The Chronicle of Higher Ed has a long, thorough report by Tom Bartlett, on their front page, here. (Gated if you are off campus). It leaves out a lot, including the contrast between Gottfredson’s secretive self-appointed “review panel” and the open Senate Task Force Freyd serves on, and the proprietary AAU survey and Freyd’s open access version. It does get into the UO administration’s efforts to silence and intimidate Prof Freyd, by attacking her academic reputation:
“We’re seeing a huge shift in consciousness about sexual assault,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in this field.”
Not that there haven’t been setbacks. Ms. Freyd’s own university hasn’t exactly offered unwavering support. When she met with administrators in the spring about her survey, they seemed supportive. The president at the time, Michael R. Gottfredson, agreed to provide the $30,000 in funding she thought she’d need to pay participants and cover other administrative costs, she said.
“I thought we had a deal and I would do this big study,” Ms. Freyd recalled. “I said, ‘The results aren’t going to be pretty.’ He said, ‘I know.’”
But once administrators saw the survey, their tune changed. The offer of funding vanished. Ms. Freyd showed The Chronicle an email she had received from Robin H. Holmes, vice president for student life at Oregon, stating that the university would prefer to use an external survey rather than one that had “a priori assumptions about outcomes.”
Charges of Bias
For any scholar, the suggestion that his or her research is biased from the get-go is a not a trivial accusation. When news that the funding had been rejected became public, an article in an Oregon newspaper, The Register-Guard, included a comment from a university spokeswoman again speculating that Ms. Freyd was guilty of bias. (The spokeswoman, Rita Radostitz, said last week that her comment had been off the record and taken out of context.)
Anyone who knows Freyd knows that when the administration chose to try and intimidate her, they made a huge mistake.
The story goes on to report about Freyd’s work on institutional betrayal. It’s worth pointing out that UO administrators also attacked Emeritus Law and Philosophy Professor Cheyney Ryan for raising questions about the basketball rape allegation cover-up. And Interim UO President Bob Berdahl didn’t like me posting this story which noted the scandals about his UC-Berkeley sabbatical scam, so he wrote this attack on my academic scholarship:
Once again, Bill Harbaugh has launched a personal assault on me, claiming I am guilty of a “$350K Beanesque scam.” Once again, Harbaugh shows how indifferent he is to actual facts. He is referring to his blog of several months ago, to which I responded at the time. His story is derived from articles in the SF Chronicle critical of the UC policy of granting a year’s administrative leave to chancellors who had served six or more years. This was hardly a “Berdahl scam;” it was a policy adopted by the Regents. I had no influence or control over the policy. Does anyone seriously believe that a chancellor could simply grant himself an administrative leave without the consent of the UC President and the UC Regents, who are required to approve chancellors’ compensation? Because the SF Chronicle was critical of the policy, it made me the Bay Area example of its criticism, rather like the Oregonian recently made me one of the poster children for its criticism of tier one PERS payouts, another policy over which I had no influence or control. Given Harbaugh’s McCarthyite tactics, I’m surprised he hasn’t also accused me of a PERS scam! And given Harbaugh’s preference for polemics over reporting and his carelessness with facts, one has to wonder, as other faculty have, whether his scholarship suffers from the same lack of objectivity and distortion of the facts as does his blog.
President Gottfredson’s union bargaining team did something similar, attacking me for being “anti-university” when they didn’t like me blogging about how the union administration and their lawyers were trying to destroy academic freedom. Hilariously, they wrote an “open letter” to the entire university, on UO letterhead, but didn’t sign it and tried to charge me $286 for records showing who had:
From: Bill Harbaugh
Subject: your Feb 28 open letter about Professor Bill Harbaugh
Date: April 12, 2013 6:22:40 PM PDT
To: Sharon Rudnick , Randy Geller
Cc: James Bean , doug park , Barbara Altmann , Timothy Gleason , Doug Blandy , email@example.com, William F GARY , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Bruce Blonigen , “email@example.com Coltrane” , President Gottfredson
, “Melody_Rose@ous.edu” , Ryan Hagemann , Robert Kyr , Margaret Paris
Dear Ms Rudnick and Mr. Geller:
I’m writing you in regard to the Feb 28 “Open letter from the UO Bargaining Team” which is attached, and which is posted on the official University of Oregon website for faculty contract negotiations, at http://uo-ua.uoregon.edu/fact-check/
A colleague came across this website a week or so after the letter had apparently been posted, and alerted me to it. I thought it was pretty hilarious, particularly in its discussion of the UO Matters blog at http://uomatters.com, which I edit, and in regard to the claims that I am “indelibly associated” with the faculty union.
