No expulsion, UO bans Duck athletes from campus for 4-10 years

6/23/2014 update: KVAL reports that the survivor’s lawyer, John Clune, is focused on UO’s decision to admit Brandon Austin:

Clune told KVAL News his client remains concerned about Oregon’s recruitment of Austin, who left his previous school while under investigation for a possible sexual assault there.

“We definitely want some more candid answers from the Athletic Department about their recruiting of Mr. Austin,” Clune said. “The suggestion that Coach Altman was recruiting a student-athlete who was at the time serving a disciplinary suspension for an entire season and no one ever asked why is just flat out not believable.

“If we can get honest answers without any litigation – great, but my client, her family, and the UO community need some transparency here or something like this is just going to happen again.”

The alleged assault in Eugene took place in March, but news of the incident didn’t break until the police report became public in May.

“If we can get honest answers without any litigation – great, but my client, her family, and the UO community need some transparency here or something like this is just going to happen again.”

The alleged assault in Eugene took place in March, but news of the incident didn’t break until the police report became public in May.

UO has a “Athletics Special Admit” committee, chaired by Lorraine Davis. Still no word on what role they had, if any.

6/22/2014: No expulsion – UO bans Duck athletes from campus for 4-10 years

Josephine Woolington has the story in the RG, here. The news is from the survivor’s lawyer, who also says she plans to finish college at UO. Good for her:

In her statement released earlier this month, the victim praised employees in the UO’s Dean of Students office for their support, but was critical of the athletic department.

“I am angry with the culture that appears to exist in our athletic department that prioritizes winning over safety of our students. I cannot fathom how our basketball coach recruited someone who was in the middle of a suspension for another sexual assault to come to Eugene,” she wrote, apparently alluding to Austin.

Why just suspension, and not expulsion? In 2011 the US DOE Office of Civil Rights recommended lowering the standard of proof for expulsion for sexual assaults to “a preponderance of the evidence”. But UO’s VP for Student Affairs, Robin Holmes, didn’t do anything to update UO’s student conduct code. Too busy with her bowl game junkets.

Finally, after the rape allegations, the Senate got wind of this, and quickly passed revisions:

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 7.56.19 PM

Too late of course. For that matter President Gottfredson still hasn’t signed off on the revisions, passed May 28.

You’ve got to wonder what the penalty would have been if Gottfredson had succeeded in hiding the whole incident from the public, as was apparently his plan. Gottfredson gave the Eugene PD report to his athletic director Rob Mullens, while his police chief only found out about it from reading the newspapers.

Under UO’s student conduct code, suspension does not even necessarily include any notice on the student’s transcript – that’s a different penalty. From: http://uodos.uoregon.edu/StudentConductandCommunityStandards/StudentConductCode.aspx:

(1) Forms of Sanctions
(a) Expulsion. Student status is severed permanently. A Student who has been expelled from the University shall not be permitted to participate in any University Sponsored Activity or allowed to reside on University Premises.
(b) Suspension.
(A) Individual Suspension. Student status is severed for a specified period. A student who has been suspended from the University shall not be permitted to participate in any University Sponsored Activity or allowed to reside on University Premises during the period the student is suspended.
(B) Group Suspension. A Student Organization loses University recognition and all privileges associated with such recognition for a specified period. Imposition of this sanction against the ASUO or a recognized Student Organization requires approval by the Vice President for Student Affairs.
(c) Negative Notation on Transcript. Entry of the fact of violation on the Student’s permanent academic record as the sole or an additional sanction may be imposed at the discretion of the hearing officer or panel. After the expiration of the period of time, if any, set by the hearing officer or panel, the notation shall be removed upon the request of the Student or former Student.

Senate to vote on major changes to Student Conduct Code at May 28th meeting

5/27/2014 These are significant changes to the student conduct code. They are important and needed and some parts will be controversial. This post is worth reading in full, especially if you are a voting member of the Senate. 

The USDOE Office of Civil Rights recommended changes to student conduct codes in 2011, but VPSA Robin Holmes dropped the ball, busy with other things. On May 14th President Gottfredson told the UO Senate we were to blame for the delays in fixing the student conduct code. But the truth is the administration fumbled this badly. Carl Yeh, Gottfredson’s Director of Student Conduct, told UO he was leaving for OSU in August 2013. The UO administration did not get a new Director until March 31st 2014. The Director is an ex-officio administrative appointment to the Student Conduct Committee, and the convenor. Sort of hard to hold a productive meeting without a Director, given that he’s the convenor. For a matter this important Holmes should have stepped in herself. Instead she hired a consultant and then sat on his report for 6 months, apparently without even convening the committee.

