Executive Faculty Council may review proposed communication policy

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Matilda Staudt, English instructor and president of the United Faculty Senate, proposes opening Executive Faculty Council membership to faculty outside the United Faculty Senate “to engage other faculty to participate in shared government” during the council’s meeting Aug. 30 at Killen. The proposal will be discussed in detail in the Sept. 14 meeting. Sergio Medina

The United Faculty Senate must review the policy first, the council’s chair said.

By Sergio Medina

smedina104@student.alamo.edu

The Executive Faculty Council will consider reviewing a proposed Alamo Colleges policy that requires employees notify public relations before interviews.

The mention of the policy came during the council’s meeting Aug. 30 at Killen Center.

Math Professor Gerald Busald of this college brought the topic to the council for consideration.

“I think that’s really important, especially with The Ranger,” Busald said, referring to the college’s award-winning student publication.

As proposed, the policy would require the involvement of a PR representative to work as a bridge between media, including student media, and faculty.

Under its description, proposed C.4.1 policy would “establish policy, procedures and guidelines for public communication between Alamo Colleges District (ACD) officials, employees, news media representatives and others requiring information concerning ACD issues, programs, projects, services and activities.”

“I’m certainly concerned about anything that keeps faculty from being able to talk to media,” Busald said. “If it affects faculty, faculty ought to be involved before it becomes policy.”

The policy may undergo revision by legal, human resources and the Public Relations Council.

Adam Aguirre, anthropology coordinator at Northwest Vista College and chair of the council, said in an interview Aug. 30 the council would review the policy if an issue is forwarded to the council from another group first.

“If the United Faculty Senate, for example, is concerned about that policy, they would have to deal with it on their own terms first,” Aguirre said. “If they decide there’s something they want to happen in regards to that policy, then they can come to us and say ‘this is what we would like to see happen’ and we’ll make that happen.”

After that, the proposal would move forward to the presidents and vice chancellors committee for review, Aguirre said.

Aguirre described this setup as a “multidirectional communication system.”

Busald said in an interview Aug. 30 that he is concerned about the implications of the policy.

“Faculty are often contacted by the media because of their expertise in academic areas,” he said. “I think they have to make sure the policy doesn’t restrict them from talking to the media about issues.”

Under the policy, without PR’s approval, faculty cannot talk to the media as an employee of the district, only as a private citizen.

“You can’t really talk to media and say ‘well you can’t say I’m a professor at SAC;’ I mean, I think that’s just natural — they’re going to do that,” Busald said. “The main thing is: I don’t want faculty to be not able to give their expertise to the media — that’s bad for the district, in my opinion.”

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