Update: Can Oregon’s flagship university stay in the AAU? If so what do we need to do? That seems like a question of public interest. But not to President Gottfredson, whose public records office is trying to charge UO student journalists $94 for the records:
Public records fees charged by the UO continue to hamper the newspaper’s ability to get records that student reporters need, Stites said. For example, the UO said the Emerald would have to pay $94 for copies of correspondence between UO President Michael Gottfredson, Provost Jim Bean and the American Association of Universities, Stites said.
“We haven’t been able to get it yet because we can’t scrape up the money because we’ve already used so much money on other public records,” he said.
At Gottfredson’s previous university, UC-Irvine, these sorts of records would be available at no charge. The University of Nebraska, the last university to get kicked out of the AAU, can charge for the pro-rated cost of the pdf scanner and the electricity it uses, but nothing else. Under Gottfredson UO has *never* waived fees on the basis of public interest.
And for the Potemkin Village press release story of UO’s public records office, check out Friday’s report in “Around the 0”.
6/16/2013: President Gottfredson seems hell-bent on raising journalists’s suspicions about the legislation for an independent UO Board. Diane Dietz of the RG has the latest story, which emphasizes the continued stalling by Dave Hubin and Gottfredson on a Senate Transparency Committee recommendation to give student journalists fee waivers, so that they can get information about UO and keep the students informed:
The debate is happening as the UO asks the Legislature to create an independent UO governing board — on the assumption that the board would govern the university as a public body in an open and transparent way.
So presumably Gottfredson is getting his marching orders to cut back on transparency from the donors pushing for a UO Board. Hubin has a lot of quotes about how complex it all is:
What if, Hubin said, a student wanted to know if faculty travel to conferences was done with the lowest carbon expense, and the student asked for records involving 60 departments? Would that be reasonable?
What if? That’s Hubin doing what he does best – running out the clock. In fairness to Hubin he did a great job implementing public reforms under Lariviere. He got the public records office to respond promptly and cheaply to public records requests. But now we’ve got a new president who hates transparency, and at the most recent meeting of Hubin’s public records advisory group Hubin wouldn’t even let the 3 student journalists present ask questions.
Meanwhile, Hubin is fine with letting his office charge Nick Ekblad of the Oregon Commentator $240 for a copy of President Gottfredson’s official calendar. And now UO won’t even let them use student funds to pay to see it. The RG quotes Frank LoMonte, attorney and executive director at the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va.:
“We tell people all the time that if the president won’t sit down and make himself available for an interview, then use your state open records law to get a copy of his appointment calendar and e-mails. If the president would open his door and sit down and make time for you, then you might not need his e-mails.”
The current draft says that most of ORS 192 will apply to “a university with a governing board” but it does not say that the board itself will be. Additionally, the intent is to have the board appointed by September of this year, although it doesn’t have any actual power for another year. Under ORS 192 this means the board’s meetings until then might not be subject to the open meeting rules, even if ORS 192 does apply to the board.
Student reporter Dash Paulson had an excellent ODE interview with President Gottfredson back in January, and extracted this quote:
When asked about transparency at UO, Gottfredson said, “I absolutely support it.” However, he didn’t dive into details. When asked about making public record requests less expensive (or free, as they are at his previous university) Gottfredson said, “That’s something we’ll look into.”
Sure. Gottfredson hasn’t let a student journalist interview him since. As for the rest of the press, Gottfredson told the RG last August that:
In the future, Gottfredson said, his presidential press conferences will be more substantive — and not like White House press briefings, where reporters are reduced to hollering their urgent questions at the president.
“I look forward to meeting with all of you on a regular basis, and you won’t need to shout your questions,” Gottfredson told the assembly. “I may shout a few answers, but you won’t need to shout questions.”
That’s not happening. He’s withdrawn deep into the JH bunker. It’s sad. We’re a public university, we need a president who is not afraid to talk to the press and who is not afraid to share information with the public.
Update: And the contempt from the administration continues. Want to find out about the secret “Budget Advisory Group” where Gottfredson claims faculty have a chance to weigh in on budget priorities?
From: Jamie Moffitt
Subject: RE: [Econ_faculty_staff] cas-heads: Open Letter from the Deans to UO CommunityDate: June 16, 2013 8:16:07 AM PDT
To: Bill Harbaugh
, Brad Shelton
I would suggest that you contact the Office of Public Records for this type of document request.
Vice President for Finance and Administration & CFO
University of Oregon
Here’s what Hubin told our accreditors in March:
2.F.3 The institution clearly defines and follows its policies, guidelines, and processes
for financial planning and budget development that include appropriate opportunities
for participation by its constituencies.
The UO engages several cross-functional teams to assist with budget preparation and
operational assessment. These teams include:
• Budget Advisory Group – comprised of students, faculty and staff; advises on
general fund allocations
• Tuition and Fee Boards – comprised of students, faculty, and staff; advises on
tuition and fees, and evaluates performance and projections.
• Internal Bank Advisory Committee – comprised of faculty and staff; analyze and
advise on debt-funded projects.
• Senate Budget Committee – comprised of members of the elected University
Senate; review and make recommendations on budgetary policy and long-term
I’d say the reality is a little different. The SBC website is here – not a lot of consultation going on, much less reporting. The academic plan was drafted by Bean in 2009 and then forgotten about (the 2011 date is when they located a copy of it – not when it was revised.)
The only link I can find to the “Budget Advisory Group” on the UO pages is to the accreditation report itself. How’s that for “appropriate opportunities for participation”?
However the faculty union did learn a little – see page 4 of this doc, which they were able to extract from Moffitt during bargaining. Basically the BAG deals with the small change that’s left over from Shelton’s budget allocation model. If Gottfredson even has a process for setting long-run budget priorities he isn’t letting the faculty get within a mile of it.