6/10/2014 update: Transparency is lacking at the UO (Letter to the RG)
In his June 4 letter, David Hubin, the supervisor of the University of Oregon’s Public Records Office, chastised The Register-Guard for omitting information from its May 31 editorial about the pages and pages of colorful redactions his office made to documents concerning the UO’s response to March 8-9 sexual assault allegations.
Hubin said he was “disappointed” the editorial “didn’t provide all the facts about why the university can’t release certain information. The newspaper’s readers deserve to understand the university isn’t hiding the information but is following laws that protect student privacy.”
But, as was explained in the May 30 news report by Josephine Woolington, the UO redacted many of the pages to protect administrators, not students. Those redactions included “frank discussions” between UO officials and emails covered by “attorney-client privilege.” The pages were helpfully color-coded in marigold and blue by Hubin’s office.
The redacted communications are presumably between President Michael Gottfredson, his administrators and “his” attorneys in the UO’s general counsel’s office. Actually, those attorneys are supposed to represent all the university, not just the president. In any case, Gottfredson could waive that privilege and disclose those “frank discussions.” He didn’t.
Such secrecy is part of a pattern. In February, the university even tried to charge our student journalists for budget information on expenditures for sexual assault prevention.
I believe it’s too late for Gottfredson’s administration, but our next president will need to improve transparency and build some trust in the UO community.
PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS
FORMER CHAIRMAN, UO SENATE TRANSPARENCY COMMITTEE
6/5/2014 update: UO releases 323 more pages of redacted docs on rape allegation cover-up
PDF of today’s release here. A zip file of all the records I’ve obtained so far is here. The public records office’s response included a disclaimer that this is just a partial release. I’ll update when they decide to release more. The office’s log file is here.
UO has gone with more blue and marigold this time – the colors for redacting documents because they contain “attorney client privilege” or “frank discussion”. Green means Hubin’s office is claiming the redactions are needed for student privacy.
I’ve haven’t looked through this much, but there is some frank discussion between Intercollegiate Athletics Committee Rob Illig (Law school prof) and the IAC members about President Gottfredson’s April 29 decision to dismantle the committee for asking too many tough questions. The day after he saw the EPD report, and was still hoping he could cover it up. The faculty emails are unredacted, but the ones between UO’s administrators are in marigold. An interesting double standard!. The cover-up timeline is here.
6/4/2014 update: Dave Hubin takes the dive for Gottfredson’s redactions. Shame on you, Dave.
This is worse than when Hubin tried to charge the student newspaper to see the budget numbers on how much UO was spending to address sexual assault prevention:
His letter to the RG editors, in response to their “Redaction Run Amok” editorial is here. All about protecting student privacy:
As the person who supervises the University of Oregon’s Office of Public Records, I was disappointed that a May 31 editorial didn’t provide all the facts about why the UO can’t release certain information. The newspaper’s readers deserve to understand the university isn’t hiding the information but is following laws that protect student privacy.
Sure it is. Hubin does not mention the many redactions made because they include “frank discussions” between UO officials, or “attorney-client privilege”. These are helpfully color-coded in marigold and blue, respectively, as explained by Josephine Woolington in her May 30 RG story here.
The redacted emails are presumably between Mike Gottfredson and “his” attorneys in UO’s General Counsel’s office. Actually those attorneys are supposed to represent UO, not Mike Gottfredson. And in any case Gottfredson can waive that privilege if he wants, and disclose his “frank discussions”. So what are Hubin and Gottfredson hiding?
5/31/2014 update: Register-Guard editorial board on Gottfredson’s “Redaction run Amok”
I’m not sure why, but today’s “Redaction Run Amok” editorial in the Register Guard stops short of calling for Gottfredson’s resignation:
… UO officials also want those same members of the public to trust, with hardly a shred of documentation, University President Michael Gottfredson’s reassurances that the university responded to the sexual assault allegation in a proper, responsible and timely manner. To do otherwise — to suggest that the university may have inappropriately handled an 18-year-old student’s assault allegations, or for that matter the rights of the accused students — would, in Gottfredson’s words, be “patently false” and “very, very inappropriate.”
Good luck with that, as well.
A president can’t govern without trust. The faculty doesn’t trust Gottfredson, and now the rest of the state doesn’t either. He needs to leave.
