UO Matters not “fully engaged” over spring break

Posts will be light to nonexistent until spring break ends, in compliance with this bitter 2013 holiday email from former UO GC Randy Geller, now “of counsel” at HLGR, who had apparently just learned that Gottfredson had dropped him from the list of bowl game junketeers:

Subject: [Cas-infoshare] Work schedule for bargaining unit faculty members
Date: December 11, 2013 at 7:02:27 PM EST
To: “cas-heads@lists.uoregon.edu” <cas-heads@lists.uoregon.edu>, “casbudmgr@lists.uoregon.edu” <casbudmgr@lists.uoregon.edu>, “cas-infoshare@lists.uoregon.edu” <cas-infoshare@lists.uoregon.edu>

Please forward this to your faculty and staff.

This is a reminder that under Article 32, Section 21, of the United Academics Collective Bargaining Agreement, bargaining unit officers of instruction who do not earn vacation will be considered to be on paid leave during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day (and during the week of Spring Break).

Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are paid holidays. However, bargaining unit faculty members (typically some officers of research) may be required to work on these holidays if necessary to maintain or operate critical facilities or operations. If a bargaining unit faculty member is required to work on a holiday for that reason, he or she may take an equivalent amount of time off with pay at a later date, as approved by the bargaining unit faculty member’s supervisor.

Otherwise, as provided in Article 17, Section 7, of the CBA, each bargaining unit faculty member must be fully engaged in teaching, research, and service work for the university to the extent of his or her appointment, and must be engaged in work or reasonably available for work for the entirety of the term for which the bargaining unit member is employed unless on approved leave. There is no blanket leave for the period between fall and winter terms.

You previously received information about the Governor’s Day.

Faculty members who are not subject to the United Academics CBA may make individual arrangements with their supervisors regarding work schedules.

Randy Geller
General Counsel
University of Oregon
_______________________________________________
CAS-infoshare mailing list
CAS-infoshare@lists.uoregon.edu
https://lists.uoregon.edu/mailman/listinfo/cas-infoshare

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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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.

FINAL-MINI-9-9-15-Carter-CV-1-Trial

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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(4J update) Sharon Rudnick, Bill Gary, and Randy Geller’s HLGR law firm losing money, contracts, and lawyers

9/30/2015: Eugene’s 4J school system let HLGR keep the $19K they had billed before they mistakenly sent the RG the school board’s “confidential” emails about the Berman firing. But if I interpret this correctly, 4J now has replaced HLGR with local law firm Luvaas Cobb:

The District paid $18,532 in legal costs and fees to Harrang Long for services rendered in connection with the Register Guard litigation. The District paid $23,730 in legal costs and fees to Luvaas Cobb following Harrang Long’s inadvertent disclosure of documents; however, such fees and costs were not limited to litigation services in the Register Guard case.

Sincerely,
Charis

Charis McGaughy, Ph.D.
Chief of Staff
Eugene School District 4J

And here’s the report on how the City of Eugene has been saving legal costs by getting rid of HLGR (thanks to a loyal reader for the link):

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9/22/2015: Sharon Rudnick, Bill Gary, and Randy Geller’s HLGR law firm losing money, contracts, and lawyers

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Not to mention its client’s public records.

Rumor down at the bar tonight is that Harrang Long Gary and Rudnick has lost some large contracts for legal work recently, and not just from UO. Its partners and associates are moving on too. Below are recent departures from the firm including some deserting a year or two after coming aboard. One after just six months.

Here are recent departures from HLGR:

Sam V. Rayburn, now at Buckley.

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John Witherspoon, now at Buckley.

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Elijah Van Camp, now at DeWitt Ross and Stevens

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Vaden Franscisco, now at SynergAir

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Marjorie Elken, now at Zupancic Rathbone

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Randall Duncan, now at Buckley

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Craig Capon, now at Alacrity Services

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Rebecca Cambreling, now at YHC Law.

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and

Joshua P. Stump, now at Portland’s Buckley Law
Katherine Watkinson Wright, now at Watkinson Laird Rubenstein Baldwin & Burgess PC
Amber Zupancic-Albin, hired in 2014, now at OHSU
Richard Larson, hired in 2013,  now at Hutchinson Cox Coons Orr & Sherlock PC
Daniel Harris, hired in 2013, now at www.harrismediator.com
John R. Roberts, hired in 2013, now at Arnold Gallagher PC
Jason Yarashes, hired in 2012, now at the Virginia Supreme Court

My apologies if I’ve missed anyone, send me the details and I’ll add you to the list.

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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Eugene 4J school board holds closed meeting about open meetings law violation records

5/7/2015 update: Edward Russo has the latest on HLGR’s accidental transparency here, complete with this classic quote:

“We deeply regret that appearance of a lack of transparency,” board member Beth Gerot said.

It’s a little difficult for me to wrap my head around the idea that 4J is still paying HLGR after the events described below – shouldn’t they be suing them for malpractice and a refund of the $21K in billable hours?

4/29/2015: Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick way too transparent with potentially incriminating public records

Bill Gary, Sharon Rudnick, and Randy Geller of UO’s HLGR law firm must be shitting their pants. I’m no lawyer, but sending a dump of emails that potentially incriminate your clients to the local newspaper, by mistake, seems unlikely to bring in the billable hours.

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Josephine Woolington has the story in the RG, here:

Eugene School Board members allowed Superintendent Sheldon Berman to come up with his own exit plan to avoid the release of a negative performance review, which one board member said could result in his firing, newly obtained records show.

Board members also said in emails last year that if they couldn’t successfully negotiate a departure agreement with Berman, they planned to make his evaluation public and hire an investigator to look into unspecified actions by Berman.

Further, emails between board members show that some members went to great lengths to avoid meeting publicly or even in a closed-door session, in potential violation of state public meetings law. Other emails show that one board member — Beth Gerot — said she would destroy some public records related to Berman’s evaluation. It is a violation of state law for a public official to destroy public records.

The new information is contained in records that the law firm representing the Eugene School District inadvertently sent to The Register-Guard. The district contends the records should be kept secret, but the newspaper’s general counsel, Wendy Baker, said the district has “no legitimate basis” for keeping the records secret, and that the newspaper is publishing them because “elected officials should be held accountable to their constituents and their community.”

The school district sued The Register-­Guard in Lane County Circuit Court earlier this year to avoid disclosing 12 pages of records that the Lane County District Attorney’s Office ruled it must release. The district hired the Eugene law firm of Harrang Long Gary Rudnick P.C. to represent it in its lawsuit.

In the course of legal proceedings, the law firm last week sent the newspaper hundreds of unredacted emails regarding Berman’s job performance that The Register-Guard requested last year…

Wendy Baker makes me feel like a wimp for giving the UO president’s digital archives back to Bill Gary. With any luck, HLGR’s next mistake will be to mail that “zip drive” to Rich Read at the Oregonian, 1500 SW First Avenue, Portland, OR 97201.

But wait, there’s more, as a commenter points out. The documents potential implicate HLGR lawyer and former UO General Counsel Randy Geller’s wife (and school board member) Jennifer Geller in a conspiracy to break Oregon’s open meetings law:

Walston sent Geller a text message on March 7, 2014, that read: “Jennifer, I know (there) was talk of an (executive, closed-door) session to discuss Shelley’s performance as a last item on Monday. I talked with (then-district chief of staff) Barb (Bellamy) and Craig (Smith) yesterday and we cannot see how we could have — at this point in time — the discussion we seem to want — under (Oregon Revised Statutes) exemption. Craig talked to Shelley — at Shelley’s request after last week’s review. Craig suggested Shelley call individual board members for feedback. The hope is that Shelley will listen and be able to count to 4,” referring to a board majority that could effectively end his employment.

According to the emails, Walston said she would sequentially telephone each individual board member to update them on the process of evaluating Berman. It is a violation of Oregon public meetings law for public officials to hold sequential private one-on-one discussions with a board majority in order to deliberate toward a decision, an Oregon Circuit Court judge ruled in 2011.

Gerot wrote to all board members on March 9, 2014, that the district’s consultant, Lewis, would meet with her, in addition to board members Alicia Hays and Geller, to “communicate verbally and without attribution” what the consultant learned through her interviews with district employees.

The comments on the RG website are getting pretty interesting too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today I received the this email from Interim President Coltrane:

Dear Professor Harbaugh,

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

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

Sincerely, Scott Coltrane

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

Dear Interim President Coltrane

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

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

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

Yours,

Bill Harbaugh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for allowing me to attend your meeting today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

, revised 3/24/15
00679757.v1

UO Attorney William F. Gary, Esquire, demands more retractions over Presidential Archives investigation

4/20/2015 update: Please see the retractions posted at http://uomatters.com/2015/04/archivists-resign-coltrane-got-sharon-rudnick-to-write-report-on-presidential-archives-release.html

4/15/2015 PM update: I’ve made a public records request to UO, in an effort to obtain some hard data and get to the bottom of all this back and forth between Mr. Gary and me:

From: Bill Harbaugh <wtharbaugh@gmail.com>
Subject: PR request, Presidential Archives release documents
Date: April 15, 2015 at 11:09:39 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu> Cc: doug park <dougpark@uoregon.edu>, Interim President Coltrane <pres@uoregon.edu>, provost@uoregon.edu

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for

a) all billing invoices from the HLGR and Hershner Hunter law firms to the UO, dated from 1/1/2015 to the present, and

b) any communications between UO President’s office or General Counsel employees and outside attorneys or consultants relevant to the preparation of the attached “Records Incident Report”, apparently written by HLGR attorney Sharon Rudnick, regarding the UO Presidential Archives release.

I’m ccing Interim GC Doug Park as he should be able to easily provide many of these documents. Otherwise, I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

4/15/2015 AM: My apparently inadequate retraction of the original post is here. Since then I’ve received two additional emails from Mr. Gary, who is representing HLGR and UO lawyers Sharon Rudnick and Randy Geller. I will send and post a response to Mr. Gary’s additional demands promptly.

April 1, 2015, full letter here:

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April 10, 2015, full letter here:

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Did Rudnick and Gary break Bar’s COI rules on archives investigation?

The Oregon state bar incorporates model language from the ABA in its “Rules of Professional Conduct“:

RULE 1.7 CONFLICT OF INTEREST: CURRENT CLIENTS
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a lawyer shall
not represent a client if the representation involves a
current conflict of interest. A current conflict of interest
exists if:
(1) the representation of one client will be directly
adverse to another client;
(2) there is a significant risk that the representation
of one or more clients will be materially limited by
the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a
former client or a third person or by a personal
interest of the lawyer; or …

Scott Coltrane said that the investigation of the UO Presidential Archives would be done by an independent law firm, Hershner Hunter.

Why not UO’s longtime HLGR firm? Because UO’ former GC Randy Geller now works for them as “of Counsel”, and the one substantial document I released from the archives was a memo from Geller proposing to dissolve the UO Senate and replace it with a more compliant, hand-picked group of faculty, and as I learned later, HLGR and Geller have a lucrative contract with OUS to advise the “Technical and Regional Universities” on matters including shared governance.

This memo, and other similar documents that might have been in the digital archives, might be a serious problem for HLGR’s credibility and ability to get work providing advice on university governance.

When I was interviewed by Amanda Walkup of HH about how I got the archives, I first asked if I could record the interview. She refused to continue the interview unless I agreed not to. I then asked her if I could see a copy of the document from UO charging her to conduct the investigation. She said there was no document – the agreement was verbal.

I asked her incredulously if this whole thing was being done on the basis of a phone call from Interim GC Doug Park. She nodded.

It now turns out that might not have been true, and that instead Hershner Hunter may have been hired by Bill Gary and Sharon Rudnick from HLGR, and not independently by Doug Park, as Coltrane said. It is certainly true that Rudnick obtained a copy of Walkup’s report, and wrote the summary of it for public consumption that the feckless Tobin Klinger sent out to reporters, complete with metadata showing her as the author.

Is Rudnick and Gary’s participation in the “independent investigation” of the release of a damaging document written by one of its employees a violation of the Oregon Bar’s ethics rules, or just a really bad idea?

I don’t know, but I think I’ll file an ethics complaint with the Bar, and see what they think.

Meanwhile, still no news from HLGR’s Bill Gary on the defamation lawsuit he threatened me with last week, over this post.

Why did Doug Park go wacko over the Presidential Archives release?

4/20/2015 update: Please see the retractions posted at http://uomatters.com/2015/04/archivists-resign-coltrane-got-sharon-rudnick-to-write-report-on-presidential-archives-release.html

Update: Meanwhile Gov. Kate Brown has sent an email to all state workers, praising the DAS employees who refused to delete the emails between Kitzhaber and his attorney – and then leaked them to Willamette Week. WWeek report here. Quite a difference from how Park and Coltrane handled the “unlawful release” of UO Presidential Archives.

3/24/2015: Because it could have cost the HLGR law firm, and Park’s former boss and friend Randy Geller, a lucrative contract?

Geller was fired by Mike Gottfredson in April 2014, apparently over his handling of the alleged basketball gang rape. Geller then went to work for the Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick law firm.

On Jan 4th 2015, I posted Geller’s “attorney-client confidential and privileged” advice on how to dissolve the UO Senate, which I got from UO’s Presidential Archives:

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Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 10.36.50 AM

Pretty bad stuff. After I made this public, the UO administration quickly repudiated Geller’s plan. Dave Hubin even offered to share the admin’s emails rejecting this plan. It’s funny-sad how Hubin is so puppy-dog eager to provide public records that might make his bosses look good, while at the same time he’s using fees and delays to hide public records that might make them look bad.

After Geller got hired at HLGR, he brought in a contract to provide legal advice to the new Boards of Trustees for Oregon’s “Regional and Technical Universities”: Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon, Western Oregon, and the Oregon Institute of Technology. In response to a PR request, OUS quickly provided the basic billing information:

The OUS Chancellor’s Office has paid $20,260.32 to the Harrang Long firm for work Randy Geller has done under this contract. This piece of your records request is being provided at no charge. If you would still like a copy of the contract and billing invoices, kindly remit the estimated charge and I will start work on that as other pending work and time allow.

Thank you.

Ginger Shaw, Executive Assistant
OUS Chancellor’s Office

If you were a new TRU board member, would you want your legal advice about your board and shared governance to come from Randy Geller, knowing he wrote this? If you were an administrator who wanted the faculty to believe you had a commitment to shared governance, would you hire he guy who tried to dissolve UO’s, if this document was out in public?

And if you were Randy Geller, or a partner at HLGR, would you be worried about what other damaging documents from Geller might be in the Presidential Archives?

So did HLGR’s concerns about Geller drive Interim President Scott Coltrane’s over-the-top reaction to the release of the Presidential Archives, including his prejudicial email calling this an “unlawful release” of documents? I don’t know, and I’m guessing UO will never release the public records that might show what really happened.

The UO administration’s secret plan to abolish the UO Senate

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.

In addition, last year BOT Chair Chuck Lillis went along with Geller and Berdahl’s plan to cut the Senate out of the Delegation of Authority debate, and tried to do the same again last month with Triplett and Coltrane’s plan to drop the Senate from the policy development and approval process.

You might ask why our university’s top lawyer would attempt to hide his legal opinions about faculty governance from the faculty – and why people like Dave Hubin would help him keep the secret. You might also ask why the our VPs for Academic Affairs, Doug Blandy and Barbara Altman, would try to hide their advice about grading in the event of a GTF strike from the faculty who assign grades. Maybe Scott Coltrane will have some answers at the next Senate meeting, Wednesday, Jan 14th.

1/13/2015 update:  UO won’t share shared governance advice

We’ve had a series of attacks on shared governance over the last few years, led by Bob Berdahl and Mike Gottfredson, but unfortunately continuing under Scott Coltrane with the attempt to subvert the Policy on Policies and the UO Constitution.

So what sort of legal advice have our Johnson Hall colleagues been getting? They don’t want to tell us. I’ll go out on a limb and say Doug Park wrote this response to my public records request below. Not exactly trust inspiring.

The only way the faculty is going to learn about these attacks is from leaks of “confidential” documents to UO Matters. So keep them coming!

From: “Thornton, Lisa” <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Date: January 13, 2015 at 5:02:57 PM PST
Subject: Public Records Request 2015-PRR-151

01/13/2015

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

Given the broad scope of your request, we anticipate it would be necessary to sort through hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of documents to pull documents that are responsive to your request. In addition, you requested documents that you know are confidential because you specifically requested “legal advice.” Accordingly, your request is denied.

Thank you for contacting the University with your request.

Sincerely,

Lisa Thornton

Office of Public Records
University of Oregon
Office of the President

1/8/2015 update: Johnson Hall admins won’t talk about Geller / Berdahl memo

Camilla Mortenson has the story in the Eugene Weekly, here. It seems Coltrane, Park, and Hubin won’t talk about the memo or about the extent to which it continues to guide the thinking of Johnson Hall and the new Board of Trustees. Assistant UO PR Flack Julie Brown is the highest ranking person who will talk on the record – and even she won’t disavow this plan? Yikes. I’ll post additional docs as I get them.

