UO commemorates 3rd annual Gottfredson Day by not suing him for legal fees

8/9/2017:  Three years ago yesterday the UO Board of Trustees paid President Mike Gottfredson $940K to leave town immediately. Half up front, the rest within two weeks. In exchange, Gottfredson released UO from all liability related to his brief and disastrous employment as UO President and agreed to pay his own attorney costs, etc:

I’m no Harvard law professor, but I think it’s the $940K that makes that a legally enforceable contract, not just a promise:

 

But will UO enforce it?

As reported in this Jack Moran story in the RegisterGuard last month, after winning dismissal of the federal court case by the three former Dana Altman basketball players and alleged rapists who had argued that UO and Gottfredson had illegally ruined their basketball careers by kicking them off the team and campus without due process, the UO General Counsel’s office announced that they would sue the players for legal costs:

The University of Oregon is seeking reimbursement of nearly $53,000 in attorney fees and court costs from three former Ducks basketball players who sued the UO after being kicked out of school following a rape investigation in 2014.

The university on Friday filed a motion for fees and costs in U.S. District Court. The move comes nearly two months after a federal judge dismissed civil lawsuits brought by the players, who were banned from campus for up to 10 years but did not face criminal charges after a female student accused them of sexual assault.

In the request for reimbursement, lawyers for the UO characterize the lawsuits — filed by Brandon Austin, Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson — as frivolous and unreasonable.

“The university rarely seeks prevailing party fees,” the motion states. “But in this case, plaintiffs pursued claims that lacked any reasonable basis in law or fact, which forced the university to waste considerable public resources.” …

Seems iffy, unless of course you’re one of the Miller Nash Graham & Dunn attorneys that UO is paying by the hour at $350 per. In contrast the contract with Gottfredson is pretty clear cut. So why won’t the UO General Counsel’s office unleash Miller Nash et al to take Mike Gottfredson to court over his share of the Austin et al legal fees?

I don’t know, but there are many more details in the court docket here, including plenty of expensive conversations with “Dr. Gottfredson” in the detailed billing records:

8/8/2016: UO to mark 2nd Gottfredson Day with traditional appearance in Federal Court

[Remember the Hat Day is November 21].

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UO hires Barran & Liebman’s Shayda Le, pleas for more time on Freyd lawsuit

From the docket here:

ORDER: Granting Defendant’s Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to Answer 6 . Answer is due by 5/18/2017. Ordered by Judge Michael J. McShane. (cp) (Entered: 04/17/2017)

Attorney Shayda Le of Portland’s Barran Liebman law firm is the same lawyer our administration hired, along with partner Edwin Harden, to defend Shelley Kerr and Robin Holmes against the lawsuit from UO counselors Karen Stokes and Jennifer Morlok over then Interim GC Doug Park’s effort to get them to give the GCO Jane Doe’s confidential counseling records, during Doe’s lawsuit against UO over the basketball rape allegations. I forget how much we paid out to settle that one.

GC Kevin Reed also hired her and Harden to investigate the “Halloween party incident”. That report is here. The commenters were not impressed with it.

Meanwhile, Freyd’s lawyer is Jennifer Middleton of Eugene’s Johnson, Johnson and Schaller law firm. Middleton was one of Jane Doe’s lawyers.

UO kicks off Constitution Day festivities with warning from Prof Frank Stahl

Sorry, long post, which includes a letter on internal threats to the principle of shared governance from Professor Emeritus of Biology Frank Stahl, and information on the 2012 threat from the administration to dissolve the UO Senate and Faculty Assembly.

Five years ago on Dec 15th 2011 the UO Faculty Assembly ratified the UO Constitution, codifying the roles of the Senate and the Faculty Assembly in shared governance. President Lariviere signed it on Dec 15th, as his last official act:

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To mark the 5th anniversary, Professor Emeritus of Biology Frank Stahl sent this letter on his concern that the closed Faculty Advisory Council may subvert the open processes of the Senate:

On Constitution Day, the Old Man Reflects on Governance

The University of Oregon Charter dictates that the President and professors share the responsibility for governing the University: “The President and professors constitute the faculty of the University, and, as such, shall have the immediate government and discipline of it and the students therein…” (Oregon Revised Statutes, ORS § 352.010; originally section 14 of Law No. 9, Oregon Laws 1876)

Over the years, University governance drifted away from the requirements of the Charter, until, in November, 2008, a letter from the Oregon Department of Justice (DoJ) (www.uoregon.edu/~assembly/dirSF/dirExtra/DOJOP6735.pdf) condemned the UO’s entire governance structure as being in violation of that law.

The DoJ letter prompted the University to create a University Senate with governance authority (and broad membership) subject to oversight by an Assembly (comprised exclusively of Statutory Faculty). These governing bodies, and the relations between them, were defined in a Constitution that prohibited the Senate from delegating any of the governance authority entrusted to it.

UO Constitution, Section “7.1 … The governance authority conferred upon the University Senate may not be delegated in whole or in part to any officer or committee of the University Senate or to any other body.”

However, the Senate does appear to have delegated governance authority to its Faculty Advisory Council. This Council (FAC) has all the trappings of a branch of governance and is insulated from all oversight (December 15, 2015, Senate meeting). Officially, the FAC is charged with being “…responsible for providing the President and other Administration officials with faculty opinion and counsel on the wide range of university affairs.”  It is composed of elected faculty members, the Provost and Assistant Provost, the ASUO President and a couple of elected Officers of Administration as well as the Senate President and Vice President and, of course, the University President. It is allowed to operate in secrecy. The FAC’s charge naively states, “The FAC is purely advisory…”

But, what is the reality of the FAC?  Its composition gives it the gravitas of a governance body, and the FAC has labeled itself as a component of governance: “It [the FAC] is a key arm of shared governance.” (End of year FAC report, June 2013.)  One might say, “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck … “

Harm to the Senate: By looking like a powerful secret body, the FAC attracts governance activists. In so doing, it starves the Senate of candidates, weakening that body. The harm done to the Senate doesn’t end there.

