Category Archives: Email

ASPC Senate Resolution

Fellow Students,

In today’s meeting, the ASPC Senate approved the below resolution. I am also sending the resolution to the full Board of Trustees. Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or comments.

Resolution of the Senate of the Associated Students of Pomona College

March 5, 2012

WHEREAS a complaint to the Chair of the Board of Trustees prompted an investigation into the work authorization papers of all college employees that led to the termination of seventeen employees; and

WHEREAS the process by which the Board of Trustees leadership dealt with the complaint and subsequent investigation is still unclear to students; and

WHEREAS the Board of Trustees is currently writing a report on the details of how the Board of Trustees leadership dealt with the complaint; and

WHEREAS students respect the need for whistleblower complaints to be kept anonymous;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Senate of the Associated Students of Pomona College, on behalf of the student body, calls on the Board of Trustees to release to the college community the internal report on the events surrounding the worker terminations as soon as it is completed. We call on the Board of Trustees to release the report in full, with the exception of details that identify the person who made the complaint.

Nathaniel Brown
ASPC President
Pomona College ’12
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Feldblum: Trustee-Student Task Force on Campus Community Communication Final Recommendations and Next Steps

Dear Students,

On behalf of the Trustee-Student Task Force on Campus Community Communication, we would like to share with you the six Task Force Recommendations, all of which were accepted – with revisions to the details of two of the recommendations – by the Board of Trustees Student Affairs Committee last Friday.   The six recommendations of the Task Force are as follows, and you can read the full Task Force report on the Dean of Students Sakai site:

1.       Enhance the Board of Trustees website to include information on how the Board works. Specifically, information about Board members, Committee rosters including information about the Trustee Committee Chair and Vice-Chair, and contact information for student representatives, contact information for the newly re-envisioned Student Affairs Committee and institutionalized communication channel.  Post agenda of Board of Trustee Committee meetings concurrent with mailing to trustees to allow students to triage their comments on any of these topics to student representatives on the respective committees. Post on the website soon after Board meetings the action items that were taken during the board meeting (in draft form if need be).  Post as appropriate links to reports or executive summaries from reports.

2.       Add students to specific Board Committees, including 1 additional student representative to the newly re-envisioned Student Affairs Committee, and 1 additional student to the Academic Affairs Committee, and add 2 student members to the Finance Committee (where there is currently no student member). This will increase the number of student slots on Board committees from 6 to 10.

3.       Re-engineer the Student Affairs Committee into the Student-Trustee “College Affairs” Committee, whose mission would be enhanced as a vehicle of communication between students and trustees and by including all the student representatives from the different Board committees.  The student Co-Chair would be the ASPC President and would work closely with the Trustee Chair and Dean of Students to advise on agenda items related to student life and general issues of communication with the student body.  The Trustee Chair would serve as the primary Trustee-Student liaison for the Board.

4.       Create opportunities for formal and informal dinners between small groups of students and trustees. Particular attention should be paid to setting up dinners during the year with members of the student leadership groups focused on community building on campus.  Opportunities for such interaction could include quarterly Board of Trustee Meetings and whenever trustees are on campus such as for Task Force meetings, etc.

5.       Institutionalize a visible channel of communication for students to give feedback throughout the year or provide comments regarding specific issues. This channel would be connected to the newly re-envisioned Student Affairs Committee. Create a process by which comment periods can be initiated to address issues.  Create an email alias as part of this institutionalized communication channel to which students would send comments or other feedback, and receive confirmation that their messages were received.

6.       Review these changes after a year to ascertain if they are effectively addressing the issues identified by the Task Force.

The full Board received the Task Force report, and approved a motion to support the additional student member positions on Board Committees as outlined in the Report so that the Trusteeship Committee can move forward with its work  of making recommendations for bylaw changes for the Board to consider, and  so that there could be spring elections for the 3 new positions.   Nate Brown will be sending out additional information regarding these new elected positions.

As always, if you have any questions about the revisions or other issues, please feel free to email me.  Or, you also can contact one of the students on the Task Force.

