Press "Enter" to skip to content

Live-blog from Senate: Let’s call this the “Wizard of Oz” meeting

12/4/2014 update: Paid UO PR flack Jennifer Winters has now posted the admin spin for Wednesday’s Senate meeting on “Around the 0”, if you care enough to google it.

Short version: Coltrane got raked over the coals again for his administration’s secretive “Academic Continuity Plan”. He added to the fire by threatening, not very subtlely, to discipline faculty who did not submit grades by Dec 19. The Senate began the process of restoring trust and confidence in UO’s academic integrity by taking responsibility for this away from VP’s Blandy and Altmann.

The Senate approved new courses, and agreed to set up former provost Jim Bean with a $250K sinecure running a new “Sports Product Design” MS degree program, which now goes to the HECC for consideration. We also approved a permanent Committee on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, and worked through and approved the last of the revisions to the Student Conduct code that VP Robin Holmes had neglected for years. All in all a very productive meeting.

12/3/2014 update: Official Senate Agenda for the 3PM Wed meeting is here. Coltrane will speak and get asked questions about the strike, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Senate also took further action on the strike. It will be an interesting and important meeting. I’ll try and live-blog a little:

Senate Meeting Agenda – December 3, 2014: Watch Live | Senate Agenda 

115 Lawrence, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

3:00 pm     1.   Call to Order

3:00 pm     2.   Approval of Minutes

2.1       November 5, 2014

3:05 pm     3.   State of the University

3.1       Remarks by Interim President Scott Coltrane with questions

Coltrane claims that the confidential Academic Continuity Plan was developed openly, after consultation with the faculty. Expects to receive the report of the secretive “Presidential Review Panel on the rape allegations” soon and will make it public. Will pay the AAU for its proprietary $85K campus climate survey, plus another one from UO researchers. Wanted to delay,but AAU put the screws to him. Chuck Triplett has recommended that the UO Board drop 87 old OUS policies on Dec 11, even though the Policy Review Committee(?) is not yet in place. What’s the hurry?

Lots of questions, Coltrane does his best to answer, but sticks to party line on academic standards and the AAU. His “We’re all in this together” line gets some derisive (but in a respectful way) laughs.

Undergrad: “What do you suggest we do as we watch our grades teeter?”

Philosopher Q: “So it’s like in the Wizard of Oz, where the scarecrow wants a brain (education), but gets a diploma (grade) instead?” A: …

3.2       Senate Meetings for Winter Quarter 2015; Robert Kyr, Senate President

Kyr: Lots of work to be done! There will be more meetings! You will attend! You will like it!

3:20 pm     4.   New Business


Psaki moves to suspend the rules to present a resolution calling for establishment of a “Task Force on Academic Integrity” to look into what went wrong with the administration’s confidential Academic Continuity planning, and replace it with a plan developed by the Senate, in accordance with our legal and traditional rights and obligations. Dreiling introduces the motion, “to restore trust and confidence”.

Psaki speaks to it as a positive, motion that could lead to some healing between faculty and admins.

Long discussion in favor, passes on unanimous voice vote.

4.1       Motion (Legislation): Fall Curriculum Report; Frances White (Professor, Anthropology), Chair of the Committee on Courses

Frances White (CoC Chair) explains the thorough job this committee does to maintain academic rigor.

4.2       Motion (Legislation): New Program Approval—M.S. Sports Product Management; Joe Lowndes (Associate Professor, Political Science), Chair of the Graduate Council

Joe Lowndes presents, describes rigorous process of revisions and reviews that Bean’s proposal was subject to by the Graduate Council, which in the end voted unanimously in favor. Senate also passes unanimously.

4.3       Motion (Legislation): Committee on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence; Randy Sullivan (Vice-President, University Senate & Co-Chair of the Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support)

Passes unanimously.

