Gottfredson: Weak on Freedom?

4/16/2014 update: It’s been a week now, no signing ceremony. The rumor is that President Gottfredson has stuck Dave Hubin with the job of finding some explanation – plausible or not, doesn’t really matter – for why although he would personally love to sign this policy, it would be a violation of his fiduciary responsibility as “The University”.

4/10/2014 updates: Senate passes academic freedom motion unanimously

InsiderHigherEd has a report on the “months of contentious negotiation” between the Senate, the union, and Gottfredson over academic freedom, and Betsy Hammond has a story on this in the Oregonian here:

Gottfredson, in an emailed response to The Oregonian, said, “I look forward to closely reviewing (it) …I fully support the strongest policy on academic freedom possible. Academic freedom is central to our mission and underlies everything we do as a university.”

This is our passive-aggressive president’s typical non-response. “Asked and answered.” “I’ll take that under advisement”. ” “I look forward to reviewing it”. Then nothing.

Here’s some more history, with his Randy Geller’s redlines of an earlier Senate draft. And here’s Gleason and Rudnick’s restrictive proposal on academic freedom, from 2/17/2013 during the union bargaining. All about the limitations, authority, and of course that easily abused requirement for “civil dialogue” – and if The University thinks it’s not, then discipline!

Continue reading

Senate calls for nominations for next President by 3/4, vote on 3/12.

Dear Senators and members of the UO Community,

The University Senate will be holding elections for Senate Vice President / President-Elect at its upcoming meeting on Wednesday, March 12th from 3:00 – 5:00 pm. We welcome all nominations for the this important office, including self nominations.

The Senate Bylaws define the Senate Vice President / President-Elect in section 4.2:

“The person elected Senate Vice President is automatically elected to the separate office of Senate President-Elect. … The responsibilities of the Senate Vice President shall include but are not limited to chairing Senate meetings when the Senate President temporarily steps down or is absent, chairing the Committee on Committees, being a voting member of the Senate Executive Committee and Faculty Advisory Council, and assisting the Senate President in governing the Senate as requested. The Senate Vice President shall assume the Senate Presidency when the Senate President vacates or resigns from the office unexpectedly…”

The person elected to the position of Vice President / President Elect will immediately assume that office and will automatically become Senate President at the final Senate meeting in late May of this year.

Any member of the Statutory Faculty is eligible to run for Senate Vice President. The Statutory Faculty is defined by the UO Constitution as “the body of professors consisting of the University President, tenure-related officers of instruction, career non-tenure-track officers of instruction, and officers of administration who are tenured in an academic department.”

If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else for Senate Vice President, please reply to Lisa Mick Shimizu, Senate Executive Coordinator, by March 4th, 2014 with the following information:

Name of nominee;

Nominee’s UO Department.

If you are nominating someone else, please confirm that they have agreed to serve.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Lisa

Lisa Mick Shimizu
Executive Coordinator
University of Oregon Senate
1226 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
lisa@uoregon.edu
541-346-4439

2/19/2014 Senate to vote on academic freedom, March 12:

The most recent draft of the Senate Ad Hoc Freedom Committee’s motion is here, President Gottfredson’s previous efforts to squash freedom are discussed here. Dave Hubin’s weird 2/18/2014 memo to the Senate, pretending he doesn’t understand the point of the last 6 months of Senate work and reports on academic freedom, is here.

The Senate will also address athletic subsidies, a report from IAC Chair Rob Illig (Law) on Jaqua Center athlete tutoring problems, Randy Geller’s policy to restrict faculty access to outside legal opinions, faculty input into review and selection of the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, the Blonigen report on RIGE and Espy, and election of next year’s Senate President.

Senate Freedom Committee draft policy

The Senate Ad Hoc Freedom Committee, chaired by Michael Dreiling (Sociology prof and faculty union president) has now met several times with President Gottfredson and his advisers. The Committee has posted its draft Academic Freedom policy on the Senate website, here, along with an explanatory memo. (Full disclosure: I am part of this committee, but for reasons I won’t go into I did not attend the meetings with the administration. All of the information in this post is from public sources.)

Perhaps the most interesting development, given the recent hubbub about Oregon State’s efforts to restrict employee’s access to public records, is the governance part of the draft policy, which discusses UO employee access to information.

Senate Workgroup Draft Policy on Academic Freedom January 7, 2014

This policy on Academic Freedom builds on existing commitments to Freedom of Inquiry and Free Speech at this institution and elsewhere by defining additional freedoms that are specific to the proper functioning of our academic institution. Academic Freedom exists in the contexts of scholarship, teaching, governance, and public service.

• SCHOLARSHIP. The University’s research mission requires that faculty and students have autonomous freedom to conduct research and produce creative work, and to publish and disseminate that work, limited only by the standards and methods of accountability established by their profession and their individual disciplines.

• TEACHING. The University’s responsibility to help students to think critically and independently requires that faculty and students have the right to investigate and discuss matters, including those that are controversial, inside and outside of class, without fear of institutional restraint. Matters brought up in class should be related to the subject of courses or otherwise be educationally relevant, as determined primarily by the faculty member in charge of the class.

• GOVERNANCE. The university is governed by the faculty and the president, with authority delegated as appropriate by the faculty to the University Senate. Institutional policies and practices are informed by consultation and advice from the faculty, staff, and students. Therefore, members of the university community have freedom to address, question, or criticize any matter of institutional policy, action, or administration, whether acting as individuals or as members of an agency of institutional governance. In the context of governance, consultation and advice requires timely and meaningful access by staff, students and faculty to information pertinent to institutional policies and actions, whether such requests arise from a university member acting from an agency of institutional governance, or as an individual.

• PUBLIC SERVICE. Public service requires that members of the university have freedom to participate in public debate, both within and beyond their areas of expertise, and to address both the university community and the larger community with regard to any matter of social, political, economic, cultural, or other interest. In their exercise of this freedom, university community members have the right to identify their association or title as university faculty, staff, or students, but should not claim to be acting or speaking on behalf of the University unless authorized to do so.

The academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal. Only serious violations of this policy – ones that rise to the level of professional misbehavior or professional incompetence – should lead to adverse consequences. Any such determinations shall be made only in accordance with established, formal procedures involving judgment by peers in the profession and not by administrators. These freedoms are rights protected by the university. This policy shall be incorporated in employment agreements and comparable corresponding contractual agreements with university employees.

This policy, when approved by the UO Senate and the President, shall be incorporated into the Faculty Handbook, the UO University Policy Library, and all letters of appointment or other contractual agreements.

University President can fire you for tweeting

That would be in Kansas. From Scott Jaschik at InsideHigherEd. The newly adopted policy of the University of Kansas Board of Regents gives their President the right to fire faculty for tweets:

The chief executive officer of a state university has the authority to suspend, dismiss or terminate from employment any faculty or staff member who makes improper use of social media. “Social media” means any facility for online publication and commentary, including but not limited to blogs, wikis, and social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. “Improper use of social media” means making a communication through social media that:

… impairs discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers, has a detrimental impact on close working relationships for which personal loyalty and confidence are necessary…

This all started when a KU journalism professor exercised his first amendment right to criticize people who exercise their second amendment rights. (And in fairness to KU, they don’t let people exercise their second amendment rights on campus either.)

Here in Oregon, President Gottfredson’s General Counsel Randy Geller tried to remove protection for faculty who criticize the university administration from the faculty union bargaining agreement – but failed.

Colleen Flaherty’s InsideHigherEd story from September is here and links to the Crooked Timber story are here. After a tough fight with the AAUP’s Mike Mauer, some national embarrassment for President Gottfredson, and many lucrative billable hours for UO’s lawyer Sharon Rudnick, former UO President Lariviere’s free speech policy was enshrined in the union contract:

Free inquiry and free speech are the cornerstones of an academic institution committed to the creation and transfer of knowledge. Expression of diverse points of view is of the highest importance, not solely for those who present and defend some view but for those who would hear, disagree, and pass judgment on those views. The belief that an opinion is pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or “just plain wrong” cannot be grounds for its suppression.

The University supports free speech with vigor, including the right of presenters to offer opinion, the right of the audience to hear what is presented, and the right of protesters to engage with speakers in order to challenge ideas, so long as the protest does not disrupt or stifle the free exchange of ideas. It is the responsibility of speakers, listeners and all members of our community to respect others and to promote a culture of mutual inquiry throughout the University community.

And now President Gottfredson is working with a faculty committee from the UO Senate to further strengthen those rights. Which is good.

