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Berdahl and Geller claim President controls faculty authority:

Update: Geller’s quotes come from here: Check out the board policies and IMD pdf’s – for example athletics. There are all kinds of things UO and OUS pay no attention to in practice. Except when it’s convenient for them to use them against the faculty.

1/26/2012: This will get the union a bunch more cards. An email from interim President Berdahl today, apparently written with the help of Randy Geller, asserts he has the power to “define the scope of faculty authority” down to what Senate committees can do:

… as summarized below from information provided by the Office the General Counsel, the President is assigned the power to define the scope of faculty authority, including the charges of senate councils and committees.

•           The University of Oregon Constitution must be consistent with Oregon Law and State Board of Higher Education policies and Internal Management Directives.

•           ORS 351.010 provides that the Oregon University System is conducted under the control of the State Board of Higher Education. Under ORS 351.070(4)(b), the Board has the authority to adopt rules and bylaws for the government of each institution under its control.

•           As outlined in ORS 352.004, the president of each state institution of higher education within the Oregon University System is also the president of the faculty and the executive and governing officer of the institution. Subject to the supervision of the State Board of Higher Education, the president of the institution has authority to control and give general directions to the practical affairs of the institution.

•           Board Policy 3.105(F)(7) authorizes each institution to formulate a statement of internal governance expressed as a constitution or in another appropriate format. “All statements of internal governance will be consistent with statutes governing the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the Oregon University System, and any applicable Board rules, policies, or IMD.”

•           Board Policy 3.105(F)(6) states that “the institution president is authorized to convene and preside over the faculty and to veto any decisions of the faculty or its representative bodies. The institution president will define the scope of faculty authority – including its councils, committees, and officers, subject to review by the Chancellor – except as provided in Board rule, policy, or IMD.” …


Bob Berdahl

The faculty union organizers have argued that one reason to support a union is that it would be able to write faculty governance into the contract, establish a clear legal basis for it, and provide experienced lawyers to help the faculty regain the control it once had over university matters.

At the moment, we are utterly at the mercy of Randy Geller’s peculiar interpretations of the law, and the benevolence of our president. No recourse. Geller works for Pernsteiner, and Pernsteiner picks our next president.


  1. Anonymous 01/26/2012

    Well, disillusionment about the new pres we demanded seems to be setting in awfully fast at UO Matters.

    This seems to be nothing more than a summary of policies of the State and of the State Board — most of it as direct quotations.

    What does ORS 352.004 really say if not what is written here? If the job of the president of the University is not “to control and give general directions to the practical affairs of the institution” then just what is it, under the law?

    Is a union going to override the authority of the State or Board? Well, the unions at PSU and other union schools don’t seem to have accomplished that.

  2. Anonymous 01/27/2012

    The UO Constitution defines the manner in which the teaching faculty and the President shall cooperate to govern the University. It was ratified by Richard Lariviere, and Bob Berdahl has never indicated any dissatisfaction with it. The Constitution cannot and does not violate State Law or State Board Rules. It was designed to maximize transparency and faculty influence and to minimize unilateral administrative actions on matters relevant to the academic mission of the University. Old Man recommends that UO Matters and its Readers who may not have read the Constitution do so before getting their knickers in a twist. You will find it at

  3. Anonymous 01/27/2012

    UO Matters writes “At the moment, we are utterly at the mercy of Randy Geller’s peculiar interpretations of the law, and the benevolence of our president. No recourse. Geller works for Pernsteiner, and Pernsteiner picks our next president.” There is only one way to deal with the “next president.” All candidates must be given a copy of the Constitution and told that if they are not in harmony with it, their tenure at UO will be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. No. Just tell them they would be much happier elsewhere. UO Members of Search Committee take notice.

  4. pro-union 01/27/2012

    A determined president can ignore a non-binding constitution and prevail. A collective bargaining agreement can and will make the constitution legally binding, a document that no president will be able to ignore. But first we have to get ourselves certified, to augment the soft power of faculty self-governance with some binding legal authority. Unionization is the only available path to that goal.

  5. Anonymous 01/27/2012

    So a union will get this constitution made legally binding, or will the exact constitution be part of a negotiation?

  6. Anonymous 01/28/2012

    All well and good, but is a union any better? I was a 30 year+ member of AAUP, but we were never even asked our opinion before UO AAUP committed to unionization. Thanks, but we don’t need a union to get that!?WEhen our AAUP chapter decided to push for union certification, it did so with no poll whatsoever of AAUP members.Are faculty really any happier at rutgers now? they still have thw same problems plus a union hierarchy too.

  7. Union now 01/29/2012

    At Rutgers, faculty salaries are much higher at the top, middle and bottom (and the Union was crucial in securing these better salaries at all levels); benefits are legally protected (the administration must negotiate changes–not unilaterally decide–its the law once a Union is in place); governance is more transparent (because the Union watches and keeps them honest) and institutional priorities are strikingly different because faculty have a real voice. Here at UO, the next step in our deteriorating benefits package will be for PEBB to simply decide we get “lifetime limits” that won’t cover serious illnesses, like cancer or heart disease. You watch–this is the national trend. The only way to have any real voice in this national elimination of real healthcare benefits is to form a Union. With a Union, the University must bargain about who pays for any change in benefits, and the faculty will have trained lawyers to bargain on its behalf. Alone, we have to simply accept management’s promises. Jim Bean promised when we switched away from Blue Cross that our benefits would not change. They began changing very significantly within 6 months. Each person with a family will likely be paying at least $2,000 more this year, with risk of a lot more (since more things aren’t covered) –and more changes are planned–and we have no voice and no leverage.

  8. Anonymous 01/29/2012

    Excellent point. I was in the room when the switch from Blue Cross was made. Somehow, the numbskulls in Johnson Hall had no problem accepting the premise that PEBB, which is not an insurance company and has no experience being one, could somehow provide cheaper, better insurance than Blue Cross. And, that they could do this somehow by adding an EXTRA layer of bureaucracy – with PEBB managing a plan that really is offered through Providence. When folks suggested this didn’t seem to make sense, they were ignored. We got in bed with PEBB in response to short run rate hikes by Blue Cross, on the promise that our coverage would be the same and rates would be lower. This at a time when rates were skyrocketing everywhere. Pure idiocy. As stated, a union would have meant we didn’t have to just accept managements decision on this.

  9. Yes to our union 01/29/2012

    On March 31, 2011, in response to the recommendation voted on after discussion in the previous chapter meeting, the UO AAUP chapter sent all current UO AAUP members a mailed ballot on which to vote on the following statement: ““The UO Chapter of the AAUP supports and endorses the organizing effort of United Academics-UO, a joint effort of National AAUP and AFT, to bring collective bargaining to the UO instructional faculty.” On April 26, the chapter secretary sent out an email with the results of this vote. 80% of of all current members returned their signed ballots. The measure passed with 92% of ballots returned voting YES and 8% voting NO. There were no abstentions. In the email announcing the vote to the membership, the secretary also wrote: “The executive board will be discussing the implications of the vote for our relationship to UA and would appreciate feedback from members on what this should be.” This was a transparent and democratic process.
    Colleagues I’ve talked to from Rutgers have been pleased with the union. They mention some significant gains (new faculty lines, more equitable salary floors) but mostly they talk about the importance of having a seat at the table and the value of working with a negotiated contract.
    We also need to remember that our union is not some outside bureaucracy coming in to run things for us. It will be what we make it. It will be organized and defined by UO faculty. Together we will determine our structure, by-laws, committee and voting structures etc. It will be a lot of work. Participatory democracy is.

  10. Anonymous 02/01/2012

    Adjunct faculty have little or no access to the information that tenured faculty have. We have no representation at all and are completely reliant on the good will of our immediate supervisors, who have their hands tied in all decisions about wages and benefits. A union is the only viable option for parity and equity for the adjunct faculty scraping by in the intellectual ghetto of the UO.

  11. Anonymous 02/01/2012

    I don’t believe adjunct faculty are currently included in the proposed collective bargaining unit – only TTF and Career NTTF.

  12. Anonymous 02/11/2012

    The measure passed with 92% of ballots returned voting YES and 8% voting NO. There were no abstentions. really? 92%! and no abstentions? come on, do you think we’re really stupid enough to believe any real poll would produce that result except for Putin in russia?

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