12/14/2014: Video of the Senate meeting is now available:
12/10/2014 PM update:
Alexandra Wallachly from the Emerald has posted a report on the meeting, here.
On the Board meeting Thursday: I think it’s important to show up at the Board meeting Thursday at 8AM in the Alumni Center. While the board has backed off on the latest power grab, there’s plenty of potential for surprises, those making public comments deserve some supporters, and it’s important that the Board sees that the faculty take what’s been happening very seriously. And I hear someone will be passing out “Save our Senate” buttons.
On the Senate meeting today: I got there at the very end. I’d love it if someone would send me some notes or post them. People tell me it was standing room only, and filled with dismay and outrage over what’s going on with our administration.
The Senate passed an amended version of the motion below, opposing the Triplett/Park power grab. The fact that they did this even after Coltrane announced the Board would withdraw the motion at his suggestion shows how deep the mistrust of Johnson Hall has become. Coltrane and Bronet need to take charge of that snake-pit, decisively and soon.
The Senate then apparently wrote and approved a second motion, directing the Academic Integrity Task Force to investigate the administration’s “alleged plans to establish groundwork for disciplinary procedures” against Philosophy Dept Chair Bonnie Mann and other faculty who refused to issue “fraudulent” grades. Apparently there is also an accusation that a CAS administrator not only gave out grades for courses, but then raised them after students complained. I don’t know if the TAIF will also investigate that.
I’ll post the video when available, and I expect the motions (passed unanimously?) will be on the Senate website soon, here. Meanwhile check Try Bree Nicolello’s twitter reports on the meeting: https://twitter.com/breenicolello.
12/10/2014 update: (see below for Coltrane response)
Sorry, I’m at the Board committee meetings, no live-blog.
From what I can tell this fresh hell originates with new AVP Chuck Triplett and Interim GC Doug Park. Judging from her comments Monday, Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms sure isn’t volunteering to take the fall.
How did these people end up in Johnson Hall? Chuck Triplett was the Secretary of the OUS board under Pernsteiner, and helped fire Lariviere. Mike Gottfredson hired Triplett without a search or even a job posting. Pernsteiner paid Triplett $72K, UO pays him $130K. The UO auditor’s office investigated whether or not his hiring violated UO’s rues and federal regulations, but “has no findings to report.” Doug Park was Randy Geller’s assistant, he got the job after Gottfredson fired Geller. He just got a raise to $209K. Geller was Melinda Grier’s assistant, he got the job after Lariviere fired Grier.
And they’ve now persuaded the new UO Board of Trustees to pick another fight with the faculty over shared governance, with a motion for the Board’s Thursday meeting that would supersede the UO Constitution and the agreement on faculty input into setting academic policies that has been in existence at UO for more than a century and was codified in 2011, and which was used, for example, to enact UO’s Policy on Academic Freedom.
The trustees at other AAU institutions – see Florida – somehow avoid the sort of assisted suicide that this board motion will lead to. But some Johnson Hall admins see a Board meeting as just another chance to poke a stick in the faculty’s last eye.
As followup to Monday’s exec meeting and the unsatisfying explanations of Interim President Coltrane and his team, the Senate has quickly prepared a strong response. Now Senators need to show up Wednesday and pass it, before the Board meets on Thursday and does something stupid.
Page down for the Triplett and Park motion for the Board – way down. The Senate resolution is here, with plenty of documentation. The gist:
2.1 BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that the University Senate calls on President Coltrane as the President of the Faculty to advocate to the Board on behalf of the faculty for the full preservation and integrity of the University Constitution and the process of shared governance;
2.2 AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the University Senate urges the Board of Trustees to postpone any vote on “The Policy on University Policies,” and to encourage President Coltrane to initiate a process of consultation with the University Senate and in the fashion legitimated by Section 7 of the University of Oregon Constitution and as outlined in the current Policy on Policies;
2.3 AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the University Senate commits to collaborating with the President and the Board of Trustees to undertake an orderly and efficient review of the new policies related to the academic mission of the University;
2.4 AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the University Senate once again wholeheartedly reaffirms the University Charter, the University of Oregon Constitution, and the Policy on Policies [01.00.01 and 01.00.02], subject to any revision on a collaborative basis to the Policy on Policies that may be needed.
And then there are 12 pages of supporting material, with 17 footnotes, from John Bonine (Law), Michael Dreiling (Sociology), and Jennifer Freyd (Psychology), documenting the consequences of the board’s motion, and it’s inconsistency with the normal practices of the AAU, AAUP, AGB, NWCCU, the UAUO CBA, Oregon Law, and probably also the NCAA, PAC-12, and the Boy Scouts of America, here:
Dec 10 12:10 PM update: Interim President Coltrane has released the message below. The good news? The board has withdrawn the Triplett / Park motion. The bad news? The admin PAC is still in charge, instead of a legitimate Senate committee:
The University of Oregon lived up to its reputation as a place of lively debate and passionate discourse this week in our discussion of a policies proposal before the UO Board of Trustees.
