Academic Council to meet today to discuss Continuity Plan if GTFF strike

The meeting, 3PM in 253 Straub, is open to the public under the ACP policy passed last year. Meanwhile the UO administration is developing its plans to hire faculty scabs, and faculty union Pres Chris Sinclair has issued guidance on how to avoid this fate. Remember, the best outcome for our undergrads is happy, healthy, and well-paid Graduate Employees. The admin can settle this for about $250K a year – less than half the price of a provost.

Here’s the latest from the admin side:

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

I am writing to share the latest information about mediation with GTFF and about our plans to provide academic and research continuity should a GTFF strike occur.
The GTFF membership voted to authorize a strike last week. The soonest the union can lawfully strike after giving the university a required 10-day strike notice is Sunday, November 3. Should the strike occur, it would likely begin the following Monday, November 4. The university is working to ensure academic and research continuity and has plans to maintain teaching and essential research operations with as little disruption as possible. Mediation will continue with the next session scheduled for October 25, and we remain hopeful an agreement will be reached soon. In the meantime, we will continue to prepare for the possibility of a strike.

Negotiations Update
The university and GTFF met in a mediation session last Friday in ongoing efforts to reach a settlement. The session was focused on contributions to health insurance.

The university is seeking an agreement that continues to invest in GE healthcare by increasing funding each year of the contract while also incentivizing the GTFF Trust to manage future premium increases.

At the last session, the university doubled its last offer to cover increases to health insurance premiums and agreed to a framework proposed by the union, which establishes both an incentive for keeping premium increases low and a cost-sharing schedule as premium increases rise. This proposal, using the GTFF framework, maintains access to affordable, quality healthcare while at the same time providing an opportunity for the GTFF to choose to further increase GE compensation during the term of the contract.
The university’s latest offer proposes the following:

When annual premium increases are below 4%, the university contributes saved dollars to GE salaries and/or to an assistance fund to help individuals impacted by increased medical costs. The money is applied at the GTFF Trust’s discretion.

The university continues to contribute 95% of premium costs up to 4% above the current contracted rate. For increases above 4%, the university would cost-share premiums as the GTFF incrementally assumes financial responsibility beyond their current 5%.

Given the GTFF Trust’s current premium discounts available through their insurance company and its approximate $500,000 cash reserve, UO’s proposal allows GEs to maintain their existing benefits for the first year of the contract and provides them time to evaluate benefit options for subsequent years based on the incentive and cost-sharing framework they have proposed. More information about health insurance, including the GEs health insurance plan in comparison to other UO employees health plans, is available on the HR website.

The union’s counteroffer to the university’s proposal maintains a 95/5 percentage split for health insurance increases up to 9%, with the university continuing to share in the cost of health insurance at incrementally lower rates from 9% to 11%. For increases that exceed 11%, the parties would split the amount 50/50. The union proposed similar incentives to the UO offer (salary and an assistance fund) when premium increases are 5% or less.

While salary increases were not discussed at the last mediation session, here is a reminder of the offer comparison from both sides:

GTFF Salary Offer
3% increase to minimum GE salary each year of the contract.
1.5% increase to all other GE salary each year of the contract.
UO Salary Offer
Year One:
2.5% increase to minimum GE salaries.
1.5% increase GE salaries above the minimum.
Year Two:
2.75% increase to minimum GE salaries.
1.5% increase GE salaries above minimum.
Year Three:
3% increase to minimum GE salaries.
1.5% increase GE salaries above minimum.
Other employee group salary increases for comparison:
Service Employee International Union (SEIU) employees: 3% in year one, 2.10% in year two.
Tenure-track faculty (FY20): 1.625% merit pool and 0.5% external equity pool for a combined 2.125%.
Career faculty (FY20): 2.125% merit pool.
Officers of administration (FY20): 2.125% merit pool.
Timely information related to the university’s most current contract proposals is available on the HR website.
Next Steps—Strike Preparation

Due to the union’s strike authorization vote, the Incident Management Team has been activated and the university’s Academic Council has been notified accordingly. The council will meet this week about academic continuity. The council will establish guidance for the academic continuity teams within the schools and colleges about maintaining academic activities and preserving the academic integrity of current courses. This guidance will be shared with you when it is issued.

