Is Tobin Klinger more valuable to UO than a full professor of physics?

The latest post from $115K PR Flack Tobin Klinger about the faculty union bargaining is now up on AroundThe0. Salary negotiations re-start Friday at 2PM. The union is proposing raises that would finally get us to the Lariviere target. The administration wants to give all the money to people like Klinger instead:

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 11.03.27 PM

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 11.04.14 PM

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 11.06.12 PM

Full disclosure: These faculty salaries are before the 12.5% raises the union negotiated in late Fall of 2013.

Klinger and Rudnick’s statements raise questions about UO’s treatment of archivists

As might be expected, the Society of American Archivists has compiled a thorough bibliography of news stories about the UO archives release, here.

I’m still waiting to see if UO Library Dean Adriene Lim will waive the $210.63 public records fee and show what she and external reviewers had said about UO’s archives and records management processes and resources, many months before I even thought to ask for copies of UO’s Presidential Archives. My guess is that the reviews show questions about whether resources were adequate to do the jobs state law requires. Of course JH had no problem finding money for Bean and his boys.

Meanwhile, Tobin Klinger’s press release and Sharon Rudnick’s version of Amanda Walkup’s investigation report have raised many new questions about how UO dealt with its archivists in the wake of the release of UO’s Presidential Archives. The faculty union has released a statement about Kira Homo, here:

A recent story in the Register Guard, based on a press release from the University of Oregon, stated that two university library archivists were “out of their jobs” because of the role that they played in a recent release of records from the presidential archive.

This is not true.

Kira Homo worked in Special Collections at the University of Oregon as the electronic records archivist. She is also the Secretary of United Academics. She officially ended her employment at the University on March 1, 2015, for personal reasons. Because the university’s information strongly implied that Kira was fired for reasons related to the records release, Kira has asked us to post the following information:

In the fall 2014 term, Kira began graduate study toward a doctoral degree while continuing to work full-time at the university library. As anyone who has worked through graduate school understands, there comes a point when the demands of study and work come to loggerheads. Kira has struggled with these demands for the last several months and decided, in the end, to pursue her studies full-time. The fracas surrounding the records release made this decision easier to make.

Any implication that she left the University because of her role in the records release, that she was fired, or that she was forced to resign is false.

United Academics does not represent James Fox, as he held an administrative office and therefore was not in the bargaining unit. We have no knowledge of his situation outside of what we read in the papers. Most of the information on his situation seems to originate with the university administration, and in light of its description of Kira Homo’s departure, we encourage everyone to approach its press releases with skepticism.

The blog of the Society of American Archivists has this statement:

News media indicate that two members of the University of Oregon library archives staff, James Fox and Kira Homo, who previously had been put on administrative leave “will not be returning to their positions.” See background here: http://www2.archivists.org/news/2015/saa-response-to-member-request-re-university-of-oregon-records-release-incident.

SAA has no information beyond what is in the media. We have not yet heard from University Librarian Adriene Lim, who indicated that she would be in contact with SAA following the investigation. …

And the Register Guard has published several letters strongly opposing Library Dean Adriene Lim’s decision not to renew the contract of Archives Director James Fox:

James Fox was treated shamefully

I appreciated The Register-Guard’s decision to make the firing of two University of Oregon archivists the lead story on the March 26 front page. Reporter Diane Dietz did well to note that the news was released during spring break, and to put the university’s “outline” of what transpired in quotation marks.

The university spokesman referred to the archivists as “employees,” suggesting by that term that they’re lowly members of the UO staff. Such is certainly not the case, as the article clearly indicated in describing their responsibilities.

Dietz also did well to point out that James Fox was director of special collections for 15 years and an associate professor of history, whose position in the library unfortunately didn’t grant him the tenure that protects other members of the faculty.

Fox was no mere “employee,” but a distinguished scholarly librarian who devoted himself to the demanding task of supervising the collection of rare books and manuscripts that form a vital part of the UO library. He labored far beyond the call of duty to raise money and add to the collection.

The shameful treatment of a highly respected librarian will certainly give the UO a bad odor in library circles across the country. I can’t help wondering what sort of person will want to apply to fill his position.

LOUISE WESTLING
PROFESSOR EMERITA, ENGLISH AND ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON

Director’s dismissal was unjustified

The dismissal of James Fox, head of the University of Oregon library’s special collections, brings to mind the saying that the captain always goes down with his ship (“2 UO library archivists cast off,” March 26).

Over Fox’s 15-year tenure and through his untiring efforts, the UO library has gained numerous collections of historical and academic significance.

To think that the director should be able to oversee the handling of each document in a department that processes hundreds of document requests by professional archivists is absurd.

The capricious act by the university administration was wholly unjustified and perhaps an attempt to cover up the unsatisfactory state of UO records.

That was reported in a study made by university librarians who recommended, among other things, that presidential papers not be held by the library.

RICHARD YATES

RETIRED COLLEGE LIBRARY DIRECTOR

Treatment of archivist was despotic

The University of Oregon’s unceremonious “casting off” of archivist James Fox adds to an atmosphere of intimidation and malaise across campus, echoed elsewhere in our company town (“2 UO library archivists cast off,” March 26).

If a long-term employee with a stellar record of loyalty and service can get the ax for a subordinate’s mistake, anyone’s vulnerable.

During months of administrative leave, while nonuniversity lawyers determined his fate, Fox was allowed on campus only when accompanied by a library staff member, and was denied access to his workplace computer and phone.

Such despotic methods are consonant with what amounts to executive privilege for UO presidents — surely unwarranted in a tax-exempt institution.

Whatever those files may contain, history tells us eventually it will all come to light.

Meanwhile, the university has lost the trust and confidence of potential donors to its special collections, and the services of a genius archivist.

ALICE PARMAN

3/27/2015: What did Tobin Klinger tell reporters, and when did he tell it?

