Updated way too often:
6:11 PM: Lillis calls Coltrane back for 3-day loss on plans for Saturday mediation:
No more talks til Tuesday. The Board of Trustees meetings start Wednesday, and presumably they’re trying to put on a strong offensive show for their most important fan, Phil Knight:
On FridayDec 5, 2014, at 6:11 PM, President’s Office <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
I’m disappointed to report that we have ended another day of mediation with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation without agreement. We had hope of bringing this issue to a close prior to finals week, but our next mediation is now scheduled for Tuesday.
[blah, Go Ducks, blah, blah]
Thank you for your continued work and understanding. Scott Coltrane, Interim President
– 5:00 PM. The GTFF website reports no deal yet, mediation will restart tomorrow:
Both parties agreed it’s important for the teams to collaborate in whatever ways might be possible without having mixed and conflicting messages ending up public and having to mend fences in the morning. The teams agreed to confidentiality for this round of mediation. We are still working through things at the moment and where ever we end up, we’ll be taking that to our Executive Council for discussion and for our stewards to take out to our members.
I’m still waiting for Hubin to release the latest data on how many billable hours Coltrane is paying Frohnmayer and Geller’s HLGR law firm for their successful efforts to drag this strike out past the last day for undergrads to get GTF help for finals week.
– I put in a PR request into Dave Hubin’s office for the latest legal and consulting billings on Monday. My guess is he’ll delay these until the GTFF bargaining ends, just as IR is hiding the latest info on raises for JH admins. But bargaining for the faculty contract starts in January, and will be helpful for showing the self-serving priorities of the JH administration:
– Scott Coltrane is so worried about revealing excessive athletic donations during the GTFF strike that Dave Hubin is redacting even the most basic information as “trade secrets”. Camilla Mortenson has the story in the Eugene Weekly, here:
Under President Lariviere, UO would release all the records, including the detailed gift contracts, e.g. Phil Knight’s for the athlete-only Jock Box.
– 10:00 PM: Admins panic over JH sit-in, call cops on the undergrads. UOPD officers were called in today to evict undergraduate GTFF sympathizers from Johnson Hall, according to this Kaylee Tornay report in the ODE. The police refused, on the sensible grounds that the students weren’t breaking any laws. But the administration seems to be threatening student conduct code discipline, if I get the story right. Since UO’s Academic Freedom and Free Speech policies cover students, any such efforts would be pure intimidation, or panic, on the administration’s part:
The University supports free speech with vigor, including the right of presenters to offer opinion, the right of the audience to hear what is presented, and the right of protesters to engage with speakers in order to challenge ideas, so long as the protest does not disrupt or stifle the free exchange of ideas.
– 7:45 PM: The RG reports no settlement tonight. Mediation will resume at 11AM tomorrow. Many undergrads will have no final help or lab sessions before finals begin Monday – if there are finals. Faculty will be left to deal with the chaos. Meanwhile the newly established Senate Task Force on Academic Integrity has been working on an legitimate alternative to Doug Blandy and Barbara Altmann’s “Wizard of Oz” grading scheme. And fwiw, here’s official JH strike communique #253:
Date: December 4, 2014 at 7:58:19 PM PST
From: “President’s Office” <email@example.com>
Subject: Mediation continues tomorrow
Dear Campus Community,
After a long day of mediation with the university and the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation sharing confidential proposals, talks have concluded for the evening.
While I hope for a swift resolution, I’m proud of our bargaining team for staying at the table to work to find a solution and we look ahead to another mediation session tomorrow.
While we continue bargaining, we remain fully prepared to meet the needs of our students going into finals week. A team of volunteers is ready to proctor exams and continuity plans are in place to ensure grades are submitted in a timely fashion.
Both parties have agreed to keep details of today’s exchange confidential, but despite the lack of resolution to date, the university remains committed to the collective bargaining process.
We appreciate the respectful discourse that has surrounded this challenging issue and the thousands of faculty, staff and graduate students who have remained focused on carrying out our mission. They have continued to work tirelessly to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of our students.
For complete information on academic continuity planning and negotiations, please visit http://provost.uoregon.edu/gtff-negotiation.
Sincerely, Scott Coltrane, Interim President
– UO Alumna donates $10K to the GTFF strike fund. Heartfelt letter of support and link to the donate button, here.
– 1:00 AM: Was “X” grade flip-flop about football players eligibility?
The original “confidential” Academic Continuity Plan recommended that faculty consider assigning “X” grades until the GTFF strike was over, final work could be graded and legitimate grades could be assigned
A few weeks later, the admin’s changed their mind, and we got this message:
Academic Continuity Planning Update 11/25/14:
Thank you for your ongoing engagement during the preparations for the upcoming GTFF strike. Below you will find additional information about grading options, pre-strike polling, changes to Blackboard, and attendance tracking.