In the meantime, the Office of the Provost and the Office of Research and Innovation, working in close collaboration with Employee and Labor Relations (ELR), will continue to meet with unit leadership to discuss ongoing academic and research continuity planning and explore coverage options that maintain the academic integrity and learning objectives of courses. Deans, Associate Deans, and Directors of Centers, Institutes, and Core Facilities will be completing a second round of data collection that helps identify options for continuation of academic and research activities and course grading during a strike period. This planning process will be further informed by guidance from the Academic Council as it becomes available.

ELR will continue to update the HR website with information and resources including frequently asked questions (FAQ) that provide guidance for interacting with employees prior to and during the strike, information on employee benefits, and other-strike related issues.

Please remember these important items when discussing strike participation with graduate employees:
Faculty and supervisors should encourage graduate employees to become as informed as possible on the issues and inform them that choosing to strike or not strike is each employee’s choice to make. It is important to assure employees that you respect their decision, whatever course they choose.

Faculty and supervisors should not:
advise graduate employees on whether or not to strike;
ask represented graduate employees if they intend to strike or comment on the advisability of choosing to strike;
bargain individually with graduate employees to come or return to work during a strike;
make threats of reduced support or discharge or retaliate against graduate employees who choose to strike; or
make promises of any type to induce graduate employees to come or return to work during a strike.

The university is committed to maintaining academic and research functions with as little disruption as possible and minimizing impact to students. We will continue to share information and guidance regarding strike planning in the weeks ahead.

We will also continue to negotiate with GTFF to reach a resolution that meets the needs of our entire university community and fulfills our responsibility to be a good steward of tuition dollars and public funds.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please visit the GTFF bargaining webpage or contact Peter Fehrs, lead negotiator, by submitting an email to uoelr@uoregon.edu.

Best regards,
Missy Matella
Senior Director, Employee and Labor Relations
University of Oregon Human Resources

Faculty Club Agenda

Dear Colleagues,

The rains have begun, and midterm grading is lurking around the corner… but let the Faculty Club be your refuge from all storms!

Here are some ways that the Faculty Club can help you:

· Build camaraderie for your department, program or group by organizing an evening at the Faculty Club. We can arrange a system in which you hand drink tickets out to your participants; alternately, you can do this on the cheap, with a “no-host” system. The Faculty Club will always contribute by hosting the hors-d’oeuvres.

· If you want to have a reception after a lecture or event, but don’t want to go to the bother and cost of setting it up yourself, contact us. If it’s a Wednesday or Thursday during the term, we’re already set up–and depending on the anticipated size of your group we can simply add this on to our usual gathering.

This week Wendy Pierpont is hosting a gathering of faculty and staff from the Jacqua Center on Thursday. And on Wednesday, consider dropping in to the Faculty Club prior to the Art Museum’s session (in a room next door) on “Political Cartoons and the First Amendment.” Please come out and join us either evening, or both!

Yours, James Harper
Chair of the Faculty Club Board

PS: And next week, look out for a private tour of the Ralph Steadman exhibition on Wednesday, and our special Halloween celebration (with prizes!) on Thursday.

UO’s lawyer Paula Barran lied to Judge McShane about Freyd comparator’s grant

UO GC Kevin Reed and his associate GC Doug Park hired “top point getter” Paula Barran to defend the UO administration against Professor Jennifer Freyd’s gender discrimination lawsuit:

Apparently they know better than to dirty their own hands.

As shown in the court transcript below, Barran claimed that one of the comparator faculty Freyd identified was better than Freyd because “he just secured – while this case was pending – a $3 million grant from the Gates Foundation for his work.”

