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.

A reminder about the evil that professors can do, and universities can hide

From Colleen Flaherty in InsideHigherEd:

“Recently I learned that there is a graduate mentoring award named after (I’m just going to force myself to spell out his name) Jay Fliegelman,” Chu wrote to the society in mid-2016, upon hearing of Fliegelman’s namesake graduate mentoring award. “This man was supposed to be my dissertation adviser. I say ‘supposed to be,’ because he spent more time sexually harassing and stalking me than he did advising me academically … Surely there are better examples in whose honor this award might be renamed.”

UO Senate, ASUO, union leaders call on Schill & Trustees to de-escalate flawed efforts to discipline Student Collective protesters

From the Emerald story here.

November 6, 2017

Dear President Michael Schill and Trustees of the University of Oregon:

We write in a unified voice as representatives of major constituencies at the UO to express our concern with the response of your office to the October 6, 2017 student protest of the State of the University Address. During the demonstration, activists took the stage and presented a list of demands created by a coalition of students. Your actions since this event have potentially endangered these students by calling out their actions in a national venue, and have escalated tensions in such a way as to obscure the concerns which precipitated the protest.

Since the protest, you have availed yourself of campus, community, and national platforms to express your voice and reading of events. This is in contradiction to the claim that you were silenced. Further, your New York Times OpEd obscured the nature of the tensions that energized the protest and narrowly framed the circumstances in an analysis of free speech devoid of any consideration of the relationship between power and access to platforms for speech. Any appreciation of academic freedom and free speech must grapple with power. For faculty and graduate instructors, it is understood that any privileged platform brings responsibilities to assure speech opportunities for all voices in the classroom, not just the more vocal, visible and privileged. The bedrock of civil society rests on the parallel notion that democracy works when spaces are available for all voices, even those viewed as disruptive, unusual, or repugnant. In hearing these voices, a collective adjustment to institutions can be advanced to include the marginalized or oppressed, and repugnant or bigoted views can be rebutted. Power and platform are at the center of our practical applications of free speech and academic freedom. So far, you have not given consideration to this important dimension of the subject.

The actions of your office, particularly your New York Times OpEd, have escalated tensions, and exposed our students to intimidation and ugly responses by online commenters. We find it disturbing that you did not anticipate this outcome. Under this national mockery, our students are castigated and put in a vulnerable position; they are denied an equivalent platform for their version of the events, and have lost any semblance of due process.

We understand and support your call for debate and discussion about what transpired on October 6th. We also recognize that in this debate, the student activist perspective matters and needs consideration.

That the protest lasted less than 15 minutes, and that there appeared to be only a slight effort to reclaim the stage by you or your staff, has left many wondering how much your departure from the room was pre-planned. Is discipline warranted if, as University President, you did not attempt to earnestly engage this minor protest?

Major public universities, especially ones in the throes of state disinvestment, rising tuition, privatization, and shifting priorities, routinely experience visible protest. This recent event is no different. Instead of a healthy campus conversation, your administration is pursuing sanctions. The threat of sanctions stifle this important conversation.

The October 30t h letter from Associate Director for Student Conduct and Community Standards, Katy Larkin, accused a number of students and non-students with misconduct charges in connection to this event. These accusations include “Disruption of University” and “Failure to Comply”. This effort to conduct a disciplinary investigation is rife with problems:

1 ) Factual ambiguities: you and your staff left the event within 10 minutes, never allowing for other outcomes through the duration of the planned event;

2) Anticipation of conflict, not engagement: your email and video are evidence that plans were made in advance of the scheduled speech and protest, suggesting that instead of dialogue, your office wanted to make an example of these students;

3) Lack of oversight: these charges were brought with no oversight by the Student Conduct and Community Standards Committee;

4) Intimidation : the disciplinary investigation letter is likely to be read as an intimidation tactic, contrary to the very values of academic dialogue that you advocated in your email to the campus and, implicitly, in the NYT OpEd;

5) Investigatory Errors: more transparency in the investigatory process is needed. Some of the students who received letters WERE NOT at the event, implying problems with the implementation of the process, and the surveillance of student social media activity by your administration;

6) Derailing due process: the options presented in the sanction letter to students (to accept the charges or contest them in a closed session administrative conference) is an embarrassment to due process as your administration has already implicated these students as guilty in the local and national media; and

7) Lack of just representation and counsel: the Office of Student Advocacy has denied fees-paying students advice, citing a ‘conflict of interest’ without explanation. These students were only given 7 days to respond, and this inability to seek out advice has severely hindered students’ ability to seek alternative counsel for this vulnerable situation.