Sincerely,

Dean Feldblum

Members of Task Force:

Jason Rosenthal, Co-Chair, PO ‘92

Lynn Yonekura, Co-Chair, PO ‘70

Leslie Appleton, PO ‘12

John Bonacorsi, PO ‘12

Maya Booth, PO ‘14

Nate Brown, PO ‘12

Alice Chan PO ‘14

Miriam Feldblum, VP and Dean of Students

Kathy Lu, PO, ‘14

Meg Lodise, PO ‘85

Frank Sánchez, PO ‘13

Francine Scinto, P ’09, ‘11

Michael Segal, PO ‘79

Emi Young, PO ‘13

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Feldblum: Update from the Trustee-Student Task Force on Communication

Dear Students,

On behalf of the Trustee-Student Task Force on Campus Community Communications,  I am writing to give you an update on the work of the Task Force and open up a comment period for you to send in any feedback to the Task Force (please see below for a list of all Task Force members and the Charge of the Task Force).   All comments should be received by February 22, 2012

The Task Force has had 2 meetings, and is scheduled to have 2 more over this next week, February 19 and February 23.   Members have worked to collect information about Board communications, student-trustee interactions, and student representation on Boards from other campuses, and have explored a wide array of ideas. The two Co-Chairs of the Task Force are Jason Rosenthal, PO ‘92 and Lynn Yonekura PO ’70.  The Task Force anticipates presenting a set of recommendations to the Board of Trustees at the February Board of Trustees meeting.

The Task Force is currently exploring recommendations in four areas: Continue reading

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Board of Trustees: On the Student-Trustee Taskforce

January 17, 2012

To the Pomona College Students:

As Chair of the Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees, I want to express my gratitude to the students who met with us in December. Our conversation about the issues raised by the students who held the vigil—and more generally about ways in which we can improve communication between the Board and the students—was substantive and constructive. We were impressed by the students’ commitment and thoughtful approach, and we share their concern about these issues.

Among the topics we discussed were ways to incorporate more two-way communication during the annual Trustee-Student Retreat, how to facilitate the distribution of information about issues before the Board, and ways to increase student understanding of Board governance. In order to build on and follow through with the many helpful ideas that emerged from this meeting, the Board of Trustees has authorized the creation of a new ad hoc Trustee-Student Task Force on Student-Trustee Communication, to explore and recommend ways to improve communication and understanding between the Board of Trustees and Pomona students.

Specifically, the Task Force will review the ideas raised by the students and trustees during the meeting; explore campus communication mechanisms and other measures adopted by the other college and university boards to promote communication, responsiveness, and understanding between students and trustees; and develop a set of recommendations for the future.

We have already selected the student and trustee members of the Task Force, which will be co-chaired by Trustee Jason Rosenthal and myself. We anticipate that the group will meet over the next month and half and present a set of recommendations to the Board at its next meeting in spring 2012.

As you may know, in addition to meeting with students, selected trustees met separately with faculty members and dining staff, including some employees whose jobs were terminated. Both of these meetings were likewise substantive and constructive. In fact, the meeting with dining staff was profoundly moving for trustees as it gave them an opportunity to hear directly from people who lost their jobs after years of faithful service to the College.

In order to address the issues raised in these meetings, the Board of Trustees will be undertaking a review of their procedures for responding to complaints and authorized the creation of a subcommittee to conduct an internal review of the actions taken in this particular case. The Board will also be considering ways of establishing a regular line of communication between the Board and members of the staff.

In every meeting, there was a shared sense that the events of the past few months are the result of a national problem—the harshness of U.S. immigration laws. The trustees have committed to work together with the Administration to set up a forum in the near future that will allow us to focus as a community on better understanding these complex issues and ways we might work to make things better.

This has been a painful time for all of us, and our hearts go out to those who were affected by the events that sparked these conversations. Trustees have joined others in the College community in providing additional help to the affected families through a local non-profit. I am heartened by the fact that as a College family, we are able to come together, learn from each other and look for ways to move forward constructively.