That wasn’t true. The Gates Foundation is admirably transparent:

The truth, corroborated by an email from Prof. Allen, is this:

He was a co-investigator on a grant from the Gates Foundation, but the grant was obtained by colleagues at Berkeley. He had a small subcontract. He also noted that the grant had very little to do with the digital sensing work.

I don’t know what the long-run consequences are for a lawyer who lies to a judge, but it seems from Judge McShane’s opinion dismissing Freyd’s lawsuit that it worked for the UO administration in the short-run:

McShane’s full opinion is here, the full docket is here, and I’ll post Kevin Reed’s retraction of Paula Barran’s $3M claim as soon as I get a copy.

10/17/2019: UO lawyers use helium-cooled MRI brain scanner against Prof Freyd

Freyd is appealing Judge McShane’s dismissal of her gender discrimination lawsuit against UO, with support from Equal Rights Advocates, the AAUP, the AAUW, etc, as explained here. Meanwhile the full transcript from the oral arguments in front of McShane have now been posted here. Some excerpts:

Yes, super-cooled super-conducting 3 Tesla magnets, bodily fluids, and grants can be tools to do good research. But it’s surprising to see a university pay a lawyer to use them to denigrate other research methods. And I wonder how the Gates Foundation feels about being weaponized for use against faculty they don’t fund.

This was almost as funny and not as sad:

Actually it was Judge McShane who said this, not the clerk. And I’m sure he was glaring at Schill when he said it. Or at me.

GTFF authorize strike for Nov 4

10/18/2019 update from the GTFF:

Over the last three days, over 85% of the membership has cast ballots in our strike authorization vote, and 1,044 grad employees—over 95% of voters—said Yes! We’re standing firm: no cuts to health care and a fair contract NOW!

I still think President Schill will come to his senses on this, but if not the strike will presumably start Nov. 4th.

Update: Deans asking undergrads and faculty to scab on grad students

The former would be CAS divisional Dean Hal Sadofsky, asking faculty to help find undergrads to do the work of GEs. The link for sign-ups has now been taken down or moved.  The latter would be SOMD Dean Sabrina Madison-Cannon:

I am asking Area Heads for the following information:

  • Please identify faculty in your area (including yourself) who do not have a full workload for fall term.
  • Please identify faculty in your area (including yourself) who are willing to volunteer their services during a strike even if they have a full workload.

UAUO Pres Chris Sinclair has the following advice for faculty on how to avoid becoming a scab:

Full pdf here.

10/17/2019: What should faculty do if our GE’s strike?

The GTFF and the Administration proposals are very close, and the administration can avoid a strike simply by agreeing to cover most of any increases in health care costs for years 2 and 3 of the contract. That’s pretty much it. This is the same deal SEIU just got – for PEBB, which is a much more expensive insurance plan.

On the off chance they don’t, UAUO Pres Chris Sinclair gives this advice to faculty on their obligations during the ensuing strike:

Continue reading

Music & Dance to hold emergency meeting to plan for GTFF strike

Our GE’s are voting this week on authorizing a strike, probably starting week 6.

Presumably other deans are also planning on how to maintain undergraduate educative production – or at least pretend they are maintaining it – should the UO administration continue its quixotic effort to cut graduate students’ health insurance and real pay.

If you have info on other college’s strike planning please post an anonymous comment or send me the emails: uomatters at gmail.

Memorial service for David Schuman 3PM next Sat at Law School

He was a speed-skater, a professor of english, a judge, a professor of law, a friend of this blog, and, in a word, a mensch.

His daughter Rebecca writes that he sustained a fall on his bike that caused the injuries that killed him. The family’s obituary will be forthcoming.

There is a brief post with some quotes from faculty on AtO here. The service will be in the Morse Commons at the Law School on Saturday the 19th at 3. It will also be live-streamed.