1/7/2015 update:

In the Senate Exec meeting today Dave Hubin attempted to argue that the administration had rejected Geller’s proposals. When I left for a bathroom break Dave followed me out, asking what other documents I had about this proposal. I told him I wouldn’t tell him because it might reveal my source. Let’s just say the well isn’t dry. Hubin also suggested that I make a public records request if I wanted to learn more, so I have:

Subject: Documents from the UO GC’s office on legal advice regarding shared governance
Date: January 7, 2015 at 9:34:40 PM PST
Cc: David Hubin <hubin@uoregon.edu>, doug park <dougpark@uoregon.edu>, Scott Coltrane <coltrane@uoregon.edu> To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for any documents from the UO General Counsel’s office (or outside attorneys) providing advice to the UO President dated from 1/1/2010 to the present, on topics involving:

1) The UO Senate and shared governance in general;

2) the Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee and the President’s Advisory Group on Intercollegiate Athletics;

3) the Senate Transparency Committee and the Public Records Administrative Advisory Group;

4) open meetings for the UO Senate, Senate committees, and Administrative Advisory Groups.

I am ccing current interim General Counsel Doug Park, as he should have access to the GC’s records and should be easily able to provide these documents, and Interim President Scott Coltrane for the same reason.

I’ve also cced presidential assistant Dave Hubin, as he suggested that I make this public records request at the Senate Executive Committee meeting today and recently told the STC that future PRAAG meetings would be closed, and may have copies of the advice on these matters.

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

 

School board pays HLGR $12K to help hide records – before the lawsuit even starts

1/7/2015 update: Josephine Woolington has more in the RG on the Eugene School Board’s decision to hire HLGR to help them hide these public records:

Said school board Chairman Jim Torrey on Wednesday: “In this case, we believe our decision to bring legal action was in the best interest of the school district and the students within it.” Torrey declined to comment further on the lawsuit.

The board voted unanimously after a closed-door session on Dec. 17 to sue the newspaper. The district hired Eugene law firm Harrang Long Gary Rudnick to handle the case and the original records request, which was submitted in April.

The school district has so far paid $11,956 since late April to the law firm for legal services in connection with the records request, a district official said.

1/2/2015: Frohnmayer and Geller’s Harrang et al. law firm takes on RG over DA’s public records order

Christian Wihtol has the story in the Register Guard, here. In a nutshell, Lane County DA Alex Gardner has ordered Eugene’s 4J School District to turn records related to the job performance of Superintendent Sheldon Berman over to the Register Guard. The school district doesn’t want to, so they’re paying Dave’s HLGR to fight the order in court. Interestingly HLGR’s case is against the RG, not against the DA. I’m not sure that makes sense, but it’s the law.

As it happens, former UO General Counsel and noted public records obstructionist Randy Geller now works for HLGR, while his wife, Jennifer Geller, serves on the school board. (She now works for the UO Law School). Presumably she recused herself from the decision to fight the DA’s order, and hire HLGR to do it.

We’ll have to wait until the Eugene School District releases HLGR’s invoices to see how much time (if any) Geller and former UO President and HLGR sabbaticalee Dave Frohnmayer are hitting up the taxpayers on this one, but given that Frohnayer helped write Oregon’s public records law as a first term state legislator (elected on a post-Watergate reform platform), there’s no doubt his expertise on how to subvert it should involve a significant emolument. Dave may now have blown past his previous billable hours trifecta:

1) Defending big tobacco against the state of Oregon in federal court, here.

2) Lobbying the Oregon legislature to let BP keep unclaimed class action damages, instead of using them to fund and expansion of legal aid for the poor, here. (Apparently he and Bill Gary did this w/o filing the required lobbying disclosure with the State in advance.)

3) Helping Mike “The University” Gottfredson bargain against the UO faculty, here.

GTFF rally for 5PM Monday at Johnson Hall draws politicians like … draws …

Update: Looks rainy, but there’s plenty of room inside the lobby, as the UO Coalition discovered last spring.

Coltrane could have settled this a month ago and saved our department heads a lot of time, and the GTFF a lot of megaphone batteries. But no:

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Thanksgiving Day Update: 62-year-old university president fails at ultimatum bargaining with 25-year-old students. His lawyers cash in again.

Continue reading

Park wants another helper lawyer, and $ to show Geller docs

9/12/2014 update:

Job ad here: http://jobs.uoregon.edu/unclassified.php?id=4873. Still no update to the GC’s webpage about who is currently working there. Meanwhile Doug Park wants $79.60 for the docs explaining Geller’s sudden resignation:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any emails or other public records sent or received by Randy Geller between March 9th and May 6th, related to his April 21 decision to retire, as announced by ‘Around the O'” 06/17/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $79.60. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

Request for a public interest fee waiver denied. Seriously? What does it take? A story on KATU television?

9/4/2014: Gottfredson gave Doug Park a $68K raise and Geller’s family bowl game junkets to serve as acting GC for a year

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