UO Foundation claims defamation and demands retraction from UO Matters

11/12/13: I recently received the “demand for retraction” below, from Thomas Herrmann, legal counsel to the UO Foundation, presumably writing on instruction from the Foundation’s Chairman Jon Anderson, a former marathon runner with longtime Nike connections, and the Foundation’s 2013 Chair-elect and committed athletics booster Stephen Holwerda. A bio-piece on Mr Holwerda in the Portland Business Tribune notes:

Greatest passions: Oregon pinot noir, sports, antique mechanical banks.
First choice for a new career: I started out in athletic administration, and if I had to pick a second career it would be to go back to working for the University of Oregon’s athletic department. Go Ducks.

[Above updated to note that Anderson is Chair, Holwerda is Chair Elect. Thanks, commenter.]

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/971644/uomatters/UO_Foundation/UO%20Foundation%20takedown%20201311.pdf

The post he objects to is here: http://uomatters.com/2013/10/uo-foundation-still-laundering-athletic.html

The ORS 31.200-31.225 statute that Mr. Herrmann cites in his take-down demand is titled “Liability of radio or television station personnel for defamation”. 31.205 discusses “Damages recoverable for defamation by radio, television, motion pictures, newspaper or printed periodical”. So I guess I am a professional news organization, at least in the eyes of the UO Foundation. Section 31.215 lays out the following procedure for retraction demands:

(1) The demand for correction or retraction shall be in writing, signed by the defamed person or the attorney of the person and be delivered to the publisher of the defamatory statement, either personally, by registered mail or by certified mail with return receipt at the publishers place of business or residence within 20 days after the defamed person receives actual knowledge of the defamatory statement. The demand shall specify which statements are false and defamatory and request that they be corrected or retracted. The demand may also refer to the sources from which the true facts may be ascertained with accuracy.

(2)The publisher of the defamatory statement shall have not more than two weeks after receipt of the demand for correction or retraction in which to investigate the demand; and, after making such investigation, the publisher shall publish the correction or retraction in:

(a)The first issue thereafter published, in the case of newspapers, magazines or other printed periodicals.

(b)The first broadcast or telecast thereafter made, in the case of radio or television stations.

(c)The first public exhibition thereafter made, in the case of motion picture theaters.

(3)The correction or retraction shall consist of a statement by the publisher substantially to the effect that the defamatory statements previously made are not factually supported and that the publisher regrets the original publication thereof.

(4)The correction or retraction shall be published in substantially as conspicuous a manner as the defamatory statement. [Formerly30.165]

I have received a plethora of advice on how to respond to this threat. Several attorneys have looked at it, and my post, and said that they do not think that my language is an accusation of criminal activity, particularly given the full context of the post. They have suggested I call the Foundation’s bluff and then file an anti-SLAPP countersuit against them, if they proceed with a lawsuit against me.

I was also told that that the language in Mr. Herrmann’s blustery last paragraph would be quite helpful in a counter-suit, given that anti-SLAPP laws such as Oregon’s are specifically designed to make it difficult to use defamation lawsuits to limit public discussion, as his threat seemingly proposes to do.

One reader suggested that I offer to replace the phrase that the Foundation claims to interpret as an accusation of criminal activity, i.e. “money laundering cash for the Duck Athletic Fund”, with something like “lovingly laundering sweaty jockstraps for the Duck athletic department”. Thanks for this proposal, really.

In the end, I decided to follow the precedent established by noted barrister John Cleese. Mr. Herrmann, you may take this video as my response, in full, to your threatening letter:

The DVD  is available from Amazon for $14.98, here.

Meanwhile, back in Chicago:

Chicago State University seems to have some of the same insider dealing issues that have troubled UO. Check out their “Crony State University” blog, written by 8 faculty. Impressive.

They’ve also been served with a takedown notice. News stories in the Chicago TribuneInsideHigherEd and Chronicle. (Thanks to Margaret Soltan’s ever interesting blog for the link).

Wed Senate meeting on academic freedom and legal services

Update: UO administration time-travels back to 2009, finalizes UO’s draft Academic Plan.

For four years, the official copy of UO’s Academic Plan – ballyhooed today by President Gottfredson in the Senate – made clear it was just a draft:

Now it’s suddenly been post-dated a day, and it’s final.


Sporadic Senate live-blogging. Wednesday 11/13/13 3:00PM, 282 Lillis. 

Disclaimer: My opinions of what people said, meant, or should have said. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes.

Senate Meeting Agenda – November 13, 2013

282 Lillis, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
3:00 pm 1. Call to Order
3:05 pm 2. Approval of Minutes October 9, 2013

Lin raises question on the calculation of 2/3 majority. Simonds replies abstentions don’t count, Paris agrees, refers him to Robert’s Rules.

Stahl checked the video, asks for re-insertion of a sentence regarding no-confidence votes and executive session. Paris has already done it.

3:10 pm 3. State of the University
3.1 Remarks by President Gottfredson

(I’m wondering if he’ll talk about the plan by OUS Chancellor Rose and Matt Donegan to renew his contract til 2016, without consulting UO Senate? Their meeting is scheduled for Friday. First they fire Lariviere without consulting us, now they tie the hands of the new UO Trustees by extending Gottfredson’s contract for two years past the date the Trustees take power.)

Gottfredson:
Shout out to faculty committees hard work.
Outstanding group of board members. CBA was great achievement.
Added many, many more TT faculty (20?) smarter students, new buildings, new capital campaign.
SB 270 was great accomplishment, new freedoms for campus and board, we can sell bonds.
Great path forward. Outstanding board, couldn’t be better.
We need a strategic plan for resources. 2009 Ac Plan is a great plan. He doesn’t seem to be joking.
Benchmarking report. We are a great research university but we need more money.
Coltrane is tasked with developing a Strategic Plan, is tasked with actually talking to the faculty. Campus forums, etc.
Three central goals: Excellence, Access, Money.
1) Need more faculty – 60 TTF right away. We’ve got $ for about 30. Wants more than that.
2) Need more grad students to boost research. Need more money for grad fellowships. Need more buildings.
3) Need big endowment increase.
Vague generalities about targeting. 15 months on the job, nothing more specific?
We’re in the quiet phase of fundraising now, making key fundraising hires, talking to big donors.

We got a little more state money last year, hope to get more.

Word about the Shelton’s budget model: Lots of concerns about lack of support for research and grad students, manipulation like Doug Blandy did in AAD. Need to change it. Modest changes, to make better strategic decisions, graduate education.

Provost is appointing an advisory group to get input on budget model and strategic spending, without going through the Senate!

Academic Freedom – very exciting meeting with Senate group on this last week (I wasn’t in the room with him, but like the motion.) He’s now very pro freedom. Quite a change from what Geller, Blandy and Gleason were doing during the bargaining.

On athletic subsidies: Complex matter, must be careful. He’s met a couple times with Senate leadership on the Senate motion, wouldn’t let Harbaugh in the room. 

Provost Search, expects campus visits in January or so.

Searches for Ombud, Library Head, Dean or two.

Very exciting time, …

Paris: Any questions? 

Q: On academic freedom. What were your objections to last years policy, other than divide it in two.
A: We had a bump in the road. We’re on the right path now.
Followup: Are you supportive of the language as written?
A: Avoids question.

Q: You mentioned strategic plan. Seems very top down. What should units do to align with it? Can you share it?
A: Yes, 2009 Academic Plan. (That plan’s a joke, was never even completed, Bean dropped the ball.) Also need Strategic Capital Campaign.

3:30 pm 4. New Business

4.1 Motion to Form an Administrative Advisory Group for Equity and Inclusion; Senator Kassia Dellabough (AAA)

Long discussion of admin appointing AAG groups outside the Senate. Harbaugh moves to amend to require consultation with the Senate Exec and a vote of the Senate on the membership. Amendment passes, motion passes with full support. Very good precedent. Diversity stuff can get contentious, need faculty buy-in and consultation.

4.2 Motion to Approve Updated Environmental Policy; Senate President Margie Paris (Law)

Postponed due to desire to get to the legal services and freedom stuff.

4.3 Motion to Approve Legal Services Policy Proposal; Senate President Margie Paris (Law)

Postponed. Geller took a knife to it. See his changes here:

4.4 Motion to Rescind Academic Freedom/Freedom of Speech Policy Proposal; Michael Dreiling (CAS – Social Sciences)

Randy Sullivan: Supports. Passes on unanimous voice vote:

4.5 Motion to Create Liaison Between Senate and United Academics of the University of Oregon; Senator Rob Kyr (Music)

Removed for now, needs more discussion to discuss principles and rules.

4.6 Motion to Create Working Group on Campus Planning; Senator Rob Kyr (Music)

passes unan.

4:30 pm 5. Reports

5.1 Report on Committee on Committees’ ten-year review and composition of working groups; Senator Rob Kyr (Music)

Has volunteers, will appoint soon, will have meetings and reports, then motions in April or so.

