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Robin Holmes and Tobin Klinger embarrass themselves and UO in RG

Last updated on 01/24/2015

Update: Apparently Klinger was one of the ghost-writers for this Robin Holmes Op-Ed. In fact it’s not clear if Holmes even read it before it was submitted. The once secret email trail is here.

7/15/2014: UO’s VP for Student Life Robin Holmes (paid $241K a year plus family bowl game junkets) has an op-ed today in which she restates UO’s discredited story that kept the March 8-9 rape allegations secret because of student privacy, and defends UO’s handling of sexual violence in general.

Why should we believe VP Holmes? UO is still refusing to release many facts, including pages of emails about UO’s response that, by UO’s own statements, were redacted not because of student privacy concerns but because of “attorney client privilege” and because they contained “frank discussions” about how UO’s administration responded to the rape allegations. The same with UO’s decision to admit Brandon Austin. UO has still not responded to public records requests for documents showing the agendas for the apparently secret meetings of the “external review panel” on UO’s response to the rape allegations. Two weeks, no response. And UO wants $413.87 to see documents on how VP Holmes and the UO administration selected the people they wanted to review their own performance. UO’s response:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any documents showing the nominees President Gottfredson, Athletic Director Rob Mullens, and VPSA Robin Holmes, or their offices, have received for the External Review Panel on Sexual Misconduct and Response, and any communications with potential nominees to this panel”, on 06/03/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $413.87.

Her op-ed is just self-serving cheap talk from someone who is hiding the documents that would show what really happened, and help UO prepare for the next time.

Also today, newly hired UO strategic communicator Tobin Klinger has a letter to the editor complaining about Diane Dietz’s “Bowl of  – – – -‘s” reporting:

Eugene and its people have lived up to my vision. Eugene is access to independent film, unique foods, outdoor activities, cultural happenings and community pride. I don’t know that this shines through on the pages of The Register-Guard, particularly with the sophomoric “reporting” of Diane Dietz. I admit to having a bias. Dietz covers my employer, the University of Oregon. In my role as head of UO public affairs communications, it is my job to defend the integrity and the reputation of the university. I advocate for faculty, staff, students, administration and athletics. I advocate for the Ducks. Earning positive attention is a challenge with a reporter who is more interested in pandering to the lowest common denominator than demonstrating the value of higher education.

UO’s public safety budget has gone from $3M to $6M a year since the decision to convert to sworn, armed police officers. (Compare that to the $1.5M a year Gottfredson has allocated to faculty “cluster hires”. Ms Dietz’s article makes it very plain just how badly that money has been wasted. UO fired the officer who complained about the bowl of dicks list, and promoted the two officers who updated it on UO time. With the UOPD credibility destroyed, UO had to get the Eugene PD to investigate the March 8-9 rape allegations. President Gottfredson never even bothered to tell his police chief about the outcome of that investigation.

The fact that UO adds to this waste by padding its payroll with spokespeople like Mr. Klinger ($115K a year, and not even the best paid of the still growing flock) to write booster pieces about the Ducks, instead of investing that money in its educational mission, is yet another leadership failure from Gottfredson.

Go away Mr. Klinger. UO needs more faculty, not more PR flacks.


  1. mousey 07/15/2014

    More incompetence. “I advocate for the Ducks”. Glad that’s settled.

    Historically, the RG has bent over backwards in it’s reporting and editorializing of the UO — Klinger apparently isn’t aware. He comes off as immature and petulant. And Holmes? Just the usual delusional, it’s-all-good-here projection from a UO administrator.

  2. Sam Dotters-Katz 07/15/2014

    Can you please show any evidence or reasoning to back up this statement you made:

    “With the UOPD credibility destroyed, UO had to get the Eugene PD to investigate the March 8-9 rape allegations.”

    • My employer is an embarrassment. 07/15/2014

      I second Sam (maybe a first ever for me… I might cry) and call for evidence that the UOPD ever had credibility.

  3. Old Man 07/15/2014

    Tobin Klinger, if he/she is still around, should take some advice: It is NEVER a good idea to attack a newspaper or its reporter. The paper has superior fire power. As Aaron Novick, the best Graduate Dean the UO ever had, put it: “Don’t get into a pissing contest with a skunk.”

  4. ScienceDuck 07/15/2014

    Tobin’s letter struck me as bizarre given the lengthy, very positive articles about the cluster hires that have been coming from Diane Dietz. Tobin complains about how difficult it is to get positive attention–had he noticed the front page articles that were nothing but positive attention?

    • UO Student 07/15/2014

      Bizarre indeed. Between his use of sarcasta-quotes suggesting that Diane Dietz is doing something other than reporting and his ad hominem attacks against her in her own paper, one has to wonder what kind of good press the UO Strategic Communicator was expecting out of this.

      The next thing I wonder- if it is true that DD’s reporting of the existence of the Bowl of Dicks list is pandering to the lowest common denominator, what does that mean for the UOPD who created and maintained the list?

    • Fishwrapper 07/15/2014

      You obviously know nothing about strategic communications. I don’t see you making six figures to type press releases. For example, there is the old adage that there is no such thing as bad news – clearly, he has put the name and image of the UO smack dab in the letters column, which is what people read (hint, it’s not the front page that people subscribe for). Plus, if you deny a negative, it magically goes away. It’s not exactly rocket surgery, but it is a science in its own way, like alchemy, which is why he got the job, and the pay, and you didn’t.

  5. A thought in two parts 07/15/2014

    Up to now I was reading this as silly sophomoric frat boy crap and I do not agree with the Fryed betrayal crap either.

    But reading the latest comments and RG OPED I started to use some empathy and see this in another light.

    An 18 year old girl 3 months out of high school has something bad happen the first weekend at college. She picks up the phone and dials the UOPD, and on the other end is a sophomoric frat boy who just two hours earlier was in a UO meeting making lists of who could suck his cock… and is that not what this really may be? In the sophomoric frat boy way it is not an iced bowl of andante phalli, but possibly a misogynistic domination and control fantasy. And with this level of intellect and respect shown by the list and the people on it, how hard would it be to see this devolving into the day to day banter as in ‘Hey Joe we have a BOD sighting over here outside of the EMU, please respond!’ Oh yea that is sweet I would let her have my BOD…’ Far fetched? I do not know but I think that according to the offical count “bad” things are reported by our students about 30 times a year, and that is within the Clery boundary. This is making me sick to my stomach.

    • A thought in two parts 07/15/2014

      Perhaps the Communications director is correct and Diane Dietz and the rest of the reporters are doing a sophomoric job of reporting. If this is or is not going on then there should be some other voices out there to contact and use source protection. Are there no women officers in these BOD meetings? What about recorded radio conversations? Cell phones and other personal devices when used during or for work to circumvent open records are by precedence open records as well I believe. Custodians and Staff are everywhere and often overlooked and what about the other security officers and police? What do they have to say? If this BOD just harmless jocular frat boy crap then so be it.

      Up to now I was thinking this was a non issue but now, something stinks and I would not send my son much less my daughter to this institution as I do not believe that this institution, this administration, and these officers would have the safety and protection of my most valuable asset is their primary job… Didn’t Gott say his primary job as president was to suck money out of donors, perhaps being in on the BOD is a required skill?

  6. You go Science Duck 07/15/2014

    I completely agree. When I first saw Tobin’s letter in the paper, I didn’t skip down to read the signature at first. When he called Diane Dietz’s reporting “sophmoric,” I thought he was talking about the cluster hires! Of course, I realized my mistake as soon as I glanced down at the signature. I can’t tell you how much better I feel now that I know Tobin speaks on behalf of all the faculty at the UO. Makes me warm and sparkly inside.

  7. wishatam 07/15/2014

    Here’s what has never made any sense to me — how have you determined that they ‘covered up’ this case when there is significantly more information out about this case than any other case of sexual assault on campus? I am not aware of a single other sexual assault case in which the name of the students involved (or faculty member for those cases involving faculty) was freely bantered about on this blog and other news sites prior to any legal or conduct proceedings. I find it somewhat unseemly that faculty members seem to think they are entitled to know the details of this one particular case. Were the other reported cases also “kept secret”?

    • Stanley 07/16/2014

      This is a critical question that no one seems interested in addressing. What facts is a university obligated to disclose when a sexual assault allegation surfaces? You have to answer that question before you can assert that UO’s disclosures were deficient.

      Do the people who downvoted the comment above me actually understand that?

      • one observer 07/16/2014

        There are two issues here and they constantly get mixed up. One is the allegation and people involved, and the second is who at UO responded how, when, why, AND is the investigation of their response adequate and actually unbiased. What most here question is how UO is handling this, not “facts” about the event which has been made quite public; but then obfuscating comments, like yours, attempt to change the subject.

      • Anonymous 07/16/2014

        The fact that you think the critical question is what UO is “obligated to disclose” says all we need to know about you, Stanley.

  8. Anonymous 07/15/2014

    Anyone else reminded of our new motto, “Obviously such speculations are very, very inappropriate… You should trust in the process.”

    Tobin openly inquires in his letter, “Where else would you see the phrase “bowl of —–” five times”? It sounds like the answer is a UOPD briefing meeting.

    • Gott Gutts 07/16/2014

      This is from our top strategic communicator. That’s enough proof that we are wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars. The level of incompetence demonstrated by the strategic communicators is astounding.

  9. Junior faculty 07/16/2014

    To ‘a thought in two parts’: these are sad times at the UO. As a parent, I completely understand your comment. As an underpayed female faculty member, I feel much anger towards our administrators, as well as frustration – there is not a damn thing I can do about it.

    • happiness is NOT being a duck 07/16/2014

      Get out of the cesspool while you can. The longer you stay the more difficult it will be for you to sustain your career when you leave. Especially if you are a PI not in the union.

      I was a total union skeptic before but I have seen what compelled those before me to fight that honorable fight.

  10. YES! 07/16/2014

    Dang, that last paragraph needs to be a letter to the editor. Great synopsis of the problems keeping the UO stuck and spinning its wheels.

  11. Observer 07/16/2014


  12. Law professor 07/16/2014

    If everything is as great as Robin Holmes says, why are all our policies etc. being reassessed? Here is her answer, in the first paragraph:

    “The spotlight created by the media’s interest in one recent case at the University of Oregon has provided an opportunity for us to review our policies, procedures and prevention efforts surrounding all issues of sexual misconduct ­— from stalking and partner violence to sexual harassment and rape.”

    Forget the fact that faculty have been complaining about sexual harassment/assault procedures, and asking they be reviewed, for some years now. Real action occurs when the “media” turns the “spotlight” on us.

    What a dimwit.

    • Gott Damn Idiots 07/17/2014

      It’s all about brand now.

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