5/11/2011: Two interesting stories in the ODE. Nora Simon has a retrospective on UO Senate President Nathan Tublitz’s term:
Shared governance means the Senate and the administration have joint power to make decisions that affect the University, according to the University’s charter, and Tublitz has fought to keep that relationship balanced.
And Rockne Andrew Roll write on the scene at the legislative hearings on the UO Police bill:
Among the first to testify was Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), who shepherded the bill through the Senate, where it was approved last month. Prozanski was joined in the by Department of Public Safety Chief Doug Tripp and Frances Dyke, University vice president of finance and administration, who acknowledged Prozanski’s leadership on the issue.
Dyke said the costs of implementation would be “relatively minimal” — about $66,000 — and stressed that more than 80 percent of citations issued by DPS for misdemeanor crimes are issued to people who are not students.
$66,000? Really? Many people at UO believe that University of Oregon Vice President Frances Dyke is lying to the Oregon State Legislature, and that a more accurate measure of the cost is 4 to 7 faculty positions. You can hear the testimony here, the
lying potential misrepresentation of the actual facts starts at 16:16.
The testimony does make clear that UO intends to cooperate with the city police and use its new powers to patrol and enforce laws (and UO policies?) in student residential areas surrounding the campus. So, my conspiracy view of the reason UO pushed this so hard is that it will allow the UO police to prevent the release of the names of the athletes they arrest, by using the new FERPA exemption from the state public records law, which they recently obtained from Attorney General Kroger.
12/1/2010: The Senate meets today, agenda here. A report from President Lariviere/Provost Bean on the Riverfront Research Park should be interesting, given recent revelations about UO’s apparent failure to follow the development procedures. I suspect the statement will be limited, given the potential for a lawsuit from the developer.
France Dyke will talk about parking. Don’t expect any answers about why fees have been raised $600,000 per year to pay for the underground arena parking garage, which cost about $50K per slot. She has been asked this many times, and she’s committed to not explaining the subsidy, ever. The only question is what combination of strategies she will use this time:
a) read from prepared statement, then feign ignorance
b) obsequiously thank the questioner and say her staff will look into it
c) act like the questioner is being unreasonable for not accepting a non-answer
Paul Weinhold of the UO Foundation will speak. This is part of a burst of transparency designed to build support for Lariviere’s restructuring plan. Don’t ask why the Foundation is spending donor money building extravagant offices for themselves and UO Development in the new Alumni Center, instead of on classrooms. Don’t ask how hard we had to work explaining to increasingly skeptical donors why this was the #1 priority for UO. None of your business, you ungrateful
student professor punk. Really, this is best for you. Trust us. By the way, we are not going to agree to be subject to the Oregon public records law. Ever.
11/9/2010: The Senate has an unusually full agenda for tomorrow – everything from the ORI building to a report by Frances Dyke on parking.
The opposition to the ORI project has dug up some documents that apparently show the decisions to approve the building were made without the necessary community input. I suspect they are correct. But I think they are turning the perfect into the enemy of the good. Let’s just build it.
Regarding parking, who knows. Ms Dyke’s normal approach is throw out a few semi-relevant numbers her staff has put together, and then get pissy if anyone challenges her. That or she pours on the saccharin, and says she doesn’t have the numbers but she will get back to you. She won’t. If you call her on this, she will act like you are the one being rude. Right. Remember the furlough Town Hall? Or the Senate meeting on financial transparency?
This is a case of the bad being the enemy of the good. UO needs a new VPFA. It’s past time for Provost Bean to decide who will fill her job while he leads a national search. The longer this goes on the more embarrassing for UO and the people who run it.
