NWCCU accreditors will keep academic freedom after AAUP-Oregon, IFS, UO Senate Pres, UO Provost, FIRE & others push back

Another 4/1/2019 update:

The influential Foundation for Individual Rights in Education also wrote to the NWCCU against their plan to remove academic freedom from their accreditation standards:

Full letter here.

4/1/2019 update:

Thanks to the AAUP-Oregon’s Michael Dreiling for alerting the UO Senate and Provost to the NWWCU’s proposed accreditation standards. His letter asking AAUP members to press the NWCCU on this is here:

We write to you with an urgent request to take action and protect academic freedom as a standard and criterion for accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), the largest single accreditation body in the region. Inexplicably, the latest draft of accreditation standards from the NWCCU removes all references to academic freedom and to institutional bodies and practices of shared governance such as university senates, faculty vote and voice, and tenure (see the proposal and compare to current standards here). The strong emphasis on centralized authority and the implicit erasure of faculty participation in decision-taking is new and it is a threat to the integrity of higher education at hundreds of colleges and universities in the region. …

As you can see below, many issues with these proposed revisions remain unresolved, but NWCCU Pres Sonny Ramaswamy has promised to keep freedom, and give more time for input on other issues:

From: Sonny Ramaswamy <sonny@nwccu.org>
Sent: Sunday, March 31, 2019 10:07 PM
Subject: Revision of NWCCU’s Standards

ALOs.

Over the last couple of weeks we have received emails regarding NWCCU’s draft, revised Standards from AAUP affiliates and faculty senate chairs, and provosts of a few institutions. (Those individuals are copied on this email.)

Additionally, we have received input during conversations with some individuals.

Based on the recent input received, we’ve made a decision to incorporate appropriate language in our draft Standards for Academic Freedom and Governance, along with revisions on other matters suggested by others.

We’ve extended the deadline for submission of additional comments for revisions through April 15, 2019.

The draft will be revised and sent out for further comments in May. The draft will be revised based on this round of comments.

After the Commission has provided additional comments on the near final draft, it’ll be revised as needed. Then it’ll be sent out for a vote by NWCCU’s family of institutions to approve the proposed Standards in late Summer 2019.

As I have noted previously, this is an iterative process and we appreciate the input, which continues strengthen the Standards.

Our hope is that, once approved, the new Standards will be deployed starting in January 2020.

If not already done, please connect with your relevant faculty organizations on your campuses, such as faculty senate chairs, and exhort them and other faculty to provide input regarding the draft Standards.

They may submit their comments on the current version of revised Standards available at (http://www.nwccu.org/accreditation/standards-review/) either via this link (https://www.tfaforms.com/4719938) or via email (standards@nwccu.org).

Thanks for your help.

Sonny Ramaswamy, President
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
8060 165th Avenue NE, Ste 100 | Redmond, WA 98052
Email: sonny@nwccu.org
Tel: 425-558-4224
URL: http://www.nwccu.org
Twitter: @NWCCUSonny

The letter to the NWCCU from the UO Senate President (me) is here. The letter from UO Provost Jayanth Banavar is here. My response to the email above is:

Dear Pres Ramaswamy –

I’m glad to hear this. Thank you for responding to the concerns regarding academic freedom.

For those from other institutions considering commenting on the NWCCU’s proposed changes to our accreditation requirements, I’ve attached the letters to the NWCCU from the UO Senate and the UO Provost.

As you can see these address issues beyond academic freedom, and include such matters as shared governance, research, governing board evaluations, institutional control over transfer credits, student success metrics and their use.

I look forward to seeing how the next draft addresses these concerns.

For those interested, I’ll continue to update the posts at http://uomatters.com/tag/accreditation with new information.

Yours,

Bill Harbaugh
University of Oregon
Senate Pres & Econ Prof

3/26/2019: UO’s accreditor considers weakening academic freedom and governance standards

Sorry, long post.

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co-VPAA Doug Blandy runs secret search for AVPAA

Doug Blandy needs to get with UO’s new transparency and shared governance movement. Here’s the job posting for his new Assistant VP: http://jobs.uoregon.edu/unclassified.php?id=5300:

… Academic Affairs has a strong role in advising and communicating with all departments/units and colleges in the interpretation of academic practice and policy. The assistant vice provost supports the office on many academic faculty matters.  The assistant vice provost represents Academic Affairs to the administrative leadership of the university, the schools and colleges, Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, Human Resources, and United Academics.  The person in this position will participate in meetings and serve on committees involving faculty or programmatic issues.

