DBAG alert: 12.4% cuts to UO Library acquisitions

The link is here, courtesy of an anonymous correspondent. Duck athletics used to contribute $50K a year to the library. With football revenue increasing so quickly it’s getting hard to spend it all on coach’s salaries, now seems like a good time for Library Dean Adriene Lim to hit up Athletic Director Rob Mullens, and ask him to restart that tradition with some serious money – serious by Library standards that is. Rounding error to the Ducks:

Library Collections News – Updated 4/28/16

Spring 2016:  Library to Reduce Spending on Collections

Collection Reduction:   On April 6, 2016, a memo went out from the Dean of Libraries, Adriene Lim, to the campus community announcing the need for reductions to library collections in FY 17.  These reductions stem from a $115,000 cut to the collections budget as a result of the UO’s current budget realignment process, compounded by a reduction of $450,000 due to the lack of increases to cover inflationary costs.  During the month of May, library subject specialists will work with UO faculty to develop reduction plans to offset the campus-mandated cuts as well as the erosive effects of Inflation on library materials. The reduction targets for each discipline have been finalized (see below). If you have questions or concerns, please contact the appropriate subject specialist. As always, the UO Libraries will continue to provide robust resource sharing services to help supplement local holdings in order to meet the research and instruction needs of faculty and students.

Reduction Targets to cover inflation in FY 17:  Fixed costs were subtracted from the allocations for each discipline (i.e., a dollar amount representing actual expenditures) producing an across the board reduction of 12.4% on all funds over $3,000 (funds under $3K are being protected from the cut).

Collections Reductions FAQ

Library Dean Adriene Lim announces collections cuts

MEMORANDUM

Date:   April 6, 2016

To:   All UO Colleges, Schools, and Departments

From:  Adriene Lim, Dean of Libraries

Subject:  Collections Reduction Review, 2016-2017

The UO Libraries must prepare for cuts to our collections budget of approximately $565,000 in FY 2016/2017. This figure represents an actual cut of $115,000 in our collections budget due to the UO’s current budget-realignment process, and a reduction of $450,000 due to the lack of increases to cover expected inflationary costs. 

With this note, we are initiating a collaborative review process with colleagues across the University’s colleges, schools, and departments to identify journals, databases, and other resources for cancellation in FY 2016/2017. Subject liaison librarians will work with UO faculty to share details about the collections review, including the timeline for the process, information about the Libraries’ commitment to provide interlibrary loan services for cancelled titles, and other methods we will use to minimize the negative impact of the cancellations. More details about the process will be posted on the Libraries’ website in the coming days. 

The loss of collections funding is challenging, but we must join with our campus colleagues in collective efforts to help the University realign its resources to support new strategic priorities. Thank you in advance for your advice and support as we work through this collections review and cancellation process. 

IT data security, classification, and incident response policies

Over the summer former Interim President Coltrane enacted three emergency IT policies. The administration is now looking to make them permanent, and is asking for feedback. My own initial reaction, as someone that Coltrane’s administration tried to fire over the UO Presidential Archives release (and he did fire two others) is that these policies need to say a lot more about the rights of students, staff and faculty to use IT without excessive fear of reprisals, and about the UO’s obligations w.r.t. public records law, transparency, and academic freedom.

But the King explained it long ago: “Here we go again. We’re caught in a trap. We can’t build our dreams on suspicious minds. And you can’t hear the tears I’m crying”:

Comments welcome, you can expect these policies to receive careful review by the Senate, as well as the SEIU and faculty unions.

Info Security Policyhere. One snippet:

“Monitor the University networks to identify malicious activity”

Malicious. That word covers a lot of territory, including some that is protected by the US Constitution, etc.

Data Classification Policy, here:

  • Internal (moderate level of sensitivity)
    Access to “Internal” data must be requested from, and authorized by, the Data Trustee or Steward who is responsible for the data.  Data may be accessed by persons as part of their job responsibilities. The integrity of this data is of primary importance, and the confidentiality of this data must be protected. Examples of Internal data include purchasing data, financial transactions (that do not include sensitive data), and information covered by non-disclosure agreements.

Data Security Response Policy, here. The meat is in the procedures, which are only on the IT site, here:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 8.39.23 PM

Sounds reasonable, but what would prevent some interim president from going rogue and trying to fire a professor, and firing a few librarians, over a self-described “unlawful release” of presidential archives?

Date: January 20, 2015 at 7:39:38 PM PST
From: “President’s Office” <pres@uoregon.edu> Reply-To: pres@uoregon.edu
Subject: Archive release investigation

Dear Colleagues,

We have recently learned that a significant number of archived records from the President’s Office have been unlawfully released. These records contain confidential information about faculty, staff and students, but our current understanding is that no social security numbers, financial information or medical records were shared.

We have launched an investigation of the incident, and we have put staff members on administrative leave, pending that investigation. The information was sent to a university professor, and we have already requested that the professor return the information and refrain from any public release of confidential information. To our knowledge, only one record has been shared externally at this point.

We are committed to taking steps to mitigate the potential injury associated with this situation.

Sincerely,

Scott Coltrane, Interim President

While we’re on that topic, do these policies follow ALA rules on the privacy of library circulation records?

Kitzhaber’s email leaker gets off. UO Archivist who released Frohnmayer’s does not

6/5/2015 update: The RG editorial board, here:

Prosecutors make right call, DAs won’t charge man who leaked Kitzhaber’s emails:

But a scolding is all Rodgers will get from the governor and the DAs. Brown said she hoped that no criminal charges would be filed. The prosecutors fulfilled that hope, saying in their statement that “justice would not be served” by charging Rodgers.

Meanwhile Interim UO President Scott Coltrane is still refusing to reconsider his decision to fire UO Archives Director James Fox, who simply told his staff to follow standard UO archives procedures when I requested a copy of the UO President’s digital archives.

6/2/2015 update: Governor Brown says Kitzhaber whistleblower prosecution should end

Willamette Week has the story, here:

Gov. Kate Brown says the man who leaked former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s emails to WW should not face criminal charges.

Brown says she believes state IT manager Michael Rodgers acted to protect public records after Kitzhaber’s office requested in February that about 6,000 of Kitzhaber’s emails be deleted from state computers and based on what she’s read, his actions were not criminal.

“I think it’s fair to say this decision was an extraordinary act made in an extraordinary situation,” Brown tells WW. “It was something he did based on the lack of trust in the system around him. His intentions were good.”

