President Schill’s reorganization of Johnson Hall moves on to VPSL

Dear Campus Community,

By now everyone knows that I am focused on three pillars for achieving excellence and preeminence at the University of Oregon—building academic quality and research, improving access and success, and enhancing the student experience. So it should come as no surprise that these priorities are driving my decisions to fill the leadership needs for our student life programs and services. As I announced last week, after nearly 25 years at the UO, Vice President for Student Life Dr. Robin Holmes has accepted a new job with the University of California System. Her last day with the UO is October 18.

Maintaining strong and consistent leadership within the student life portfolio is my key objective. We have a world-class student life division that does an amazing job supporting students’ social, emotional, health, and residential needs on campus. But we also must recognize that the demands placed on student life here and nationally have changed dramatically over the years. Today it includes much greater responsibility to address conduct issues, sexual assault, and a myriad of student health and welfare issues, ranging from the needs of fraternities and sororities to the aspirations of many of our multicultural groups. Student tastes and expectations of the basic services provided by a university have evolved and the housing, dining, and recreational offerings are also vastly more sophisticated as a result. Our Division of Student Life budget is more than $110 million per year and the division employs about 850 professional staff members and more than 1,500 students. 

While our departments and infrastructure are world-class, there are always opportunities for growth and improvement in an organization of this size and complexity. Recognizing this evolution in student life and our need to continue to create an exceptional student experience, I have decided to build upon the strengths of the departments and reorganize several of the division’s auxiliary business functions to a different administrative portfolio, which I’ll address in a moment. 

The Division of Student Life will remain one of our largest and most complex units on campus, providing services through the Career Center, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Erb Memorial Union, Department of Physical Education and Recreation, and the Holden Center for Leadership and Community Engagement. I am delighted that Kevin Marbury, director of physical education and recreation, has agreed to serve as interim vice president for student life.  

Kevin has a strong background in higher education administration and student life. Prior to joining the UO in 2012, Kevin was director of recreation and wellness at Old Dominion University and he has served as vice president for student life at Edward Waters College. Under Kevin’s leadership, recreational programs and facilities at the UO have become the benchmark of excellence for universities across the country. Equally important, Kevin has time and time again demonstrated that he is a trusted advisor to our students, always placing their welfare above all else. I am confident in Kevin’s ability, with the support of the already outstanding team of directors, to maintain the exceptional student experience at the UO while we conduct a national search for new vice president for student life.

In addition, I am promoting Roger Thompson to the position of vice president for student services and enrollment management. In doing this, I will move some key pieces of student services under the leadership of a talented and capable administrator. In this new structure, Roger will continue to oversee Enrollment Management, but we will add the auxiliary services of University Housing, Academic Extension, the University Health Center, and the University Counseling and Testing Center to his portfolio. This move is permanent and takes effect October 19. 

Since joining the UO in 2010, Roger has helped make tremendous strides in our student recruitment and retention efforts, including significant growth in the diversity and academic quality among incoming students. Roger and his team know our students well and understand their needs and aspirations. Putting housing, health, and counseling and testing services under Roger’s leadership creates strong alignment between the expectations we set for prospective students and their families during the recruitment process and the experience we provide those students on campus. Having these services under one administrative roof also creates real opportunities for operational efficiencies, while supporting our student success priorities.

Likewise, having Academic Extension housed within this organization offers tremendous opportunities for growth and enhancement of programs that extend our teaching and research mission beyond traditional campus boundaries. This includes distance and online education, summer session, continuing education, and lifelong learning courses. I expect this closer relationship among student recruitment, student services, and academic extension will result in new ideas and entrepreneurial efforts that support local, regional, national, and international engagement. Roger will work closely with academic partners across campus and the provost’s office to deliver a successful implementation of this change.

Kevin and Roger will quickly create a transition committee that will work to ensure the reorganization efforts are a success. Please join me in thanking both of them for their willingness to take on these new responsibilities. I know each will be supported by the excellent existing employees and departments, and each is committed to our shared vision for the UO, to supporting student success and experience, and to maintaining the strong upward momentum we have built together. 

Sincerely,

Michael H. Schill

President and Professor of Law 

VPSA Robin Holmes to leave Oct 18, for UC-System

More news from Johnson Hall:

Dear Campus Community,

Our students attend the University of Oregon for the excellence of our faculty and the strength of our research opportunities. Academics are at the heart of everything we do, but our students also choose to be Ducks because of the exceptional student experience outside of the classroom. They create memories, learn life lessons, and prepare for careers while making the UO their home—in student housing and dining halls, at the student union and rec center, in clubs and cultural events—receiving care and support along the way.

This exceptional student experience, one of the finest in the country, has been shaped and polished by our vice president for student life, Robin Holmes. Robin recently informed me that she is leaving the UO on October 18 to become the vice president for student life with the University of California System, in the Office of the President based in Oakland. I offer her my deepest congratulations on this well-earned career opportunity. Robin leaves a legacy of student-focused service at the UO. She is an inspiring and visionary leader who will be greatly missed.

Robin joined the UO nearly 25 years ago as a clinical psychologist and has served for the last nine years as vice president for student life. During her tenure at Oregon, Robin has been a tireless champion for students—providing high-quality experiences outside the classroom, while instilling values that helped shape them as respectful, responsible, and engaged citizens of a global community. Thanks to her leadership, the Division of Student Life delivered a vision that truly demonstrates our commitment to student-centered, innovative learning, delivered by an inclusive community of multiculturally-competent professionals. 

Robin has also played a key role in changing the landscape of campus through the construction of approximately $300 million in projects, including the Student Recreation Center (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum-certified), the magnificent Erb Memorial Union, and an eight-year housing plan in support of our residential university mission, with residence halls that support and foster robust academic residential communities.

In the coming weeks, I will work with Robin to determine the best model for interim leadership. I will communicate those plans with campus shortly. In the meantime, please join me in congratulating Robin, thanking her, and wishing her the very best.

Sincerely, Michael H. Schill

President and Professor of Law

My favorite story about Holmes is the time she spent $25K of our student’s money to hire RBI Election Strategies to manipulate our students into voting to raise their own fees, to pay for a gold-plated EMU expansion. It worked, but this stuff didn’t build a lot of trust:

 

The politically active and engaged Lamar Wise and other ASUO Senators brought their objections to the project – and their evidence of manipulation – to the OUS meeting on 8/17/2012. Their full testimony is here. Excerpt:

UO Business School seeks buzzword-free diversity advisor to help students

Unfortunately our VP for Student Affairs has a bigger budget, and will pay an $8K premium for someone who’s willing to talk the talk, rather than walk the walk.

Which job do you think will do more for UO’s students?

Job A: 8/30/2016: LCB seeks Academic Adviser and Diversity Initiatives Specialist

Lundquist College of Business, Undergraduate Programs

Salary range at 1.0 FTE is $45,000-$52,000 plus the Standard University of Oregon benefit package.

About the Position

The Academic Adviser’s primary responsibility will be to provide academic advising services to a racially, ethnically, and socio-economically diverse population of undergraduate students pursuing business degree programs. This will include providing small group and individual advising, meeting with prospective students and their families, and utilizing technology to communicate with College of Business students.

Additionally, this position will work in conjunction with the LCB Program Director for Equity and Inclusion on the Building Business Leaders (BBL) Program. BBL is a cohort-style program designed to attract and retain more minority students within the Lundquist College.  Students participate in a two-term seminar as a freshman and then graduate to the CEO program in their later years. The purpose of the cohort is to support underrepresented minority students through the completion of the pre-business curriculum by building a small, supportive learning community that fosters collaboration, leadership, teamwork, and academic excellence. The program is going into its seventh year and has become one of the most widely-recognized organizations of diverse, exceptional leaders on the UO campus. For more information about this program, check out business.uoregon.edu/ug/ceo-network/bbl.

This position will coordinate with the LCB Program Director for Equity and Inclusion Services to represent students and the needs of the Undergraduate Advising Office on College and University-wide committees.

The successful candidate will be experienced in advising, preferably at the college or university level; have excellent presentation skills; demonstrate a history of providing services to diverse constituencies; and demonstrated experience in creatively using technology to convey information.

Job B: 7/28/2016: VP for Student Life seeks Assistant Strategic Communicator for Buzzwords

Requirement #1 is a working knowledge of every imaginable administrative double-talk buzzword, with the notable exception of academic excellence. Reports to the VPSL’s Director of Strategic Communications. Job ad here:

Anticipated Starting Salary:   $50,000-$60,000 commensurate with experience

Excellent Benefits:  Health and dental, employer-paid retirement, tuition benefits for employee or an eligible dependent, and sick and vacation leave.

Who we are:

The Division of Student Life provides and promotes exceptional and transformative experiences that prepare students to be healthy, successful, inspired global citizens.  Within collaborative and inclusive communities that embody the values of diversity, innovation, and social justice, we actively facilitate experiential learning and engage students in meaningful and deliberate activities, programs, and services. …

Our values and goals:

The Division of Student Life values and is committed to integrity, multicultural competence, care and compassion, sustainability, innovation and adaptability, accessibility, personal development and responsible stewardship. We have three key strategic goals: create an exceptional experience for every student, serve as a model of equity, inclusion, and collaboration and work to maximize effectiveness and efficiencies, prioritizing decisions using evidence-based analysis.

VP Holmes not only didn’t write her July 2014 letter to the RG denying UO’s basketball rape allegations coverup – that was the job of PR flacks Jennifer Winters and Rita Radostitz and team leader Roger Thompson – it’s not even clear if she read it:

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UO faculty respond to Robin Holmes’s fraternity and sorority report

Diane Dietz has a story on the report that longtime UO VP for Student Life Robin Holmes commissioned from  Mark Koepsell (Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors and Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values) and Jeremiah Schinn (Interim Associate VPSL at Boise State), along with responses from Holmes, here. Unlike Holmes’s Op-Ed on the basketball rape allegations, which was ghost-written by Jennifer Winters and Rita Radostitz under the supervision of Roger Thompson, it seems she gave these answers herself:

Sexual assault is roundly acknowledged to exist in UO fraternities and sororities, but rapes are hushed up to protect the groups’ reputations, the ­report found.

… Fraternity and sorority members can be powerful leaders, Holmes said. “Look at the slate of candidates for our student body election,” she said. “Two-thirds of them are Greek, in fraternity and sorority life. They tend to be our strongest leaders. They tend to be more engaged. They tend to have a very positive impression of their institution, so they often are very strong alums and have really strong affection for the university because they are so engaged,” she said.

The report is here, and here’s the take from some UO faculty that are engaged in the problems:

1. There’s no discussion of halting Fraternity and Sorority Life expansion, despite the acknowledged risks. Instead, their solution is to create more sororities. It would be better to halt all FSL expansion immediately and look for ways to scale back so that we slowly over time get rid of FSL.

2. The report cites student demand for FSL as justification for expansion and for hiring more administrators and spending more money addressing the toxic culture FSL creates. Instead UO should find healthy ways to satisfy the desire for group affiliation, such as housing based on shared academic or civic interests, and replace the advertising that fraternities and sororities give at new student orientation so that students can see that there are alternatives to the party scene at UO. Preventing FSL from marketing itself to new students and prohibiting freshman from rushing would help reduce student demand. 

3. How can the source of the problem provide solutions to it? It’s like expecting the NFL to provide leadership around concussive head injuries. We’ve seen how that works.

4. The report does bring up the link between fraternities, football, drinking, and sexual assault. What are the chances Robin Holmes and UO will follow up?

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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President Schill makes yet another sensible decision

It’s a bit early to say that he’s broken the curse of Johnson Hall, but what with the General Counsel’s reorganization, the 5 searches for deans and a new VP for Research, the JH staff reorganization, and now the restart of the problematic search for an Assistant VP for Sexual Assault [sic] announced below, it is starting to look like a possibility. Back on April 2nd I posted this:

Both the Senate Force and Gottfredson/Coltrane’s hand-picked “Independent Review Panel” proposed an independent administrator who could take responsibility for sexual assault prevention and response away from the manipulative VP Robin Holmes and UO’s incompetent Director of Affirmative Action, Penny Daugherty. Those recommendations are here:

Senate Task Force on Sexual Violence Prevention: Website and Final Report.

Gottfredson and Coltrane’s handpicked “independent” review panel. Website and Final Report.

Apparently Coltrane and Bronet did not consult with either group, and let Robin Holmes write the rather unfortunate job title and the job description. The new AVP will be under Holmes’s thumb, and unlikely to challenge her mistakes and obfuscations.

Today President Schill restarted the search. Less offensive title, strong preference for someone with a JD, direct report to the president (another to Robin Holmes, alas) and our famously incompetent Title IX investigator Penny Daugherty will report to whomever is hired. Letter to the faculty below, job ad here:

Revised Posting

Title:  Associate Vice President & Title IX Coordinator (AVP/TIXC)
Department:  Office of the Vice President for Student Life and Office of the President
FTE:  1.0 (full-time)
Appointment Type:  Officer of Administration
Reports to:  Vice President for Student Life and President
Salary range: $105,000-130,000 annually, plus an excellent benefits package
Duration:  12 months, renewable annually
Closing Date:  Search will remain open until filled; application review begins August 17, 2015
Start Date:  negotiable

General Statement of Duties

The Associate Vice President & Title IX Coordinator (AVP/TIXC) reports to the Vice President for Student Life and to the President.    The person in this position will be the senior administrator responsible for coordinating effective campus-wide efforts in compliance with Title IX, including responsibility for overseeing a comprehensive campus-wide strategic plan to reduce sexual assault in all forms, providing supervision of deputy Title IX officers and any Title IX investigations, and for ensuring institutional accountability in effectively responding to reported concerns and complaints.

The AVP/TIXC will supervise the Title IX-related work of the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Complaint Investigation who has primary responsibility for overseeing the investigation and resolution of Title IX reports and complaints, and the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics, who has primary responsibility for overseeing gender equity in athletics. Working across multiple portfolios, the AVP/TIXC will have the authority and expectation to guide efforts and direct staff in order to achieve the University’s objective of reducing or eliminating sexual harassment and sexual violence on campus.

The AVP/TIXC coordinates the Sexual Assault Advisory Council, is the lead administrator for the President’s Title IX Advisory Committee, and is expected to cultivate and maintain strong working relationships with key personnel in all areas of the university, including but not limited to the deputy Title IX coordinators, the Associate Dean of Students/Executive Director for Prevention and Response, and staff in the Office of Affirmative Action, Student Conduct and Community Standards, Dean of Students Office, University Health and Counseling Centers, UOPD and the Office of the General Counsel.

Description of Duties

Leadership:

Coordinate and assess the new Ducks Do Something Initiative designed to fight sexual violence on campus.

With broad collaboration and input, create a comprehensive strategic plan that will guide the university’s efforts to reduce sexual harassment, including sexual assault, stalking, intimate partner and relationship violence, and sex-based bullying (hereafter sexual harassment), in all forms.

Advise the vice president and president on policy and organizational issues regarding all forms of sexual harassment. Assist in establishing priorities and agendas, research issues of importance and sensitivity, and produce briefing materials and information on sexual harassment issues which require the vice president’s or president’s attention.

Serve as the point of contact for coordinating the university’s Title IX efforts and response to all forms of sexual harassment.

Facilitate resolution of problems that cross organizational boundaries; encourage cooperative planning and action, as necessary.

Identify, evaluate, and address systemic sexual harassment issues on campus.  Gather appropriate information and data and develop responsive policy and action recommendations.

Coordinate and monitor special initiatives as determined by the vice president and/or president and ensure timely and successful completion.

Coordination, Communication & Assessment

Responsible for leading the university’s overall strategic planning efforts to reduce, prevent and respond to sexual harassment.

Interact with administrators, faculty, administrative and classified staff to facilitate effective communication between and among administrative, academic and other campus constituencies.

Provide information to staff, faculty, students and members of the community regarding sexual harassment issues as they pertain to applicable rules, laws, policies and procedures.

Ensure alignment and effectiveness of outward and inward facing materials that communicate the university’s sexual assault prevention resources, and response and compliance efforts.

In consultation with other university offices, provide leadership in the development and implementation of ongoing campus-wide climate surveys and other assessment tools to measure the university community’s overall understanding of sexual harassment and gender-based issues and trends.

Lead assessment and reporting efforts regarding campus sexual harassment in order to ensure the campus is aware of prevalence, effectiveness of interventions and programs and trends regarding sexual harassment.

Response to Reported Concerns

Work across multiple portfolios to ensure that the university’s response to all forms of sexual harassment is effective, fair, timely and thorough, and follows all legal and ethical mandates.

Assist in responding to inquiries and complaints from students, parents and other constituencies; determine appropriate course of action; may gather background information for others to make decisions.

Supervise Title IX investigations by working closely with the Deputy Title IX officers and others to ensure effectiveness, responsiveness and compliance with all state and federal regulations regarding sexual harassment/sexual misconduct/gender violence.

Provide case management of complex, high risk issues, and serve as the point of contact when such events occur.

Other Duties

Supervise the Title IX-related work of the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Complaint Investigation and the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics, plus one administrative support position

Responsible for annual reporting of efforts to reduce sexual harassment

Other duties as assigned

The finalist for this position is required to complete a criminal background check.

Required Qualifications

Master’s, JD, or other advanced degree.

Previous experience as a Title IX or deputy Title IX officer or significant experience working directly on Title IX-related issues for a university, or as a civil rights attorney who has worked on matters concerning Title IX and/or issues of sexual harassment.  Demonstrated knowledge of and ability to interpret federal and state non-discrimination laws and regulations, including Title IX, sexual harassment and other applicable laws and regulations is required as is experience in complaint resolution, investigations and grievances.

Knowledge of sexual harassment/sexual violence grievance procedures in a higher education setting.

Minimum of 5 years of executive, administrative, legal, or management experience.

Ability to work with time-sensitive matters and meet strict deadlines.

Exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to work collaboratively and interact effectively with an organization’s leadership, faculty, staff, students and community/government agencies.

Outstanding written and verbal communication skills and the ability to present to small and large groups.

Strong analytical and critical thinking skills and ability to analyze, summarize, and effectively present data.

Demonstrated leadership, organizational, and management skills and the ability to prioritize multiple projects.

Ability to manage multiple, on-going and issues, complaints and incidents.

Demonstrated experience with and/or commitment to working effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds, in support of an inclusive and welcoming environment.

Preferred Experience & Education:

A JD degree is strongly preferred.

Experience in a higher education or regulatory compliance setting.

Experience facilitating and evaluating professional development opportunities focused on sexual misconduct/sexual violence.

Experience investigating and resolving complaints alleging sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual assault or sexual violence.

Knowledge of assessment practices involving evaluation of outcomes-based measures and campus climate surveys.

President Schill’s 7/20/2015 letter:

Colleagues,

The university remains focused on the safety of our students and is committed to ending sexual violence on campus. The search for an individual to lead the university’s efforts in this critical area has been an important topic on campus for some time and we have benefited both from the suggestions and robust discussion that ensued.

Today we are relaunching the search with a fortified job description designed to increase autonomy and strengthen the chosen candidate’s ability to coordinate efforts. The position has been elevated and will be titled Associate Vice President and Title IX Coordinator, with an important increase in desired qualifications and compensation.

This individual will be responsible for coordinating effective campus-wide efforts in compliance with Title IX and overseeing a comprehensive campus-wide strategic plan to reduce sexual violence in all forms. The updated position description is available here. We fully believe that the enhancements that have been made will attract a pool of candidates that will help us achieve our common goals in dealing with this critical issue.

The ideal candidate will need strong experience in working across portfolios to bring together the campus community to focus on shifting the culture, while being a model for responsiveness to the needs of survivors. To assist us in finding the best possible individual for this role, we will engage a search firm with expertise in recruiting in this highly competitive field.

With joint accountability to the president and the vice president of student life, the new position marks the beginning of a new approach to an issue that has challenged college campuses across the country. It is a critical hire as we develop a comprehensive approach based in best practices and thorough assessment of our programs and services.

There is nothing more important than the safety of the students we serve. We have excellent programs that are making a significant difference right now, but we must do more. That starts with leadership and providing the additional resources to end sexual violence on our campus.

Together, we can make significant progress on this issue. We owe it to our students and their families.

Sincerely, Michael H. Schill, President

Robin H. Holmes, Vice President for Student Life

VP Holmes announces sole candidate for unfortunately titled “AVP for Sexual Assault” job

5/27/2015 update: 

Dear campus community,

The search committee and I invite you to meet Dr. Jennifer Hammat, candidate for the position of Assistant Vice President for Sexual Assault & Title IX Coordinator.

Dr. Hammat will be visiting campus on June, 2nd. At 3:00 p.m. in room 16 of Pacific Hall, she will be giving a 20-minute presentation on the following topic: Getting it Right: Overcoming Obstacles and Forging a Campus-wide Response to Sexual Assault. This will be followed by 25 minutes of Q&A. Please join us in this opportunity to meet Dr. Hammat. Her CV will be available soon on Around the Oops.

After attending, we would ask that you kindly submit any feedback to Brenda Porter at bporter@uoregon.edu

Robin H. Holmes, Ph.D., Vice President Division of Student Life

4/2/2015 update: Both the Senate Force and Gottfredson/Coltrane’s hand-picked “Independent Review Panel” proposed an independent administrator who could take responsibility for sexual assault prevention and response away from the manipulative VP Robin Holmes and UO’s incompetent Director of Affirmative Action, Penny Daugherty. Those recommendations are here:

Senate Task Force on Sexual Violence Prevention: Website and Final Report.

Gottfredson and Coltrane’s handpicked “independent” review panel. Website and Final Report.

Apparently Coltrane and Bronet did not consult with either group, and let Robin Holmes write the rather unfortunate job title and the job description. The new AVP will be under Holmes’s thumb, and unlikely to challenge her mistakes and obfuscations.

Now Coltrane and Bronet are already having to backtrack on this. Next time, try consulting someone other than the admins in the Executive Leadership Bunker first? Rich Read has the story in the Oregonian here:

Using words such as “sweeping” and “robust,” the University of Oregon has announced initiatives to prevent sexual assault, with plans to hire an assistant vice president responsible for fighting such violence.

But the word “assistant” doesn’t impress a professor who co-chaired a UO task force that specifically recommended in November that a position of vice president be created to handle the high-profile job.

Carol Stabile, a professor in the School of Journalism and Communication’s department of women’s and gender studies, co-chaired the University Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support. She and Jennifer Freyd, a UO psychology professor who also served on the task force, said Wednesday they were disappointed by the decision ofInterim UO President Scott Coltrane‘s administration. …

3/30/2015: Instead of firing Penny Daugherty, Coltrane to hire AVP to do her job

Baby steps, I suppose. Job posting here. Reports to VP Robin Holmes. $105K-$120K. Chuck Triplett gets $130K, and didn’t even have to go through a search.

Six UO employees, including vice president, under investigation for alleged misconduct concerning rape case

That’s today’s news from Rich Read in the Oregonian:

Six University of Oregon employees, including a vice president and the school’sinterim top lawyer, are under investigation for alleged misconduct in the handling of therapy records of a student who says she was gang-raped by three Ducks basketball players.

The Oregon State Bar is investigating complaints against interim general counsel Douglas Park and associate general counsel Samantha Hill. The Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners is investigating complaints against four people, including Robin Holmes, the university’s vice president for student life, who is a licensed psychologist.

Jennifer Morlok, a senior staff therapist identified in legal correspondence as the clinician who counseled the woman, filed all the complaints. The state Bar can, among other possible penalties for misconduct, permanently disbar a lawyer for gross violations of professional-conduct rules. The psychologist’s board can, in extreme cases of wrongdoing, revoke practitioners’ licenses. Each organization can also dismiss cases or issue mild rebukes.

…  The Board of Psychologist Examiners received initial investigation results during a confidential meeting March 20, and voted to investigate further, according to documents obtained by The Oregonian/Oregonlive. The board is sending written questions to the four psychologists that must be answered within 30 days.

Robert Steringer, a lawyer hired by the university to represent the psychologists, said they did nothing that would violate the American Psychological Association’s ethical principles and code of conduct, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Oregon laws.

…. On Thursday, UO senior communications director Julie Brown released a statement on behalf of the university, which said in part: “We are confident that the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners and the Oregon State Bar will clear the individuals of what we believe are false claims and accusations.

“The individuals involved are fully cooperating with the entities leading the inquiries,” Brown wrote, “and continue to carry out their job responsibilities with honesty and professionalism for our students.”

So all these people are now lawyered up. Robert Steringer of HLGR represents the psychologists, he’s paid for by UO. Arden Jolson also of HLGR represents Doug Park, and Bradley Tellam of Stoel Rives represents Doug Park’s Associate GC Samantha (Sam) Hill.

Interesting that Park and Hill have separate lawyers, from separate firms. Some sort of conflict in their stories about what happened?

Schlegel, Lubash, Gutierrez to negotiate Duck ticket prices with VP Robin Holmes

VP for Student Life Robin Holmes got all-expense-paid junkets to the national championship games for herself and spouse, so she’s in no position to object to the efforts of the ASUO student government leadership to get Athletic Director Rob Mullens and AAD Eric Roedl to back off their threat to cut the student football ticket allotment, unless ASUO student government coughs up 3% more cash to pay for their latest raises:

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On the other hand she’s got hers, so why would she rock the Duck boat? Here’s the latest, from UO undergrad Andrew Lubash, who has a Change.org petition going to protest:

Apr 16, 2015 — Thank you so much for signing this petition and getting your voice heard! However, the work isn’t done.

We’ve reached over 400 students in just 1 day, but we need more visibility! Your current ASUO President (Beatriz) and President-elect (Helena) and I are meeting with VP of Student Life Robin Holmes tomorrow morning at 9am to discuss the negotiations. It would be great if we had over 1,000 signatures by the time of that meeting to show her how upset students are about this. Here are some actions steps that you can take that would help me protect your access to subsidized student football tickets!

(1) Please SHARE the link to this petition as your Facebook status and in any groups you are associated with on campus. Urge your friends to sign and share as well, emphasizing the importance of this issue to students:

https://www.change.org/p/eric-roedl-stop-cutting-subsidized-student-football-tickets/u/new)

(2) The Daily Emerald just posted an article about our work! We are making a difference already! Stay up to date and read/share this article too:

http://www.dailyemerald.com/2015/04/16/acfc-chair-andrew-lubash-drafts-petition-about-student-ticket-allotment/

(3) If you are interested in volunteering at all or getting more involved (such as petitioning, building awareness, etc.) and want to help me out. Please send me an email at lubash@uoregon.edu and we will set up a committee to figure out next steps. WE WILL NOT STOP until we protect every single ticket.

Thank you again! Go Ducks!

Andrew Lubash
ASUO Senate Seat 7: Athletics & Contracts Finance Committee

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US Senator Wyden joins UO Senate in questioning Doug Park’s counseling records grab

3/12/2015 update: Rich Read has the story in the Oregonian, here:

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and the Faculty Senate of the University of Oregon both announced efforts this week to address an apparent loophole in federal law that allows sexual assault victims’ medical and therapy records to be released by colleges and universities. …

Interim General Counsel Park is trying to turn his $209K Interim gig into the permanent position as UO General Counsel. I’m guessing that when a U.S. Senator starts writing a law with the sole purpose of making it clear that what you just did was not just sleazy, but also unambiguously illegal, you’re probably not going to get a promotion.

Maybe Wyden will call it “Doug’s Law”, as a consolation prize.

Next up, a law protecting library circulation records from Doug Park.

3/9/2015: Doug Park admits mistakes were made getting Jane Doe’s counseling records for lawsuit

Josephine Woolington has the story in the RG, here, on Interim UO General Counsel Doug Park’s decision to get Jane Doe’s confidential counseling records and have his staff scan them to pdf, instead of sequestering them.

[Rumor has it that VP Doug Blandy has threatened discipline if Park doesn’t hand over the Zip Drive within 48 hours and remove all copies of the pdfs from the General Counsel’s servers.]

Park’s stupidity manages to get UO some exposure on NPR as well. From the Woolington story:

… The university had previously asserted that it legally accessed, but did not actually review, the student’s records — stored at the UO Counseling and Testing Center — after she told the university in September that she planned to sue.

He also said he should have received a written waiver from the student, allowing the UO to collect her records.

The 18-year-old student said she was raped by three UO basketball players last year. She filed a lawsuit in January against the university and head basketball coach Dana Altman for allegedly violating her federal civil rights by recruiting one of the involved players after he had previously been accused of rape at a different college, among other accusations. …

Word is that Park got the records via VPSA Robin Holmes, whose performance will soon be reviewed by the UO administration. Given that the Executive Leadership Team won’t even trust her to write her own Op-Ed, I’m guessing it’s not going to be a pretty review:

Jennifer Winters and Rita Radostitz ghost wrote VP Robin Holmes’ Op-Ed on the basketball rape allegations and how UO handled them

From what I can tell this ghost written Op-Ed is the last official statement from the UO administration on how Johnson Hall handled the basketball rape allegations. There is no sign that there will ever been any kind of investigation, much less one that will be publicly released. Gottfredson’s self-appointed “Presidential Review Panel” pointedly refused to conduct any such investigation. The Senate Task Force decided to focus its efforts on improving UO’s prevention and response efforts.

News of the March 8-9 rape allegations became public on May 5th. On July 15th, VP for Student Life Robin Holmes published an Op-Ed in the Register Guard, defending the UO administration’s handling of the allegations, which had been widely condemned as a cover-up:

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(The full Op-Ed is here.)

How much of this did VP Holmes actually write? It seems like not much. According to the internal memos below, the first draft was written by UO strategic communicator Jennifer Winters, who didn’t even cc Holmes on it:

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Interestingly the “project manager” for this was VP for Enrollment Roger Thompson, not VP for student affairs Robin Holmes. The final draft was apparently submitted to the RG by VP Holmes’s chief strategic communicator Rita Radostitz – who did at least cc Holmes on her efforts:

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Maybe Holmes had some involvement in the writing during intervening few days, or maybe not. None of this is that surprising. UO has a well paid army of PR flacks devoted to puffing up the careers of our central administrators. (And Winters got a 25% raise in July.)

The UO Matters timeline of the rape allegations and the administration’s response is here, with links to some relevant news reports and documents, and a more exhaustive list of all relevant posts is here. If and when we ever learn anything new, I’ll add it. So if you know something that is not yet in the public record but should be, such as these emails above, please send them along.

UO Senate to meet on conduct code, legal services, Transparency Award.

Synopsis:

Coltrane looks like he likes the job, and his colleagues. The faculty and staff clearly like Coltrane too. He gave a brief talk, answered questions, easy rapport. What an improvement. (Funny how when Berdahl and Gottfredson kept insisting we were all colleagues it was so plainly manipulative. Coltrane didn’t even mention it, but here I am saying it myself, with only a fleeting second thought: remember, we pay El Jefe $120K more than *Berkeley* pays its Chancellor.)

VPSA Robin Holmes blows off the Senate meeting that deals with her #1 job responsibility: Student Conduct. Rumors of her impending departure spread.

Wednesday October 8, 2014, Lawrence 115; 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Senate website and membership list, here. This will be a packed agenda. Coltrane will talk and answer questions, there’s a long important motion on student conduct code changes, and a weird proposed change to the Legal Services policy we adopted last year.

Watch Live | Senate Agenda |

3:00 pm     1.   Call to Order

1.1           Introduction to University Senate

1.1.1        Orientation to Open Committee Meetings

1.1.2       October 22nd Senate Meeting

1.1.3       Progress Report from UO Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support

3:05 pm     2.   Approval of Minutes

2.1       April 23rd, 2014; April 30th, 2014; May 14th, 2014; & May 28th, 2014

3:10 pm     3.   State of the University

3.1       Remarks by Interim President Coltrane with discussion

13 PhD programs in top 20% nationally. [Anyone know where that list is?] Incredible time of opportunity. Tipping point. Time to reinvest in academics and faculty. BOT is good. Working on “strategic plan” with metrics to guide where resources go. This will be done with faculty input. He’s going to try again with the mission statement. [He gave 160over90 another crack at it?] Vision Plan for campus planning. 18 month process. Some meetings are already happening. There’s going to be a new “Diversity Action Plan”. “Clusters of Excellence”: Internal funds for 1-2, looking for donations for more. Will have a plan in 2 weeks for hiring 150 new TTF faculty. OAR revisions. We are joining with the other state universities and CC’s to go to the legislature for $750M in new funds. Public phase of fundraising campaign will start soon. Announces $10M Tykeson gift (which sounds like it willmostly be for CAS administration? Weird.) Committed to shared governance, thanks Senate for tackling tough issues. Claims that Gottfredson’s Secret Sex Review Panel has been working cooperatively with the Senate’s Task Force. Hmm.

Opens floor to questions: Q: 150 new TTF? A: That’s the goal, if we can raise the money. 1/3 cluster hires, rest through normal hiring process in departments. Q: More support staff to? A: Yes. Gives shoutout to Jamie Moffitt’s formula for new hires. Q from student: When will the scholarships for prospective teachers start? A: I will get back to you. Q: What % of students are now Pell eligible? A: 37%. More funding for these students will be a big part of what we ask the state to provide. Q: Why new TTF’s instead of cheaper instructors? A: Balancing act.

Takeaway: Relaxed informative talk, breath of fresh air, not terrified of the faculty or his own shadow. Era of good feelings commences. 

3:30 pm     4.   New Business

4.1       UO Senate Leadership and Service Award for Officers of Administration: David Espinoza, Assistant Director/Testing Center Director.

Espinoza gives a shout out to his colleagues.

4.2       UO Senate Classified Staff Leadership Award: Theodora Ko Thompson, Admissions Specialist (Office of Admissions)

Ko Thompson gives an impassioned speech in favor of lifelong learning and respectful workplace policies.

4.3       Wayne Westling Award: Susan Gary, Orlando J. and Marian H. Hollis Professor (Law)

Susan Gary is being given this award for her excellent work on the UO Constitution, under Lariviere. Which makes her participation in Randy Geller and Mike Gottfredson’s effort to sabotage shared governance with the BOT’s Delegation of Authority especially poignant. That fiasco was quite damaging to the faculty’s authority, and to the new Board’s credibility.

Gary is unable to be here. Kyr reads her speech.

4.4       Motion (Legislation): Change of Membership for Committee on Courses; Frances White, Professor (Anthropology) & Chair, Committee on Courses

Easy, passes.

4.5       Motion (Legislation): Proposed Revisions to Student Conduct Code Dealing with Sexual Misconduct; John Bonine, Professor (Law) and Caroline Forell, Professor (Law)

3:56 PM: The proposed changes are carefully documented by Bonine and Forell, here, and here are the motions:

Robin Holmes, VP for Student Life, has sat on these recommended changes (or similar) for 3 years. Last year, after the basketball rape allegations became public, Bonine and Forell decided to do her job for her. Strangely, she hasn’t even bothered to show up to watch them and the Senate do it. Is she still on the payroll?

John Bonine goes through the history and the law and the BOT’s power grab, taking authority for student discipline away from the faculty  for the first time in 138 years of UO history.

Motions 1,2 pass quickly. Lots of discussion on 3. Sorry, I’m paying attention not blogging. 3 gets postponed til November. Weintraub and Freinkel want to run it by the student conduct committee. At this point that committee’s name, having failed to do its job for years, is mud. The Senate is fed up, and wisely decides to let Bonine work this out. 4 passes.

Motion 5 postponed.

It’s now 5PM, and the Senate adjourns. Lots and lots of work still on the table – see below for seome of it:

4.6       Motion (Resolution): GTFF Bargaining; Regina Psaki, Professor (Romance Languages & UO Senator

4.7       Motion (Legislation): Committee Requirements with Revisions, Slate 1 (Service Reform 2014-2015); Committee on Committees

4.8       Motion (Policy Adoption): To Amend Legal Services Policy; Margie Paris, Professor (Law) & Immediate Past Senate President

This motion from Margie Paris puzzles me. Paris says in her motion that

1.5 WHEREAS, two of the amendments in the section on “Right to Legal Advice or Representation” are problematic because they contravene an important agreed-upon provision in the Joint Draft about the fact that the Office of General Counsel must be the sole provider of official legal advice and representation to the University of Oregon and its units; and

1.6 WHEREAS, the intention underlying the problematic amendments was to ensure that the Legal Services Policy did not preclude the Associated Students of the University of Oregon [ASUO] from continuing to fund and obtain services from the Office of Student Advocacy; and

1.7 WHEREAS, the intention underlying the problematic amendments can be served by removing them and adding a paragraph clarifying that the Legal Services Policy does not preclude the ASUO from continuing to fund and obtain services from the Office of Student Advocacy;

Section II

2.1 BE IT HEREBY MOVED that the Legal Services Policy as approved by the Senate on April 9, 2014, be amended by removing the words “and the Associated Students of the University” and “or organization’s” from the first sentence of the section entitled “Right to Legal Advice or Representation,”

But it seems to me that the Senate knew exactly what it was doing when it added these sentences to the motion last year. It intended to give ASUO the right to use its funds to get outside legal advice, as an organization, in case of a dispute with the UO administration. I’m guessing Margie knew this too. From the Senate minutes, here:

Senate Vice-President Kyr called for discussion on the main motion.

Senator John Davidson (Political Science) stated that he used to work as a staff attorney for ASUO legal services, and they used to give advice to the ASUO on lots of matters, including various legal matters. Then for a while they were told they could not do that, and that they had to get their legal advice from General Counsel. He stated that the language on the language under the section on the right to legal advice and representation says that students and employees have the right to pay someone like legal services fees to get that kind of advice. He asked if ASUO as a body is part of the university and would have to get permission from the President and the General Counsel, or are they employees and students. He asked Senator Sayre if they were thinking about the ASUO legal services when they drafted this.

Senator Sayre stated that the independence of the ASUO from the university and its financial independence did not come up in their discussions, rather, what did come up was the fact that everyone always has the right to seek legal advice on any such matter. He further stated that the redundancy of this clause was entertained, but they believed it was important to include it, and thus it was included twice: in the preamble and in the right to representation section. Senator Sayre stated that they discussed moving it from one spot to the other, and it ended up being in both places, and that the principle is important enough to repeat.

Senator Davidson asked if it would be possible for him to make a motion to have that section on right to legal advice or representation be amended to read “every employee and student of the university and the Associated Students of the University or Oregon shall have the right…” The motion to amend received a second. Senate Vice-President Kyr called for discussion on the amendment.

Professor Bonine asked Senator Davidson if he wanted to go a little further down in that sentence and say “at the employees, students, or organization’s own expense,” because that would allow ASUO funds to be used. He suggested Senator Davidson might want to clarify that.

Senator Davidson stated that he moved those words that just got added.

Senate Vice-President Kyr called for further discussion on the amendment. Seeing none, Senate Vice-President Kyr called for a vote on the amendment. The amendment passed unanimously by a voice vote.

So why is our former Senate President carrying water for the administration on this, and not being clear about her motives?

4.9       Motion (Resolution): The UO Senate Award for Shared Governance, Transparency, and Trust; William Harbaugh, Professor (Economics) & UO Senator

4:30 pm     5.   Open Discussion

4:40 pm     6.   Reports

4:40 pm     7.   Notice(s) of Motion

7.1       Motion (Legislation): Amendment to IFS Senator Legislation (US13/14-04)

4:45 pm      8.  Other Business

8.1       Reception for Award Winners: A Time to Celebrate

5:00 pm     9.   Adjournment

 

Dean of Students Paul Shang submits sexual assault reduction action plan

Shang warns of liability issues with current situation, proposes special programs for athletes, frats, mandatory training for students, etc.

Oh wait, this document is from 2010, and VPSA Robin Holmes and AD Rob Mullens seem to have ignored most of its recommendations. Never mind. Congrats to Coltrane’s SARP for finding it in the JH recycling bin and posting it on their website though.

Robin Holmes and Tobin Klinger embarrass themselves and UO in RG

Update: Apparently Klinger was one of the ghost-writers for this Robin Holmes Op-Ed. In fact it’s not clear if Holmes even read it before it was submitted. The once secret email trail is here.

7/15/2014: UO’s VP for Student Life Robin Holmes (paid $241K a year plus family bowl game junkets) has an op-ed today in which she restates UO’s discredited story that kept the March 8-9 rape allegations secret because of student privacy, and defends UO’s handling of sexual violence in general.

Why should we believe VP Holmes? UO is still refusing to release many facts, including pages of emails about UO’s response that, by UO’s own statements, were redacted not because of student privacy concerns but because of “attorney client privilege” and because they contained “frank discussions” about how UO’s administration responded to the rape allegations. The same with UO’s decision to admit Brandon Austin. UO has still not responded to public records requests for documents showing the agendas for the apparently secret meetings of the “external review panel” on UO’s response to the rape allegations. Two weeks, no response. And UO wants $413.87 to see documents on how VP Holmes and the UO administration selected the people they wanted to review their own performance. UO’s response:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any documents showing the nominees President Gottfredson, Athletic Director Rob Mullens, and VPSA Robin Holmes, or their offices, have received for the External Review Panel on Sexual Misconduct and Response, and any communications with potential nominees to this panel”, on 06/03/2014, 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 $413.87.

Her op-ed is just self-serving cheap talk from someone who is hiding the documents that would show what really happened, and help UO prepare for the next time.

Also today, newly hired UO strategic communicator Tobin Klinger has a letter to the editor complaining about Diane Dietz’s “Bowl of  – – – -‘s” reporting:

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.

UO’s public safety budget has gone from $3M to $6M a year since the decision to convert to sworn, armed police officers. (Compare that to the $1.5M a year Gottfredson has allocated to faculty “cluster hires”. Ms Dietz’s article makes it very plain just how badly that money has been wasted. UO fired the officer who complained about the bowl of dicks list, and promoted the two officers who updated it on UO time. With the UOPD credibility destroyed, UO had to get the Eugene PD to investigate the March 8-9 rape allegations. President Gottfredson never even bothered to tell his police chief about the outcome of that investigation.

The fact that UO adds to this waste by padding its payroll with spokespeople like Mr. Klinger ($115K a year, and not even the best paid of the still growing flock) to write booster pieces about the Ducks, instead of investing that money in its educational mission, is yet another leadership failure from Gottfredson.

Go away Mr. Klinger. UO needs more faculty, not more PR flacks.