Lillis calls Coltrane back for 3-day loss. Is “X” grade flip-flop about football players eligibility?

Updated way too often:


6:11 PM: Lillis calls Coltrane back for 3-day loss on plans for Saturday mediation:

No more talks til Tuesday. The Board of Trustees meetings start Wednesday, and presumably they’re trying to put on a strong offensive show for their most important fan, Phil Knight:

On FridayDec 5, 2014, at 6:11 PM, President’s Office <[email protected]> wrote:

Campus Community,

I’m disappointed to report that we have ended another day of mediation with the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation without agreement. We had hope of bringing this issue to a close prior to finals week, but our next mediation is now scheduled for Tuesday.

[blah, Go Ducks, blah, blah]

Thank you for your continued work and understanding. Scott Coltrane, Interim President

– 5:00 PM. The GTFF website reports no deal yet, mediation will restart tomorrow:

Both parties agreed it’s important for the teams to collaborate in whatever ways might be possible without having mixed and conflicting messages ending up public and having to mend fences in the morning. The teams agreed to confidentiality for this round of mediation. We are still working through things at the moment and where ever we end up, we’ll be taking that to our Executive Council for discussion and for our stewards to take out to our members.

I’m still waiting for Hubin to release the latest data on how many billable hours Coltrane is paying Frohnmayer and Geller’s HLGR law firm for their successful efforts to drag this strike out past the last day for undergrads to get GTF help for finals week.

– I put in a PR request into Dave Hubin’s office for the latest legal and consulting billings on Monday. My guess is he’ll delay these until the GTFF bargaining ends, just as IR is hiding the latest info on raises for JH admins. But bargaining for the faculty contract starts in January, and will be helpful for showing the self-serving priorities of the JH administration:


– Scott Coltrane is so worried about revealing excessive athletic donations during the GTFF strike that Dave Hubin is redacting even the most basic information as “trade secrets”. Camilla Mortenson has the story in the Eugene Weekly, here:

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 11.18.37 PM

Under President Lariviere, UO would release all the records, including the detailed gift contracts, e.g. Phil Knight’s for the athlete-only Jock Box.

10:00 PM: Admins panic over JH sit-in, call cops on the undergrads. UOPD officers were called in today to evict undergraduate GTFF sympathizers from Johnson Hall, according to this Kaylee Tornay report in the ODE. The police refused, on the sensible grounds that the students weren’t breaking any laws. But the administration seems to be threatening student conduct code discipline, if I get the story right. Since UO’s Academic Freedom and Free Speech policies cover students, any such efforts would be pure intimidation, or panic, on the administration’s part:

The University supports free speech with vigor, including the right of presenters to offer opinion, the right of the audience to hear what is presented, and the right of protesters to engage with speakers in order to challenge ideas, so long as the protest does not disrupt or stifle the free exchange of ideas.

– 7:45 PM: The RG reports no settlement tonight. Mediation will resume at 11AM tomorrow. Many undergrads will have no final help or lab sessions before finals begin Monday – if there are finals. Faculty will be left to deal with the chaos. Meanwhile the newly established Senate Task Force on Academic Integrity has been working on an legitimate alternative to Doug Blandy and Barbara Altmann’s “Wizard of Oz” grading scheme. And fwiw, here’s official JH strike communique #253:

Date: December 4, 2014 at 7:58:19 PM PST
From: “President’s Office” <[email protected]>
Reply-To: [email protected]
Subject: Mediation continues tomorrow

Dear Campus Community,

After a long day of mediation with the university and the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation sharing confidential proposals, talks have concluded for the evening.

While I hope for a swift resolution, I’m proud of our bargaining team for staying at the table to work to find a solution and we look ahead to another mediation session tomorrow.

While we continue bargaining, we remain fully prepared to meet the needs of our students going into finals week. A team of volunteers is ready to proctor exams and continuity plans are in place to ensure grades are submitted in a timely fashion.

Both parties have agreed to keep details of today’s exchange confidential, but despite the lack of resolution to date, the university remains committed to the collective bargaining process.

We appreciate the respectful discourse that has surrounded this challenging issue and the thousands of faculty, staff and graduate students who have remained focused on carrying out our mission. They have continued to work tirelessly to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of our students.

For complete information on academic continuity planning and negotiations, please visit

Sincerely, Scott Coltrane, Interim President

UO Alumna donates $10K to the GTFF strike fund. Heartfelt letter of support and link to the donate button, here.

1:00 AM: Was “X” grade flip-flop about football players eligibility?
The original “confidential” Academic Continuity Plan recommended that faculty consider assigning “X” grades until the GTFF strike was over, final work could be graded and legitimate grades could be assigned

A few weeks later, the admin’s changed their mind, and we got this message:

Academic Continuity Planning Update 11/25/14:


Thank you for your ongoing engagement during the preparations for the upcoming GTFF strike. Below you will find additional information about grading options, pre-strike polling, changes to Blackboard, and attendance tracking.