5.2 Report on the PAC-12 Faculty Leadership Coalition Conference – Senator Rob Kyr (Music)

5.2 Report on Senate-Administration Joint Review of the Office of Research, Innovation, and Graduate Education (RIGE); Bruce Blonigen (Economics)

Blonigen reports. Notes this is late. Committee is meeting with lots of people, looking to hear about interactions, areas for improvement in office, general research at UO. Has an outline of a report, still needs input from others, expect report to be ready by Jan.

5.3 Report on creation of Fee for Services Committee; Senate President Margie Paris (Law)

Goal is to have a committee by next meeting.

4:50 pm 6. Announcements and Communication from the Floor

Sorry, can’t type fast enough, missed some.

Stahl postpones ROTC motion, so students can participate
Harbaugh gives notice of motion on IAC confidentiality and transparency
Harbaugh gives notice of motion on ending athletic subsidies

4:55 pm 7. Other Business

5:00 pm 8. Adjournment



OLD:
11/11/2013 update: The Senate will have remarks by President Gottfredson (I hope including solid progress and numbers on last year’s resolution to reduce athletic subsidies).

On Wednesday the Senate will vote on policies to limit Randy Geller’s control over legal services, and to strengthen academic freedom. As explained below, the motion to “rescind academic freedom” actually will allow the Senate to strengthen academic freedom.

Regardless of whether or not the motion to rescind the 2013 academic freedom / free speech policy proposal (left unsigned by Pres Gottfredson, therefore not in effect) passes, the very strong 2010 policy on freedom of speech and inquiry (which is also incorporated into the CBA) will remain in place while the Senate develops a new academic freedom policy. Last time we barely had a quorum, people should show up for this meeting and these votes. The Senate has sent around this statement on the academic freedom motion:

Dear Senators, 

I am writing with an update and some clarification regarding the Motion to Rescind Academic Freedom/Freedom of Speech Policy Proposal coming up on this week’s agenda. Please note that the text of this motion has been slightly modified for clarity, and now reads:

“THEREFORE BE IT MOVED, That the University Senate rescinds the policy that it adopted in April 2013, which was not subsequently signed by the University President and therefore is not in force: http://senate.uoregon.edu/content/academic-freedom-freedom-speech 

That the Senate Academic Freedom Work Group will continue to work with the University President to draft a strong academic freedom policy. 

That this motion and its preamble be preserved and prominently displayed on the University Senate website in conjunction with the existing Freedom of Inquiry and Free Speech policy for the guidance of faculty, staff, and students and that it not be removed from any present or future version of the University Senate website without an explicit and properly noticed motion by the University Senate.” 

The University Senate workgroup on Academic Freedom offers the following information regarding the Motion to Rescind the 2013 Academic Freedom and Free Speech Policy proposal: 

The motion to rescind is directed to the April 2013 Senate policy proposal – which has not been signed by the President – and is therefore not in force. This simply means that the April 2013 policy, adopted by the Senate but not in force, will be rescinded if the motion passes. This would leave the current 2010 University Policy on Freedom of Inquiry and Free Speech in place as the University Senate workgroup continues to meet with President Gottfredson on this matter. The motion is intended to procedurally “clear the table” so that the workgroup and President Gottfredson can identify mutually agreeable improvements. The Senate workgroup is comprised of Professor Michael Dreiling (Chair), Senate President Margie Paris, Professor John Bonine, Professor Deb Merskin, Professor Bill Harbaugh, and Professor John Davidson. If the Senate concurs, regular reports on the progress of discussions between the Senate workgroup and President Gottfredson will be presented to the University Senate.

SUMMARY: 

The motion to rescind is for the policy proposal adopted by the Senate in April 2013, not signed by the President and not in force:http://senate.uoregon.edu/content/academic-freedom-freedom-speech
Policy that is currently in force and will remain in force if the motion is adopted: University Policy on Freedom of Inquiry and Free Speech (2010): http://policies.uoregon.edu/policy/by/1/01-administration-and-governance/freedom-inquiry-and-free-speech 

We hope this information will help as you consider this motion. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions I may be able to help answer. 

All the best,
Lisa
Lisa Mick Shimizu
Executive Coordinator
University of Oregon Senate

Update on admin fact check site

The University of Oregon administration has been bargaining a union contract with the UO faculty’s AAUP/AFT affiliate local since November. I regularly blog about the bargaining sessions. In February the University of Oregon’s administrative bargaining team wrote an unsigned “Open Letter” to the UO community, saying:

“We write this letter to our University community because we believe it is both necessary and appropriate to inform you of circumstances that are significantly impeding the on-going bargaining between the University and United Academics—the continued reporting of biased, erroneous and inflammatory reports from the bargaining table by Professor Bill Harbaugh on his blog, UO Matters, and Mr. Harbaugh’s insertion of himself into the bargaining process by filing repeated public records requests for information directly related to bargaining. We have raised this concern privately with the UA bargaining team several times, and the response each time is the same: what Mr. Harbaugh reports regarding bargaining is not our responsibility and there’s nothing we will do about it. Given the Union’s unwillingness or inability to address this matter, we have decided to bring it directly to the University community’s attention. …”

The administration’s bargaining team is led by the University’s General Counsel Randy Geller, and includes Senior VP for Academic Affairs Doug Blandy, Journalism Dean Tim Gleason, VPAA Barbara Altmann, and hired attorneys Sharon Rudnick and Kate Grado, from the HLGR law firm.

I thought this letter was more embarrassing to its authors than to me – although a few colleagues thought it was defamatory and professionally damaging. I mostly ignored it except for a letter to university President Mike Gottfredson asking him to disown it, which he did not respond to.

Then the administration rejected the union’s free speech and academic freedom proposals, countering them with restrictions that would give university administrators the ability to discipline faculty for criticism of the administration, which I frequently engage in.

At that point I made a public records request to get information about the authors of the letter and how it came about that Mr. Geller, an attorney, would approve putting such a thing on university letterhead and posting it on an official university website.

To add to the absurdity, President Gottfredson’s Public Records Office, which is supervised by his Special Assistant Dave Hubin, replied by saying that I would have to pay $225 to see those documents:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any emails, letters, or memos sent to, cced on, or received by UO General Counsel Randy Geller, regarding the 2/28/2013 open letter from the UO administration’s faculty union bargaining team to UO Economics Professor William T. Harbaugh…”, on 08/20/2013, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request.  By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $225.56.

The letter, and my unanswered reply to President Gottfredson are below:

My Response:

From: Bill Harbaugh
Subject: your Feb 28 open letter about Professor Bill Harbaugh
Date: April 12, 2013 6:22:40 PM PDT
To: Sharon Rudnick , Randy Geller
Cc: James Bean , doug park , Barbara Altmann , Timothy Gleason , Doug Blandy , kate.grado@harrang.com, William F GARY , jens.schmidt@harrang.com, jeffery.j.matthews@harrang.com, ben.miller@harrang.com, dave.frohnmayer@harrang.com, arden.j.olson@harrang.com, joshua.stump@harrang.com, aaron.landau@harrang.com, Bruce Blonigen , “coltrane@uoregon.edu Coltrane” , President Gottfredson
, “Melody_Rose@ous.edu” , Ryan Hagemann , Robert Kyr , Margaret Paris

Dear Ms Rudnick and Mr. Geller:

I’m writing you in regard to the Feb 28 “Open letter from the UO Bargaining Team” which is attached, and which is posted on the official University of Oregon website for faculty contract negotiations, at http://uo-ua.uoregon.edu/fact-check/

A colleague came across this website a week or so after the letter had apparently been posted, and alerted me to it. I thought it was pretty hilarious, particularly in its discussion of the UO Matters blog at http://uomatters.com, which I edit, and in regard to the claims that I am “indelibly associated” with the faculty union.

In truth I fought long and hard against faculty unionization. I signed the membership card only at the end, because I wanted to be on the winning side, where I could make a difference. I have made it very clear on my blog and in conversations with many UO administrators that I am still quite skeptical of faculty unions and that my ultimate loyalty is to the University of Oregon and to the principle of public education for which it stands. I regularly tell the union organizers I will turn on the union the moment it starts doing more harm than good to this principle, and I’m pretty sure they believe me.

But I digress. Many UO faculty have now told me that I should be outraged by your letter, that it is harmful to my professional reputation, and even that it constitutes “defamation per se”, whatever that means.

While I’m no lawyer, on closer reading I think they may have a point. The letter is on UO letterhead, is posted on an official UO website, is addressed to my academic colleagues in my university community, and it even uses my professional title:

“We write this letter to our University community because we believe it is both necessary and appropriate to inform you of … the continued reporting of biased, erroneous and inflammatory reports from the bargaining table by Professor Bill Harbaugh …”

The letter and the website also make some damaging accusations about my actions and intentions, stating them as if they were facts. I note in particular the statement that my blog is “consistently anti-university”, and “He has also filed frivolous and repeated records requests for information directly related to bargaining.” I’m thinking maybe that was supposed to say “not directly related to bargaining” but regardless, I am not the sort of person who takes accusations of frivolity lightly, even confused ones. Economics is a serious subject, and no potential employer would want to hire a professor with a reputation for joking around.

