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. …

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

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.

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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Bowl of Dicks trial reveals UOPD’s casual spying on employees

10/8/2015: This is from the trial transcripts, which I’m slowly getting through:

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8/4/2015: UO administrator accessed employee email account without notice

Here’s the description of recent events, from an anonymous correspondent:

Administrators Are Permitted to Monitor Emails without Notice or Authorization

Consider the following scenario: Alice,* a staff member with a disability, has been ordered by her doctors to utilize her federally protected leave in order to recover from symptoms emerging from a potentially hostile work environment. Alice has been in contact with the Union, who are investigating the climate at her department for possible discrimination.

While Alice is away in recovery, Bob,* her supervisor and a department administrator, somehow acquires full access to all of Alice’s emails. Bob does not notify Alice that he intends to access her information, nor does he seek authorization from Information Security, General Counsel, or the Union. Rather, Bob simply unilaterally seizes full, unsupervised, and ongoing access to the entirety of Alice’s email account, including her correspondences with the Union.

Such an obvious conflict of interest and invasion of privacy would seem ludicrous if it wasn’t for the fact that it recently occurred at the University of Oregon.

As soon as this data breach came to light, the Union contacted UO’s Chief of Information Security Officer (CISO) to clarify what exactly the criteria were for an administrator gaining access to an employee’s email. The CISO responded that the UO does not offer “wholesale access to another employee’s email.” There would have to be a “specific request” driven by a “business need” and submitted through the proper channels. If such criteria are met, then Information Security will attempt to provide the specific information, and only that information, which was requested. The CISO continued, “The only time we would give over all email would be in the case of a subpoena or other legal request.”

Under such criteria, Bob had obviously violated university policy by accessing and monitoring all of Alice’s emails during her absence from the office. The Union reported the data breach immediately, in conformity with the newly minted executive policy on Data Security Incidence Response.

A few weeks later, the Union inquired with the Director of Employee & Labor Relations (DLR) at Human Resources to inquire after the progress of the investigation. What a difference a few weeks can make! The DLR responded that there had been no violation of policy, because UO in fact has no policy at all restricting administrator access to an employee’s email.

The Union reached out again to the CISO to clarify. The CISO responded that he believed that the situation was handled poorly, and that he did not believe that Bob was “philosophically” justified in accessing Alice’s data. Unfortunately, he admitted, there are no “specific policies” in place at UO at present to prevent, discourage, or reprimand an administrator who unilaterally decides that they have a “business need” to access and monitor an employee’s personal data without their prior knowledge or consent.

The CISO seemed as disturbed by this state of affairs as the Union, noting that it “raises a need for a procedure to be put in place regarding access to an employee’s email account” and that he “intend(s) to write up a procedure for situations like this” which will “hopefully alleviate situations like this in the future by providing a standard process.”

The Union applauds the CISO’s pledge to put policies in place that will provide the necessary checks and balances to reign in administrators who feel justified in violating their employee’s privacy at will.

The response at HR has been less encouraging however. As of this writing, the DLR has chosen to fully back management in this matter. Amazingly, rather than stand up for the rights of one of the most vulnerable members of the UO community in a case of discrimination, harassment, and gross invasion of privacy, HR has chosen instead to escalate the harassment by pursuing disciplinary action against Alice on behalf of Bob.

And as of this writing, Bob still retains full access to Alice’s email.

So, until the new policies are in place, be careful what you write and who you write it to.

* All names have been changed.

It’s more than two years since I started the thread below, trying to find out UO’s policy for email monitoring and access. Page down for the entire history. Obviously there are situations when supervisors need access to an employee’s email, e.g. a public records request or a court order, an emergency illness or death, etc. On the other hand there are situations where that access would be very problematic, e.g. like that above, or when an employee has a complaint about the supervisor, or has used UO email to contact a doctor or counselor or lawyer, etc. So most universities have a sensible policy along the lines of UC’s, here:

An electronic communications holder’s consent shall be obtained by the
University prior to any access for the purpose of examination or disclosure of the
contents of University electronic communications records in the holder’s
possession, except as provided for below. …

