UCAR > Communications > Staff Notes Monthly > November 2000 Search

November 2000

Delphi Question: Traffic on Mitchell Lane, Boy Scouts policy

Question #458 (received 31 August):

This summer I and other bike-commuting coworkers noticed a significant increase in the number of close calls [between bikes and cars] on Mitchell Lane and in the Foothills Lab parking lots. It is getting more dangerous and is only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs. UCAR has a policy of encouraging alternative transportation; what can it do to promote the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians on Mitchell Lane and in the parking lots?

Note: The questioner had some follow-up comments to clarify the situation for the Delphi coordinator.

The problem is not just traffic increase but all the folks parking along both sides of Mitchell Lane, which has narrowed the street considerably. With no lane markings, drivers are treating the street like one large parking lot. My suggestions would be:

Response (5 September):

I appreciate the writer's concern and constructive suggestions. Any unsafe activity occurring on UCAR property should be immediately reported to Security, ext. 1139, or Health, Environment, and Safety Services (HESS), ext. 8556. Once an unsafe situation is identified, prompt action can be taken to prevent its reoccurrence.

Mitchell Lane is a public street over which UCAR has no authority. Consequently, the city is entirely responsible for anything and everything that occurs along that corridor. For several years, HESS has made numerous suggestions to city officials regarding signs, painting of stripes, crosswalks, increased sanding and deicing, etc. In each instance the city has reviewed the situation, conducted its own risk analysis, and determined that no actions were warranted. As frustrating as this is, there is nothing we can do to make the city implement any changes. However, HESS will continue to officially encourage the city to reevaluate the situation and make appropriate changes.

—Steve Sadler, director
Safety and Site Services

Question #460 (received 25 September):

Although federally chartered since 1916, the Boy Scouts of America have recently gone to great lengths to define themselves as a private group, outside the public domain and able to discriminate. This year, the Scouts have successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court (Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale) to overturn a 1999 New Jersey Supreme Court decision (Dale v. Boy Scouts of America, et al. ), which stated the Scouts could not discriminate based on sexual orientation.

The official news release from the Scouts opens with, "We are very pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Dale case. This decision affirms our standing as a private association with the right to set its own standards for membership and leadership" (Boy Scouts of America News Release, 28 June 2000).

President Clinton's Executive Order 13160 of 23 June 2000 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in federally conducted education and training programs (Executive Order 13160).

Furthermore, the Scouts have a very strong religious component in both their Oath and Law, which require a belief in God (http://www.scouting.org/factsheets/02-503a.html).

I believe UCAR may be in violation of Clinton's executive order and two of its own policies. In addition, I seek clarification of the Boulder County United Way's policies regarding the Scouts. Please consider the following four issues:

(1) Is the Education and Outreach Program bound by Clinton's Executive Order? Is a Mesa Lab tour for the Scouts a violation due to the fact NSF owns the facility and NCAR is largely federally funded?

(2) Because Scout Oath and Law require reverence to God, are Scout fundraising activities via food sales and other solicitations sponsored by UCAR staff on behalf of their children a violation of provision 1 of UCAR Policy 4-1-7, Solicitation, Posting, and Distribution of Materials on UCAR-Operated Premises?

(3) Will Scout use of UCAR facilities, e.g., meeting space, be allowed? The Scouts appear to match the listing of ineligible organizations, specifically B and D, of UCAR's Policy 5-1-9, Facility Use for Non-UCAR Events.

(4) The Boulder County United Way contributed to the Scouts in 1997 (http://www.unitedway.org/). Will they continue to support the Scouts? Other United Way chapters are withholding funds (CNN, 12 September 2000). Will UCAR continue to advocate the United Way if the Boulder chapter supports the Scouts?

Apparently, the Boy Scouts of America believe very strongly that they are a private group and able to discriminate, as they have undoubtedly spent a significant amount of time and money litigating this issue before the U.S. Supreme Court. I see this as a very serious matter and request it be addressed by UCAR.

Thank you for providing this service.

Response (18 October):

(1) The executive order applies to UCAR in its broadest sense. UCAR does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, or sexual orientation in any element of its operations, including education and outreach. The Mesa Lab is a federal facility and is open to the public. A Mesa Lab tour for Boy Scouts would not be a violation of the executive order; in fact, if we excluded the Boy Scouts or any other group on the basis of their beliefs, that would be a violation.

(2) Solicitation on behalf of any non-UCAR organization during work time is not allowed, per policy 4-1-7.

(3) Scout use of UCAR facilities for meetings or social activities is prohibited under policy 5-1-9.

(4) According to Barbara Pingrey, executive director of the Boulder County United Way, the BCUW "encourages inclusive practices in all the programs we fund. However, we do not use funding to mandate social change. We provide, through our safety net of services, programs which are available to all the residents of Boulder County. It is true that not every individual program is available to every person. There are many examples here, including programs designed for a particular demographic group (children, seniors, etc.) or which serve a more limited geographic area." Based on these considerations, the executive committee of the BCUW has determined that they will honor the contract they have with the Boy Scout Longs Peak Council.

UCAR will continue its current practice, which is to make available information about the United Way and other charities. UCAR does not endorse or advocate any charity and does not require employees to contribute.

– Katy Schmoll,
UCAR vice-president of Finance and Administration

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the coordinator, Janet Evans (ext. 1114, ML room 517). They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential; they must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 4-1-2. Questions and answers of general interest to staff are submitted to Staff Notes Monthly by Janet. They may be edited for publication. For more information, including links to questions and answers published in Staff Notes Monthly and a log of all questions submitted since 1995, see the Delphi Service Web page.

In this issue... Other issues of Staff Notes Monthly

Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Mon Oct 30 15:12:44 MST 2000