However the strangest part of this open letter is that a group of UO administrators and attorneys would write something like this, put it on official UO letterhead, post it on an official UO website, and then not sign their names to it.

So, I am writing to ask Ms Rudnick, who is apparently the leader of this team, or perhaps more appropriately Mr. Geller, her immediate supervisor at UO, to send me the names of the people on the “UO Bargaining Team”.

I’m ccing all the people I’ve been able to identify as potential members of the UO Bargaining Team, from the website, the HLGR invoices, and a few other sources. I’ve also cced my department chair, CAS Dean Coltrane, President Gottfredson, OUS Chancellor Rose, OUS General Counsel Ryan Hagemann, current UO Senate President Kyr and incoming Senate President Paris.

I’d appreciate a prompt response, listing the names of the people on the UO Bargaining Team. If any of the team members want to disavow the letter, I’d appreciate it this would be posted on the website where the letter appears. Feel free to also post this letter if you’d like, and let me know if you’d like a signed copy on UO economics department letterhead.

Thanks,

Bill Harbaugh
Professor of Economics
1285 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403

10/20/13 update: The administration’s fact-check website about the faculty union negotiations cost the academic budget about $250,000. It was unceremoniously taken down a week or two ago, and has now been quietly replaced by a new, partially sanitized site at http://uo-cba.uoregon.edu/. The new site keeps some of the old fact-check stuff, such as

Claim: UO Matters blogger Bill Harbaugh is also acting as an economic consultant for United Academics. Tuesday, when the UA bargaining team left the table to caucus, he went with the team. But that doesn’t mean he can get his numbers right.

but it removes the “open letter” from the administration’s bargaining team that accused me of being “consistently anti-university” and “indelibly associated with United Academics”. It also removes all links to that letter. It’s as if Rudnick and Geller never wrote it. (I’ve got an archive of the entire old site, let me know if you want the files.)

Under the resources tab, the administration’s site provides a helpful (if it weren’t broken) link to an Inside Higher Ed story that vaguely supports VPFA Jamie Moffitt’s arguments for increasing UO’s reserves, but I can’t find any mention of the more critical Inside Higher Ed story reporting on President Gottfredson’s efforts to limit academic freedom and freedom of speech. I’m happy to provide both: Budget story here, academic freedom story here, more on that issue and links to other stories here.

President calls for more academic freedom!

10/14/2013 update: 

That would be President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. The Chronicle has the story.

9/16/2013 update: InsideHigherEd reports on UO Academic Freedom fight

UO’s free speech fight has gone global. Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed broke the story on Thursday, then CUNY’s Cory Robin posted his take on his blog and on the popular Crooked Timber (tagline: Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made). He included a call to faculty worldwide to write President Gottfredson about this nastiness, and from the emails I’ve seen, they certainly have. The pro academic freedom Foundation for Individual Rights in Education blogged about it here, and Betsy Hammond of the Oregonian has a related story here. Info on the administration’s bizarre “open letter” accusing me of being anti-university is here.

9/12/2013 update: I really hope the UO administration and President Gottfredson think this post is sufficiently civil and respectful. I’d just hate to get disciplined for being too blunt in a post about free speech. Their “open letter” post about me is here.


Today, reporter Colleen Flaherty of InsideHigherEd.com has an excellent story on the academic freedom debates occurring between the UO faculty union and the administration, here. (See below for the live-blog of the 4/17/2013 Senate meeting leading up to a unanimous vote in favor of the Academic Freedom Policy, which President Gottfredson then rejected.):

… Oregon’s existing policy [Approved by President Lariviere] calls free inquiry and free speech “the cornerstones of an academic institution committed to the creation and transfer of knowledge.” The belief that an opinion is “pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or ‘just plain wrong’ cannot be grounds for its suppression,” it says. …

Margaret Paris, professor of law and president of the Faculty Senate, has not been involved in union negotiations but said that the union statement likely would set a precedent for the ultimate Senate document, since it would be difficulty to work off two different policies when most of the faculty belong to the union (although law professors do not).

Paris also said she was aware of the university’s preference [I think this should read Randy Geller’s preference] to decouple academic freedom and free speech in the final Faculty Senate statement, and that she would likely support it. Because the document applies to all university employees, it makes sense that academic freedom – which protects faculty but not staff – deserves individual attention, she said.

Oregon’s administration works closely with the Faculty Senate and Paris is looking forward to a collaborative process finalizing the document, she said. 

The new UO policy, unanimously approved by the Senate, which Gottfredson refused to sign, said:

Freedom of Speech 

All University employees retain the right to address any matter of institutional policy or action without fear of institutional discipline or restraint. They also are guaranteed the protections of freedom of speech with regard to any matter, so long as it is clear that they are not acting or speaking on behalf of the University. 

Contractual Force of Policy 

This Policy on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech shall be given contractual force by incorporation into pertinent contractual and collective bargaining agreements and individual letters of appointment. It shall be incorporated into the Faculty Handbook and the UO University Policy Library.

Gottfredson rejected this Senate policy back in May or so. Does anyone know if the Senate ad-hoc committee has met to try and work out the changes he asked for? I can’t find anything in the UO policy library, just what Lariviere approved in 2010.)

Bill Harbaugh, professor of economics and moderator of the “UO Matters” blog, which is frequently critical of university policy, said decoupling academic freedom from free speech left room for administrators to punish those faculty – like him – who say things administrators don’t like. He also objected to the idea that administrators would be the ones deciding what qualifies as “civil.” 

The university has previously publicly accused Harbaugh of including “consistently anti-university” statements on his blog. …

Asked about the civility clause, [Dave] Hubin said Oregon has a long history of promoting respectful discourse – one that’s covered by the university’s existing policy on academic freedom and free speech: “It is the responsibility of speakers, listeners and all members of our community to respect others and to promote a culture of mutual inquiry throughout the university community.” Any determination of what’s civil would likely include faculty input, he said.

The reporter apparently couldn’t get an interview with Gottfredson – I don’t think anyone has since January, when ODE student reporter Dash Paulson asked him why he’d cracked down on public records. But she includes a boilerplate email from him about how great freedom is.

Here is the live-blog of the 4/17/2013 Senate meeting (by a guest blogger) leading up to a unanimous vote in favor of the Academic Freedom proposal that President Gottfredson then rejected:

3.2 Motion (Policy Adoption): Academic Freedom & Freedom of Speech;
Margie Paris (Law), Senate President-Elect & Chair, Academic Freedom
Review Committee

Presumably Mr. Geller will be there to defend his work, which should be interesting. It looks to me like the Senate committee handling this did a bang-up job editing the proposal from our administrative overlords:

Geller had removed “they are entitled to comment on our criticize University policies or decisions” from the original draft, and added a lot of other restrictive language. Because this free speech stuff is dangerous, and we don’t want our students getting any ideas from the faculty.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: this blog has never criticized University policies or decisions. Just administrative ones. Which makes me a little worried about this job ad:

Plumber
Campus Operations
http://jobs.uoregon.edu/classified.php?id=4575

That’s right, the president’s counsel is hiring “plumbers” to conduct “campus operations”. We know where that leads.

Notes: Seems like Geller chickened out.

Kyr reads the motion.

3:34: Margie Paris gives history of this motion: a committee in 2010 made a “very able and well-written draft” passed by the Senate and submitted to Administration. “A lot happened and it was not approved.” The GC office had “suggestions and changes” it wanted to see in the policy. When Gottfredson arrived, Kyr asked him for permission to take up the three policies—facilities, academic freedom, I forget the 3rd

The new committee started with the language that the UO Senate had approved. “This version is very close to the original language the Senate had approved.” Small committee of Paris and 3 others accepted some of the GC office’s suggestions, and discarded others. Tightened up the preamble, mentioned the mission statement of the UO.

Margie: “I didn’t realize how impt these statements are, not only in their own right but because accrediting bodies ask to see these statements.”

Adkins: asks to amend the policy to include officers of administration, who are not included in this policy but deserve this freedom as well.

“The University protects academic freedom, and Officers of Instruction, Research, and Administration [“faculty members”] shall enjoy…”

Passes unanimously.

Psaki: again, simple and uncontroversial.

Sinclair: “the freedom to teach”: does this mean anyone can walk into a classroom and teach?

Paris: No. Read the context.

Foster: Curious about the interpretation of “so long as it is clear that they are not acting or speaking on behalf of the university.” The interpretation of that can be quite wide. Nationally people have been identified as a professor, and were penalized for that. How far do you have to go to establish that you are not speaking on behalf of the university, and what does that mean anyway?