5/29/2014 update: Gottfredson redacts the hell out of reporters’ public records requests on rape allegation cover up, and he still hasn’t released a lot more.
Josephine Woolington has a story in the RG, with a helpful color-code:
The redactions were color-coordinated, with each color representing a different legal exemption. Text covered in “dark blue,” Thornton said, is redacted for attorney-client privilege. Text covered in green is redacted for federal privacy law, she said. Text redacted in marigold is exempt from disclosure based on an Oregon statute that allows government agencies to keep some communications secret if they can prove that the public interest in encouraging “frank communication” between government officials outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
No explanation for the bright yellow used to redact the Mullens/Knight address below. And still no documents showing how Gottfredson, Geller, Holmes, etc. actually dealt with the allegations themselves. These are all about the response to the story going public.
5/29/2014 update: I’ve put all the documents with any content (even just an email header) into one pdf, here.
Note that Gottfredson has still not released any records from before the story broke May 5. These documents are all about UO’s reaction to the fact the story finally made it into the public eye. Many more public records requests are still pending. Dave Hubin’s public records office has now been sitting on those for more than three weeks.
5/29/2014 update: Thanks to a reader for noticing this Phil Knight / Rob Mullens email below. Page 68 in #9, https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/971644/uomatters/sexassault/PRR234Hunt%20CombinedFiles%20-%20Redacted%20FINAL.pdf
And from page 57: On March 17 FAR Jim O’Fallon was in the loop, but UO GC Randy Geller was already out in favor of his assistant GC Sam Hill.
5/28/2014, 10PM update: This has now gone viral on twitter. The documents below have been downloaded hundreds of times. All in 61 minutes. The internet is an amazing thing.
5/28/2014, 8:59PM: They’ve redacted almost everything except official statements and requests from reporters. Very colorfully. All with no explanation. Needless to say, this is of questionable legality under Oregon public records law. But at this point a public records lawsuit is the least of UO President Mike Gottfredson’s worries – legal and otherwise – over his efforts to cover up the basketball rape allegations. Links below, updated with explanations added when I have time.
One reader already notes one unredacted email from the EPD detective in charge of the investigation, challenging Gottfredson’s carefully constructed timeline. Why didn’t
John Ehrlichman’s Dave Hubin’s public records office redact this too? Presumably because they knew it would come to light from requests to the EPD. How calculating. I wonder what else is hidden under the blue and green:
From: MARTES Kris M
To: Julie Brown
Cc: HANKEMEIER John T; MCLAUGHLIN Melinda V Subject: press release
Date: Tuesday, May 06, 2014 12:10:00 PM
I was just contacted by John regarding the press release that you are intending on distributing at 1215. I am disappointed in the contents considering our conversation. There is no mention of the collaboration that occurred in this investigation between UO and EPD to keep UO apprised of our steps in a timely manner to allow for you to proceed with UO requirements. It appears the release is exactly the same as the one originally presented.
Det Hall was very accommodating in keeping UO apprised every step of the way. By April 8, Det Hall advised to go ahead and move forward with student conduct as his investigation had been completed and sent to the DA office.
Sgt Kris Martes
Violent Crimes Unit Eugene Police Department
First dump from UO’s public records office as a zip file, here. Pdf’s below. There will be more, eventually. Pending requests here.
Redacts and retreats, and so typical. Go leadership.
holy shit. not surprised, but still. way to double down.
He’s playing with house money, that’s for sure. UO’s house money.
Does UO think it lives in a tiny back-water where, after garnering national attention linked to alleged gang rape, further action of any kind will go unnoticed, unreported or without significant comment? Apparently there is one more infamous stage the U of Nike desires to achieve.
We’ve got institutional ignorance and naivete nailed down.
With the added info on the un-redacted email from the EPD spokesperson, one has to ask: was Geller not dishonest enough?
So I guess I am an optimist and hoped that somehow over the last three weeks someone of influence (like a Trustee or a major donor) had gone in front of JH and MG in particular and raised holy hell, demanding a cleaning up. This confirms one thing — MG needs to go,. If he allows this BS to go out under the name of transparency he is completely incapable of leading himself out of a paper bag, much less this institution.
