The new president of Colorado College, Dick Celeste, says he is working to address concerns among some of the college's support staff that they are treated as "second-class citizens" compared with faculty and administrators on campus.
Celeste, the former Ohio governor and ambassador to India who joined CC in July, says he became aware of the concerns during meetings with support staff in recent months.
"What became evident to me in the course of this conversation was that there are distinctions on the college campus," Celeste said. The situation varies from office to office, he said, but in some offices "people feel as though they are treated as second-class citizens if they're in a support role."
Complaints from some support staff -- including administrative assistants, researchers and librarians -- include the perception that they are not invited to key office meetings and other events, Celeste said.
"We don't have a mountain here in terms of a problem," he said. "We have some bumps that are clear in the road and we need to address them, and I think people are of a mind to do that."
Celeste recently gave his blessing to an informal survey carried out by a support-staff representative, who sent out a memorandum to colleagues soliciting their input.
"President Celeste is asking for comments on and solutions to the alleged caste system and perceived segregation among faculty, administrators and support staff at CC," the memo stated.
Elizabeth Pudder, chairwoman of the college's Support Staff Advisory Committee, declined to discuss the matter in detail other than to say that support staff feel "separate" from other staff on campus.
The memorandum soliciting comments on the issue "got an overwhelming response," Pudder said.
-- Terje Langeland