4.4       Motion (Legislation): Proposed Revisions to Student Conduct Code Dealing with Sexual Misconduct, Part 3; John Bonine, Professor (Law) and Caroline Forell, Professor (Law)

Sorry, no live-blog on these, Bonine’s motions are thoroughly annotated, read them. The Senate passed the all today, with considerable discussion on some:

4.5       Motion (Legislation): Proposed Revisions to Student Conduct Code Dealing with Sexual Misconduct, Part 7; John Bonine, Professor (Law) and Caroline Forell, Professor (Law)

4.6       Motion (Legislation): Proposed Revisions to Student Conduct Code Dealing with Sexual Misconduct, Part 8; John Bonine, Professor (Law) and Caroline Forell, Professor (Law)

4.7       Motion (Legislation): Proposed Revisions to Student Conduct Code Dealing with Sexual Misconduct, Part 9; John Bonine, Professor (Law) and Caroline Forell, Professor (Law)

4.8       Motion (Legislation): Change of Membership for the Graduate Council; Joe Lowndes, Professor (Political Science) & Graduate Council Chair

The Senate then heard a brief statement from GTFF VP for organizing Jonathan Turbin, who noted that GTFF President Joe Henry was in DC and would be meeting with Pete Defazio to discuss the strike. Turbin expressed his appreciation of the Senate’s efforts to maintain academic integrity, and his desire to have the administration agree to a fair contract “tonight or tomorrow” so that he could get back to work helping his undergraduates prepare for finals week.

The Senate applauded enthusiastically, and then adjourned at 5:15, with the work below left for a future meeting. Many members joined the GTFF rally outside.

4.9       Motion (Resolution): Senate Support to Uphold and Implement a Confidential Ombuds Program and Office; Committee on Respectful Workplace (Carla McNelly, Chair), UO Ombuds Search Committee (Carol Silverman, Chair), UO Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support (Carol Stabile and Randy Sullivan, Co-Chairs), Officer of Administration Council (Teri Rowe, President)

4.10     Motion (Resolution): UO Foundation Fossil Fuel Divestment; Jane Cramer (Senator, Political Science); John Davidson (Senator, Political Science); Helena Schlegel (Senator; Undergraduate, Spanish)

4:55 pm     5.   Open Discussion

4:55 pm     6.   Reports

4:55 pm     7.   Notice(s) of Motion

4:55 pm     8.   Other Business

5:00 pm     9.   Adjournment

12/1/2012: On Nov 19th the Senate voted overwhelming to call the administration out on its secret plans to degrade academic quality in case of a GTF strike, here:

2.1 BE IT THEREFORE MOVED that the Senate, as the legitimate representative body of the faculty, reject on behalf of the faculty, this confidential memo, the secret process by which it was written, and the dilution and degradation of academic standards it suggests;

2.2 And BE IT FURTHERMORE MOVED that the Senate directs Interim President Scott Coltrane and his administrators to work openly, publicly, and transparently with the UO Faculty, through the UO Senate in accordance with the UO Constitution, to determine how the University will maintain its academic standards in the event of a strike by the GTFF.

Last night Senate President Kyr sent this email to the Senate, saying that Coltrane was unresponsive to the legislation:

Date: November 30, 2014 at 3:27:29 PM PST
From: rkyr <[email protected]>
Subject: Update Re: Academic Continuity Planning Update 11/26/14

To: University Senate

From: Robert Kyr, Senate President

RE: Legislation regarding Academic Standards

I am writing to give you an update on the the legislation that was passed by the University Senate regarding academic standards and the impending strike.

On the Friday, November 21, I had a phone conference with President Coltrane regarding the legislation, asking him to make as swift a response as possible. In compliance with the legislation, I reiterated that the Senate and its committees were ready to work with the administration, and I added that we would be willing to begin that work even before receiving a formal response. As you know, we are under incredible time pressure given the possibility of a GTFF strike and I directly communicated the commitment and the determination of the Senate to uphold academic standards, as maintained in the approved legislation.

President Coltrane assured me that he intended to respond to the legislation as soon as possible, taking into consideration the time constraints of the collective bargaining process itself. We talked about a timeline and my understanding is that he had hoped to respond to the legislation before the Thanksgiving break, if possible.

