“Issues Management” spokesperson says UO paid professors $170K to avoid inconvenience

12/4/2019 update: Daily Emerald reporter

“For the reasons outlined in the University’s previously filed Answers and the settlement agreements, the University of Oregon and former Dean Christoph Lindner disagree with the plaintiffs’ allegations,” UO spokesperson Kay Jarvis said in a statement about the settlement. “The settlements were made to eliminate the cost and inconvenience of proceeding through trial.”

And President Schill still wonders why people don’t trust him? Come on, we all know Lindner fucked up. Why not have your Issues Management Director write these professors a nice apology, so we can move on.

12/3/2019: UO admin settles discrimination lawsuit for $170K+ costs etc.

No, I’m not talking about Prof Freyd’s gender discrimination lawsuit, this is the age discrimination lawsuit brought against former CoD Dean Christoph Lindner – it seems his email calling for “new blood” cost UO $250K or so. The Faculty Union’s Dave Cecil gets some well-deserved credit, and the end of the statement is worth getting to:

PRESS RELEASE

December 3, 2019

UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS WIN SETTLEMENT IN AGE DISCRIMINATION DISPUTE

Two Architecture Professors this week finalized a settlement of their age discrimination claims against the University of Oregon and former Dean Christoph Lindner. The monetary terms included payment by the University of $170,000 to Professor Warren (Gerry) Gast and Professor Hans Joachim (Hajo) Neis, who sued the University and Lindner for age discrimination and retaliation after an attempt to permanently reassign both professors from their long-standing faculty positions at the Portland campus to the Eugene Campus.

“The principles we stood for in the lawsuit are more important to us than the monetary settlement,” explained Gast. “When a former Dean who had less than one year in his position and no previous experience as a Dean transferred the oldest Portland tenured faculty members and retained younger and adjunct staff without credible justification, we felt we owed it to the program and to our faculty colleagues in the Department of Architecture to take action,” he added.

Both Professor Gast and Professor Neis maintained permanent residences in Portland and enjoyed strong ties to the Portland architecture community. Professor Gast had recently been appointed by the Portland Superintendent of Schools to the Master Plan Committee for Lincoln High School and participated in the successful Bond campaign to raise $790 million for public school reconstruction in Portland.

Professor Neis was the previous director of the Portland Architecture Program for more than seven years and is still the director of the internationally recognized Portland Urban Architecture Research Lab (PUARL), with yearly international conferences, research efforts and projects in Portland, the West Coast and internationally, with current work on the refugee crisis in Europe and its effect on cities, urban life, and housing: https://refugee.uoregon.edu/.

The settlement of the age discrimination and retaliation claims comes after the United Academics successfully resolved grievances for the professors providing for their continued assignment to the Portland campus for at least two years. In addition to the monetary terms, the settlement provides that Neis and Gast retain their ability to bring suit for breach of contract if they are thereafter reassigned to the Eugene Campus. According to Neis, “retaining that right to sue for breach of contract is necessary because our full status in Portland remains officially unresolved.”

“Our personal and professional lives were disrupted for two years while our Grievance and lawsuit played out,” stated Professor Gast. “The graduate courses we normally taught in Portland were subsequently taught by less expensive part-time adjunct faculty,” added Professor Neis. “This is a troubling precedent for a research university,” he said.

“It took two and a half years to reach this result for Gast and Neis,” said Portland Employment Attorney Craig Crispin, who represented them. “I was impressed by my clients’ dedication and persistence in pressing for what they thought was the right thing,” he added. “It was a combined effort with David Cecil of United Academics to achieve justice for our respective clients,” Crispin concluded.

Gast noted that “most disconcerting in our case was our belief that the University made unsubstantiated statements in its response to our lawsuit and complaint before the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. This conduct undermines confidence in the integrity of the University administration.” Both professor Gast and Professor Neis report being satisfied with the settlement of the lawsuit and of their grievance. “We look forward to a new era of more respectful leadership within the College of Design,” Gast noted.

 

-30-

Contact:

Craig A. Crispin

Crispin Employment Law PC

1834 SW 58th Avenue

Portland, Oregon 97221

Telephone: 503-293-5759

crispin@employmentlaw-nw.com

 

Architecture profs sue Dean Christoph Linder for age discrimination

Daily Emerald reporters Michael Tobin and Zach Price have the scoop here, read it all. Some snippets:

Three University of Oregon professors associated with the university’s Portland architecture program are suing UO and College of Design Dean Christoph Lindner for just under $4.3 million, alleging that Lindner and the university engaged in age discrimination and retaliation as well as breach of contract, according to court documents.

Professors Warren Gerald GastHans Joachim Neis and Donald Genasci, born in 1944, 1947 and 1938, respectively, all worked as architecture professors at the UO architecture program in Portland. According to the individual complaints filed by the professors, they “were the oldest three faculty members in the Portland Architecture program in 2017 and 2018.” [UOM: Click names for pdfs of the complaints, which are worth reading.]

The complaints say that the three professors received notices in May 2017 from Lindner notifying them that they would be relocated from Portland to the UO’s Eugene campus. The two other Portland architecture faculty members, who were under 60-years-old, were not asked to leave, according to the complaints.

… The complaints say that Lindner wanted the reassignment because the Portland program “needed ‘new energy’” and was “stale.” According to the complaints, Lindner “was motivated by his desire for ‘new blood’” and that the “‘reassignment’ had ‘nothing to do with budget.’”

The university disagrees with the claims made in the lawsuits, according to an email statement from UO spokeswoman Molly Blancett.

“As noted in their complaints, they filed similar claims with the Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI), and those claims were dismissed,” Blancett wrote on Friday. “In light of the pending litigation, we are unable to provide additional information at this time but will address the allegations in the court proceedings.” …

“Unable to provide additional information”? Come on. The university administration has regularly provided additional information about litigation, when they think it will help them.