The union’s response today to the administration’s dismissal yesterday of the union’s request that JH get its shit together about this omicron thing, any fucking time now:
Below, you’ll find the [Union] Executive Council’s message to upper administration after reviewing their response.
If you are having difficulty with remote accommodations for your work, if you feel you are working in an unsafe environment, or, if your workload has significantly increased this term, please contact us so we can advocate for you as best as we can.
Please remember Bargaining picks up again this coming week. Zoom in from wherever you’re at. The B-Team did their work. Now we do our work and show up.
The EC of UAUO
Dear President Schill, Provost Phillips, Executive Vice Provost Woodruff-Borden, and Vice President Schmelz,
We received your response to our membership generated action items presented and discussed with you on Tuesday, January 18. We are disappointed that you continue to discount and devalue important faculty input and suggestions to better their working conditions and maintain excellence in teaching and research during this global pandemic.
A presidential advisory group on COVID academic continuity and scholarly impact involving representatives from units across campus is not comparable to what we proposed, a joint UA and management group responsible for Covid-related decision making affecting our bargaining unit members. If you want input on decision making from a variety of campus groups, you might similarly work with them to make decisions affecting their unique interests, such as teaching modality with GTFF. But one group to cover all you’ve suggested cannot function efficiently. For example, we cannot see how a campus-wide group of stakeholders is best suited to discuss scholarly impact for faculty under the pandemic.
You do not acknowledge or address our action item to allow faculty teachers to choose modality based on their pedagogical expertise and their ability to best evaluate classroom safety from an “on-the-ground” perspective. Faculty recognize this flexibility is for a limited time, and they will base their decision first and foremost on their students’ holistic well-being and the best path forward for their success.
In conversation with our Labor partners across the UO, we are cognizant that the University cannot “shut down.” We also recognize we are in a privileged position where we are able to deliver our mission-critical responsibility of engaged, inclusive, and research-led teaching via two different modalities. Many of our Labor cousins and bargaining unit members can’t Zoom in to their jobs. But we are able to do so, and, as we’ve proved, do so effectively. We cannot stress enough that despite the limited data upper administration may have on student experiences during the pandemic, the realities for our students in the here and now are much more complicated. Teachers hear directly from their students what they’re experiencing now. This is why we are best suited to gauge what is pedagogically best for our students. It is an odd thing that we must stress this point. We were all hired for our pedagogical expertise and yet our expertise from within the classroom is disregarded.
Clarifying the application of Provost Phillips’ direction for when instructors may request remote instruction does not address the root issue: faculty need to have flexibility given their on-the-ground assessment and expertise involving numerous factors that may render a change in teaching modality during the pandemic. Factors not included in Provost Phillips’ policy (e.g., inadequate classroom technology, technology mismatch between classroom and teaching faculty, etc.) require faculty to work longer hours to deliver quality instruction to all of their students. Our cousins in SEIU working to support faculty with their IT needs and maintain a healthy environment in our classrooms and offices are incredibly overburdened. These are compounding pressure points unaccounted for in the current absence-based modality policy.
We argue that all faculty’s personal situations should be considered in teaching modality and support, but your persistent denial of the effects of these personal problems caused by the pandemic–among them the particular crisis in childcare, particularly for parents of unvaccinated children below age five, and faculty juggling all of this while teaching and conducting research–is leading to a significant proportion of the workforce nearing a breaking point. We believe our action items are well within reason given the current social conditions. Asynchronous or remote teaching as needed while caretaking (or other extraordinary circumstances) and establishing protocol for unit heads to ensure full participation in departmental governance are reasonable responses to the level of crisis caretakers are experiencing.
Your insistence that you continue to handle each faculty member’s situation individually on a case-by-case basis is putting faculty through more stress, labor, and time, and also drastically increasing the university’s administrative capacity. This is an issue of equity; not all faculty have the time, energy, and support of their supervisors to go through the individualized administrative process to fight to improve their own working conditions.
We wish our efforts and discussions could have been more productive. We are all striving for quality, safe working conditions while maintaining excellence in teaching and research. We will be pursuing further efforts to ensure faculty can maintain both without more detriment to their health and wellbeing.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, another key COVID-19 forecaster in the Pacific Northwest says the number of infections in Oregon likely peaked Jan. 11. It forecasts that hospitalizations will top out on Feb. 1. Daily deaths would start declining on Feb. 4.
From Gary Warner at the Oregon Capital Bureau here.
The outline of an unfortunate situation has emerged on the Oregon trail. It involves COVID — specifically, the apparent violation of conference protocols by Ducks coach Dana Altman.
We framed it that way because details are sketchy. What can and cannot be revealed about COVID is dictated by student and employee privacy laws, at both the campus and conference levels.
But here’s what we know:
— Ducks point guard Will Richardson was wearing a mask during pre-game warmups last week at Oregon State.
— Richardson did not wear his mask during the game, which Oregon won 78-76.
— No Pac-12 protocols differentiate between mask-wearing in games and in warmups. Either you need one for both or for neither.
— The Pac-12 issued a private reprimand to Ducks coach Dana Altman at some point after the game, according to a report late last week by the Oregonian’s John Canzano: …
Is Altman the first head coach to be privately reprimanded by the conference over a COVID matter?
We don’t know.
Was there more to the private reprimand that a few stern words from HQ? Were any sanctions considered for the program?
But the Pac-12 schools have devoted immense resources and incalculable effort into crafting and enforcing COVID policies that allow for continued competition while keeping players and coaches as safe as reasonably possible.
Any breach of those protocols — whether it’s Oregon basketball or Arizona State football or any other team and any other circumstance — is both extremely serious and deeply unfortunate.
The University of Michigan Board of Regents has unanimously fired school President Mark Schlissel for cause following an investigation into a relationship with a subordinate, the board announced Saturday evening.
In a letter to Schlissel posted on the school website, the board spelled out its concerns and said his conduct was “particularly egregious considering your knowledge of and involvement in addressing incidents of harassment by University of Michigan personnel, and your declared commitment to work to ‘free’ the University community of sexual harassment or other improper conduct.”
University of Michigan paid a presidential search firm at least $320,000 in the hunt for the school’s next leader, Mark Schlissel.
The 56-year-old Schlissel was tapped U-M’s 14th president on Jan. 24, roughly six months after the school launched a top-secret, nationwide search for a leader to replace retiring President Mary Sue Coleman.
FWIW Carol Cartwright, one the AGB consultants currently interviewing stakeholders about the performance or lack of performance of Oregon’s university boards, is also on the NCAA Infractions committee that enforces the cartel’s rules against paying athletes. Why would someone take that despicable job? And wouldn’t it be an obvious conflict of interest to do it at the same time you’re doing paid consulting work for universities?