Is This Seat Taken? Don’t Mind if I Do.

NOTE: This post has been updated in a new post with a correction about the third paragraph.

In light of my post about the proposed new head covering policy, a few other people with knowledge of the proposed revision/consolidation of existing policies that there are more problems than that one. First a bit of background on the project: in an early January email to all District Presidents, VPs, Deans of Instruction, Deans of Student Services, Deans of Careers, Registrars, and 24 Vice Chancellors, Associate Vice Chancellors, Executive Directors and Directors, Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Systems Michael Mutz, wrote:

As you know, we have reviewed each of our academic and student policies over the past few months with the following goals:

  • Streamline, simplify and condense policies.
  • Eliminate redundancy (between and within the Academic Policy Manual and Student Policy Manual).
  • Update/create new policies and delete policies that are no longer needed – focus on correcting policies with errors, that are out of compliance and/or create barriers to student success.
  • Separate procedures from policy.

Structural changes have been made.

  • Consolidated the policy content from the Academic Policy Manual and Student Policy Manual and created a new CCC Academic & Student Policy document
  • Revised policy content to achieve the four goals, above

Sounds like a good project! I like the clear parameters/goals. (Though, it should be noted that any policy manual ought to have a clear audience, and that a policy manual that has been streamlined for students would not include sections on “Faculty Program” and “Tenure Process” and a manual streamlined for, say, faculty and academic staff would probably not include information about sections on “Financial Aid Eligibility” and the like, which suggests that this project is really an effort to make things easier for Administrators, but whatever–no one but administrators reads policy manuals until they need them, so I’m willing to be open-minded and forgiving about this aspect.)

I do think it’s a bit strange that among those reviewing the only people who could possibly represent a faculty viewpoint are those who would do so through their imaginations and those administrators who, like Armen, for example, are former faculty (No CCC Union leadership? No FC4 leadership? Not even a nod? Puzzling), but perhaps that happened indirectly (i.e., someone on the list understood that they would pass this along) or by other means like administrators sending the link to faculty or something. Or, maybe, just maybe, they (AVC Mutz, the VC to whom he reports, or all or some of those at Campus Zero) concluded (or assumed) that this kind of project is an administrative one and so within their sole purview (a.k.a. a “Make-It-Work” Initiative). But that stuff, for now, is neither here nor there; I do not want to focus here about why faculty don’t (seem to) have a seat at this table, even in the review stage–to restate for absolute clarity: this is not a complaint about process–but instead seek an answer to whether there are substantive problems with this proposed set of policies that are going unaddressed or unconsidered (or, maybe, under-considered) on account faculty absence at the “table.” So I’d like to focus your attention here, on substance, at least for now.

Why limit the focus in this way, when process is such a big part of the current concerns? Because regardless of the process issue, I think faculty perspective on that third goal in particular (“Update/create new policies and delete policies that are no longer needed – focus on correcting policies with errors, that are out of compliance and/or create barriers to student success.”) might have some things to say that might be helpful and while the process discussion is important, we won’t get to the substance if we don’t temporarily bracket the process problems.

So, what is the substance of which I speak? Well, there’s good stuff, for sure! For example:


Responsible Computer Use Policy

There’s been a little bit of low-level freaking out and paranoia lately about what is and isn’t allowed, and some mis-information spread around, too. I thought it might be important for everyone’s sanity to address both.

The CCC “Responsible Computer Use Policy” urges and requires just that–responsible computer use. You can and SHOULD read the policy approved by the board regarding what constitutes, and what doesn’t, responsible use of CCC equipment.

I have spent enough time getting familiar with it to say that the policy was mis-characterized at the most recent chapter meeting. I’m not saying their advice–to limit one’s work on CCC equipment to strictly work related activities–was bad advice; it isn’t. That is surely the safest way to avoid trouble. Personally, though, I will not be following that advice, but will follow the policy instead.

The policy, if you haven’t bothered to read it, is basically as follows:

~Don’t break the law;

~Don’t do anything you aren’t authorized to do (i.e., don’t use someone else’s password to see some database that you aren’t supposed to, don’t give you password to someone else, don’t hack the system, etc.);

~Don’t be naughty (no harassment, don’t use up a ton of bandwidth watching movies all day during office hours, don’t swap files (music, software, etc.) that is copyrighted, don’t use your computer to run a side business for personal profit);

~Respect others’ privacy and protect your own (while knowing that your activities are not strictly private and may be monitored);

~Other stuff (follow copyright laws for stuff you post on your CCC site, be careful with third party connections, cooperate with any investigations, etc.

Buried in that policy is this: “Personal use of CCC computing resources for other purposes is permitted [emphasis mine] when it does not consume a significant amount of those resources, does not interfere with the performance of the user’s job or other CCC responsibilities, and is otherwise in compliance with this policy.”

So, going to a gambling site? Not responsible use (law breaking); checking your NCAA bracket? Probably ok. Downloading bootleg porn movies? Nor responsible use; watching clips from last night’s Daily Show? Probably ok.

Questions or comments to the contrary are welcome, but the main point is that as long as you aren’t stoopid about using your equipment and follow common sense, you should be ok.

Later in the week, I’ll put up another post about the copyright thing mentioned at the meeting. That, too, is a bit of an overstatement of the reality, but I want to check a few things before commenting on that.