Rodgers went public with his story last week: He first prevented the emails from being deleted, and then copied them and gave them to WW after concluding someone might still try to remove the records from state servers.

Page down for the parallels between Rodgers and UO Archivist James Fox, who has lost his UO job because interim UO GC Doug Park went wacko after he learned that Fox had approved my request for a copy of the UO Presidential Archives, and I posted a “confidential” memo written by former GC Randy Geller advocating the dissolution of the UO Senate.

Interim President Coltrane called Fox’s actions “unlawful” and he has refused to reconsider the firing, despite a petition from 136 UO faculty, an editorial from the RG editorial board, a letter from UO donor Ursula Le Guin, and many other letters in support of Fox including one from the AAUP – Oregon.

Meanwhile Library Dean Adrien Lim and Associate Dean Andrew Bonamici have still not released their sanitized version of the archives, or explained what they are going to do about the many documents on important public matters that have apparently been deleted from UO’s archives by the UO President’s office.

5/27/2015: The man who wouldn’t delete Kitzhaber’s emails, and a UO archives update

Continue reading

Oregon State weakens library privacy policy – will ALA approve?

5/11/2015 update:

The new policy, apparently rushed through in response to the UO archives release, is here:

Unless required by law, patron information is not to be given to non-library individuals, including parents, friends, professors, university administrators, police, FBI, university security staff, or the CIA.

The old policy said:

Patron information is not to be given to non-library individuals, including parents, friends, professors, university administrators, police, FBI, university security staff, or the CIA. Only a court order can require the disclosure of patron records.

The question is who decides what is required by law. The American Library Association’s recommended policy is very clear – nothing should be disclosed until a court requires it:

The Council of the American Library Association strongly recommends that the responsible officers of each library, cooperative system, and consortium in the United States:

1. Formally adopt a policy that specifically recognizes its circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users to be confidential. (See also ALA Code of Ethics, Article III, “We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received, and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted” and Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.)

2. Advise all librarians and library employees that such records shall not be made available to any agency of state, federal, or local government except pursuant to such process, order or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.

3. Resist the issuance of enforcement of any such process, order, or subpoena until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction. 1

1 Note: Point 3, above, means that upon receipt of such process, order, or subpoena, the library’s officers will consult with their legal counsel to determine if such process, order, or subpoena is in proper form and if there is a showing of good cause for its issuance; if the process, order, or subpoena is not in proper form or if good cause has not been shown, they will insist that such defects be cured.

At UO, Library Dean Adriene Lim released the records because the university’s interim general counsel Doug Park asked her to. It appears that Oregon State is now ready to do the same. Will the ALA quietly go along with this?

5/6/2015: Proposed UO Library privacy policy lets admins snoop through circulation records, Coltrane won’t release Walkup report, Library Dean Adriene Lim won’t let ALA release her emails or letter on archives

This has some interesting parallels to the debate over the Counseling Center’s privacy policy.

Continue reading

ADDITIONAL RETRACTION of claim Coltrane got Rudnick to rewrite Walkup’s report on Archives release.

4/20/2015:  The original title of this post was Klinger says archivists “resigned”, Coltrane got Rudnick to rewrite Walkup’s report on Archives release, no followup from Coltrane on deleted docs.

As explained below, on 4/3/2015 I retracted my statement that Interim President Coltrane got Sharon Rudnick to rewrite Amanda Walkup’s report on the Archives release, in response to an email from Coltrane. In response to the demands for retraction I have received from Mr. William F. Gary of HLGR, posted below and here, I am also retracting my statement that Ms Rudnick rewrote Ms Walkup’s report. My statement was not factually supported, I retract it, and I regret publishing it.

4/3/2015: The original title of this post was Klinger says archivists “resigned”, Coltrane got Rudnick to rewrite Walkup’s report on Archives release, no followup from Coltrane on deleted docs.

As explained below, I am retracting the claim that Interim President Coltrane got Sharon Rudnick to rewrite Walkup’s report on the Archives release.My statement was not factually supported, I retract it, and I regret publishing it.

On March 26 Bill Gary of the HLGR law firm, which Scott Coltrane has inexplicably left in charge of UO’s legal affairs, demanded that I retract the claim that Interim President Coltrane got Sharon Rudnick to rewrite Walkup’s report on the Archives release. See below for the link to Rudnick’s summary of the report, and the retraction demand and back and forth here. Apparently Gary is OK with this post on a potential conflict of interest between HLGR’s OUS billings and Gary and Rudnick’s work on the release of Randy Geller’s memo on dissolving the Senate.

Today I received the this email from Interim President Coltrane:

Dear Professor Harbaugh,

Thank you for calling my attention to recent posts you have made on your blog in which you have claimed that “Coltrane got Rudnick to rewrite Amanda Walkup’s report on Archives release”. You ask whether Mr. Gary represents me in connection with a comment he posted on your blog. Mr. Gary does not represent me. Nor do I see anything in his comments suggesting that he does. However, now that I have seen the fabrications that you have posted, I am beginning to wonder whether I should ask him to represent me.

Let me be clear: I did not ask Sharon Rudnick to rewrite Amanda Walkup’s report and Sharon Rudnick did not do so. Posting false and defamatory comments of this kind can do great damage, not only to those you defame, but also to the university. I join Mr. Gary in asking that you retract these false statements. This is especially true at this time when we are trying to rebuild trust in shared governance.

Sincerely, Scott Coltrane

ORS 31.120 gives news organizations 2 weeks to retract allegedly false and defamatory statements, before they can be sued for defamation. Given Coltrane’s email, I am retracting the claim that Interim President Coltrane got Sharon Rudnick to rewrite Walkup’s report on the Archives release. Here’s is my email to Coltrane:

Dear Interim President Coltrane

Thank you for clearing this up. I have posted a formal retraction of the claim that you got Ms Rudnick to rewrite the Walkup report, at http://uomatters.com/2015/04/archivists-resign-coltrane-got-sharon-rudnick-to-write-report-on-presidential-archives-release.html

In regards to your efforts to improve trust in shared governance, I agree these have been significant. However, UO’s Public Records Office is still using delays, fees and redactions to prevent the release of public records. 

I don’t think that there is going to much of an increase in trust in the Johnson Hall administration, by the UO Community, reporters, or the state at large, until you address that problem.

Yours,

Bill Harbaugh

3/25/2015: And Library Dean Adriene Lim wants $210 to reveal docs on prior reviews of archives.