Lynn Yonekura ’70

Chair of the Student Affairs Committee

Pomona College Board of Trustees

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Board of Trustees: Follow-Up to Campus Meetings

To:  The Pomona College Community

We want to thank everybody who met with us last week on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the work authorization issue.  All of us understood the human cost of the difficult actions we had to take and wish there was an alternative course of action we could have followed.

We received valuable feedback from the groups with whom we met regarding our procedures and external communications. We intend to offer suggestions on how to make improvements in these areas to help us better serve the College in the future.

We look forward to working with the community to make Pomona an even better institution.

Paul Efron, Board Chair

David Oxtoby, President

Jeanne Buckley, Trustee

Ranney Draper, Trustee Emeritus

Paul Eckstein, Trustee

Terry Hodel, Trustee

Meg Lodise, Trustee

Stewart Smith, Trustee

Jennifer Wilcox, Trustee

Lynn Yonekura, Trustee

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Oxtoby: Response to Student Fast

To the Pomona College Community:

Many of you are aware that a group of four students began a fast on Wednesday evening. I have attached their statement of purpose to this e-mail. I wanted you to know that I have responded to their requests this morning. My letter is below. I hope that the students accept our proposal and end their fast immediately.

David Oxtoby

President

 

December 9, 2011

To Isabel, Will, Andrew, and Tracy,

Since I learned of your fast yesterday morning, I have forwarded your request and discussed it with members of the Board of Trustees. As I told them, I believe the proposed meeting between Board members and staff is a good idea on its own merits. It would complement other College efforts to ensure a full campus dialogue, including the scheduled meetings between Board members and students from ASPC and the Concerned Students vigil, and between Board members and a group of Pomona faculty.

For these reasons, and in order to respond constructively to your request, we propose the following agreement in return for an immediate end to your fast.

We propose a meeting next Wednesday at 10 a.m. between a small group of Trustees and any Dining Service employees who wish to take part, including former employees who were terminated on December 2. The goal of the meeting would be for the Trustees to hear directly from the staff and report back to the larger Board and the administration. Spanish translation would, of course, be provided. We would depend upon you to contact the terminated workers to invite them to participate, if they wish to do so.

Barring objections from the employees, we would agree to permit the four of you to be present to observe and offer quiet support to the employees, but not to participate in the discussions. We believe that any recording of the discussions could inhibit free and open speech and, therefore, we do not agree to this part of your request. However, we agree that openness and transparency are essential, so we are prepared, unless the employees object, to invite an editor from The Student Life to attend and report back on the meeting to the Pomona community. We would schedule the meeting in a neutral campus location, such as Rose Hills Theatre. Due to other time constraints on the Board, it could last no longer than one hour.

To help ensure that all parts of our community feel valued and heard, we believe that this meeting can play a significant role. We remain open to any proposal that might help the community move forward in a constructive dialog, but would like to stress that such extreme actions as putting one’s health in jeopardy are not necessary to ensure that we are listening and will give such proposals careful consideration.

We are all concerned about your health and welfare and respectful of your commitment. I hope you will agree to this proposal so that we can continue to move forward. Please give me your answer as soon as possible, so that we can continue with our planning.

Sincerely,

David Oxtoby

President of Pomona College

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Feldblum: Public Announcement of Arrests and Civil Disobedience

Dear Students,

I want to share with you what we know about the events that took place on campus this morning.

A group of about 125 to 150 protestors, including some students and alumni from Pomona and other colleges and representatives of UNITE-HERE, conducted a demonstration and sit-in after breakfast this morning in Frary Dining Hall. They were permitted to take over the dining hall and the servery, but for health and safety reasons, they were not permitted to enter the kitchen areas, where College employees were at work. The organizers stated that their intention was to have 17 of their number arrested by Claremont Police, but College officials declined to have them arrested so long as they were peaceful.

