SPCSA holds termly Faculty Dinner

Event: 13X Faculty Dinner

Date: 7 August 2013

Location: Paganucci Lounge

Who Attended

Prof. Kelly McConnell, French and Italian

Prof. Richard Denton, Physics and Astronomy

Prof. Lee Witters, Biological Sciences and Geisel Medical School

Prof. Susannah Heschel, Jewish Studies

Prof. Richard Kremer, History

Carl Thum, Director of Academic Skills Center

Lisa Thum, Undergraduate Dean

Aurora Matzkin, Office of Health Promotion and Wellness


The objective of this dinner was to have an informal conversation with faculty about the current campus climate with emphasis on sexual violence, how professors feel about having a role in addressing concerning behavior on campus, and how students and faculty could create more opportunities for closer relationships with faculty members.


1. Professors felt that they know very little about policy and resources concerning sexual misconduct on campus as well as what is already being done to address the issue. They also showed concern for the disproportionate punishment of perpetrators relative to the severity and prevalence of sexual violence.

2. Professors expressed that they are sometimes discouraged to interact with students because research and academic teaching, especially for junior faculty, is supposed to be their main concerns. Issues of crossing a professional boundary is also cited as a reason. Professors, however, are interested in getting more involved in student life.

3. There was a discussion about the lack of student controlled spaces. Very few places on campus allow students to arrange the space to their own liking and without always having to become a study space.

4. We talked about the idea of a residential college system that mimic and expand on the East Wheelock Cluster where professors can have a closer role to student life on campus. It was suggested that professors could be eligible to receive an off-term to run a cluster for a term.

Action Steps

1. Strongly urge all professors, by means of department heads, to seek first responder training to learn more about the issue and learn how they can get further involved.

2. If professors are first responder trained and willing/comfortable, urge professors to include a line their course syllabi to identify themselves as first responders who are a referral and support system to a student dealing with non-academic issues.

3. Hand deliver paper copies of SPCSA recommendations to department heads who would disseminate to their faculty.

4. Propose to SPCSA to host a faculty dinner every term to reach wider range of professors and opinions and to monitor progress with efforts concerning the faculty.

Thank you to all professors who came!