Staff Advisory Council

March 2016


March Staff Advisory Council Meeting

Meeting Minutes

March 22, 2016

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
HR Conference Room

Present: Jessica Nairn (called-in), Bonnie Bresett, Tamra Hjermstad, Miguel Gutierrez, Susan Gaskell, Helena Warburg, Martha Tetrualt, ex officio, Vishakha Sheoran, ex officio

Absent: Veronica Bosley, Kim Altiere, Brian Teal, Rachel Louis, Joey McClain, Kevin Thomas, ex officio


Next Meeting: April 26, 2016, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. in HR Conference Room

  1. Approval of January 26 minutes

The members reviewed and approved meeting minutes with a few amendments.

  1. Review of Bereavement Policy

The group was to do benchmarking of Bereavement policy across our peer institutions in the last meeting. Each member was assigned a few institutions and asked to review their respective Bereavement policy and to add findings on Google spreadsheet. The Google sheet helped to initiate a discussion about bereavement policies at William.  There was a debate about how much latitude should be given to the supervisor versus the HR director. Council collectively agreed that the limiting the number of days or adding a cap to days such as ten days will be an issue. One of the members suggested that as an institution, it is important to ensure that employees are aware that if they need more time, they can ask for more time by going through appropriate channels. A few members emphasized that the policy should consider the kind of relationship employee had with the person versus focusing on immediate family members only. For example, first cousin or a best friend is not considered part of immediate family, but if you are close and had to coordinate whole funeral and wake, 3 days might not be enough. Another member mentioned that when there is a death in family due to extenuating circumstances, it is difficult to sit down and think about specific of a policy. The key would be to amend the language on this policy.

Martha pointed out that the language of this policy is crucial in order for it to clearly guide employees and supervisors. In addition, if supervisor is not aware enough to ask right questions, it might be difficult. Another member raised a concern about how the current policy may be interpreted as asking employees to use their vacation days. Martha shared that there are certain factors such as extended travel, circumstances around death, and relationship to the person that may necessitate extra bereavement days.

  • Grievance Policy

Martha gave brief introduction along with history about this policy. The college was advised revise the Grievance Policy in order to clarify the kinds of workplace issues that would apply under the policy. .

Martha suggested for each member of the Council to take 2 or 3 institutions from the list and find out about their grievance policy for each institution and to discuss the findings in the next meeting. Some of the institutions to be reviewed include Smith University, Princeton, Amherst, Wesleyan, Middlebury, Skidmore, Wellesley, Bowden, University of Chicago, Stanford, and Yale.


  1. Bullying Policy

Martha asked for members’ opinions on the necessity and importance of Williams having a Bullying Policy. Members stated concerns for possible retribution, and how to report such claims. One of the members shared that most of the time, such claims are usually based on who says what.


  1. Change in Meeting time

The Council agreed to change meeting time from 9:30 am to 9:00 am for future meetings.


  1. Next Meeting Topics

Discuss findings from Grievance Policy

Please submit any agenda items to Kevin prior to the next scheduled meeting.


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