That’s the RG Editorial board discussing the release of the UO Presidential Archives. On the other hand the damage to UO’s reputation and the careers of James Fox and Kira Homo, from Interim President Coltrane’s botched over-reaction, has been immense.
Most of the initial embarrassment was to former UO General Counsel Randy Geller, now working for the university’s law firm, Harrang, Long, Rudnick and Geller, over his proposal to dissolve the UO Senate. Coltrane’s apparent over-reliance on advice from lawyers, as opposed to common sense and decency, has sure compounded the embarrassment though.
The RG Editors then go on to suggest
“An early item on the agenda of incoming UO President Michael Schill should be a review of Fox’s firing.”
That’s a great idea. And it’s hard to imagine anyone better qualified than the dean of a top law school like the University of Chicago to review and take charge of the UO’s problematic General Counsel’s office and its hired attorneys.
The editorial is accompanied by an Op-Ed supporting Fox, from the noted science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin, who has given her papers to UO:
… As an outsider to events on campus, I don’t pretend to have any inside knowledge, but that a breach of confidence of sorts did occur under the auspices of a professor and a graduate student is evidently the case, perfectly visible to the public. That Fox should bear some responsibility as the student’s superior is arguable. But that he should be treated as solely responsible, that he should be dismissed, is an egregious error in judgment and in justice.
It can only be seen as such, and so I hope very much that there is time still to correct it. The damage spoken of in the faculty letter — the damage to staff and faculty trust in the university administration, the damage to the trust of donors like myself, the damage done to public respect for the university — will otherwise be very serious and very long lasting. I will not speak of the damage done to the reputation and well-being of my friend James Fox, but neither will I forget it until it is repaired as soon and as thoroughly as possible.
I only recently learned that Le Guin is the daughter of UC-Berkeley anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber and writer Theodora Kroeber. Her father brought Ishi, the “last wild Indian in North America” into their home, and her mother wrote his biography, Ishi: in Two Worlds. When I worked in the Wyoming oilfields back in the 80’s, someone had a copy of that book, and it got passed around the crew – ripped in half so two people could read it at once – until it had been completely consumed and endlessly debated around the campfire. This was a group of guys of whom maybe half had finished high school.