I don’t know. Let’s find out:

Subject: public records request, Klinger communications on archivists
Date: March 27, 2015 at 3:30:59 PM PDT
Cc: Tobin Klinger <tklinger@uoregon.edu>
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for copies of any emails, texts, tweets, andor documents sent by UO spokesperson Tobin Klinger to reporters, from March 20th to the present, giving information on the investigation of the UO Presidential Archives release and the employment status of the UO archivists.

I’m ccing Mr. Klinger, as he should be able to easily provide these, but if not I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest, as demonstrated by the fact that a UO spokesperson sent them to reporters.

What I do know is here, including Sharon Rudnick’s version of the archives investigation, which UO had said would be independently done by Hershner Hunter – not overseen by a colleague of the same Randy Geller who wrote the memo advocating the dissolution of the UO Senate that is at the heart of the controversy.

Coltrane launches investigation of Klingeresque communications bloat

I’ll take this seriously when Coltrane starts taking Oregon’s public records law seriously, and makes Rob Mullens co-operate with Mike Andreasen on academic fundraising.

No indication there will be any reconsideration of the real money: the $20M UO Trustee Connie Ballmer is planning to dump on 160over90 branding crap.

Meanwhile, true to form, “AroundTheZero” can’t even figure out if VP Mike Andreasen or PR Flack Tim Clevenger is in charge of the review – but look, they’ve redesigned their logo again!

Here’s the announcement:

Today, UO President Scott Coltrane announced that he has directed Vice President Michael Andreasen to launch an internal review and assessment of campus marketing and communication efforts.

As part of the review to be led by Tim Clevenger, associate vice president for communications, marketing and brand management, information will be collected through conversations to determine levels of resource investment and to identify where those resources are dedicated. The review will also look for opportunities to be better coordinated.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 10.40.21 PM

And here’s the rest of the email trail:

Campus Communicators,
Please see the information shared below from UO President Scott Coltrane to the leadership team about a review of campus marketing and communications efforts to occur during spring term. Many of you will likely hear from Tim Clevenger about next steps. As indicated below, the intent is to determine levels of resource investment and to identify where those resources are dedicated. The review will also look for opportunities to be better coordinated.

The information is also on AroundtheO: http://around.uoregon.edu/content/review-campus-marketing-and-communications-begin

Best,
Julie

From: Interim President Coltrane
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 3:01 PM
To: Exec Leadership Team
Subject: Review of Campus Marketing and Communications

Colleagues:

As part of our overall effort to become more efficient throughout our campus, I have directed Vice President Michael Andreasen to launch an internal review and assessment of our campus marketing and communication efforts. Among his charges are to determine our levels of resource investment and to identify where those resources are dedicated. If there are inefficiencies in our communications and marketing areas, we need to address them and make the necessary changes, never sacrificing the quality of work. In addition, Mike, along with Tim Clevenger, will examine how our campus communication efforts can be better coordinated.

When we returned to the University Advancement model in 2013, a similar review resulted in annual expenditure savings of $1.5 million, which was redirected to support faculty research endeavors.

During this review, which I expect to be completed by the end of the spring term, I have directed Human Resources to suspend and freeze all open and proposed communications and marketing-related job postings and placements. However, with approval from the Provost, select positions can move forward on an as-needed basis.

Thank you for your dedication to our public mission and for your assistance and support with this important effort. If you have thoughts and recommendations on this review process and/or regarding our overall communications efforts, I encourage you to reach out to Mike or Tim.

Sincerely,

Scott Coltrane
Interim President

“What If ….” UO’s leadership was as decisive as OU’s …

… instead of dumping millions on sophomoric strategic communicators and 160over90 branders? The RG Editorial Board asks the question, here.

Update: It appears OU President Bowen may have been a little too decisive, in following up his move to disband the frat with a decision to expel two students. Bowen’s move would be a violation of UO’s Free Speech Policy, which states:

Free inquiry and free speech are the cornerstones of an academic institution committed to the creation and transfer of knowledge. Expression of diverse points of view is of the highest importance, not solely for those who present and defend some view but for those who would hear, disagree, and pass judgment on those views. The belief that an opinion is pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or “just plain wrong” cannot be grounds for its suppression.

Eugene Volokh has more in the WaPo:

University of Oklahoma President David Boren has expelled two students for leading a racist chant. These students’ speech was indeed quite repugnant, but for reasons I discuss here, it’s protected by the First Amendment.

And here’s one reason why. Consider the president’s statement to the students: “You will be expelled because of your leadership role in leading a racist and exclusionary chant which has created a hostile educational environment for others.” Similar things could be said about a vast range of other speech. …

Coltrane unveils plan to throw $500K and better emails at sex assault problem

You can google $115K Duck Advocate Tobin Clinger’s report on Monday’s Campus Conversation in “Around the 0”, but the report from UO student reporter Daniel Bieker in the Daily Emerald, here, is better:

A member of the University of Oregon’s Senate Task Force Addressing Sexual Violence, [Carly] Smith, expressed her concern with the administration’s emails and asked whether the nature of the messages will change.

“Our messaging has not always been on the right topics or with the right message, and we’re working on that,” Coltrane said.

No shit. And who has been in charge of that messaging? Our Duck PR flacks, Tim Clevenger and Tobin Klinger. Starting from at least March 17, a week after the alleged assault, and seven weeks before the campus found out about it. How’s that for strategic discommunication?

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 10.14.51 PM

Coltrane’s “Campus Conversation” on sexual violence prevention fails

3/2/2015: Campus Conversation” on rape response, 4PM today, Alumni Center.

I couldn’t make this, but the word from others is that this was a massive fail, with Coltrane getting called out repeatedly by the students for his lack of progress and efforts to pass off the blame.

2/27/2015: How much is the athletic budget contributing towards Miller Nash’s legal fees for defending basketball coach Dana Altman? Anything? I don’t know. Let’s find out:

On Friday Feb 27, 2015

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for documents showing how much UO is paying the Miller Nash attorneys who are defending UO and Dana Altman against the lawsuit from the survivor of the alleged basketball gang rape.

Specifically, I am requesting documents showing how much has been spent so far, and how much of that has been paid for by general academic funds, athletic department funds, and other sources such as insurance, UO Foundation money, etc.

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

2/26/2015, 4:20PM: UO drops counter-claim, but still blames survivor for “damage to a good man’s reputation”, and claims *she* is discouraging rape reporting.

This is a first for Johnson Hall: admitting a mistake. It took “Sven Praoc” and 2100 petition signers to get them to do the right thing.

No news on when Coltrane will apologize for his prejudicial allegation of an “unlawful release” of UO Presidential Archives. Baby steps.

Josephine Woolington has the story in the RG, here. It appears Coltrane got some lousy legal advice, either from UO attorneys Doug Park and Sam Hill, or UO’s hired Miller Nash attorneys, Michelle Smigel http://www.millernash.com/michelle-smigel/ and Michael Porter http://www.millernash.com/michael-porter/:

Coltrane, however, criticized the online petition that characterized the UO as having filed a lawsuit against the victim, as opposed to responding to a lawsuit. He said he was advised by attorneys that it’s routine to counter a suit.

“Their suit would have us pay legal fees, and I was told it’s typical when you respond” to also file a counterclaim, he said.

…  The UO’s updated response, however, still contends that Jane Doe’s attorneys “filed a lawsuit with unfounded allegations that damage a good man’s (Altman’s) reputation in an attempt to curry favor and gain traction in the media and create pressure for a public university to pay a hefty sum to (Jane Doe) even though it has done nothing wrong.”

The university argues that Jane Doe’s allegations threaten not only the UO and Altman, “but all sexual assault survivors in Oregon’s campus community.

“The publication of false allegations about Oregon’s handling of a report of an alleged sexual assault creates a very real risk that other survivors will wrongly be discouraged from reporting sexual assault and sexual harassment to Oregon,” which conflicts with the goal of a federal civil rights law, known as Title IX, the response said.

Say what? UO’s revised and sanitized response to the lawsuit is less intimidating to victims who might consider exercising their civil rights than was the previous version, though no less offensive:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 5.19.23 PM

Full docket w/ old and new language here, thanks to recapthelaw.org

Continue reading

Duck PR flack Tobin Klinger achieves negative credibility

I’d been assuming Klinger’s statements were merely orthogonal to the truth. Until I read this one, in the Daily Emerald:

Now, the university is going to the bargaining table again with the faculty union and, for now, they aren’t bringing in outside lawyers. That’s not a result of anything in the past, the administration said.

“That is not in any way, shape or form an assertion about any past practice,” Klinger said in a voicemail. “The two are not at all related.”

Time to leave UO, Klinger. I hear John Kitzhaber needs a new spokesperson.

Tobin Klinger gets his nose pretty far up boss Tim Clevenger’s butt

From “Around the 0”, of course:

The chance to learn more about the UO’s first comprehensive, integrated communications initiative attracted more than 400 faculty, staff, students and alumni to three events held in Eugene and Portland over the past month.

Launched in January, the five-year communication effort is taking University of Oregon stories of excellence to the state of Oregon, the West Coast and to a national stage. The initiative works in conjunction with  the university’s $2 billion fundraising campaign, which will help it continue support for students and faculty with the resources they need to pursue research, follow their passions and compete on the international stage.

“This is a really exciting time to be at the University of Oregon, and we have more than one amazing story to tell,” said Tim Clevenger, associate vice president for communications, marketing and brand management. “Our athletic program has propelled us to national awareness, but we have even more stories from our academic side that complete the story about the University of Oregon. The collaboration and discovery here is truly unique, and we want to share that in bold ways.”

A significant part of the initiative is highlighting the expertise of UO faculty and the groundbreaking research happening on campus. Among the next steps is the establishment of a “media ambassadors” program, which will position faculty experts with national media and showcase the work of our faculty on leading topics.

“What inspires me most about the UO is the culture of freshness and curiosity that seems so deeply rooted here — from classroom to lab, studio to stadium,” said Lisa Freinkel, vice provost for undergraduate studies. “This verve to strive and question is what anchors transformative education and what undergirds a great research university. This new campaign nails it, I think. We’re finally finding a way to broadcast what makes us special.”

The university has been working with the agency 160over90 on the project, with the goal of helping capture the culture that is unique to the UO in a narrative that can be told and received across the state and on a national stage.

The effort will be paid for with private dollars from donors who want  to expand the conversation about the UO, the excellent work happening on campus and the bright future of opportunity that exists at the UO for students, the faculty and the entire state of Oregon.

The current three-year agreement with 160over90 is for $3.3 million to develop many creative projects, from websites and television commercials to brochures and advertisements. The entire $20 million initiative will also buy advertising and produce new, creative and engaging communication elements.

“We are extremely fortunate to have donors who understand the importance of telling the University of Oregon story. We are sharing the distinct UO brand to help us in the recruitment of students and faculty, in fundraising and in bolstering awareness across the country,” Clevenger said. “Our donors see this as a critical initiative that will help define the future of the university, the cities of Eugene and Springfield, the state of Oregon and the world, and we are beyond grateful.”

—By Tobin J. Klinger, Public Affairs Communications

Release of UO Presidential Archives was not illegal, or immoral. So was it improper – or insufficient?

1/29/2015 update: Rich Read of the Oregonian reports on Wednesday’s UO Senate meeting, here:

… Harbaugh sees both farce and tragedy in his latest episode, LibraryGate. He called Coltrane’s email alleging unlawful release of records “outrageously premature judgment on his part, and I’m assuming Tobin Klinger wrote it – but I can’t be sure until I get the next set of presidential archives.”

Klinger is the UO’s senior director of public affairs communications. He has fielded many of the media’s questions concerning the wayward presidential archives.

“There are always embarrassing things in archives,” Harbaugh said. “That’s why historians love them.”

“I can guarantee I’m a better muckraker than I would be a university president,” said Harbaugh, granting that administrators have difficult jobs. “I think there’s a role to play for people to point out what’s wrong with how things are being managed.”

As a search committee seeks the UO’s next president, Harbaugh said the next leader must be able to raise money, to talk to the faculty — which must maintain the university’s status as a top research institution.

“If we get a person who doesn’t know how to do that,” Harbaugh said, “it’ll be the end of this place.”

For the record, I can’t imagine many jobs that are more difficult than running a public university like UO. I’ve got plenty of respect for those who do it well. I think UO could do worse than keeping Interim President Scott Coltrane and Interim Provost Frances Bronet. In fact, from my brief and now prematurely terminated look at the uncensored presidential archives covering the period from Dave Frohnmayer and his provost John Moseley to Mike Gottfredson and his provost Jim Bean, mostly we have. A lot worse.

I’ve posted plenty of negative stuff about Coltrane’s decisions. There’s more in the comments. If you want the happy-face PR fluff, ask Klinger or one of the other Duck flacks. But on balance, I’ll be surprised if Chuck Lillis and Connie Ballmer can find a better candidate for the permanent job. Very surprised.

Diane Dietz of the RegisterGuard reports, here.

… The UO’s new dean of libraries, Adriene Lim, told the gathered faculty on Wednesday that she considers an individual’s right to privacy to be a universal human right.

But she also said that Oregon public records laws “spell out types of records that should be public and available for scrutiny. I’d be the first one to advocate for that openness and ­transparency.”

Coltrane and Lim said the issue of transparency will be reviewed by university officials after Hershner Hunter completes its investigation. [UO M: I’ve made a public records request to Dave Hubin’s Public Records Office for the contract showing what UO’s Interim General Counsel Doug Park has asked HH to do. No response yet.]

The university will “try to increase openness and transparency as much as we can,” Lim said. Coltrane said he’d bring the university’s Office of Public Records to the table.

Harbaugh said Wednesday that that’s what he had in mind when he sought the presidential documents at the archive — after being thwarted by the public records office.

He said he had no intention of violating student privacy laws or damaging the university.

“I’m trying to make a point about the university’s obsessive secrecy, about how it functions, makes decisions and operates as a public agency,” Harbaugh said.

And the Eugene Weekly has this:

Public records are for the public and archivists should not be punished for doing what archivists do — making archives open to the public. The next chapter will appear in The New York Times. Josh Hunt from the Times has been in Eugene this month digging through redacted documents, interviewing the players and weaving his story on the UO in Eugene.

1/29/2015 update: UO is no longer claiming there was anything unlawful or immoral about the release of presidential archives to a library patron – which would be me. Now it’s just “improper”.

Google Tim Clevenger and Tobin Klinger’s official UO “Around the 0” blog for the post. Strange, but none of our well paid strategic communicators would sign their name to it.

Where will this backtracking on prior claims of illegal and immoral archive release end? I’ll go out on a limb and predict that it will turn out that at least one previous UO president kept documents out of the official archives that, legally and morally, should have been preserved for the historical record and made available to the public.

1/28/2015 5:00 PM update: Coltrane and Library Dean Lim commit to public review of UO’s public records transparency problems

That’s my takeaway from their generally positive and constructive statements and the Q&A at today’s Senate meeting. (Archives too). A review of Dave Hubin’s Public records office and its use of fees and delays to hide public records from the public and the press offers the potential for some improvement in trust and transparency at UO, and would make Coltrane a candidate for the Senate’s new “Shared Governance, Trust, and Transparency Award“, which would certainly be a positive outcome from LibraryGate.

Trust, but verify.

Update: Interim President Coltrane gives UO Matters “get out of jail free” card

Also at today’s Senate meeting, after John Bonine (Law) noted that it might actually be possible to construct a (tortured) argument that parts of the “ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED” memo from Randy Geller to Bob Berdahl and Dave Hubin recommending dissolving the UO Senate, really do involve attorney-client privilege:

Q: Harbaugh to Coltrane: “Bonine has me worried. Will you waive your attorney-client privilege on this one memo, which I’ve posted on the internet, and help this professor get some sleep tonight?”

A: Coltrane: “Yes. I waive the privilege. You’ve got a get out of jail free card on this one.”

[Not exact quotes, but close.] Now how about cards for the UO archivists?

getoutofjail

1/28/2015 update: Release of Presidential Archives no longer unlawful. Now it’s immoral?

Interim Provost Frances Bronet releases statement. Apparently Scott Coltrane is no longer saying these archives were “unlawfully released”. (Page down for that email). Now it’s Frances Bronet, saying UO has “a moral obligation” to keep documents out of the Presidential Archives. Presumably that’s why UO’s Public Records Office delays and frustrates requests from reporters too.

Presumably whole chapters of the history of the University of Oregon are now going to be deleted from the Presidential Archives, because it would be immoral to leave them there and maybe embarrass someone. I’m no history professor, but this is nuts:

From: Provost Office [mailto:provost@uoregon.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 1:12 PM
To: Tobin Klinger
Subject: Documents returned; review continues

Friends and colleagues,

Many of you are following with interest the recent release of electronic documents, which bypassed archival processing procedures, and the university’s efforts to get those documents back.

I am pleased to inform you that the documents have been returned.

Our separate policy and personnel review of this situation will continue. We hired an independent law firm, Hershner Hunter, to complete this inquiry so that we can identify how and why confidential documents were disclosed, and take steps to ensure that something like this never happens again.