1. Authorization. Except in emergency circumstances (as defined in Appendix
A, Definitions) in accordance with Section IV.B.2, Emergency
Circumstances, or except for subpoenas or search warrants in accordance with
Section IV.B.6, Search Warrants and Subpoenas, such actions must be
authorized in advance and in writing by the responsible campus Vice
Chancellor or, for the Office of the President, the Senior Vice President,
Business and Finance (see Section II.D, Responsibilities).1
This authority may not be further redelegated. Authorization shall be limited to the least perusal of contents and the least action necessary to resolve the situation.  …

3. Notification. The responsible authority or designee shall at the earliest
opportunity that is lawful and consistent with other University policy notify
the affected individual of the action(s) taken and the reasons for the action(s)
taken.

Each campus will issue in a manner consistent with law an annual report
summarizing instances of authorized or emergency nonconsensual access
pursuant to the provisions of this Section IV.B, Access Without Consent,
without revealing personally identifiable data.

UO’s policy is here. It’s not as cogent, but it also seems to ban the sort of blanket access that is described above. And UO IT also passes on the following helpful advice, here:

  • Never share your password with anyone.  This includes your supervisor, co-workers, and IT staff.
  • There may be some destinations (such as China, Russia, and other areas overseas) where it may be difficult or impossible to prevent your computer from being attacked and electronically compromised.

China and Russia indeed.

8/2/2013: UO has no policies limiting which administrators can read your email or monitor your web use, or why. From Dave Hubin’s PRO:

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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

Continue reading

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.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 12.50.17 AM

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

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:

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 10.36.17 AM

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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.

Dana Altman and UO hire MillerNash for basketball rape allegation case

Makes sense, it would be a conflict of interest for UO’s Interim GC Doug Park to let Randy Geller get too close to this one. Seems like a lot of lost billable hours though, I wonder how Geller is making it up for Sharon Rudnick and the other HLGR shareholders? The victim’s complaint, with accusations that UO attorneys illegally obtained her confidential counseling records, is here.

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UO General Counsel stops pleading the Fifth on Dearinger resume

12/6/2014 update: Page down for the long history of UO’s attempts to hide the names and resumes of the people working in its General Counsel’s office. The GC’s website has been “pleading the Fifth” on who works there, and their qualifications, ever since Randy Geller appointed Melinda Grier as General Counsel Emerita:

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 6.02.33 PM

I’ve now managed to obtain a current listing of General Counsel attorneys:

Douglas Park: Acting General Counsel, dougpark@uoregon.edu
Park was appointed Interim GC after President Gottfredson’s mysterious firing of Randy Geller, in the midst of the basketball rape allegations cover-up. After many requests and a petition to the District Attorney, Park finally posted his resume, here.

Samantha Hill: Associate General Counsel, samhill@uoregon.edu
The General Counsel’s office refuses to release Ms Hill’s resume, arguing that it is exempt from disclosure by claiming she is a faculty member. She has never taught a class at UO. Doug Park went so far as to accuse me of sexual harassment and stalking, because I made a public records request for her resume.

Melissa Matella: Assistant General Counsel, mmatella@uoregon.edu
The General Counsel’s office refuses to release Ms Hill’s resume, also arguing that it is exempt from disclosure because she is faculty. She has also never taught a class at UO.

Bryan Dearinger: Assistant General Counsel, bdearing@uoregon.edu
He is the newest hire. The GC’s office released Mr. Dearinger’s resume, here, 3 days after I requested it. It’s an impressive one.

Salaries:

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Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 6.42.20 PM

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Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 6.41.41 PM

6/17/2014 update: Doug Park tells UOM to file petition with DA to see attorney resumes. So I did.

Randy Geller’s retirement is effective 6/30. Presumably one of UO’s associate or assistant GC’s will take his place as Interim UO GC, and as Interim GC for the UO Trustees. Awesome responsibility. I’d sort of like to know the qualifications of these people. So I asked to see the resumes and the cover letters they’d sent in when applying to work at UO. Associate GC Doug Park rejected my public records request, telling me to appeal it to the DA if I wanted too. I wrote back that a simpler solution would be for him to post some basic info on the GC’s website. He wouldn’t. So, I took his advice, and here’s the appeal:

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Randy Geller finds gainful employment – with Rudnick and Frohnmayer at HLGR

Of course. From the Oregon State Bar website:

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 10.42.04 AM

Back in 2011, as UO General Counsel, Geller helped Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick get UO’s lucrative contract for outside legal work, shortly after HLGR had hired retiring UO President Dave Frohnmayer – during his UO sabbatical.