Pres Schill thinks UO is transparent & your comments are disgusting

Also, while he continues to let his GC Kevin Reed use fees and delays to hide public records, he’s spending tuition money on an overscripted buddy movie of himself and Provost Phillips,

and on a “transparency website” that will post the information he wants you to see in easily digestible form. Please forgive my cynicism:

Dear University of Oregon colleagues,

A few weeks ago, UO’s new Provost Patrick Phillips and I took a walk around campus and talked about some of the things we are both looking forward to at the start of a new academic year. I would like to try something new—a hybrid edition of Open Mike featuring both video and text. I hope you will indulge me and take a few minutes to watch our discussion.

As we walked across campus, one topic we kept coming back to was our shared goal of helping to build a campus culture at UO that is grounded in both academic freedom and respectful dialogue. Some believe those two ideals are in conflict, but I do not see it that way. For example, Patrick and I do not always agree—and that is a good thing—because we make better decisions for the institution when we are challenging each other’s assumptions, playing devil’s advocate, and pushing the other to consider flaws in logic or to confront personal biases. The thing I most appreciate, though, is that we have the highest level of respect for each other and know that the conversation, even if heated, is rooted in wanting the best for the UO’s future, respecting our mission, and valuing students, faculty, and staff.

Our conversation got me thinking about the principles that should ultimately bind an academic institution and community of scholars. I firmly believe the UO is a community united by a desire to serve our current students and future generations. We strive for truth and understanding, and it is only through cooperation and teamwork that we can succeed, whether in the laboratory or the classroom. It is this spirit of cooperation and the sense of a higher calling to work toward the betterment of society through our mission of research, education, and service that makes us different, that generates the special spirit that is needed for us to succeed at the highest level. Our actions should model the behavior we hope will rub off on our students.

Quite honestly, I am not sure that we at the UO have always lived up to that ideal. Our campus culture can sometimes show cracks from the voices of cynicism and discord. But I recognize that I cannot expect those who seek a culture that values both academic freedom and respect to raise their voices if I do not set the right example from Johnson Hall. For that reason, I am establishing some principles that I will personally adhere to and that I will insist all members of my administration follow in a sincere effort to maintain and improve our campus culture. I invite colleagues across campus to do the same. Here are the principles I commit myself and the other administrators to:

Honesty. I, and the people who report to me, will never knowingly lie or mislead members of our community. Trust is an essential element of any well-functioning community and honesty is the foundation of trust. Unfortunately, the university I joined in 2015 was suffering from a severe lack of trust for reasons we all understand. I have tried my best to engender trust over the past four years, but I have not been as successful as I would have hoped. I continue to looks for ways to redouble my efforts here. But trust is a two-way street. We must all call out the bad behavior of some members of our community whose main purpose is to spread falsehoods for the purpose of sowing doubt and cynicism or achieving strategic advantage. A healthy dose of skepticism is good, but character assassination and the spreading of lies and innuendo is not.

Transparency. Trust can only be built through transparency. I sometimes wonder why some folks always think the administration is hiding things. I have been a faculty member at two universities and a faculty member/administrator at three others. I can say, without a doubt, that the UO is the most transparent of them all. It’s not even close. The amount of data and information that we make available is truly extraordinary. I sometimes think that the sheer volume of information on our institutional research and budget websites might hinder members of our community from finding what they are looking for. To deal with this issue, I am planning to launch a transparency website this term, an online clearinghouse where we consolidate many of the publicly available reports and data about the university into one online location. In addition, I hope to provide facts to answer some commonly held questions and clear up some persistent myths about the university. I look forward to sharing it with you in the coming weeks and, once it is live, I invite input from all of you on how we can improve it and make the tool more useful. Stay tuned.

Respect. As I stated above, one of the defining features of a successful academic community is respect. Respect for each other’s views and for our colleagues as people. Respect does not mean that we need to agree with each other; quite to the contrary. Vigorous disagreement about ideas is the hallmark of a healthy academic community. But ad hominin attacks, aspersions about motives, insults directed at colleagues, and harassment of co-workers are all signs of a dysfunctional community. We can do better here. I am disgusted by what I sometimes read online and in the comments section of local newspapers and blogs. We are better than this. If we are not, we need to be. We are faced with enough bad behavior online and in Washington, D.C.; we do not need to bring it into our university. I pledge I will do my best to treat everyone here with respect, whether in my office, in the classroom, or just walking across campus. I hope that respect will be mutual.