What was at stake went beyond a concern that confidential information was shared before being appropriately processed. Of greater concern is that the release violated the trust of the students, parents, faculty members and others who saw the Office of the President as a safe place to share concerns or seek assistance.

We have a moral obligation to maintain the confidentiality ! [sic] of those who see the Office of the President as a point of last resort. This includes those who chose to outline personal struggles in their academic pursuits or parents who might write to seek support for their child during times of personal challenge. Students, parents, faculty and staff need to have confidence that we will follow appropriate procedures to ensure their right to privacy.

One of my greatest concerns throughout this situation has been the way that it has impacted the talented team in our university library. The faculty and staff in UO Libraries are among the most committed and entrusted to carrying out our mission. Their commitment to the ethical standards and values of their professions should stand as a model for us all. They deal with these kinds of complex privacy rights issues on a daily basis and balance them with their advocacy for openness and transparency. They do so with passion and integrity.

Thank you for your understanding of this im! portant [sic] issue.

Sincerely,

Frances Bronet

Acting Senior Vice President and Provost

1/26/2015: Oregonian, RG, WWeek post Blandy and Altmann’s demand for takedown of UO Presidential Archives

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.22.07 PM

“Zip drive”? I had one of those – back in 1994.

“Remove any documents you have posted on the internet”? You mean the confidential Geller/Berdahl/Hubin legal opinion about dissolving the UO Senate? Sorry guys, that’s not how the internet works. The RG, Oregonian and Internet Archive have already, uh, archived it.

The Diane Dietz report in the RG is here:

The letter to the unnamed professor warned “any further disclosure of confidential documents would be in direct contravention of your responsibility as a member of the faculty.”

The letter was signed by Barbara Altmann, vice provost for Academic Affairs. The professor got the documents from the UO library archives on Dec. 3.

The unnamed professor has not returned documents — which were delivered to the professor electronically — to the university. Two archivists are on leave pending an investigation on how the documents were released.

To date, one document and a set of emails appeared on the UO insider blog uomatters.com published by UO economics professor Bill Harbaugh. The single 14-page document suggested dissolving the University Senate in the wake of the faculty’s vote to form a union in 2012.

The other was a series of emails regarding the drafting of a column that appeared on the editorial page of The Register-Guard on July 14, 2014, and attributed to Robin Holmes, vice president for student life.

The emails suggest that the opinion piece that defended the UO’s handling of a rape allegation was actually drafted by a UO public relations employee.

Can anyone point me to the part of UO’s Faculty Handbook that says professors can be disciplined for refusing to take Randy Geller’s legal opinions off the internet?

The report from Rich Read (two Pulitzers) in the Oregonian is here:

Whatever the case, Coltrane and members of his administration seem desperate to get the material back. They say that release of the confidential information, which Blandy said was “improperly disclosed,” violated a state privacy law and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Another official signed Blandy’s letter for him in barely legible handwriting, appearing to be that of Barbara Altmann. She holds the identical title of senior vice provost for academic affairs.

The letter says that once the professor returns the electronic documents, officials will review them. “We will ultimately make the documents that are not exempt from disclosure available to all library patrons as part of the university’s archives,” Blandy wrote.

“Ultimately”? Is that sort of promise legally binding? I didn’t think so.

The Nigel Jaquiss (one Pulitzer) report in Willamette Week is here:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.35.00 PM

I’m surprised Doug Park hasn’t sent Jaquiss a takedown notice over that Duck © image. FWIW, here’s Scott Coltrane’s “unlawfully released” email again:

Date: January 20, 2015 at 7:39:38 PM PST
From: “President’s Office” <pres@uoregon.edu> Reply-To: pres@uoregon.edu
Subject: Archive release investigation

Dear Colleagues,

We have recently learned that a significant number of archived records from the President’s Office have been unlawfully released. These records contain confidential information about faculty, staff and students, but our current understanding is that no social security numbers, financial information or medical records were shared.

We have launched an investigation of the incident, and we have put staff members on administrative leave, pending that investigation. The information was sent to a university professor, and we have already requested that the professor return the information and refrain from any public release of confidential information. To our knowledge, only one record has been shared externally at this point.

We are committed to taking steps to mitigate the potential injury associated with this situation.

Sincerely,

Scott Coltrane, Interim President

Our President really needs a competent lawyer, or at least a strategic communicator who can backward induct.

Where are the uncensored Presidential Archives? Ask Klinger

1/28/2015 update: Interim Provost Bronet releases statement:

Friends and colleagues,

Many of you are following with interest the recent release of electronic documents, which bypassed archival processing procedures, and the university’s efforts to get those documents back.

I am pleased to inform you that the documents have been returned.

Our separate policy and personnel review of this situation will continue. We hired an independent law firm, Hershner Hunter, to complete this inquiry so that we can identify how and why confidential documents were disclosed, and take steps to ensure that something like this never happens again.

What was at stake went beyond a concern that confidential information was shared before being appropriately processed. Of greater concern is that the release violated the trust of the students, parents, faculty members and others who saw the Office of the President as a safe place to share concerns or seek assistance.

We have a moral obligation to maintain the confidentiality ! [sic] of those who see the Office of the President as a point of last resort. This includes those who chose to outline personal struggles in their academic pursuits or parents who might write to seek support for their child during times of personal challenge. Students, parents, faculty and staff need to have confidence that we will follow appropriate procedures to ensure their right to privacy.

One of my greatest concerns throughout this situation has been the way that it has impacted the talented team in our university library. The faculty and staff in UO Libraries are among the most committed and entrusted to carrying out our mission. Their commitment to the ethical standards and values of their professions should stand as a model for us all. They deal with these kinds of complex privacy rights issues on a daily basis and balance them with their advocacy for openness and transparency. They do so with passion and integrity.

Thank you for your understanding of this im! portant [sic] issue.

Sincerely,

Frances Bronet

Acting Senior Vice President and Provost

1/28/2015: I’m directing all media inquiries about LibraryGate to our $115K-a-year Deputy Strategic Communicator and self described “Duck advocate“, Tobin Klinger:

You can reach Mr. Klinger at

Tobin Klinger
Senior Director of Public Affairs Communications
541-346-5558
tklinger@uoregon.edu

UO tells librarians to shush about Presidential Archives records release

1/22/2015 Presidential Archives records release investigation update:

FOR INTERNAL-LIBRARY USE ONLY

Dear Library staff, faculty, administrators,

As you read in President Coltrane’s recent message, we have recently learned that significant numbers of archived records have been released, despite the fact that some of these records contained confidential, private, and sensitive information about faculty, staff, and students.

Because this is a complex situation involving issues of privacy, legality, institutional responsibility and more, I am working with others to review all pertinent information. The University’s assessment of the current situation is underway, with the help of an outside investigator.

If you receive any media inquiries about this situation, please do not try to handle them yourselves, but refer these calls to Tobin Klinger in UO’s Public Affairs group, tklinger@uoregon.edu, 6-5558.

I will share as much as I can in the coming days. In the meantime, thanks for your continued dedication to the UO Libraries’ mission and work.

Best wishes,

Adriene

Adriene Lim, Ph.D., MLIS
Dean of Libraries
Philip H. Knight Chair
University of Oregon Libraries
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1299
Phone: 541-346-1892
Email: alim@uoregon.edu

1/22/2015 update: UO administration now snooping through library patrons’ circulation records

Is nothing sacred? The paranoid UO administration is now snooping through library circulation records showing who checks out what when. Rich Read reports the latest in the Oregonian, here:

… Asked whether the material escaped from the President’s Office or University Archives, Klinger said the archives. “It had gone from the President’s Office to the Archives for their processing in the Archives,” Klinger said. …

A patron, it turns out, is someone who makes requests from the library. “We have an ask out to the patrons to return the records,” Klinger said.

Klinger declined to make Coltrane, the interim president, available for an interview Wednesday. “Not today,” Klinger said. “I’d circle back in a few days or a week or so.”

Yup, Assistant Duck PR flack Tobin Klinger is now in charge of deciding if and when Scott Coltrane is available to talk to the press. Wow.

I’m no librarian, but here’s the official ALA policy on library circulation records:

The Council of the American Library Association strongly recommends that the responsible officers of each library, cooperative system, and consortium in the United States:

    1. Formally adopt a policy that specifically recognizes its circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users to be confidential. (See also ALA Code of Ethics, Article III, “We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received, and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted” and  Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.)
    2. Advise all librarians and library employees that such records shall not be made available to any agency of state, federal, or local government except pursuant to such process, order or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigative power.
    3. Resist the issuance of enforcement of any such process, order, or subpoena until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction.

1/21/2015 update: Diane Dietz in the RG: UO employees release piles of presidential documents; administrators want them back

The University of Oregon has given a professor who got a hold of 22,000 pages of uncensored presidential documents until Thursday to give them back, UO spokesman Tobin Klinger said.

Klinger declined to say what would happen to the unidentified professor — who got the documents at some point in the library archiving process — if he declines to return the documents.

Two UO employees who gave the documents to the professor were placed on paid leave, Klinger said. “Paid leave will stand until we have greater clarity on what transpired,” he said.

The spokesman declined to identify the two employees — or the professor in question.

“I’m not going to confirm an identity for that individual that was the recipient. The request is out for cooperation; I don’t want to do anything that’s going to necessarily influence that,” he said.

The trove of records consists of internal and external correspondence to and from the UO president from 2010 through the presidency of former UO chief Michael Gottfredson, which ended last August when Gottfredson abruptly resigned.

“Some of those would technically constitute student records just because they would be identifiable to the student that was involved. Employee records (and) faculty records that would be protected as well were a part of that, to a degree,” Klinger said.

“It does not appear — and we don’t have any reason to believe — that there’s anything in terms of social security numbers or financial data or medical records or anything of that nature,” he said.

But were there embarrassing documents?

“I wouldn’t want to speculate,” Klinger said.

The University of Oregon is notoriously reluctant to release public documents, even though the university is bound by Oregon public records law.

It often takes months for the university to provide requested records. And sometimes the records the university finally supplies are completely redacted. …

And Richard Read in the Oregonian, here:

University of Oregon officials have placed two employees on leave after the “unlawful release” of 22,000 pages of records from the president’s office, including confidential information on faculty, staff and students.

Interim UO President Scott Coltrane sent out an email Tuesday night, addressed to colleagues, saying an investigation was underway. Although no Social Security numbers, financial information or medical records apparently were divulged, Coltrane wrote that, “We are committed to taking steps to mitigate the potential injury associated with this situation.”

… It’s unclear whether the professor who has the information is willing to return it. “We’ve made the initial outreach,” [UO Deputy Chief Strategic Communicator Tobin] Klinger said. “The ball is in the professor’s court.”

Oregon law requires public institutions, such as the University of Oregon and state agencies, to release information upon request.

But the public-records law exempts various types of information from disclosure, safeguarding personal privacy, trade secrets, personnel records, financial data and other sensitive material. Officials can redact confidential information before releasing documents.

Although Coltrane’s email said the records were “unlawfully released,” he did not explain what was unlawful. …

The material includes correspondence between the university’s last four presidents and parents, students and faculty members, Klinger said. “It’s the typical type of correspondence that you would expect to go to and from the President’s Office,” he said.

Klinger described the breach as serious but not catastrophic.

“I don’t want anybody to equate it to a financial institution having their records hacked and spewed all over the planet,” he said.

1/20/2015:

Date: January 20, 2015 at 7:39:38 PM PST
From: “President’s Office” <pres@uoregon.edu> Reply-To: pres@uoregon.edu
Subject: Archive release investigation

Dear Colleagues,

We have recently learned that a significant number of archived records from the President’s Office have been unlawfully released. These records contain confidential information about faculty, staff and students, but our current understanding is that no social security numbers, financial information or medical records were shared.

We have launched an investigation of the incident, and we have put staff members on administrative leave, pending that investigation. The information was sent to a university professor, and we have already requested that the professor return the information and refrain from any public release of confidential information. To our knowledge, only one record has been shared externally at this point.

We are committed to taking steps to mitigate the potential injury associated with this situation.

Sincerely,

Scott Coltrane, Interim President

Did a pinch of Diane Dietz’s integrity rub off on Tobin Klinger?

12/11/2014 update: One of the few funny parts of Thursday’s Board meeting was seeing UO public relations flack and $115K Duck advocate Tobin Klinger sitting in the press section, just one table over from Register Guard reporter Diane Dietz. Back in July Klinger sent this rant about Dietz to the RG editors, who promptly, and I’m guessing gleefully, published it. (Full disclosure: I’ve been known to hit send on a few hasty emails myself – but then I’m not a trained media professional and strategic communicator like Mr. Klinger):

I’m a recent transplant to Eugene, having spent a majority of my adult and professional life working with media in northwest Ohio.

Like many, I idealized life in the Pacific Northwest. Eugene and its people have lived up to my vision. Eugene is access to independent film, unique foods, outdoor activities, cultural happenings and community pride.

I don’t know that this shines through on the pages of The Register-Guard, particularly with the sophomoric “reporting” of Diane Dietz.

I admit to having a bias. Dietz covers my employer, the University of Oregon. In my role as head of UO public affairs communications, it is my job to defend the integrity and the reputation of the university. I advocate for faculty, staff, students, administration and athletics. I advocate for the Ducks.

Earning positive attention is a challenge with a reporter who is more interested in pandering to the lowest common denominator than demonstrating the value of higher education. Where else would you see the phrase “bowl of —–” five times in a single news article (Register-Guard, July 11)? This obvious play for shock value diverted attention away from the fact that the reporter waited 26 paragraphs before sharing important details from the university.

Moreover, this same newspaper in February dedicated significant space to a major Sunday story that used a blatant stereotype of Chinese students as its primary theme.

Even though I’m new here, I’m certain this community deserves better.

Tobin Klinger, Senior director, Public Affairs Communications, University of Oregon

But today, Klinger’s “Around the 0” post on the UO Board meeting is actually not completely unfair and unbalanced. His lede?

On the first day following the conclusion of the strike by the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon heard impassioned comments from campus community members regarding trust and shared governance.

You’d almost think Dietz wrote this, instead of Klinger. It’s almost worth googling – although the report from student reporter Alex Wallachly in the Emerald, here, has much more interesting quotes.

So what happened? Did a pinch of Diane Dietz’s integrity rub off on Tobin Klinger? I’m guessing not. UO’s PR flacks must have got new marching orders from JH last night. And that, readers, is news. Really good news.

12/10/2014: “Around the 0” lede shows why you should be at the Board meeting, 8AM TH

Jennifer Winters is one of Tobin Klinger and Tim Clevenger’s many PR flacks. Here’s the lede on her report on the Board’s wise decision to follow Interim President Coltrane’s advice, on the insistence of the Senate, and take the Triplett / Park power-grab motion off the Board agenda.

“Around the 0” is the blog that Bob Berdahl and Tim Gleason started to try and counteract the influence of UO Matters. Sometimes I wonder if I should worry that Johnson Hall will get a clue, try a little honesty, and actually end the need for UO Matters. Apparently not – here’s their take on the Board’s policy-grab:

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.32.47 PM

Duck athletics has $350M so far, expects another $430M from $2B fund drive. Remainder for academics.

10/19/2014: That’s half the $700M raised so far in this drive, plus 1/3 of the remaining $1.3B goal, based on the Andreasen quote below. Can anyone explain why the academic side is still subsidizing the athletic department’s bills?

The Daily Emerald’s Alexandra Wallachy has a good interview with VP for Advancement Mike Andreassen, here:

There were a lot of rumors last night that Phil Knight was going to donate a billion. Do you have any idea where those rumors started?

MA: “No idea. And you know, frankly I’m a little disappointed about that because our donors have been amazing, including Phil and Penny. They’ve given already, I know they will continue to give.”

And the RG’s Diane Dietz has more:

About half of the $700 million given to the University of Oregon toward its $2 billion fundraising goal — announced Friday — was earmarked for athletics rather than academics.

The tide is turning, UO Vice President for University Advancement Michael Andreasen said Saturday.

His rule of thumb is that the university should be two-thirds academically focused in its fundraising.

10/17/2014 10PM wrap-up: Coltrane announces $2B goal, $700M in hand, Knight doesn’t show.

About 1/2 of that $700M went to the jocks. Oregonian report here.

8:06PM update: Rumor is that Klinger and Clevenger got the RG reporters excluded as payback for The Bowl story. And apparently UO’s Strategic Communicators believe that the Oregon Daily Emerald news staff has been exposed to Ebola. They’ve got a pretty good report anyway, here.

But the Oregonian’s Allan Brettman is embedded in the big white tent: Follow him on Twitter, here.

Update: Reporter pours cold water on Knight donation rumors: Matt Kish in the Portland Business Journal, here.

Update: Chief Communicator Klinger incommunicado about contribution

Betsy Hammond posts the rumors about my rumors about EW rumors about the same rumors I heard, in the Oregonian here.

10/17/2014: Knight money to fund conversion of Mac Court to Academic Center?

Latest rumor is that Knight money will go in part toward converting Mac Court into a Student Academic Center. This would allow Rob Mullens and Tom Hart to continue to isolate the jocks from the general UO student population, while reducing the bad blood between academics and athletics over the millions in subsidies we’ve poured into the athletic department for the Jock Box and the Matt Court land over the past 5 years. See the upcoming UO Senate legislation here.

10/16/2014: Forklifts begin unloading pallets of Knight cash at Hayward Field

Looks like a billion from here, maybe a bit less after the jocks stepped on it:

cash

The Eugene Weekly has a new rumor on my rumor, which was mostly based on their rumor, or a rumor I got from the same person they got it from, here. Maybe Chief Communicator Klinger will have something solid in the AM. Or maybe it’ll be another 14 years.

10/13/2014: Knight gift rumors range from $800M to $2B

One report says mostly for scholarships. I wouldn’t put much stock in the details at this point, but Friday does seem like the day for the announcement.

Update: UO’s Tobin Klinger reveals time and place of Phil Knight’s big gift

Friday Oct 17, breakfast. The report from Strategic Communicator Tobin Klinger is in “Around the 0”, here:

On Friday, Oct. 17, a breakfast will be held welcoming more than 300 members to campus, setting the stage for what is being described as “an historic day.”

The gift announcement will be made in the giant white tent being erected in Hayward Field. Presumably this will be the largest higher education donation in history, and a game changer for UO’s ability to perform its academic mission. Good for Uncle Phil.

10/9/2014: Knight to give UO $1B, with strings

That’s been the rumor since 1997. The Eugene Weekly reports the new rumor is that there will be an announcement this month. Gifts always come with strings, these have presumably been negotiated between Knight (or perhaps Kilkenny or Slusher) and Chuck Lillis. The BOT has to approve the deal for any gift over $5M, which presumably means the details will be public.

10/12/2014 update: UO Alum Marc Mooney asks “Did the U of O Become Faber College (with a really good football squad)?”, here.

10/11/2014 update: OC Register summarizes the UO academics/athletics divide, prior to big gift
Scott Reid has the story, here, with quotes from Bartko, Sinha, Harbaugh, Tublitz, and Freyd:

“Oregon just decided we’re a second-rate university that’s struggling to compete with other top universities in the country, so it was easier to grow in in athletics than academics,” … “The athletic enterprise here has become a monster, become the tail that wags the academic dog and no one here has the (guts) to stand up to them.”

Hint: That one’s not from Dev.

Tobin Klinger’s latest report on The Bowl

The Fishbowl, that is. In AT0, here. Two generous alumni have donated $1M for its renovation. Klinger doesn’t explain whether or not that will reduce the student fees that Robin Holmes got through the OUS Board, after a little crooked electioneering. For $115K I expect better reporting skills. But the tone is an improvement from Klinger’s “bullying and presumptuous” letter to the RG, complaining about their coverage of UO’s other Bowl, here.

Update: UO student reporter explains how the donation will affect student fees, in the ODE:

The donation will add to the actively-raised fund in total of $2.5 million, halfway to the $5 million plan. Students will have to pay for the rest of the project through fees every term over the next 30 years, adding up to the total $90 million.

One of the many earlier ODE stories on VP Holmes’s efforts to manipulate the election is here.

UO won’t release emails, but accuses KATU of misrepresenting facts

UO’s PR flacks are making our university, our new interim President, and our new board of trustees look ridiculous, and we cannot afford to look any more ridiculous. Tyson Alger in the Oregonian:

EUGENE — The University of Oregon has responded to its alumni regarding a KATU story that ran Monday night suggesting that Oregon officials may have delayed the expulsion of three men’s basketball players in order to maintain the team’s academic rating.

Although the university declined to comment when reached earlier this afternoon, The Oregonian has obtained an email sent out to alumni late Tuesday evening that denounced many of the claims in the story.

“There are multiple errors in this story including inaccurate information about law enforcement activities, dates that should not be correlated to one another, and misrepresentation of the expertise of a retired UO faculty member,” the email states. “…The story hypothesizes that the university’s actions were driven by the NCAA-required Academic Progress Rate, or APR. This is inaccurate and that fact was conveyed to KATU. APR is calculated on a rolling four-year average with the latest data from a previous year, which makes transfers or scholarship non-renewals have significantly less impact than characterized by the story.”

The full email can be read below:

Dear Alumni and Friends,
KATU-TV aired a story series about the university and as an important friend of the UO we want you to have the most accurate information in case you get questions.

There are multiple errors in this story including inaccurate information about law enforcement activities, dates that should not be correlated to one another, and misrepresentation of the expertise of a retired UO faculty member.

The university took appropriate action when allegations were reported, and we are confident that our steps were necessary to ensure campus safety and integrity of criminal processes.

The story misrepresented the communication between the university and Eugene Police Department. EPD’s communications director Melinda McLaughlin told the reporter that EPD asked the university not to do anything that would compromise the investigation. The UO honored that request, and the police department was grateful.

The story hypothesizes that the university’s actions were driven by the NCAA-required Academic Progress Rate, or APR. This is inaccurate and that fact was conveyed to KATU. APR is calculated on a rolling four-year average with the latest data from a previous year, which makes transfers or scholarship non-renewals have significantly less impact than characterized by the story.

The story also tries to connect departures by former President Gottfredson, a chief human resources officer and general counsel as part of its timeline. The changes in leadership used in the news story are unrelated to one another and should not be connected in this manner.

Please visit the UO’s news website for facts regarding the university’s actions and thank you for your ongoing support of UO.

UO Public Affairs Communications

“Please visit the UO’s news website for facts?” That’s a funny one.

If Coltrane wants to build credibility he needs to fire these PR flacks and release the public records that Gottfredson redacted because of claims of attorney client privilege, frank discussions, and made up FERPA claims: