ASUO and Senate presidents: Pres Schill’s response to protest misguided

Sorry, this is from the weekend, just catching up. ASUO President Amy Schenk’s Op-Ed was posted Saturday, along with a report from Saul Hubbard, “Backlash grows as UO pursues conduct charges for students who disrupted a Schill speech“.

From Schenk:

On Oct. 23, University of Oregon President Michael Schill wrote an op-ed in The New York Times headlined “The misguided student crusade against fascism.” His column was a reproach directed toward the students who protested his state-of-the-university speech.

Schill condemned the protesters for supposedly stealing his right to free speech. He claimed that their actions exclude potential allies and portrayed himself as one of the student body’s strongest supporters, but chose not to respond to the students’ original concerns.

Instead, the essay was a way for Schill to publicly misrepresent the beliefs of the protesters, his own students. The result was a contradictory, repetitious testimony that juxtaposed Schill’s support of “free speech” and his simultaneous disapproval of student protests. …

We urge President Schill to invite these students in and work with them rather than publicly shaming them in a newspaper column filled with half-truths and mischaracterizations. He should take this as a sign that it is time to collaborate with students rather than punishing them with a vague student conduct code. At an institution of higher education, it is vital that student voices are included, not ignored.

My impression is that Pres Schill is indeed now trying to do that. From Hubbard:

The University of Oregon’s administration is facing growing backlash over its decision to pursue student conduct charges against a group of protesters who disrupted a speech by UO President Michael Schill last month.

The peaceful protest — about rising tuition costs and seeking a ban on white nationalist groups on campus, among other grievances — caused Schill to abandon his planned address.

Student and faculty leaders are increasingly speaking out against the disciplinary move, which they characterize as divisive and futile.

The University Senate is considering a symbolic resolution calling for the charges to be dropped, and it has “pretty broad support” among faculty and student members, Senate President Chris Sinclair said Friday. …

UO drops Facebook click charge against student collective member

11/21/2017: 

That’s the decision of the “Associate Director for Investigations, Group Accountability, Student Conduct and Community Standards”. But the administration continues to press charges against other students. The Senate will debate a plea for leniency at its Nov 29th meeting. Reporter Casey Crowley has the story in the Emerald:

… At her Administrative Conference with Katy Larkin, associate director for investigations, group accountability, student conduct and community standards, Loustaunau presented Larkin with evidence that showed that Loustaunau was not at the protest.

This evidence includes: screenshots of a Skype call from the time and date of the protest, screenshots of two texts that suggest she did not come to the UO campus that day until after the protest was over, a letter from her friend who she was on the Skype call with, a letter from her advisor and head of the sociology department who attended the protest and confirmed that Loustaunau was not there, and pictures of herself from the day of the protest, according to Loustaunau. In addition, her friend who she was on the Skype call with her confirmed over the phone that he was on Skype with Loustaunau at the time of the protest.

Larkin used Loustaunau’s indication of “going” on a Facebook event for the protest as well as photos from the protest of a woman she thought was Loustaunau and Loustaunau’s Facebook profile picture to decide to charge her with conduct code violations, according to Loustaunau. …

11/3/2017:  Facebook click led UO to charge grad student with disrupting Schill’s speech

Just when you thought the UO administration’s response to the student protest couldn’t get any more ridiculous, it does. Daily Emerald reporter Casey Crowley has the latest:

A University of Oregon student who was charged with student conduct code violations for participating in a demonstration on Oct. 6 says she was not at the protest.

… “This is what I found particularly problematic, I did put attending on a Facebook event,” said [the UO grad student]. “Like everyone, I get sent a bunch of events. I put ‘attending’ to most of them randomly.”

So it seems that UO is paying staff (UOPD? DoS? VP for Communication?) to monitor the UO Student Collective’s Facebook site, and they used this student’s click mark to decide that she’d disrupted President Schill’s right to speak. Then they sent her a discipline letter. More from Crowley’s report:

In order to identify students to charge with conduct code violations, the conduct office looked at photos, videos and social media activity that was available, [UO spokesperson Tobin Klinger] said.

