Panicked UO communicators spew nonsense in basketball allegation response

6/22/2017 update: And don’t get me started on their grammar. I’ve made a few notes on the response below, the official version is posted on Around the O:

The university issued the following statement June 22:

Recent media coverage of an allegation of sexual assault by a former member of the UO’s basketball program has created some questions about the university’s response. The University of Oregon takes very seriously any allegation of sexual assault or misconduct regardless of whether [or not] it involves a student athlete.

In most cases involving accusation[s] of sexual assault, it is impossible [perhaps you mean to claim it is illegal?] and inappropriate to publicly disclose details to protect the rights of victims [and yet police departments and prosecutors do this all the time by using pseudonyms – see for example the Jane Doe documents for the last basketball rape allegations] and those who report violations under Title IX, to comply with federal student privacy laws [say, don’t athletes have to sign the FERPA release?], and to provide those accused with appropriate due process. [Uh, so then why did the UOPD (eventually) release the police report to the Emerald? See it here.]

This was a scenario [scenario is the word when you’re play-acting crises and responses, not when you’re responding to an actual event] that stemmed from a law enforcement inquiry by the Northern Wyoming Community College [District] police.UO police have no jurisdiction in Wyoming, [thanks, good to know] and it would be inappropriate for the UO to provide details on an inquiry led by another law enforcement agency. [Even if doing so might protect UO students? Did the UOPD ask the NWCCDPD if they cared?]

The UO Police Department was contacted in the fall of 2016 to assist the NWCCD police in an interview with Kavell Bigby-Williams. UO athletics assisted UOPD in contacting Bigby-Williams, who declined to be interviewed through his attorney. [It’s OK, we know what you were trying to say here.] That information was provided to the NWCCD Police Department. 

Information detailing allegations was not shared with the coaching staff to protect [the] integrity of the inquiry. [We can understand why the UOPD wouldn’t trust Dana Altman, but why wasn’t it shared with AD Rob Mullens and President Mike Schill? Does the UOPD not trust them either?] The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics’ only role was to provide contact information for the player and to coordinate with the university’s Title IX coordinator. [What does coordinate mean here? Was a Title IX investigation started?]

University processes, then as now, involve communication between campus police, the Title IX office and athletics administration to determine whether there is a risk to the campus community that requires immediate action. In September 2016, there was insufficient information to warrant interim action. Since September, UOPD has received no further information or requests for assistance from the NWCCD police suggesting the inquiry had advanced in any way. [Did they ask? And did any new information develop? Was anyone alerted to look for it?]

6/22/2017 update: Dana Altman brings UO more of that national publicity money just can’t buy

Now in the Washington Post here:

Kavell Bigby-Williams played one season for the Oregon men’s basketball team, helping the Ducks to the Final Four in 2016-17. For the entirety of that season, he was being investigated for sexual assault by police in Wyoming for an incident that took place in September near Gillette College, the junior college from which Bigby-Williams transferred to Oregon.

According to a report by the Emerald’s Kenny Jacoby, a woman accused Bigby-Williams of sexually assaulting her at an apartment near the Gillette College campus sometime between 10 p.m. on Sept. 17 and 3 a.m. on Sept. 18, about a week before fall classes began at Oregon. The Northern Wyoming Community College District (NWCCD) campus police then began its investigation, which according to Jacoby remains open, though NWCCD police refused to comment about it. Bigby-Williams has since announced his intention to transfer to Louisiana State.

It remains unclear whether Ducks Coach Dana Altman, Athletic Director Rob Mullens or other school officials were aware of the specifics of the investigation. …

For the nostalgic, here’s video of Duck Coach Dana Altman, AD Rob Mullens, and former President Mike Gottfredson pretending they didn’t know anything about the previous allegations:

6/21/2017: New Duck basketball sex assault allegations

Reporter Kenny Jacoby has the latest in the Emerald, here:

Former Oregon forward Kavell Bigby-Williams played the 2016-17 men’s basketball season while under criminal investigation for an alleged sexual assault, the Emerald has learned.

… UO President Michael Schill did not know about the sexual assault allegation involving Bigby-Williams and declined to share his thoughts on it.

“I don’t have any awareness of that,” Schill said. “In any event, I can’t comment on an individual student. What if I was asked by another reporter about you being obnoxious? Would you want me to tell them that?”

