began their committee reports by urging Reed community members to get their booster shots, saying, “The CDC is expecting a surge in COVID-19 cases, so please help curb the spread and stay vaxxed!” Pandey also announced that an email would go out later that day with information regarding Renn Fayre committee. Pandey said that Renn Fayre quickly becomes a last minute ordeal, and asked students to get involved soon so that we can enjoy a fun and thought out celebration. Pandey also reported that Treasury has been working with Paradox to make sure their space gets rented out and all fees are in order.

Assistant Treasurer Nina Gopaldas reported that while her committee work was light that week, she had been working to create a spreadsheet to better track spending by student groups. Student groups will now input their spending into the spreadsheet as part of the disbursement process, and will be able to see exactly how much money they have been allocated by Senate and how much they have left. Gopaldas said this will make financial information more available to clubs as well as facilitate Treasury oversight of spending.

    Senator Kiana Cunningham-Rodriguez announced that Senate was working with the Office of Insitutional Diversity (OID) to create a student group to help guide students through discriminatory harrasment reports that were discussed in last week’s Senate Beat. Cunningham-Rodriguez is working with the OID to write a job description for the student positions and after break will be meeting with relevant departments to discuss bias incident reporting.

    Head Treasurer Sean Brown announced that due to a lack of opportunities for training, while Appeals Committee is usually under the purview of the Vice Treasurer, he will be attending an Appeals Committee case from the corner of PDX airport on a headset while he prepares to travel for Fall Break. Brown also announced that Finance Committee had moved to allocate $141.00 to Caffeine Club and $369.00 to Elvira’s Disciples. 

Senate Public’s early 9:00 am meeting time once again did what it does best in deterring Senate participation and they had insufficient members to reach quorum, so voting on fund allocation was postponed.

Senator Lennox Reeder announced that the Computer Policy Committee would be meeting on Friday to rediscuss printing allocations in light of printing research they had carried out.

Senator Aidan Mokala closed committee reports, asking students to apply for Paideia Czar, as applications were now open on handshake. Mokala also stated that Senate will be meeting with the Restorative Justice group at their request. Mokala had also been in communication with the Theater Department. which is getting rid of the Environmental Studies/Theater degree, stating that faculty in the Theater Department felt that Environmental Studies was an unreasonable thing to expect them to teach and that “No one has ever attempted that degree. Ever.” Mokala closed committee reports by announcing that they had hired a new Student Union Assistant Manager.

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