After the March 8-9 basketball rape allegations finally became public May 5, UO Law professors John Bonine and Caroline Forell stepped in. They have done an amazing amount of work over the last few weeks to try and get a revised code in place before the new students arrive in September. All in all there will now be 4 motions on the table for the Senate meeting this Wednesday, 3PM, 115 Lawrence, along with a full slate of other business. Three relatively minor ones come from UO’s new Director of Student Conduct Sandy Weintraub, the last is from Bonine and Forell, and it has also been reviewed by Weintraub.

4.8       Motion (Legislation): Proposed Change to Student Conduct Code to Standard Preponderance of Evidence; Student Conduct and Community Standards Committee (Sandy Weintraub, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards)

4.9       Motion (Legislation): Proposed Change to Student Conduct Code to Extend Jurisdiction Off Campus; Student Conduct and Community Standards Committee (Sandy Weintraub, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards)

4.10     Motion (Legislation): Proposed Change to Student Conduct Code Regarding Definition of Words; Student Conduct and Community Standards Committee (Sandy Weintraub, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards) [Suspension of the Rules]

4.11     Motion (Legislation): Proposed Revisions to Student Conduct Code Dealing with Sexual Misconduct; John Bonine, Professor (Law) [Suspension of the Rules]

These 4.11 revisions significantly expand the protections for those making accusations of sexual assault to level the playing field, and they make many other significant changes as well.

For background, Bonine and Forell’s video summary from the 5/21 Senate meeting is here:

Bonine and Forell’s detailed 5/22 explanation for the need for the revisions is here. New UO Ombudsman Bruce MacAllister has written a lengthy, thoughtful memo about the first draft of these revisions, here, endorsing some and criticizing others. Strangely, there has been no word from UO General Counsel Randy Geller’s office. Geller announced his resignation hours before the rape allegation story broke, and while he’s still on the books as GC until June 30th, no one has seen him since.

Below are the most significant revisions, from my initial read. However I strongly suggested reading the full proposal here, instead of my hack job post.

Bonine and Forell have highlighted the parts relating to sexual assault and violence in yellow, to make that easier. Additions are in red with brackets, strikeouts for deletions, blue for explanations from Bonine and Forell, and green for comments from Sandy Weintraub:

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 6.18.17 PM

Continue reading

Gottfredson makes VP for student affairs Robin Holmes do the rape interview for him

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 8.23.33 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 7.50.02 PM

He paid for her family’s bowl game junkets, and now the bill is due. Andrew Greif has the transcript in the Oregonian. Ask a simple question:

How would you define “immediate action” when you learn of an accusation?

Holmes: There are several things that surround this, one of which is federal law and state laws and then you have university policies and expectations. There’s a concept of when the university is put on notice. And so as soon as we find out any information about anything regarding prohibited discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, any of those types of prohibited behaviors, then we are put on notice that that has potentially occurred and we have to respond immediately. Right away means immediate, right away. In a process that happens all of the time at the university for one of those things occurring the information is taken in. Depending on whether it’s an incident that happens between a staff member and faculty member or faculty member and a student or a student and a student that will go on a particular direction depending on the groups that are involved. But the investigation of that will happen immediately and you’re trying to gather enough information to see if you have probable cause. It doesn’t have to be clear and convincing, no doubt that it happened, you just need probable cause that some type of prohibited behavior has potentially occurred and once you have that probable cause the rest of the process would kick in. Although that would happen immediately, it does take quite a bit of time. This is a very, very difficult, convoluted, long, comprehensively difficult thing to look into and we have to be very careful, very deliberate and we have to pay attention to due process for everyone that’s involved as well as the rights of the survivor. They never go very fast because of it. And they shouldn’t, this is really important stuff.

UO Trustee and ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz threatens President Gottfredson with student government secession from the UO administration

4/8/2014 update: No, I’m not making this up, and yes, my first reaction was to wonder why the UO Senate didn’t think of this years ago.

Reporter Ian Campbell has the story in the Emerald, which also has a helpful timeline for background on this developing crisis. Meanwhile, still no word on which administrator ordered UO’s newly armed police department to arrest and jail one of ASUO’s student president candidates.

