CfDC Minutes — November 7, 2007

Members Present: Daryls Vander Beek, Gerald Hoff, Joe Lentini, Carloyn Grawi, Els Nieuwenshhuijsen, Paul Guttman, Stuart Segal, Carole Dubritsky, Bob Fraser, Tracy Wright, Margaret Hough, Jason Turkish, Lynne Shivers, Doug White and minutes submitted by Jill Rice

  1. Introductions were made around the table.

  2. Debriefing on Investing in Abilities Week.
    • A report was given as to the number of attendees at each event that occurred during Investing In Abilities Week.
    • A discussion was held on the various locations of the events.
    • Most of the programs were good. Several emails were sent around as to program suggestions for next year. Some questions were given about specific topics.
    • It was a lively response.
    • This was also done with our keynote speaker cancelling on us at the last minute.
    • From a historical perspective the numbers were incredible. When this council had started we were lucky to get 5-10 people in attendance. Now the numbers are sounding great at 30 plus for attendance.
    • The learning disability panelists were from the community, students and other staff.
    • This panel had not worked together previously.
    • The CIL (Center for Independent Living) has been contacted for two more presentations. This was for the panel on daily challenges. Hopefully this topic can be presented at other departments or places.
    • We had to (get) info out to a variety of places to get people to attend. This was listed in some people's churches.
    • Investing in Abilities Week committee had other discussions as for ways of publicity with the use of fliers, posters etc. There were many ideas for more publicity such as advertising.
    • Shared alliances had better attendances for those events.
    • Some students were required to attend events.
    • Employment panel would be linked to another panel where there could be more questions and answers. Dovetail the other panels. This was the third year for this employment panel. This may need to be restated or refigured if we decide to do this again for Investing in Abilities Week.
    • Location was discussed about Biomedical Science Research Building. Neither medical campus or central campus considers this a viable location
    • Mental Health panel had partners that donated brochures. Weather may have been an issue. Health Systems would like to offer this topic for 2008.
    • If you have more partnerships then you have more attendees
    • We need to reserve the space early with a hold and then drop if not need the space closer to the event. Some places are hard to find available space. Need to see how far out spaces can be reserved. IE 2009, 2010 stc.
    • Even with the big auditoriums you can request a room 4-5 years out. You have to request a file.
    • Maybe we need a slogan such as "each one bring one" to be able to invite more attendees
    • Possible offering of CEU's to the Health Systems/School of Social Work.
    • If you have more suggestions please email Doug White dkwhite@umich.edu

  3. Discussion of Jack Bernard's position as Chair.
    • You have all seen the emails.
    • Should Jack remain as Chair?
    • Is there a conflict of interest?
    • There have been a number of emails. Most emails have been written in the positive.
    • Should the leadership be retained?
    • Should there be a removal or is this a conflict of interest?
    • Disabilities are Jack's passions. He is careful about drawing the lines.
    • He has been an invaluable leader.
    • The concern if about the referendum not about Jack Bernard.
    • I never question his motives
    • The stadium may be the most defining issue to make sure that the Council has credibility.
    • The Council needs to be seen as separate from the Administration.
    • Jack could take a step back on specific issues.
    • There needs to an appearance of maintaining being neutral.
    • General Counsel and group membership. The question is can he draw the line. Even from his work prospective.
    • If we think in the long-range. Set aside personal feelings. Does this cause a conflict? Does this hurt the CFDC? So it is not so personable.
    • Jack has said he is not on either side.
    • Weigh in on the discussions not Jack's response.
    • He is in a position to defend himself.
    • He is smart enough and professional enough. The concern is the appearance of a conflict.
    • It is difficult to know the separation from the General Counsel's office and the Chair of the CFDC.
    • True all of CFDC who are university members. What are the perceptions for all of us? Are we all compromised to some extent?
    • Perception is important.
    • Is it personal or professional?
    • Conflict of interest? As the ADA Coordinator and as the Vice Chair? There needs to be a defined role.
    • Outsiders do not know what are the various roles of Jack's job.
    • Council wants to have an impact on how the university does business.
    • Judges will step aside if there is a perceived conflict of interest.
    • Find a middle ground.
    • There are limits to Jack's actual or perceived conflict of interest.
    • Jack Bernard has moved this committee ahead.
    • Not only staff and student but this Council has now outside members.
    • Jack Bernard has many hats to wear. As a former student, member with a disability and as faculty member.
    • How do each of us answer that dilemma?
    • He may need to step aside and not give the legal opinion for either side.
    • Jack tried to clarify the positions.
    • It may be important to have discussions with the vice chair of the Council. By saying "Are you comfortable with me saying that?"
    • Lets say that there are housing issues then should Doug White say step down as to not be seen as a conflict of interest.
    • Jack is open to us to say that we should be discussing and voting on this topic.
    • Whoever the Chair is when there is a perception of a conflict of interest should step aside or have a prologue.
    • Is this a true conflict of interest? Council is not "the official voice" of the University. Or is the Council an advisor? An example would be is this not an ADA complaint and does this department need to fix.
    • This can be very confusing to outsiders of the University. How is he doing that from the Office of General Counsel? As you have seen with the variety of emails.
    • We do not know how big this misconception is.
    • Is this a nest or is this one hornet?
    • Using disability as a hook to dispose of the skybox. The person did not speak in front of the General Assembly.
    • How big is this problem?
    • There have been many conversations about this.
    • Does the General Counsel's office say this is a conflict of interest?
    • If a student with a disability does not have an accommodation...... Most are not done this aggressively and at this legal expense.
    • Oppressive to see what individuals on an independent council CFDC
    • Defer to someone else. A hypothetical scenario: If jack Bernard steps away from the General Counsel's Office then Jack has not stepped aside from CFDC.
    • Has anyone heard a student with that specific complaint? No
    • Safe or comfortable to come forward. There is a chilling.
    • For those of us who work with students should all of us not be on the Council?
    • Things that are heavily litigated and highly sensitive (University of Michigan being investigated by the Feds) then Jack needs to step aside.
    • Student complaint is different with federal and individual litigants.
    • University of Michigan is taking a hard line by saying that we will not compromise with the Feds.
    • Why would a student want to come through against the University?
    • The University is trying to be accommodating.
    • The University received the complaint on a Friday night at 7:30 and they had a ten day turnaround. This is one of many lawsuits. There is the paralyzed vets and also individual lawsuits. I have talked to many lawyers outside of this institution and they say this is normal procedure to give such a short turnaround time.
    • Our group is just more sensitive.
    • They had to reply in 6 working days.
    • I was appalled how can a University stand up with this. Talked to three other attorneys and they said this is a normal process in working through issues.
    • The DOE wants to know how to remedy this.
    • How would Jack Bernard's relationship or behavior in regards to stadium with other issues. What is the perception? How does this differ from what he is done or communicated ?
    • Two things in hindsight.
      • Not send letter as Jack Bernard Office of General Counsel.
      • My issues please share it with others on the council. Maybe recommend that I cannot comment please talk to the Office of General Counsel or talk to the person that is handling that.
    • A disclaimer might be suggested.
    • People are recognize us on campus. Do we have By laws? No.
    • If the Chair is too closely tied can they remove themselves?
    • We need By-laws.
    • We have no budget either.
    • Are we to continue as having Jack Bernard as our chairperson or should he step down?

      Please vote on a piece of paper with a + or a - as your vote.
      People voted and the tally was: It is the will of the council to support Jack Bernard remaining as Chair.

    • He does show a commitment and passion. He needs to step down if there is a perceived conflict of interest.
    • There needs to be some kind of structural element for this council to proceed.
    • The issues make the perceptions.

Announcements:

The CIL is moving. December 7 and December 10 the office will be closed for the move. New address will be 3941 Research Park Drive. This is off of Ellsworth and State. There are open houses every Thursday except for Thanksgiving.

United Way should be a consideration for the CIL Investing in Ability Week also needs contributions.

Nov 12th, 2007 You should have gotten emails about how architecture can influence schools and new buildings.

Time had run out and we were not able to address New Business.

Email note from Doug White after meeting:

Thanks, Jill, for capturing some of the points and flavor of the lively discussion regarding Jack. I just want to clarify a point at the end of that section of the minutes. When it says that he needs to step down if there is a perceived conflict of interest, what was meant was that if it is likely that, regarding, for instance, some high profile litigated issue, there might be a general perception of conflict of interest or "collusion" with the Office of the General Counsel (or any other office for that matter), that the chair, either via a prologue or some disclaimer to any communication regarding it, should take steps to eliminate any confusion and make very clear what the boundaries of the communication are - or, if the communication is, for example, a resolution or opinion of the council as a whole, that the job of communicating it then be delegated (e.g. to the the Vice Chair or some other member) to someone else, with regard to whom such a general perception would not exist. It wasn't the sense of the council that if anyone should claim that there is a conflict of interest that he should then step down, since such a claim could potentially be made regarding any University staff member on the council.