GC Kevin Reed believes “toxic” Faculty Club “reeks of white male privilege”

Update: Shocking photo reveals Faculty Club debauchery, here.

In other news I believe I have learned the real reason for GC Reed’s anger at me, that it has nothing to do with the Faculty Club, and that it will be public eventually.

Update: Thanks to a commenter for reminding me about the 2016 email from Pres Schill and Prof Harper establishing the UO Faculty Club, which I’ve appended to the bottom of this post.

4/3/2019: Over the past year or so I’ve received many angry emails from UO’s $352,612 a year VP & General Counsel Kevin Reed, above, accusing me of various things and threatening me with various forms of retaliation. I’m posting this latest because he cced others, and because it might be of more general interest:

From: Kevin Reed <ksreed@uoregon.edu>

Subject: Re: University Service Opportunities

Date: April 3, 2019 at 9:10:31 AM PDT

To: Senate Executive Coordinator <senatecoordinator@uoregon.edu>, “William Harbaugh” <harbaugh@uoregon.edu>, Elizabeth Skowron <eskowron@uoregon.edu>

Cc: [names and addresses of OA, SEIU, and ASUO student leaders redacted]

Bill [Senate Pres Harbaugh, me] and Elizabeth [Senate VP Skowron]

I write in my capacity as a proud Officer of Administration at the University of Oregon.  In that capacity, and as a person who is committed to improving the functioning of shared governance at UO,  I write to question your decision to hold “informational sessions” relating to opportunities to serve the Senate at the “Faculty Club.”

The Faculty Club is not open to OA’s, classified staff, GE’s or students.  It is not an environment where any of those crucial constituencies are likely, in my view, to feel welcome or to show up. Neither to I believe it to be a place where members of UO’s marginalized communities feel in the slightest bit welcome. Indeed, the Faculty Club has earned a reputation on campus as being an exclusionary group, dominated by white men.  Exactly the sort of “good ole boys club” I think the Senate would want to distance itself from.  Curiously, however, Senate leadership has chosen to treat it as its clubhouse.

Indeed, a respondent to a recent campus survey on faculty hiring had this to say about the Faculty Club:

“The faculty club – an extension of UO senate and Bill’s blog is a place where gossip takes place in an exclusive zone.  Sidebar conversations empower those who show up to a space that is less than welcoming to anyone outside a core group of faculty. It reeks of white male privilege – even the name Faculty Club is destructive and screams of exclusion and privilege. Why does the UO community not actively resist these toxic activities?”

As an OA who truly thinks UO deserves better, I could not have said it better.  I add, however, that the message this sends is especially toxic in the context of the current budget situation, in which the president has called for significant cuts to programs.  On his blog, the Senate President has been posting conversations that suggest that there is bloat that should be targeted for cuts in the ranks of student workers, classified staff and officers of administration who are dedicated to making this university a safe and highly effective organization.

I believe the University and the Senate deserve better.

Kevin S. Reed

219 Johnson Hall | Eugene, OR 97403-1226

(541) 346-3082 | ksreed@uoregon.edu

My response:

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for raising these issues. The email from the Senate should have noted that everyone interested in university service, faculty or not, would be welcome to these events. We’ll fix this in the reminder email, which will come out later this week.

I announce at the end of every Senate meeting that *all* Senators are invited to come to the faculty club afterwards.

I encourage the OA’s, student, and staff leaders to contact me and Elizabeth if they have any concerns or suggestions about this.

Bill Harbaugh
UO Econ Prof & Senate Pres
http://senate.uoregon.edu

Kevin’s response:

The fact that you believe that response to be adequate speaks volumes.

Kevin S. Reed
Vice President and General Counsel
University of Oregon

Email sent 11/1/2016 from President Schill and Professor Harper, establishing UO’s new Faculty Club:

Colleagues,

We are pleased to let you know that at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 9, we will open the new University of Oregon Faculty Club in a new designated space in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. This idea has been in the works for a number of years, and is meant to provide a place where statutory faculty and their guests can gather in a welcoming and collegial space.