Conflicts of Interest: As ex officio members of the FAC, the Senate President and Vice President are confidential advisors to the University President. At the same time, the Senate Officers have been elected, by the Senate, to openly serve the Senate in its role as the channel by which the Faculty can make its wishes known and acted upon. Do you think that being in service to both the President and the Senate creates the potential for conflict of interest?  You can bet your old Nike AJs it does!

Presidential Interference in the Senate? An early, post 1996, Senate President asserted (to me) that a University President sought to manipulate Senate activities by pressuring him.  Later, in 2002, a President pressured the individual Senators (http://www.dailyemerald.com/2003/02/20/assembly-opens-iraq-dialogue/) to forgo both debate and voting on a certain resolution.

Subsequent examples of apparent presidential interference in the operations of the Senate are only inferred and best left unsaid.  However, the charge of interference gains credibility by the recent public testimony of a former Senate President that the University President does, indeed, interfere with the Senate (at 2:18;50 of the video at https://youtu.be/qn1T21TlS_0?t=2h8m2s).

      The President is, of course, free to influence the Senate by making his views known. He can efficiently do that by addressing the Senate in open forum. (That’s why the Constitution made him a non-voting member of the Senate.)  But influence becomes interference if the influence is concealed under a cloak of confidentiality, which is handily available in the FAC.

What can the Senate do to help secure a future for open, shared governance? Deep-sixing the FAC would be the best solution. The gains in the goal of transparent, constitutional governance are obvious. The losses include the FAC members’ weekly(?) hot lunch in the JH conference room.

         A less draconian step would be the removal of Senators from the FAC. This simple step would both reduce the FAC’s temptation to act as a governance body and would eliminate the lever by which the President can exert cryptic control of the Senate. It would also relieve the Senate Officers of the obligation of performing as Confidential Advisors to the President, freeing them to more fully serve the Senate.

The future of our Constitutional shared governance depends on acceptance of the Senate as the University’s sole body of internal governance. The Senate can achieve that acceptance only by freeing itself from control by the FAC. Go, Ducks!

Speaking for myself, I disagree that there is a conflict between faculty participation in open shared governance via the Senate and the closed (but elected) Faculty Advisory Council. I think they are complementary, and the more overlap between the two bodies the better. While President Michael Schill has done a lot to promote shared governance through the Senate, and make it more effective, I think future threats to shared governance with some future president are more likely to come from some future administration appointing un-elected faculty to its own “Advisory Groups”.

The extreme case would be this secret plan devised by former GC Randy Geller under Interim President Bob Berdahl. The Senate only found out about this plan from the fortuitous release of the digital Presidential Archives, or as current Deputy GC Doug Park calls it, “The Incident”:

1/4/2015: The UO administration’s secret plan to abolish the UO Senate

UO Matters operatives have obtained a “confidential” memo from former UO General Counsel Randy Geller to former Interim President Bob Berdahl, recommending that Berdahl abolish the University Senate and prohibit most faculty members from being members of the Faculty Personnel Committee, Faculty Advisory Counsel, Student Conduct committee, the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, etc.

Geller made this recommendation three weeks after the administration admitted defeat over the faculty union. The full memo is here. As you can see it advises:

1) abolition of the current UO Senate and all its committees;

2) creation of a new faculty-only Senate, limited to making recommendations to the administration;

3) membership on key committees to be restricted to non-bargaining unit faculty; and

4) other committees replaced by “administrative advisory groups” serving at the president’s pleasure.

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Geller’s proposal seems insane, but key parts of it have already been implemented, and it seems the likely source for the statements Interim President Coltrane made at the December emergency Senate Exec meeting about the need for changes in faculty governance “given our new unionized environment”. Coltrane has kept the administrative advisory groups that Bob Berdahl and Mike Gottfredson set up to replace Senate committees, such as the President’s Advisory Group on Intercollegiate Athletics, the Budget Advisory Group, and the Public Records Administrative Advisory Group.

Coltrane has also been working with new UO AVP Chuck Triplett (the former OUS apparatchik who helped Pernsteiner fire Richard Lariviere) and new University Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms to set up a President-appointed Policy Advisory Committee, and revoke the faculty authority that has existed since the founding of the University of Oregon and which is a normal part of faculty governance at other universities. …

Portland Tribune editors interview President Schill about – lawsuits.

Online here. I’ll take a guess that he was hoping to talk about his “Oregon Commitment” initiatives, instead of having to rehash and defend Doug Park’s lousy decisions for the nth time:

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… University of Oregon President Michael Schill defended the university’s actions regarding a December 2014 transfer of medical records from the counseling center to its General Counsel. Schill spoke during a Wednesday, Nov. 11, meeting of the Portland Tribune editorial board.

Schill says he is open to criticism “that is constructive criticism and that isn’t demonization criticism or criticism which is based upon salacious details. Or, alternatively, actions that are really just designed to generate money for the complainants. There’s a big business out there of lawyers doing this sort of thing.”

… Morlok says her supervisor, Shelly Kerr, also asked her not to respond to a request from the Jane Doe sexual assault victim for a summary letter of her medical treatment after the victim had filed a notice to sue with the University. Morlok says she felt uncomfortable with the request to provide “nonstandard care” to a student client who intended to sue the university so wrote the letter anyway. Morlok says her employment was threatened as a result.

Schill, however, says none of the university’s actions was illegal. Morlock and Stokes, he says, “ ‘whistleblowed’ on something that was legal, but that’s fine.”

Schill, who was Dean of the University of Chicago Law School until his July 1 appointment to the UO presidency, says the lawsuit was not a surprise.

“Everybody knew that she was setting it up this way,” he says.

… “We’ve gone out of our way to get better and we’re going to continue to get better,” he says. “We’ll learn and do better.”

Here’s what I wrote last week, when Jennifer Morlok resigned. Her amazing letter to President Schill is here.

11/2/2015: Ms Morlok was Jane Doe’s counselor at UO. Her decision to fight General Counsel Doug Park’s efforts to get her client’s counseling records has led or will lead to improvements in state and federal law and UO policy. UO needs more people like her. She’s a hero.

But the UO administration has treated her like a pariah. She took it for a year, at great personal cost. Now she has resigned, after a year of retaliation from UO. It’s heartbreaking. We can’t afford to lose people like this.