There were three candidates out this week. I asked for the names of the people on the search committee. They won’t tell me. There was no notification given to the Senate nor any opportunity for Senate participation in the day-long interviews. Blandy’s staff person asked me not to post the finalist’s names or c.v.’s even though there is nothing in the search announcement suggesting confidentiality. Against my better judgement, I won’t.

Presumably Blandy has an inside candidate, and the faculty will be told who that is whenever it suits Blandy.

Reminds me of when Gottfredson hired Chuck Triplett – though at least they posted a job ad this time. In related news, the Senate will take up the matter of faculty participation in hiring and review of administrators in January.

UO puts bike violators on $1 an hour Bicycle Safety Patrol chain gang

And you thought the Code of Ethics was silly. How does this sort of thing get through Chuck Triplett’s office? I’m beginning to think that his policy realignment efforts may not be entirely reliable:

Technical revisions enacted by the University Secretary on September 3, 2015:

E. Bicycle Penalties, Citations, and Fines

(1) Any impounded bicycle shall be stored in a secure facility designated for such purpose by the Director of Public Safety.

(2) A fine (see section E(4) of this policy) shall be charged to the owner prior to the release of any impounded bicycle. Any bicycle being released must be properly registered prior to its release unless the owner or the owner’s designee can show reasonable proof that the bicycle will not be operated on the University campus or, if the owner is neither a student nor University employee, that the bicycle will not be on campus more often than five times a term.

(3) Citations for violations by bicycle riders shall carry a fine:

(a) A schedule of fines shall be published annually as a part of UO Policy 570.060, under the subheading Parking-Bicycle Fines, of UO Policy 570.060(A), Special Fees, Fines, Penalties, Service Charges;

(b) As an alternative to a fine, cited bicycle riders/owners may be required to serve as a member of the Bicycle Safety Patrol at a rate of one hour of service for every dollar of the fine levied. …

If anyone can find “UO Policy 570.060(A), Special Fees, Fines, Penalties, Service Charges”, please let me know.

UO Code of Ethics requires employees to “dedicate ourselves before God to our chosen profession”, plus civility

11/28/2015: From what I can tell $130K VP for Collaboration Chuck Triplett is actually going to bring his UO ethics policy to the Senate for debate and vote.

You must “make decisions based upon the greater good” and act in “wise, ethical, and prudent manner”, while not “shifting blame or taking improper credit”. And the administration thinks the *Senate* is wasting faculty time with pointless discussions?

I’ve already seen some pretty good suggestions for amendments, including the admirably brief

“University of Oregon Code of Ethics: All employees must follow the University of Oregon Policy on Freedom of Speech and Inquiry“.

If that fails, I’ll bring up my proposal for a Senate Unethical Activities Committee, with the power to investigate and blacklist offenders:

Meanwhile, rumor down at the Faculty Club Chapel (Episcopalian) is that there will also be questions from the faculty on how we can behave ethically without dedicating ourselves before God to our chosen profession, as VPFA Jamie Moffitt has been requiring the UO Police to do, ever since that unfortunate Bowl of Dicks incident:

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 8.01.40 PM

Good thing our Johnson Hall bowl game junketeers aren’t sworn officers. That part about “never accepting gratuities” would be a problem.

As for the God business, sorry, but a higher authority disagrees: “… no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

11/13/2015: UO ethics policy requires “civil, respectful, and nurturing environment”

And if you fail to “make decisions based upon the greater good” or don’t act in “a wise, ethical, and prudent manner” or if you engage in “shifting blame or taking improper credit”, you have violated UO policy, and you are subject to university discipline.

That’s according to UO’s newly revised “Code of Ethics” policy, posted on VP for Collaboration Chuck Triplett’s website, and open for comment here.

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UO Senate meeting, Wed in 128 CHILES

That’s Chiles. Part of the B-School. Across Kincaid from the “Duckstore”, behind the hotdog stand. AVP for Collaboration Chuck Triplett will be taking attendance, so don’t ditch this one.

I did a little live-blogging below.

Senate Meeting Agenda – October 21, 2015. Agenda  |  Watch Live [Not working]

Rm 128, Chiles; 3:00-5:00 pm

3:00 pm    Introductory Remarks, Senate President Randy Sullivan

3:10 pm    1.   Call to Order

3:10 pm    2.   Approval of Minutes 

2.1       October 7, 2015

3:15 pm    4.   New Business

4.1       Approve Committee on Committees members and call for volunteers for 2015-2016: Robert Kyr (Music), Anne Laskaya (English), Jennifer Ellis (Business), Gordon Sayre (English), Laura Leete (PPPM), Deborah Baumgold (Political Science).

