Senate: Wed May 22, 3 to 5:30. Updated with proposed motion of no confidence.

Update: A hearty congratulations to the losers of the Senate and committee elections. Names of the unfortunate winners are posted here.

Agenda:  Here and below. Legal services, new course approvals, perhaps a motion calling for amendments to SB270 to incorporate the constitution.

Regarding the UO Board legislation, SB 270. FAQ here.

Live blog disclaimer: My interpretation of what people said, meant to say, or what I wished they’d said. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes.

3:00 pm 1. Call to Order
3:02 pm 2. State of the University


2.1 Remarks by Robert Kyr, Senate President
Meet w/ Rob tonight, 6:00-9:00pm at Collier House to give him input for his testimony tomorrow the the State Legislature on SB270.
Kyr: We’ve been dealt a bad hand over the past few years, as a university we’ve done as well as possible with it.

3:20 pm 3. New Business

3.1 UO Senate Leadership and Service Award for Officers of Administration;
Presented to Stephanie Bosnyk, Assistant Dean of Operations, Lundquist College of Business (Jim Bean came in second.)

Standing ovation, very nice remarks. 
3.2 UO Senate Classified Staff Leadership Award; 
Presented to Richard Daniels, Outgoing Mail Specialist
Unable to make the meeting, he’s enjoying his retirement traveling. Very personable written remarks – handy with plumbing and can run a sewing-machine! Slips in a pitch for SEIU and for higher compensation for staff. Slick.

3.3 Wayne Westling Award; 
Presented to Paul Engelking; Professor (Chemistry)
Kyr: Paul’s put UOCC minutes and process onto the web, improving transparency and efficiency.
Engelking: Remembers Wayne Westling with admiration. Great story about how he (Paul) was tricked into becoming Senate president.

Paul Simonds, Senate Parliamentarian: As oldest “dead president” he inducts Kyr into the society, with two bottles of wine, one for each year. Might be worth showing up at Collier House tonight.
3.4 Motion (Legislation): Spring Curriculum Report
Paul Engelking, Chair; Committee on Courses
Approved. 

3.5 Motion (Legislation):
Authorization to Award Degrees; Robert Kyr,  Senate President
Approved.

3.6 Announcement of
Spring Election Results (Kyr) 
3.7 Introduction of New Senators (Kyr) 
Yeah. Good group.

3.8 Signing of
Facilities Scheduling Policy & the Conferral of Posthumous Degrees
Policy (Kyr) 
Pres Gottfredson has agreed and is signing. Free at last.

3.9
Academic Freedom & Freedom of Speech Policy (Kyr) 
Gottfredson wants to divide these into 2 policies, so we’ll put these off until next year. Strange – the union contract has a lot to say about these issues as well.

3.10
Legal Services Policy; Margie Paris (Law), Senate President-Elect & Chair, Legal Representation Policy Review Committee 
Paris: Harbaugh noticed that the UO is now independent of the DOJ, Stahl suggested removing that part. She now proposes delaying until fall so she can consult with UO’s General Counsel.

3.11 Senate-Administration Joint Review of the Office of Research, Innovation,

and Graduate Education [RIGE] (Kyr) 
Committee’s report was due June 15, but it will take much longer.
Blonigen: We have a big charge, putting the committee together took a long time, lots to deal with here. Hopes to meet with stakeholders and with the many complainants about RIGE’s operations and Espy over the rest of the term, then work over the summer to benchmark RIGE with other universities, hope to have report in the fall. 

3.12 Motion (Legislation):
Committee Requirements with Moderate Revisions, Slate 2
(Tenth-Year Review 2013); Robert Kyr, Senate President & Chair, Tenth-Year Review (Committee on Committees) 
Kyr: Moderate revisions to campus planning and the committee on committees.

Campus planning: “Committee shall be consulted early in the process”
Harbaugh and Mitchell propose amendment to include all facilities controlled by UO. Keyes brings up land use issues. Paris proposes postponing til we can figure it out. Approved.

Committee on committees: This committee is supposed to appoint the faculty members of the administration’s advisory groups, when appropriate. Gottfredson has not been doing this. Motion strengthens the Senate’s hand a little.
Approved unanimously.


3.13 Motion (Legislation):
Working Groups for Administrative Advisory Groups (Paris) 
Paris: During the review of committees we discovered that there are a lot of administrative advisory groups that are “owned” by specific administrators. Sullivan: Amendment to allow looking into all such working groups. Approved unanimously.

3.14 Motion (Legislation):
Working Groups for Faculty Research Awards  Committee (Paris)
Approved unanimously

The Senate is now an hour ahead of schedule!