Grace. One of the defining elements of a well-functioning community is empathy, kindness, and, for want of a better word, grace. Over the past four years I have met thousands of our staff members, graduate students, faculty members, and administrators. I have talked to you and believe that the vast majority of our faculty and staff care deeply about our students and their futures. That is why you are here. You forgive them their mistakes and understand that life is about learning from our experiences—both good and bad. I wish that we could show each other that same grace. I have made and will make some mistakes as your president. So will other administrators. And so will you. But let’s not turn every mistake into a moment of attack. Let’s treat each other with some of the same grace we show our students. I promise I will try to do that as I fulfill my obligations as your president.

So, as we begin a new academic year, one that could have its share of tension and disagreement, I will employ these principles of honesty, transparency, respect, and grace. I will also try, to the best I am able, to throw in a bit of wisdom and humor from time to time.

Welcome back. I very much look forward to working closely with each of you this year.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Provost Phillips gives Bruce Blonigen another year as CAS Dean

No word on what sort of funding increases for CAS Blonigen was able to extract during the negotiations – but presumably they are nowhere near as as large as an external candidate would have demanded:

The following message is being sent on behalf of Provost and Senior Vice President Patrick Phillips. Feel free to email provost@uoregon.edu if you have any questions.

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that the Office of the Provost is extending Bruce Blonigen’s role as UO’s dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) through the 2020-21 academic year.

Originally, Bruce was to serve as interim dean through the end of the current academic year. But because of his valuable leadership and thoughtful direction, we are removing the interim tag and adding a year to his deanship over the university’s largest college.

Bruce has done a great job since he was named interim dean, most visibly taking over the helm of CAS as our campus prepared for the opening this fall of Tykeson Hall. His work with all of the Tykeson stakeholders ensured that the new building designed to help exploring students find their academic and career passions opened without a hitch.  At the same time, Bruce ably led CAS through the budget process and a successful round of the Institutional Hiring Plan, jumped energetically into the ongoing development work of the college, and, most of all, offered CAS stability and continuity in a time of change.

He has held a variety of roles at UO before being named the CAS Dean. He was the CAS Dean of Faculty and Operations; Interim Dean of the Lundquist College of Business; and was the CAS Associate Dean of Social Sciences from 2013 to 2016. He was also the head of the Department of Economics for five years.

As part of this change in status, CAS Senior Divisional Dean of Humanities Karen Ford will take on a new role. She will be the CAS Dean for Faculty in order to focus on faculty personnel processes and provide additional support to CAS faculty. CAS will fill Karen’s humanities position soon.

I am excited to have Bruce in this role, and I look forward to working closely with him as our university moves forward. Bruce’s experienced leadership is a benefit to CAS and the entire university. Please join me in congratulating him.

Best wishes,

Patrick Phillips

Provost and Senior Vice President

Gov. Brown back from Doha junket in time for TrackTown 21 launch

Update: No quid pro quo, move it along people. New France 24 report here, with quotes from what appears to be a confidential court transcript:

Asked what role Nike played, Coe [employed by Nike] said: “I don’t know. Very little, I would say.”

More Coe from the transcript:

He said he had supported the Eugene bid, but insisted he knew nothing of any promises the American bid might have made to the IAAF or Lamine Diack.

Really? Here’s video of Paul Weinhold and then Sec of State Kate Brown offering the full faith and credit of the UO Foundation’s $1B endowment, and $40M in Oregon funds, here. Coe was at the meeting.

Brown’s is term-limited as Governor, wants to be a Senator, and needs more of Phil Knight’s money to finance a credible run.