So the next issue for me, is how does the UO start to position ourselves as a place anyone of any caliber would want to come to? I think it cannot for a while. This is a place that no one with any ambition will see as a desirable leadership position. Our best best (and it is not that bad since I personally really like and respect Coltrane) is to implore Coltrane to take the job. He will do a more than admirable job of restoring some shine to this place. Then maybe in 5+ years when he tires, all of this garbage and damage will be in the rear view mirrors.
His fate was always sealed.
I admire your hope, truly, and I find myself in that camp more often than not. However, that camp is also a place where dreams die unrecognized because recognition comes too late. The provost is already spoken for … don’t implore him to do anything. Hope instead that the Trustees have some inspirational, balanced thinking brains between them to sort this unforgivable mess.
I fear Coltrane at this point, too (source of feelings: see GTFF bargaining).
Such a carefully orchestrated charade from our slimy politician of a President releasing all this after the last Senate meeting.
What’s the process for challenging the redactions? It just isn’t conceivable that they are all legitimate due to FERPA.
page 26 of the pdf file listed as item 1 above is redacted except for the top which says supplemental report, printed 4/28/14, 14:54 p.m. This is page 10 in the pdf file of the report released by EPD. So the UO is redacting information that is clearly a public record, since EPD released it.
There is always the option to sue the University for tampering with public records. I have a feeling that someone is going to lead the charge on that front sooner rather than later.
So when will we be able to get this image on t-shirt or coffee cup?
I suggest a redacted image.
Comment of the week. Contact me for your free t-shirt, or mug of your choice!
Someone on Twitter dubbed it “Modern Art” (this colorful redact-fest). They are in lawyered up mode. Let the police release what they will , but the U of O has gone mute, not to protect the student’s privacy, but to cover their asses. Clearly what is not redacted, is the carefully crafted script Gott rolled out.
But did you notice this?
Rita Radostitz Director of Strategic Communication & Marketing
We knew this all along– but does anyone else take offense to the fact communication/strategy/marketing are all rolled into one?
Good luck marketing this one, no matter how strategic you get!
If all we get are color blocks with the same scripted press release, can I take liberties to embellish it?
We are in deep shit about information contained in the police report recently released by the Eugene Police Department. Now we are forced to address the issue. We have angry students with torches & pitchforks, along with the media, storming the administration building. Federal laws that protect the privacy of all students preclude the university from commenting about students. Never mind the Federal laws that require us to report incidents to students, the brand & athletics are cash cows, & we must tow the line.
However, the university takes allegations of misconduct very seriously, now that the police report is out. . In addition, a full range of services and support are offered to students, including those required by Title IX and others beyond the requirements of Title IX. Administration has place a gag order on staff, and we can only repeat the pre approved scripted comment. The university has established internal conduct processes for handling misconduct allegations. Ok, we stalled & kept this thing silent for as long as we could. I will go hide now, and hope this thing blows over. I did announce that the Basketball Head Coach keeps his job, insinuating I am still in charge, and I keep my job too. At this point, we ask that you please respect these processes and student privacy. Also, please ignore student safety, & our actions, just listen to our words of concern & that safety is a top priority.
“If all we get are color blocks with the same scripted press release, can I take liberties to embellish it”
This leads to something I’ve been thinking about: with that much coordination to cordon off the media and funnel them to one statement combined now this much redaction, things ARE hiding and they had to know people would speculate and yet, they still redacted everything. This may be the ‘lesser’ infraction guaranteed to keep everyone from asking more questions.
What are they hiding? I suspect there were other players involved with actions that could also have violated the Student Conduct Code and would have resulted in UO not having much of a basketball team left for either the Pac-12 Tourney or the NCAA’s and a huge national headline like: “UO Men’s Basketball Team Suspended–Whole Team Will Stay Home”.
KEZI news also flashed the redacted color blocks. Someone please give Gott a shovel– he keeps burying himself deeper & deeper. There is a whole lot he CAN talk about,without jeopardizing student privacy, he is just using that as an excuse.
He appears to be redacting & “no commenting” himself right out of a job.
How about the May 5 entry
Hi. How should I respond to her? She says she is a “student journalist” but this sounds like it is for the Emerald.
Hows that for candidly capturing an attitude?
Oh, it’s just the campus newspaper- we deal with ESPN, OPB
& media big fish…. pesky students.
In all fairness, The Emerald is the worst student newspaper I’ve ever seen.
Shame on you.The quality of the content produced does not abrogate the rights of any journalist or journalism organization to public information.
It IS the students, whom the administration needs to answer to. The administrative staff thinks that poorly of their own student journalists? Did not even bother to redact that insult.
Can anyone explain how attorney-client privilege applies to some of these?
“Can anyone explain how attorney-client privilege applies to some of these?”
Great question, I have been getting emails from um some corporate lawyers the last few years with a boilerplate footer that claims the entire email is attorney client privilege (you may also find these in list serves, news groups, and forums as well).
Yes I know there is no logic in law, but I think that it is the Clients Privilege to keep legal information private. This does not extend to non legal proceedings and indeed an attorney acting in a capacity of state business that is not legal (like filing time cards or calendars of meeting) cannot be privileged. I think I have heard that the courts resolved that just CC’ing your lawyer on everything and claiming privilege does not make it so. Finally, Oregon has strong open records laws (which may not be worth the paper they are printed on) and EVERYTHING is open except a specifically protected list, which seems to grow every time a governor or legislator, or the states richest men, get caught with their hand in the cookie jar.
Please Any lawyers or aspiring lawyers without a job out there have time to tell us what is true.
Merely conveying information to the attorney does not make the information privileged. Attorney-client privilege protects only the actual contents of a communication between a client and the attorney. It does not protect disclosure of the underlying the facts that prompted the communication. If the facts that prompted the communications are available, for example, from other individuals than the attorney, the attorney may not disclose the information but it may certainly may be obtained from those other individuals.
She was 18? Jesus. Why didn’t Gardner at least go after them for giving her liquor?
Because that would have ruined the plan to keep it all secret? Just a guess.
The new policy at UO seems to be hard on sex and soft on booze.
There seems to be secret training these administrators take to become the dishonest repugnant vermin they have become. Robin should be ashamed at being a part of this mess. Of all people SHE should be screaming loud. But I guess it just shows…anyone can be bought for a price just like all the other vermin. There is not even a thread of shame in anyone of them. They do not serve the University for the good of the Students and Faculty only for their paycheck and Nike.
If an office repeatedly makes overly broad redactions, is there some way to get discipline for that office or person — or do you have to file and appeal or lawsuit every time? If there is no special discipline available, why would that office ever change its attitude?
Overly broad redaction’s are the norm…started with that Pres we had that changed the administration from a group that served the Faculty and Students to a group of thugs that served themselves at the expense of the students and faculty…just go back a few years to that guy ….. his name started with an F for FU!
Discipline R U Kidding! they all should be arrested for what they have done to this university. Systematic corruption all paid for by the students, faculty and classified staff….works for them!
I think you might be overreacting a little bit.
I think you have not been exposed to the sewage seeping from JH. Ignorance is bliss.
So, two-thirds of the way through, it turns into the un-redacted “Rob Illig Show”. Gawd …
On a serious note, on page 3 of the pdf the official UOPD reports says the victim’s father reported her being raped by 4 basketball players, not 3 … ?
The unredacted correspondence between you and Illig (322) and you contains more words than all of the other unredaced text combined. Maybe 10 times as much. I’m thinking that should have been greened out or marigolded out also.
It’s outrageous that UO’s administrators and lawyers can redact their email in marigold and blue, while faculty get nothing. I propose “screaming green” for Illig, and “mauvelous” for me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Crayola_crayon_colors
Yeah, I see that redactions of “frank discussions” only to applies to administrators, athletics and counsel, not so much when Illig is flaming Harbaugh . . .
Yeah, he was outed like a pimple on the nether region. Covert message?
Hiding behind this attorney/client privilege is one way Johnson Hall has been able to manipulate the law. These are state employees who are supposed to be accountable to the public. Does this mean when the county prosecutor gives the police any advice that it automatically falls under the attorney/client privilege? I think not. Dump legal counsel and let it fall on the state AG’s office.
Oregon’s state representatives and senators have decided that, since the state is funding the university to the tune of 5 percent of its budget, it is no longer their concern.
It begs the question of what would possibly capture their attention. A UO athletic administrator leading young boys up to the Sweat Shop shower room, say?