November 9, 2010 Minutes

Tuesday, November 9, 2010
4:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.
Brown Hillel, Social Hall

Members: Provost Kertzer, Russell Carey, Margaret Klawunn, Michael Pickett, Hanna Rodriguez-Farrar, Bill Twaddell, James Baird, Suzanne de la Monte, Corey Walker, Brittaney Check, Diane Mokoro, Yelen Chihombori Quao, Michael Stewart, Ryan Hartigan, Heather Lee, Catharine Beattie, Yolanda Castillo-Appollonio, Paul Magliocco, David Sherry, and Daniel Harrop were in attendance. President Simmons, Corey Brettschneider, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Timothy Herbert, Evelyn Hu-Dehart, Lynne Joyrich, Kiri Miller, Eric Suuberg, Michelle Site, Eva Glieberman, Sunil Hebbar, Gillian Bell, Jill Rossi, Rebekah Eckstein, Charlie Kroll, and Ken McDaniel were unable to attend.

Provost Kertzer chaired the meeting in President Simmons’ absence.

The minutes of the October 12, 2010 meeting were approved.

Members of the Student Labor Alliance presented for the Council's consideration and approval, a resolution encouraging the Brown community to avoid holding events at venues involved in a labor dispute. After much discussion among its members, the Council voted to not approve the resolution citing concerns with the generality of some of its wording. Instead the Council voted to approve the resolution below which was moved by Corey Walker and specifically addresses the ongoing labor dispute at the Westin Hotel in Providence.

RESOLUTION ON THE BROWN COMMUNITY AND LABOR DISPUTES

WHEREAS The Brown University community flourishes best when the broadest range of participation in events is permitted and encouraged; and

WHEREAS the Brown University community is defined as students, faculty, and staff, and alumni organizations thereof; and

WHEREAS labor disputes at hotels or convention centers serving Brown University events can restrict participation in the event or meetings because many potential participants may feel a moral duty to respect a picket line or boycott by refusing to attend the conference or event; and

WHEREAS a public boycott of the Westin Hotel in Providence led to the relocation of Brown University's Gala in April 2010, forcing student coordinators to reorganize the event in order to hold a successful event for students and to support the rights of workers; and

WHEREAS a public boycott of the Westin Hotel in Providence led to the relocation of the Brown Sports Foundation's "Fifty Years of Men's Rugby" event in October 2010; and

WHEREAS the dispute at the Westin is ongoing and other Brown University-affiliated events are likely to be impacted by it; and

WHEREAS nationwide, many respected academic organizations have relocated events in respect of hotel boycotts in the past, including the American Association of University Professors, the Organization of American Historians, the Linguistic Society of America, the American Sociological Association, the American Political Science Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the American Anthropological Association; and

WHEREAS union contracts at hotels and convention centers within the city of Providence and state of Rhode Island will be renegotiated regularly, possibly resulting in future labor disputes and consequently, requiring support of other boycotts; and,

WHEREAS union representation tends to raise wages, supply benefits, and protect worker dignity, and can thereby benefit hotel workers, many of whom are otherwise disadvantaged by their socioeconomic status; and

WHEREAS the Brown University community relies upon the labor of hotel and other service workers; and

WHEREAS the total economic value of Brown University conferences, meetings, and events gives the Brown University community significant leverage to influence the employment practices of hotels and the other service industries;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the BUCC finds that the Brown University community has a responsibility to act so as to preserve our integrity, to promote full participation in meetings, conferences and events, and to ensure that those individuals whom it employs, both directly and indirectly, are treated fairly and equitably; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the BUCC encourages the Brown community to take all appropriate measures to avoid holding any events at the Westin Hotel in Providence during the current labor dispute and notify relevant university events planning bodies of the ongoing labor dispute at the Westin Hotel and the history of Brown University events being relocated from that venue.

That a working group will be convened to investigate adding labor disputes to the standard cancellation clause in contracts for off-campus events and meetings and developing a vendor code of conduct that reflects the University's values relative to labor issues. The working group will report back to the BUCC with its findings.

Margaret Klawunn, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services, gave on overview of undergraduate housing at Brown which included a breakdown of where students live on- and off campus and the housing challenges. The University commissioned a housing evaluation and assessment from which came the following recommendations: continue to maintain, renew, recalibrate; increase capacity in existing buildings; and conduct a site selection study for new residence hall(s). Renovations to 315 Thayer Street, a University housing building, are scheduled to begin this summer.

Roger Nozaki, Director of the Swearer Center, began his presentation with highlights of the Center's curricular initiatives and advising, community programs and leadership, and start-up support. Mr. Nozaki then reviewed feedback from various groups involved in the 2010 Swearer Center planning process that led to changes in the review process and to open up eligibility for Swearer Center Community programs.

The next meeting of the Brown University Community Council will be held on March 15, 2011 from 4:00–5:30 pm at Brown Hillel, 80 Brown Street.

Respectfully submitted,
Catherine Pincince, Secretary of the Brown University Community Council