The UO Faculty Club will feature full no-host bar service and complimentary snacks. It will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays through December 1 and resume operations January 11 at the beginning of the winter term. This effort is a pilot project to determine if the club can support regular service. If it is successful, then we will look at extending operations on a permanent basis.

A faculty club like this is something that faculty members have long requested at the UO. The minor renovations needed to accommodate this pilot effort are in line with the long-term needs of the museum, which will also use the room for other events and occasions.

Ultimately, we believe this could be a great way for faculty at the UO to get to know each other outside of the departments and colleges where most spend their time. While this is a social club, we hope that it is also a catalyst for relationship building and collaboration among faculty across the UO campus.

Regards,

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

James Harper
Chair of Faculty Club Board

DETAILS

WHO: The UO Faculty Club is open to all UO statutory faculty—tenure-track faculty, career non-tenure-track faculty, and OAs tenured in an academic department—and their guests.

WHEN: 5 – 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Pilot project dates will be November 9, 10, 16, 17, 30 and December 1. Operation will resume January 11 after the holidays.

AMENITIES: The UO Faculty Club will feature full no-host bar service and complimentary snacks.

CHILDCARE: Enjoy socializing in the faculty club while your child (ages 3+) participates in a drop in art workshop in the museum’s art studio, directly across from the faculty club. Cost is $10 for the first child, $5 for the second sibling. RSVP […]

INFORMATION: Faculty Club Board Chair James Harper (associate professor, History of Art and Architecture), harperj@uoregon.edu.

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37 Responses to GC Kevin Reed believes “toxic” Faculty Club “reeks of white male privilege”

  1. Observer says:

    Kevin Reed is delusional.

  2. Old Gray Mare says:

    Is that what we pay GC to do? Silly me. I thought they dealt with important issues.

  3. Odd coincidence says:

    *sniff sniff*
    “Male white privilege” also happens to be the name of the cologne Reed wears.

    Even so, Reed doesn’t write letters unless he’s told.

  4. Cheyney Ryan says:

    As long as General Counsel Reed is concerned with rooting out white male privilege at the U of O–why doesn’t he settle the discrimination lawsuit brought by Jennifer Freyd? I can think of no better way of showing that the U of O takes the legacy of the “old boys club” etc. seriously,

  5. John Harvard says:

    Wait, could this possibly be the SAME Kevin Reed whose SUV (parked in a privileged spot at the heart of campus) is ostentatiously plastered with “old-boy” Harvard and UVA stickers?
    I wonder if poor Kevin actually objects to clubs, or if he’s just ticked off that there’s a club to which his extraordinary privilege doesn’t gain him entry?
    Sour grapes anyone?

    • Clubber Lang says:

      Reed just wants you to be distracted by the faculty club so you aren’t paying attention to his actual good ol’ boy clubs.

  6. Deplorable Duck says:

    This is a quality troll, for a university admin type.

  7. Dog says:

    Reed clearly doesn’t understand that most all of visioning happens in a bar.

    I guess CAS simply failed to show up to the exclusive faculty club a sufficient number of times for the visioning to occur

    Also, I know the faculty club is exclusive, they don’t let dogs in …

    • Clubber Lang says:

      Reed is just the errand boy. More important people than him have legitimate fears that the Senate, faculty club, HECC, or other uncontrollables will water down what is supposed to be the unlimited and unchecked power of the Board.

  8. Lady Doctor says:

    Well this is the truth. The faculty club does exude exclusiveness and white male priveledge. And yes, UO should do better than to buy into the nostalgia of the good old days (boys) of faculty life. And yes, a very basic principle of equitable workplace culture is to not have even optional work pub nights—man space, white space, after-daycare-hours-space—if you don’t want to disproportionately burden or exclude (BTW someone might also mention this to UA stewards . . .). Retrograde. Also—to those who are calling out KR for his priveldege and hyprocrisy here, can we flip this and instead call out all those who are for some reason NOT choosing to use their priveledge to shed light on more of this crap? Thanks KR.

    • LDNF (lady doctor, not faculty) says:

      Thank you Lady Doctor for stating these points. None of the prior comments above deny the exclusivity of the Faculty Club. None of them state what THEY are doing to address inequities. I find the notion of the faculty club exclusionary by definition, and therefore not conducive to networking and visioning beyond those are invited in.