I will contact the Senate as soon as I have received a response from President Coltrane regarding the legislation.

All the best,

Robert Kyr
Philip H. Knight Professor of Music
President, University Senate
[email protected]

The next Senate meeting is this Wednesday, Dec 3. While Coltrane has been fading fast on the academic standards, his admins have pulled out the defibrillator for Jim Bean’s Sports Product Design MS proposal. At the last Senate meeting Senate meeting Board Chair Chuck Lillis told the Senate in no uncertain terms that there would be serious consequences to rejecting any academic programs that UO’s new Board likes:

  • The process of approving new academic programs is “ridiculously long”— he said too many people are checking things, perhaps rooted in distrust, but that people have to get past that.

And they like sports! So I would like to be the first to express my support for Jim Bean’s wonderful program. My only question is why this sports product program is coming to the Senate so late – after many potential masters students have already made plans for next fall?

Lillis tried to implicitly blame the Senate and its committees, but apparently the weak link has been our feckless former provost and current Associate Business School Dean Jim Bean, who has been paid $250K a year for two years to work on this proposal.

By accounts from three different LCB insiders, and the Senate Graduate Council, the original proposal was, shall we say, “Not Jim Bean’s best work”. He eventually revised it, and they approved it this spring. The Senate could easily have approved it then, or certainly by September. But no one brought it forward. Why not?

As it turns out, Bean’s been padding that UO salary – which no longer covers his beamer payments – with some outside consulting gigs, including a $500K one for FSU-FAMU, and he’s had a busy fall. Too busy to do his UO job. Here’s one of his many consulting invoices:

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.44.37 AM

In fact it’s not even clear Bean will show to defend his sports product program in the Senate on Dec 3, given his prior commitments:

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 12.01.39 PM

But according to his Sports Product Design Proposal he’s going to “return to the classroom” and make up for that sabbatical, just as soon as he can. Right:

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 10.42.29 PM


  1. Dr. Funkenstein 12/03/2014

    Mere words fail me. Perhaps if I could only find an insulated beer hat with a Duck logo and a portable heated stadium seat with built in LCD display, it might all make more sense. Hey, what we really need are more people with the savvy to design such things! GO DUCKS!!!!

  2. Clueless 12/03/2014

    Coltrane is repeating the tripe that “faculty” were consulted because deans were consulted in the “academic continuity” plan and he has the power to take action because Board gives him that power.

    No, Scott – you don’t get to ignore our shared governance bodies. The strike was not an emergency – we have all known of its possibility for weeks. There was plenty of time to consult the appropriate bodies.

    • Old Man 12/03/2014

      Must be Deans. Scott is certainly not referring to consultation with the FAC.

      • Clueless 12/03/2014

        Old Man should know that FAC is not a governance body. It’s an advisory body to Prez so any consultation with it is not adequate shared governance.

  3. Jack London 12/03/2014

    In his rambling, incoherent response to the Wizard of Oz question, Coltrane did manage to express one coherent, if repellent, claim: “The students are paying a lot of money to be here. They should get their grades.” Welcome to the University of Phoenix online, Eugene extension.

    • Oryx 12/03/2014

      Why is this repellent? Students are, in fact, paying a lot of money to be here. People may disagree about whether the undergrads should be furious with the GTFF or with the administration (I would pin most of this on the admin), but if I were a tuition-paying undergrad, I’d be furious that the university I’m paying 10000-30000 per year to can’t get its act together.

      • UO Grad Student 12/03/2014

        I think this comes down to the idea and assertion that students are paying for their grades rather than their education. With Coltrane’s statements that students have paid and we will provide grades, regardless of whether they receive their final week of instruction this term, it seems as if they are paying for the grades. It sounds like the message is, “Screw the learning part of going to college, let’s make sure these kids get those letters they paid for.”

      • Jack London 12/03/2014

        It was repellent because Coltrane was saying that grades should be given regardless of whether they are accurate representations of student work and achievement. A grade is (allegedly) a representation of an independent reality. Insisting on handing out grades when that reality either is not being represented or doesn’t even exist is repellent. Of course students should receive grades that accurately represent how and what they did in their courses; the only way to ensure that that happens is to settle with the GTFF and end the strike.

  4. Old Grey Mare 12/03/2014

    The students are paying a lot of money to be here. They should get an education. That is what we are trying to do, by not skipping finals or taking any of the suggested shortcuts.

  5. Ellen 12/03/2014

    Hi, I was in the back of the room with SLAP. I was wondering if you knew who the Computer Science professor was who mentioned having 440 students, with 440 papers to grade; whom, it sounded to me, was then the recipient of an insinuated threat by Coltrane, if he were to refuse to participate in ensuring grades were recorded. I ask because (1) the prof deserves accolades for bravery, and (b) I am perplexed as to how any of this is legal, but especially, the pattern of veiled, or even overt, threats to jobs, whether faculty who teach or international graduate students who teach. Thank you.

    • anon 12/03/2014

      Agreed. Although I saw it as a real threat, not implied.

      Coltrane likes to talk about “we’re all in this” and “this is the first strike in 38 years” (whinge, whinge), but then throws the unions up as the reason for problems because the admins have worked hard during this “challenging time” — so what else could be the problem?

      I wonder about the wolf that spies faculty as future admin candidates.

    • Anon 12/03/2014

      With a video I could tell you, but at a guess based on current offered classes 400+students sounds like 110 or 111, which would be Michael Hennessy or Holleran (forget the first name).

      I’ve worked with Mike, he’s a truly impressive guy, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to learn that was him.

      • Anonymous 12/04/2014

        Thanks for your kind words, but I was not at the meeting. Also, we do not have any classes of size 440, so I’m guessing it was someone from another department, not Computer Science. -mike h.

    • Anonymous 12/04/2014

      It was Micheal Dreiling of the sociology department.

  6. Dr. Funkenstein 12/04/2014

    Let’s just say I’m in the same situation at the poor math professor and that I have no idea what I’m going to do. I live in fear of retalliation and no amount of reassurance from UA will alleviate that fear, as the powers that be will always find it easy to point to a “valid” reason for failing to renew my contract as a Career NTTF. I don’t think I’m alone in that concern. I want to stand on principle as much as anyone else, and I’m just as committed to quality education for my students, but I have no illusions about my options. What choice do I have other than diluting my Final exam for the sake of making it even possible to grade within the timeline? Try explaining “partial” grades to a room full of mostly first term freshmen. Good luck fielding the emails from either them or their parents when they start boiling over after they see the posted grades reflecting only the first half of the course they’ve taken. Never mind the other upper division course, which should be getting my full attention as a grader but will suffer as well because there simply aren’t enough hours in a day. I know this is a rant, but I have simply had enough of this nonsense. For the love of Pete, settle this damned thing and let’s get on with it.

  7. Anonymous 12/04/2014

    Why do you say Robin Holmes neglected making revisions to the student conduct code? If the Senate could have done this all along, it seems like they were the holdup.

      • Anonymous 12/04/2014

        That doesn’t say anything that refutes what I said above. If the Senate could have just modified the conduct code all along (and the Senate is the responsible body after all), then the Senate is to blame for the holdup. The fact that Robin Holmes didn’t make the Senate change the conduct code is just pointing fingers to distract attention from the true guilty party.

        • Answer to Sam 12/04/2014

          Sam (or whoever), although the University Senate passes legislation, the White House did not send its 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter to the Senate, but to the University Administration. And Robin Holmes hired Allen Groves to assess the Student Conduct Code and other matters in 2013 without telling the Senate. Then Robin Holmes never gave the Groves Report with its recommendations to the Senate.

          When the Groves Report was uncovered in 2014, the Senate started taking action. The holdup was the fault of Robin Holmes.

          • Anonymous 12/06/2014

            Your whitewashing the facts. The senate started taking action after the alleged rape incident – the groves report had nothing to do with it. The senate is at fault here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *