Occupy Eugene to move in with Pernsteiner at Treetops Mansion

11/1/2011: Word down by the Duck Pond is that the Occupy Eugene folks are going to take Chancellor Pernsteiner up on his gracious offer to host the whole movement at his official state owned mansion, Treetops, at 2237 Spring Blvd. Dr. Pernsteiner is quoted in a flyer making the rounds:

“Not many of those of us in the elite 1% can say that they get every dime of it from taxpayers and student tuition money. And of course on top of that fat $280,900 salary I get a housing allowance to pay the mortgage at my other house in Portland, extra retirement money, $23,120 for professional expenses, travel money, and a car. Treetops has a lovely lawn, 3000 square feet of verandas, and 9000 square feet of living space. It’s the second largest house in the county. It’s almost too much – even for a man as important as I am – so I welcome these visitors. I do feel obligated to warn them that thanks to UO Matters and those vengeful bastards at the DOJ the university system has cut my maid service to every other week.”

Turn-by-turn walking directions here.

Ex-PSU Official Mike Burton Under Criminal Investigation

10/31/2011: For expense account fraud. From Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week:

Burton, a former longtime lawmaker and Metro chair, abruptly left the university last summer ahead of a damning audit, first reported in August by WW, that found he took an 11-day European junket on PSU’s dime under highly questionable circumstances. Burton claimed he was going to attend professional conferences but the conferences either did not take place or took place when he was not present.

Burton subsequently repaid $4,500 and PSU referred his case to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. But WW has learned Burton is now under criminal investigation. …

Provost Open Forum

Sorry for the late posting:

To: UO Deans and Directors

From:    Robert Kyr
                President, University Senate

Re: First Provost’s Forum
This Wednesday, October 19, 2011
4:00-6:00 pm, Beall Concert Hall
University of Oregon School of Music & Dance  (Please see the map attached.)

As President as the University Senate, I am writing to you to ask you to please forward this message to everyone in your department (or unit) as soon as you receive it. Thank you for helping us to encourage the largest possible turnout for this important event, the first of our Provost’s Forums for 2011-2012.

This year, the University Senate is hosting three Provost’s Forums  to give the entire university community an opportunity to have an  open dialogue with Interim Provost Davis. The first Provost’s Forum  will be given on Wednesday, October 19 at 4:00-6:00 pm at Beall  Concert Hall, University of Oregon School of Music & Dance. (Please  see the map attached.)

This Wednesday’s Forum will begin with a brief presentation by Interim Provost Davis followed by an “open mike,” during which attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions in open  dialogue with the Interim Provost. As President of the Senate, I will be serving as the moderator for the forum.

We look forward to seeing you at this important event which is  being offered in the spirit of shared governance, one of the core  principles of our university. I strongly encourage you to participate.

Robert Kyr
President, University Senate

Libel suit against blogger dismissed

10/13/2011: From Kara Hansen Murphey in the Lake Oswego Review. The blogger posted some information about a doctor’s disciplinary records and her opinion. He sued her for $1 million in damages. She went to the Electronic Freedom Foundation, got some advice and an attorney and filed an “anti-SLAPP” suit against the doctor.

On Sept. 30, Multnomah County Judge Jerome LaBarre concluded Craig was not only speaking about a matter of public interest but within a public forum when she tweeted about Darm’s disciplinary record. That could make it easier for lawyers to defend Oregon bloggers and tweeters facing libel charges in the future.

They’ve settled out of court. Presumably the doctor paid the blogger’s legal fees. The blog post is still up.

UO not the only state agency to get raises

10/10/2011: So did the DOJ. Bojack.org has the story. Meanwhile Bill Graves tries to dig up some quotes complaining about the UO raises, from PSU and other OUS professors. He can’t find much, but the online comments are interesting – many support the UO raises. The Croissant Chancellor’s lowest common denominator approach does not seem to get a lot of support. Harry Esteve has more on the DOJ raises (about the same as UO’s) here:

Over the summer, state worker unions settled new contracts that included a 1.5 percent cost of living increase in the first year and 1.45 percent in the second year. Employees not at the top scale also will get partial step increases. The agreements include furlough days and a new cost-sharing agreement in which state workers will begin paying 5 percent of their health insurance premiums.

Managers and non-represented employees got the same deal. Kroger got a special waiver from the state Department of Administrative Services, however, to give bigger raises to managers already at the top of the pay scale. Starting Oct. 1, “Assistant attorneys in charge” got 9 percent raises, while “attorneys in charge,” division administrators and special counselors got 7 percent raises.

Kroger got a waiver. Interesting.

Oregonian on UO

9/26/2011: Two recent opinion pieces in the Oregonian. Both with praise for UO’s ambitions and the importance of that ambition for the state. Steve Duin – not exactly a patsy for UO’s public relations department in the past:

What’s not to like about the university’s ambition, in a state where so few institutions have any.

And Jack Roberts:

University of Oregon: Pursuing excellence in a state committed to mediocrity 

… the other is the tension that existed in 1986 between the Oregon University System and UO President Paul Olum, who like current UO President Richard Lariviere valued excellence and independence over getting along and going along.

Paul Olum is still a legend to the faculty who were around then. It ended with the OUS board firing him in 1987. I don’t think that is going to be the outcome this time.

PLC demolition begins!

9/14/2011: Provost Jim Bean announced yesterday that his last official act would be the destruction of the much hated PLC office building – “brick by goddamn brick, if necessary”. Work began this morning:

Celebrating profs down at the faculty club cheered the news that they would be housed in tents on the quad for 5 years while funds are raised for a replacement. “Tents? a poncho would be better than my office.”

Stephen Carter on civil discourse

9/13/2011: The most common thing people say to me about this blog is some variant of “It’s a public service to UO, but do you have to be so rude?”. My usual reaction is some version of “I’m not rude. Rude is wasting ten people’s time in a pointless meeting, then thanking them for their valuable input. Rude is the smile and polite chit-chat from someone who is thinking that they have no use for you at all.”

This Yale law professor’s video talks about “civil discourse”. He does not mean polite talk, he means effective talk that helps get important things done. Though he’s not opposed to polite, if it helps.

Is Civility Important? from Yale Law School on Vimeo. Link from Orin Kerr.

For some reason I’m reminded of “The Oregon Way” from those Huron consultants. UO’s civil discourse has been disfunctional for a long time:

Unethical students pay to take classes

9/12/2011: We make them do it every quarter. It’s where the money for our salaries comes from. But when students start offering to pay other *students* for a seat in a course with an enrollment cap – well at Brown that’s apparently an honor code violation. It’s an economics class. I’m no literature professor, but I think they call that irony. (Thanks to Margaret Soltan for the tip.)