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Equal Opportunity and Inclusion

EOI & TITLE IX GUIDANCE

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VOL. 2 , ISSUE 5
NOVEMBER 2021

Top Stories in this Issue

  • Job of the Search and Screen Committee
  • Frequently Asked Questions about the Search and Screen Process
  • Can You Recognize Violations of the Search and Screen Process?
 
 

Job of the Search and Screen Committee

There are several active faculty recruitments in process at UNF. The university has recently altered its processes for approving steps in the search and screen process. You may access an on-line training for the Search and Screen Process here.

This newsletter will highlight the changes in the process and answer some of the frequently asked questions regarding this process. A Search and Screen Guide is being developed and will be available in January 2022.  


Frequently Asked Questions about the Search and Screen Process

Is Search and Screen Committee Training Required?

It is required for any employees who are going to participate in the search and screen process, including committee members and committee liaisons.

Why do we have to notice our meetings in advance?

Florida’s Government-in-the-Sunshine Law, section 286.011, Florida Statutes on Public Meetings, commonly referred to as the “Sunshine Law,” provides a public right of access to governmental proceedings, including certain public boards and committees, including search and screen committee meetings. Part of the requirements of the Sunshine Law are that meetings are to be publicly noticed in advance so that members of the public are able to make arrangements to attend the meetings if they so choose.

What academic literature can you provide that shows a faculty search process should be diverse?

The University Provost has charged all members of Search and Screen Committees to conduct diverse searches because a diverse, capable, and engaged workforce adds to the vibrancy of our campus community and advances our “student centered mission to create the next generation of thinkers, leaders, and problem solvers with the knowledge and experience to uniquely change the world.” 

Academic literature on the topic from the past four (4) years includes the publications obtained using the following links:

 

Why is EOI encouraging me to conduct an external search when I know I have the perfect candidate in my department?

The federal government expects public entities to conduct transparent search processes when filling positions. UNF is expected to select from a diverse pool of candidates and most of the departments at UNF are not very diverse and that makes it hard for a department to have a diverse pool of candidates from only internal candidates. An external search does not preclude internal applicants from applying for the position. In fact, the internal candidate should have an advantage by knowing UNF polices and procedures as well as having established relationships on campus. These factors should propel the internal candidate to the top of the applicant pool and then provide data to show that the most qualified person was selected from the available pool of diverse applicants in the event of an audit.  

My search committee was not approved for lack of diversity. I know that Dora Explorer is Hispanic, so I know we have a minority on the committee. Why are you holding up our process?

What you perceive to be a person’s race or ethnic origin may not be what they have self-reported to Human Resources as their race or ethnicity. EOI must go by what Ms. Explorer has reported as her race or ethnicity and she lists herself as Caucasian. Therefore, you do not have any ethnic diversity on your search committee, and you need to correct that before moving forward in the process.

I have two strong candidates who have applied for the position and I’m afraid if we go through the process that we will lose them to other schools. Can’t I just interview both them and move forward?

If you only have two applicants for your position, you need to expand your search to attract more qualified candidates to apply for the position. Where have your advertised? Have you reached out to any professional associations to notify them of your vacancy? Have you used listservs in your academic area or your academic colleagues at other campuses? You must be able to demonstrate to the federal government that you advertised broadly and for a long enough period of time to attract diverse candidates BEFORE you are able to proceed with a limited application pool.

We have an applicant Kate Middleton, a citizen of the United Kingdom.  Are we able to sponsor work visas?  If that’s not a possibility, then should we remove her from the list of persons that we will interview for the position?

The Search and Screen Committee should limit its focus to the candidate’s credentials vis-à-vis the required education and experience required to perform the job. To raise issues of citizenship and visa status is not the purview of the Search and Screen Committee and can be problematic especially when the question involves a candidate’s national origin and could lead to claims of national origin discrimination.

What must be included in the minutes from the search committee meetings?

Minutes should include a summary of the general discussion any action items from the meeting. Minutes should also reflect the rationale for any and all recommendations made, including reasons for non-selection.

How many candidates are we to submit to the hiring official at the end of the process?

That depends. The hiring official should provide you with their preference at the beginning of the process. Most prefer three names, some want more. Seek guidance from your hiring official on this but remember, the list is an unranked list.

After submitting the unranked list to the hiring official, is the committee finished?

Almost. Before the selected candidate begins working at UNF, the department that hired the employee must ensure that a background check was completed, official transcripts have been received by UNF along with a signed offer letter and three letters of recommendation. All of these materials must be sent to human resources so the candidate may be processed for payroll.  


 

Can You Recognize Violations of the Search and Screen Process?

Answers are provided at the bottom of the newsletter

HYPO #1:

Michael Scott is the Hiring Official for the Dean of Crayons position. He appoints Kevin Malone as Chair of the Search Committee. Michael and Kevin meet weekly regarding the Crayon Department and its progress within Crayola University. At the end of last week’s weekly meeting, Michael tells Kevin that he has accessed the credentials of the applicants for the Dean position and suggests that the committee interview Pam Beesly for the position. Has the Search and Screen Process been violated?

HYPO #2:

Peter Griffin and Cleveland Brown are both members of the search committee for an Assistant Professor position in the Animation Department at Disney University. While they were at lunch, Joe Swanson calls to ask what time the search committee meeting is tomorrow. Neither remembers so they call Glen Quagmire he notifies them that the meeting will be a 3:00 pm at the Student Union Conference Room. Glen Quagmire asks if he can join them for lunch and they say yes. After lunch the three proceed to the Student Union for the committee meeting. Has the Florida Sunshine Law been violated?

HYPO #3:

Labron James is leaving the gym at the same time as Dwight Howard, and they walk to their cars together. Both are on the search committee for the Director of Strength and Conditioning position for Laker University’s athletics department. When they get to the parking lot, Dwight asks Labron what he thought about the strength demonstration provided by Arnold Schwarzenegger that day. They talk about how the workout could be incorporated into the men’s and women’s basketball programs. They depart for separate lunches and then return to campus for a search committee meeting. Has the Florida Sunshine Law been violated?

HYPO #4:

The Search Committee for the Vice President of Candy is meeting in the Candy Department Conference Room. There are seven (7) people on the committee and the Liaison attends all meetings. The Candy Conference Room is small and only has nine (9) chairs in it. The search committee meeting for today was publicly noticed a week in advance and was posted on the Candy Department website and on the University human resources web site. Has the Florida Sunshine Law been violated?

HYPO #5:

The Search Committee for Director of Campus Fun has scheduled a committee meeting. The members would like to be expedient and share documents ahead of their next meeting date. They have decided to do so using Microsoft Teams. Over the course of three weeks, prior to their next scheduled and properly noticed meeting, they share 10 documents. An on-line discussion of those documents occurs between two members of the search committee. At the next scheduled meeting, they proceed with the agenda and share the 10 documents with the attendees of the meeting. Has the Florida Sunshine Law been violated?


 

INVESTIGATIONS

Total EOI Investigations  

2019-2020 (July 1 - June 30) 129
2020-2021 (July 1 - June 30) 124

 

Current EOI Investigations  

Total Investigations       73
Cases Opened in October  17
Cases Closed in October 21
Referred to OSAR     1

As of October 31, 2021 (includes situational cases)

Note: Student Case must be closed by EOI before it can be referred to OSAR     


 

Answers to HYPOS

ANSWER TO HYPO #1:

Yes. After charging the search committee the role of the hiring official ends until he meets with the search committee chair at the end of the process to receive the unranked list of names. To suggest to the search committee chair that the committee interview any specific candidates violates and is detrimental to the process.

ANSWER TO HYPO #2:

No. Based on the facts provided the only information shared was regarding the time and location of the search committee meeting. Therefore, there was no violation of the Florida Sunshine Law.

However, if the three committee members discussed any part of the search process or the candidates in the process, or if the phone call was regarding any information beyond the time and location of the meeting, and if that lunch or telephone call was not publicly noticed at least seven days in advance, then there would have been a violation of the Florida Sunshine Law.

ANSWER TO HYPO #3:

Yes. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s demonstration was a part of the search and screen process so any discussion of that demonstration by members of the search committee outside of a formal committee meeting that was publicly noticed at least seven (7) days in advance of the meeting is a violation of the Florida Sunshine Law. Therefore, the conversation between LeBron and Dwight was a violation.

ANSWER TO HYPO #4:

Yes. For a meeting to be open to the public, it must be able to accommodate the public if they decide to attend. In this case, there were going to be at least eight (8) participants at the meeting and only nine (9) chairs. Therefore, this would be a violation of the Florida Sunshine Law.

ANSWER TO HYPO #5:

Yes. Once members of the committee interacted with each another and discussed matters concerning the Director of Fun search, a “meeting” took place. Remember that ALL meetings of the search committee must be publicly noticed in advance of the meeting date. Therefore, it is suggested that committee members only use locations where documents can be shared without comment or share documents with the liaison who can subsequently share with all committee members once organized.


 

EOI Office Staff Directory

Director and Title IX Coordinator

Marlynn Jones, Esquire
Marlynn.jones@unf.edu

EOI Coordinator

Fantei Norman
Fantei.norman@unf.edu


Office of Equal Opportunity & Inclusion
1 UNF Drive, Building 1, Suite 1200, Jacksonville, FL 32224
904-620-2507
Edited by: Marlynn R. Jones, Esquire