Library committee starts contest for art to counter insipid, racist mission statement

5/7/2018 update: Because the best response to speech you hate is more speech. The Daily Emerald has the story here. The website for the contest is here:

The University of Oregon Libraries invites UO students to participate in a juried art exhibition that will showcase creative expressions of the culture we aspire to have.

Deadline to submit work: August 10, 2018

The exhibit will take place in Knight Library, October 15, 2018 – March 15, 2019.

This exhibit is part of the continuing dialogue of how we can strive for an inclusive environment while preserving evidence of a past which speaks to the contrary. Art can be a powerful force for empowerment and change.

For this exhibit, we are seeking original works of art that express an inclusive, respectful culture that counters the world view depicted in the Knight Library murals. We invite participants to contribute works of art that reflect on issues of identity, gender and race equality, age, sexual orientation, ability, social justice, and privilege. …

What a great idea. $1350 in prize money.

12/7/2017: Students want to remove insipid, racist UO Mission Statement from library wall

The Daily Emerald has the story here:

The petition is here. It focuses on the part about “… conservation and betterment … of our racial heritage…”, which at the time was the language of eugenics, racist immigration policies, and forced sterilization –  the death camps came soon after. Personally, I’m in favor of leaving the thing up as a warning to our students and the future, but only after giving UO’s History and English faculty a crack at it with a ladder and a fat red marker. Here’s my attempt:

Update: More about the history of Sociology at UO, none of it unkind to Prof Young, here.

Eager frat boys jump on First Amendment right to make fools of themselves

I’m thinking this is not quite what Pres Schill had in mind when he spent ~$100K on lectures to promote free speech. The Daily Emerald’s Ryan Nguyen and Michael Tobin have the report here:

The University of Oregon Phi Kappa Psi chapter has been temporarily suspended after a defamatory document printed with the fraternity’s name and the names of many of its members’ surfaced.

The 32-page document, which the Emerald obtained on Sunday, contains a list of the names of UO Phi Kappa Psi members followed by questions for each member. The questions contain anti-gay slurs, rape jokes, references to illegal drug use and derogatory language directed at women. The front page is labeled “Brothers of Phi Kappa Psi.” …

UO’s investigation will include interviews with a random sample of new and current fraternity members, said assistant Dean of Students Marcus Langford. Using that information, a third-party investigator and the university will determine whether the chapter violated the UO Student Conduct Code.

The Emerald story includes a link to the document, albeit with the names redacted. Some excerpts:

  • “I hear you’re a Patriots fan, Are you actually from New England or are you just a fag?”
  • “Do you fuck 2s every weekend to convince yourself that you’re not gay?”
  • “what’s up faggot? Who have you gotten more nuts from this year, twitter sluts or your girlfriend?”
  • “Does a girl run your snapchat account or are you really that gay?”
  • “What’s it like to lose your girl to a bisexual male cheerleader?”
  • “Did [redacted] actually rape you or are you too embarrassed to admit that you willingly fucked her?”
  • “Do you enjoy banging 3s or are you just too blind to tell that they’re beat?”
  • “How many times have you had to expand your tinder radius to find a new whore to fuck?”
  • “Can i have your sisters phone number? She’s just so fucking hot. How do you think she’d look on my dorm bed?”
  • Do you get blacked out so often so the the 4’s you hook up with seem hotter?
  • “How many schools have you shot up?”
  • “How many copies of Mein Kampf do you own?”
  • “What’s higher, your grade point average or the points of molly you take at parties?”
  • “Can you go one week without doing something utterly retarded?”
  • “Who’s a softer pledge master, you or [name redacted]?”

All evidence for a powerful but sometimes unappreciated argument for campus free speech – it helps people understand just what they’re up against.

VP for Communication Kyle Henley still uncommunicative on “brand awareness” contract


Subject: Public Records Request 2018-PRR-370
Date: May 8, 2018 at 4:25:54 PM PDT


Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

Records responsive to your request, made 5/2/2018, for “copies of any proposals submitted to RFQ for Brand Awareness Study…” are exempt under 192.355(9), as an award has not yet been made. As such, the University does not possess any records responsive to your request for “…any ensuing contract”.

You may seek review of the public body’s determination pursuant to ORS 192.411, 192.415, 192.418, 192.422, 192.427 and 192.431.

The office considers this to be fully responsive to your request, and will now close your matter. Thank you for contacting the office with your request.


Office of Public Records
6207 University of Oregon | Eugene, OR 97403-6207
(541) 346-6823 |

5/3/2018 update: More than a month now. Maybe another public records request will shake something loose from Henley:

Begin forwarded message:
From: Bill Harbaugh <>
Subject: PR request attempt #2 for Brand Awareness Study proposals and contract
Date: May 2, 2018 at 8:26:07 AM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <>
Cc: Kyle Henley <>,

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for copies of any proposals submitted in response to
RFQ for Brand Awareness Study
University Communications, University Communications > Digital Communications, and Purchasing & Contracting Services
PCS# 520200-00134-RFQ
Which closed on Dec 22 2017.
And any ensuing contract.
I will post these on the internet at a site frequently visited by journalists and others interested in UO matters, and I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.
I’m ccing VP for Comm Kyle Henley, as he should have these documents readily at hand and is well compensated for helping UO communicate with the public.

Bill Harbaugh

4/24/2018 update:

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University has searched for, but was unable to locate, records responsive to your request. The office has been informed that this RFP is in progress but has not yet been awarded.

The office considers this to be fully responsive to your request, and will now close your matter. Thank you for contacting the office with your request.


Office of Public Records

Huh? “unable to locate” proposals?

20 21 22 23 24 25 days and counting for a response from Mr. Henley to this public records request:

Requester: Harbaugh, Bill
Organization:  Private
Initial Request Date: 03/30/2018
Status:  Requesting/Reviewing Records

This is a public records request for copies of any proposals submitted in response to RFQ for Brand Awareness Study – University Communications, University Communications > Digital Communications, Purchasing & Contracting Services PCS #520200-00134-RFQ which closed on Dec 22 2017.

I will post these on the internet at a site frequently visited by journalists and others interested in UO matters, and I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest. I’m ccing VP for Comm Kyle Henley, as he should have these documents readily at hand, and is well compensated for helping UO communicate with the public.

Request ID: 2018-PRR-344

What’s this about? Henley needs to show the Board and President Schill that all the money he has spent on branding and communications – money which could have been spent on teaching, research, and scholarships for our students – has increased “brand awareness”:

Given UO’s falling enrollment numbers and the unremarkable google trends data for UO’s brand under Henley’s watch, this will be a difficult task. Presumably the winning brand consultants will be well paid for some creative spin that makes this look good:




Grad School’s Three-Minute Thesis competition is back! May 11

I’m a little bitter I didn’t get invited to be a judge this year, but I’m going to take the high road and post this announcement anyway:

All are invited to come to the UO Graduate School’s Graduate Student Research Forum on Friday, May 11 in and around the EMU Ballroom, between 10 am and 4 pm.

The Forum is FULL of fabulous grad student research presentations (posters, symposia, and “3-Minute Thesis” micro talks). Three Minute Thesis preliminary rounds are 10-11:30 with the hotly contested finals at 2:00. The poster session runs from 12-2, and includes a sandwich lunch for those in attendance. Symposia happen from 10-11; 11:15-12:15; and 12:45-1:45.

This year, instead of a paper program, all the details about who is presenting when can be found by downloading a program app here. Use your UO email address when signing up with the event invitation code usrhl. The link to the app can also be found on the Grad Forum webpage:

How big-time sports corrupts academic freedom

This WSJ op-ed is about UNC, not UO:

It would be hard to imagine a more demoralizing example of the tail wagging the dog. UNC is a “public ivy.” Its faculty win Nobel, Pulitzer and Guggenheim awards. Since 1987, UNC ranks first among public universities in competitions for Rhodes scholarships. Chapel Hill is not the typical football factory. Yet UNC’s leaders were willing to carry water for the athletic department—even in the wake of an enormous athletic scandal. They were also willing to limit what their students could learn, threaten the academic freedom of a tenured professor, use intimidation tactics against a distinguished department, and risk the reputation of the university.

Duck basketball coaches are obsessed with their Nike Elite accounts

PDF’s below, in response to a request for docs sent in response to this NYT request, which was apparently aimed at docs involving the federal investigation of NCAA basketball:

Dear Professor Harbaugh:

Below are links to the records requested on 4/27/2018. These links will remain active for a period of five (5) business days, expiring at the close of business on Friday, May 4, 2018.

Altman Docs@nike_Combined:


McKenna Docs @nike_Combined:

Stubblefield Docs @nike_Combined:


Records released for 2018-PRR-101

MBB email text_Combined:

Please note that some of the information contained in these records is exempt under ORS 192.345(2) (“personal privacy”) and ORS 192.345(8) (“federal law exemption”). This office considers these documents to be fully responsive to your request and will now close this matter.

Thank you for contacting this office with this request.