As for people we can afford to lose – Doug Park, Sam Hill, Shelley Kerr, Robin Holmes – the people who made the decision to get Jane Doe’s records, and who led UO into more than a year of expensive national embarrassment? (Legal costs and Jane Doe settlement alone ~$1.6M). They are still here, still making decisions, still collecting their paychecks, still due for their next raises.

More students punished for sexual assault are winning in court

11/5/2015:

Jake New has the analysis in InsideHigherEd. The start:

Last week, Brandon Austin, a former college basketball player, filed a lawsuit against the University of Oregon for $7.5 million, arguing that administrators there violated his rights when they suspended him over his alleged involvement in a gang rape.

Austin was able to transfer to a community college and play basketball there last season, but has since left to (so far, unsuccessfully) pursue a professional basketball career. In the lawsuit, Austin claims that the punishment caused him emotional distress and lessened his chances of one day playing in the National Basketball Association. His case joins more than 50 other pending lawsuits filed by men who say they were unfairly kicked off campus after being accused of sexual assault.

If filed last year, Austin’s lawsuit would have seemed like a long shot, especially as the athlete had been accused of sexual assault at another institution before he enrolled at Oregon. But accused students suing the institutions that suspended or expelled them are now increasingly winning those lawsuits, including at least four cases in the last four months. …

10/30/2015 Klinger: Unfortunate that Mr. Austin has decided to defend his rights

Kyle Wizner has the latest in the Daily Emerald. UO Duck Advocate Tobin Klinger:

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Austin has decided to pursue this type of lawsuit, and we intend to vigorously defend the university. We’re confident Mr. Austin was afforded fair and consistent due process that fully complied with the university’s legal obligations. We cannot provide further comment because this is pending litigation,”

Of course if UO was trying to nail a professor, archivist, counseling psychologist, or cop, or just destroy their reputation, Klinger would be happy to provide a lot more comment. Or even hold a news conference or two, if he thought it would help his boss:

10/29/2015: Brandon Austin sues UO, Mike Gottfredson, Robin Holmes, etc. for $7.5M

Not exactly a surprise. Tyson Alger in the Oregonian. A snippet:

Former Oregon men’s basketball player Brandon Austin is seeking $7.5 million in damages in a lawsuit against the University of Oregon, former president Michael R. Gottfredson and three others.

The 18-page lawsuit, filed Thursday in Lane County Circuit Court, alleges that the university, the former president, UO director of Student Conduct & Community Standards Sandy Weintraub, assistant dean of students Chicora Martin and vice president of student life Robin Holmes, violated Austin’s rights by unfairly suspending him and not providing due process, among other things.

In the suit, Austin claims personal and professional harm, emotional distress, a lesser chance of playing in the NBA, and loss of future income following his dismissal from the university in June 2014 following a sexual assault allegation against him and two teammates in the spring of 2014. The suit, filed by attorneys Alan C. Milstein of New Jersey and Marianne Dugan of Eugene, claims Austin “committed no sexual assault.”

Charges were never filed against Austin and teammates Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson. All three players were dismissed from the university and barred from campus for at least four years, and up to 10, in June 2014.

The alleged sexual assault took place in the early hours of March 9, 2014, as players and students celebrated the Ducks’ victory against No. 3 Arizona in the regular-season finale. Five weeks later, in April, the Lane Country District Attorney declined to charge Austin, Dotson and Artis, citing “conflicting statements and actions by the victim” while acknowledging that the Eugene Police Department’s investigation revealed there was nonetheless “no doubt the incidents occurred.” …

Brandon Austin’s full complaint is here. What did former UO General Counsel Randy Geller and his Associate GC Doug Park know, and when did they know it? I have the feeling we’re going to find out:

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“Refused to provide unredacted reports?” I’m shocked that Mr. Austin would claim that UO would do this. Shocked.

Brandon Austin’s attorney’s are local lawyer Marianne Dugan and NJ lawyer Alan C. Milstein, a noted expert on the sperm donor industry. Really.

His favorite words are “preeminent”, “prominent”, and “prestigious:

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Ms Dugan’s website is here:

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ESPN reports on Brandon Austin, Jennifer Morlok, Doug Park

To be broadcast this Thursday, 10:30AM West Coast time on ESPN’s Outside The Lines.

The full broadcast apparently includes an interview with UO counselor Jennifer Morlok, who blew the whistle after UO lawyers Doug Park and Sam Hill got the records of her confidential counseling sessions with Jane Doe, the survivor of an alleged gang-rape by Duck basketball players. I’m guessing Doug Park’s part will be a brief no comment.

UO paid $800K to Jane Doe, who had sued over the counseling records and an alleged lack of due diligence by coach Dana Altman. Altman recruited Austin to UO while he was suspended from Providence College over an alleged sexual assault.

Morlok’s whistleblowing has already led to changes and proposed changes in Oregon and US law and UO policies to protect students.

Austin is now suing UO, alleging he was expelled without due process.

Extract from the ESPN archive here:

Doug Park brings still more embarassment to UO

10/24/2015 update: From the Ornstein stories in the Chronicle and ProPublica:

“I don’t blame the University of Oregon for a rape,” she said. “It’s not their fault. I blame them for how they responded to it. I found out months later that every single meeting I had with a therapist, she took detailed notes on, and the University of Oregon had read these notes before I had even seen them.”

And now there’s a Slate op-ed about the reports, here

Viewing medical records for medical reasons could help a university protect a student at risk of harm. But the University of Oregon’s meddling into Hanson’s private account of her rape would have only helped the university protect itself. The value of therapy lies in the patient’s expectation of confidentiality; if a student thinks her private exchanges with a doctor could resurface in the office of a university administrator, helping her heal will be much harder. A therapist’s office can be one of the only safe spaces available to a rape survivor on a college campus. Exploiting that trust to try to avoid paying a legal settlement is a cynical maneuver that can only exacerbate an already-low rape reporting rate.

The Jane Doe records seizure happened on Doug Park and Sam Hill’s watch. The Hanson incident apparently took place while Randy Geller was GC. I think the correct phrase here is “institutional betrayal”.

10/23/2015: Chronicle and ProPublica report on UO counseling record confidentiality

Reporting by Charles Ornstein, here. He picks up on the report first made in the Eugene Weekly in May by Camilla Mortensen, below. (Without citing her – wow is that bad form.)

Ornstein gets Doug Park to offer a complete and utter apology for the UO General Counsel Office’s behavior in these two cases:

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Is Doug Park alive? Who is Randy Geller? Jamie Moffitt? Did McDermed go rogue?

10/9/2015: Just some of the questions raised by the Bowl of Dicks trial transcripts.

I’ve never looked at trial transcripts before, but if reading the good work of the Honorable Judge David O. Carter presiding doesn’t restore a little faith in the American judicial system and give you a few laughs along the way then you are a worse cynic than I am.

How did Johnson Hall let the incompetence, harassment, retaliation, and backstabbing revealed in these transcripts go on for years? These people call themselves leaders? How many careers have been ruined on their watch?

Here are the trial transcripts. The docket, here, lists who is testifying on which day.

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FINAL-MINI-9-10-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 3

FINAL-MINI-9-11-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 4

FINAL-MINI-9-14-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 5

FINAL-MINI-9-15-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 6

FINAL-MINI-9-16-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 7

FINAL-MINI-9-21-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 8

FINAL-MINI-9-22-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 9

FINAL-MINI-9-23-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 10

FINAL-MINI-9-24-15-Carter-CV-Day 11-1

FINAL-MINI-9-25-15-Carter-CV-Trial Day 12-Verdict

And some excerpts:

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UO General Counsel Randy Geller was fired resigned to spend more time with his family during the midst of the basketball rape allegation cover-up. He now works at HLGR with Andrea Coit. Not hard to imagine why she wouldn’t want the jury to know that.

And was UOPD Chief Carolyn McDermed’s retaliation against former officer James Cleavenger done against the advice and without the knowledge of former UO GC Randy Geller and former interim UO GC Doug Park? Or did the retaliation occur on their advice? With their knowledge? Did they give the full facts to Lane County DA Alex Gardner when he was considering Brady Listing James Cleavenger?

The court wants to know, but as it happens Andrea Coit, the HLGR lawyer, has redacted a key document. Funny how often that happens here at UO, but Judge Carter is not amused:

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Alive but conveniently not in court, lest Judge Carter haul his ass onto the witness stand and swear him in.

So did Randy Geller and Doug Park know what Chief McDermed was up to with the retaliatory Brady listing? I’ll be damned if I can figure that out from these transcripts. Comments welcome.

9/29/2015: Kafoury and McDougal accuse Doug Park and HLGR of participating in UOPD retaliation against Cleavenger

I don’t know if this would be a violation of the Bar’s ethics rules. From the website of the Kafoury and McDougal law firm that won the Cleavenger case:

Today, a federal jury in Portland awarded $755,000 to James Cleavenger, a former public safety officer at the University of Oregon who claimed retaliation and loss of his law enforcement career at the hands of the University of Oregon Chief of Police and two commanders. The jury found that defendants Chief Carolyn McDermed, Lt. Brandon Lebrecht, and former Sgt. Scott Cameron violated Mr. Cleavenger’s First Amendment free speech rights for speaking out on police policy and matters of public concern, of which his superiors disapproved.

As a University of Oregon law student in 2008, Cleavenger spoke out against arming the University of Oregon officers with tasers without proper training and a use of force policy with input from the campus community. Evidence at the trial showed that defendants resented his comments at the time, were baffled that he was later hired by the department, and the jury found that because of his taser speech this lead to papering his file and terminating him. The jury also found Cleavenger was secretly placed on the Lane County District Attorney’s “Brady List,” a process which blacklists officers found to be “dishonest,” effectively ending an officer’s law enforcement career.

Attorneys including Doug Park, University of Oregon’s Acting General Counsel, participated in the decision to “Brady List” Mr. Cleavenger. The University of Oregon was represented by Andrea Coit of Harrang Long Gary Rudnick P.C. in Eugene, who participated in the efforts to have Cleavenger “Brady Listed.” The decision to “Brady List” Cleavenger came immediately upon the heels of the decision by a neutral arbitrator that Cleavenger’s firing was improper and that he was entitled to reinstatement. The arbitrator further rejected all of the department’s accusations of dishonesty by Cleavenger. Despite the Arbitrator’s decision, UOPD tried to renew these claims of dishonesty by Cleavenger without providing the DA the Arbitrator’s actual decision, in a deliberate attempt to try to block Cleavenger’s reinstatement and in retaliation for Cleavenger filing his lawsuit.

9/25/2015: It’s not about the Bowl of Dicks: Jury awards Cleavenger $650K+$105K punitive damages

It’s about the UOPD’s retaliation against him for exercising his 1st Amendment rights. He’d only asked for $400K.

Testimony showed UO’s Interim GC Doug Park was also involved in Cleavenger’s firing and knew about the UOPD’s retaliation efforts though he was not a defendant. Cleavenger has another case against UO pending in state court. The Oregonian’s Betsy Hammond elaborates on the involvement of Park and others, in the comments on her story on the verdict:

There was extensive testimony and documentary evidence about the role that Linda King, Brian Smith, Doug Park and others played in giving the officer written notice spelling out why he was going to be fired, in holding meetings and hearing on his discipline, in putting written materials into his file, etc. Chief McDermed testified she ran the Brady listing plans past Doug Park.

No info yet on how much Andrea Coit and Jonathan Hood will earn from losing this case, but HLGR typically charges ~$300 an hour. That’s a lot for lawyers who manage to lose a case so badly the jury awards more than the plaintiff asked for.

While UO claimed that insurance would pay for the lawyers and damages, that does not appear to be true – we’re in the PURMIT risk pool with the other state universities.

The report from Betsy Hammond is in the Oregonian here. A snippet:

“This is a victory for every honest police officer,” said Jason Kafoury, Cleavenger’s lead lawyer. “The jury today honored and enforced an officer’s right to speak freely on matters of public concern, regardless of whether their superiors approve.”

University of Oregon spokesman Tobin Klinger said Friday morning he needed additional time to provide the university’s perspective on the legal defeat.