In truth I fought long and hard against faculty unionization. I signed the membership card only at the end, because I wanted to be on the winning side, where I could make a difference. I have made it very clear on my blog and in conversations with many UO administrators that I am still quite skeptical of faculty unions and that my ultimate loyalty is to the University of Oregon and to the principle of public education for which it stands. I regularly tell the union organizers I will turn on the union the moment it starts doing more harm than good to this principle, and I’m pretty sure they believe me.
But I digress. Many UO faculty have now told me that I should be outraged by your letter, that it is harmful to my professional reputation, and even that it constitutes “defamation per se”, whatever that means.
While I’m no lawyer, on closer reading I think they may have a point. The letter is on UO letterhead, is posted on an official UO website, is addressed to my academic colleagues in my university community, and it even uses my professional title:
“We write this letter to our University community because we believe it is both necessary and appropriate to inform you of … the continued reporting of biased, erroneous and inflammatory reports from the bargaining table by Professor Bill Harbaugh …”
The letter and the website also make some damaging accusations about my actions and intentions, stating them as if they were facts. I note in particular the statement that my blog is “consistently anti-university”, and “He has also filed frivolous and repeated records requests for information directly related to bargaining.” I’m thinking maybe that was supposed to say “not directly related to bargaining” but regardless, I am not the sort of person who takes accusations of frivolity lightly, even confused ones. Economics is a serious subject, and no potential employer would want to hire a professor with a reputation for joking around.
However the strangest part of this open letter is that a group of UO administrators and attorneys would write something like this, put it on official UO letterhead, post it on an official UO website, and then not sign their names to it.
So, I am writing to ask Ms Rudnick, who is apparently the leader of this team, or perhaps more appropriately Mr. Geller, her immediate supervisor at UO, to send me the names of the people on the “UO Bargaining Team”.
I’m ccing all the people I’ve been able to identify as potential members of the UO Bargaining Team, from the website, the HLGR invoices, and a few other sources. I’ve also cced my department chair, CAS Dean Coltrane, President Gottfredson, OUS Chancellor Rose, OUS General Counsel Ryan Hagemann, current UO Senate President Kyr and incoming Senate President Paris.
I’d appreciate a prompt response, listing the names of the people on the UO Bargaining Team. If any of the team members want to disavow the letter, I’d appreciate it this would be posted on the website where the letter appears. Feel free to also post this letter if you’d like, and let me know if you’d like a signed copy on UO economics department letterhead.
Professor of Economics
1285 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403
And for an earlier case, here’s the RG report on Professor Jean Stockard – I believe UO settled for $600,000.
The problems Stockard reported concerned the treatment of three South Korean visiting scholars enrolled in the IPRI, who complained that they had been charged for services that should have been covered by their tuition and that they did not receive the training they paid for.
The students had paid up to $20,000 each to take part in the program.
Stockard claims in the lawsuit that she brought the problems to the attention of UO officials, including President Dave Frohnmayer and then-Provost John Moseley, but that they failed to take action. She later reported the issue to the secretary of state’s fraud and abuse division.
That prompted an audit by the Oregon University System, which found a number of accounting errors that the university subsequently rectified.
But while Stockard was on a scheduled sabbatical in fall 2005, she received a letter from a university official saying that she would be removed as department head unless she voluntarily resigned. The letter said the move was not related to her actions regarding IPRI but said “faculty have expressed concern” about her ability to “move forward from the problems that arose around IPRI.”
Stockard declined to step down and was isolated, deprived of budget authority, excluded from meetings and threatened with a “no confidence” vote, the suit claims. Unable to continue her duties, Stockard resigned as department head in February and in June retired earlier than she had planned because of “continuing retaliatory conduct” by other faculty and admini- strators.
The suit seeks compensation for lost income due to her early retirement and alleged defamation in addition to punitive and compensatory damages.
In addition to Frohnmayer and Moseley, defendants named in the suit are Lorraine Davis, vice president for academic affairs; Frances Bronet, dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts; Richard Linton, vice president for research; and professors Michael Hibbard, Judith Hibbard, Ed Weeks and Richard Margerum.
And there’s an earlier retaliation and discrimination case against UO administrator Joe Wade, which Frohnmayer and Moseley also lost in court. Fortunately we’ve now got a union to protect us from this sort of thing.