Paris: I’ve thought long and hard about this. This is a change suggested by GC. If I write an editorial, I should specify in it that I’m not speaking on behalf of the U. We have certain freedoms due to our role, and we have the responsibility to clarify when we are not speaking for the institution.

Foster: It’s actually very unusual for professors to state this. It’s usually taken for granted. Does this then apply to academic articles? TV appearances? Radio interviews? It’s actually a new requirement, and awkward. I don’t want to be seen as supporting Ward Churchill, but there have been cases where people have been disciplined for speaking their minds and identified as professors—how far does this go?

Merskin: In wrtg we often say “in my 20 years of teaching” etc. we refer to our prof. exper. to back up our point of view.

We weren’t asking for a statement everyone should make, which would restrict freedom of speech.

Kyr: a statement of intent.

Paris: there are many situations and contexts where it is quite clear that one is not speaking for the university. Where there might be ambiguity or confusion, it’s appropriate to add a statement. This would clearly not apply to research publications.

Jin: what does “to fulfill the demands of the scholarly enterprise” mean?

Paris: this is from the original draft; it’s a way of articulating both the freedom and the responsibility it entails.

Jin: What kind of scholarly enterprise? Am I free to deny requests for my syllabus from people who aren’t enrolled?

Paris: the ‘demands’ in question aren’t any demands anyone might make of you; they are the demands that are part of your job.

Motion passes unanimously. Yippee!



9/9/2013 update: As discussed below, The UC system recently worked in cooperation with its faculty to develop a strong statement on academic freedom and freedom of speech. I got curious about what position if any President Gottfredson took in that process, so I made a public records request last night to UC-Irvine for his related emails:

This is a public records request for any emails, memos, or other documents sent to or received by former UC-Irvine Provost Michael Gottfredson, dealing with the UC system’s new policy on academic freedom, which is described in this IHE news story: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/07/29/u-california-board-regents-adopts-new-measure-academic-freedom 

This request covers the period 1/1/2008 to the termination of Provost Gottfredson UC employment, or the closing of his UC email accounts, if that was later.

10:30 this morning, I get this response from the UC-Irvine public records office:

With regard to the time needed to process your request, please note that we are not the office of record for these requests and we cannot tell you how long the search will take at this time.  We will let you know what the results of our search are as soon as possible.

With respect to fees, please note that our office typically waives the cost and no fees are expected for your request. 

We will process your request today.  You should see an official acknowledgement email from us shortly.

Meanwhile, here at UO, Dave Hubin’s public records office is still trying to charge me $225 to tell me who which UO anonymous administrators wrote that “Open Letter to the UO Community

 9/8/2013: Gottfredson to gut Senate’s Academic Freedom Policy:

 The current UO policy on Academic Freedom is here:

… Free speech is central to the academic mission and is the central tenet of a free and democratic society. The University encourages and supports open, vigorous, and challenging debate across the full spectrum of human issues as they present themselves to this community. Further, as a public institution, the University will sustain a higher and more open standard for freedom of inquiry and free speech than may be expected or preferred in private settings. 

Free inquiry and free speech are the cornerstones of an academic institution committed to the creation and transfer of knowledge. Expression of diverse points of view is of the highest importance, not solely for those who present and defend some view but for those who would hear, disagree, and pass judgment on those views. The belief that an opinion is pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or “just plain wrong” cannot be grounds for its suppression….

The Senate’s April 2013 revision is here. President Gottfredson has still not signed it. A well-informed correspondent passes along this:

Minutes of May 22, 2013 Senate Meeting” “3.9 Academic Freedom & Freedom of Speech Policy (Kyr) 

Senate President Kyr informed the Senate that President Gottfredson preferred that the Senate divide this policy into two different policies; one addressing academic freedom and the other addressing freedom of speech. Senate President Kyr had agreed to these terms and mentioned that this would be a change in formatting, not content. This policy would be carried into Senate VP Paris’ (Law) administration in case further discussion was needed.”

Note that Kyr was not acting properly when he made this agreement. Only the Senate had that authority. They will exercise it as they see fit in the coming year.

The faculty union’s Academic Freedom Article was basically the same as the Senate proposal. Instead of accepting it, Gottfredson’s bargaining team has put up a counter-proposal that limits some rather basic freedoms that faculty assume we have.

In particular, the proposal from President Gottfredson’s bargaining team includes none of the forceful pro free-speech language from current UO policy. It also strikes out the Senate’s language guaranteeing faculty the right to engage in criticism of university policies and actions, replacing it with language that seems to limit this right to situations where the faculty are working through committees or other university approved forums.

In addition, his proposal requires that faculty treat colleagues “fairly and civilly”, and that participation in shared governance be “civil and effective”. Sounds great, but who gets to define these words? I’m guessing it’s rare that a faculty meeting, not to mention a seminar, can go on for more than an hour without at least one person crossing the line. The administration wants us to resolve these sorts of arguments with grievances and arbitration? 

In the bargaining session discussion the administration’s team made it pretty clear they don’t think this blog can pass those rather vague tests. This is presumably the reason they are trying to add them to the contract, since their efforts under existing UO policy and Oregon law to shut me down have failed – including a threatened defamation lawsuit from Gottfredson’s lead negotiator Sharon Rudnick, and a bizarre “open letter to the UO community” about me posted on the official UO webpages, from GC Randy Geller, VPAA Doug Blandy, Dean Tim Gleason, attorney Sharon Rudnick, and VPAA and Oregon Humanities Center Director Barbara Altmann.
Here is the Senate proposal, with the more egregious changes President Gottfredson is trying to impose marked like this for deletions, and in bold for insertions. A pdf of the latest admin proposal to the union, showing more differences, is here.

Academic Freedom 

The University protects academic freedom, and Officers of Instruction, Research, and Administration [“faculty members”] shall enjoy all of its benefits and responsibilities. These are defined as: 

  • the freedom to conduct research and creative work and to publish or otherwise disseminate the results of that work. Within the broad standards of accountability established by their profession and their individual disciplines, faculty members must enjoy the fullest possible freedom in their research and in circulating and publishing their results. This freedom follows immediately from the university’s basic commitment to advancing knowledge and understanding. 
  • the freedom to teach, both in and outside of the classroom. Faculty members must be able not only to disseminate the results of research, but also to train students to think about these results for themselves, often in an atmosphere of controversy that, so long as it remains in a broad sense educationally relevant, actively assists students in mastering the subject and appreciating its significance. 
  • the freedom to engage in internal criticism, which encompasses the freedom to address any matter of institutional policy or action whether or not as a member of any agency of institutional governance. Universities promote the common good through broad-based engagement in the scholarly endeavor. Faculty members, because of their education and their institutional knowledge, play an indispensable role as independent participants in university decision-making. By virtue of this role, they are entitled to comment on or criticize University policies or decisions, either individually or through institutions of faculty governance.

Faculty responsibilities:

All University employees retain the right to address any matter of institutional policy or action without fear of institutional discipline or restraint. They also are guaranteed the protections of freedom of speech with regard to any matter, so long as it is clear that they are not acting or speaking on behalf of the University. 

Academic responsibility implies the competent and full performance of duties and obligations and the commitment to support the responsible exercise of academic freedom by one’s self and others. Each bargaining unit faculty member has the responsibility to 

a. Observe and uphold the ethical standards of his or her discipline in the pursuit and communication of scientific and scholarly knowledge; 

b. Treat students, staff, colleagues, and the public fairly and civilly in discharging his or her duties and in accordance with this Agreement. 

c. Respect the integrity of the evaluation process, evaluating students, staff, and colleagues fairly according to the criteria and procedures specified in the evaluation process; 

d. Represent one’s self as speaking for the university only when expressly authorized to do so as part of one’s position or professional responsibilities; 

e. Participate, as appropriate, in the system of shared academic governance, especially at the department or unit level, and seek to contribute to the civil and effective academic functioning of the bargaining unit faculty member’s academic unit (program, department, school or college) and the university.

A helpful commenter notes:

Why not remind the president of what the UC Board — his former employer — just did to strengthen and confirm academic freedom? In July the UC Board newly upheld the “freedom to address any matter of institutional policy or action when acting as a member of the faculty whether or not as a member of an agency of institutional governance.” If it’s good enough for California, why is it not good enough for UO?