Actually, Duck Advocate Tobin Klinger’s perspective on this First Amendment case is already on the record, in a letter to the editor he sent to the RG shortly after getting hired by UO for $115K to manage relations with the press and reading Diane Dietz’s July 11th 2014 story on the Bowl:

Story aimed for shock value

I’m a recent transplant to Eugene, having spent a majority of my adult and professional life working with media in northwest Ohio.

Like many, I idealized life in the Pacific Northwest. Eugene and its people have lived up to my vision. Eugene is access to independent film, unique foods, outdoor activities, cultural happenings and community pride.

I don’t know that this shines through on the pages of The Register-Guard, particularly with the sophomoric “reporting” of Diane Dietz.

I admit to having a bias. Dietz covers my employer, the University of Oregon. In my role as head of UO public affairs communications, it is my job to defend the integrity and the reputation of the university. I advocate for faculty, staff, students, administration and athletics. I advocate for the Ducks.

Earning positive attention is a challenge with a reporter who is more interested in pandering to the lowest common denominator than demonstrating the value of higher education. Where else would you see the phrase “bowl of —–” five times in a single news article (Register-Guard, July 11)? This obvious play for shock value diverted attention away from the fact that the reporter waited 26 paragraphs before sharing important details from the university.

Moreover, this same newspaper in February dedicated significant space to a major Sunday story that used a blatant stereotype of Chinese students as its primary theme.

Even though I’m new here, I’m certain this community deserves better.

Tobin Klinger, Senior director Public Affairs Communications, University of Oregon, Eugene

So it’s not exactly a mystery why UO’s relationship with the press has gone from bad to worse under Klinger. The First Amendment is our lowest common denominator? Continuing with Hammond’s report:

The jurors found McDermed violated Cleavenger’s First Amendment rights when she fired him in 2012, then again in 2014 when she and Lebrecht created a huge, potentially career-ending dossier designed to prove Cleavenger was too untruthful to testify in court.

Jurors ironically decided that it was McDermed who most likely lied under oath when she testified that she ordered creation of that dossier because she was worried Clevenger was a danger to himself and other officers, not because he complained to her superiors and filed a lawsuit that made her and her department a national laughingstock.

And then:

The UO’s top lawyers and human resources officials were intimately involved in the decision to fire Cleavenger, and McDermed testified Douglas Park, then UO’s No. 2 in-house lawyer, knew she was going to try to get Cleavenger on the Brady list. Since then, Park was promoted on an interim basis to UO’s top interim lawyer, but he is slated to return to the No. 2 job when a permanent successor takes over in about a week.

Kafoury said, “It’s a disgrace that the attorneys for the university were in on the decision to Brady list and ruin Clevenger’s career” while defending UO against a lawsuit alleging retribution for whistleblowing.

And then:

Cleavenger also brought to light the department’s petty, vindictive management style and the lack of professional training and record-keeping. Although he had been UO’s most productive safety officer, McDermed eventually ordered Cleavenger, via an intermediary, not to report any crimes except felonies – an order that appears to violate a high-profile federal campus safety law.

The verdict is in:

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9/24/2015: Harrang lawyers claim Bowl of Dicks not “a matter of public concern”, judge disagrees

The Honorable David O. Carter must have an art history degree. He rejected HLGR’s last minute plea, apparently without snickering, and the jury is now deliberating. Docket here.

9/23/2015: HLGR lawyers claim Bowl of Dicks not “a matter of public concern”

That’s what they want the judge to tell the jurors when they get the case in the next day or two. The complaint from UO’s HLGR lawyers about the judge’s proposed jury instructions is below.

Given the large public response to the press coverage of this case – Tobin Klinger chimed in too – this argument ignores the foundation of modern economics, Paul Samuelson’s Weak Axiom of Revealed Preference. It also contradicts the “De gustibus non est disputandum” work of two other Nobel Prize winners, George Stigler and Gary Becker.

So maybe HLGR’s lawyers majored in literature, not economics? It’s news to me, but wikipedia says that the modern meaning of the phrase comes from Fyodor Dostoyevsky. OK, so not every lit major makes it through The Brothers Karamazov.

Or maybe they were Art History majors? Apparently not. One of the most celebrated works of famed Renaissance artist Francisco Urbini is, yes, a Bowl of Dicks. The BBC – how’s that for classy – has the report here.

Sorry, but the public is plenty interested in the bowl, dicks, and the First Amendment and retaliation issues the combination has raised, as Diane Dietz explains very well in the RG, here.

The BBC:

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Yes, I bet it was. Probably a lawyer. The great thing about great art is its timeless relevance to our daily lives.

Here’s HLGR’s plea to the judge for a change in the jury instructions:

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President Schill and GC Kevin Reed announce strong counseling confidentiality policy

I’m no law professor, but this policy seems to put to rest worries that UO will ever again access confidential student counseling records for questionable purposes.

It’s also notable in that the Oregon Bar ethics complaint against UO Interim General Counsel Doug Park and Associate General Counsel Sam Hill for obtaining the records, and the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiner’s proposed $5K fine against UO Counseling Director Shelly Kerr for releasing them, are still in various stages of appeals.

This new policy will not help these administrators’ cases – it will hurt them by making clear that what happened was wrong, and needed to be fixed. But it will help address the student concerns about UO’s institutional betrayal over sexual assaults that were identified by Jennifer Freyd. Which is more important.

UO’s new administration has done the right thing. A lot of people worked very hard to get us to this point, and I hope they are celebrating tonight. None of this would have come to light without the whistleblowing of CTS employees Jennifer Morlock and Karen Stokes, who have filed notice of a retaliation claim against UO.

The new policy is here, and here’s the announcement:

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UO Counseling Director Shelly Kerr fined $5K for giving Jane Doe records to Doug Park’s GC office

That’s the report from a normally well informed source. (Now confirmed, see below for the report).

Today the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners imposed a $5,000 fine on Dr. Shelly Kerr, Director of the University of Oregon Counseling and Testing Center, for actions relating to the transfer of counseling records to the Office of General Counsel.  The Board also ordered her to undergo additional ethical training.  (The Board dismissed charges against VP Robin Holmes and Brooks Morse, Associate Director Training Director, and Joseph DeWitz, Assistant Director and Clinical Director.)

Dr. Kerr’s license record is here: http://obpe.alcsoftware.com/licdetail.php?id=1500, and the Board’s report is here. The latest I have on the retaliation lawsuit by Karen Stokes and Jennifer Morlock, who filed the complaint with the Board, is here. UO strategic communicator Tobin Klinger’s response to that one is here.

Stokes and Morlock also filed a Oregon Bar ethics complaint against Interim General Counsel Doug Park and his Associate GC Samantha Hill. The bar initially dismissed it but they’ve appealed, and presumably this will make it more difficult for the Bar’s Ethics Committee to look the other way:

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UO’s Tobin Klinger in denial about Jane Doe’s confidential counseling records

8/21/2015: Diane Dietz of the RG has more, here:

UO psychology professor Jennifer Freyd, who pushed to make the UO counseling center records private, said she was “very, very pleased” with the Education Department’s guidance.

“They’ve gone a long way to clarifying the situation,” Freyd said Thursday. “The only way people are going to be able to get help for psychological suffering is if they feel that their information is going to be private. That’s at the heart of therapy.”

UO spokesman Tobin Klinger issued a statement saying: “The guidance itself is quite helpful and serves to clarify best practices in highly sensitive and complicated situations, because obviously basic common sense and decency have no effect on the UO’s General Counsel’s office.”

OK, I totally made up the last part of that Klinger quote, but it’s what everyone is thinking, and the RG editorial board is not afraid to say it:

The University of Oregon shouldn’t need a six-page letter from the U.S. Department of Education to tell it to respect the privacy of students’ medical and counseling records. But the department’s letter clarifies what ought to be a matter of common sense: Universities provide health services to promote their students’ physical and mental well-being, but students will avoid those services if they have reason to believe their medical records might somehow be used against them. …

8/20/2015: Rich Read has the latest trust-destroying quote from UO’s chief strategic communicator Tobin Klinger, in the Oregonian here:

A federal official advised universities this week to not share a student’s medical records without written consent, contradicting the University of Oregon’s release of an alleged gang-rape victim’s therapy records to the school’s lawyers.

The six-page draft letter from Kathleen Styles, the U.S. Education Department’s chief privacy officer, was issued this week after repeated inquiries by The Oregonian/Oregonlive and members of Oregon’s congressional delegation.

In effect, the letter steamrolls a UO Counseling Center confidentiality policy weakened in March by center director Shelly Kerr, clinical director Joseph DeWitz and university lawyer Samantha Hill. The Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners is investigating four UO psychologists, including the two center managers, after Kerr secretly gave the woman’s records to university attorneys in December without seeking her permission or notifying her therapist, Jennifer Morlok.

… But Tobin Klinger, UO senior director of public affairs communications, said the letter reinforced the UO’s policies.

“It is also completely consistent with how the university has always operated,” Klinger said Thursday in an emailed statement.

Asked whether Styles’ letter contradicted UO Counseling Center’s confidentiality policy, and whether the letter might support Morlok’s Bar and Psychology Board complaints, Klinger said: “If those reviewing the approach taken by the university choose to apply the guidance, it will undoubtedly help to validate the actions that were taken.”

The letter of guidance interprets federal laws and regulations in a way that appears to give new impetus to an appeal filed recently by Morlok with the Oregon State Bar. The lawyers’ professional organization dismissed complaints she lodged against UO attorneys Hill and Douglas Park.

Meanwhile Klinger’s new boss Kyle Henley is on his way from Colorado, but UO is still sitting on his job search materials. From what I can tell there was no public job announcement. For the VP for Communications? Not exactly the way to rebuild trust:

Subject: pub rec request VP for Communications info
Date: August 12, 2015 at 10:53:55 AM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Greg Stripp <stripp@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton:

This is a public records request for the following documents relevant to the recent hire of a new VP for Communications

1) Job announcement
2) resumes and cover letters for finalists
3) Search committee members

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest. I’m ccing Greg Stripp as he should have these document easily at hand.

8/19/2015: US Dept of Ed moves to close Doug Park’s counseling confidentiality loophole

Some good consequences from the March 2014 basketball rape allegations, and more evidence for why the truth about UO’s extraordinary efforts to hide these allegations from the public and its bungled efforts to deal with them needs to be revealed before UO can put this behind us.

Credit for this proposed change in FERPA should go to UO Professors Jennifer Freyd and Carol Stabile and a gang of other UO faculty, students, OA’s, and staff who used the newspapers, a change.org petition, and a UO Senate resolution to publicize how the UO General Counsel’s office and VP for Student Affairs Robin Holmes had seized Jane Doe’s confidential records from her counselor at the UO Counseling center. Oregonian editorial here. RG editorial and Freyd Op-Ed here.

Meanwhile the OA’s who first reported that the UO GC had taken the records have filed a tort claim against UO alleging that UO has retaliated against them for whistleblowing. And UO AVP for Collaboration Chuck Triplett has been using the fact that the Senate resolution required a temporary suspension of the rules to argue that the Senate is out of control and can’t be trusted with shared governance. Not a smart place to pick a fight, Chuck.

The Chronicle’s story here omits the remarkably difficult and successful effort that led to this proposed policy change:

Student medical records should stay private with only a few, specific exceptions in cases where colleges that are sued need the information to defend themselves, according to draft guidance provided to colleges on Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education.

… Student-privacy protections became a hot-button national issue this year after a University of Oregon student who said she had been raped by three basketball players sued the university, claiming it violated her civil rights when university lawyers pulled her therapy records from a campus counseling center. That case has since been settled.

… After the Oregon case was publicized, mental-health supporters and women’s advocates expressed outrage online and demanded clarification about what the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as Ferpa, allows colleges to do with students’ medical records. Ferpa is a federal law that provides privacy protections for student records, and colleges that violate it could lose their eligibility for federal student aid. It also provides assurance of confidentiality to students seeking support after a traumatic event.

“We want to set the expectation that, with respect to litigation between institutions of higher education and students, institutions generally should not share student medical records with school attorneys or courts, without a court order or written consent,” Ms. Styles wrote.

