Frohnmayer’s emeritus status revoked

5/8/2011: In 2009 OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner, PhD appointed Dave Frohnmayer as UO President Emeritus for Life, with this sweetheart contract.

Now it looks like the UO Senate is going to take that title away from him:

It’s a tough world: last summer Russ Tomlin cut Frohnmayer’s pay to $201,208 FTE – making him UO’s highest paid professor. Then Russ wrote Dave 2 special retroactive summer contracts, worth $35,000 or so. The state auditors are still trying to figure out what work Dave did for that money, since he’s been working at another job at Harrang Long et al since September 2009.

Many people have other objections to this new emeritus policy, which is explained in detail here. My understanding is that it has not yet been approved. But I’m willing to bet that the first thing that gets changed is a special exemption for Frohnmayer – or maybe they’ll just claim he’s grandfathered in.

This policy takes away a lot of the discretion about awarding emeritus status. I think that’s good – why should this be a perk that UO can use as a threat to stifle professors, as they did with Jean Stockard?

The requirement for 5 years as full has its pluses and minuses. On balance I think it’s reasonable unless the department votes for an exception.

I also question this part, which gives retired faculty in the TRP program voting rights. Personally, I don’t think short-timers should have a vote in hiring or running their department. Advice, sure. But then let the young turks decide to take it or not:

2. Faculty members who are retired or who hold also emeritus status, including those participating in the UO tenure reduction program, shall retain departmental voting rights during the academic terms they are on the University payroll and are serving on active duty in an instructional or research capacity in that department. A department may choose to extend voting rights to emeriti during those terms when emeriti are not on the University payroll.

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5 Responses to Frohnmayer’s emeritus status revoked

  1. Anonymous says:

    “The University awards emeritus status to faculty who have retired after a career of enduring
    excellence culminating in a period of appointment at the highest rank available of no fewer
    than five years.”

    Will someone who voted for this “policy statement” enlighten the rest of us about why this new policy was adopted?

  2. Frank Stahl says:

    As a member of the Committee that recommended the policy to the Senate I will answer to the best of my memory. 1. Strong consensus that “Emeritus” should mean more than “Retired” — it should mean “retired with distinction.” 2. How does one determine distinction? (a) The Provost, who has the authority to confer emeritus status, could study each case thoroughly enough to be confident that the “distinction” requirement was met. The Provost offered that it is impossible for the Provost, acting alone, to make a meaningful evaluation. (b) A Committee, like the Faculty Personnel Committee, could be created to study each case. Outside evaluations could be utilized. There was no enthusiasm for that idea, since Faculty are already overworked and critical outside evaluations would probably not be easy to get. (c) The UO system of conferring Tenure and Full Professorship could be taken as adequate evidence of the scholar’s success at a life of scholarly pursuits. There was agreement that those procedures are pretty good at UO and, in any case, more likely to be adequate than the past procedure of “judgment by Provost.” In that regard, Provost suggested that some decisions made by the Provost in the past had been made under pressures that were not convincingly related to scholarly distinction. (d) Concern was expressed that promotion to Full Professor could be subject to the same sorts of pressures if it was coupled to automatic Emeritus status. Thus, the five-year decoupling. (d) The last point: 5 years at the highest rank available (for those that were hired on a track that is not professorial). I recall no very strong feelings either way on that. Other members of the Committee are invited to correct this summary should they find fault with it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dog is confused on Emeritus Policy:

    This document

    was posted last October. I and many others were under the impression that that policy was a done deal. Is that one, the current policy under review, or is that the current policy.

    WTF is going on here? Its an issued because that posted policy basically removes most of the options for departments.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t it the Provost that wanted to give tenure to Charles Martinez a member of the Administration?

    I think the Faculty or maybe the Faculty Senate should have final say in emeritus awards it’s clear the Provost doesn’t understand parameters of awards….any awards.

    Is there legal basis for grandfathering in someone to emeritus status. And then if it is taken away from Dave F ….who would represent the University in a legal battle? The University Lawyer???

  5. Frank Stahl says:

    Re Dog’s confusion
    Dog is confused. We cannot be surprised, because there are some wrinkles in the procedures adopted upon arrival of a new president and adoption of a new constitution. Let’s see if I can help. In so doing, several important, relevant issues are apt to arise.
    On the Senate website we find a policy that was approved by the Senate on December 1, 2010: The Senate intends that this policy should replace the policy found in the Provost’s Policy Library: According to the current UO Constitution “7.3 Except for the contingencies described in SECTION 7.4, legislation passed by the Senate shall become effective within 60 academic-calendar days, unless otherwise specified. 7.4 If the University President concludes that it is not in the best interests of the University to act as requested by a resolution of the Senate, s/he shall explain to the Senate, in a timely manner, the reasons for inaction or for amended action. If the University President concludes that it is not in the best interests of the University to adopt legislation approved by the Senate, s/he shall take the steps necessary to convene the Faculty Assembly (see SECTION 9), within 60 academic-calendar days, to deliberate and take action (pro or con, following amendment if necessary) on the contested legislation.”
    The President has made no indication to the Senate that the Policy as approved by the Senate is in any way objectionable, so, Constitutionally speaking, the policy went into effect on February 1, 2011. Why, Dog may wonder, does the Policy Library not reflect this reality, instead of saying (in Big Blue Letters) that the policy is under review? Adding to the confusion is the following statement on the Senate webpage: “POLICY ADOPTIONS
    Motions to adopt binding University policies which must subsequently be formally adopted by the University President before going into effect.” This statement, which separates Senate policy proposals from Senate legislation, has no Constitutional basis. If such a procedure were allowed to stand, the Senate (and the Faculty) might find itself reduced to the servility that characterized the Frohnmayer era. We have every reason to hope that procedures will be worked out between the Faculty and the current President that will permit the UO to operate under the shared governance principle as it is set forth in our Constitution, which was proposed by the Faculty in May 2010 and signed by the President in August of 2010.