UO lawyers’ defense against native-american prof’s lawsuit? It’s not discrimination – our Affirmative Action office treats *all* faculty with contempt

10/1/2017: 

Among the years of reports, last summer Daily Emerald reporter Max Thornberry had this about this famously mismanaged office, here. A snippet:

Concerns about the timeliness and effectiveness of the AAEO office [aren’t] new. A 2014 report from the ombuds office found that, “classified staff report high levels of distrust…in the fairness, competence and responsiveness of the University’s AA/EO function.”

And in their motion for a summary dismissal of Chixapkaid Pavel’s lawsuit against SVPAA Doug Blandy and former AAEO Director Penny Daugherty and others, UO’s lawyers have decided to run with that, here:

 

I’m no law professor, so I have nothing to say about the likely success of this argument by Amanda Walkup and Alexandra Hilsher of Eugene’s Hershner Hunter law firm, except that it seems a bit odd to try and use something like this to persuade the Honorable Ann Aiken to dismiss the case, unless you think there’s a pretty high probability she’ll take it as true despite that weasley footnote.

Another aspect of UO’s motion also seems problematic:

Unfortunately Exhibit H isn’t in the docket, since UO submitted it under a protective order. However, a quick glance through the Bias Response Team documents that UO’s Public Records Office submitted to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, here, will reveal at least one recent informal complaint that was submitted to AAEO and led to a full and expensive AAEO investigation and the potential for serious discipline – although the GCO eventually told AAEO to drop it and exonerated the professor.

5/12/2016: Professor Chixapkaid Pavel files suit against UO, Penny Daugherty, etc

Docket here, full complaint here.

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Wow did she take the wrong job

Daily Emerald reporter Logan Marks has the report on new AAEO Director Tracey Tsugawa:

New Affirmative Action Director has social justice in her genes

“[I want to] make sure that we have a campus that is as free as possible from forms of harassment and discrimination, and cultivate a campus that is truly inclusive and welcoming for everyone…” Tsugawa said. “I’m totally excited about coming to Oregon – totally excited about becoming a Duck.”

Tsugawa mentioned two overarching goals for the AAEO office. One is providing prevention education and training for office staff on how to address interpersonal conflict. The other is making processes more transparent so people know what their options are. She also emphasized the importance of protecting people instead of the university.

“Our job is to protect the students, staff and faculty of the campus, not to protect the university…We need to be independent and autonomous to a degree so that we can protect people.”

Which sounds admirable, but is either disingenuous or confused. UO will be not be paying her ~$150K to protect people. Her job is to protect the university. As UO’s Discrimination Complaint and Response Policy warns:

Employees should be aware that AAEO is tasked with ensuring compliance with this policy and state and federal law.  Therefore, while AAEO will work with employees, students and campus community members to ensure that they understand their complaint options, are protected from retaliation and are provided with interim measures as appropriate, AAEO employees are not advocates for individuals participating in the process.

This policy wording was approved by the UO General Counsel’s Office and has been implemented twice by the UO President – once as an emergency policy and once as an interim policy. It is still in effect, except for situations involving sexual harassment or violence against students. Those are now handled by UO’s Title IX Office, under UO’s new student-directed reporting policy.