I have heard your concerns and, as President, have carried your voice forward to our Board of Trustees. The board graciously responded by postponing consideration of the policies proposal at the December meeting, but charged us to work expeditiously towards a revised process that allows the university to review policy efficiently and collaboratively. The Board would like to see a new resolution in time for consideration at its March meetings.
As many of you may know, the University Senate leadership expressed concern about a proposal before the UO Board of Trustees to create a more streamlined process for reviewing the 700 plus policies the UO inherited from the state during our governance transition and for policy development going forward. The board has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that all UO policies – existing, inherited and developed in the future – are organized and managed efficiently and effectively. Our current process is not efficient and did not envision the inheritance of many hundreds of additional policies to review, revise or repeal in an abbreviated timeframe. It also doesn’t contemplate the new institutional board, which took effect just this summer.
Provost Bronet, members of the leadership team and I understand the concerns presented. We acknowledge that these proposed changes could have been communicated better and that the Senate’s leadership could have been more involved sooner in the process. Most importantly, we commit to doing better in the future.
We now have a good opportunity to demonstrate to each other and to our board that we can move forward together. I hope we can put the distrust and negative assumptions behind us, and continue to work through this transition in a way that elevates our University and our shared commitment to academic excellence. As a starting point, I offer a few details of my proposed process below and look forward to working with the Senate and others to begin this important work.
The proposed process honors the constitution and our collective commitment to shared governance by:
· Creating a standing position on the Policy Advisory Council for the Senate President;
· Ensuring that “every new or revised University Policy proposal generated by the Administration shall be sent to the Senate President” (University Constitution 188.8.131.52) early in the process creating greater efficiencies;
· Enabling the Senate President as a PAC member to flag all policies that involve “academic matters as commonly understood in higher education” for Senate consideration through Senate-defined processes;
· Requiring the Senate President, during final PAC review, to verify that Senate procedures were followed and Senate approval on such academic matters was achieved before moving forward for action; and
· Providing a forum for the President to receive and consider new or revised “policy proposals approved by the University Senate…within 60 days” as defined in the UO Constitution, Section 184.108.40.206.
In summary, the statutory faculty through the senate will continue to serve as our policy leaders for all academic policies. My sincerest hope is that these changes strengthen our faculty’s voice in policy making by increasing opportunity for faculty to influence policy development – both academic and non-academic – through participation in the PAC, as subject matter experts, and in an open public comment period. A visual depiction of these process changes is available here http://president.uoregon.edu/sites/president1.wc-sites.uoregon.edu/files/field/image/proposal_for_policy_prioritization_and_review_rev120914.pdf and I am happy to receive any questions or concerns.
12/9/2014 update: RG reports on Board Policy Putsch and faculty discipline. Grad student strike drags on
Diane Dietz has the story in the RG online tonight, in print tomorrow. It’s a brutally honest report on what happens when our colleagues in the central administration:
1) Secretly collude with the hardline faction of the UO Board to eliminate the faculty’s role in UO governance:
“I don’t attribute to the board evil intent. There was a lack of full and transparent communication. I take some responsibility for that,” Coltrane said. “They (trustees) might not have the appreciation for faculty debate and processing that we do. It’s true of almost any board that I know of, so we have a lot of education to do.”
Chuck Lillis, chairman of the board of trustees, was not available for comment today, according to university spokesman Tobin Klinger. The independent board of trustees came into existence this summer, succeeding a Board of Higher Education that oversaw operations at all of Oregon’s public universities.
Senators voted unanimously to convene the full University Senate on Wednesday to formally ask the trustees to postpone its vote on the new policy language until March, or to make sure the language doesn’t strip the Senate of its authority.
[Today’s] three-hour meeting was riddled with expressions of tension and mistrust, which Coltrane acknowledged. “We are in a broken place, a place where things aren’t going very well,” he said. “The board is trying to figure this out. They’re learning as they go…. “I’m happy to convey to the president of the board that there is profound mistrust and suspicion that this is a power grab and that we need to work together,” he said.
2) Issue confidential (and, dare I say it, with all due respect, poorly researched or knowingly false) policies about how the faculty should deal with a GTF strike, and then cynically blaming the ensuing blow-up on the Senate’s “lack of civility”. While simultaneously threatening disciplinary action against faculty, including the philosophy department head, who refuse to play along with the scab plan:
A dozen department heads, including Mann, said they wouldn’t enter grades on that basis. The University Senate earlier this month voted in opposition to such a plan.
One professor dubbed the university’s plan the “Wizard of Oz” strategy, Mann said. “Oh, you want to give the students a diploma without giving them a brain — a grade without an education?”
Mann said she is philosophically opposed to doing what she considers “strike-breaking work.” In a letter to undergraduates explaining her refusal to enter grades, Mann explained that she is one seven children of a Boise Cascade millworker, whose plant unionized in an extremely risky and volatile process when she was 10 years old.
University officials quizzed her repeatedly on her refusal to enter grades, which she eventually discovered was laying the groundwork for the administration to take disciplinary action against her, Mann contends.
“What I imagine is that I’ll be fired from my position as department head,” she said. “In fact, I think that’s very likely.”
