What are the terms of employment for UO faculty?

4/14/2012: This is not a pro or anti-union post, just a request for information if you have any.

For reasons I’d rather not explain in detail I recently thought I should ask interim Provost Lorraine Davis, who is in charge of UO faculty personnel issues, what the terms of employment for UO faculty are and what it would take for UO to fire a tenured professor. She wrote back:

My off-the-top references on this are dated.  I don’t think there is a faculty handbook any more.  The specific components would be related to faculty expectations and faculty discipline more generically. 

Sent from my iPad

 She doesn’t have a clue. So I wrote to VP for Academic Affairs Russ Tomlin, and got this back:

In general, the policies that affect faculty employment and appointments are located in both UO and OUS OARs, in the newly developing UO policy library, and in the Academic Affairs and other UO websites. 

Russ thinks my terms of employment are “newly developing” or maybe they are located “in other UO websites”? Follow those links. He doesn’t have a clue either.

Back when Richard Lariviere fired Mike Bellotti, and then discovered that Melinda Grier had never bothered to get a written contract for him, he famously said

“This institution did not follow acceptable business practices in the past. That will not be repeated by my administration.”

And then he fired her. Now her former assistant Randy Geller is in charge of UO’s legal affairs. Randy won’t answer my requests for a written answer either. And his boss, Interim President Bob Berdahl, is keeping his mouth shut too.

So I’m asking my readers for help. Do any of you know where to find the rules that currently govern UO faculty employment, or is our tenure really just up to the whims of people like these?

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14 Responses to What are the terms of employment for UO faculty?

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog says

      Hey UOmatters, don’t worry – there is nothing about extensive toxic slime
      factors that would cause a tenured person to be fired.

      In addition, of course, the UO has had a nearly 100% tenure success rate
      since about 2006 – so we never get rid of anyone, since we obviously are
      completely excellent at all times.

      I am pretty sure that the only way you can get fired as a tenured person is
      a) criminal behavior b) if you refuse to teach.

      Other than that your safe – I know because I have violated everything said by Chicken …. (of course I stopped reading after Obstruction or disruption since
      that uniformly applies to This Dog – just ask all the other animals)

    • UO Matters says:

      Say, how big is that doghouse?

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog to UOmatters

      Don’t worry dude, I got a few guest rooms …

  1. Chicken says:

    Tenured faculty can be only terminated for cause, financial exigency, or program or department reducations or eliminations per OAR 580-021-0100 (1)(b)(b). Cause, as defined under OAR 580-021-0325, includes felony/criminal moral turpitude; failure to perform academic responsibilities as evidenced by incompetence, gross inefficiency, default of academic integrity in teaching, research, and scholarship etc.; and other forms of “proscribed conduct” enumerated in OAR 580-022-0045.

    OAR 580-022-0045, which is in the Academic Freedom section, includes a host of disruptive, malicious, and abusive activities. One that may be of interest is:

    “(1) Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, or other institutional activities, including the institution’s public service functions or other authorized activities on institutionally owned or controlled property.”

    There is of course an elaborate process that ostensibly protects faculty as well, starting with OAR 580-021-0330, plus a rather cursory policy on academic freedom at OAR 580-022-0005 that to my mind contains more exceptions than protections. For example:

    “In the exercise of this freedom of expression, faculty members should manifest appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they do not speak on behalf of the Department or institution.”

    The applicable OARs are those of the OUS, not UO.


    • Anonymous says:

      So, has Berdahl “attempted to reach a satisfactory resolution” with you? I bet they are just blowing smoke. Of course it’s not my job at stake.


      Initiation of Formal Proceedings

      If the president determines that there is probable cause to impose a sanction or sanctions more severe than an oral or written warning or reprimand on an academic staff member, the president shall attempt to reach a satisfactory resolution of the matter. If no satisfactory resolution is reached within a reasonable time, the president shall authorize the preparation of formal charges in accordance with institutional procedure. The charges shall specifically state the facts believed to constitute grounds for imposition of a sanction or sanctions. The person authorized to prepare the charges shall not participate in evaluating the charges. Charges shall be filed with the president, and a copy personally delivered, or sent by certified mail, to the academic staff member within ten days after the authorization of preparation of charges. The charges or a notice accompanying the charges shall inform the academic staff member of the right to a formal hearing on the charges and of the academic staff member’s duty to notify the president within ten days after the charges have been delivered or sent whether such hearing is desired.

      Stat. Auth.: ORS 351.070
      Stats. Implemented:
      Hist.: HEB 3-1978, f. & cert. ef. 6-5-78; HEB 1-1993, f. & cert. ef. 2-5-93

  2. Anonymous says:

    Unless UO Matters has received a cease and desist letter from Geller, I wouldn’t worry too much about idle threats from the administration. However, if you have received a cease and desist, then you obviously need legal representation. Set up a UO Matters legal fund and you will receive plenty of support. It’s hard to believe Geller would be so brazen as to attempt to suppress a website that is devoted to free speech and critique, but then again nothing Geller does amazes me anymore. He is as mercenary as they come.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Davis makes discretionary decisions uninformed by policy guidelines, and Tomlin makes policy guidelines uninformed by discretionary decisions. What a pair. I want Bean back. At least he’s a systems-and-processes kind of guy. (I know, I know, but just hold that thought.)

  4. Anonymous says:

    So are they trying to get rid of UO Matters? I heard someone — with no particular knowledge, to my knowledge — predict not too long ago that you’d either get fired or sued someday. I believe you must be the most hated faculty member among the administration. A former UO senate president was once a competitor for that honor, but I think you’ve long since passed him by.

  5. Anonymous says:

    We Stand With The Blog!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey, does this mean after UO Matters is gone, we get Paul Krugman to take over?

    • Anonymous says:

      Dog says

      1) Its a blog
      2) No official identification is given, although everyone thinks they
      know the UOmatters
      3) its not run on UO servers
      4) did I mention, Its a blog

      and to anon at 10:39

      did you mean to imply that there are actually faculty that aren’t hated
      by the admin or merely that faculty occupy a continuum from less hated to most hated?

      Hey, Its a blog ….

  7. awesome.e0 says:

    Althoug uomatters has quasi admitted to being uomatters, we can always have a spartacus style scene.