KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Faculty and staff at Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City rallied Thursday ahead of a board meeting to voice their opposition to an aspect of a proposed conduct policy that would require them to disclose any relationship with a student.
"I should say, most people agree that a non-fraternization policy is needed," Cindy Cerrentano, an adjunct professor at MCC, said. "Just not this particular policy that is far too broad [and] reaches into people's privacy when it really doesn’t need to."
Members of the LGBTQ+ community said they worry that such a disclosure could 'out' someone.
"You don’t know if they'll share that with anybody else," Trin Carroll, who works and studies at MCC, said. "You don't know if your family is going to find out – some people aren't out to their families, and they are out at work or they would be outed at work by this."
The group reached out to MCC's administration and board several times to address their concerns.
"Policies are intended to be broad in scope, and that the college has a responsibility to develop a procedure that will absolutely address the equity concern," MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty said.
Prior to Thursday night's meeting, MCC issued a statement addressing the concerns. The college said in the statement that the policy is "intended to foster positive, supportive employee relations, create a productive work environment for MCC’s academic programs and administrative services and help to create a campus environment conducive to the mission of MCC."
"The policy under consideration was developed through MCC’s established shared governance processes," the statement read. "All recommended changes to the non-fraternization portion of the policy recommended through this process were incorporated with the exception of the portion referring to relationships where a power differential exists.
"It is important to note that while the non-fraternization portion of the standards of conduct does require the disclosure of relationships between an employee and student, that disclosure will be confidential. MCC is committed to creating a culture that respects all students and employees and will ensure this policy (if approved) is put in practice in a manner that is in keeping with that commitment."
Beatty also said they would love to see members of the public at their meetings, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, space is limited.
At the meeting the board unanimously passed the proposal but took out the 'non-fraternization' policy.
"I think that this is a bit of an aberration," Cerrentano said. "And ultimately, we can do better and we're excited to be a part of that work."