      • ODA says:

        LD & LDNF,
        I am not faculty and have never been there but it looks to be a pretty inclusive place, sponsored by the OA’s (but I guess we will see if any OAs: president, provost, etc. show up more than once).

        I get this view from the posts made by UOM about this ‘wonderful’ group before it even existed. See Here: http://uomatters.com/tag/faculty-club

        The inaugural post: http://uomatters.com/2016/11/actual-uo-faculty-club-to-replace-on-line-rumor-mill.html

        made it seem very inviting of all statutory faculty, and they even thought to offer child care, and since faculty can bring anyone, I am sure I could get in; however, now UOM’s statement above says “…everyone interested in university service…” is welcome (unlike Shills Skybox as Proll points out, and when was the last time you have seen a GC ).
        offer to engage and rub elbows with the community).

        It sounded to me from the posts here the event is in an inclusive public location, and started in good will to bring our community together. Something I do not think the UO has enough of.
        PS: I have a guess about the why and when of this, and there is not a spec of care for altruism or inclusion or our community.

        • Larissa Ennis says:

          In response to LD’s assertion that the Faculty Club is “sponsored by the OAs”: the body of OAs on campus (there are almost 1600 of us!) did not decide to support a Faculty Club. Upper administration, who happen to be OAs, did. There is an important distinction there.

          Speaking as myself and not on behalf of the OA Council, with whom I have not had the opportunity to discuss this topic, I also find the Faculty Club to be an unlikely place for OAs, classified staff, and students to go to learn about service opportunities. I believe Bill when he says he wants other employee groups to feel welcome there, at least on Deans Night to discuss service opportunities, and after Senate meetings. In practice, I think OAs/classified/students do not see the Faculty Club as a place for them.

          Just as there’s a reason to call the Senate the University Senate and not the Faculty Senate, though the number of times I have to point that out in everyday conversation is pretty discouraging…

          • uomatters says:

            Larissa’s point about ours being a *University Senate* rather than a Faculty Senate is exactly correct. As is her point that people often need to be reminded of that, or don’t understand the difference.

            Many (most?) universities have a faculty-only senate. Our university senate – while mostly faculty – includes voting representation from all the main university constituencies: faculty, librarians, students, researchers, staff, and Officers of Administration (OAs). Staff means classified staff with SEIU union representation. The OA’s are, basically, the administrators with supervisory responsibility for staff.

            However, the IR listing at https://ir.uoregon.edu/faculty_employees also includes a category for “Administrators” – technically Executive Administrators, which includes the president and provost (when we have them) and deans, vice provosts, vice presidents, the GC, etc. 28 people as of fall. If you are confused about someones category, or just curious about what they are paid, you can find that at https://ir.uoregon.edu/sites/ir1.uoregon.edu/files/Unclassified%20110118.pdf. Classified staff have their own listing at https://ir.uoregon.edu/salary.

            If you check the 110118 list, you will see that our confused General Counsel Reed is not an OA, despite his undoubtedly genuine expression of solidarity with them. He is an Executive Administrator, with all the power, responsibility, pay, and privileges of his rank, such as a primo parking spot and free drinks at Duck games. Faculty Club membership, or membership in the OA Council, are not among those privileges.

            President Schill, on the other hand, as you can also see in that pdf, is not only an Executive Administrator, he is also a faculty member (Law) and he is therefore in the club, as well as being its founder.

            • Anonymous says:

              Our “proud OA” and top university lawyer is trying to start a class war between the faculty and the OAs, SEUI staff and students, during contract bargaining with the grad students and the SEIU staff unions. He tosses in accusations of racial and gender bias to try and fan the flames. Then it turns out he’s not really an OA, instead he’s in an exclusive Executive employment class. I’m not a labor lawyer, but I wonder if Kevin is not just stupid angry, but also committing an unfair labor practice during bargaining?