Continue reading

ODE story on EMU ignores manipulation history

11/18/2013: Last summer the Oregonian’s Betsy Hammond wrote a revealing story on the shenanigans of UO VP Robin Holmes and the use of student money to manipulate the student vote on the EMU expansion:

University of Oregon leaders admit they made a tactical error when they hired a top political firm that advised them to use hard-sell techniques and $30,000 in free T-shirts and other items to persuade students to raise their own fees to upgrade the student union.

UO Vice President Robin Holmes said Monday evening that the university has ended its contract with the firm and won’t follow through with any part of the full-bore effort to control student messaging, criticize opponents and hand out swag in advance of an October student vote.

ODE reporter Dash Paulson also had a 2012 story about it, here. Ian Campbell had another, here. The Chronicle of Higher Education had another, here:

That has led the university administration to some desperate measures—which may lead to more trouble. Students have learned that the university hired a Denver-based research-and-strategy firm, which specializes in political campaigns, to try to push the students to a yes vote in yet another referendum in October. That fact alone has irked some students who have been active in the student-union debate. 

But it’s the language of the proposal from RBI Strategies & Research that has really angered them. A section of the document lays out “what we say about opponents” of the university’s plan, ticked off in talking-point bullets: “narrow‐minded,” “stuck in past,” “stubborn,” and their “opinions are based in misconceptions and misinformation.” The damning last bullet: Students “don’t care.”

Today the ODE published an update on the EMU expansion:

“We weren’t pushing a ‘yes’ vote, we just put the information out there,’” Haunert said. “Some of the general concern is, ‘Why am I paying now if I am not going to be here next year?’ And I always say you have what you have right now because two years ago students paid early fees. We can’t build a building unless we have money to do it.’”  

Inexplicably, the reporter leaves this quote unchallenged, or for that matter even explained, and provides no reference to the many previous news reports. 

Jail time for rigging student president election

7/16/2013: From Teri Figueroa in the San Diego UT:

A former Cal State San Marcos student who rigged a campus election by stealing nearly 750 student passwords to cast votes for himself and friends was sentenced Monday in federal court to a year in prison….

On Weaver’s computer, authorities found a PowerPoint presentation from early 2012, proposing that he run for campus president and that four of his fraternity brothers run for the four vice president spots in the student government. The presentation noted that the president’s job came with an $8,000 stipend and the vice presidents each got a $7,000 stipend. 

Weaver also had done a bit of research, with computer queries such as “how to rig an election” and “jail time for keylogger.” 

Of course Robin Holmes got off scott free with trying to manipulate the EMU election. Some similar computer shenanigans happened with a student election at UO a few years back, but I don’t think anyone pressed charges.

Check out the dueling ASUO tumblr blogs for insider snark: The progressives here, the conservatives here. Our students have watched a lot of videos.

Update: Robin Holmes certifies UO student elections, students protest

Update 4/16/2013: A group of students are protesting Holmes’s intervention:

  We write this letter in protest of the circumstances surrounding the culmination of the 2013 ASUO elections. 

        The unwarranted intervention by UO Administration in the release of this year’s election results was an unacceptable breach of the autonomy of our student body and government.  Long has it been a point of pride at this University that student political activity thrives free from outside influence.  It is a right that we have labored for since its inception. 

        This is not a matter of winners or losers.  We write this knowing full well that Constitution Court’s decision not only punished the United Oregon campaign, but our own as well. Constitution Court ruled that both campaigns behaved inappropriately and ought to be disqualified from elections, thus invalidating the election in its entirety. 

        Our ability to operate as the most autonomous student government in the nation is at stake.  Therefor we ask that Dr. Holmes formally withdraw her decision in which she ordered the elections results be released, and allow Constitution Court to resume control of the ASUO election process, permitting the ASUO to resolve this issue autonomously, regardless the outcome or consequences. We also ask that Constitution Court write a decision free of outside intervention or influence on the part of UO Administration.  We will happily submit to any ruling that that body hands down, on the condition that it be allowed to do so in the manner discussed herein.

4/15/2013: VPSA Robin Holmes learned the easy way – as in she still has a job – that Oregon law does not govern ASUO elections. As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Ed last summer:

Lately, the University of Oregon has had a little trouble getting students to go along with its plan to renovate Erb Memorial Union, the university’s dilapidated student-union building. The sticky part of that plan: getting students to vote to raise their fees to help pay for the $135-million renovation. In two referenda in the past year, students voted down the university’s plans, which would have raised fees by $100 per term. 

That has led the university administration to some desperate measures—which may lead to more trouble. Students have learned that the university hired a Denver-based research-and-strategy firm, which specializes in political campaigns, to try to push the students to a yes vote in yet another referendum in October. That fact alone has irked some students who have been active in the student-union debate. 

But it’s the language of the proposal from RBI Strategies & Research that has really angered them. … 

Ms. Holmes did not respond to requests for an interview. 

But the language of the proposal was only one concern. The proposal also outlines a budget of $20,000 to $30,000 to spend on T-shirts, drawstring backpacks, banners, table tents, stickers, and other items designed to spread the message and win over 3,000 voters. 

“They are basically spending $10 a vote, which I think is ridiculous,” Mr. Wise said.

The initiative eventually passed. Apparently UO student politics and butt-ugly t-shirts go together like Tammany and Hall. In the ASUO elections that ended Friday, the competing campaigns of Lamar Wise and Sam Dotters-Katz were both accused of using t-shirts to buy votes.

And ODE reporter Ian Campbell reports that Dr. Holmes was willing to go on record this time:

The ASUO Constitution Court issued an opinion,” Holmes wrote, “that the ASUO Election results were invalid, based on the opinion that both campaigns violated ASUO election rules because they failed to comply with Oregon election laws. ASUO elections are not subject to Oregon election law. As such, the election is valid and the results should be released as soon as possible.”

Mr. Dotters-Katz, a law student, was the winner. He is best known for de-funding OSPIRG when he was ASUO President a few years back, as an undergrad. Good work, Mr. D-K. But in this election students also passed a ballot initiative to *increase* OSPIRG funding. Should be an interesting and educational year for student government.

For if you hide the data, even in your hearts, there will we rake for it.

Last summer the Senate IAC started trying to get data on the academic performance of student athletes, and for comparison, regular unathletic students. We were stonewalled. The Dolphin GC Randy Geller took the interesting position that federal law prevented faculty from seeing information on their students. 
After getting jerked around for 6 months we went to the Senate, with this motion, which showed that Randy didn’t have a clue about the law. The motion passed unanimously: 

2.1 Be it hereby resolved that these data are essential to fulfilling the charge of
the IAC, and that Senate therefore requests that University President Gottfredson
shall direct the VP for Student Affairs, the Registrar, the VP for Enrollment, the
Athletic Department, and other necessary offices to provide these data to the
IAC chair no later than January 31 2013, and that he shall direct the
administrative units above to cooperate with the IAC chair to resolve any
questions about the details of this data request in favor of full provision of the
requested individual student level data.

January 31 passed with no data. On Feb 7 we were finally told we would receive only redacted and concatenated data, via this statement from the Registrar:

In Dr. Holmes absence, the President and I met late Tuesday afternoon to finalize the details of the data set that will be released to the IAC.  Specifically, President Gottfredson asked the Registrar’s Office to release student athlete and non-student athlete data going back six years, and aggregated into two-year blocks.  He also reviewed the data elements with me, and asked that the Registrar’s Office include all relevant data points that were requested except those in which releasing such data could identify a particular individual.

Obviously this was not what the Senate voted for. So we went back to the Senate at the 2/13 meeting. President Gottfredson promised he would make Randy Geller put his FERPA claims in writing. Many more emails and meetings followed, a process exacerbated by the administration’s stubborn refusal to talk directly with the faculty who had requested the data. Finally Randy caved and we were given the data at 5PM today.

What will we find? I won’t be saying anything about that on this blog. The analysis and report will go to the IAC so that the IAC can – finally – carry out our responsibility to oversee the Duck athletic department. Then there will be a public report to the Senate. But given our administration’s stubborn refusal to respond to this simple request by the faculty, and their success at delaying it for 9 months, I am extremely curious. 3/1/2013.

EMU renovation and student politics

Dash Paulson has a good piece in the ODE about how Robin Holmes let the EMU renovation turn into a fiasco. Short version: ASUO president Ben Eckstein insisted on substantial student input on the committee. Robin Holmes didn’t let that happen, and the students voted against the plan and fees, twice. Then *someone* came up with the bright idea of hiring the RBI campaign consultants to persuade the students to vote for it. (The story incorrectly calls RBI a  public relations firm, but from their website, the contract, and the work product it’s clear their job was to manipulate the student vote.)

So who’s idea was it to hire RBI? Robin Holmes? The students? Lariviere? Berdahl? It’s still not clear – the ODE needs to start requesting the public records on this. 10/8/2012.