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/07/29/u-california-board-regents-adopts-new-measure-academic-freedom

    Bargaining XLI: Union strikes deal with "The University"

    Breaking news: Union Takes the Goat

    • Faculty get average 12% raises (all in place by July 1, 2014, 10 months from now) 
    • $350 goat signing bonus (pro-rated by FTE)
    • Increases in sabbatical and promotion raises
    • Admins agree to leave Senate COI/COC (consulting) rules in place
    • Admins agree old IP policy stays unless union agrees to changes
    • Admins can’t snoop into email without rules, notification
    • Admins agree to a free speech policy that gives faculty the de facto (but not explicit) right to criticize UO policies and actions
    • Admins agree to serious new NTTF protections
    • President Gottfredson gets to call himself “The University” (of Nike, or of Oregon?)
    • Noted tobacco company litigator Sharon Rudnick and her consultants walk off with a cool $1M in student tuition, and she avoids a restraining order barring her from campus
    My personal take on the raises: 

     These ~12% raises are substantial. About half will be in our paychecks when the contract is signed, the rest in July 2014. However these raises are not enough to get average UO salaries by rank and department to the levels of our comparators, as Lariviere intended to do by fall 2014. More on this later, but some info on what that will take is here. Obviously it is still the goal of the union to do this. Bargaining for the next contract’s raises, to start in summer 2015, will begin in January or so of 2015.

    The union argued for more merit and equity money (which can be used to reward faculty in more productive/competitive departments). Gottfredson’s team fought against this to the bitter end, and won a pyrrhic victory on this point.

    I suppose one possibility is that the administration would have given the faculty more money if we hadn’t unionized, but they are such bitter and petty people that instead they decided to punish us for our effrontery. If this is true, someone – not me – might argue unionization was a mistake.

    Another possibility is that getting UO faculty pay to our comparators is simply not “job #1” for President Gottfredson, who has many other priorities. His initial offer – 1.5% retroactive for 2/3 of year 0, then 1.5% ATB and 2% for merit in year 1 – was a sincere best offer reflecting those priorities. The union team got us that, plus a bit more than he wanted to pay in year 2, plus sabbatical and promotion raises, etc. And a goat.

    My view is that there’s more truth to the latter possibility. I’d remind everyone that getting these raises out of the administration took months of struggle and hard work by the faculty volunteers on the bargaining team, and the AAUP’s Mike Mauer and the AFT’s David Cecil. 

    They did this in the face of determined resistance from the UO administration, including repeated refusals by VPFA Jamie Moffitt to provide basic data on UO’s financial picture and forecasts. President Gottfredson’s lawyer Randy Geller and Sharon Rudnick pulled a variety of cheap stunts, such as threatening to sabotage faculty consulting work, take away existing rights to intellectual property, and repeal the UO Senate’s free speech and academic freedom policies. 

    I don’t think those tools are going to work for our administrators next time. 

    Ratification vote scheduled for 10/8, details to come.





    9/18/2013: Bargaining now, Wednesday, 10AM to ?, Room 101 Knight Library. Free Coffee.

    Thursday’s session was quite the party, bring your colleagues.

    9/16/2013 update: The free speech fight between President Gottfredson and his faculty has gone global. Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed broke the story on Thursday, then CUNY’s Corey Robin posted his take on his blog and on the popular Crooked Timber (tagline: Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made). He included a call to faculty worldwide to write President Gottfredson about this nastiness, and from the emails I’ve seen, they certainly have. The pro academic freedom Foundation for Individual Rights in Education blogged about it here, and Betsy Hammond of the Oregonian has a related story here. The latest updates on the admins anti free speech and academic freedom proposals are here. The language our administrators can’t live with?

    “All University employees retain the right to address any matter of institutional policy or action without fear of institutional discipline or restraint.” 

    The administration’s bizarre “open letter” accusing me of being anti-university is here. I don’t get a lot of visitors from Saudi Arabia, but I can understand why they’d be interested in this issue. Still nothing from North Korea though.

    For Wednesday, items still on the table include salary, consulting, IP, free speech and NTTF contracts. The rumor from the crew planning the inaugural Faculty Club Goat Roast is that Scott Coltrane will be at the bargaining session, to answer your questions about his Sunday RG Op-Ed:

    Bargaining should be a family friendly event this time. President Gottfredson’s lead negotiator Sharon Rudnick just received a prestigious international award for her work defending Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds from frivolous lawsuits filed by the families of their deceased customers, and should be in a happier than usual frame of mind. By our count Rudnick hasn’t threatened or grabbed any faculty since the 8/29 session, though someone might want to get a fact-check on that from Barbara Altmann at Monday’s head’s retreat.

    PDFs of proposals submitted 9/12/2013 here.

    Disclaimer: My respectful opinion of what people said, or were thinking but were too decent or well-paid to say. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes. If you don’t like my blog read Luebke’s.

    Live Blog:

    10:04: ~20 faculty so far. Free coffee and juice. Admin team includes Altmann, Blandy, Rudnick, Gleason and Grado. Waiting for the faculty side to come back for caucus.
    10:21: They’re all here.

    Art 14, appeals, admin counter. Rudnick didn’t bring enough copies for the crowd.

    Rudnick: We won’t let union get involved in picking the promotion appeals committee. Provost’s call. (Problem is that it’s all insiders.)

    Mauer: How about faculty nominate, provosts confirms?

    Rudnick: We’d need to caucus.

    Art 25, Termination w/o Cause, Admin counter.

    Rudnick: We’re willing to agree no declaration of exigency and terminations w/o cause, because Jamie is so flush with liquid reserves. The well is full.

    Lots of coffee over there too folks, have some courtesy of UO Matters.

    Rudnick: The last termination of an NTTF was 1991, and there has apparently never been a termination of a tenured professor, though that Harbaugh guy is pushing the line.

    Art 7, union counter on Academic Freedom, Free Speech.

    The union counter includes explicit protection for the freedom “to engage in internal criticism, and to participate in public debate”. Also “The University Administration encourages and supports open, vigorous, and challenging debate …”

    Mauer: We didn’t expect the administration to have such a problem with free speech. We appreciate that you finally backed off last week, after getting shredded in the press.

    Rudnick and Altmann: Why did you take out the “con rispetto” part. Mauer: Whoops, you can put it back. (Big mistake, IMHO. This is way weaker than the April Senate policy Margie Paris wrote.)

    10:47, Caucus break. So here’s some appropriate music: http://caucascapades.wordpress.com/

    ~40 faculty sitting here on the group W bench, having a great time talking about our special crimes.

    11:53: They’re back

    Mauer: Counter on Art 14, Appeal of tenure or promotion. We “At least one of the members shall be appointed from a list of nominees …” Rudnick: List of 3? Mauer: more than 1. Rudnick: 2.5. Mauer: at least 2. Rudnick: Deal.

    Art 25, Termination w/o cause, union counter.

    Mauer: Appreciate pledge not to declare financial exigency, want protections for other reasons for terminations. Adequate notice, demonstrable financial need, “legitimate academic need”.

    AEI:

    Cecil: We may wrap up bargaining today. For us, moving forward is difficult given what’s happening at AEI. 3-4 colleagues are not being renewed for reasons we don’t understand.

    We want to let you know that why we are probably going to move off the Art 9 protections, but we hope we can find a way to bring these problems up in the future. If we can’t get you to agree with us on this, we at least hope that can get you to understand this issue. One of the AEI members moved to Eugene 5 years ago, got cancer, and is now being let go.

    Rudnick: We hear you, we have met with AEI and we will continue to work with you on these issues. We have agreed to your language requiring explanations for terminations, and we will implement this for these terminations as a matter of professional respect.

    12:11. Lunch break til 1:30.

    1:41, the admins are back.

    Rudnick: Art 25, somthing about NTTF extensions to one-year, Geller’s Ok with it.

    Mauer: On overhead transparency, you have our proposal, counter?

    Rudnick: We have heard the concerns about Kimberly Espy, we will facilitate a meeting with her, the union, and appropriate faculty.

    Article 9, contracts:

    Mauer: We understand you are not willing to commit to an expectation of continued employment. Our compromise language deals with length of contracts, library,

    Rudnick: How about “shall have 3 year contracts”? Mauer: OK. Rudnick, we’ll need to caucus at next break.

    Art 49, computers and information assets, union counter.

    Mauer: 2.c. Admin must notify union if they take away email or network access.
    Sec 7: Sticking point was “reasonable expectation of privacy” words which Geller gagged on. This language creates this expectation, without making Geller cry.  Requires admins to notify union in a timely manner if they start snooping around.

    1:56 Rudnick to Gleason: “Are you OK Tim?” Caucus break so the admins can check.

    2:10: They’re back, OK with the Art 9 contracts.

    MAUER: We have a 3 part package. On the money, faculty are shamefully underpaid relative to peers, UO has the funds to fix this. But we recognize you have moved, acknowledged that UO has problems. It’s not enough, but you have made movement from your initial 5.5% take it or leave it to ~12%.

    So, we could accept your last proposal, IF: You stop over-reaching on the IP. We want you to sign a formal MOU on this, establishing a committee and maintaining the status quo in the meantime. On consulting, you guys are insane. We propose you drop the whole thing and go back to the current Senate policy. Deal?

    2:17 PM. Rudnick: We’re going to caucus.

    2:30 They’re back, Rudnick takes the deal, says Gottfredson will too.

    Salary:

    Bargaining XXXX: Pay, Consulting, NTTF’s, Free Speech, IP, Computers, Termination

    Thursday, September 12, 1pm-5pm in Knight Library 101. This is the big one, be there. not the end, bring more colleagues next time, we’ll probably need an even bigger room as start of term approaches and raises, consulting, and IP come up.

    PDFs of proposals submitted 9/12/2013 here.

    Disclaimer: My respectful opinion of what people said, or were thinking but were too decent or well-paid to say. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes. If you don’t like my blog read Luebke’s.

    Synopsis: 

    Where’s interim Provost Scott Coltrane? Trying to cover his ass and get the permanent title.

    The well paid but increasingly pathetic administration bargaining team has abandoned many of their long cherished proposals to punish the faculty for unionizing, take back faculty rights, and limit NTTF protections. The faculty union team is putting up counter after counter, signing off when the administration responds reasonably, and sticking to its guns when they don’t.

    On raises, Gottfredson has known for a while that Rudnick and Moffitt’s claims that “the well is dry” aren’t true. But he’s just realizing that this will soon be common knowledge. Time is on the faculty’s side, and that also is common knowledge. If he’s smart he’ll do the backwards induction, jump to the unique sub-game perfect Nash equilibrium, and we’ll have a reasonable contract early next week.

    Or at least that’s the theory, for rational agents.

    In practice:

    • Gottfredson finally caves on his free speech restrictions, after being publicly shamed for them (con rispetto). Still work to be done on explicit protections for faculty who criticize the administration. Not that I ever would.
    • What do we have to do to get a similar story out on Gottfredson’s IP and consulting power grabs and his failure to be transparent about UO’s financial situation?
    • Contracts: Admin cuts union proposal for guaranteed contracts lengths, but keeps the principle of gradually longer contracts for NTTF’s as their rank increases, waffles on reasons for non-renewals.
    • Admin computer snooping: Rudnick: We backed off our previous claims that faculty had no expectation of privacy, after widespread faculty outrage. Now you’re trying to exploit our mistake to get a reasonable policy. That’s cheating!
    • That fact-checking job didn’t work out, so the admin team tries VPAA Barbara Altmann at the bargaining table: “That’s a very good question. I’m going to have to stop and think.” Rudnick shuts her up.

    Voodoo is here:

    Meanwhile the Insidehighered.com story on the academic freedom fight at UO is attracting a lot of comments there, and new visitors to UO Matters:

    Rumor has it Howard Slusher will be replacing Sharon Rudnick at the bargaining table. She’s working on a case for Philip Morris, presumably pro-bono.

    Sharon Rudnick delivers President Gottfredson’s message on the prospects for faculty raises:

    “The well is dry. Hear me please. The well is dry.”

    But “it’s a watershed moment”, and that water is flowing a little more freely over in the athletics department:

    Synopsis from XXXIX:

    • Rudnick lectures faculty: Give up: “you all need to get focused on your students.”
    • Use of UO computers and networks: Geller is no longer claiming he can look at anything on your computer for any reason, but still reserves the right to look at it for any legal “administrative reasons”. Rudnick tries to sell this as a concession, raising the question of whether or not they meant “illegal” administrative reasons in their previous proposal. President Gottfredson signed a Senate approved policy in February, but the procedures required by that policy were still not in place as of August.
    • Academic Freedom and Free Speech: Current UO policy: “Free inquiry and free speech are the cornerstones of an academic institution committed to the creation and transfer of knowledge. Expression of diverse points of view is of the highest importance, not solely for those who present and defend some view but for those who would hear, disagree, and pass judgment on those views. The belief that an opinion is pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or “just plain wrong” cannot be grounds for its suppression.” Admins propose to strike all this language.
    • Consulting and Intellectual property: sides are miles apart. Discussion to continue Th at 1PM.
    • Good news: UO’s US News ranking improves, which will mean a further strengthening in UO’s finances.
    • Salary: Goat is still on the table, union counter on Thursday? 
    • Retirement: Sitting on ~$150M in reserves, Jamie Moffitt wants the faculty to bear all the downside risk of an end to the 6% pickup.
    • Bottom line: Supposedly Gottfredson wants this deal done, but he is still trying to take back faculty rights that we have under current UO Intellectual Property, Academic Freedom, and Consulting policies.
    Synopsis from XXXVII:

      Raises: The elevator version:

      We’re going down. During the first year of President Gottfredson’s administration UO faculty pay has fallen still further behind other AAU public universities:

      • Full profs: down from 85% to 82% 
      • Associate profs: down from 92% to 90% 
      • Assistant profs: down from 93% to 89%
      XXXX: Live-Blog:

      Good turnout. Donuts arrive. Looks like well over 100,000 kilocalories from here. Get yours!

      Barbara Altmann, putative author of the administration’s fact check pages, shows up to work the crowd. First times she’s shown up for 4 months?

      Rudnick: Barbara is here to talk about NTTF’s, and because she’s the only administrator left who we think might have a shred of credibility with the faculty. Debatable after this post – she won’t even answer emails about what’s posted on the admin fact check page.

      Art 23 Retirement, admin counter.

      Rudnick: 6% pickup, blah, blah, yada yada. I’m waiting for the union team to explain it.

      Mauer: Your proposal requires a causal connection between the state ending the pickup and cutting the budget. Rudnick: We agree that one legislators statement would not suffice to establish this. Mauer: Grievable. Rudnick: Yes.

      Cecil is hilarious.

      Braun catches Rudnick on coverage for ORP folks. Rudnick: We could add that.

      Academic Freedom and Free Speech, admin counter

      Rudnick: We added free speech back in the title and the unenforceable preamble. We take out “civilly” and now say “with respect” – which sounds better in Italian.

      Section 3: Admin now agrees to incorporate by reference the excellent language in the current Senate policy approved by President Lariviere in 2010, though Gottfredson manages to do that without saying the dread word “Senate”.

      Cecil: What’s the assurance that the University might no change Lariviere’s policy? Rudnick: You can put it in the appendix.

      Mauer: We disagreed about whether the freedom to criticize the administration is academic freedom or free speech, but I take this to mean that you agree that it exists, though you’re still not sure exactly why? Rudnick: Correct. To us it’s a distinction without meaning.

      Davidson: What about speech off campus, e.g. a City Club meeting, as a professor.

      Gleason: How could the university take action against a person for free speech. I can’t imagine an activity where the university would be able to discipline them. (Really Tim? No child porn examples for us this time?)

      Rudnick: I think that faculty speech off campus would be covered by the same rules as on campus speech.

      While the administration has backed down a lot, they are still unwilling to explicitly provide the protections for faculty who who criticize the administration that the Senate proposed in April, and which Gottfredson rejected.

      Here’s a clip from Margie Paris’s admirable rewrite of the Geller proposal, presented at the 4/17 meeting. Geller had removed “they are entitled to comment on our criticize University policies or decisions” from the original draft, and added a lot of other restrictive language. Ms Paris fixed it, and the Senate unanimously approved it. Then Gottfredson wouldn’t sign it. Why can’t we get that explicit protection in this contract?

      Article 9, contracts. Admin counter.

      Admin cuts union proposal for guaranteed contract lengths, but keeps the principle of gradually longer contracts for NTTF’s with longer time at UO. E.g. Senior Instructors get at least 2 years. (Union proposed 3).

      Mauer to Altmann: Why did you drop our language about reasonable standards for termination?

      Altmann: Lots of hypotheticals, e.g. we need to change from NTTF’s to TTF’s to teach more grad students (and fewer undergrads?)

      Mauer: Tries to pin her down – what would you agreed to? List of what reasons are allowed and what are not. Do you agree that there are some circumstances which are justification for non-renewal and others that are not?

      Blandy: There’s already plenty in the contract for NTTF guarantees. We’ve given up enough.

      Cecil: Barbara, you said you’d come up with 12 hypothetical reasons for legitimate non-renewals but you won’t tell us what they are. We’ve come so far – you now agree you can’t fire someone for filing a grievance. So why not agree you can’t terminate them for no reason?

      Rudnick: This is too much to deal with in one contract. The well of additional protection for NTTF’s is running dry.

      HAVE SOME DONUTS!

      Cecil: About up and out. Can a department establish a policy for up or out? Barbara starts talking, Rudnick interrupts: Under some circumstances, yes.

      Cecil gets into the nuts and bolts of proving non-renewal was not legit, given that the university will hide the documents, claiming attorney work-privilege.

      Faculty start giggling uncontrollably at Rudnick. She says she does not appreciate not being treated with respect. So, now we’ve got an operational definition of “respectful” in the free speech policy: No giggling.

      Rudnick: Don’t hold me to this, I’m not sure if Geller would agree, but how about if we say we have to provide a reason when we don’t renew someone?

      Wow. Did she really just say that? Green jumps on the idea. Blandy seems to agree. Then Rudnick pulls out her lawyer stuff, realizes it’s not going in a good direction, starts babbling.

      Green: You’ll provide an evidence based reason?

      Rudnick gets nervous. Altmann proposes the admin team tries to draft some language. Rudnick calls for a caucus break, desperate to get her team out of the room before they say too many more reasonable things.

      Braun wants to pin the admins down before allowing them to leave the table: What’s the connection between reviews and contract renewals? Can an NTTF get an excellent review, then get canned for some reason not related to their performance?

      Braun wants Altmann and Blandy to respond. Altmann: “That’s a very good question. I’m going to have to stop and think.” Lame.

      Blandy: After 8 months and $500K in Sharon’s pocket we’ve finally agreed to your proposals to help build a university where NTTFs would be treated with respect by the administration and be able to build a career here. Isn’t this bargaining going well!

      Barbara speaks out of turn: How about if we talk about maximum contract length now? Rudnick: Uh, no, lets not.

      Blandy: I know that we used the uncertainty of university budgeting to argue for a new UO Board, but now that we’ve got that we’re changing the story and blaming our consistent failure to budget on Brad Shelton and his budget model. So, we’ve got a problem with the April 1 deadline for renewals. How about May?

      2:27, caucus break
      3:20, they’re back. Still donuts, come on down, just don’t report them on the HEM form.

      Rudnick: Back on contracts. We will agree to a written explanation for non-renewal. Provost would have to sign it, so it would have to be articulated.

      Mauer: So, it could just say “We’re going in a different direction and you’re not part of it.” Not worth much Sharon, with respect. Mauer proposes better language.

      Rudnick: Starts to fall back into pissy mode. She’s very disrespectful, though not actually screaming this time. You could grieve that! We’re not willing to do that! It means that NTTF’s would have a job unless we could provide a reason to terminate them. (WTF?)

      Rudnick: “We do not have authority and will not agree to make termination decisions subject to any kind of cause or legitimacy review.”

      MOU on one-time reclassification of adjuncts, union proposal.

      This is about whether long-time part-time adjuncts will be eligible for one-year NTTF contracts. Braun gives a passionate, rational explanation.

      Rudnick: But your language would allow someone who has taught 1 class a year for 3 years to get a career contract.

      Braun: A one-year contract. Is that so horrible?

      Rudnick: We’ll need to caucus. Meanwhile, lets go on.

      Art 25: Termination for financial exigency or reorganization. Union counter.

      I’m eating pizza, read Luebke’s blog.

      Art 14: Appeal of tenure denial, union counter.

      I’m still eating pizza, read Luebke’s blog.

      Acceptable use of university computers and network, Union counter.

      Union’s Section 7 calls for a reasonable expectation of privacy for email, files. Requires admin to have a demonstrably legitimate reason to access info. Admins must notify the union and explain their reasons when admins start snooping around.

      Rudnick: Can we delete section 7 and incorporate current policy?

      You’re kidding me.

      Rudnick starts explaining why this would be OK. Even she doesn’t believe what she’s saying.

      Mauer: No, we like section 7 and the “reasonable expectation of privacy ….”

      Rudnick: That’s a legal term and we don’t want to have it in a contract, in case some lawyer might then try to use it to protect the faculty. If you take that out, we’ll sign this now.

      Mauer: No.

      Gleason: Tries to speak, not making sense, Rudnick won’t look at him. Mauer runs circles around him.

      Rudnick: We backed off our previous claims that faculty had no expectation of privacy, because of widespread faculty outrage. Now you’re trying to exploit our mistake to get a reasonable policy. That’s cheating!

      Rudnick thinks the union’s use of “reasonable” is unreasonable.

      Mauer: Let’s take a quick caucus and Rudnick and I can have a secret talk. Rudnick. Thanks.

      4:24, break. Lots of pizza and donuts left. 

      Here’s the policy that Rudnick wants the union to accept in lieu of Sec 7 above: http://policies.uoregon.edu/node/215

      Only authorized personnel [“Authorized Personnel” are persons, including employees, students, vendors, visitors, affiliates, and courtesy faculty, who have been authorized by UO to interact with information assets] may have access to the information assets. Such access may be granted only to the extent and for such time that a business need exists. Access shall be limited, using technical or procedural controls, to the least permission necessary for the performance of duties. The data owner [The Administration] is responsible for determining who may be granted access to data and information assets for which the data owner is responsible. A record of the request for access and grant of authority to access data or information assets shall be maintained by the data owner. [But does not need to be shown to the faculty.] It is the responsibility of all authorized personnel to protect data and information assets from unauthorized change, destruction or disclosure.

      So, don’t delete any of the files on your computer without authorization from Randy Geller.

      5:22, Union team is filtering back in, no admins yet. Cecil is ready to bargain all night, but library closes at 6, we’ll see what happens.

      5:40, they’re back.

      MOU on adjuncts. Rudnick: admin accepts. Wow, how many hours did Rudnick bill to fight this before finally agreeing to it with no changes?

      Art 14, promotion appeals:

      Rudnick: We changed it so the Provost appoints the members to the appeals committee. Blandy: Union can nominate a member, but Provost can reject. Otherwise OK. Mauer: Maybe.

      Termination w/o cause:

      Rudnick: Randy needs to read it, but thinks we’re close. He expresses his respect for the union’s work.

      Conflict of Interest. This is the missing admin proposal that has been holding up a union response to their power grab on consulting.

      Rudnick: Our proposal “clarifies and in some cases changes current UO policy” which the Senate approved just a while ago after much consultation and discussion.

      Art 30, on Overhead and Transparency:

      Rudnick: We haven’t talked about that with Randy yet, he starts chewing the rug whenever I mention transparency.

      Consulting: 

      Cecil: Current UO policy only requires prior approval for a few things. Your proposal seems to require prior approval for almost everything. What problems have arisen that motivate your drastic changes?

      Rudnick: I don’t know.

      Bramhall: When the admin tried to pull this a few years ago there was an uprising, long Senate debate, and a new policy was arrived at after much discussion. Why this sudden change, without notice or faculty consultation?

      Rudnick: No answer, she just looks very sad and tired.

      New bargaining sessions:

      Rudnick: This was the last scheduled session, we’ll talk about where we go from here.

      Mauer: Makes sense, we’d like to get you to agree to a schedule that will allow us to wrap this up next week.

      Rudnick: OK.

      5:52: That’s it for this week, see you next.

      Administration cracks down on critical blogging

      9/10/2013: That would be the Communist Party administration, in China. The NYT reports:

      Worried about its hold on public opinion, the Chinese government has pursued a propaganda and police offensive against what it calls malicious rumor-mongering online. Police forces across the country have announced the detentions of hundreds of microblog users since last month on charges of concocting and spreading false claims, often politically damaging. 

      … “You can intimidate people for a while, and those leading voices will be less vocal,” Mr. Xiao [a prolific blogger] said. “But it doesn’t mean that the government wins real credibility among people.”

      Here at UO President Gottfredson and Randy Geller are pursuing an academic freedom policy, outside of the normal shared governance procedures, that will potentially allow them to discipline me for writing this blog. They still refuse to release the names of the administrators who wrote the Open Letter attacking UO Matters, unless I pay them $215.

      UO demonstration in support of Turkish protestors

      “Call for Solidarity with the Protestors in Turkey In their Struggle to Defend Democracy
      Date: Tuesday, June 4, 2013
      Time: 2:00 PM
      Location: In front of Knight Library.
      Tens of thousands of protestors in Turkey have suffered, and resisted, state authorized police brutality for the last 6 days. The events began on May 27th at Gezi Park in Istanbul when police brutally attacked peaceful protestors. It was the 3rd day of a sit-in protesting the decision to demolish the park as part of government plans to redevelop Taksim Square. What started out as an environmentalist campaign evolved into a civil resistance movement. Thousands of otherwise unaffiliated people spontaneously flooded into the park and the square in support of the protestors, rallying against the relentless police violence. The ever-increasing police cruelty has culminated in protests springing up suddenly all over the nation. The protestors hail from many social, cultural, and political backgrounds. Meanwhile, the police continue to exert excessive force on civilians who have come together to support shared values, such as democracy and personal liberty. This ongoing resistance speaks of the urgency to recognize the voice of the people in the face of an increasingly repressive and aggressive government.

      As the students, staff, and faculty from Turkey at the University of Oregon and the GTFF, we ask for your support as we gather together for solidarity with the civilians of Turkey. They struggle bravely and peacefully to protect their basic human rights and refuse to surrender their liberties under state oppression. They resist and confront extreme police brutality under very dire circumstances. Acts of solidarity are particularly important at this moment, as they will help highlight the struggle and will show support for our friends, families, and thousands of people we have never met. Your valuable support and solidarity will greatly fortify our determination and resistance.”