I don’t know who wrote the Provost’s letter below, but it doesn’t strike me as Banavar’s style. In any case the faculty union has now sent the architecture faculty a thoughtful response:
Dear Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture Faculty,
On Friday, Provost Banavar sent the faculty of the Department of Architecture a letter concerning the recent unrest in the unit. In that letter he emphasizes that the University is a workplace that does not permit bullying or retaliation. We agree with that position. The Provost’s letter, however, goes well beyond reminding faculty of their duties not to intimidate or bully and cites the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) as the basis for his reasoning. Consequently, we felt compelled to respond to the letter and clarify the meaning of the CBA.
First, we share the Provost’s concern that faculty in the Department of Architecture fear retaliation and work in a hostile atmosphere where they experience bullying. Our CBA contains strong language protecting faculty from working in an environment that is hostile, abusive, or intimidating. Heather Quarles, the chair of our Grievance Committee, has worked with many faculty across the university to address hostile workplaces. Any faculty member who would like to discuss a hostile workplace should feel free to reach out to Heather at email@example.com.
If department or committee meetings are taking place in the Department of Architecture that exclude faculty members for discriminatory reasons, this must be addressed immediately. It is never acceptable to exclude faculty from departmental activities on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, marital status, domestic partnership status, familial status, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or membership or non-membership in or activity on behalf of or in opposition to the union. Discriminatory actions are forbidden in state law, university policy, and the CBA.
Unfortunately, the Provost goes well beyond discussing discriminatory practices in his letter, telling faculty that “conversations” about the future of the department that do not include all faculty must end. The CBA, despite the Provost’s citations, does not prevent faculty from meeting to discuss the future of the department – whether or not all faculty are invited to participate in those discussions.
Under the CBA and state law, faculty have the right to organize to discuss their wages and working conditions, including departmental and college governance, free of interference from the employer. The Provost has no right, under either the CBA or state law, to forbid faculty to have conversations about the future of the department. In fact, it is a fundamental right of the faculty to gather together with their like-minded colleagues to discuss how they might resist, protest, undo, and improve the actions of the administration.
Additionally, the Provost has no right, through the CBA or otherwise, to forbid faculty to meet with external advisory groups. As he said, such arrangements may in some cases be counterproductive and harmful, but there can be no blanket prohibition on the right of faculty to work with external advisory groups. The American Associate of University Professors (AAUP) has worked with many faculty at many colleges and universities to organize protests against violations of academic freedom rights. In many of these cases, the administration believed the actions of their faculty in working with the AAUP might be detrimental to the institution, but they had no right to end these conversations or force the faculty to include college administrators in those discussions.
Finally, we are saddened that the Provost did not use the occasion of writing to the Architecture faculty to acknowledge that there are many difficult issues that the department is trying to grapple with. Many faculty clearly feel that the shared governance principles and practices in the department and college do not work. If the frustrations of these faculty have created an atmosphere of hostility and intimidation, this must be rectified, but they cannot be resolved through vague and potentially intimidating demands from the Provost. We believe the solutions to these problems must include more conversations, not fewer.
Any faculty member who wants to discuss the rights of faculty under the CBA, the future of the Department of Architecture, and/or a hostile workplace is free to contact the leaders or staff of United Academics. You can reach us by responding to this email, calling the union office, or contacting any of the officers of the union. 541-636-4714 or http://uauoregon.org/executive-council
The Executive Council of United Academics of the University of Oregon
3/12/2018: Provost: Architecture faculty cannot secede from College of Design