Sincerely, Barbara Altmann, Doug Blandy, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

X Grades

As stated in the November 21, 2014, message, university leaders believed earlier that X grades might be a viable solution; however, upon further investigation with the registrar and financial aid staff, it was determined that X grades would be viewed as non-passing grades for financial aid purposes. Depending on each individual student’s situation, the X grade may imperil that individual’s financial aid. …

During the Senate debate Wed, John Bonine (Law) quoted wording from UO’s own financial aid website that conflicted with the administration’s statement above. So what’s really going on with this X flip, and the discipline that CAS Dean Marcus now threatening for those that use the X?.

The NCAA football championships. It turns out that the X does not meet the “satisfactorily completed” standard the NCAA requires for athletes to play in the post-season football championship game. UO’s last regularly scheduled exam is Dec 12. The NCAA then gives UO 14 days to certify that post-season athletes have satisfactorily completed their (minimal) academic requirement of 6 credits for the fall quarter. No satisfactory grade, no play.

This does not affect the Dec 5th PAC-12 Championship, but it does matter for the Jan 1 Football Championship playoffs and, should it come to that, the championship game on Jan 12th.

Here’s NCAA Bylaw

To be eligible to compete in a postseason event (e.g., conference tournament, bowl game, National Invitation Tournament, NCAA championship) that occurs between regular terms (including summer) a student-athlete, in his or her final season of competition in the applicable sport, shall have satisfactorily completed six-semester or six-quarter hours of academic credit the preceding regular academic term of full-time enrollment (see Bylaw An institution shall have 14 business days (regardless of the date in which grades are posted or submitted) after the date of the last scheduled examination listed in the institution’s official calendar for the term that is ending to certify completion of the six-semester or six-quarter hours of academic credit. (Emphasis added).


– New RG report from Diane Dietz here, with many interviews with undergrads. She gives Coltrane enough rope to say a few things he’s probably already regretting, but the undergrad quotes are what make it well worth reading. And in other news, SANIPAC apparently told UO today that its drivers (Teamsters Local #206), will honor the GTFF picket lines and stop picking up UO’s garbage. Game over.

– “Coltrane lauds “respectful discourse” as Marcus calls in dissident Dept Heads for discipline.” New massmail from Interim President Coltrane lauds the Senate and GTFF for “respectful discourse” – his definition seems a little different from the one UO’s English composition instructors use – as rumors fly that department heads who refuse to cooperate with the “voluntary grading suggestions” in the now public Johnson Hall “Academic Continuity Plan” are being called in by Interim CAS Dean Andrew Marcus, and told they will face discipline. Respectful discipline, I’m sure.

The UO Senate isn’t going to let this happen easily. They voted unanimously today to use their authority over academic matters to create a Senate “Academic Integrity Task Force” to rewrite Coltrane’s ACP, ASAP.

At the same time he’s on the respect thing, Coltrane is claiming the strike is not causing much disruption, and telling instructors that “staff volunteers” (some rumored to be UOPD) will be checking up on classes again tomorrow.

The good news? The GTFF president has flown to DC to meet with Pete DeFazio, Governor Kitzhaber (who controls UO Board appointments) is ramping up the pressure on Coltrane and the Board to end this nonsense strait-away, and the state mediator is going to give it another try Thursday:

Date: December 3, 2014 at 6:31:03 PM PST
From: “President’s Office” <[email protected]> Reply-To: [email protected]
Subject: Mediation resumes tomorrow

Students and colleagues,

As we mark the second day of striking by the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, I am pleased to report the discourse has continued to be respectful. We are optimistic that this trend will continue tomorrow across campus, and at the bargaining table. We are also confident that we will continue to meet the needs of our students during this difficult time.

Contract negotiations can be emotionally charged events, and ours is no exception. One thing that has been demonstrated is the passion that we all share for education of our students. I want to thank all who have worked to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of our students.

Dozens of UO employees have volunteered as course monitors to each GTF-led class, to ensure all students are given an explanation of the situation, should the GTF instructor not be present. Over the past two days, course monitors have reported that only 22 percent of scheduled courses resulted in students arriving to find no instructor. On Thursday and Friday, we are fully prepared with volunteers to carry out this critical duty.

Picketing GTFs are passionately conveying their message and we appreciate the continued respectful discourse that has been witnessed throughout campus today. The university is committed to ensuring that picketing does not disrupt our campus environments.

Tomorrow morning negotiations will resume and the university remains hopeful that an agreement will be reached that meets the needs of all involved. Thank you for your commitment to our university.

Sincerely, Scott Coltrane, Interim President

– GTFF sets up a link to donate to their strike fund, here. “These funds will help offset costs associated with strike supplies, legal costs, or lost wages.”

– The Presidential Skybox at Autzen – mostly paid for with undergrad tuition money – costs more than twice as much as the GTFF sick leave plan:

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 1.54.26 PM

– From an email the administration is sending to undergrads in classes cancelled because of striking GTFs:

“Until further notice, there will be no formal instruction in your class. The classroom will still be available at the usual time, and you are welcome to use it for study groups or work sessions. We encourage you to keep up with your syllabus to the best of your ability: read the book on your own, try the homework problems if there are any, and if not pick out some representative problems from the textbook.”