The protestors then moved to Alexander Hall, where they resumed their protest, continuing their stated intention of being arrested. Around 11:30 this morning, as a result of a negotiation between the protestors and the police, CPD arrested 17 protestors for blocking College Avenue.

Frary was closed as a safety precaution as a result of the demonstration. We will give you an update as soon as possible as to when it will reopen. We know that these events can be distressing to members of our community, and I will try to share with you more information as it becomes available.

The College is committed to respecting the rights of, and supporting, those who wish to protest as well as those who do not wish to take part.

Sincerely,

Dean Feldblum

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Feldblum: Response to Community Actions

Dear Students,

On Tuesday, November 29th, I sent you an email regarding our community and recent events on campus.  In that message I mentioned the possibility of a boycott of the dining halls and communicated the expectation that students have the right to demonstrate and other students have the right to eat in the dining halls.  I want to take this opportunity to further illuminate expectations regarding these events, especially as the boycotts are continuing.

Some of the demonstrations have been loud while few others have not. I understand that some of the demonstrations have taken place during quiet hours, which are midnight to 8am, Sunday through Thursday, and 2am to 10am Friday and Saturday.    We would like to strike a reasoned balance between students’ rights to demonstrate and students’ rights to a quiet and comfortable living space to study and sleep.  We hope the students and others who choose to demonstrate will adhere to the established quiet hours and not create amplified sound.  Some of the demonstration sites are right next to residential buildings and have violated quiet hours.

If students experience excessively loud noises during quiet hours, I recommend they approach it like any other noise complaint; try and ask the source of the noise to respect and comply with quiet hours.  If the noise continues, please contact Campus Safety (909-607-2000) so they may address the noise and subsequent policy violation.  We have asked Campus Safety to notify the on-call dean so that the on-call dean can respond with the Campus Safety officer and communicate College policy.   As you may have seen, on-call deans may be present during demonstrations and can be an additional source of support, if needed, both for students who are demonstrating and those who are not.   This includes the extended vigil that students are holding outside of Alexander Hall.

As stated in their “Statement of Presence, ”  this group of students is committed to “communicating clearly and respectfully with all community members,” not obstructing access to Alexander, abiding by quiet hours and being mindful of noise levels, and “maintaining a peaceful, nonviolent space.”   In turn, they have asked of the College to respect their rights and presence, including “consideration and clear communication from all community members,” access to the lawn outside Alexander Hall, and limited involvement of Campus Safety or CPD (except for a Campus Safety officer at night).    I support their desire for open, respectful dialogue, and support their rights to express themselves and their presence outside Alexander Hall.

It is my deep hope that as a community, we can all recognize this particularly stressful time.   With final exams, papers and projects coming due in the next weeks, and the continuing events on campus, it is even more important for all of us to be courteous and respectful toward one another, and be open to hearing what others say.

If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Take care,

Dean Feldblum

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Oxtoby: Announcement of 17 Terminations (English/Espanol)

December 1, 2011

To The Pomona College Community:

These last few weeks have been very difficult ones for all of us here at Pomona.  When I first learned that the College was required by federal law to ask a group of our employees to work with Human Resources regarding discrepancies in their work authorization records, I laid out three principles I believed should govern this process. The College would act supportively and compassionately, be as open as possible while respecting the privacy of each individual, and our actions would be consistent with the law.  While we have faced thoughtful questions from many of you regarding our actions, I am convinced that we have done our very best to meet those principles.

As you know, this all began with a complaint from a College employee to the Board of Trustees accusing me and my administration of illegal conduct and alleging that the College had never required employees to provide work authorization documents. The resulting investigation necessitated a College-wide audit of legal work authorization documents, which brought to light deficiencies in the files of 84 faculty, staff and part-time workers. These employees were then asked to schedule meetings to resolve the issues with their files, as required by federal law.  Each step of the way, we have tried to be as supportive and helpful as possible while complying with the law, including the offer of independent legal assistance, at College expense, to anyone seeking help in gathering the necessary documentation. And, as the deadline for document submission approached, we made it clear to affected employees that we were willing to assist anyone who faced difficulty or delays in obtaining their documents.

Most of these cases were, as we had hoped, resolved as employees provided the updated documentation that was needed. Unfortunately, in 17 cases, proper documentation was not provided and, as required by law, we had no choice but to end their employment with the College. For each person whose employment was terminated as a result of this situation, the College has provided severance benefits based on years of service, as well as a continuation of their current health care coverage at college expense until June 30, 2012.

Pomona College is a community where people care about each other, and so we all are affected by the pain suffered by people who, in many instances, were long-term members of our community and had given the College many years of service. This is also a place where students, faculty and staff are willing to make their voices heard and work for change. I am deeply proud of that.

I know that some among you question the College’s actions at different stages of this process, but I can assure you that at each step of the way, we have done only what the law compels us to do, and to the best of our abilities we have done it evenhandedly and with concern for each individual affected.

At the same time, the teach-in, protests and demonstrations that have taken place on campus have also strongly made the case that the current law that governs this situation is unduly harsh and unforgiving. I am in complete and heart-felt agreement. Consistent with my commitment to the DREAM Act, I believe that Congress should pass meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform that will allow people who have long contributed to communities like ours to become the full-fledged members that they deserve to be, without living in fear of an event such as this. This reform is long overdue, and unfortunately, will not come soon enough. However, we can make a renewed commitment to seek justice and opportunity for all by insisting on comprehensive immigration reform. I welcome your help on that front.

Our community will need time to heal from what has been an extremely emotional and difficult process for every one of us. Please share with me your thoughts for how best to move forward. You have my commitment to remain open and honest with you.

David Oxtoby

President

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A la comunidad de Pomona College

Estas últimas semanas han sido muy difíciles para todos aquí en Pomona.  En cuanto supe que la ley federal iba a obligar al Colegio pedir que un grupo de nuestros empleados trabajaran con el departamento de recursos humanos debido a deficiencias en sus archivos de autorización de trabajo, planeé seguir tres principios que pensaba que deberían gobernar este proceso.  El Colegio se comportaría de una manera compasiva; el Colegio sería lo más abierto posible mientras que respetaba la privacidad de cada individuo; y nuestras acciones cumplirían con la ley.  Aunque nos hemos enfrentado con preguntas de muchos de ustedes acerca de nuestras acciones, estoy convencido de que hemos hecho lo mejor posible para cumplir con estas reglas.

Como ustedes saben, todo empezó con una denuncia hecha por un empleado del Colegio contra la junta de administradores acusándome a mí y a mi administración de conducta ilegal y alegando que el Colegio nunca había obligado a los empleados a proveer documentos de autorización.  La investigación que siguió hizo necesaria una auditoría al nivel de todo el Colegio de los documentos legales de autorización de trabajo que reveló deficiencias en los archivos de 84 profesores, trabajadores de tiempo completo y trabajadores de tiempo parcial.  Entonces, se pidió a estos empleados que fijaran reuniones para resolver los problemas con sus archivos personales según nos exigió la ley federal.  En cada momento hemos intentado ser lo mas compasivos posible mientras que cumplimos con la ley, incluyendo ofertas de asistencia legal independiente, a cargo del Colegio, para cualquier persona que necesitaba ayuda en buscar la documentación necesaria.  Y, según se acercaba la fecha límite para presentar los documentos, lo hicimos muy claro a los trabajadores afectados que estábamos dispuestos de asistir a cualquier persona que tenía dificultades o retrasos en obtener sus documentos.

La mayoría de estos casos fueron, como esperábamos, resueltos según los empleados presentaban la documentación necesaria.  Desafortunadamente, en 17 de los casos, no se presentó la documentación necesaria y, según la ley, no tuvimos más remedio que despedir a estos empleados.  Para cada persona que quedó cesada como resultado de esta situación, el Colegio pagó una indemnización por cese en base a sus años de servicio y una continuación de sus beneficios médicos actuales a cargo del Colegio hasta el 30 de junio, 2012.

Pomona College es una comunidad donde las personas se apoyan mutuamente, y todos quedamos afectados por los dolores que sufre la gente que, en muchas circunstancias, fue miembro de nuestra comunidad por mucho tiempo y que ha dado al Colegio muchos años de servicio.  Este lugar también es un lugar donde los estudiantes, los profesores y los empleados están dispuestos a alzar la voz y trabajar por el cambio.  De esto estoy profundamente orgulloso.

Entiendo que algunos de ustedes cuestionen las acciones del Colegio en diferentes etapas de este proceso, pero les puedo asegurar que en cada paso hemos hecho sólo lo que nos obliga la ley y, de la mejor manera posible, lo hemos hecho de una manera imparcial y con una preocupación por cada persona afectada.

Al mismo tiempo, las manifestaciones que han sucedido en el campus han subrayado que la ley actual que gobierna esta situación es excesivamente dura e implacable.  Con esto estoy plenamente de acuerdo.  En concordancia con mi apoyo del DREAM Act, creo que el Congreso debería aprobar reformas exhaustas y significativas de las leyes de inmigración que permitirían a aquellos que han contribuido a las comunidades como la nuestra convertirse en ciudadanos de pleno derecho, como merecen, sin la amenaza de una situación como esta.  Hace mucho que se necesita esta reforma y, desafortunadamente, no se hará suficientemente temprano.  Sin embargo, podemos renovar nuestro compromiso de buscar la justicia y la oportunidad para todos insistiendo en reformas exhaustas a las leyes de inmigración.  Les agradecería su ayuda con este asunto.

Nuestra comunidad necesitará tiempo para cerrar la brecha que este proceso, extremadamente emocional y difícil, ha dejado.  Por favor, expresen sus ideas sobre como salir adelante.  Tienen mi compromiso que voy a continuar siendo abierto y honesto con ustedes.

 

David Oxtoby

Presidente

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Feldblum: On Community Actions and Protests

Dear Students,

On behalf of all the Student Affairs offices on campus, I want to acknowledge that this has been a very painful period for many members of our community. We deeply feel the impact of this on the student community on campus. I want to let you know that all Student Affairs staff and offices are here to provide support, to listen to you and your concerns, or just be a place to come to if you would like to do so.

Whether we are directly or indirectly affected by the actions the College has taken in order to comply with its legal responsibilities, many students, staff, and faculty have experienced great distress. The recent events on campus have brought to the fore the difficult immigration realities that hang over millions of individuals and families in the U.S. today, even as they also highlight that many of us here hold competing opinions about our country’s  immigration laws and practices.  Members of our community also have widely divergent points of view concerning the situation here on campus, and the impetus and implementation of the College’s actions.  These divisions are now creating new rifts within our community, and challenging us as a community to maintain our capacity for respectful conversations.

On behalf of the student deans, I would like to add that the role of Student Affairs deans extends to being present any time there are demonstrations on campus in order to support students – both those who are protesting and those who are not – and to support student understanding of and compliance with College policies concerning such events. We are there to ensure that students are able to express their rights to demonstrate, and we also want to support those individuals who choose to express a different opinion or who choose not to demonstrate at all. We understand there may be a boycott of the Pomona College dining halls tomorrow, November 30.  Students have a right to demonstrate and call for a boycott, and other students have a right to enter and eat in the dining halls. Part of our role as Student Affairs deans will be to help ensure unimpeded access to the dining halls, as well as respecting the protestors, as per the College’s demonstration policy in the Student Handbook.

We recognize that students hold many different views concerning these events, and we want to encourage you to be mindful of your peers as well, and understanding of each other’s rights to varying opinions. Whether in the residence halls, dining halls, Smith Campus Center, or elsewhere, we encourage you to remember this diversity of opinion and be respectful of these differences and of each other. I encourage anyone who has concerns about this to contact me or another Student Affairs dean.

If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Dean Feldblum

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