… Nothing in the Education Department’s new guidance indicated that Oregon officials overstepped their authority in accessing the woman’s counseling records. However, its caution that colleges should pull such records only “in the rarest of circumstances,” such as when campus safety is threatened, raises questions about whether such a move was necessary. …

Pres Schill hires Kevin Reed from UCLA as UO VP and General Counsel

Updated with the UCLA Chancellor’s message.

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Resume and cover letter here, Info on the searches here. President Schill’s announcement:

Colleagues,

It is a distinct pleasure to share with you today that Kevin Reed has accepted the role of vice president and general counsel. He will play a critical role as chief legal counsel and a senior advisor on institutional issues—a role expanded to better serve the university.

Kevin will come to us from the University of California Los Angeles, where he has served with distinction as vice chancellor for legal affairs and associate general counsel. Previously, he was general counsel for the Los Angeles Unified School District and a partner with Strumwasser and Woocher LLP in Santa Monica.

A Harvard Law graduate, Kevin has made a career out of dealing with the complex legal issues that are commonplace at highly regulated and scrutinized institutions. The University of Oregon will benefit from his incredible experience and knowledge when he arrives on Oct. 5.

While at UCLA, Kevin is credited with playing a pivotal role in establishing Westwood Technology Transfer, the entity created to oversee UCLA’s stewardship of intellectual property, and for supporting critical efforts in campus diversity, fostering creative ideas about outreach and financial support in admissions and hiring. He expanded the accessibility of his office and the units under his purview—the office of legal affairs, the office of ombuds services, and the Title IX office. He increased the willingness of faculty, students, and staff to seek support and services.

I would like to personally thank Doug Park, who has demonstrated great legal acumen while serving as interim general counsel. Doug’s legal insights, professionalism, and wisdom proved invaluable during his interim tenure. The entire staff of the general counsel’s office has done incredible work during this period and I am grateful. Doug will remain interim general counsel through Oct. 4.

I also offer sincere thanks to the search committee, chaired by Michael Moffitt, dean of the School of Law. This group worked tirelessly to provide us with an outstanding slate of candidates and I am extremely grateful for their excellent work on this key hire.

Please join me in welcoming Kevin Reed to the University of Oregon.

Sincerely, Michael H. Schill

President and Professor of Law

And here’s a forward from a UCLA prof:

Office of the Chancellor

Dear Colleagues:

I’m writing with mixed emotions to share the news that Kevin Reed, vice chancellor of legal affairs, will leave UCLA on October 2 to serve as vice president and general counsel at the University of Oregon.

As our top legal adviser, Kevin has made many essential contributions to UCLA’s successes over the past seven years. I am sorry to see him go, but I take comfort in knowing that he will continue to support a public research university dedicated to equity, access and quality.

Since joining UCLA in 2008, Kevin has guided the campus through the increasingly complex maze of legal and regulatory issues inherent in managing a public university. It’s not hyperbole to say Kevin’s steady hand has touched all corners of our campus — from the police department and other units responsible for public safety to the health care enterprise, from human resources to research administration, and from athletics to numerous academic units. Whether advising on the development of new campus initiatives or managing litigation on high-profile cases, he anticipated challenges before they arose, responded adroitly to unexpected developments and confidently identified potential courses of action — invariably with fairness, integrity and accountability.

Kevin has the rare capacity to understand the wide range of concerns of those he advises, clearly communicate complicated legal concepts and collaborate on solutions, whether working with faculty and deans, vice chancellors and other administrators, outside counsel or students.

Of special note among his many accomplishments, Kevin served on boards that planned and governed the UCLA Community School, facilitating key relationships with our partners at LAUSD, where he was general counsel before arriving at UCLA. He played a pivotal role in establishing the legal framework to help protect faculty members from terrorist harassment by anti-animal research extremists. Kevin helped launch Westwood Technology Transfer, which was created to oversee UCLA’s stewardship of intellectual property. He supported critical efforts in campus diversity, fostering creative ideas about outreach and financial support in admissions and hiring. He expanded the accessibility of his office, increasing the willingness of faculty, students and staff to seek support from units under his purview — the offices of legal affairs and ombuds services, and the Title IX office.

We are fortunate to have benefited from Kevin’s service at UCLA. I have every confidence he will enjoy success in Oregon, where he will work with a board newly independent from the statewide university system and a new president, Michael Schill, who was dean of UCLA School of Law from 2004 to 2009. Please join me in wishing Kevin well.

I have asked Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh to form a committee to launch a search for a successor. An interim vice chancellor will be named soon.

Sincerely,

Gene D. Block

Chancellor

VPGC Finalist #3: Kevin Reed, UCLA

Info on initial failed search here. New official search website here. Job ad here. Search committee consists of

  • Michael Moffitt (chair), Dean-School of Law
  • Missy Matella, Assistant General Counsel
  • David Schuman, Professor of Practice-Law School
  • Priscilla Southwell, Professor and Department Head-Political Science
  • Brad Shelton, Interim Vice President for Research
  • Angela Wilhelms, Secretary of the University.

Finalist #3 for GCVP: Kevin S. Reed, UCLA. Schedule for Aug 5 visit here, resume and cover letter here:

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This dude certainly seems to have the qualifications, and want the job. And you’ve gotta love this, from his letter:

“The legal issues that have brought unwanted attention to UO in the past several years are issues I have handled with success at UCLA, along with many other potentially mission-interrupting matters.”

More:

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As it happens, I’ve had occasion to deal with the UCLA Public Records office which Reed supervises. Back in May Diane Dietz compared UCLA’s unredacted, speedy, and free responses with UO’s fees, redactions, and geological delays, in the RG here:

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Sacbee reports UCLA paid Reed $276K last year, the UO job is $225K-$325K.

Finalist #2 for GCVP: Doug Park, UO. 

Park was also a finalist for the earlier cancelled search. That resume and cover letter are here. His Aug 4 schedule is here, new letter and CV here.