… Bigby-Williams played 37 games for Oregon this season, averaging 9.8 minutes and 3.0 points. He played increased minutes off the bench during the Ducks’ run to the NCAA Tournament Final Four, after center Chris Boucher went down with an injury.

He recently asked for and was granted a release to explore a transfer to another school. On June 20, Bigby-Williams committed to transfer to LSU.

For the record I’ve had many conversations with Kenny Jacoby, and I’ve always found him to be polite, smart, calm, well-informed, and curious. I hope my saying that is not a FERPA violation, because I doubt that Emerald reporters sign the same release form that Dana Altman’s student-athletes must sign, before they can get their scholarships and play ball:

Cinema Studies seeks sole-source contract for red helium brain

The PCS site at https://pcs.uoregon.edu/content/business-opportunities is a mix of RFPs for “Parking Management Solutions”, “Executive Buzzword Coaches“, “Proposals from qualified Proposers for Clean kitchen grease / exhaust hoods, including all hood surfaces, grease filters, fans, fan housing, fan blades and associated ductwork”, and attempts to find a brave consultant willing to try running a logistic regression with a continuous dependent variable. All essential to the functioning of a modern university, I’m sure – although I’ve made public records requests for the Buzzword and Regression docs, just in case.

But every now and then I come across something deeply suspicious, like this attempt by Cinema Studies to acquire a red helium brain – and without going through the usual competitive bidding process. Sorry, your opportunity to protest expired at 5PM today – but I can’t wait to see the movie:

 

University’s Barran Liebman lawyers lose discrimination case to Jennifer Middleton

This is not about UO and Jennifer Freyd. It’s Willamette University, in a Title IX case brought by members of the women’s rowing team. In both cases the plaintiffs are represented by Jennifer Middleton of Eugene’s Johnson, Johnson, Lucas and Middleton LLC, and the universities by Paula Barran et al of Portland’s Barran Liebman LLC.

The case against UO is proceeding. Willamette just settled. They will pay the rowers $140K, and Middleton’s firm (and another firm) $215K. No info on what the Barran Liebman charged Willamette, or is charging UO. UO docket here, Willamette docket here. I haven’t checked to see if Ms Barran tried to blame that one on a union too.

Supreme Court reaffirms our First Amendment right to be offensive idiots

The decision was unanimous. The Washington Post’s Eugene Volokh has the analysis here. Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Elena Kagan’s concurring opinion reads as if written specifically in response to the UO administration’s discipline of law school professor Nancy Shurtz:

The Government may not insulate a law from charges of viewpoint discrimination by tying censorship to the reaction of the speaker’s audience. The Court has suggested that viewpoint discrimination occurs when the government intends to suppress a speaker’s beliefs … but viewpoint discrimination need not take that form in every instance. The danger of viewpoint discrimination is that the government is attempting to remove certain ideas or perspectives from a broader debate. That danger is all the greater if the ideas or perspectives are ones a particular audience might think offensive, at least at first hearing.

I’m no lawyer, but this language doesn’t seem to give any support for the November 30th 2016 report from the UO General Counsel’s attorneys, concluding that the First Amendment did not protect Professor Shurtz, because she had engaged in speech that a particular audience thought offensive:

… In evaluating the event in light of the University’s policies against discrimination, it is important to outline the outcomes and impacts following the event, upon both the attendees as well as the student body. As stated previously, different guests had differing personal perspectives, so the range of responses varied accordingly. One point that was clear, at least before the event, was that most of the attendees knew Shurtz (setting aside the family members and plus-ones), had an appreciation for or understanding of her personality and her general intentions, and held her in esteem.

All the students interviewed made it very clear that the impacts of the event and the costume extend far beyond those students and individuals who were in attendance, and that the resulting environment at the school has been very negative and contentious. …

VII. CONCLUSION

Based on the interviews conducted and our review and analysis of the information obtained during this investigation, we conclude:

1. That Nancy Shurtz’s wearing of the costume at the stated event constitutes a violation of the University’s policies against discrimination. We further find that the actions constitute Discriminatory Harassment under those policies.

2. That the actual disruption and harm to the University resulting from Nancy Shurtz’s wearing of the costume at the stated event are significant enough to outweigh Nancy Shurtz’s interests in academic freedom and free speech.

