May 31, 2013

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UUP's Black Faculty Staff Association meets

uupdate 5-31-13

UUP President-elect Fred Kowal meets with UUP members attending the inaugural meeting of the union’s Black Faculty Staff Association (BSFA) Task Force, May 31 at The Desmond in Albany.

“I would like to speak to the issue of civil rights,” Kowal said. “I have a growing concern about the trends I am seeing in faculty, staff and administrative hiring. There is little to no emphasis placed on diversity.”

Kowal noted that SUNY’s focus on online education will do little to address the needs of Latino, African-American and economically disadvantaged students; research shows that these students perform much worse in online courses.

“It’s a myth that we are in a ‘post-racial society,’” he added.

The task force was established in early May at the behest of outgoing president Phil Smith to discuss and set goals for BFSAs across UUP chapters. VP for Professionals Philippe Abraham said he is “shepherding” the BFSA Task Force, and joined Kowal in welcoming the members.

“UUP recognizes that the demographics of SUNY students will change drastically in the next 10 years when it comes to what groups, in terms of race and ethnicity, the students belong to,” Abraham said. “We need to look at the faculty and staff at SUNY to make sure they adequately reflect those groups.”

Abraham said the task force is focusing on two key areas: finding ways to assist people in underrepresented groups in achieving tenure, permanent appointment and promotions; and helping campuses retain those faculty and staff by providing a support system inside and outside the campus community.

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