Office of Public Records

6207 University of Oregon | Eugene, OR 97403-6207

(541) 346-6823 |

Tear down Hayward Field – a monument to dead white males

Ken Goe of the Oregonian has an interesting piece on the arguments the teardown supporters are trying to get traction with, here:

“Hayward Field is a special place, but let’s not get too precious about a stadium. We need to ask ourselves, which history exactly are we clinging so tightly to? If we’re being honest, it’s primarily a history of white distance-runner dudes, a single story of track and field anchored by [Steve] Prefontaine and Bowerman—characters who can do no wrong after death, who only get larger with time and marketing dollars.”

Dept of Ed’s OCR investigates UO for discrimination in its response to sexual assault allegation

Around the O has the news:

The University of Oregon is in receipt of a notice of investigation from the Office for Civil Rights.

The university issued the following statement in response to the matter:

The University of Oregon has been notified by the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education that an investigation is being undertaken in response to a complaint from a former student who was a respondent in the campus’ Title IX processes.  The complaint alleges that UO’s processes discriminated against the student on the basis of sex.

In its notification letter, OCR states that, “OCR’s decision to open an investigation does not reflect an opinion by OCR regarding the merits of the allegation or the university’s compliance status with respect to federal civil rights laws.”

The University is deeply committed to maintaining a campus free from discrimination and harassment. Not only will we cooperate fully with the review, we will work with OCR to demonstrate our commitment to a fair, compliant and effective Title IX program. We are proud to have developed policies, procedures and practices that provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of such complaints.

During the course of the OCR inquiry, the university will not be able to share any additional information.

Perhaps this relates to the 2016 case of a male UO student who sued several UO administrators after they suspended him for a year for allegedly engaging in unwanted sexual contact with a female student. That (federal court) docket is here: The (amended) complaint:


An earlier post about this case is at

“We have taken great care to engage important stakeholders in the development of the plans,” Klinger says.

Just in case any UO students, faculty, community members, the UO Senate, ASUO, the Eugene City Council, the Mayor, the Campus Planning Committee, or most longtime Eugene track and field fans had any illusions about what JH and the UO Foundation think of their importance.

More in Meerah Powell’s Eugene Weekly story here:

… The demolition of Hayward Field’s East Grandstand was proposed to make room for a new stadium to house the 2021 World Outdoor Track and Field Championships — the same event under investigation by the Department of Justice for possible racketeering, money laundering and fraud charges, according to The New York Times.

There has been no update on the investigation since late January, when the NYT reported that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had been of particular interest to the Department of Justice after awarding the championships to Eugene with no bidding process. …

Administration agrees to work with Senate on new COI/C policy

4/26/2018: As announced by Senate Pres Sinclair yesterday. I have no idea why it took the administration so long to realize that they had to do this.

4/19/2018: UO administrators waste an hour of Senate Exec time trying to explain why they still can’t decide if they need to involve the Senate in new COI/C policy

This was the saddest presentation I’ve ever heard from Johnson Hall employees, and I’ve heard a lot.

It took Senate Pres Chris Sinclair 5 seconds to give administrators Melanie Muenzer and Cass Moseley the correct answer:

Yes. Why didn’t you start talking to us 5 months ago?

But apparently this debate is still raging on in the bowels of Johnson Hall tonight, 2 weeks after the Senate first got a bootleg copy of this proposal from the union, and 9 years after our administration last brought this policy question to the Senate.

UO Senate to meet Wed 4/25, 3PM


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

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

  • Introductory Remarks: Senate President Chris Sinclair

3:10 P.M.   Business/Reports

3:50 P.M.    Open Discussion
:50 P.M.   Reports
:55 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion
3:55 P.M.   Other Business

4:00 P.M. Executive Session

Vote: Honorary Degrees

5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

3:10 P.M.   Approval of MinutesApril 11, 2018

Law Prof Nancy Shurtz explains why she is coming back to teach

Update: For an interesting contrast in institutional responses, see this story from tonight about how Cal State Fresno President Joseph Castro reacted to public anger about a professor who made disparaging comments about the recently deceased Barbara Bush:

Professor Jarrar’s conduct was insensitive, inappropriate and an embarrassment to the university. I know her comments have angered many in our community and impacted our students. Let me be clear, on campus and whenever we are representing the university, I expect all of us to engage in respectful dialogue.

Immediately following Professor Jarrar’s tweets last Tuesday, we carefully reviewed the facts and consulted with CSU counsel to determine whether we could take disciplinary action. After completing this process, we have concluded that Professor Jarrar did not violate any CSU or university policies and that she was acting in a private capacity and speaking about a public matter on her personal Twitter account. Her comments, although disgraceful, are protected free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

UO President Schill took a less courageous approach to the Shurtz incident, dropping the problem on Interim Provost Scott Coltrane. Coltrane quickly passed to GC Kevin Reed. Reed then passed the problem, and ~$30K bucks, to an outside law firm whose weasley response is linked to below.

Here’s hoping the next time some UO professor does something ignorant and offensive our President will save us all some money, time, and embarrassment by simply copying the operative part of Pres Castro’s statement:

Professor _____’s comments/costume/billboard/fart/paper/art exhibit/concerto/regression coefficients/blog etc., although disgraceful, are protected free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


Prof Shurtz in the RG here:

Once again The Register-Guard has chosen sensationalism over accuracy, this time in its April 13 story on my private Halloween party of 2016 and my planned return to the classroom.

The story, largely based on the University of Oregon’s flawed report, is replete with errors. I did not “wear blackface.” That term is reserved for derogatory, mocking, demeaning depictions of African-­Americans. At my private, off-campus Halloween party in 2016, I sought to challenge racism and provoke thought by depicting through my costume a book — Dr. Damon Tweedy’s “A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine.”

I sought to raise awareness of racism in higher education and the lack of diversity in the medical profession. Some who were not at the party but heard about it have expressed harm.

Although I intended no harm, I have offered (and again offer) my profound and sincere apology. I have learned much in this process.

However, the stories continue to misrepresent both the facts and the law — as has the university itself.

The so-called “investigative report,” prepared by a law firm commissioned by the UO obviously to reach a predetermined conclusion, was wrong on both facts and law — a matter of some concern in a university with a prominent law school.

Normally, faculty discipline would not be public information, but since the UO chose to violate that rule and publicize this, I now feel compelled to end my silence and justified in doing so.

I did not require students to attend my Halloween party, most students did not attend, and under the law school’s blind grading system I would be unable to reward or penalize students for attending. The report ignores the role of the university and law school administration in misrepresenting the event and stirring the pot, apparently for personal benefit of those doing the misrepresenting. Even the report admitted that I had no ill intent to harm or harass, yet it took the position that punishment can be meted out regardless.

The report ignored my long career at the law school as a champion of diversity, perhaps because I have been among the most critical voices of the law school and university administrations on that front over time. The report said nothing about the honor for which I am most proud: my nomination for the university-wide MLK Award in 2012 for contributions, beyond typical job expectations, that uphold and exemplify the ideals supported by Martin Luther King Jr.

The report also is wrong on the law: Under the university’s discrimination and harassment policies and under the law, only intentional discrimination and harassment can result in punishment, yet even the report acknowledges I had no such discriminatory intent.

Under university policy and federal law, punishable harassment occurs only if a person intentionally targets a specific individual (a student, faculty or staff member, etc.). As the report concedes, my expressions against racism did no such thing.

Furthermore, the report completely ignores the Oregon Constitution’s free-speech guarantee, which is more expansive than the U.S. Constitution’s. On the federal free-speech guarantee, the report ignores controlling 9th Circuit Court of Appeals precedents and relies instead on older, questionable precedents from the 6th Circuit (covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) and other inapplicable law.

Lastly, the report misinterprets the university’s freedom of speech policy and altogether omits analysis of the university’s academic freedom policy.

In short, the report is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law, basically an exercise to justify the previous law school administration’s and university’s rush to judge and punish me.

Scapegoating me for the institution’s long history of racial tension and institutional failure is no way to solve the real problems that exist at the university. I will return to campus to live and teach the principles I believe are important in law and education: diversity and inclusion, accompanied by freedom of expression, due process, equal protection, impartial application of the law, and the use of the law to reveal the truth and dispense its direct byproduct — justice.

Nancy Shurtz holds the Bernard Kliks Chair at the University of Oregon School of Law.

Teardown objectors ask Eugene City Council to save Hayward Field

4/24/2018 update:

Opponents of tearing down Hayward Field’s east grandstand get support from city council (The Oregonian)

The new design was made public last week for the first time. It includes a nine-story tower on the track’s northeast corner, planned in honor of longtime UO track coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman.

The council heard from a parade of people opposing the plan, among them Bob Penny; his brother, Bill; Neta Prefontaine, sister of distance legend Steve Prefontaine; former University of Oregon runner and author Kenny Moore, and Peter Thompson, a retired senior manager of the IAAF, the governing body of international track and field.

…”Bill Bowerman would cringe at the height and shape of his honorary tower.

Neta Prefontaine said she spoke before the council with a heavy heart. “I feel like I’m losing my best friend,” she said.


Eugene council takes up Hayward Field teardown, might nominate grandstand as city landmark (The Register-Guard)

4/23/2018: Live feed here. Vin Lananna’s Track Town enterprise has hit up the council for lots of public cash. We’ll see if that translates into public input.

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