Senate Meeting Agenda – November 10, 2010
Law School 175, 3:00‐5:00 pm
||1. Call to order
||Approval of the Minutes of the 13 October 2010 Meeting
||2. State of the University
||Remarks by President Lariviere and/or Provost Bean
||3. New Business
||Motion US10/11-02: Motion to adopt Research Misconduct Policy, Lynette Schenkel & Rob Horner
||Resolution US10/11-04: Resolution requesting the University to comply with the existing Intergovernmental agreement on the Riverfront Research Park, Zach Stark-MacMillan, Frank Stahl, Ron Lovinger, Bitty Roy and others
||Discussion of updated Retired and Emeritus Faculty Policy, Frank Stahl and Russ Tomlin
||Senate letter to Eugene Congressional delegation about the loss of the UO Post Office
||Senate Budget Committee Report on New Partnership Proposal, John Chalmers
||4. Open Discussion: New Partnership Proposal, President Lariviere & John Chalmers, Senate Budget Committee
||Update on Smoke Free Campus resolution US08/09-06, Amelie Rousseau, ASUO President
||Update on Parking, Frances Dyke, Vice President for Finance and Administration
||6. Announcements and Communications from the Floor
||Notice of Motion(s)
4/18/2010: I missed the Wed Senate meeting but have heard a few reports:
First, Pres Lariviere appeared and made a brief statement about transparency. Leaving Melinda Grier and her lackey Doug Park in charge of public records has been a disaster for UO. Now that it has led to embarrassment for Larviere over the Bellotti contract he is pushing for more transparency. Apparently RG reporter Greg Bolt made 3 public records requests to Grier and Park for the Bellotti contract. They ignored these, and never told Lariviere that people were asking to see a written contract and it did not exist. The result was pretty bad for the credibility of President Lariviere and therefore bad for UO. When he goes to the legislature or the OUS board to argue for UO, this is what everyone is going to remember: $2.3 million on a vague promise from a booster, and his staff hid it from him for a year. Does he know what’s going on this time?
So Lariviere is now planning a revision to UO’s policies and practices. We are trying to get the details – which should be a public record!
Second, Brad Shelton announced the new budget model is moving ahead and will be implemented starting in July. It seems from this and other signs that Frances Dyke is no longer pulling the strings.
Contracts for UO’s senior administrators are up for renewal July 1 and discussions are already underway. So we will know soon if Lariviere is going to make substantive changes at UO, or take the easy way out and keep Frohnmayer’s team on until they slowly fade away. At this point he can hardly argue that he’s surprised by how they run the place.
12/4/2009: This brief from UO law professor John Bonine to President Lariviere takes on UO General Counsel Melinda Grier and her claim that the faculty’s role in university governance is limited to student discipline and the curriculum. Quoting,
It is important that the University Senate, members of the ad hoc Internal Governance Committee, and individual faculty members understand the legal basis for and extent of the faculty’s role in university governance. The letter from the university president’s General Counsel mischaracterizes both. In this memorandum I shall explain its errors. …
Of even greater importance, the letter completely fails to cite the statutory grant of authority to the faculty that is contained in ORS 352.010. Following that failure, the letter asserts that the faculty’s authority “is not stated in detail” and “is not well-defined.” Combined, the letter gives an impression of the faculty’s role in governance that is quite misleading, as will be explained in the next sections of this memorandum. …
To an incorrect premise—that the statutory basis for the faculty’s authority is undefined while the president’s is plenary—the letter adds another premise without explanation or support. It asserts that “historically the faculty’s authority has been over the curriculum and the discipline of the students.”3 This limited view is also in error, as will be explained below. …
President Lariviere, it’s time to get a new General Counsel, and John Bonine should be on the hiring committee.
11/12/2009: From CJ Ciaramella in the Daily Emerald on yesterday’s Senate meeting. Melinda Grier tries another end run around faculty governance. She and law professor John Bonine last tangled over the COC/COI issue. She lost. In fact, she loses every time she is challenged on something. Why hasn’t Lariviere fired her yet? Either he doesn’t realize how incompetent she is, or he supports her efforts to destroy any trust between the faculty and his new administration. The man has been on campus since April. There’s no good way to read this.
Questions arise over power struggle among senators, faculty and administration: CJ Ciaramella.
A legal opinion delivered by University General Counsel Melinda Grier to the University Senate led one incensed senator to consider arming the Senate with its own legal counsel at yesterday’s meeting.
The memo, delivered to the Senate the day before the meeting, suggests that Oregon Public Meetings Law may not apply to the body.
“In certain circumstances, the Oregon Public Meetings Law may by operation of law apply to the University Senate,” Grier said in the memo, “but in all others, it applies only to the extent the University Senate Charter self-imposes those requirements.”
However, the hullabaloo was not so much over the OPML as a perceived slighting of the Senate’s power. University Sen. and law professor John Bonine said the memo failed to cite the University’s charter, which he called the “key governing document of this University,” and misrepresented the Senate’s relationship with the administration.
“The fact is that power is split between the president and the Senate,” Bonine said.