Then Geller gave HLGR the job of fighting the UO faculty unionization effort, and then negotiating the CBA.

Then in 2012 Geller wrote a brief for HLGR to support their (successful) efforts to get $864,000 in legal costs from the state, over a lawsuit involving Cylviagate.

Then in May, right in the middle of the basketball rape allegation coverup, Mike Gottfredson announced that Geller was mysteriously “retiring”, as of July 1.

And now two months later he’s got a new job, working for the law firm that he helped to get those fat UO contracts.

Melinda Grier no longer “Of Counsel” for Hirschfeld and Kraemer

9/8/2014 update: This SF firm does anti-union work for employers and billed UO quite a bit during Berdahl and Gottfredson’s attempts to fight the faculty union. Lately they’ve turned to the presumably lucrative business of running workshops about sexual harassment and Title IX training, taught by, of all people, former UO GC Emerita Melinda Grier. A few months ago they even added Grier to the firm, as “Of Counsel”:

But now she’s been dropped. No word yet if they are still billing UO $25K or so a month:

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 4.47.02 PM

6/18/2014: Melinda Grier, HLGR, Rudnick, Matthews making bank off UO legal fees

It looks like many other firms are getting some action from Randy Geller too. Here’s April and May, full dump here:

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UO General Counsel’s office loses another one

7/29/2014:

Johnson Hall sure is hard on lawyers. In 2010 President Lariviere fired GC Melinda Grier for hiding public records about Mike Bellotti’s contract, then appointed her assistant Randy Geller after what mounted to a failed search for a replacement. (It appears Gottfredson has rehired Grier on the side though). In 2013 Assistant GC Paul Kaufmann left without explanation, half way through his initial one year contract. Earlier this year Randy Geller “retired” in the midst of the scandal over Gottfredson’s handling of the March8-9 basketball rape allegations.

And now the word is that Assistant GC John F. Salmon III left at the end of June, about 6 months after being hired. Again, no explanation.

Given that UO’s Legal Services Policy (if it’s ever signed by Gottfredson) gives these people the responsibility to defend UO and faculty and staff against accusations of misfeasance etc, and help Gottfredson stonewall the release of public records, you’d think that we could at least get a list of the current GC office’s attorneys and their qualifications. Nope. Their website is still “under construction” and has been since that embarrassing “General Counsel Emerita” episode in 2012:

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 11.40.58 AM

7/31/2012: Geller defames judge, appoints Grier as UO’s General Counsel Emeritus, attacks Senate Pres and IAC

In response to demands from Senate President Kyr and others including Frank Stahl, Nathan Tublitz and John Bonine, UO General Counsel Randy Geller announced yesterday he’s rescheduling his random drug testing hearing.

But it’s a sham, he’s picked another date when school is out of session. And he completely ignores the faculty / administrative agreement calling for UO policies like this to go through the Senate. That “policy on policies” agreement with Lariviere had been the Senate’s major accomplishment for 2011-2012. Now Geller thinks it isn’t worth a mention.

Geller also claims Senate President Rob Kyr and the IAC Chair made false and offensive comments about the university’s rulemaking process. Apparently that process’s feelings have been hurt, so Randy asks Kyr et al to apologize to it, and to some especially sensitive senior administrators:

Dear Rob and Brian:

I received your email of July 24, 2012, requesting a delay in the public hearing scheduled for August 23rd, 2012. The hearing will be rescheduled for September 13, 2012. Written comments will be accepted until noon on September 14, 2012. We will similarly postpone the date the rule will be filed with the Secretary of State and become final. The rule will be filed on September 21, 2012.

Your allegations about the University’s rulemaking processes are offensive and false , as are the comments made publicly by members of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. I ask that you apologize in writing to President Berdahl, Rob Mullens, and me. I also ask that you censure the members of the IAC who have published offensive and defamatory comments.