Sincerely, Barbara Altmann, Doug Blandy, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
As stated in the November 21, 2014, message, university leaders believed earlier that X grades might be a viable solution; however, upon further investigation with the registrar and financial aid staff, it was determined that X grades would be viewed as non-passing grades for financial aid purposes. Depending on each individual student’s situation, the X grade may imperil that individual’s financial aid. …
During the Senate debate Wed, John Bonine (Law) quoted wording from UO’s own financial aid website that conflicted with the administration’s statement above. So what’s really going on with this X flip, and the discipline that CAS Dean Marcus now threatening for those that use the X?.
The NCAA football championships. It turns out that the X does not meet the “satisfactorily completed” standard the NCAA requires for athletes to play in the post-season football championship game. UO’s last regularly scheduled exam is Dec 12. The NCAA then gives UO 14 days to certify that post-season athletes have satisfactorily completed their (minimal) academic requirement of 6 credits for the fall quarter. No satisfactory grade, no play.
This does not affect the Dec 5th PAC-12 Championship, but it does matter for the Jan 1 Football Championship playoffs and, should it come to that, the championship game on Jan 12th.
Here’s NCAA Bylaw 220.127.116.11:
To be eligible to compete in a postseason event (e.g., conference tournament, bowl game, National Invitation Tournament, NCAA championship) that occurs between regular terms (including summer) a student-athlete, in his or her final season of competition in the applicable sport, shall have satisfactorily completed six-semester or six-quarter hours of academic credit the preceding regular academic term of full-time enrollment (see Bylaw 18.104.22.168). An institution shall have 14 business days (regardless of the date in which grades are posted or submitted) after the date of the last scheduled examination listed in the institution’s official calendar for the term that is ending to certify completion of the six-semester or six-quarter hours of academic credit. (Emphasis added).
– New RG report from Diane Dietz here, with many interviews with undergrads. She gives Coltrane enough rope to say a few things he’s probably already regretting, but the undergrad quotes are what make it well worth reading. And in other news, SANIPAC apparently told UO today that its drivers (Teamsters Local #206), will honor the GTFF picket lines and stop picking up UO’s garbage. Game over.
– “Coltrane lauds “respectful discourse” as Marcus calls in dissident Dept Heads for discipline.” New massmail from Interim President Coltrane lauds the Senate and GTFF for “respectful discourse” – his definition seems a little different from the one UO’s English composition instructors use – as rumors fly that department heads who refuse to cooperate with the “voluntary grading suggestions” in the now public Johnson Hall “Academic Continuity Plan” are being called in by Interim CAS Dean Andrew Marcus, and told they will face discipline. Respectful discipline, I’m sure.
The UO Senate isn’t going to let this happen easily. They voted unanimously today to use their authority over academic matters to create a Senate “Academic Integrity Task Force” to rewrite Coltrane’s ACP, ASAP.
At the same time he’s on the respect thing, Coltrane is claiming the strike is not causing much disruption, and telling instructors that “staff volunteers” (some rumored to be UOPD) will be checking up on classes again tomorrow.
The good news? The GTFF president has flown to DC to meet with Pete DeFazio, Governor Kitzhaber (who controls UO Board appointments) is ramping up the pressure on Coltrane and the Board to end this nonsense strait-away, and the state mediator is going to give it another try Thursday:
Date: December 3, 2014 at 6:31:03 PM PST
From: “President’s Office” <firstname.lastname@example.org> Reply-To: email@example.com
Subject: Mediation resumes tomorrow
Students and colleagues,
As we mark the second day of striking by the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, I am pleased to report the discourse has continued to be respectful. We are optimistic that this trend will continue tomorrow across campus, and at the bargaining table. We are also confident that we will continue to meet the needs of our students during this difficult time.
Contract negotiations can be emotionally charged events, and ours is no exception. One thing that has been demonstrated is the passion that we all share for education of our students. I want to thank all who have worked to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of our students.
Dozens of UO employees have volunteered as course monitors to each GTF-led class, to ensure all students are given an explanation of the situation, should the GTF instructor not be present. Over the past two days, course monitors have reported that only 22 percent of scheduled courses resulted in students arriving to find no instructor. On Thursday and Friday, we are fully prepared with volunteers to carry out this critical duty.
Picketing GTFs are passionately conveying their message and we appreciate the continued respectful discourse that has been witnessed throughout campus today. The university is committed to ensuring that picketing does not disrupt our campus environments.
Tomorrow morning negotiations will resume and the university remains hopeful that an agreement will be reached that meets the needs of all involved. Thank you for your commitment to our university.
Sincerely, Scott Coltrane, Interim President
– GTFF sets up a link to donate to their strike fund, here. “These funds will help offset costs associated with strike supplies, legal costs, or lost wages.”