Approved unanimously.

4.2        Motion (Legislation): To Promote Representative Attendance at Senate Meetings; Senate Executive Committee

Confusion about which of several circulating versions is on the floor. Postponed until next meeting with one nay.

4.3        Motion (Policy Proposal): US14/15-66: Hiring of Academic Executive Administrators; Senate Executive Committee

4.4        Motion (Policy Proposal): US14/15-67: Review of Academic Executive Administrators; Senate Executive Committee

President Schill has agreed to discuss strengthening Senate and faculty input into hiring and search. Ad Hoc committee of Harbaugh, Kyr, and Rowe will meet with administration to revise these. Therefore move to postpone vote until January. Unanimous.

S.1       [SUSPENSION OF RULES] Motion (Resolution): Support for the IFS Resolution Addressing Violence in our Schools; Robert Kyr (Music), Immediate Past President

Craig Parsons (Poli Sci) raises good question about what sorts of resolutions the Senate should vote on. Argues that it depends on how closely the topic approaches “academic matters”. Argues that the topic of school shootings does not come close enough. Uses earthquakes as an example. Should Senate approve anti-earthquake motion?

No, but a resolution about tearing down PLC before it collapses in an earthquake and wipes out the Poli Sci, Soc and English professors, not to mention the economists, would clearly be in the Senate’s purview.

Psaki, Walker, etc. back up Kyr on this. Walker very effectively, on point that threats of violence harm academic freedom.

Koopman says that he’s not opposed to taking stands like this, but Senate also needs to spend time and energy on policy changes.

Cramer: These votes matter to students, are part of our educational mission.

Price (Math) points out that UO Constitution addresses resolutions on “university issues” which this clearly is.

Parsons argues that Senators are selected to be representative of UO academic disciplines, but not on basis of political beliefs.

Passes unanimously.  Whoops, Parsons didn’t understand abstentions, he now votes no.

4:30 pm    5.   Open Discussion

5.1        Topics: Full participation of Senators and the UO Community in Senate Deliberations. Progress of Motions.

4:45 pm    6.   Reports

4:45 pm    7.   Notice(s) of Motion

4:45 pm    8.   Other Business

8.1       Announcement of special election for PTRAC and FPC.

5:00 pm    9.   Adjournment

The hat comes back

9/25/2015: Rumor down at the faculty club is that Richard Lariviere is back in town for a few days. After today’s events, it must seem like nothing’s changed. Maybe he’ll give Mike Schill some advice about how to deal with the UO General Counsel’s office.

9/18/2015: Governor Brown releases Kitzhaber emails on Lariviere firing

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Triplett and Coltrane reject Senate legislation wholesale

The letters are nominally from Scott Coltrane, but the metadata says they were written by AVP for Collaboration Chuck Triplett, complete with some interesting grammatical errors. I’ll post more on these in the next few days. From the president.uoregon.edu website:

Presidential responses to Senate actions

Interim President Scott Coltrane issued the following responses to University Senate actions in April and May 2015:

Resolution to create and make accessible more gender-inclusive restrooms on the UO campusUS14/15-30 Resolutions, presidential response (Rejected. Admins are confused about difference between legislation and resolution?)

Not in Our Name: The UO Senate Rejects UO’s Response to the Lawsuit from the Student Survivor of Alleged Rape, US14/15-55 Resolution, presidential response (Rejected.)

Payment by Athletic Department for General Academic Purposes, US13/14-31 Legislation, presidential response (Requests Senate withdrawal.)

Selection of the UO Faculty Athletics Representative, US13/14-50 Legislation, presidential response (Requests Senate withdrawal.)

Employee Morale-Building Event Expenditures US14/15-58 Policy, presidential response (Will keep Senate apprised.)

Appointing an IAC Faculty Member to the Special Athletics Admit Group, US12/13/12 Legislation, presidential response (Requests Senate withdrawal.)

Timeline for Administration’s Response to Recommendations Concerning Sexual Violence, US14/15-59 Legislation, presidential response (Sorry, I’m not sure what he’s saying here.)

Return Therapy Records and Clarify and strengthen Privacy and Confidentiality Guarantees for Clients of All Mental Health Clinics at the University, US14/15-60 Resolution, presidential response(Sorry, I’m not sure what he’s saying here.)

ASUO-Athletics Ticket Agreement, US14/15-52 Resolution, presidential response (Bad link.)

UO Faculty to Nominate UO Faculty Trustee, US14/15-61 Legislation, presidential respons(Requests Senate withdrawal.)

Chuck Triplett’s previous hire at OUS also skipped affirmative action procedures

Try hiring a new professor without scrupulously following the affirmative action hiring procedures: a public job posting, an open search, and diverse finalists. Break those rules and AAEO Director Penny Daugherty will tell you sorry, no hire this year.

Of course the rules are a little different for Johnson Hall.

Last summer Mike Gottfredson hired Chuck Triplett to be the Assistant VP for Collaboration between the UO Board, the administration, and the UO Senate, for $130K. Gottfredson didn’t make a public announcement of the job opening, didn’t appoint a hiring committee, didn’t ask the Senate what they thought of this, and he didn’t follow UO’s affirmative action rules.

As it turns out that’s not unusual for Triplett. His previous job was working for George Pernsteiner, as the OUS Board Secretary for $72K. How did he get hired? Surely OUS posted a job opening in the Chronicle of Higher Education, or at least Willamette Week? Craigslist? A notice on the OUS website? No. At least not according to none other than Chuck Triplett:

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 1.07.10 AM

The docs I did get are here. Pretty thin.

Hubin and Triplett keep an eye on Senate Exec discussions

Meeting today 403 Ford Alumni Center. As usual Johnson Hall has sent Dave Hubin and non-AA compliant hire Chuck Triplett to keep an eye on the meeting and report back.

I wonder what would happen if the Senate sent a few members to report to the Senate on what happens at Coltrane and Bronet’s Executive Leadership Team meetings? They’ve even removed the list of who is on that team from the President’s website.

UO has open, affirmative action compliant search for Assistant VP

I know, you think I must be kidding. Of course I’m not talking about Bronet and Coltrane’s AVP for Collaboration Chuck Triplett, whom UO was apparently forced to take off Pernsteiner’s hands as part of the deal for an independent board. UO hired him at $130K – a $58K raise – without a job announcement, search, or apparently even a job description. Lucky Chuck, I wonder what he promised Oregon’s good-old-boy network in return?

No, I’m talking about the Office of Equity and Inclusion’s new AVP for program evaluation. Job announcement and detailed job description here, three finalists with public job talks on campus this week, publicly announced on AroundThe0. What a revolutionary idea.

Triplett hire triggers OFCCP audit of UO’s affirmative action compliance?

That’s the latest rumor. Chuck Triplett is Pernsteiner’s former OUS Board secretary, hired by Gottfredson last summer to the new $130K position of “Assistant VP for Collaboration”, without an affirmative action compliant search or public notice. The OFCCP website says:

The purpose of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is to enforce, for the benefit of job seekers and wage earners, the contractual promise of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity required of those who do business with the Federal government.

Coltrane has already ordered a freeze and review of UO Strategic Communication’s hiring. I don’t know if this is related to that.

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:

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GradGate: Senate to investigate graduate fellowship cuts, missing $11M

2/5/2015 update:

A reader passes along this Brad Shelton powerpoint, which among other things documents the $1.5M Moffitt to Moffitt transfer:

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 9.15.58 PM

The bottom line though, is that there’s plenty of water in the well. Or at least that’s what Brad Shelton was telling UO’s academic deans in September:

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 9.30.35 PM

I wonder what changed?

2/4/2015 update: The Senate Executive Committee met today. The sudden cuts to graduate fellowships in some UO departments, right in the middle of grad recruiting, got some serious attention. Senate President Kyr is going to ask the Senate Budget Committee to look into the situation and report back to the Senate ASAP.

Meanwhile, in the absence of any information from President Coltrane or Provost Bronet, the rumors are flying. Please post yours in the comments, whilst adhering to the one cuss-word limit.

Isn’t it odd how it only takes Johnson Hall 3 hours to spam the entire university with a witch-hunt email accusing a professor and two archivists of an “unlawful release” of UO archives, but when it comes to something as crucial as graduate student fellowships, they wait until departments are bringing students to campus to tell us sorry, they spent that money on something else?

Speaking of where they spent the money, the Senate Exec Meeting was attended by UO’s new VP for Collaboration Chuck Triplett, who is tasked with spying on the faculty and reporting back to Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms. Pernsteiner paid Triplett $72K, but Angela Wilhelms is giving him $130K, and didn’t even make him go through an affirmative action compliant search. No wonder he’s so happy:

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 10.39.49 PM

What are the chances that chief collaborator Triplett will relay the news to the Board of Trustees that UO’s spending priorities are out of whack? How much are we paying Wilhelms?

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 10.54.30 PM

2/4/2015: UO cutting grad student fellowships?

That’s the rumor. If true, it means Chuck Lillis has decided that it would be more fun to play with UO if it were out of the AAU. If you know something, say something.