10AM 10/10/2019, at the Student Rec Center. She’s still $20M short on the $40M Kitzhaber promised. Apparently this invitation was not widely shared with reporters, so I thought I’d post it:

*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***

Oregon Hosts Kickoff Event for World Athletics Championships — Coming to the U.S. for the First Time Ever in August 2021

Launch event held at the University of Oregon will feature Governor Brown and Track & Field World Champions  from present and past

WHAT
Oregon21, Travel Oregon and the University of Oregon are teaming up to host the kickoff event for the 2021 World Athletics Championships on Oct. 10, 2019, at the Student Recreation Center on the University of Oregon campus. The 18th edition of the World Athletics Championships will come to Oregon Aug. 6-15, 2021. The kickoff will welcome back athletes and representatives from USA Track & Field just returning from this year’s championships in Doha, Qatar. Governor Kate Brown will welcome guests along with other regional, national, and international figures in sports, government and tourism who will answer questions about how they are preparing for this massive, unmissable event. Hayward Field at the University of Oregon will host nearly 2,000 participants with more than 200 countries participating.

The World Athletics Championships will be the largest sporting event in the world in 2021, and this is the first time it has taken place in the United States.

WHO

  • Past and present Track & Field World Champions
  • Governor Kate Brown, State of Oregon
  • Mayor Lucy Vinis, Eugene, Ore.
  • President Michael Schill, University of Oregon
  • Local area youth track & field athletes

VISUALS/NEWS

  • Recent Track & Field World Champions donning their medals.
  • Governor Kate Brown welcoming USATF back to the U.S. following competition in Doha, Qatar
  • Announcement of location for men’s and women’s marathons 

WHEN

10 a.m. -11:30 a.m.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

10 a.m.-10:35 a.m.                 Main event

10:35 a.m.-11 a.m.                 Breakout sessions (1:1 interviews available)

11 a.m.                                    Rooftop photo opportunity of Hayward Field

WHERE

University of Oregon Student Recreation Center

1320 E. 15th Avenue

Eugene, OR

Parking information here

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

Molly Ishkanian

Weinstein PR for Oregon21

Cell: (503) 277-8370

molly@weinsteinpr.com

 

Deborah Pleva

Weinstein PR for Oregon21

Cell: (503) 250-4750

deb@weinsteinpr.com

Senate to hear from Provost Phillips today, 3-5PM

SENATE MEETING AGENDA – OCTOBER 9, 2019

Location: EMU 145 & 146 (Crater Lake rooms) 3:00 – 5:00 P.M. Livestream.

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

Introductory Remarks; Senate President Elizabeth Skowron

3:15 P.M.  Approval of the Minutes

November 14, 2018, November 28, 2018 & June 5, 2019

3:15 P.M.   State of the University

Patrick Phillips, Provost and Sr Vice President; White Paper on 2019-2020 Academic Initiatives

Undergraduate Advising at UO; Kimberly Johnson, UGS Asst Vice Prov Advising

4:00 P.M.   New Business

Vote: US19/20-01: Renaming NTTF Committee; Elizabeth Skowron (Psychology), Elliot Berkman (Psychology), Beth Harn (Education)

Vote: US19/20-02: Revisions to Continuous Improvement and Evaluation of Teaching committee; Elizabeth Skowron (Psychology), Elliot Berkman (Psychology), Sierra Dawson (Associate VP Academic Affairs)

Vote: 3 senators to serve on Senate Budget Committee

  • Robin Clement, Business
  • Zach Fairchild, Classified
  • Vsevolod Kapatsinski, Linguistics

Vote: US19/20-03: Approval of Curriculum Report, Summer 2019; Frances White (Chair, UOCC)

Vote: member of Statutory Faculty to serve on Inter-Institutional Faculty Senate (IFS)

Bill Harbaugh, Economics

4:30 P.M.    Open Discussion
4:30 P.M.   Reports

    • 2018-19 Senate Committee Reports – Highlights

4:55 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion
4:56 P.M.   Other Business
5:00 P.M.   Adjourn