Respectfully Submitted, Edwin A. Harnden Shayda Z. Le Barran Liebman LLP

Gov. Brown to nominate passionate Gottfredson defender as faculty trustee

That’s the rumor down at the faculty club. Here’s video of Professor Laura Lee McIntyre (School Psychology) taking a courageous stand in the UO Senate in defense of President Gottfredson’s handling of the basketball rape allegations. Backup to hear Gottfredson’s remarks. The Board fired paid Gottfredson $940K cash to leave town less than three months later. The official UO channel has taken this video down (perhaps because of the lawsuit against him) but it’s on youtube:

 

Duck athletic cartel & Roedl shake down UO students for another 40 large

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Kenny Jacoby has the story in the Daily Emerald, here:

This year, athletics requested another 4-percent increase, even though prices for regular season-ticket holders are decreasing.

“Really the reason behind the 4-percent ask is that we’ve been frozen for so long and we’re trying to just catch up a little bit with the [incidental fee],” [the very well paid AAD Eric Roedl] said.

Dunn said each year Roedl and other athletic department officials “come to the table very frustrated that the conversation is the same.” Students want to pay less, but athletic department officials wants them to pay more, so the end result remains unchanged.

“They don’t think about how any sort of change in these fees or tuition will actually impact the students here on our campus,” Dunn said. “Asking students to pay more for their student athletic tickets in a year where tuition is supposed to go up almost 11 percent is a little ridiculous.”

In the end ASUO gave them only $10K, so now Roedl is threatening to take away the students tickets – or go directly to the TFAB, for a new student fee devoted solely to the athletic department.

UO lawyers blame pay gap on the faculty union, students support Freyd

After taking an extra month – what’s the hurry when you bill by the hour – UO’s lawyers finally filed a response to Professor Freyd’s gender discrimination lawsuit. The case is now set for jury trial on Sept 17, 2018. Docket here, UO’s response here.

It looks like UO’s lawyers, Paula A. Barran and Shayda Zaerpoor Le of Portland’s Barran Liebman LLP, are going to fall back on the “blame it on the union” legal strategy:

That’s stretching the truth, even for lawyers. Nothing in the Collective Bargaining Agreement prevents the university administration from giving faculty additional raises for any reason, and certainly not for gender equity! And if there were, would it be legally enforceable? I doubt it. In any case the negotiated raises are floors, not ceilings.

And what in the world is a “standard across-the-board merit raise”? I’m no employment lawyer, but apparently UO’s lawyers didn’t read the contract, which gives a pretty clear explanation of how across-the-board and merit are different things.

Meanwhile ~60 UO Psychology grad students have written a letter supporting Prof. Freyd. Letter with signatures here:

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Open Letter to Dr. Jennifer J. Freyd

Dear Dr. Jennifer J. Freyd,

We, the undersigned graduate students in the UO Department of Psychology, would like to take this opportunity to thank you.

Knowledge of the wage disparity you have endured stirred many emotions in us, including sadness, frustration, anger, fear, and hurt. While we each have our own experiences around this issue, we want to let you know that we appreciate you bringing to light a pervasive issue that is often dismissed and demanding that this discrimination be remedied.

In addressing gender discrimination, you have indirectly given much to us graduate students. Not the least of which is hope. Hope for a life in which such discrimination is a thing of the past. And hope that we, in our own ways, can fight for equality in all forms for ourselves and our colleagues.

Therefore, we sincerely express our support and gratitude.

Thank you.

With appreciation,

UO Psychology Graduate Students

Coach and athletic director hid star player’s sexual assault history

No, this is not about Duck basketball coach Dana Altman and AD Rob Mullens, or Joe Paterno. The latest athletics scandal is at Oregon State. Oregonian reporter John Canzano is shocked to hear that that their baseball coach and AD knew that the player was a registered sex offender, but didn’t tell the campus. Maybe because he could throw a ball and make coach some money? Story here.

Is the Duck athletic department still violating UO’s free speech policies?

Kenny Jacoby in the Emerald, here:

Oregon track and field coaches routinely deny interview requests on student-athletes’ behalf in order to control which stories about the team are disseminated in the news media, the Emerald has found.

Multiple times the Emerald has requested interviews with student-athletes during the indoor and outdoor track seasons, only to discover that the coaches, particularly head coach Robert Johnson, prevented the interviews from happening — sometimes without ever consulting the athletes — because they preferred not to have those stories published.

The revelation flies in the face of the findings from University of Oregon general counsel Kevin Reed’s investigation of the athletic department earlier this year for potentially violating UO’s free speech policies. Reed’s March 2017 report concluded, “We find no evidence to support the allegation that the athletic department restricts student-athletes’ ability to address the media.” …