5:25 pm 4. Open Discussion

Stahl: Announces that Nathan Tublitz wants to submit a notice of motion for a vote of no confidence in President Gottfredson.

Woah! Here is the text of Tublitz’s motion, posted with his permission:

Dear Senate President Kyr and Vice President Paris:

Last week I put forward to the Senate a motion of no confidence in President Gottfredson. The following day, after a meeting with the Senate Executive Committee and some FAC members, I agreed to hold off submitting my notice of motion only if the President endorsed the University Constitution and put forward his best effort to ensure that SB270 contained a clause guaranteeing our right to develop and maintain our own internal governance system free from interference by outside groups, including any future UO Board. 

The statement released yesterday by the President on his website (http://president.uoregon.edu/content/president-gottfredson%E2%80%99s-comments-shared-governance [1]) contained no such statement. Neither did the “press release” issued today on his behalf by Administrative Spokesperson Barbara Altmann. Nor has such a statement been issued at the current union negotiations by the Administration’s bargaining team which speaks for the President. It is clear that the President has no intention to ensure the continued existence of our ability to generate our own internal governance system, a right enshrined in the 1876 University Charter and which has been the foundation of our governance system for the past 137 years. 

The President’s unwillingness to go to bat to secure our governance system is the latest of many his actions since he took office that, taken together, demonstrate a disturbing lack of leadership and understanding of the University’s history and traditions. 

Therefore, with this email I formally give notice to the Senate Leadership of a motion of no confidence in President Gottfredson. There is no Constitutional reason not to accept my notice of motion. Thus, please add my notice to the Senate agenda for tomorrow’s meeting and announce the notice of motion at the Senate meeting. 

Please confirm in writing that you will add the motion to the Senate docket and that the motion will be announced at tomorrow’s meeting. 

Sincerely, Nathan Tublitz

Kyr: This is now an executive session, under the Oregon public meetings law, because this is a personell matter.

No blogging about the exec session, because I am registered with the Oregon Secretary of State as an “Institutionalized News Media Organization” and the public meetings law forbids me from reporting on this. I’ll be back when the executive session part is over.

5:32: Executive session is over. Can’t say what was discussed, but the Senate will not be voting on this proposed motion at this meeting, which is the last until Fall.

Kyr: I am very happy that Margie Paris is now taking over as Senate President.

Long standing ovation for Kyr. My opinion is that Kyr has done a stellar job as Senate President and has fully earned the respect of the faculty which he now holds, for his untiring, selfless, and productive service during two incredibly difficult years. He’s negotiated many minefields and has come out of them with the respect of those who’ve worked with him, and at times against him. I say that despite having had him shoot me down on a few issues. We’ve been lucky to have him, and it’s great news for UO that he will continue to serve on the Senate.

5:35 pm Adjournment

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56 Responses to Senate: Wed May 22, 3 to 5:30. Updated with proposed motion of no confidence.

  1. Three-Toed Sloth says:

    Isn’t it comforting to know that their commitment is so strong that they won’t hesitate to shore up shared governance with the CBA? I’m so relieved that we can all agree to put our principles on paper, aren’t you?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I find the Deans’ letter insulting. It’s like they are telling the ‘children’ to pipe down so the neighbors don’t hear the family fight.

    • Anonymous says:

      Desperate damage control. They’ve lost control of the message and they know it. It’s hard when the truth isn’t on your side.

      The children need to keep raising hell – these incompetents and sell outs don’t deserve our trust or respect.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, perfect analogy. And the kids see the BS

  3. Anonymous says:

    Brinksmanship

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ok… which one of the deans will be the first to let it slip that Hubin asked them to write this letter? We all know that the legitimate from among the signatories are not on gottfredson’s side on this. He’s a joke. His attempts to manipulate faculty are a joke. Their representative at the bargaining table is a joke., etc.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This bill is going to pass. Knight bought it with good money. Now Gottfredson is just trying to make sure the board doesn’t include voting faculty or shared governance by scaring us. He’s a snake in the grass, trouble ahead.

    • Anonymous says:

      It could be read that there is something moving the wrong direction in Salem. Shared governance and faculty and a real student (the ones footing 2/3s of the budget) voice is definitely against the wishes of the foundation and boosters (who are already setting up shop in Johnson Hall this past week.

      Perhaps the Union should acknowledge that there is a more pressing matter Thursday and, students, Faculty, and staff must take the hour trip to Salem and demand that real shared governance with actual teeth, and a student voice more than the lone token as proposed is the minimum.