    • James Harper says:

      As president of the Faculty Club, I’ve responded to Kevin Reed’s letter in a comment below. But I also want to respond directly to you, “Lady Doctor,” as you raise some substantial points (and do it in a manner that is considerably more measured and sober than Mr. Reed’s)

      * As I said in my comment addressing Reed, the Faculty Club is only as exclusionary as the faculty itself is. All are invited and even urged to attend, and we strive to make a welcoming atmosphere.

      * Childcare is an issue. During the first year of operation, I had organized childcare, employing the trained art educators of the JSMA. But more often than not, my children were the only ones in the group. Eventually we had to cancel that feature for lack of interest.

      * Finally, the point about “pub nights” is well taken; my hope is that the Faculty Club will move towards serving lunch (a much-needed feature) sometime in the future. If and when we are allowed to expand in that direction, this will do something towards fixing some of the problems you correctly raise.

      Yours, James Harper

  9. Ron says:

    350K+ and telling lesser people who they can associate with and when and where?

    Now THAT’S privilege.

  10. John Harvard says:

    Note the cc’s on Reed’s initial e-mail.
    He’s copied the leaders of the SEIU.
    Clearly he is trying to pit the faculty against the staff.
    Putin and his orange puppet have shown us that there are distinct advantages to dividing people.
    But why is Reed trying to divide us?
    That’s the question behind the question.

  11. prole says:

    Is this the same Kevin who gets free drinks in Schill’s skybox at Autzen? He looks familiar.

  12. cdsinclair says:

    Last year, as Senate President, I started the “tradition” of inviting academic leaders to the faculty club to talk with their constituencies in an informal, yet on-campus environment.

    My thinking at the time was that the faculty club already attracts a certain faculty following (not exclusively male, nor white, in my experience) and it was sensible to use existing gatherings as opposed to attempt to organize such events ‘from scratch.’

    I am certainly sensitive to the exclusive nature of the faculty club, and am always willing to ‘sponsor’ campus individuals who’d like to attend.

    The Senate events sponsored at the faculty club (last year, and I assume this year too), were advertised to allow faculty to meet informally with their dean, the Provost, the President, etc. Obviously, many people besides faculty report to those leaders. However, given that shared governance is centered on the academic matters of the university, and given that statutory faculty have primary responsibility for shared governance, it did not feel overly exclusionary (to me) to have events for faculty at the faculty club.

    The exclusionary nature of the faculty club was not set by the Senate. Indeed, I believe this policy came from Johnson Hall when the money was provided to launch the faculty club. If the GC is concerned about equitable access to the faculty club, I suggest he talk with those individuals who put the policy in place (hint: they work in the same building) and not the people who use the faculty club as an opportunity to build campus community.

    Finally, since there were no complaints from the GC when I was Senate President and did the same thing, I suspect that the GC’s complaint is more centered around a personal grievance with Bill, than principle. I say this recognizing fully, that the complaint itself is worth exploring and addressing.

  13. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Hmm, I’ve been to the “Faculty Club” now and then. Have talked with whites, blacks, Hispanics, men, women, Asians from disparate places (Asia is a varied place, you know), South Americans, Europeans, Americans, lots of different kinds of people. Always seemed like a cross section of the UO faculty.
    Never realized that we were a “core group of faculty.” It never seemed that anyone felt engulfed in a toxic environment. I must have missed this. I was never aware of an oppressive feeling of marginalization. People seemed to be having a good time. I guess I must be insensitive or something. Yeah, I guess we were all or almost all faculty (tenure-track and otherwise). That kind of goes with being a Faculty Club. If I want to hang out at a place that doesn’t distinguish, I can go someplace else, if I want to hang out with students and non-faculty types (which I have been known to do, the nephews insist!), I would much prefer Taylor’s or Rennie’s or someplace to the environs of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

    Maybe my lack of awareness is inexcusable, horrible, sorry. I guess I’m not as woke as the estimable GC.

  14. Hippo says:

    Please tell me this is the GC pulling an April 1 joke, 2 days late.

  15. James Harper says:

    As president of the Faculty Club, I feel I should respond to Mr. Reed’s letter, which was not written from a position of deep knowledge.