Meanwhile, still no good news from the lawyers that Coltrane is (still) paying $300-an-hour to negotiate with our $15K a year graduate students, and Rob Kyr has called an emergency meeting of the full Senate for Wed, Dec 10, 3PM.
12/8/2014 update on Monday evening’s emergency meeting.
Sorry no live blog, but this twitter feed has a lot of it. Maybe 100 people present, including a full cohort of administrators. My take:
1) After a long meeting, with many speakers with questions for Interim President Coltrane about how this happened, and some answers from him, President Kyr has called an emergency meeting of the full Senate for Wed 3PM. The goal is to pass a resolution, currently being drafted by the Exec, to lay out clearly for the Board why their attempt to overrule the UO Constitution and the Senate’s role in policies is inconsistent with best practices for research universities.
2) Ron Bramhall (Business) presented the Academic Integrity Task Force report is here. Unfortunately it’s not binding.
Doug Blandy blames the lack of faculty consultation on the confidential Academic Continuity Plan on faculty heads, whom he had presumed were consulting their faculty. (I think he’s got the timing a little off, but it’s a nice story.) Altmann and Blandy try to explain why the X grade is not acceptable, even if faculty certify attendance. Unfortunately they have little credibility with the faculty anymore, and receive many skeptical questions.
The main argument the admins pull out to argue that the X has financial aid implications for undergrads is this Chronicle article from Nov 17th 2014. But my read of that article is that it’s all about attendance and participation. So long as faculty certify that, there are no problems. And you could also read the article to mean that the university could be creating far more serious financial aid implications by allowing classes to be canceled during the strike.
12/7/2014 update: Senate President Kyr calls emergency Exec meeting over Board’s policy putsch. 5PM Monday Dec 8th
Senators, I write to inform you that the special Senate Executive meeting will be held in ROOM 178 of the School of Music and Dance (New Wing, east side of building) at 5:00 pm today, Dec. 8. Please note that this is an open meeting; all senators are encouraged to attend, as is the general public.
(Note that this means Dave Hubin and Chuck Triplett will probably be there, taking down names, just as Hubin used to do during the faculty union organizing. They come to our meetings, but won’t let faculty come to theirs.)
Check the Senate website for updates.
Meanwhile, here’s the video from the December 7 2011 UO Faculty Assembly, with Professor Susan Gary explaining the importance of the UO Constitution and the Policy on Policies, which the assembly then ratified:
This was the followup to the famous November 30th meeting, where George Pernsteiner tried to defend his firing of Lariviere.
In 2012 Professor Gary (Law) was appointed as the only faculty member of the new UO Board on recommendation of then Senate President Margie Paris (Law). The original plan was for the board to have 2 faculty members. Knight and Lillis wanted none, the legislature compromised at 1.
In a remarkable turnaround from her previous work strengthening shared governance, Gary did not notify the faculty or the Senate about the Board’s previous Delegation of Authority power grab, or this new one. Gary’s term on the Board expires in Spring, and here’s hoping Kitzhaber replaces her with someone with more willingness to tell the faculty what the hell is going on.
To top off the Lariviere nostalgia, who has the Board of Trustees put in charge of their new policy process? You can’t make this up. Chuck Triplett, the former OUS Board Secretary, who helped Pernsteiner set up the secret Lariviere firing and the sham public meeting in Portland:
The UO auditor’s office is investigating the circumstances of Mr. Triplett’s hire, which was done without an affirmative action compliant search or, apparently, even a job posting. Pernsteiner paid him $72K, UO pays him $130K.
12/6/2014: Chuck Lillis plans to strip Senate of its remaining authority at Thursday’s board meeting
First it was the “Delegation of Authority” motion that Lillis got the board to pass, with Gottfredson and Geller’s help. The came his successful efforts to cut the faculty (and even the rest of the board) out of the hiring process for a new UO President, described in InsideHigherEd, here.
Now Lillis plans to remove the faculty’s remaining authority over academic matters. See page 7 from the docket for the Dec 12 board meeting, here. The Board’s motion will replace UO Policy 1.00.02, the “Policy on Policies” which Richard Lariviere signed on 12/15/2011, and which gave the Senate a modicum of authority over “academic matters as commonly understood”:
Under Lillis’s new rules the Board will be able to revoke, change, or institute new policies without even consulting the Senate. This includes policies on academic standards, academic freedom, tenure and promotion, sabbaticals, etc. The current list of UO policies is here – it’s literally A-Z. The Senate will be replaced by a “Policy Advisory Council” consisting mostly of admins, which serves “at the pleasure of the President”. The only limit on the Board’s authority will be what is in the UAUO contract (if you’re in the bargaining unit), and the rules of our federal academic accrediting agency.
This is a corporate takeover that, if passed, will eliminate the UO Senate as a meaningful institution. UO governance will become an eternal negotiation between the Board of Trustees and the faculty union, with the administration caught in the middle. This is not what the union wanted – their actions have tried to strengthen the Senate. But presumably Chuck Lillis and Phil Knight have done the math and figured in the cost of the political contributions, and they think they can win that fight and do what they want with their university, or what will remain of it:
I’m still trying to verify the rumor that Lillis is offering $940K in UO Foundation money to every Senator who will resign quietly.