[The student] said she will contest the charges and go through an administrative conference, where she can present information so that the conduct office has a full understanding of the situation.

Presumably this also explains how Klinger was able to make his prejudicial statement to the Oregonian that  “.. the demonstration actually violated university policy…” just 5 minutes after the protest ended. He knew the students were guilty, because he’d already read it on Facebook. This might raise a few entrapment issues?

I’ve read about thought-crime, and I saw a movie about pre-crime, but leave it to the UO administration to charge a student with the latest: Facebook-crime.

For the curious, here’s the UO Student Collective’s Facebook page. This may cost me my tenure, but I just clicked the “Like” box:

Students are better off with higher tuition & higher quality

Earlier this year the Oregon legislature agreed to increase spending on higher education, so long as universities agree to cut tuition increases. This latest working paper shows that it might have been better for our students – in terms of completion and time to degree – if UO had been free to spend the state money on improving advising and teaching instead:

The Impact of Price Caps and Spending Cuts on U.S. Postsecondary Attainment

David J. DemingChristopher R. Walters

NBER Working Paper No. 23736
Issued in August 2017
NBER Program(s):EDLSPEPR

Increasing the postsecondary attainment rate of college-age youth is an important economic priority in the U.S. and in other developed countries. Yet little is known about whether different forms of public subsidy can increase degree completion. In this paper, we compare the impact of the marginal taxpayer dollar on postsecondary attainment when it is spent on lowering tuition prices versus increasing the quality of the college experience. We do so by estimating the causal impact of changes in tuition and spending on enrollment and degree completion in U.S. public postsecondary institutions between 1990 and 2013. We estimate these impacts using a newly assembled data set of legislative tuition caps and freezes, combined with variation in exposure to state budget shocks that is driven by differences in historical reliance on state appropriations. We find large impacts of spending on enrollment and degree completion. In contrast, we find no impact of price changes. Our estimates suggest that spending increases are more effective per-dollar than price cuts as a means of increasing postsecondary attainment.

Remember the Hat Day: November 21

I think nostalgia for Lariviere peaked under Mike Gottfredson, and has fallen to historical lows under Mike Schill. Here’s the post from 2015, with a few updates:

Break out your hats and mark the day. On November 21st 2011, three four five six years and four five UO presidents ago, OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner and Board Chair Matt Donegan came down to UO with their ultimatum and told Lariviere to resign, for trying to implement his “New Partnership” plan to combine $1B in state bonds and $800M in private donations to create a sustainable funding model for UO, run by an independent UO Board. The endowment income would have, in theory, produced enough income to more than replace the state’s annual appropriations, and have allowed UO to keep in-state tuition low.

He also ignored the governor’s call for a pay freeze, and passed out a round of secret raises to faculty and staff. Lariviere refused to leave, so they fired him, on instructions from Governor Kitzhaber. Nigel Jaquiss broke the news on the 22nd.

Six years later, where are the principals in this sad event?

UO President Richard Lariviere: Now president of Chicago’s Field Museum, and apparently well on his way to completing a turnaround of that troubled institution.

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Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber: Resigned after getting caught trying to destroy his email archives, and found guilty of violations of Oregon ethics law.

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OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner: Still living at Treetops and using Oregon students’ tuition money to pay for his kids’ maid service. Just kidding, the croissant chancellor went on to a $300K sinecure as president of SHEEO, a little known non-profit higher ed policy group in Colorado. He’s now retired from that, and is on the board at Bridgeport, a scandal ridden for-profit university system.

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OUS Board Chair Matt Donegan: After a very nasty divorce he sold his timber business, then sent out some feelers on restarting his political career. The response was not good, and he’s dropped out of public life to work on counting his money.

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(Bridget Burns and Chuck Triplett at the 2011 Mac Court meeting.)

OUS Board Secretary Chuck Triplett: Triplett’s role in setting up the secret discussions that led to the board’s decision to fire Lariviere may never be fully known, unless I can get my hands on the OUS digital email archives. Meanwhile he has parlayed his $72K job for Pernsteiner into a $130K job for UO, and then a promotion from Scott Coltrane. All without an affirmative action compliant search. He’s currently JH liason to the UO Senate – an appointment made without consulting the Senate with which he is supposed to liase. He’s currently UO liason to the HECC, the putative replacement to OUS.