    * The Faculty Club has always striven to be inclusive of all faculty. I send weekly e-mails reminding all +/- 1400 people on the faculty that they are included, and also organize theme nights that seek to involve a variety of constituencies. Mr. Reed is welcome to join us Wednesday (April 11) when we will be we are showcasing the multidisciplinary Queer Studies Minor (in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies), with a brief presentation by Judith Raiskin.

    * Last year we had 800 “unique users” of the Faculty Club, some of whom came once and some of whom came multiple times. We are proud that more than half of the faculty have taken time out from their busy lives to share camaraderie. And we reject Reed’s misinformed insinuation that this is “an exclusionary group, dominated by white men.” The Faculty Club is only as exclusionary as the faculty itself.

    * We also reject Reed’s nutty insinuation that the Faculty Club is “and extension … Bill [Harbaugh’s] blog.” While Bill Harbaugh has been a great supporter of the Faculty Club, he is not its leader. The Faculty Club began as a collaboration between me, JSMA director Jill Hartz and university president Michael Schill.

    * Any faculty member may bring anyone (student, cousin, OA, etc.) to the Faculty Club. There is no category of person excluded from coming as a guest of a faculty member.

    * The commenter above who signs herself Lady Doctor brings up some more substantial and better articulated points. Childcare is an issue. During the first year of operation, I had organized childcare, employing the trained art educators of the JSMA. But more often than not, my children were the only ones in the group. Eventually we had to cancel that feature for lack of interest. And the point about “pub nights” is well taken; my hope is that the Faculty Club might move towards serving lunch (a much-needed feature) sometime in the future. If and when we are allowed to expand in that direction, this will do something towards fixing some of the problems Lady Doctor raises.

    I would encourage everyone who is reading this to come down and see for yourself next week. As mentioned, the Queer Studies minor will be featured on Wednesday and there will be the first of the “Dean’s Nights” on Thursday. For these Senate sponsored Dean’s nights, all interested in Senate service are welcome.

    Yours, James Harper

    • uomatters says:

      Thanks for this affidavit on my insignificance, Professor Harper. In regard to the child-care issue, I’ll add that many faculty now just bring their kids to the club, Wisconsin style. At least I assume the youngsters on the couch in the corner are kids – I suppose they could be our new assistant professors. In any case they seem to be having fun engaged in important intellectual discussions and networking.

  16. James Harper says:

    PS: I just sent the following to Kevin Reed, via e-mail.

    Dear Kevin,

    I was surprised to read your comments about the faculty club, which appeared this week in UO Matters. It seems to me that they are not coming from a position of knowledge, and I thought it would be a positive step to have you come to the Faculty Club (as my guest) next Wednesday to witness the gatherings yourself.

    Last year we had 800 “unique users.” This is hardly a little coterie, but rather a successfuly involvement of over half the university’s faculty. The people who attend are as diverse as our faculty itself.

    I hope you can come Wednesday; First drink’s on me–if I remember correctly, you’re fond of bourbon.

    Yours, James Harper

    • wrong drink says:

      I believe it is the blood and tears of union supporters. It is a nice gesture, thanks for offering bourbon instead.

  17. Dog says:

    Okay having synthesized the comments of Sinclair and Harper
    this missive from the GC seems even more strange and off base (are we 100% sure this email was not spoofed?) and it seems more like it is targeted towards the UO Matters blog, conflating the existence of this blog with that of the faculty club. This is more than nuts and borders on outright condemnation.

    If there are genuine problems with the FC, then the GC’s missive should have been addressed to Harper, not the Senate President.

    Something very peculiar is going on here which, to me, exceeds the normal level of peculiar behavior that defines the UO.

  18. Canard says:

    The patent silliness of the GC’s letter would be a source of amusement, if it didn’t highlight a disturbing and dangerous trend on this campus. The administration has already weaponized “civility”, which is now usually invoked by administrators who are angered when some faculty have the temerity to question their pronouncements. (We should have been more on our guard after an incident years ago, when the athletic director refused to meet with the intercollegiate athletics committee, because they were allegedly creating a “hostile work environment” by asking him difficult questions).