– The Presidential Skybox at Autzen – mostly paid for with undergrad tuition money – costs more than twice as much as the GTFF sick leave plan:
– From an email the administration is sending to undergrads in classes cancelled because of striking GTFs:
“Until further notice, there will be no formal instruction in your class. The classroom will still be available at the usual time, and you are welcome to use it for study groups or work sessions. We encourage you to keep up with your syllabus to the best of your ability: read the book on your own, try the homework problems if there are any, and if not pick out some representative problems from the textbook.”
– InsideHigherEd has a long story on the strike, UO’s academic standards, and Coltrane’s research, from Kaitlin Mulhere, with many interesting quotes. The admin’s hired spin doctors aren’t getting much play, compared to the GTFF leaders and their faculty and undergrad allies. Read it all, here.
– Phil Knight’s the decider on GTFF strike, Coltrane forced to publicly repudiate his life’s work: That’s the takeaway from tomorrow’s Diane Dietz story in the RG, online tonight here. Jeff calls Scott, Scott calls Chuck, Chuck calls Phil, then back down the chain. (Here’s the campaign finance report on the PAC fund that Knight, Lillis and a few others set up to persuade the legislature to turn over control of UO.)
No wonder nothing good ever gets done around here. Then there’s this sad bit of rationalization, from a noted expert on the importance of parental leave, now forced to repudiate his life’s work in the most humiliatingly possible public way, just for a shot at getting Chuck Lillis to appoint him to the “permanent” job as UO president:
“What if we get into the program and find out twice as many people were having babies and $1,500 was not enough or those kind of things?” Coltrane said. “We want to be able to adjust those amounts to meet the needs of the students, and we can’t do that if it’s written into the collective bargaining agreement.”
The problem here is not Scott Coltrane. Anyone who will agree to be UO president under these conditions will be a disaster for the university. Governor Kitzhaber is the only person who can reign in this board, and here his is on video promising to do his best to spend $40M in tax money on subsidizing Phil Knight’s track championship dreams, instead of on education for Oregon students.
– $115K-a-year chief UO strategic communicator and brander Tobin Klinger succeeds in getting a Daily Emerald reporter to quote him on the GTF strike. Francesca Fontana story, with very interesting student quotes and social media links, here. Klinger usually has to rely on bitter letters to the RG editors (page down, way down) to get his name in the press.
– Message from Interim President Coltrane: We executed a strategic move to advance in a different direction on the Altmann / Blandy plan to have community members teach classes. And it turns out undergrads won’t rat out the grad students, but we made staff do it, and admin forces repulsed noisy efforts by the grad students to disrupt the polka event:
Date: December 2, 2014 at 6:45:51 PM PST
Subject: Campus activity continuing
As the first day of a strike by the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation comes to a close, I want to assure students that our commitment to academic achievement continues as planned. Today, the large majority of classes and lab sections took place as usual with instructors reporting to work on schedule.
The university had course monitors at each GTF-led class today and will continue to do so during the strike. Our monitors, all of whom are UO employees, are ensuring that when a GTF does not appear for their classroom duties, students are given an explanation of the situation. Course monitors are not teaching courses or taking instructional roles.
I appreciate the mostly respectful behavior that I witnessed from students, faculty, staff, and our striking colleagues. While there were a small number of reports of disruptive noise and other distractions, we were able to address those issues quickly.
We remain committed to reaching agreement with the GTFF, look forward to continuing mediation Thursday, and will continue meeting the needs of students tomorrow and beyond. Thank you for being part of this community.
– Rumor from the picket lines is that, under pressure from Kitzhaber, Coltrane has agreed to restart negotiations with our $14K a year GTF’s on Thursday. Meanwhile life goes on inside the Johnson Hall bunker, as our $540K interim president, $360K interim provost, and a dwindling group of quislings enjoy a festive Tuesday afternoon of polka music, champagne and hors d’oeuvres:
– “Around the 0” posts the admin spin on the bargaining breakdown. From Greg Bolt, their most (only?) trustworthy PR guy, with links to the language the GTFF rejected, here. Presumably the GTFF will have a response soon, but I’m guessing the sticking point is that this language means grad students won’t be able to grieve a denial.
– Today’s Chronicle of Higher Ed report blames strike on UO administration’s refusal to put sick leave promises in contract. Also brings up the UO Senate condemnation of the secret Blandy/Altmann plan to persuade faculty to dilute and degrade academic standards to break strike, here.
– Who is to blame for strike? Judge for yourself: An English department GTF has sent me a secret recording of Monday’s final mediation session, showing Coltrane presenting his last offer, and the GTFF president and bargaining team reaction. Video here.
– Francesca Fontana has a report in the Emerald on bargaining breakdown, here.
– Cafe Roma is the place to get coffee and the latest news about where the picket lines are.
– UPS drivers won’t cross picket lines, so packages are being dropped off at an off-campus location where UO staff must pick them up.
– Striking GTFs are trampling o’er the sidewalks where the $30,000 CAS “Stencils of Excellence” are power-washed: