Scheinman Institute outlines Presidential Task Force nomination process

Media Contact

John Carberry

Harry Katz

Martin Scheinman

The Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at the ILR School has outlined a broad, inclusive process for nominating members of the Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate.

In a memo sent to the Ithaca campus community Oct. 27, Scheinman Institute Director Harry Katz and Cornell trustee Martin F. Scheinman ’75, M.S. ’76, announced seven open, all-community meetings the institute will hold during the first 11 days of November. Once nominations have been received, they said, institute members will evaluate them and submit recommendations to Cornell President Martha E. Pollack. Their intent is that the members of the task force will be announced before Thanksgiving break.

The meetings, which will be facilitated and mediated by institute-affiliated faculty and staff, are “to accomplish the goal of seating a group able to voice the concerns and interests spanning the breadth of the Cornell community – graduate and professional students, undergraduate students, faculty, academics, staff and alumni – and to maximize transparency,” Katz and Scheinman said.

The meetings are open to any interested individuals, including members of the Ithaca community, although several of the meetings will focus on the nomination process for particular segments of Cornellians: faculty, staff, undergraduate students, and graduate and professional students.

The meeting dates, times and locations are:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 1, 9:30-10:30 a.m. in the Willard Straight Hall Memorial Room;
  • Friday, Nov. 3, 11 a.m.-noon in 423 King-Shaw Hall (emphasis on faculty nominations);
  • Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, noon-1 p.m. in the Statler Ballroom (emphasis on staff nominations);
  • Monday, Nov. 6, 5-6 p.m. in the Robert Purcell Community Center Auditorium and first-floor rooms (emphasis on undergraduate student nominations);
  • Wednesday, Nov. 8, 5-6 p.m. in 423 King-Shaw Hall (emphasis on graduate and professional student nominations);
  • Thursday, Nov. 9, 9-10 a.m. in 423 King-Shaw Hall; and
  • Saturday, Nov. 11, 10:15 a.m.-noon in 105 Ives Hall (emphasis on a summary of all meetings and presentation of the nomination process).

In a statement released earlier this month, Pollack had announced the co-chairs of the task force and shared its charge; she also outlined an expected timeline, estimating that an intermediate report would be expected around spring break with final reports and recommendations due May 1.

In their memo, Katz and Scheinman gave estimates of the task force size and time commitment for members. They said the task force would likely have about 30-35 people total divided among the three subcommittees (Campus Experience, Regulation of Speech and Harassment, and Campus Response), and the expectation is that task force members would need to attend an in-person meeting approximately once a week. The size of the subcommittees may vary, and additional task force members may be added at a later point if needed, they said.

Task force members, in addition to meetings with the full committee, subcommittees and with constituencies and organizations, may also be asked to do reading, research and drafting as part of their responsibilities, Katz and Scheinman said, noting that “for those interested in serving, there will be a need to devote a substantial amount of time” to the task force.

For Cornellians interested in participating but unable to devote time to the task force or attend a meeting, the institute will develop an online platform for two-way communications, Katz and Scheinman said.

The task force is just one important element of an overall conversation and effort to broadly engage and address issues of inclusion within, as well as the physical and emotional safety of, the campus community, they said.

“There will be no easy or quick fixes,” Katz and Scheinman said. “Hard conversations always take time. But Cornell will be better able to incorporate everyone and foster the feeling of belonging, given its willingness to engage in these conversations.”

Updates on the task force’s process will be posted to the task force page on the Office of the President website.

The Cornell professors and staff affiliated with the Scheinman Institute study, conduct research, teach and train students campuswide as well as thousands of people throughout the U.S. annually about all aspects of conflict resolution.


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