    Now they are weaponizing “inclusion”. There was the sordid incident in architecture last year, when the dean and the provost’s office came down hard on the faculty who had been meeting to discuss the disastrous direction in the school, arguing that the discussion was illegitimate because some faculty (administrators and untenured, vulnerable junior faculty) had not been included. Under the prodding of the union, that reaction had to be walked back.

    This is gaslighting. They have learned how to spin every issue of control, co-opting the language of inclusion and equity in furtherance of their own power-grabbing agenda. They attack those faculty who hearken back to a time when governance was shared. The administration doesn’t want the faculty to talk. They don’t want us to know, or engage with each other. They want to keep us in our individual bunkers, where we can be controlled.

    War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. I need a drink.

    • honest Uncle Gangsta says:

      Canard, you make a very interesting point here. I would just add that Reed’s words sink to a level of absurd, brutish crudity, worthy of a cheap politician or would be woke gangsta lawyer. It’s impossible that a Harvard lawyer would not know what he’s doing with this, and unlikely that the equally schooled attorney Schill would not be in assent. I think that the target is Bill, not the faculty or the “Faculty Club” run by the gentlemanly and urbane James Harper, but still the vulgarity is astounding.

    • SeenItTooManyTimes says:

      RE: Weaponizing “civility”

      The administration, HR in particular, has used weaponized civility against SEIU members for years.

      Same for weaponizing “inclusion”.

      It absolutely is gaslighting. I find the UO administration missives on “equity”, “inclusion”, “hostile work environment”,”civility” and so forth so utterly hypocritical. Gaslighting indeed.

      Noting that the required harassment training spelled out clearly that a supervisor screaming at, demeaning, and insulting their underlings is not harassment nor a hostile work environment – as long as the screaming, demeaning, and insulting is equitable against all underlings. Sure, UO policies may exist. Those have not been applied to administrators and managers as they have been applied to classified and temp staff.

      Gaslighting. Yup.

  19. apt says:

    I think Dog sniffed it out…the peculiarity here though, I think, comes back to the personal vendetta against Bill. But I also got to agree with Canard on the inclusion piece. Please GC Reed, no one here on campus that works on DEI initiatives that actually have an impact on our underrepresented students and faculty, needs you to speak for us. Buy yourself a drink at any other watering hole available to you, which for me, as a person of color in this town, means that I DONT feel comfortable walking into most places you never think twice about walking into (not to mention I’m on that instructor salary).

    My first trip to the Faculty Club, as a fairly new career instructor, came on Bill’s invitation (to see if he could help me out with bringing Shaun Harper over at USC to UO; google him GC Reed if you want to start your education on Diversity in Higher Ed). After the DIA US and Global Perspectives resolution was passed (replacing the outdated MCR), our “diverse” group of faculty members and others that worked on that went to the Faculty Club to celebrate. When the new US DIA courses roll out in Fall ’19, GC Reed, I invite you to find a class and pay special attention in particular to “structural inequality” and how its reproduced time and again, especially by those that “mean well.” After which, I’d be happy to join you at the Faculty Club for a chat; don’t worry, I’ll sign you in.

  20. C1133 says:

    Can we really, really be sure that Reed’s letter isn’t a spoof?

    • uomatters says:

      Totally sure? No. Maybe hackers broke into his account and sent it, and then responded to my response, and have now wiped his phone and are holding him incommunicado. On the other hand, it’s quite consistent with his past emails, e.g. those he sent me in his attempts to get my emails with reporters about academic freedom, as documented by the Chronicle of Higher Ed here: https://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-Is-a-University-s-Top/239199

      • C1133 says:

        I didn’t think it was written by a hacker — I thought that our GC was being a jokester. The letter is justso patently ridiculous, and it came out so shortly after April Fool’s Day. Sadly, I suppose it’s what John Harvard says it is: an attempt to pit the faculty against the staff, in the divisive manner of Putin’s orange puppet. And also further expression of his personal vendetta against Bill. How pitiful that this man can’t find more constructive things to do with his time!

        (P.S. I couldn’t read the Chronicle of Higher Ed piece; it’s behind a paywall.)

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