Batavia, New York — A faculty-student initiative at Genesee Community College that draws college and community attention to bullying in educational settings is gaining momentum, Assistant Professor of Psychology Candice Faulring reported to the Board of Trustees yesterday evening.
The problem of bullying in schools has gained both regional and national attention over the last several years, Professor Faulring said. Bullying can include a variety of hostile acts directed against individuals, including taunts and threats, as well as physical violence. Media outlets across the nation have reported instances of student suicides resulting from bullying, and several of these suicides prompted Genesee faculty and students to launch efforts to make both the GCC community and wider region aware of the problem.
Initiatives at Genesee Community College have included:
•An October, 2010 Anti-Bullying rally at the College;
•A November, 2010 Anti-Bullying silent vigil;
•A “Stop Bullying/Change a Life” promotional campaign this semester co-sponsored by GCC’s Gay-Straight Alliance and Christian Students United;
•A panel discussion on the subject last month (November 29, 2011) featuring concerned educators and citizens, including Timothy and Tracy Rodemeyer of the Buffalo area, whose 14-year son Jamey, committed suicide after being repeatedly bullied and harassed.
Professor Faulring told trustees that GCC students are highly aware of the problem. “I hear from students who are concerned about this,” she said. “In my classes, students talk about it – it [bullying] has happened to them at some point, or to their children.”
The anti-bullying educational events have attracted several hundred students, and interest is growing. The November 29 panel discussion attracted about 150 participants. “Many of my students are excited and eager to play a role in addressing the problem,” Professor Faulring said.
Board Chair Charles R. Ruffino lauded the efforts and told fellow trustees that he attended the November 29 panel discussion. “I was at that panel discussion, and was very impressed by what I heard there,” Mr. Ruffino said.
In other business this evening, the Board of Trustees:
•Recognized members of the Women’s Volleyball Team for their outstanding season. The Team won 25 matches, and won regional and district tournaments.
•Approved a change in the name of the “Student Rights and Responsibilities” policies to “Student Code of Conduct” and a change in the name of the “Plagiarism” policies to “Academic Integrity.” The Board also amended the Academic Integrity policies to include acts of academic dishonesty other than plagiarism, such as cheating, unauthorized collaboration on assignments, and fraudulent and deceitful behavior.
•Approved the granting of 338 degrees and certificates to students in January, subject to satisfactory completion of their studies. The College anticipates awarding seven Associate in Arts (A.A.) degrees; 167 Associate in Science (A.S.) degrees; 137 Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees; and 27 certificates.
•Heard Trustee Diane D. Torcello, Chair of the Board’s Finance Committee, report that the College’s annual audit is complete and that the independent auditors, Lumsden & McCormick, LLP, have issued a “clean and satisfactory” report.
•Heard Trustee Laurie J. Miller announce that the Board will accept nominations for honorary associate degrees, to be conferred during May, 2012 commencement ceremonies. Nominees must be individuals who have an association with Genesee Community College, and who have made extraordinary contributions to the life and growth of the College; or who are notable leaders in academic disciplines taught by the College; or individuals who have earned business, professional, civic, or scholarly accomplishments. Nomination forms are available on the College’s web site at http://www.genesee.edu/_content/about/images/Honorary%20Associate%20Degr....
•Heard Dr. Virginia M. Taylor, Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services, report that the College has received 877 applications for spring 2012 admission, up from the 851 received last year at this time. President James M. Sunser told trustees that College staff members will emphasize the importance of degree completion to new students, and will launch new initiatives to help students stay on track toward graduation. Dr. Sunser also noted that the College continues to offer innovative ways for students to earn academic credits and complete degrees, such as the new “Winterim” Session running late this month and early next month.
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