of Champaign County


Steering Committee

December 6, 2007

Present: Bill Brown, Elaine Gehrmann, Ward Henson, Stan Levy, Esther Patt, Hiram Paley, Lynne Rudasill, Carol Spindel, Shirley Stillinger, Marsha Woodbury


After the members of the steering committee introduced themselves, Esther Patt introduced Renee Romano, Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs, who came to discuss with the steering committee what the University is doing to create a comfortable environment for free speech on campus.  She described the tolerance program, also known as the bias-incident program, which is more like mediation with a focus on education.  A student involved in an incident that does not violate the student code  is invited by email to meet with staff on a voluntary basis for a discussion; the staff may make recommendations.


There was extensive discussion.  Carol Spindel said that students need ethical guidance:  many students are not aware of the history and issues of intolerance.  She thought that a tolerance program should be required for all freshmen; Ms Romano said that was one on the suggestions being considered.


Esther thanked Ms. Romano for meeting with us and said that we would continue to monitor free speech on campus.


The regular meeting was then called to order by the chair, Esther Patt, at 8:10 p.m.  The minutes were approved with the correction of two typographical errors.


The financial statement showing total assets of $5,346.59 was accepted.  After the fall gathering, another $240 in donations was received.


Hate Speech Forum

Steve Helle has agreed to moderate the forum on February 28.  Colleen Connell will participate on behalf of the ACLU.  Other names were suggested and people agree to ask them.


Annual Meeting

The meeting will be a brunch at The Great Impasta on Sunday, April 6, 2008.  Esther asked for volunteers to serve on the nominating and awards committees; she will also send out an email asking for volunteers.


It was agreed to send out a  notice of the forum on a postcard and a notice of the annual meeting in the spring newsletter.


The time of the regular monthly meeting will change to 7:00 p.m. beginning  February 7, 2008; there will be no January meeting.


                                               Respectfully submitted,


                                                Shirley Stillinger