Randolph Geller

General Counsel
University of Oregon

I like that “in writing” part. Maybe Geller wants Kyr to stand in front of the whole class and use the blackboard, like in third grade? Geller sent this out yesterday. Berdahl’s last few days look to be as crazy as his first. Adult supervision supposedly returns Aug 1, but Gottfredson still hasn’t signed his contract. and Gottfredson apparently signed his contract last night.

8/27/2012 9:00 AM: Geller defames judge:

Sorry, long story. Back in 2010 UO’s General Counsel Melinda Grier got in big trouble for ignoring multiple public records requests and failing to get a written contract for her friend, Athletic Director Mike Bellotti:

It was a big scandal and a humiliation for new UO President Lariviere, especially when he then had to pay Bellotti millions, after firing him for what was reportedly lax financial management of the athletic department.

So Lariviere fired Grier too, and got the Oregon DOJ to look into what had happened. Their investigation took 381+ hours, cost UO $44,086.60, and concluded that Grier (and/or her office, a bit ambiguous) had provided “deficient legal representation” to UO.

Lariviere then tried to hire an outside replacement for Grier, but after 6 months with no luck he gave up and just promoted her associate GC, Randy Geller. (Randy’s letter and resume are here. It was supposed to be a public search, but he wouldn’t release these until I petitioned the AG’s office under the public records law. His bit of intransigence cost UO another ~$1,000 in DOJ billing time.) Grier’s assistant GC Doug Park became the associate. And then eventually of course Lariviere got fired too, to be replaced by Berdahl and now by a permanent President, Mike Gottfredson.

And during the transition to Gottfredson a few weeks ago, Geller sent out a string of odd emails. One accused the UO Senate President and others of defaming him. Another, sent to the Senate STC, with President Gottfredson cced, included this:

The “investigation” of Melinda by DOJ was a hack job. Unfortunately, she was the first of several victims of the former Attorney General. His incompetence eventually led to his decision not to run for a second term and then to resign before the end of his term. If you google “John Kroger” I am sure you will find the Oregonian and Willamette Week articles.

There’s no doubt that Kroger, who has gone on to become president of Reed College, had his issues. But the Grier investigation was led by longtime Associate Attorney General David Leith, now a Marion County Circuit Court Judge. The other investigator was Keith Dubanevich, now Oregon Associate AG. Accusing a sitting judge and an associate AG of a “hack job” is competent professional behavior for UO’s chief lawyer? Maybe Geller’s just mad because the DOJ is fighting his efforts to get them to pay Frohnmayer’s law firm $864,000.

Meanwhile, who was it that broke the story on the Grier firing? Jeff Manning, at the time an investigative reporter for the Oregonian. And now the spokesperson for the AG John Kroger’s replacement, Ellen Rosenblum. And what happened to Melinda Grier? She’s been working as a consultant in an office she shares with a law firm that’s tried to persuade Randy Geller to hire them to do legal work for UO.

And – I’m not making this up – a few days ago Geller declared that she is now UO’s “General Counsel Emeritus” (sic):

Screen shot above, page here. We’ll see how long it stays up.

10:15 AM update: Grier’s now off Randy’s website. That was quick. The html from Friday is here. A commenter notes that this would break UO’s new policy for faculty emeritus status, which Geller and Berdahl signed off on in May. No word on his apology to Judge Leith and AAG Dubanevich yet.

12:15 PM update: Steve Duin of the Oregonian gets Geller to speak. Well worth reading. Must have been a fun party.

4:20 PM update: Geller apologizes to Kroger.

If he’s apologized for his equally unprofessional accusations against UO Senate Pres Kyr and IAC members, I guess I wasn’t on the list. From all indications UO’s new random duck drug testing policy will go forward without UO Senate review.

And this, via UO spokesperson Phil Weiler:

Statement regarding DOJ inquiry/General Counsel website

I have communicated directly with the president of Reed College and former
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger expressing my regret for the ill-advised
email I sent several weeks ago. My comments were unacceptable and I have
apologized to the former Attorney General and his staff.

I also recognize that it was inappropriate to use my office’s website to
recognize the former General Counsel for her years of service.

Randolph Geller
General Counsel

I’ve acquired quite a collection of other “un-lawyerly” messages from Randy over the years.