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Senate MMXXIII:I Free speech, legal services. Wed 10/9 at 3PM, 282 Lillis


  • I apologize for the skimpy notes below.
  • The Senate spent a fair amount of time on the Academic Freedom policy passed in April, but never signed by President Gottfredson. Neither Gottfredson nor Randy Geller was present to explain precisely what objections the administration had. Senate Pres Paris appointed a committee consisting of John Bonine (Law), John Davidson (Poli Sci), Michael Dreiling (Poli Sci), Bill Harbaugh (Econ) and Deb Merskin (Journ) to find out what their problem is, and what language President Gottfredson will accept. 
  • We also discussed procedures for motions of no-confidence. President Paris agreed with others that any such motions would be debated publicly.
  • Low turnout, and the Senate still has a bunch of unfilled seats. 

Senate Meeting Agenda – October 9, 2013 282 Lillis, 3:00-5:00 p.m. 

Live video here.

3:00 pm 1. Call to Order

3:05 pm 2. Approval of Minutes

May 8, 2013 

May 22, 2013

3:10 pm 

No quorum yet, so no votes on minutes.

3.  State of the University

President Gottfredson will miss this, he’s schmoozing with the “UO Portland Council” at White-Stag. Anyone know what this council is? Google has never heard of it. Presumably they’ll be talking about whether or not UO should renew the $2.4M lease on the Portland clubhouse.

Coltrane delivers speech. Good incoming students. New need-based scholarships have increased number of Pell students. GPA also up. 535 new Pathway Oregon students, vs 400 last year.

80 new faculty (gross, not net). Only 35 are TTF. “More diverse than the faculty look”. OK, they look different. Do the think different?

I’ve been busy with board and collective bargaining.

New board confirmed soon, need to work on by-laws etc. I wonder who’s in charge of that.

New CBA will help NTTF’s, standardizes practices. Implementation of policy will come through Senate and Pres. Lots of work.

$300M in new buildings, but we couldn’t afford to follow through with plan to raise faculty salary to comparators.

Gottfredson will now turn his attention to internal issues. Strategic plan for capital program. Try to stay in AAU. Hire 4-5 new faculty in strategic areas. Budget model needs work. Years of growth. Graduate student ratios “are a little out of our norm”.

Q: What do you mean by attention to the budget model?

A: Shelton has a technical task force working on the plumbing. There’s a “Budget Committee” that includes Senate members. Maybe move away from the tax to ?. Pres is concerned about funding research and graduate education. Need private money to secure our place as a research university.

Q: When you say graduate education, will that include law school grad program?

A: Yes. Need more money for grad fellowships including law.

Followup comment: Gott is absent, and missed half of the Senate meetings last year. Did he also miss FAC meetings.

Paris: We’ve now got a quorum, minutes are approved. Need a Senator for the IFS. 6 meetings a year. Kyr is nominated, approved unanimously.

3:20 pm 

4. New Business

4.1 Introductions; Margie Paris (Senate President)

Lisa, new Senate coordinator is introduced.

4.2 Orientation; Margie Paris (Senate President)

Paris runs through handy slide. See link. Board of Trustees at the top, followed by statutory faculty, Assembly, Senate.

More than 2 unexcused absences and you are off the Senate. Good rule.

Decorum: We will obey Robert’s rules, with help of Paul Simonds!

Q: Can we get a better room? Not this time.

Good idea to correspond with your constituents. Read the agenda, email them with motions in advance.

Stahl: Are all the administrative advisory groups that have been set up an abrogation of Senate authority?

Paris: Good question. We should look into it.

4.3 Election for IFS Senator; Margie Paris (Senate President)

3:45 pm 

5. Open Discussion

5.1 Academic Freedom/Freedom of Speech policy; Margie Paris (Senate President)

Last April’s Senate policy proposal had some clear language on freedom of speech and a clear call to incorporate this into the faculty union contract:

Freedom of Speech 

All University employees retain the right to address any matter of institutional policy or action without fear of institutional discipline or restraint. They also are guaranteed the protections of freedom of speech with regard to any matter, so long as it is clear that they are not acting or speaking on behalf of the University. 

Contractual Force of Policy 

This Policy on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech shall be given contractual force by incorporation into pertinent contractual and collective bargaining agreements and individual letters of appointment. It shall be incorporated into the Faculty Handbook and the UO University Policy Library.

President Gottfredson refused to sign it, and his union bargaining team adamantly opposed putting it in the collective bargaining agreement. Gottfredson got some national ridicule and backed down, a little. Now the Senate is going to decide how to respond. My understanding is that the UO constitution calls for the President to defend himself to the faculty assembly in these situations.

Paris: Update on academic freedom. Pres was required to adopt this w/in 60 days or come back to Senate. Gottfredson did this, requesting that the policy be split into two: one on academic freedom, one on freedom of speech. Then the AY ended.

Gottfredson will come to the Senate in November and explain.

Harbaugh: So he wants it split but didn’t say how? Why don’t we ask him to split it or do it ourselves?

Kyr: Motion for a group to get this done quick?

Bonine: Pres was obligated to make this request w/in 60 days. Hubin says that the message could be interpreted as a request for a delay, which is allowed. Goes into Garcetti and new Demers 9th circuit opinion.

Current free speech policy:

Senate votes to set up another committee to try and deal with this. approved 17 to 8.

Group will include Bonine, Harbaugh, Davidson, Dreiling.

5.2 Virtual Accreditation Review; Robert Kyr (Music)

4:00 pm 6. Reports

6.1 Carryover from 2012-2013

6.1.1 Report: Legal Services Policy; Margie Paris (Senate President)

This policy is one of General Counsel Randy Geller’s power grabs. The Senate beat him off last fall. From the live-blog:

3.1 Motion (Policy Adoption): Legal Representation Policy; Margie Paris (Law), Senate President-Elect and Chair, Legal Representation Policy Review Committee

Geller’s draft: 

That would certainly be an improvement. 

Kyr reads the motion. It spells out the GC’s responsibility to provide high quality legal assistance. Authorizes Randy to provide legal opinions about UO stuff, and hire high priced legal help from Harrang et al. New language removes Randy’s monopoly on providing legal advice to faculty, students. We have the right to seek legal advice – revolutionary. UO shall defend employees against acts of omission, including those in teaching, research, service. (Merle Weiner clause). Employees may be reimbursed for legal expenses, especially if there’s a conflict of interest. 

Paris: Originally drafted by Geller’s office, would have given you the red-lined version but it’s all red. Tublitz proposed 2 amendments today, want to add these. Right to legal advice: what if Senate wants alternative, competent legal advice? Amendments allows this. 

Mitchell, Harbaugh: SB242 took away DOJ’s monopoly on legal service to OUS institutions. Minor problem for some of the wording. 

Lamar Wise: ASUO supports motion because it gives chance to get out from under Geller. Stahl: Hold back til we get the DOJ thing figured out. Sullivan: Geller represents the administration. If he’s defending an employee, who’s the client? Paris: Let’s go back and research this stuff. Good call. Kyr: We will make Geller show his mug at the next meeting. Meanwhile, direct questions to Paris. Postponed.

We’ll see if Randy shows his face for today’s discussion: 

Nope, no Randy. Shocking.

Paris: We’re kicking this can down the road to the Board of Trustees. So no vote, the motion is tabled.

6.1.2 Report: 10th Year Review; Robert Kyr (Music)

Kyr: This has now become the 12th year review. Passes around signup sheet for volunteers to staff committees to revisit charges of the committees.

6.2 PAC-12 Faculty Leadership Coalition Conference Update; Robert Kyr (Music)

Kyr will go and report.

6.3 Forming an Administrative Advisory Group: VPOEI Yvette Alex-Assensoh (Equity and Inclusion)

The administration has become addicted to using these AAG’s to do an end run on shared governance through the Senate. No charge, handpicked faculty members. Hubin’s Public Records AAG is the most nefarious example. Gottfredson’s Budget Advisory Group is another.

Alex-Assensoh, VP for Equity, wants to form an AAG and actually wants to do it through the Senate. Respect. What do we have to do to get the rest of our administration to do sensible things like this.

6.4 Update on Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics; Margie Paris (Senate President)

Tublitz has been serving as liaison to this, without a formal process. Senate Exec has apppointed him for the rest of the year, then we’ll have a formal process.

4:45 pm 7. Announcements and Communication from the Floor

Stahl: Last year Senate voted to create a committee on proprietary research. What happened? Paris: We’ll have it by next meeting.

7.1 Notice of Motion (Legislation): Working Groups for Campus Planning and Non-tenure Track Instructional Faculty Committees; Robert Kyr (Music), Senator

7.2 Notice of Motion (Legislation): Academic Credit for ROTC; Frank Stahl, Professor Emeritus (Biology)

Stahl wants UO to stop giving academic credit for Military Science (ROTC). I think Napoleon said it best: Si vis bellum para pacem. Besides, you get to rappel out of helicopters – who can say no to that? But we should do something about their grading policy – last I looked it was almost as inflated as Doug Blandy’s notorious online AAD classes. The MIL classes are popular easy A’s for the student-athletes.

4:50 pm 8. Other Business

Stahl: Asks what happened to the motion last May for a vote of no confidence in Gottfredson?

Paris: I advised Senate to go into exec session, even though it was just a notice of motion. Maybe I was wrong.

Bonine: Exec sessions are not allowed on policy matters under Oregon public meetings law.

Harbaugh: So, if this happens again, god forbid, will we have a public discussion?

Paris: Yes, I believe so. Simonds agrees.

Bonine: Hell yes. Since we don’t have the power to fire the President, a vote of no confidence is *not* a personnel matter, and should not be secret.

Stahl follows up on procedures: Can the Senate Exec decide not to bring a motion forward?

Kyr: No.

5:00 pm 9. Adjournment

Adjourned 5 min early! Sweet!


  1. Old Man 10/09/2013

    Some one might suggest compromise language to “All University employees retain the right to address any matter of institutional policy or action without fear of institutional discipline or restraint.” The compromise would insert the words “eligible for election to the University Senate” after “employees. I think this would meet the needs of our robust shared governance while leaving the President free to sack a Provost or Special Assistant who bad-mouths UO actions or policies.

  2. Old Man 10/09/2013

    UOM writes “My understanding is that the UO constitution calls for the President to defend himself to the faculty assembly in these situations.” The quality of UOMs “understanding” would improve were he to consult the Constitution.

  3. Old Man 10/09/2013

    UOM writes: “Stahl wants UO to drop RTOC.”
    No, Stahl’s Motion simply removes academic credit for those courses. Whether the program continues will be up to the War Department.
    UOM also writes: “I think Napoleon said it best: Si vis bellum para pacem.”
    I’m not a historian, but, as I recall, Napoleon launched a notorious series of wars to achieve regime changes throughout Europe. The Old Man suggests that Santayana gave us a useful lesson when he wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

  4. Anonymous 10/10/2013

    “Good idea to correspond with your constituents.” More of this would be good, and not just from the Senate but also from Senate committees.

  5. Mark 10/24/2013

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