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An excerpt from his new letter, which is as interesting for what it omits as for what it includes:

As seen in my curriculum vitae, I have the following UO experiences: law student from 1990- 1993; adjunct law professor from 2003-2008; trial counsel for UO while at the Department of Justice; service on the UO’s JSMA leadership council as Board Development Chair and Executive Committee member; service on multiple UO committees; and service as in-house counsel for approximately eight years, including the last year as Interim General Counsel. My spouse [Beth Stormshak] is also a UO professor who has served UO in many capacities including teaching, researching, institute director, and associate vice president for research. These experiences enable me to see UO through the eyes of a student, adjunct faculty, tenure track faculty, administrator and lawyer, all of which provide me with a broad understanding of UO’s values, operations and aspirations.

Doug Park’s history with UO public records is legion, going back to the requests that led to the Mike Bellotti scandal and Richard Lariviere’s firing of his boss Melinda Grier, and the Oregon DOJ’s report of “deficient legal representation”:

Finalist #1 for GCVP: Kenya Mann Faulkner, U of Cincinnati. 

Aug 3 visit. Letter and CV here.

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UC paid her $295K last year, the UO job is $225K-$325K.

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Has President Schill found a replacement for Doug Park?

I don’t know.  Word is that there will be multiple finalists, visiting campus soon, application materials posted by the end of next week. Sounds good.

The job is no longer listed on the active administrative listing here, and the ad itself is now watermarked as an archive. But there’s been no announcement of finalists or public dissemination of application letters. The rudimentary General Counsel’s page still lists Doug Park as Interim GG.

Meanwhile there is an opening for an assistant for Public Records Officer Lisa Thornton, here. UO Employees only – definitely wouldn’t want to take a chance on getting someone with new ideas into that office. Speaking of which, they’ve got a pretty extensive backlog of unfilled requests.

Request Date Title Requester Status
07/23/2015 Student Fees Kimbrell, Jacob Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/22/2015 Contract Ahlen, John Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/20/2015 Athletic Contracts Rhoden, Jaleesa Records Provided
07/16/2015 Software Anderson, Angelina Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/16/2015 UOPD Boone, Mario No Responsive Records
07/16/2015 Compliance Correspondence Mattioli, Kami Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/15/2015 Directory Howe, Kevin Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/14/2015 Donations Jacoby, Kenny Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/14/2015 Contract Harbaugh, William Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/13/2015 Solar Energy Projects Wilker, Steven Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/13/2015 Reviews Paulson, Lauren Awaiting Payment
07/09/2015 Brand Contracts Axon, Rachel Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/07/2015 President Records Harbaugh, William Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/07/2015 University Expenditures Hill, Toni Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/07/2015 Correspondence Martin, Nick Records Exempt From Disclosure
07/06/2015 Coach Contract Baumbach, Jim Records Provided
07/02/2015 NCAA Violations Greif, Andrew Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/02/2015 Purchase Contract Willis, Amy Requesting/Reviewing Records
07/02/2015 UO Foundation Harbaugh, William No Responsive Records
07/01/2015 Coach Contracts Hawthorne, Jonathan Records Provided
07/01/2015 Coach Contracts Shifflett, Shane Records Provided
07/01/2015 Student Directory Asari, David Requesting/Reviewing Records
06/30/2015 Coach Contracts Goldstick, Robert Records Provided
06/30/2015 BANNER Statements Harbaugh, Bill No Responsive Records
06/30/2015 Earthquake Certifications McGraw, Noah No Responsive Records
06/29/2015 RFP Tritsch, Geoffrey Requesting/Reviewing Records
06/25/2015 Football Contracts Berkowitz, Steve Records Provided
06/23/2015 UOPD Correspondence Harbaugh, Bill Requesting/Reviewing Records
06/22/2015 Mirror Epstein Johnson, Mark Requesting/Reviewing Records
06/19/2015 Compliance Emails Epstein, David Requesting/Reviewing Records
06/19/2015 BANNER Reports Harbaugh, Bill Records Provided
06/18/2015 Animals In Research Agundez, Juan Awaiting Payment
06/18/2015 Parking Revenue and Citation Totals Campuzano, Eder Records Provided
06/15/2015 Sightlines Study Dietz, Diane Requesting/Reviewing Records
06/15/2015 Employment Contracts & Salary Cohen, Kevin Records Provided
06/15/2015 2021 IAAF World Championship Wihtol, Christian Awaiting Payment
06/10/2015 Economics Dept. Salaries Costello, Brandon Records Provided
06/10/2015 RFP Responses – Course Scheduler Conner, Brett No Responsive Records
06/10/2015 Softball Coach Contract Greif, Andrew Records Provided
06/10/2015 Softball Coach Contract Hawthorne, Jonathan Records Provided

6/1/2015 update: New Pres Mike Schill takes UO’s General Counsel bull by the horns

Explanation for new VPGC position here, ad here, review begins June 26.

General Statement of Duties

The Vice President and General Counsel to the University (VPGC) is the chief legal officer for the University of Oregon, a senior advisor to the President of the University (President), and an officer of the university. The VPGC will be responsible for managing the university’s legal affairs, overseeing the office’s provision of legal services to the university (including the provision of any outside legal services retained on behalf of the university), and supervising the Office of the General Counsel, which includes other attorneys and support staff. In addition, the VPGC will oversee the University’s Office of Public Records and the University’s Records Management Services, including supervision of employees in those two functions. As a member of the president’s senior leadership team, the VPGC will work closely with the president and other executive officers on a wide array of matters of legal import to the institution. In addition, the VPGC will work closely with university units, programs (e.g. student government), and employees. …

While Lariviere had taken responsibility for public records away from Melinda Grier and Doug Park in the GC’s office because of conflict of interest concerns coming out of the Bellotti fiasco, in practice that independence was a sham. So perhaps it’s best to acknowledge that the conflict exists and set up procedures to deal with it.

5/27/2015 update:

Schill is going to totally reorganize the General Counsel’s office and restart the search for a “VP for Legal Affairs” to take charge of UO’s troubled legal matters. This is the best UO news I’ve heard in long time, and we all hope it will be the first in a series of efforts to reform Johnson Hall. It’s certainly a great start to an improved relationship with the faculty.

Meanwhile UO’s website seems to think Randy Geller is still in charge. (Link finally removed today, 11 months after Geller was resigned.)

5/218/2015: General Counsel search committee soliciting anonymous comments

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