However, Grier’s memo states that “the faculty, by statute, also has authority. While that grant is not stated in detail and its relationship with the president’s authority is not well-defined, historically the faculty’s authority has been over the curriculum and the discipline of the students.”
Grier went on to say, “it appears the University Senate’s authority is not express and is that authorized by the president subject to veto by the president.”
Bonine contends that the University Charter, which Grier never mentions by name, conflicts with her opinion.
The charter, found in ORS 352.010, reads, “the president and professors constitute the faculty of each of the state institutions of higher education and as such have the immediate government and discipline of it and the students therein.”
“To obtain a legal opinion that contains about as big of a legal error as I can imagine astounds me,” Bonine said.
Bonine verbally announced a motion at the meeting to provide the Senate with its own legal counsel and said he would officially produce a written motion sometime in the near future.
… More in the article, on voting for Senate VP.
The Daily Emerald has been doing good reporting about UO politics again. So far it hasn’t risen to the standard of Ryan Knutson’s Bernsteinian investigative pieces on the arena, but reporter Alex Tomchak Scott seems to know how to do an interview. See this story on the UO Senate’s version of Florida 2000. (Not in story: the Senate minutes show there was no quorum at the meeting that elected van Donkelaar either!) Check out Frohnmayer’s quotes on Tublitz – I hope Scott brought a handkerchief to wipe off the spittle:
“If anything,” Frohnmayer said, “I’ve made efforts to revitalize the Senate. If (demoralizing the Senate has) occurred, it’s occurred because of many other demands on faculty members’ time, and because frankly some people have attempted to use the Senate for their own personal agendas, including a couple that I’ve named, and that drives people away. But I don’t think it’s my doing at all. I really don’t. I’ve a clean conscience and an uninhibited mind on this.”
Nathan Tublitz will be Senate President for 2010-2011. This email from current President Paul van Donkelaar explains the situation:
I write to let you know that I have heard a number of concerns regarding the manner by which the election process for Senate vice-president was postponed until the October meeting. I have sought counsel from a number of respected colleagues including Paul Simonds, the Senate Parliamentarian; Gwen Steigelman, the Secretary to the Senate; John Bonine, a Senator from Law; as well as members of the Faculty Advisory Council. I trust the judgment of this group of colleagues and although they provided differing opinions on the matter, the consensus was that based on parliamentary procedures as applied in the context of the meeting last Wednesday the vote taken should stand. In discussions with Senate Parliamentarian, Paul Simonds, the following two issues became apparent:
- The election became final once the votes were taken and announced.
- My assertion that the election was out of order because of a lack of quorum was incorrect because the absence of a quorum is generally not permitted to affect prior action.
Therefore, the decision to postpone the election until October is not valid. From a procedural point of view, my decision today does not appear to be subject to appeal, thus, there is no need to hold a meeting at which such appeals could be discussed and voted upon. As a result of this counsel, I hereby announce the winner of the vote, Nathan Tublitz, as the next Senate vice-president.
Let me add that I have learned this year that trust is something that is often in short supply in matters of internal governance at the UO. I am not an unethical person nor do I wish to be viewed as such. It truly saddens me that, despite my efforts to build trust across many constituents, my actions last Wednesday were apparently viewed with suspicion by some present at the meeting and in the broader community. All I can say is that the goal of my original assertion was not to deny Nathan the vice-presidency, but simply to ensure that a sufficient number of people voted. I would have made the same decision had the vote totals for each candidate been reversed.
Yours, Paul van Donkelaar
Daily Emerald article says that at the 5/27 UO Senate meeting President Paul van Donkelaar decided after he knew the outcome of the voting for the 2010-2011 Senate President that there was no quorum and that the vote would be done over in October. The obvious interpretation is that Nathan Tublitz had the most votes, and that Paul made this decision to increase the chance of the election of an alternative he preferred. This is not a pleasant conclusion, so if someone knows more or has an alternative interpretation of what happened, please comment.
Just to be clear, we think the biggest problem with the Senate is that it has no input into basic budgeting decisions: like how much money will UO spend on academics, how much on administrators, how much on CAS, how much on Bend and Portland. The Senate doesn’t even have any credible information about current expenditures, because Frohnmayer, Bean and Dyke lie with impunity to the Senate and to the Senate Finance Committee about how they spend UO’s money. This problem needs to be fixed. Until it is the Senate does more bad than good, because it lets the administration claim their most bizarre and self-serving decisions have the consent of the faculty.