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Live-blog of Senate: Gottfredson to answer questions


Given the low expectations, Gottfredson’s speech was good. He said “transparency” and “shared governance” many times. But then so did Berdahl. Still no action, of course – public records are in lockdown, thanks to the decisions of loyal trustee Dave Hubin. But today’s big loser was Randy Geller, who managed to thoroughly embarrass his new boss and himself without even showing up.

The meeting started with President Gottfredson’s speech. He made a point of saying that he did not believe the random duck drug testing policy was an academic matter that required Senate approval.

John Bonine and Frank Stahl then proceeded to politely shred the procedures Geller’s office was using to implement this OAR without going through the Senate. Geller – incredibly – was not present to defend his work. Nor was AD Rob Mullens.

How is it possible these guys put forward something like this and then won’t even defend it in public? That fell on Gary Gray, a mid-level AD type, who began by announcing the decision to do this was over his pay grade, but said the decision was not required by the NCAA but was being done for the benefit of the “we smoked it all” athletes. Sorry, “student-athletes”. He said it  was done in a rush over the summer because a recent court case. Sure.

So, then we got to the substance. Geller’s office’s own summary of the drug OAR stated its academic importance, and said it was being done to comply with NCAA rules. Which directly contradicted what Gottfredson and Gray had just said. Whoops. Then it turned out the “recent” court decision that Gray had said made the AD move on this over the summer was actually from 1995 – Clinton’s first term, when our current football team was in diapers instead of getting interviewed by ESPN about their purple kush habit.

At this point, out of respect for the new president, and pity for the fact he had relied on Geller for advice, the Senate passed a motion allowing AD Rob Mullens to keep collecting pee while the reeking residue of this OAR went back to the Senate Executive for a review of the hack-job version that had been prepared by Geller’s office.

If you want my opinion, it’s this: People should not be subject to unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. That principle is a lot more important than embarrassing a football team and the NCAA by smoking a little purple kush. The fact that the AD won’t let athletes talk to reporters about it is another violation of basic rights. The Senate should have told Mullens and Gottfredson to drop the whole repugnant proposal. Next time maybe I’ll have the balls to make that motion.

Live: 3:06 … n ~70 people. My comments in []. Video at 

Niceties, more niceties, we are a distinguished university …

Views on governance:
New org chart, board questions. Views stem from idea we are “one of nation’s premier public research universities”. Value discovery, creativity, freedom of speech. … Respect for ideas, civility…
Public university: access, quality, integrity: open and transparent governance and administration. 
Requires faculty input into academic matters. List of things that means: hiring, promotion, admissions.

Responsibility and competencies of admin:
Be stewards. Sharing requires consultation and advice, spirit of transparency and timeliness. So Senate has a role even on admin matters like space, finance, planning, selection of academic administrators.

Examples from this meeting’s agenda:
Policy on academic freedom. Purview of the faculty, [not Randy Geller!].
Drug testing: Not your call: it’s administrative.
Constitution signed by Lariviere: Solid, will consult and delegate, but ultimate responsibility is mine.

Recent events:
Org chart: He’s saying Provost, not Provost Bean.
Institutional boards: [Remember, he was hired by Pernsteiner] Thinks it’s going in good direction, to deal with changes in higher ed funding…. No intention of changing our mission, access, quality… Do in collaboration [not a word Lariviere used a lot.] Optimistic.
[No mention of faculty union.]

Personal note: Committed to the public and research mission, a good thing. Social and economic mobility via access to higher ed that does not depend on SES.

Q John Bonine:
Governance extends beyond academics though Pres has final word, but not the only word. We have a process for resolving what’s in the Senate’s purview: Scholarship and scholarships and policies. Cannot let this be done [by Geller] and OARs.

Moving on … Kyr’s remarks:
Interim Provost Bean is preparing the survey on university priorities which the Senate will distribute! [I guess that means question 1 will not be “Who do you think should be the new Provost?”]

Q’s from Bonine and Stahl on why the admin is not posting policy proposals as they have been voted on by the Senate.

Random Duck Drug Tests:
good idea?
good process?
We should hear from the proponents.
Gary Gray:
We’ve wanted to do this for years [so we rushed…]. Bonine calls him on it.
Not an NCAA mandate! 
Bonine: How did this get so far without consultation?
Gray: Not my call.
Bonine: Regulations are policymaking
Harbaugh: Summary of the OAR references academics and suggests this type of random testing is required by the NCAA, but Gray just said it’s not.
Discussion of how to proceed:
Gray: this is all about protecting our athletes.
Gillem: Establish committee to review policy in light of it’s academic import, “emergency” testing can proceed.

Kenton, OUS VC for FA [This guy is great, a nerd’s nerd.]
ORP and PEBB: [Snoozer, you’ll have to google this stuff yourself.]
Wake up people, this might be important: Currently UO pays into ORP based on PERS rate. PERS rate goes up, UO pays more into your account. IRS wants a fixed rate. Also, ORP can reduce admin fees by limiting number of investment companies. Also a problem with guessing if people will work 600 hours.
Also, they may change their contribution amount for new employees – not current. (which is 12.3).
John Chalmers is on top of this stuff, nothing big, go back to sleep.
Q Botvinnik: Inequity between tier 1 and 3 – 16% vs 6% contributions.
Kenton: You are correct. (also a 6% employer pickup so really 22 vs 12.)

PEBB health and wellness: 
Set up committee, hired Gallagher Benefit Services to advise.
OUS paid $67M *more* to PEBB than benefits, (over two year?) because we are healthier than average state worker. This cost gets bult into tuition, etc. But Kitzhaber wants a *bigger* pool.

Admins slide out of meeting.

I’ll submit an edited list of questions on this entry to Gottfredson and ask for responses.

Earlier, 10/10/2012: At the Senate meeting today, 3PM, room 101 in the Knight Library. I’ll try and live-blog it.

Q1: I heard your talk to the department head’s was panned for lack of specifics. You could have been giving it at Arizona. Where’s the beef?

UO Matters: Actually, while Gottfredson’s speech was short on specifics, it had a certain emphasis on transparency and shared governance that I like.


  1. Anonymous 10/10/2012

    Q: How many faculty have left UO in the past year, and what is your plan to deal with the reasons for the departures?

    • Anonymous 10/10/2012

      Can I suggest a slight modification? We should look at the attrition rate relative to some benchmark — perhaps a 10 year average?

  2. Bat Girl 10/10/2012

    For anyone who will be there, here are a few ideas for questions to pose:

    (1) When will we get a new Provost?

    (2) Why is Loraine Davis still on the organizational chart and does this still involve paying full freight for her and spouse to attend away football games?

    (3) Why is Robin Holmes still working here?

    (4) Has Randy Geller’s access to web-editing software been curtailed?

    Maybe others can suggest additional questions.

  3. Anonymous 10/10/2012

    Q: Why haven’t you implemented parts 2 and 3 of Lariviere’s faculty raise plan?

  4. Anonymous 10/10/2012

    Dog has questions (way too many to post)

    1. How can we best improve graduate student participation and
    raise our PHD production rate?

    2. How can graduate student funding be restructured so that it becomes less expensive for federal grants to support them (currently, this is a significant problem).

    3. What steps could you take to change general education and move it towards a more interdisciplinary framework.

    4. How can we develop larger internal funding sources to foster faculty initiatives in teaching and research?

    the limit seems to be 4 questions

  5. Anonymous 10/10/2012

    And a few more:
    1. What is your critique (pro/con) about the current budget model and where are you looking to make changes? within what time frame?
    2. When will your office be implementing and scheduling a regular performance appraisal process for the deans/academic heads?
    3. Do you intend to make any administrative/reporting changes prior to the announcement of the new campaign? (Donors don’t like surprises)
    4. What steps are you personally taking to ensure that the AAU status of the UO is not only maintained but strengthened?

  6. Anonymous 10/10/2012

    Will you tax donations to the Athletics department?
    If not, why not?

  7. Anonymous 10/10/2012

    Watching online and am comforted by tone and content…but his intro remarks are eating into the agenda. How many questions will he really be able to take without throwing off the rest of the agenda?

  8. Anonymous 10/10/2012

    What is the online URL?

  9. Anonymous 10/11/2012

    UOM writes: “The Senate should have told Mullens and Gottfredson to drop the whole repugnant proposal. Next time maybe I’ll have the balls to make that motion.” Perhaps UOM could indulge his love for the Single Malt just BEFORE the Senate Meeting that returns to the drug testing issue (if there is one). Even without passing the bottle, I suspect he would get a lot of support.

    • UO Matters 10/11/2012

      Next time I’ll call a caucus meeting out back in the cemetery an hour prior. Then we can all walk in together and get this done.

    • Old Man 10/11/2012

      The Old Man doesn’t drink or vote, but he would love to see this happen!

  10. Anonymous 10/11/2012

    How many (more) times will the senate roll over, trusting that it will be the last time? Dangerously close to being ‘sans ballon.’ Thanks for the updates, UOM. Nice summary too… so true.

    Gottfredson… Were I to propose that we begin to randomly test all students for drugs (for their welfare, of course, and to teach them about making appropriate choices), you would certainly acknowledge that my proposal was an academic matter, deserving of senate consideration. So, is it the ‘athlete’ modifier in student-athlete, then, that has you thinking that the current matter is an administrative matter? What’s really driving i? Athlete > Student? Athletics > Academics? Geller’s just an ass? (Hang out much longer and you’ll find that the “Geller’s an ass” fits all too often. Maybe you’re already there? Today was pretty embarrassing, I imagine.)

  11. Anonymous 10/11/2012

    If it’s not being done for NCAA compliance — if it’s just for the benefit of the student-athletes — then is there anything in the administration’s official rationale, any interpretation of law or policy or principle, that would prevent them from instituting random drug testing for *all* students?

    • UO Matters 10/11/2012

      Massive enrollment drop?

  12. Anonymous 10/11/2012

    Randy Geller is running this university–and ruining it. We need the President, who is supposed to be in charge, to start moving beyond the “pleased-to-meet-yous” and “how-wonderful-this-place-is” banalities and instead roll up his sleeves and get to work. That work includes engaging with faculty, students, everyone on substantive matters. Yeah, yeah, his job is “externals’ while the provost has “internals”, but the provost is a dimwit. Time for Gottfredson to stop touring the state and shaking hands with legislators, and start solving problems and making decisions right here on campus. Otherwise, soon enough he’ll be selling seats on a ship that’s already sunk.

    • Anonymous 10/11/2012

      Hear, hear! This anon makes the most salient point perfectly.

      UOM please direct a bottle of Single Malt to Anon poster above.

    • Anonymous 10/12/2012

      I don’t think you understand how the flow of scotch works around here. Wrong direction

  13. Anonymous 10/11/2012

    Chip “Big Balls” Kelly would have asked for a broader policy: Random drug testing for all student-athletes, AD admins, and coaches – “for student welfare”.

    Imagine a coach on drugs running Oregon’s “speed” offense. Serious chances of injuries… Can we take the responsibility?

    “In acrobatics, Weiler said, ‘there are bodies that are literally flying through the air. The chance of injury if an athlete wasn’t caught properly or supported properly is pretty high. You want to make sure people are not under the influence.”

  14. Anonymous 10/12/2012

    Gottfredson sat silently through this whole painful episode. Why didn’t he just stand up and say

    “I am taking this policy off the table until it has gone through the normal procedures, starting with review by the Senate executive committee. And I promise next time a policy comes up we will be better prepared and that I will bring the principals to the Senate to defend their work.”

    • Anonymous 10/13/2012

      Agreed. I was there, this was an embarrassment and another example of how JH wastes Senate time. In my mind Gottfredson gets a pass for it being his first time, but still…

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