Meanwhile, no follow through on promises from Coltrane or Library Dean Lim to the UO Senate that they would look into larger problems with UO’s transparency and refusal to provide public records, or explain what happened to the documents on athletic subsidies and the Knight Arena – and so much more – that are missing from the digital presidential archives.

Under Oregon State’s library privacy policy, it’s Library Dean Lim that would be in trouble, for telling the administration that I had accessed the digital Presidential Archives:

OSU Libraries treat patron information as strictly confidential to the extent permitted by law. It is generally for the use of library staff only; it can, of course, be divulged to the patron. Unless required by law, patron information is not to be given to non-library individuals, including parents, friends, professors, university administrators, police, FBI, university security staff, or the CIA. The university librarian is responsible for compliance with legal obligations and court orders.

3/25/2015: Diane Dietz has more in the RG, here:

UO economics professor Bill Harbaugh got the records from the archives and he returned them in late January at the request of the UO administration. Harbaugh is publisher of the insider uomatters.com blog.

The administration’s role in the departure of the archivists is “despicable,” he said.

“This is all about (administrators) being embarrassed,” he said. “They tried to nail me. They couldn’t because of tenure and academic freedom, and so they went after the people they could nail.”

The archivists were just doing their job when they provided the documents, Harbaugh said.

They required Harbaugh to agree to the library’s standard disclaimer, which warns researchers that archives may contain sensitive or confidential information that may be protected by privacy laws and other regulations. It warns the researcher that releasing private information without consent could have legal ramifications.

“They say ‘Look, there’s boxes and boxes of stuff. We haven’t screened it all. We’ll let you look through it, but you’ve got to agree to this confidentiality deal. I agreed to that,” Harbaugh said. “They behaved very ethically.”

Archivists abide by a professional obligation to balance access to public records with confidentiality, Harbaugh said.

“People don’t go into this kind of work without believing in the importance of access. They’re researchers, they’re historians, they use these kinds of records to do their own scholarly work. They know it’s important that this material be maintained and made accessible. I’m really proud of them. They did their job,” he said.

Here’s my email to Library Dean Adriene Lim on this:

Subject: “The Incident”
From: Bill Harbaugh
Date: March 18, 2015 at 12:18:48 AM EDT
To: Adriene Lim <alim@uoregon.edu>

Dear Dean Lim, Associate Dean Bonamici, and members of the Library Committee –

Thank you for allowing me to attend your meeting today.

At the meeting Andrew Bonamici said that, in the interests of balancing confidentiality and public access, and the impossibility of inspecting every document individually, that the UO archives had policies or procedures for allowing researchers access to files and folders from the archives that had not been fully reviewed for confidentiality. This access was conditional on researchers agreeing not to make confidential documents public. (This is not verbatim, it’s my recollection of the gist of what Andrew said.)

I don’t know what you’ve been told about how I got the digital Presidential Archives, but there was nothing nefarious about it. I sent the special collections reference desk a request for information on how to access the digital archives. I was told that the digital archives might contain confidential documents protected by FERPA or other laws, and that if I agreed not to release those documents, I should send in a usb key and I would get the archives.

[Here’s the disclaimer language: Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual’s private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.]

I agreed to this condition. I sent in the usb key. I got the documents back. I kept the confidential documents confidential, as I had promised.

It strikes me that this is exactly the procedure that Andrew explained today should have been followed by the archives. It was followed.

So, what is this controversy all about? I only posted two documents. No one has made a credible case for either being confidential. One, of course, was very embarrassing to the General Counsel’s office, and, in my opinion, that’s why the UO administration went after me, and the archivists.

Bill Harbaugh
UO Prof of Economics
http://harbaugh.org

I thought the whole point of hiring Amanda Walkup from Hershner Hunter to do the investigation was to provide some sense of independence and credibility. But no, check the metadata on the otherwise anonymous report Tobin Klinger has released to the press. UO also hired Randy Geller’s HLGR law firm, and Sharon Rudnick wrote the final report. [Note, added at 3/26 2:46PM: By “final report” I mean the publicly released version.] Presumably JH didn’t like what Walkup had to say:

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 5.46.39 PM

Here’s the text of Rudnick’s report, original word document here, check the document info:

RECORDS RELEASE
Background: University Records
All of the University’s records are subject to various requirements relating to the maintenance and disclosure of those records. They fall into two categories:
1) non-permanent records, which are subject to retention and destruction according to the University’s Records Retention Schedule, and
2) permanent records, which are accessioned and housed in the University Archives.
In each category, records may be further designated as exempt from public disclosure under Oregon’s Public Records Act, or non-exempt and therefore subject to disclosure.
Permanent Records: Permanent records have historical significance and are designated for permanent retention according to the Records Retention Schedule. When records are no longer active (e.g., in regular use by the originating department), stewardship is transferred to the University Archives. Once accessioned by the Archives, records are processed, described in finding aids, and made available in perpetuity for research and other purposes. In most (but not all) cases, permanent archival records are non-exempt, and once processed, are available to researchers without need for further review or redaction.

Non-Permanent Records: Stewardship of non-permanent records is retained by the originating department. Records are retained for various lengths of time as required by the Secretary of State’s Records Retention Schedule. Pursuant to the public records law, non-permanent records are categorized as exempt or non-exempt from public disclosure. For example, “faculty records” are considered exempt from disclosure. Non-permanent records are not accessioned by the University Archives, and the library is not authorized to determine if or when to release these records. The library offers a limited long-term storage program for inactive non-permanent records, but this is a strictly custodial role. Non-permanent records in storage remain accessible only to authorized staff from the originating department, or to the Public Records Office in response to research requests.
Timeline on Records Release Incident
• On November 13, 2014, a faculty member sent an email to the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) reference desk asking for a list or catalog showing what sort of information is available in the Library Archives regarding presidential papers, and information about how to go about accessing them.
• Those records had been transferred to the Libraries by the Office of the President, but permanent and non-permanent records had not been separated based on an exception granted to the unit by the Libraries, and the permanent records had not yet been processed and described — a necessary step before documents are made available in response to such a request.
• In response to the email, approximately 25,000 un-processed electronic records relating to past and current UO presidents were provided to the faculty member on a USB drive on December 3, 2014.
• The records included both permanent (i.e. archival) and non-permanent records, including student and faculty records designated confidential by federal law, state law, or both, privileged communications, and documents that are exempt from disclosure under the Public Records law.
• The University learned of the release of the records and its scope in early January, 2015.
• The University contacted the faculty member who received the records in November 2014, and this individual ultimately returned the records on January 28, 2015 for appropriate processing.
• The University sorted the records and organized them according to university policy and procedures— mainly sorting permanent records from non-permanent records.
• With the initial review and organizing of the documents complete, the University is creating a special team to review and redact information that would be protected under state and federal law so the records can be available through the appropriate channels. This process will take an additional 500 hours.
• Once this work is complete, the University will make all appropriate records available to those who have made public records requests for them. Permanent records will be processed by UO Archives and stored in the University’s Archives. Non-permanent records will be retained according to the Secretary of State’s retention schedule.
Conclusion/Findings
• The records were released to the faculty member prior to the customary separation and processing required by UO Libraries, University of Oregon, State of Oregon, and federal policies, procedures, and statutes.
• Records released included information, including student names and addresses, which are protected under state and federal law (FERPA and HIPAA).
• The records were returned, and appropriate review and processing is being expedited by the University to ensure full compliance with rules, code of ethics, and all federal and state laws.

, revised 3/24/15
00679757.v1

Klinger and Rudnick’s statements raise questions about UO’s treatment of archivists

As might be expected, the Society of American Archivists has compiled a thorough bibliography of news stories about the UO archives release, here.

I’m still waiting to see if UO Library Dean Adriene Lim will waive the $210.63 public records fee and show what she and external reviewers had said about UO’s archives and records management processes and resources, many months before I even thought to ask for copies of UO’s Presidential Archives. My guess is that the reviews show questions about whether resources were adequate to do the jobs state law requires. Of course JH had no problem finding money for Bean and his boys.

Meanwhile, Tobin Klinger’s press release and Sharon Rudnick’s version of Amanda Walkup’s investigation report have raised many new questions about how UO dealt with its archivists in the wake of the release of UO’s Presidential Archives. The faculty union has released a statement about Kira Homo, here:

A recent story in the Register Guard, based on a press release from the University of Oregon, stated that two university library archivists were “out of their jobs” because of the role that they played in a recent release of records from the presidential archive.

This is not true.

Kira Homo worked in Special Collections at the University of Oregon as the electronic records archivist. She is also the Secretary of United Academics. She officially ended her employment at the University on March 1, 2015, for personal reasons. Because the university’s information strongly implied that Kira was fired for reasons related to the records release, Kira has asked us to post the following information:

In the fall 2014 term, Kira began graduate study toward a doctoral degree while continuing to work full-time at the university library. As anyone who has worked through graduate school understands, there comes a point when the demands of study and work come to loggerheads. Kira has struggled with these demands for the last several months and decided, in the end, to pursue her studies full-time. The fracas surrounding the records release made this decision easier to make.

Any implication that she left the University because of her role in the records release, that she was fired, or that she was forced to resign is false.

United Academics does not represent James Fox, as he held an administrative office and therefore was not in the bargaining unit. We have no knowledge of his situation outside of what we read in the papers. Most of the information on his situation seems to originate with the university administration, and in light of its description of Kira Homo’s departure, we encourage everyone to approach its press releases with skepticism.

The blog of the Society of American Archivists has this statement:

News media indicate that two members of the University of Oregon library archives staff, James Fox and Kira Homo, who previously had been put on administrative leave “will not be returning to their positions.” See background here: http://www2.archivists.org/news/2015/saa-response-to-member-request-re-university-of-oregon-records-release-incident.

SAA has no information beyond what is in the media. We have not yet heard from University Librarian Adriene Lim, who indicated that she would be in contact with SAA following the investigation. …

And the Register Guard has published several letters strongly opposing Library Dean Adriene Lim’s decision not to renew the contract of Archives Director James Fox:

James Fox was treated shamefully

I appreciated The Register-Guard’s decision to make the firing of two University of Oregon archivists the lead story on the March 26 front page. Reporter Diane Dietz did well to note that the news was released during spring break, and to put the university’s “outline” of what transpired in quotation marks.

The university spokesman referred to the archivists as “employees,” suggesting by that term that they’re lowly members of the UO staff. Such is certainly not the case, as the article clearly indicated in describing their responsibilities.

Dietz also did well to point out that James Fox was director of special collections for 15 years and an associate professor of history, whose position in the library unfortunately didn’t grant him the tenure that protects other members of the faculty.

Fox was no mere “employee,” but a distinguished scholarly librarian who devoted himself to the demanding task of supervising the collection of rare books and manuscripts that form a vital part of the UO library. He labored far beyond the call of duty to raise money and add to the collection.

The shameful treatment of a highly respected librarian will certainly give the UO a bad odor in library circles across the country. I can’t help wondering what sort of person will want to apply to fill his position.

LOUISE WESTLING
PROFESSOR EMERITA, ENGLISH AND ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON

Director’s dismissal was unjustified

The dismissal of James Fox, head of the University of Oregon library’s special collections, brings to mind the saying that the captain always goes down with his ship (“2 UO library archivists cast off,” March 26).

Over Fox’s 15-year tenure and through his untiring efforts, the UO library has gained numerous collections of historical and academic significance.

To think that the director should be able to oversee the handling of each document in a department that processes hundreds of document requests by professional archivists is absurd.

The capricious act by the university administration was wholly unjustified and perhaps an attempt to cover up the unsatisfactory state of UO records.

That was reported in a study made by university librarians who recommended, among other things, that presidential papers not be held by the library.

RICHARD YATES

RETIRED COLLEGE LIBRARY DIRECTOR

Treatment of archivist was despotic

The University of Oregon’s unceremonious “casting off” of archivist James Fox adds to an atmosphere of intimidation and malaise across campus, echoed elsewhere in our company town (“2 UO library archivists cast off,” March 26).

If a long-term employee with a stellar record of loyalty and service can get the ax for a subordinate’s mistake, anyone’s vulnerable.

During months of administrative leave, while nonuniversity lawyers determined his fate, Fox was allowed on campus only when accompanied by a library staff member, and was denied access to his workplace computer and phone.

Such despotic methods are consonant with what amounts to executive privilege for UO presidents — surely unwarranted in a tax-exempt institution.

Whatever those files may contain, history tells us eventually it will all come to light.

Meanwhile, the university has lost the trust and confidence of potential donors to its special collections, and the services of a genius archivist.

ALICE PARMAN

3/27/2015: What did Tobin Klinger tell reporters, and when did he tell it?

I don’t know. Let’s find out:

Subject: public records request, Klinger communications on archivists
Date: March 27, 2015 at 3:30:59 PM PDT
Cc: Tobin Klinger <tklinger@uoregon.edu>
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for copies of any emails, texts, tweets, andor documents sent by UO spokesperson Tobin Klinger to reporters, from March 20th to the present, giving information on the investigation of the UO Presidential Archives release and the employment status of the UO archivists.

I’m ccing Mr. Klinger, as he should be able to easily provide these, but if not I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest, as demonstrated by the fact that a UO spokesperson sent them to reporters.

What I do know is here, including Sharon Rudnick’s version of the archives investigation, which UO had said would be independently done by Hershner Hunter – not overseen by a colleague of the same Randy Geller who wrote the memo advocating the dissolution of the UO Senate that is at the heart of the controversy.

Will Library Dean Lim and Coltrane deliver on transparency?

3/17/2014 update: I went to the Library Committee’s meeting today. Dean Adriene Lim was adamant that she was not trying to avoid Senate review of the new library privacy policy, and that as far as she was concerned the Library Committee was the Senate, since it’s a Senate committee, but that she was fully willing to go through the regular Senate policy on policies.

She said had been told that AVP Chuck Triplett was the “guru” for UO policies, and so she asked him how to proceed. As you can see below, Triplett thought that there was no need for this privacy policy to go through the Senate process. Given that the administration’s motivation for this policy arose out of LibraryGate, or as they now call it, “the incident”, Triplett should have known better than to advise Lim to try and slip this through on the side.

This is from the OSU library’s privacy policy:

Patron information is strictly confidential. It is for the use of library staff only; it can, of course, be divulged to the patron. Patron information is not to be given to non-library individuals, including parents, friends, professors, university administrators, police, FBI, university security staff, or the CIA. Only a court order can require the disclosure of patron records. The university librarian is responsible for compliance with such orders.

Needless to say UO’s proposed new policy (in full below) is a lot weaker:

When a violation of law or established policy is suspected, the Libraries reserves the right to electronically monitor its public computers and network, and/or reveal a user’s identity to institutional authorities and/or law enforcement.

Frankly, it reads as a post-hoc justification for Lim’s decision to disclose my circulation records to the administration. I told Lim I thought this would be problematic, and that she should at least consider having something concrete to take to the Senate about implementing the promises that were made to the Senate about general review of UO’s public records problems, or perhaps something about the documents that were *not* in UO’s Presidential Archives – e.g. athletics money deals – and therefore were lost to history (yes, I did mention Hillary Clinton).

FWIW, the RegisterGuard report on that Senate meeting is here.

… The UO’s new dean of libraries, Adriene Lim, told the gathered faculty on Wednesday that she considers an individual’s right to privacy to be a universal human right.

But she also said that Oregon public records laws “spell out types of records that should be public and available for scrutiny. I’d be the first one to advocate for that openness and ­transparency.”

Coltrane and Lim said the issue of transparency will be reviewed by university officials after Hershner Hunter completes its investigation. [UO M: I’ve made a public records request to Dave Hubin’s Public Records Office for the contract showing what UO’s Interim General Counsel Doug Park has asked HH to do. No response yet.]

The university will “try to increase openness and transparency as much as we can,” Lim said. Coltrane said he’d bring the university’s Office of Public Records to the table.

Harbaugh said Wednesday that that’s what he had in mind when he sought the presidential documents at the archive — after being thwarted by the public records office.

He said he had no intention of violating student privacy laws or damaging the university.

“I’m trying to make a point about the university’s obsessive secrecy, about how it functions, makes decisions and operates as a public agency,” Harbaugh said.

3/12/2014: AVP Chuck Triplett advises Library Dean Adriene Lim that new Library privacy policy can bypass Senate review

Thanks to several people for leaking this email and proposed policy to UO Matters. Page down to see how it evolves as it gets exposed to the light of day. It’s now circulating on the Senate listserv, and we will be taking steps to

a) ensure Dean Lim does not implement this policy without Senate approval, and
b) ensure Chuck Triplett is monitored, to prevent future attempts to subvert the Policy on Policies.

Still no information on how Lim will deal with public records that were removed from the Presidential Archives by Johnson Hall.

The UO Board reaffirmed the PonP just last week. Triplett didn’t waste any time breaking it:

Date: March 11, 2015 at 9:20:07 AM PDT
To: Adriene Lim <alim@uoregon.edu>, …
Subject: Library privacy policy draft – latest version

Dear ULC members,

I’ve heard back from Chuck Triplett and he advises me that he doesn’t think our new Privacy Policy rises to the level of an “institutional policy.” This means that the draft would not need to go through more layers of review in the way that other institutional policies are reviewed. He thinks that, after we go through our library-level review, the policy can just be posted on our website.

Library faculty still have until March 16, 2015, to provide input and comments, but I wanted to share with you the latest version of the draft because it contains two new sections that were added last week: 1.) a section was added to address the security cameras we have in our Special Collections & University Archives area. These cameras are not new — they’ve been in place for a while, but the Libraries had not finalized a policy regarding them yet); 2.) a few sentences were added to address the privacy audit and compliance concerns that were raised at our last ULC meeting. When the policy is finalized, the Libraries will conduct an audit of systems and services to make sure that we are complying with our own policy.

If you have any final comments about this latest draft, please let me know by March 16, 2015. Thank you for your help with this.

Best regards,
Adriene

Adriene Lim, Ph.D., MLIS
Dean of Libraries
Philip H. Knight Chair
University of Oregon Libraries
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1299
Phone: 541-346-1892
Email: alim@uoregon.edu

Note: After I sent this email to Lim and cced the Senate listserv, she sent out an email changing her mind and deciding to ignore Triplett, and send this policy through the regular PAC process, which will bring it to the Senate.

Here’s the policy in dispute:

Continue reading

Library Dean Adriene Lim requires “professional review” to see UO Archives

2/18/2015 update w/ response below.

2/17/2015: Looking for documents from the UO Archives? Be prepared to justify your request to UO Library Dean Adriene Lim. This restrictive language was recently added to the Archives webpage, here:

University Archive Finding Aids

Permanent University Archive public records are available for research, and are subject to state, and in some cases federal freedom of information laws. In compliance with applicable state and federal laws, including, but not limited to, FERPA and HIPAA, specific records that are legally protected, sensitive, private, or confidential are exempt (not subject to disclosure) and closed to protect individual privacy.  Access to paper records will be granted after a professional review of the records occurs based on regulations in state and federal laws. Published electronic archival records are available in the Libraries’ Scholars’ Bank Repository. Other electronic archival records also under compliance review and processing are temporarily unavailable. For access to electronic records not yet published or processed, please place requests through the UO Office of Public Records.  If you have questions about accessing University Archive records, contact Jennifer O’Neal, Corrigan Solari University Historian and Archivist. If you have questions about the policies related to availability of University Archive records, please contact Adriene Lim, Dean of Libraries.

I’ve got a request in to Dean Lim for an explanation of what information she needs to conduct this “professional review”, and what “regulations in state and federal laws” justify this sort of censorship. I’ll post her response when it arrives. Of course, if it’s based on a legal opinion from the UO General Counsel’s office, she’ll have to keep it secret…

Speaking of secret archives, the attorney who kept Nixon’s public died last week. Today’s NYT obiturary is here:

Mr. Herzstein was credited with taking the initiative in challenging the deal that Nixon had made with the General Services Administration. It empowered Nixon, who had been pardoned by President Gerald R. Ford, to take his White House papers with him to his home in California.

“It struck me as pretty insulting,” Mr. Herzstein said of the arrangement.

He insisted that the records belonged to the government, and that most of them should be publicly available under the Freedom of Information Act. Acting pro bono, he and several associates obtained a restraining order from a federal judge on behalf of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the American Political Science Association, the American Historical Association and other groups that he had enlisted to join the suit.

2/18/2015 Response from Dean Lim:

Dear Professor Harbaugh,

The “professional review” in the statement relates to the appropriate records management and archives processing that is needed before records are made available to the public. This includes following UO’s established Records Retention Schedule:  http://library.uoregon.edu/records/schedule/sections.html

Non-permanent records are not added to the University Archives, and we do not provide direct access to these records through the Libraries.  Because these types of non-permanent records are not part of the University Archives, access to these types of records must be requested through the Public Records Office.

Our University Archives processing must follow legal regulations (FERPA, HIPPA, ORSs, OARs, Oregon Public Records Law, etc.) and archival best practices.

Permanent archival collections need at least a basic level of processing and description before they can be used for research. Therefore, a request for access to an unprocessed or minimally processed University Archives collection would require two things:

  1. a reference request, and
  2. a request for expedited processing of all or part of a collection

Some way of focusing the request would be essential, especially if the request involves a large collection or group of collections — for example, approximate date range, subject, and/or originating office, etc.  If relevant materials can be located, then staff need to review the materials to identify and separate out any exempt documents from non-exempt documents (with the exempt and non-exempt criteria described in Oregon’s Public Records law). At that point, the researcher would be granted access to the non-exempt portions. If the permanent collection includes exempt records, a public records review would be needed for access to those portions.

Sincerely, Adriene Lim

Adriene Lim, Ph.D., MLIS

Dean of Libraries

Philip H. Knight Chair

University of Oregon Libraries

Release of UO Presidential Archives was not illegal, or immoral. So was it improper – or insufficient?

1/29/2015 update: Rich Read of the Oregonian reports on Wednesday’s UO Senate meeting, here:

… Harbaugh sees both farce and tragedy in his latest episode, LibraryGate. He called Coltrane’s email alleging unlawful release of records “outrageously premature judgment on his part, and I’m assuming Tobin Klinger wrote it – but I can’t be sure until I get the next set of presidential archives.”

Klinger is the UO’s senior director of public affairs communications. He has fielded many of the media’s questions concerning the wayward presidential archives.

“There are always embarrassing things in archives,” Harbaugh said. “That’s why historians love them.”

“I can guarantee I’m a better muckraker than I would be a university president,” said Harbaugh, granting that administrators have difficult jobs. “I think there’s a role to play for people to point out what’s wrong with how things are being managed.”

As a search committee seeks the UO’s next president, Harbaugh said the next leader must be able to raise money, to talk to the faculty — which must maintain the university’s status as a top research institution.

“If we get a person who doesn’t know how to do that,” Harbaugh said, “it’ll be the end of this place.”

For the record, I can’t imagine many jobs that are more difficult than running a public university like UO. I’ve got plenty of respect for those who do it well. I think UO could do worse than keeping Interim President Scott Coltrane and Interim Provost Frances Bronet. In fact, from my brief and now prematurely terminated look at the uncensored presidential archives covering the period from Dave Frohnmayer and his provost John Moseley to Mike Gottfredson and his provost Jim Bean, mostly we have. A lot worse.

I’ve posted plenty of negative stuff about Coltrane’s decisions. There’s more in the comments. If you want the happy-face PR fluff, ask Klinger or one of the other Duck flacks. But on balance, I’ll be surprised if Chuck Lillis and Connie Ballmer can find a better candidate for the permanent job. Very surprised.

Diane Dietz of the RegisterGuard reports, here.

… The UO’s new dean of libraries, Adriene Lim, told the gathered faculty on Wednesday that she considers an individual’s right to privacy to be a universal human right.

But she also said that Oregon public records laws “spell out types of records that should be public and available for scrutiny. I’d be the first one to advocate for that openness and ­transparency.”

Coltrane and Lim said the issue of transparency will be reviewed by university officials after Hershner Hunter completes its investigation. [UO M: I’ve made a public records request to Dave Hubin’s Public Records Office for the contract showing what UO’s Interim General Counsel Doug Park has asked HH to do. No response yet.]

The university will “try to increase openness and transparency as much as we can,” Lim said. Coltrane said he’d bring the university’s Office of Public Records to the table.

Harbaugh said Wednesday that that’s what he had in mind when he sought the presidential documents at the archive — after being thwarted by the public records office.

He said he had no intention of violating student privacy laws or damaging the university.

“I’m trying to make a point about the university’s obsessive secrecy, about how it functions, makes decisions and operates as a public agency,” Harbaugh said.

And the Eugene Weekly has this:

Public records are for the public and archivists should not be punished for doing what archivists do — making archives open to the public. The next chapter will appear in The New York Times. Josh Hunt from the Times has been in Eugene this month digging through redacted documents, interviewing the players and weaving his story on the UO in Eugene.

1/29/2015 update: UO is no longer claiming there was anything unlawful or immoral about the release of presidential archives to a library patron – which would be me. Now it’s just “improper”.

Google Tim Clevenger and Tobin Klinger’s official UO “Around the 0” blog for the post. Strange, but none of our well paid strategic communicators would sign their name to it.

Where will this backtracking on prior claims of illegal and immoral archive release end? I’ll go out on a limb and predict that it will turn out that at least one previous UO president kept documents out of the official archives that, legally and morally, should have been preserved for the historical record and made available to the public.

1/28/2015 5:00 PM update: Coltrane and Library Dean Lim commit to public review of UO’s public records transparency problems

That’s my takeaway from their generally positive and constructive statements and the Q&A at today’s Senate meeting. (Archives too). A review of Dave Hubin’s Public records office and its use of fees and delays to hide public records from the public and the press offers the potential for some improvement in trust and transparency at UO, and would make Coltrane a candidate for the Senate’s new “Shared Governance, Trust, and Transparency Award“, which would certainly be a positive outcome from LibraryGate.

Trust, but verify.

Update: Interim President Coltrane gives UO Matters “get out of jail free” card

Also at today’s Senate meeting, after John Bonine (Law) noted that it might actually be possible to construct a (tortured) argument that parts of the “ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED” memo from Randy Geller to Bob Berdahl and Dave Hubin recommending dissolving the UO Senate, really do involve attorney-client privilege:

Q: Harbaugh to Coltrane: “Bonine has me worried. Will you waive your attorney-client privilege on this one memo, which I’ve posted on the internet, and help this professor get some sleep tonight?”

A: Coltrane: “Yes. I waive the privilege. You’ve got a get out of jail free card on this one.”

[Not exact quotes, but close.] Now how about cards for the UO archivists?

getoutofjail

1/28/2015 update: Release of Presidential Archives no longer unlawful. Now it’s immoral?

Interim Provost Frances Bronet releases statement. Apparently Scott Coltrane is no longer saying these archives were “unlawfully released”. (Page down for that email). Now it’s Frances Bronet, saying UO has “a moral obligation” to keep documents out of the Presidential Archives. Presumably that’s why UO’s Public Records Office delays and frustrates requests from reporters too.

Presumably whole chapters of the history of the University of Oregon are now going to be deleted from the Presidential Archives, because it would be immoral to leave them there and maybe embarrass someone. I’m no history professor, but this is nuts:

From: Provost Office [mailto:provost@uoregon.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 1:12 PM
To: Tobin Klinger
Subject: Documents returned; review continues

Friends and colleagues,

Many of you are following with interest the recent release of electronic documents, which bypassed archival processing procedures, and the university’s efforts to get those documents back.

I am pleased to inform you that the documents have been returned.

Our separate policy and personnel review of this situation will continue. We hired an independent law firm, Hershner Hunter, to complete this inquiry so that we can identify how and why confidential documents were disclosed, and take steps to ensure that something like this never happens again.

What was at stake went beyond a concern that confidential information was shared before being appropriately processed. Of greater concern is that the release violated the trust of the students, parents, faculty members and others who saw the Office of the President as a safe place to share concerns or seek assistance.

We have a moral obligation to maintain the confidentiality ! [sic] of those who see the Office of the President as a point of last resort. This includes those who chose to outline personal struggles in their academic pursuits or parents who might write to seek support for their child during times of personal challenge. Students, parents, faculty and staff need to have confidence that we will follow appropriate procedures to ensure their right to privacy.

One of my greatest concerns throughout this situation has been the way that it has impacted the talented team in our university library. The faculty and staff in UO Libraries are among the most committed and entrusted to carrying out our mission. Their commitment to the ethical standards and values of their professions should stand as a model for us all. They deal with these kinds of complex privacy rights issues on a daily basis and balance them with their advocacy for openness and transparency. They do so with passion and integrity.

Thank you for your understanding of this im! portant [sic] issue.

Sincerely,

Frances Bronet

Acting Senior Vice President and Provost

1/26/2015: Oregonian, RG, WWeek post Blandy and Altmann’s demand for takedown of UO Presidential Archives

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.22.07 PM

“Zip drive”? I had one of those – back in 1994.

“Remove any documents you have posted on the internet”? You mean the confidential Geller/Berdahl/Hubin legal opinion about dissolving the UO Senate? Sorry guys, that’s not how the internet works. The RG, Oregonian and Internet Archive have already, uh, archived it.

The Diane Dietz report in the RG is here:

The letter to the unnamed professor warned “any further disclosure of confidential documents would be in direct contravention of your responsibility as a member of the faculty.”

The letter was signed by Barbara Altmann, vice provost for Academic Affairs. The professor got the documents from the UO library archives on Dec. 3.

The unnamed professor has not returned documents — which were delivered to the professor electronically — to the university. Two archivists are on leave pending an investigation on how the documents were released.

To date, one document and a set of emails appeared on the UO insider blog uomatters.com published by UO economics professor Bill Harbaugh. The single 14-page document suggested dissolving the University Senate in the wake of the faculty’s vote to form a union in 2012.

The other was a series of emails regarding the drafting of a column that appeared on the editorial page of The Register-Guard on July 14, 2014, and attributed to Robin Holmes, vice president for student life.

The emails suggest that the opinion piece that defended the UO’s handling of a rape allegation was actually drafted by a UO public relations employee.

Can anyone point me to the part of UO’s Faculty Handbook that says professors can be disciplined for refusing to take Randy Geller’s legal opinions off the internet?

The report from Rich Read (two Pulitzers) in the Oregonian is here:

Whatever the case, Coltrane and members of his administration seem desperate to get the material back. They say that release of the confidential information, which Blandy said was “improperly disclosed,” violated a state privacy law and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Another official signed Blandy’s letter for him in barely legible handwriting, appearing to be that of Barbara Altmann. She holds the identical title of senior vice provost for academic affairs.

The letter says that once the professor returns the electronic documents, officials will review them. “We will ultimately make the documents that are not exempt from disclosure available to all library patrons as part of the university’s archives,” Blandy wrote.

“Ultimately”? Is that sort of promise legally binding? I didn’t think so.

The Nigel Jaquiss (one Pulitzer) report in Willamette Week is here:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.35.00 PM

I’m surprised Doug Park hasn’t sent Jaquiss a takedown notice over that Duck © image. FWIW, here’s Scott Coltrane’s “unlawfully released” email again:

Date: January 20, 2015 at 7:39:38 PM PST
From: “President’s Office” <pres@uoregon.edu> Reply-To: pres@uoregon.edu
Subject: Archive release investigation

Dear Colleagues,

We have recently learned that a significant number of archived records from the President’s Office have been unlawfully released. These records contain confidential information about faculty, staff and students, but our current understanding is that no social security numbers, financial information or medical records were shared.

We have launched an investigation of the incident, and we have put staff members on administrative leave, pending that investigation. The information was sent to a university professor, and we have already requested that the professor return the information and refrain from any public release of confidential information. To our knowledge, only one record has been shared externally at this point.

We are committed to taking steps to mitigate the potential injury associated with this situation.

Sincerely,

Scott Coltrane, Interim President

Our President really needs a competent lawyer, or at least a strategic communicator who can backward induct.

UO tells librarians to shush about Presidential Archives records release

1/22/2015 Presidential Archives records release investigation update:

FOR INTERNAL-LIBRARY USE ONLY

Dear Library staff, faculty, administrators,

As you read in President Coltrane’s recent message, we have recently learned that significant numbers of archived records have been released, despite the fact that some of these records contained confidential, private, and sensitive information about faculty, staff, and students.

Because this is a complex situation involving issues of privacy, legality, institutional responsibility and more, I am working with others to review all pertinent information. The University’s assessment of the current situation is underway, with the help of an outside investigator.

If you receive any media inquiries about this situation, please do not try to handle them yourselves, but refer these calls to Tobin Klinger in UO’s Public Affairs group, tklinger@uoregon.edu, 6-5558.

I will share as much as I can in the coming days. In the meantime, thanks for your continued dedication to the UO Libraries’ mission and work.

Best wishes,

Adriene

Adriene Lim, Ph.D., MLIS
Dean of Libraries
Philip H. Knight Chair
University of Oregon Libraries
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1299
Phone: 541-346-1892
Email: alim@uoregon.edu

1/22/2015 update: UO administration now snooping through library patrons’ circulation records

Is nothing sacred? The paranoid UO administration is now snooping through library circulation records showing who checks out what when. Rich Read reports the latest in the Oregonian, here:

… Asked whether the material escaped from the President’s Office or University Archives, Klinger said the archives. “It had gone from the President’s Office to the Archives for their processing in the Archives,” Klinger said. …

A patron, it turns out, is someone who makes requests from the library. “We have an ask out to the patrons to return the records,” Klinger said.

Klinger declined to make Coltrane, the interim president, available for an interview Wednesday. “Not today,” Klinger said. “I’d circle back in a few days or a week or so.”

Yup, Assistant Duck PR flack Tobin Klinger is now in charge of deciding if and when Scott Coltrane is available to talk to the press. Wow.

I’m no librarian, but here’s the official ALA policy on library circulation records:

The Council of the American Library Association strongly recommends that the responsible officers of each library, cooperative system, and consortium in the United States:

    1. Formally adopt a policy that specifically recognizes its circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users to be confidential. (See also ALA Code of Ethics, Article III, “We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received, and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted” and  Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.)
    2. Advise all librarians and library employees that such records shall not be made available to any agency of state, federal, or local government except pursuant to such process, order or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.
    3. Resist the issuance of enforcement of any such process, order, or subpoena until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction.

1/21/2015 update: Diane Dietz in the RG: UO employees release piles of presidential documents; administrators want them back

The University of Oregon has given a professor who got a hold of 22,000 pages of uncensored presidential documents until Thursday to give them back, UO spokesman Tobin Klinger said.

Klinger declined to say what would happen to the unidentified professor — who got the documents at some point in the library archiving process — if he declines to return the documents.

Two UO employees who gave the documents to the professor were placed on paid leave, Klinger said. “Paid leave will stand until we have greater clarity on what transpired,” he said.

The spokesman declined to identify the two employees — or the professor in question.

“I’m not going to confirm an identity for that individual that was the recipient. The request is out for cooperation; I don’t want to do anything that’s going to necessarily influence that,” he said.

The trove of records consists of internal and external correspondence to and from the UO president from 2010 through the presidency of former UO chief Michael Gottfredson, which ended last August when Gottfredson abruptly resigned.

“Some of those would technically constitute student records just because they would be identifiable to the student that was involved. Employee records (and) faculty records that would be protected as well were a part of that, to a degree,” Klinger said.

“It does not appear — and we don’t have any reason to believe — that there’s anything in terms of social security numbers or financial data or medical records or anything of that nature,” he said.

But were there embarrassing documents?

“I wouldn’t want to speculate,” Klinger said.

The University of Oregon is notoriously reluctant to release public documents, even though the university is bound by Oregon public records law.

It often takes months for the university to provide requested records. And sometimes the records the university finally supplies are completely redacted. …

And Richard Read in the Oregonian, here:

University of Oregon officials have placed two employees on leave after the “unlawful release” of 22,000 pages of records from the president’s office, including confidential information on faculty, staff and students.

Interim UO President Scott Coltrane sent out an email Tuesday night, addressed to colleagues, saying an investigation was underway. Although no Social Security numbers, financial information or medical records apparently were divulged, Coltrane wrote that, “We are committed to taking steps to mitigate the potential injury associated with this situation.”

… It’s unclear whether the professor who has the information is willing to return it. “We’ve made the initial outreach,” [UO Deputy Chief Strategic Communicator Tobin] Klinger said. “The ball is in the professor’s court.”

Oregon law requires public institutions, such as the University of Oregon and state agencies, to release information upon request.

But the public-records law exempts various types of information from disclosure, safeguarding personal privacy, trade secrets, personnel records, financial data and other sensitive material. Officials can redact confidential information before releasing documents.

Although Coltrane’s email said the records were “unlawfully released,” he did not explain what was unlawful. …

The material includes correspondence between the university’s last four presidents and parents, students and faculty members, Klinger said. “It’s the typical type of correspondence that you would expect to go to and from the President’s Office,” he said.

Klinger described the breach as serious but not catastrophic.

“I don’t want anybody to equate it to a financial institution having their records hacked and spewed all over the planet,” he said.

1/20/2015:

Date: January 20, 2015 at 7:39:38 PM PST
From: “President’s Office” <pres@uoregon.edu> Reply-To: pres@uoregon.edu
Subject: Archive release investigation

Dear Colleagues,

We have recently learned that a significant number of archived records from the President’s Office have been unlawfully released. These records contain confidential information about faculty, staff and students, but our current understanding is that no social security numbers, financial information or medical records were shared.

We have launched an investigation of the incident, and we have put staff members on administrative leave, pending that investigation. The information was sent to a university professor, and we have already requested that the professor return the information and refrain from any public release of confidential information. To our knowledge, only one record has been shared externally at this point.

We are committed to taking steps to mitigate the potential injury associated with this situation.

Sincerely,

Scott Coltrane, Interim President