I was born in the town of Chaplin, Connecticut. New England towns are famous for their Town Hall form of governance. The town Selectmen (now mostly Selectwomen) make proposals about the budget, and then everyone – or every property-tax paying resident who cares – meets, discusses, and votes about the rate, and how to split it between snow-removal and teachers.
Our house was next to the Town Hall, so we shared a phone line with them and a few other families. This meant that the phone would ring in the Town Hall and all our houses if anyone got a call. In theory the operator was supposed to use a unique sequence of rings that identified who the call was for, but in practice this was spotty and regardless anyone could pick up their phone and listen in to whatever offer some contractor was making to the town.
UO’s governance is a bit less transparent. The Senate President is not allowed to attend the meetings of the administrative leadership team that makes budget decisions. Even simple public records requests for financial information are now met with delays and fees by Kevin Reed’s public records office. This is not how it works at normal universities, where the Senate is in the loop.
And now, in remembrance of the Spirit of Transparency past, UO is holding a fake Town Hall. Selectman Mrs. Danielson would be appalled. I learned about this from Around the O here, not from listening in on the JH phones, or from a notice to the Senate:
… The focus of the event will be the University of Oregon’s budget situation, and Banavar will lead a discussion around how the administration is working to make reductions to UO’s schools and colleges, and and the provost’s administrative units. Vice President for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt will join Banavar to provide background and context on the university’s financial picture.
The purpose of the town hall is to spark dialogue and a spirit of transparency around the difficulties faced by the university and its funding. …
Apparently President Schill will not be attending, presumably out of respect for the dead.