Pernsteiner’s Chief of Staff Bridget Burns: She and Triplett were quite the team. After OUS collapsed she set up a consulting business, which just got a $9.8M grant from the DoE. According to her website,

… she led the successful legislative effort to free Oregon’€™s seven universities from state agency status, for which she received the national award for innovation in government relations from colleagues spanning the national higher education landscape at AASCU, APLU, AACC, and CASE.

Wow, and to think Mark Haas and Mike Gottfredson have been claiming all the credit for SB 270.

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UO Senate President, Protector and Defender of the University, Slayer of Chancellors, and Professor of Music Robert Kyr: “Mr. Pernsteiner, answer the question as a human being would answer it.”

Kyr is now back at his regular job, composing and teaching music theory.

Desperate Willie Taggart calls on UO Senate & Math Prof for coaching help

Duck Football Coach Willie Taggart

UO Math Prof & Senate Pres Chris Sinclair

Things have not gone well for Coach Taggart since arriving at UO. He’s 5-5, and one of those wins was a body-bag game against Southern Utah that cost UO $500,000. He needs to win one of the next two games to get a $25K bonus, and both to get $100K, to top off his $8,000 per calendar day base salary:

Full contract here. Fortunately, UO Senate President and Associate Math Professor Chris Sinclair is an expert on solving problems involving charging the defensive lines. Rumor down at the faculty club is that Taggart has offered Sinclair 50% of any bonus to “guest coach” for the Ducks this weekend. Apparently game-day will start with Sinclair giving the Ducks a locker room seminar on “A Solvable Mixed Charge Ensemble”.

Doug Blandy fired Bach Fest director Halls despite AAEO Director’s advice

11/14/2017:

Saul Hubbard has the latest in the RG here:

… The document does, however, show a split between the university’s Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity and McCoy over how to reprimand Halls, an independent contractor who had just been given a multi-year extension and a raise.

After two initial complaints in July, Cherie Scricca, an outside consultant working for the UO, recommended that school officials meet with Halls to discuss the school’s non-discrimination policies and that they update his contract to include “written expectations of proper behavior including equal and fair treatment of festival participants regardless of race, national origin, age, disability.”

Scricca also suggested that written notice be added to Halls contract that, if he did not meet those expectations, his contract could be immediately terminated, and that the festival would hire an “understudy” artistic director who could replace him.

But that meeting with Halls and those proposed contract amendments appear to have never occurred.

After two further complaints came in, including the sexual harassment allegation, McCoy made the decision to terminate Halls, emailing Scricca to tell her as much on August 16. Scricca disagreed with that decision, suggesting a “similar” course of action to her previous recommendations when she spoke with McCoy on August 23.

The next day, however, Halls was fired, with a UO administrator, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Doug Blandy, signing his termination letter. …

Blandy was told over the summer that he was being replaced as SVPAA, but was kept on at at full pay and with his JH office until, I believe, the end of December.

update: Back to Bach: EW’s Bob Keefer gets the docs on Matthew Halls firing

Keefer has now updated this story with a quote from feckless UO strategic communicator Tobin Klinger, who has had almost three months to prepare his talking points for the release of these public records, and could only come up with this:

The document does “not indicate that the reported incidents are the *why* behind the change in Halls’ status,” UO chief sokesman[sic] Tobin Klinger emailed. “You’re assuming a causal relationship that is speculation. As has been said before, we can’t discuss specifics of a personnel matter, …

Sure you can’t. Here’s the Around the O post from Aug 27, discussing specifics of a personnel matter:

Oregon Bach Festival (OBF) is moving forward in an exciting direction that will bring new voices, points of views and artists with more diverse backgrounds to festival audiences. Starting in summer 2018, guest curators will work with OBF staff to build a season of dynamic and engaging musical selections led by world-renowned conductors.