In our view, this has gone too far. It is time to de-escalate. We ask that you cease the punitive measures against students and engage in a dialogue without the cloud of threat or intimidation. The UO Student Collective, which includes students who were involved in the protest, will have the floor to present their concerns to the University Senate on November 15. This is a much better venue for beginning a campus dialogue than the other highly constrained venue that you have pursued thus far.


Imani Dorsey, ASUO State Affairs Commissioner

Michael Dreiling, President, United Academics

Jessica Neafie, President, Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation

Chris Sinclair, President, University Senate

Student protesters of Pres Schill’s speech unlikely to take guilty plea offer


Yesterday three of the students who received discipline letters (copy below) talked to the Senate about why  they were going to fight the student conduct charges, rather than plead guilty and accept the administration’s rather mild punishment – a meeting with administrators and a note in their permanent record.

The first student speaker – nervous but quite well spoken – explained how after receiving the discipline letter he’d had to spend 4 hours that he’d wanted to spend on his physics homework talking to lawyers. All three explained why they thought it was worth fighting the charges. Video here:

There are also stories in the Daily Emerald here, and InsideHigherEd here.

10/31/2017: Administration presses conduct code charges against Schill protesters

Posted yesterday on the UO Student Collective facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UOstudentcollective/posts/1709555705729615

Today, members of the University of Oregon Student Collective have been sent notices from the university administration. We have been notified that students will be charged for participating in student protest and dissent against the administration.

We have been told that we have two options: either submit to whatever guidelines they give us and silence ourselves or be formally charged by the institution of the University of Oregon.

This will lead to a criminalization of protest and dissent. Students are being punished for speaking out and using their voice. The UO Student Collective will not accept any guidelines that take away our freedom to dissent and protest.

The UO Student Collective will be contesting the allegations. The voices of the students are not a disruption to the business of a University, the voice of the students is the business of a University. Protesting is not a crime. Fighting for the students is not a crime.

If anyone else has gotten an email from the administration threatening student conduct action, please let the UO Student Collective know. We will fight for you.

The University of Oregon Student Collective is here to for the students.

Support this movement by sharing this post. Post #iamtheuostudentcollective. Come to our meetings. Make your voices heard.


The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards at the University of Oregon has received information concerning your alleged involvement in an incident on October 6, 2017 with the following brief description:

You took the stage in the EMU Ballroom in a manner that caused a University of Oregon event (President Schill’s State of the University Address) to be suspended. You were asked on multiple occasions to cease the behavior, and failed to stop after being clearly directed to do so by Dr. Kevin Marbury, Interim Vice President for Student Life.

Based on this information, your behavior may have violated the Student Conduct Code. The UO Student Conduct Code ensures your rights as a student are protected. While you are entitled to respect and civility, you also have responsibilities to the community. The Student Conduct Code outlines these responsibilities and the university’s expectations for your behavior as a UO student. Below are the specific violations of the Student Conduct Code that may be applicable to this incident:

1. Disruption of University: Engaging in behavior that could be reasonably foreseen to cause disruption of, obstruction of, or interference with the process of instruction, research, administration, student discipline, or any other service or activity provide or sponsored by the University.

2. Failure to Comply: Failure to comply with the reasonable directions of public officials acting in performance of their duties on University Premises or at a University Sponsored Activity when such conduct poses a danger to personal safety or property or obstructs or impairs educational or other institutional activities.

I am offering you two options to resolve this matter:

OPTION ONE – Special Option for Resolution
You are invited to participate in small group dialogue with a variety of Officers of Administration who have expressed interest in meeting with you to hear your concerns and work with you to try to address them. This educational outcome will be scheduled during mid-to-late November.

By choosing this option, you are accepting responsibility for your actions and agreeing to participate in the small group dialogue noted above. As a result, rather than a sanction, you will receive written warning for your behavior.

As long as you honor this agreement and attend the group session, there will be no formal conduct process and this will not result in a student conduct record.

To choose this option, please respond to this email within 7 days of today’s date. You will receive additional information within the next few weeks about the small group dialogue session and how to RSVP.

OPTION TWO – Administrative Conference
By choosing this option, you are electing to contest the allegation. You will need to meet with me, or another decision-maker, to discuss the information we have received. This is called an administrative conference and is your opportunity to present additional information to ensure we have a full understanding of the situation. Following the meeting, a decision would be made regarding your responsibility for the violations listed above based on all available information and a “more likely than not” standard. If you are found responsible, you will be assigned an action plan (called sanctions under the Student Conduct Code).

To choose this option, please call (541)346-1140 by November 6, 2017, which is 7 days from the date of this letter, to schedule a meeting.

Additional things you should know:

– If you fail to respond to this notice within 7 days, I will make a decision based on the information I have, without your input or agreement.

– Normally, when a student is found responsible for a conduct violation, a $30 administrative fee is assessed to the student’s account. In this case, however, we have decided to waive the administrative fee. Neither option will result in an administrative fee.

– Students have the right to an advisor at any stage of the student conduct process. Your advisor may not be another student who is involved in the alleged behavior. For more information about advisors in the student conduct process, visit our website (http://dos.uoregon.edu/files/Advisors.pdf).

For more information about the Student Conduct Code, please visit http://conduct.uoregon.edu, or e-mail klarkin@uoregon.edu with any additional questions.

Katy Larkin
Associate Director, Student Conduct and Community Standards

Senate to meet today, Wed Nov 1 3-5PM

Presumably the 4:30 open discussion will focus on the student conduct code charges that the administration is pressing against the UO Collective Students. There will also be important info about upcoming decisions on expedited tenure and undergraduate honors. Livestream: https://media.uoregon.edu/channel/

Agenda from https://senate.uoregon.edu/calendar/senate-meetings-2017-18/

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

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

Introductory Remarks; Senate Vice President Bill Harbaugh

Apparently Harbaugh has nothing to say. A first.

Remarks: Senate President Chris Sinclair

Students should be heard, so should administrators, and we will hear from both today.

Remarks: Provost Banavar

Supports Expedited Tenure proposal, wants to see Honors proposals.

3:30 P.M.   Approval of MinutesOctober 18, 2017

3:30 P.M.   Business/Reports

  • DiscussionExpedited Tenure Process; Boris Botvinnik  (Math), Chair of Faculty Personnel Committee (FPC)
  • Report: Dean Andrew Marcus, College of Arts and Sciences
  • ReportHonors Task Force ;  Josh Snodgrass (Anth) and Jeremy Piger (Econ)

4:30 P.M.    Open Discussion
4:30 P.M.   Reports
4:30 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion
4:30 P.M.   Other Business
5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

Inside Philanthropy looks at disconnect between $50M gift and student protest

A University Nets a Huge Donation and Students Protest. What’s Going On Here?

…  So let us agree that the UO protesters were rude and perhaps misguided. Youth is, indeed, wasted on the young. Does that make their concerns about escalating tuition any less valid, especially considering the optics at play?

After all, Phil and Penny Knight gave the university a $500 million donation a year ago. UO has a nationally renowned and (presumably?) lucrative football program. Michael Schill earns $798,400 a year, making him one of the highest paid university presidents according to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s salary rankings.

And now, a few months after a proposed 10.6 percent in-state tuition increase, a new gift—and an anonymous one at that, replete with concerns about transparency and accountability—has added another $50 million to the pot.

Indeed, there are many factors contributing to escalating tuition at public universities, including escalating health and pension benefits, ongoing budget cuts at the state level, and a broken federal student loan system. It’s understandable why people should be grateful for donor largesse. Without private philanthropy, things would get really ugly.

Yet, it’s of little solace for many UO students facing a lifetime of debt, given the fact that it seems to be figuratively raining money all over campus.

And so rather than lament the impetuousness of youthful rebellion, it would behoove donors and administrators alike to ask why students are frustrated and address the divide that seems to be widening with every new mega-gift.

University of Oregon faces a disaster of biblical proportions

No, I’m not talking about the $6M the law school will burn this year trying to maintain its US News ranking (just $3M more than budgeted) or the $3.5M our VPEI will blow on window-dressing “Diversity Action Plans”, or the fact that our students and president are busy calling each other Nazis in the New York Times, or the fact that our VP for Enrollment is about 300 students & $5M short this year, or the fact that the Ducks continue to bring in the alleged assaults, strangulations, beatings, locker room fights, rapes, and concussions.

Yes, the rumors are true. Papa’s is closing. Hiring and retaining top faculty of the sort our new $500M Knight Campus will require has just become much harder.  Sararosa Davies has the sad news in the Emerald:

How much can Willie Taggart roll Rob Mullens for with a few Florida rumors?

The Emerald has the story here about how Taggart is “committed” to Oregon despite the Florida job. I’m no economist, but what’s “committed” mean in dollars?

Duck AD Rob Mullens is famously easy to roll – just ask Mark Helfrich, Dana Altman, or Eric Roedl. I’ll give my last University of Nike coffee cup to whoever provides the best estimate of how much a desperate Mullens will throw on the table this time.

Government Relations Office sends out update on 2018 legislative session

That would be OSU’s Government Relations Office. Sure it’s only October, and the session is 3 months away, but the early bird gets the worm:

From: “Mills, Jock”

Subject: [Government_Relations_Update] OSU Government Relations Update — Looking to the 2018 Legislative Session and Beyond

Date: October 30, 2017 at 4:41:46 PM PDT Continue reading

UO Student Collective member explains protest at State of Univ speech

Update: Thanks to a reader for pointing me to another opinion piece in the Emerald on this. It’s not clear if the student is a member of the collective, but she is supportive:

On Oct. 13, University of Oregon President Michael Schill wrote an opinion column for the New York Times on the protest that happened earlier this month. His column criticized the students who interrupted his State of the University Address, stating that silencing him was not a proper form of protest. Schill ignores the position of power he has as the university president and dismisses the different set of regulations that are given to him as a leader of this institution.

In his column, Schill wrote, “One of the students who stormed the stage during my talk told the news media to ‘expect resistance to anyone who opposes us.’ That is awfully close to the language and practices of those the students say they vehemently oppose.” The reality is that these students are marginalized students from an institution that Schill leads. They demand respect and fair treatment after almost a century of neglect. The protester said this because they were done with the mistreatment and wanted to make it clear that they will continue to fight for the rights of all marginalized students on campus. ….

In the Emerald here:

“Nothing about us without us.” That’s what 80+ students and I chanted as we took the stage on Oct. 6. President Schill has ignored student concerns for a long time, so we decided to protest in a way that he simply could not overlook. …

Law prof Nancy Shurtz in the Oregonian on Halloween, free speech, diversity

UO Law Professor Nancy Shurtz has some hard-won and interesting thoughts on the intersection of Halloween, free speech, and diversity in her op-ed here.

…Halloween costumes have also been a hot-button issue on college campuses in recent times, brought into the fore by the case of Yale University lecturer Erika Christakis two years ago. Christakis, who was a residential overseer in a Yale dormitory, wrote an email to students opposing arbitrary restrictions on costumes, arguing instead for student self-policing and open dialogue. For her trouble, a faction of students branded her a racist for defending “offensive” costumes and demanded her ouster by the university. The Yale administration did little to buffer her from two months of relentless character attacks and harassment, after which she did resign.

I experienced my own Halloween ordeal just a year ago this week. I hosted a private party in my home, attended by friends, a few university colleagues, and some law students. …

… When free expression is tethered, administrators tacitly endorse the tactics of ideological bullies, the self-appointed dictators of truth, and cheat the larger student body that hears but one bellowing voice. Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.”  This Halloween, let’s see through this masquerade of communicative suppression.

Nancy Shurtz is the Bernard A. Kliks professor of law at the University of Oregon School of Law.