    • Anonymous says:

      This Oregon taxpayer doesn’t want UO faculty on the board

    • Anonymous says:

      This Oregon taxpayer does. And he also wishes that the other Oregon taxpayers would agree to chip in a little more money to run the university. Does the prior taxpayer have any idea what that level of support is? Within an order of magnitude?

    • Anonymous says:

      Those that do chip in more are mocked by the faculty, as far as I can tell

    • UO Matters says:

      Can you be more specific? I’ve heard plenty of sarcasm about tax-deductible donations to the Ducks, but nothing but respect for those donating for scholarships and academic purposes.

    • Anonymous says:

      this oregon taxpayer wants the real shared governance, where the full faculty have powers like hire a provost, fire a president, clawback transparency, clawback budgets and priorities from sports, kill the current police plan and convert it to the less expensive better run OSU plan, then there is no need for faculty to be on the board.

      This oregon taxpayer would like to see students be at least 10% of the voting power, after all, the premise for this whole board is to give power to the local connected people who foot the bill… By that definition students should have 70% of the vote. It its a sick joke that the “local” board could be real estate developers, ponzie/insurance salesmen, and job offshorers.

    • Still_Occupied says:

      ^ I like that plan!

  6. Anonymous says:

    “With this letter we are reaching out to the entire university community to call for a positive, respectful and inclusive debate about the UO’s future. [I’m curious: This has been going on for 8 months. Why did you wait til the last possible minute to reach out to us?]”

    Let’s debate it after you are stripped of Governance.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “SB 270 – is fully congruent with the UO’s commitment to shared governance, as President Gottfredson has affirmed on a number of occasions”

    Hu, yuk. Geeze, I was all for it. I just misunderstoods that it let the donors change the rulz. Oh, well back to my office.

    Actually, the Bill does not preserve shared governance, like the Prez, it just says it is a nice idea. Notice that the principles in the first paragraph show up nowhere else in the bill, while lend, lease, sell, mortgage, and destroy, which are nowhere in that first paragraph, take up a good 70% of the bill.

  8. Anonymous says:

    If you are looking for something to do about it, sign the petition.

    http://action.aft.org/c/537/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=6455

  9. Anonymous says:

    Dear Deans: Thanks so much for the Kumbaya letter. It’s reassuring to know that there are people in the administration who want to bring all of us together for a chat around the campfire.

    The problem is: We judge you by your acts, not your words. So if you want to get our attention, write a public letter to the Gott and tell him to get his head out of his ass. And while you’re at it, urge him to fire the Geller and the Rudnick.

  10. Anonymous says:

    And click the link to send the email United Academics sent; no doubt the message to the Gov. and legislators is worrying Knight and Co.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The deans sound like Rudnick now, bargaining AGAINST faculty. Like fools trying to clothe the emperor parading in the nude. will one tand up and say faculty deserve better, close the deal and let’s move forward.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The union is sending folks to Salem, and union activists are working hard to make sure the new board has faculty on the board, nominated by the faculty. Union activists are the reason the state senate agreed to a faculty seat, and faculty union activists are the reason the debate has reached the level it has, thank you.keep it up folks.

  13. Daffy Duck says:

    one duck’s quack. The obvious: our campus is deeply divided along at least two fault lines–one among the faculty on whether and how to come to terms with unionization; another between the faculty and administration on that same issue, as well as on the underlying issues that fueled our disillusionment with much of our central administration. Will the best available marriage counsellor(s) please step forward? (are Mandela and de-Klerk surrogates available on campus?)

  14. Susan Gary says:

    SB 270 replaces the current State Board of Higher Education with the UO institutional board. That’s all it does. If the bill does not pass, we are left with the old board. The old board, by the way, does not need to have faculty representatives from the UO or even anyone who supports the UO. The old system ensures that all seven universities in the state system are supported. That means that if the UO has more revenue it gets to share it with the other universities. The current system has exactly the same protection for our Constitution that SB 270 provides. That means that the current State Board of Higher Education can change our Constitution. There are plenty of folks who would prefer that SB 270 not pass, many of them at the universities we will no longer be subsidizing if it does pass. At this stage, proposed amendments and bickering are fuel to those who would like to see this bill fail. The bill is not a UO bill and we cannot unilaterally change it, even if we could agree how to change it. And just to be clear, if SB 270 does not pass, we will continue to be governed by the State Board.

    The first paragraph is fact, or as close as I can get to it. I also want to add my opinion, which I know the faithful anonymous posters will disagree with. I believe that there are people of good will who want to support the academic mission of the University. I believe that these people of good will work hard at the University, as faculty, staff, and administrators. I believe that other people of good will want to support the academic mission of the University through donations. These potential donors have various interests – student scholarships, faculty support, new or renovated buildings, new programs – but they want the money they give for these interests to be used at the UO and not more generally in the state system. Now perhaps they should be willing to support higher education everywhere in the state, but at least some of them are particularly fond of the UO. I believe that SB 270 will enable the UO to take control of its finances in a way that will benefit all of us.

    With respect to shared governance, I do not think including shared governance in the CBA strengthens shared governance – I think it reduces it. I am at the law school and so I am not represented by the union. I helped draft the Constitution, and I believe that the Constitution does a good job of protecting our shared governance. I don’t want it narrowly defined in the CBA and I don’t want the Constitution subject to CBA negotiations. The CBA is a negotiation. The way negotiations work is that both sides get something and both sides give something. I don’t think faculty should assume that the getting only goes one direction. Both sides – and in my view there shouldn’t be sides but now there are – will both get and give up things. That means that the faculty will give up things, too. I don’t want shared governance enshrined in the CBA because then it’s something that may be subject to negotiation.

    Finally, I want to note that I am signing my name to this post as a protest against the unanimous postings on this blog. It is easy to snipe and write mis-truths and partial-truths when hidden behind anonymity. I note that the blog says that its mission is “transparency” and yet this blog lacks transparency. I appreciate the fact that Prof. Harbaugh posts as himself or as UO Matters, and sometimes dogs of various sizes post (still anonymous but at least one can tell it’s the same person) but otherwise people rarely post as themselves. I have posted twice, and both times I have used my name. I challenge others to do the same.

    Susan Gary
    Professor, Law

    • UO Matters says:

      Thanks for this very thoughtful comment on the constitution and the CBA, Prof. Gary. Your UO Matters cup is in the mail.

      I’d like to repeat my own request that people adopt consistent screen names, as do Dog, Cat, Anas Clypeata, Old Man, and many others. I ran this blog as under the UO Matters pseudonym for several years before I fessed up to it. I have no objection to people commenting with screen names, I think it can lead to more honesty than might be expressed with your real name. But when you just comment as “anonymous” it is impossible to follow the conversation, and impossible for you to build on your arguments and earn a reputation that will give your opinions credibility.

      Bill Harbaugh, Economics

    • Puppy says:

      I also appreciate the thoughtful post. A few points.

      Unless I read the bill wrong (a distinct possibility), it doesn’t just replace the State Board with the Institutional Board. It also grants the Institutional Board more expansive powers, especially with regard to academic matters. I’d like to be shown that is incorrect but that is my current read.

      Second, the proposed CBA language merely asks that the Constitution remain in effect for the life of the contract and that changes to it can only happen through processes prescribed by the constitution itself. The CBA does not restrict the Constitution and shared governance, it protects it against, say, an institutional board that decides it doesn’t want all these pesky faculty getting in the way of its grand plans. There are examples across the country of boards unilaterally doing away with faculty governance and faculty senates (SEE http://www.aaup.org/reports-publications/aaup-policies-reports/college-and-university-governance-reports for a few). The current bill, as I see it, provides for just such actions.

      Third, we have a shared governance process and it has spoken. The University Senate has resolved to include the Constitution and its Academic Freedom language in the CBA. We either believe in shared governance or we don’t. if we do, then the faculty have spoken through our shared governance process and we wait for the President to respond.

      Finally, including shared governance provisions in CBA’s is quite common across the country. We only have to look up the road at PSU, which the President and the administration are quite eager to point to for other matters as an example to support their points.

    • Cat says:

      I too thank Prof. Gary for her remarks and also for self-identifying. I also thank Prof. Harbaugh for providing this forum. The one quasi-rebuttal I would offer to Prof. Gary, and also to the Deans in their letter is this: if fora existed where faculty could speak, publicly or privately, in their own voices, many would say openly–more politely–what they say here anonymously. But such fora do not exist.

      Certainly Pres. Gottfredson’s most recent attempt at a “forum” where “exchange” could take place on the subject of SB 270 was no such thing. I know because I was there and Pres. Gottfredson provided nothing like the explanation Prof. Gary just offered. And the kinds of questions and concerns often raised on this blog, snarky and sincere both, were unceremoniously rebuffed.

      I value UOMatters because it allows some of us to debate what’s going o at the UO. Some of us, admittedly, just snipe. Some offer mis-truths or partial truths. But so too does our administration. And so too do some posters, anonymous, identified, or somewhere in-between, also offer the truth as they know it. Prof. Harbaugh apparently feels that he does. Universities are about free exchange and debate. This blog enables that, however frustratingly. (And surely Prof. Gary knows and can at least partly understand that not all posters feel as comfortable self-identifying, most especially when their views offer challenges, rather than endorsements, to the administration’s position.)

      I therefore take a bit of umbrage at Prof. Gary’s breezy assumption that everything here is somehow, by definition, misinformation. If a forum existed in which we could all be well informed–that is, our university was genuinely transparent–and the voices of faculty and staff routinely heard, even dialogue engaged in, then UOMatters would cease to exist.

      Like the union, UOMatters is a symptom of administrative disfunction, not the cause. It fills a void. And it’s busiest when there are real issues to be discussed–unionization, administrative crises (in RIGE, for instance), SB270–and noplace else to discuss them.

    • David Luebke says:

      I’d like to chime in too, responding to Susan Gary’s post, with just a few very brief points. First and foremost, I think it’s important to clarify an apparent misunderstanding. Our union is not opposed SB 270, as far as I’m aware. For my part, I don’t know anyone, including anyone among the supporters of United Academics, who wants to go back to the bad old days. Certainly, the petition circulated by United Academics a few days ago did not stake out a position against SB 270. Rather, the petition addressed the danger of handing as yet ill-defined practical powers to an independent governing board in the absence of stronger guarantees of faculty self-governance, including jurisdiction over areas commonly understood to be academic in which administration has already intervened unilaterally.

      As for the CBA, and whether or not include the Constitution in it: the terms of the collective bargaining agreement can no more alter the Constitution, or even subject it to negotiation with administration, than the CBA and amend or overturn state law. The only thing that including Constitution would do, whether through a shared governance or a past practices clause, is to equip the Senate leadership with the means to file a grievance if administration decided to ignore a Senate policy resolution or to act unilaterally in an area commonly understood to be academic. In that absence of such tools, it is difficult to see how the Senate would thwart such actions. And this, I imagine, is why the administration’s bargaining team seems so implacably opposed to United Academics’ proposal in this manner.

      My third point merely reinforces what Puppy says. There is nothing at all unusual about our union’s shared governance proposal. There are dozens of CBAs around the country that employ them to good effect, including Portland State University. As Puppy also points out, governing boards act out of line frequently—just think of the recent sacking of Helen Dragas at the University of Virginia, or the attempt by board at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to abolish its faculty senate. Back in 1994, the trustees of Bennington College fired 30% of the faculty—my colleagues at the time. Obviously, all three institutions are very different from the University of Oregon and I don’t imagine for a moment that our future board would or could intervene as violently as the boards of Rensselaer and Bennington have done. I’m also hopeful that if SB 270 passes, Governor Kitzhaber will appoint knowledgeable and devoted trustees. But I would rather not take it on faith that his successor will also.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog, who has actually forgotten its Real Name

      S. Gary writes

      “I believe that SB 270 will enable the UO to take control of its finances in a way that will benefit all of us”

      This is clearly the crux of the matter:

      a) will such enabling occur?
      b) what is the process that decides “benefit to all of us”?
      c) do independent donors trust UO officials in this aggregate benefit?

      From the DogHouse (or maison du dog) the view is fairly simple:

      a) the UO has aging buildings/classroom infrastucture and the like (despite some recent remodels) in which to engage its current population of 25,000
      students in meaningful learning experiences.

      b) the UO looks mostly the same in terms of faculty interests and departments
      as it did 30-40 years ago. We are missing funding opportunities due to the lack of critical mass in a lot of emerging interdisciplinary pursuits.

      This all means that additional donor dollars that “benefit us all” will not
      be effective in a legacy academic environment. We don’t want more of the
      same – it least this Dog doesn’t – this dog wants new academic programs,
      better research infrastructure, and a lot more voices/viewpoints in the conversation of
      learning and critical thinking [sic] than we currently provide.

    • Anonymous says:

      I put $5 on any new-found freedom increasing the subsidy from the university to the athletic department.

    • Anonymous says:

      Susan please point to the FACT in the UO financial or OUS financials where tuition (because grants can’t and your own faculty can’t pry it out of sports) leaves the UO to subsidize other schools? Arguments like this make me question your diligence and everything you write. OK, I am not limiting to Tuition, I just wanted to make clear what you were trying to imply, please find these phantom subsidies, hundreds of millions of dollars sucked out instead of paying faculty the raises they deserve. Ask, Bill to make a records request, I am sure this one would be on the house… In fact I bet if it were true in any substantial way it would around the O.

      you also were very clever saying that a UO faculty member is not required to be on the current board, oh you. Two Faculty Members AND two students are on the Board, and yes they rotate from school to school, and though you may not think that EOU, OIT, OSU, Cascades, PSU, SOU, or WOU care about the UO you will find that, they like most faculty and people in higher education are here for the greater good and those 7 schools toghether are four times larger than the UO, run more federal research, have a larger budget, grant more degrees, etc. The only thing the UO actually beats the other schools at are the number of out of state students and NCAA violations.

      An independent board is not the problem, I think any lawyer could breeze through SB-270 and see that is little more than your standard theft of common wealth for to profit a few. Why? it is all about selling and borrowing and even eminent domain with only a few lines about academics.

      Is the University of Oregon a Public University or a cash cow and testing grounds for new colors of dri-fit?

    • Anonymous says:

      3 times larger? 24000 to 77000?

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you saying the UO Foundation and Duck Athletic fund are sending money to other schools? I am no lawyer but I thought the Bequest of a donor is immutable. Perhaps the foundation should be required to open up their financial information.

      ” These potential donors have various interests – student scholarships, faculty support, new or renovated buildings, new programs – but they want the money they give for these interests to be used at the UO and not more generally in the state system.”

    • Anonymous says:

      “I helped draft the Constitution, and I believe that the Constitution does a good job of protecting our shared governance. I don’t want it narrowly defined in the CBA and I don’t want the Constitution subject to CBA negotiations.”

      I agree the union contract is not the place for something as important as shared governance. Would you support having the shared governance as part of SB-270, there is still time to amend the bill?

    • Puppy says:

      If SB-270 said what the union proposal says, which is simply that the Constitution is to remain in force as it is and can only be changed as it can now, then yes, I would want it in the bill. Why wouldn’t we? Someone please provide an argument against that other than “it doesn’t belong in the CBA because it doesn’t belong in the CBA”, which isn’t an argument (at least not a good one).

      Why would we not want all the protection for the Constitution we can get? We’ve seen President’s and administrators ignore shared governance and the Constitution on this campus for years. Why wouldn’t we want to use whatever means we have to protect against such abuses?

    • Old Man says:

      Old Man can think of only one reason why Prexy is loath to push for Constitutional protection in SB270: The PKs have told him (or Senators) “Don’t you dare!” Why would they do such a thing? Your guess is as good as mine.

    • Old Man says:

      Oh My God! Old Man just thought of something else. Could it be the Prexy, despite his Statement to the contrary, really wants to off our Constitution? Someone please tell me it ain’t so!

  15. Michael Dreiling says:

    Susan Gary, you suggest that incorporating provisions of our constitution into a union CBA somehow narrows shared governance. I read in the Dean’s memo the same talking point. This same point was raised by the administration’s chief lawyer at the negotiating table, Ms. Rudnick, implying that somehow the constitution itself was being negotiated – which of course it is not. Shall we ask our colleagues at Portland State University how their Faculty Senate surrendered/narrowed the PSU constitution when their faculty union incorporated provisions of the constitution into their CBA, thereby strengthening the ability of faculty, using contract law, to uphold those provisions? Or dozens of other universities and colleges around the country? I do not know what intent motivated the Deans’ memo to repeat a patently false talking point from the administrations’ bargaining team, but I do not think it is wise to let such a talking point be treated as factual. Indeed, it seems more like misinformation to me. Any look at the proposals from United Academics (http://uauoregon.org/files/2012/11/Article-3-Shared-Governance.pdf) on this matter reveal what the two commenters above have noted: the content of the constitution is not under negotiation, but rather, faculty want to strengthen the enforcement of shared governance. As Ms. Rudnick lamented when she said, “you just want it enforceable…” Yes, Ms. Rudnick, we want it enforceable, not ignored. How, specifically, is this narrowing it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the explanation. But you may have missed an important point in Susan’s post (alternatively I could be missing something).

      Does the PSU union include all faculty? Ours doesn’t. Does this fact have consequences for putting the constitution in the CBA? Susan seems to think so, and I must say that I find it confusing, at the least.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, PSU Union does not include all faculty. Including a constitution does not, by some fiat, limit its application.

    • Anonymous says:

      The difference may be in degree. Aren’t 25% of UO TTF outside of the bargaining unit?

    • Michael Dreiling says:

      It does not matter if 99% of the TTF are out of the bargaining unit (though that seems implausible). If some faculty negotiated all or a portion of the constitutional provisions for shared governance into their contract, it does not nullify the contract ANYWHERE. It merely means that for those elements under contract law, faculty, in the event of violations of that document (i.e., the constitution), could file a grievance which would be subject to procedures of enforcement as laid out in the contract. The constitution, and the shared governance derived from it, would not cease operating for those not included in the bargaining unit or covered under the CBA – it would remain as it is. Puppy, above, spelled this all out very well. Please folks, read the proposals from United Academics, or look at the contracts of other campuses.

  16. Anonymous says:

    No confidence… Yes!!! get him out.

    • Giraffe says:

      Very constructive. Tell me the scenario where driving out a President who is highly respected in AAU circles and was widely (and publicly) liked on his former campus doesn’t virtually guarantee that we lose our AAG status and drive away any decent candidates for senior administrative positions at UO.

    • Anonymous says:

      Indeed. So easy to snipe from the sidelines. Welcome, Antioch.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think we should wait until we lose AAU status, then send him get rid of him. That way he can carry with him some of the cost of doing so.

  17. Peter Keyes says:

    Seconding UO Matters comments on Rob Kyr’s tenure as president. It used to be a matter of contention within the Dead Presidents’ Society on who had the worst unanticipated pile of controversy and contention dumped on him or her; it is now hard to imagine how anyone could ever match the record of what Rob has had to deal with. Throughout it all, he has maintained his equanimity, appealed to our better angels, and helped this institution through some of its bitterest days. He has been tireless, absurdly dedicated, willing to compromise, willing to stand his ground, and always deferential and solicitous to a fault. Rob never missed an opportunity to emphasize how the Senate represented all the constituencies of the University, and his open-mindedness and fairness should be a model for all who follow. Many thanks for your leadership in these difficult times, President Kyr. Now go take the summer off.

    • Anonymous says:

      Indeed! If only we could enjoy that level of leadership from those we pay to lead.

    • Three-Toed Sloth says:

      Agree whole-heartedly. Well said. Three cheers for Rob!

    • Michael Dreiling says:

      Oh yes, Rob Kyr modeled balanced and steady leadership in the Senate. I’ve heard him say “I remain neutral and will listen to the individuals” several times; I came to believe that yes, indeed, he held that very difficult ground of neutrality in ways I scarcely even imagine.

  18. Andy Stahl says:

    What is “shared governance” intended to protect and from whom is it being protected? The answer to those questions explains why the CBA could, inadvertently, undercut the purpose of shared governance.

    In its purest form, shared governance is a First Amendment protection enjoyed by a public University’s community of scholars. The protection applies to the University as a whole and the individual scholar enjoys that protection as a result of her membership in the governing Academy, not because of an individual or collective employment contract. The concept of shared governance protects the Academy against speech regulation by other agencies of government, especially the legislature. Although such threats are rare, when they occur (usually an incarnation of fascism), shared governance is the only legally cognizable defense.

    The CBA threatens shared governance implicitly by demoting faculty to the status of “labor” and separating the President from the Faculty, of which he is the titular head. The constitutionally-derived first amendment protections enjoyed by the Academy depend upon faculty, with the President as head Faculty person, running the University’s academic affairs. Once they do not, the concept of shared governance protections against speech regulation by the legislature (or the legislature’s creature, i.e., the governing board), will vanish.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stahl is right. But making a big stink over the issue allows the union to stoke the claim that it (the union) is the defender of the faculty against a hostile administration. Since the union’s best hope for future support is premised on promoting that way of thinking (why faculty unions are not good for research universities), we can expect more of the same going forward.

    • Peter Keyes says:

      This makes no sense whatsoever. Perhaps the term “shared governance” is misunderstood. Shared governance has only a tangential relationship to freedom of speech. Freedom to speak may be necessary to exercise shared governance, but all the free speech in the world doesn’t mean you’re in charge. Shared governance at the UO flows from the university charter, which vests power to govern in the faculty – the president and the professors. Without that provision, you could talk all you wanted to about how to govern the university, but no one would have to listen to you.

      The president is separated from the faculty not by any potential effect of the CBA, but by ORS 352.004, which grants the president the right to direct the practical matters of the university. The lack of power of the faculty to govern the university wouldn’t come from any agreement that demoted them to “labor”, but from the president’s definition of the scope of practical matters. The faculty has disagreed with some presidents’ interpretations in the past, but as long as the president controlled the money and the lawyers, faculty arguments were moot. A recognition of the principles of shared governance in the CBA would give the faculty a stronger, more clear basis for legal argument, and the resources of a union would allow for professional legal counsel.

      There may be philosophical reasons why one doesn’t want to see shared governance provisions in a collective bargaining agreement, and there may be practical reasons why one would think that there were better places to put shared governance protections (such as in SB 270), but no one in this thread (including the deans) is making those arguments. They are simply asserting that inclusion in the CBA would somehow “limit” shared governance protections. This is disingenuous at best and silly at worst.

      I believe Susan Gary is correct in asserting that with an institutional board achieved through SB 270, there would be exactly the same level of protection for shared governance as there is now. And all that protection could be wiped out as soon as the board felt like doing it, despite the protests of the faculty or even the president. What many of us are arguing for is a higher level of protection for shared governance, either through the CBA, or through an amended SB 270. Why would anyone who really cared about shared governance be against this?

    • Andy Stahl says:

      “Shared governance” may mean different things to different people. But, to argue, as Peter Keyes has, that shared governance “has only a tangential relationship to freedom of speech” is to miss the forest for the trees. I recommend “Government as Educator: A New Understanding of First Amendment Protection of Academic Freedom and Governance” for the interested reader.

      The threat of faculty speech regulation can originate in legislatures (e.g., McCarthy-era loyalty oaths) or from university governing boards (e.g., post-Garcetti jurisprudence that places no limits on public employer regulation of employee on-the-job speech). The key message in this advocacy-oriented law review is that the best protection faculty enjoy against speech regulation is through shared governance. Although shared governance may prove to be a slender reed in the face of the powerful who seek to silence academic dissenters, it remains the best reed available.

      If university faculty are less than diligent in protecting their tenuous status as a unique class of public employees who should enjoy an extra margin of protection from governmental speech regulation, then they risk losing that protection. In particular, to the extent University faculty look and act like other public employees, then they will be treated like any other public employee. Badly. Unionization is a step down that road.

    • Peter Keyes says:

      Shared governance does indeed mean different things to different people. To some administrators in the past, it seemed to mean informing the faculty on what you planned to do shortly before you did it. To me it means that the entity that holds all the power in an institution (the state) has decided to formally vest some of this power in the faculty as well as in the president.

      Shared governance may indeed be the best defense against the threat of the regulation of faculty speech. That doesn’t mean that protected speech is the best defense of shared governance. There is a difference between governing and freely talking about governing.

      The article you cite seems, at first glance, to be thoughtful, well-reasoned and erudite. I am sure that I would agree with its premises and conclusions if I had time to read it. If I ran a university, I might be persuaded to abide by it. And I’m sure that if a newly-empowered independent board declared the UO Constitution null and void, we would just have to mail them the same article, and they would instantly reverse their decision.

      It’s a nice theory, and if you’d like to count on it saving the day at your university, go to it. I’d prefer to put my faith in enforceable contracts or laws. I haven’t noticed that in the real world, decisions are guided by well-reasoned law articles. It doesn’t even seem to be the case anymore on the Supreme Court either.

    • Andy Stahl says:

      Having been raised in a heathen household, I prefer analysis over faith.

      If speech protections are included in a CBA, who gets to enforce them? Not employees because individual faculty are not parties to the CBA contract. Only the union can enforce the contract. If the union decides that an employee’s speech is not worth going to bat for, the CBA provides no remedy in court for the employee. Could this happen? What if the employee teaches a class that is critical of the union movement and, on the side, writes newspaper op-eds that castigate public employee unions and their Democratic Party quislings. In this town, that sort of thing might provoke local legislators to put pressure on some independent board to encourage the faculty committee-in-charge-of-approving-curricula to disapprove the professor’s politically incorrect class. Maybe even not renew the untenured teacher’s contract. If the union chose self-interest above principle, it might help the independent board engineer the employee’s dead-of-night departure.

      Oregon has about 200 public education institutions overseen by independent boards. Each and every one has a faculty union. The State of Oregon tells faculty at these institutions what to teach, how to teach it, and which textbooks to use. The State of Oregon tests the students to ensure that the faculty teach as they have been told.

      The faculty unions at these institutions never object to these state-imposed insults to faculty governance, intellectual freedom, or shared governance. To the contrary, the unions’ focus on pay and benefits ensures the collectively-organized faculty is silent on these matters.

      Some will say, “Well, that’s what the UO is (or has) turned into — just an extension of K-12, command-and-control, bureaucracy designed to turn out workers who can produce and consumers who will consume.” Perhaps it is too late for the UO to reclaim its role in society as a true intellectual Academy. If I thought that was the union’s paramount purpose, I’d be an outspoken union cheerleader.

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