As part of the transition, OBF is parting ways with artistic director Matthew Halls. Halls leaves the festival with a legacy that includes the establishment of the Organ Institute, the Vocal Fellows program, and the Berwick Academy for Historically Informed Performance. During his tenure, Halls conducted many of Bach’s masterworks, including his own reconstruction of the composer’s lost St. Mark Passion, as well the world premiere of A European Requiem from Sir James MacMillan.

The transition is a strategic decision, made by OBF administrative leadership and the University of Oregon, and will keep the festival relevant in the ever-changing classical music industry.

“There’s an emerging trend,” explains OBF executive director Janelle McCoy, “to plan a season from the perspective of a guest curator from a different field or genre and then invite conductors to participate, rather than programming from a single artistic voice. …

Of course this was all lies, and I guess in Klinger’s world that made it OK for UO to discuss it.

11/14/2017: UO’s Public Records Office has finally begun releasing the public records, and the Eugene Weekly’s Bob Keefer has a teaser on what they show, and don’t show, about OBF artistic director Janelle McCoy’s stated reasons for firing artistic director Matthew Halls:

… The newly obtained document lays out two main complaints against Halls, an internationally known conductor who had been selected to replace OBF’s founding artistic director, Helmuth Rilling, on his retirement in 2013.

The first has been widely reported, that Halls was overheard making a racially insensitive remark to countertenor Reginald Mobley at a post-concert reception last summer. Both Mobley and Halls, who are friends, have strongly denied there was anything but good humor in the exchange.

The second is a July 12 complaint made by an unnamed OBF musician that Halls did not pay women musicians as much attention as he did men in rehearsals. “Our artistic director Matthew Halls does not call on them during rehearsals and favors the men,” the complainant said.

The heavily redacted complaint went on to say that Halls had made “inappropriate remarks,” though it doesn’t say what. The complainant also alleges that she heard similar complaints from other women and at least one man. …

McCoy is apparently still on the UO payroll, but her authority as executive director has been taken away and the Bach festival is now being run by Brad Foley, Dean of the School of Music and Dance.

Senate live-blog: Expedited tenure, Student Collective, VP for Eq & Incl

Update: page down for Student collective motion etc.

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

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

Introductory Remarks; Senate President Chris Sinclair

“Standard Operating Procedures” are not policies and cannot be used to restrict free speech and don’t let the administration tell you otherwise.

Remarks: Mike Schill, University President

Pres Schill is back from DC and the AAU meetings, with a report on the tax bill. The upshot is that it will be bad for higher ed by removing deductions for student loans and making graduate student tuition remissions taxable. It will also reduce the incentives for charitable deductions, and make profits on sales of Duck crap taxable. The excise tax on large endowments will not affect us. While Mike does not mention it, the legislation will also reduce incentives to give to athletics – which should be good for the academic side.

Mike also announces how he will spend the very excellent $50m gift that he tried to tell UO about last month, before the student collective shouted him down. No interruptions from the Senate though, as he explains that he will spend it on matching gifts for faculty chairs and a major new School of Ed initiative to work with Oregon high schools to increase the number of low-SES students going to college. Also a big-data initiative, a media center for science, and funding for the new Black Cultural Center.

He also says that he will not be involved in the student conduct code discipline process, and gives some conciliatory words to the students.

Remarks: Scott Pratt, Executive Vice Provost

Brad Shelton is now in charge of the faculty hiring plan. Yikes.

Remarks: UO Student Collective

Sorry, I’m listening, not live-blogging. Watch the video.  Video feed.

4:00 P.M.   Approval of Minutes, November 1, 2017

4:00 P.M.   New Business

Vote: US17/18-02: Expedited Tenure Process; Boris Botvinnik (Math), Scott Pratt (Provost’s Office)

Long discussion, ably led by Boris Bottvinik (FPC chair and Math). Whatever the Senate decides, it certainly has not been hasty. Straw poll shows about half the senate is in favor, 5 or so against, and about half undecided. More debate in two weeks.

Vote: Confirmation of Committee on Committees members

Approved.

DAPs; VP Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Office of Equity & Inclusion

The “Diversity Action Plans” were part of the fallout from the Halloween incident. Imposed as a top down requirement from the President’s Office and the VPSL, the process was badly mangled. Eventually a consultant was brought in, and then a team of faculty and administrators, led by Karen Ford, spent most of the summer trying to patch them up. The VPSL – who was on the job market during much of this process – then tried to get UO to hire an “Executive Coach” to help her explain these to the faculty. When JH found out (via this blog) they cancelled the bidding.

After objections were raised about the first round, CAS tried again, with a relatively open process for its DAPs. Dean Andrew Marcus held three town halls, at which the plans were heavily criticized by staff, faculty, and students as unfunded mandates that would lead to more administrative bloat and more window-dressing. Plans, info and transcripts here.

I had high hopes for this VPSL when she first came to UO as a replacement for Charles Martinez. She promised transparency and that she would hire an analyst to study what was working at UO to improve diversity, and what was not working. But things have not gone well. Her office has had extraordinarily high turnover, has never been transparent with the Senate, and has spent its efforts on window dressing like the IDEAL plan – pages and pages of buzzwords, with no action.

I hope she will be able to explain this morass to the Senate, as well as give us some evidence that the millions we’ve spent on her office has done something to help our students, and tell us how she now plans to use the $2.5 million in reserves her office is sitting on to help the colleges pay for the administrative busy-work that the DAPs will now require:

4:45 P.M.    Open Discussion
4:45 P.M.   Reports
4:45 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion

From the Student Collective:

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                UNIVERSITY OF OREGON SENATE

Resolution to Support the UO Student Collective

Proposed: November 15th, 2017 Proponents: UO Student Collective

SECTION 1:

1.1 WHEREAS the following is one of the official values of the UO: “We value our diversity and seek to foster equity and inclusion in a welcoming, safe, and respectful community.”

1.2 WHEREAS students have repeatedly approached the UO Administration with demands and concerns about policies and patterns of practice that jeopardize the well-being, safety, and success of students.

1.3 WHEREAS the Administration at the UO has not adequately prioritized the demands of its students to address these concerns.

1.4 WHEREAS the Administration has retaliated against student protesters and student dissent by actively pursuing student conduct charges and imposing sanctions on students for protesting.

1.5 WHEREAS the Student Conduct Code reads: “The primary mission of the Student Conduct Code is to set forth the community standards and procedures necessary to maintain and protect an environment conducive to learning and in keeping with the educational objectives of the University of Oregon. Founded upon the principle of freedom of thought and expression, an environment conducive to learning is one that preserves the freedom to learn — where academic standards are strictly upheld and where the rights, safety, dignity and worth of every individual are respected.” [Emphasis ours.]

1.6 WHEREAS the retaliation described in 1.4 causes stress and anxiety to students, disrupts their academic efforts, and functions as repression of dissent and free speech.

1.7 WHEREAS the Student Conduct process has been carried out with clear bias; the students were declared guilty by the administration on public news outlets before charges were made.

Background: The Administration has ignored the requests and

needs of the students and is now charging them with Student

Conduct violations for protest and dissent.

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1.8 WHEREAS the Student Conduct Code reads that students accused of violations can expect the procedural protection of “[being] informed of the information upon which a complaint is based,” yet students were denied information regarding how the conduct process was initiated.

1.9 WHEREAS the Student Conduct Code outlines a “student’s right to assistance” and that this may include an attorney, yet the university has yet to offer reasonable options in lieu of ASUO legal representation or advising, which has been withheld.

1.10 WHEREAS the student conduct hearings offered occur behind closed doors, do not include a scribe or other form of reliable record-keeping, disallow recording, and rely on a decision- making body of a single person.

1.11 WHEREAS hate crimes have increased by nearly 40% in Eugene, OR between 2015 and 2016, roughly half of which were racially motivated, as per the City of Eugene 2016 Hate and Bias Report.

1.12 WHEREAS White Supremacist groups have been allowed and

welcomed on Administration.

the University of Oregon campus by the

1.13 WHEREAS White Supremacist speech is a direct threat to members of our university community, especially marginalized demographics.

SECTION 2:

2.1 BE IT RESOLVED THAT the UO Senate urges the Administration to cease the Student Conduct disciplinary charges process and pledges to support student protesters during the disciplinary appeals process.

2.2 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the UO Senate supports the pursuit of collective student action and ongoing conversation with the UO Student Collective regarding avenues for creating meaningful structural change.

2.3 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the UO Senate denounces White Supremacist speech and organizing on campus as a direct threat to the university community.

2.4 BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED THAT the UO Senate shall urge President Schill to pledge that he will use his position of power to deny White Nationalists and hate groups a platform on this campus to the best of his ability.


4:50 P.M.   Other Business
5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

VP for Equity delays release of consultant info, wants to charge for docs

7/24/2017 update:

This university needs an effective office of Internal Audit to examine these sorts of bids. It took 5 weeks just to get an estimate from the VP for Equity and Diversity for the public records, and now the PRO refuses to waive their $114.62 fee:

07/21/2017

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:
The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “…a copy of all bids submitted in response to: RFQ for Executive Coaching Services Solicitation Number: PCS# 211000-00055-RFQ and emails between Michael Tani-Eshon or Yvette Alex-Assensoh and bidders or potential bidders regarding this RFQ” on 06/19/2017, attached.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $114.62. …

Thank you for contacting us with your request.

Sincerely,

Office of Public Records

publicrecords.uoregon.edu

7/10/2017 update: UO Matters saves UO $25K and an uncountable amount of administrative B.S.

Sometimes a simple question is all it takes. In an effort to find out more about the $25K buzzword consultant VPEI wanted to hire, I made this public records request on June 18th:

From: Bill Harbaugh <wtharbaugh@gmail.com>
Subject: PR request VPEI Coaching Services
Date: June 18, 2017 at 10:32:41 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: mate@uoregon.edu, Yvette M Alex-Assensoh <yalex@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for a copy of all bids submitted in response to:

RFQ for Executive Coaching Services
Solicitation Number: PCS# 211000-00055-RFQ
at https://pcs.uoregon.edu/content/business-opportunities

and emails between Michael Tani-Eshon or Yvette Alex-Assensoh and bidders or potential bidders regarding this RFQ. I’m ccing Mr. Tani-Eshon and VP Alex-Assensoh since they should have easy access to these public records.

I ask for a fee-waiver on the basis of public interest.

Thanks,

Bill Harbaugh
http://harbaugh.org

The public records office has sat on it for 3 weeks now, and hasn’t responded to my follow up, but the good news is that the request has already worked. As of July 6th, “THIS OPPORTUNITY IS CANCELLED”:

5/17/2017: Office of Equity and Inclusion searching for buzzword consultant

Nice to know that, after laying off 100 faculty, UO now has money to burn on a consulting firm to help with “executive trustbuilding”, “change management”, “active learning skills including paraphrasing” (that’s a direct quote) and “harnessing the power of culture to optimize outcomes“. $25K, or enough to pay for 4 Pathways scholarships. And it’s renewable:

 

 

Video shows Senate leadership taking charge of student conduct issues

The UO Board of Trustees took authority over student conduct away from the faculty with their 2014 “Delegation of Authority” legislation. The UO Senate’s position on this power grab is that “they can’t discipline our students, only we can discipline our students.” Therefore I am releasing this video of the latest developments in the UO Student Collective discipline case, here.

Let us now praise famous men turned women

From the Washington Post:

Virginia’s most socially conservative state lawmaker was ousted from office Tuesday by Danica Roem, a Democrat who will be one of the nation’s first openly transgender elected officials and who embodies much of what Del. Robert G. Marshall fought against in Richmond.

The race focused on traffic and other local issues in suburban Prince William County but also exposed the nation’s fault lines over gender identity. It pitted a 33-year-old former journalist who began her physical gender transition four years ago against a 13-term incumbent who called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe” and earlier this year introduced a “bathroom bill” that died in committee.

“Discrimination is a disqualifier,” a jubilant Roem said Tuesday night as her margin of victory became clear. “This is about the people of the 13th District disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias . . . where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it.”

Sorry for getting off topic, but having grown up in Virginia with a trans best friend as my rock-climbing buddy, I wanted to celebrate too. Sic semper tyrannus, Cathy.