– InsideHigherEd has a long story on the strike, UO’s academic standards, and Coltrane’s research, from Kaitlin Mulhere, with many interesting quotes. The admin’s hired spin doctors aren’t getting much play, compared to the GTFF leaders and their faculty and undergrad allies. Read it all, here.


– Phil Knight’s the decider on GTFF strike, Coltrane forced to publicly repudiate his life’s work: That’s the takeaway from tomorrow’s Diane Dietz story in the RG, online tonight here. Jeff calls Scott, Scott calls Chuck, Chuck calls Phil, then back down the chain. (Here’s the campaign finance report on the PAC fund that Knight, Lillis and a few others set up to persuade the legislature to turn over control of UO.)

No wonder nothing good ever gets done around here. Then there’s this sad bit of rationalization, from a noted expert on the importance of parental leave, now forced to repudiate his life’s work in the most humiliatingly possible public way, just for a shot at getting Chuck Lillis to appoint him to the “permanent” job as UO president:

“What if we get into the program and find out twice as many people were having babies and $1,500 was not enough or those kind of things?” Coltrane said. “We want to be able to adjust those amounts to meet the needs of the students, and we can’t do that if it’s written into the collective bargaining agreement.”

The problem here is not Scott Coltrane. Anyone who will agree to be UO president under these conditions will be a disaster for the university. Governor Kitzhaber is the only person who can reign in this board, and here his is on video promising to do his best to spend $40M in tax money on subsidizing Phil Knight’s track championship dreams, instead of on education for Oregon students.

– $115K-a-year chief UO strategic communicator and brander Tobin Klinger succeeds in getting a Daily Emerald reporter to quote him on the GTF strike. Francesca Fontana story, with very interesting student quotes and social media links, here. Klinger usually has to rely on bitter letters to the RG editors (page down, way down) to get his name in the press.

– Message from Interim President Coltrane: We executed a strategic move to advance in a different direction on the Altmann / Blandy plan to have community members teach classes. And it turns out undergrads won’t rat out the grad students, but we made staff do it, and admin forces repulsed noisy efforts by the grad students to disrupt the polka event:

Date: December 2, 2014 at 6:45:51 PM PST
Reply-To: [email protected]
Subject: Campus activity continuing

As the first day of a strike by the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation comes to a close, I want to assure students that our commitment to academic achievement continues as planned. Today, the large majority of classes and lab sections took place as usual with instructors reporting to work on schedule.

The university had course monitors at each GTF-led class today and will continue to do so during the strike. Our monitors, all of whom are UO employees, are ensuring that when a GTF does not appear for their classroom duties, students are given an explanation of the situation. Course monitors are not teaching courses or taking instructional roles.

I appreciate the mostly respectful behavior that I witnessed from students, faculty, staff, and our striking colleagues. While there were a small number of reports of disruptive noise and other distractions, we were able to address those issues quickly.

We remain committed to reaching agreement with the GTFF, look forward to continuing mediation Thursday, and will continue meeting the needs of students tomorrow and beyond. Thank you for being part of this community.


Scott Coltrane
Interim President

– Rumor from the picket lines is that, under pressure from Kitzhaber, Coltrane has agreed to restart negotiations with our $14K a year GTF’s on Thursday. Meanwhile life goes on inside the Johnson Hall bunker, as our $540K interim president, $360K interim provost, and a dwindling group of quislings enjoy a festive Tuesday afternoon of polka music, champagne and hors d’oeuvres:

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 6.49.44 PM

– “Around the 0” posts the admin spin on the bargaining breakdown. From Greg Bolt, their most (only?) trustworthy PR guy, with links to the language the GTFF rejected, here. Presumably the GTFF will have a response soon, but I’m guessing the sticking point is that this language means grad students won’t be able to grieve a denial.

– Today’s Chronicle of Higher Ed report blames strike on UO administration’s refusal to put sick leave promises in contract. Also brings up the UO Senate condemnation of the secret Blandy/Altmann plan to persuade faculty to dilute and degrade academic standards to break strike, here.

– Who is to blame for strike? Judge for yourself: An English department GTF has sent me a secret recording of Monday’s final mediation session, showing Coltrane presenting his last offer, and the GTFF president and bargaining team reaction. Video here.

– Francesca Fontana has a report in the Emerald on bargaining breakdown, here.

– Cafe Roma is the place to get coffee and the latest news about where the picket lines are.

– UPS drivers won’t cross picket lines, so packages are being dropped off at an off-campus location where UO staff must pick them up.

– Striking GTFs are trampling o’er the sidewalks where the $30,000 CAS “Stencils of Excellence” are power-washed:

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 9.25.13 AM

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151 Responses to Lillis calls Coltrane back for 3-day loss. Is “X” grade flip-flop about football players eligibility?

  1. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    A sad day for UO. Great damage being done over little. I don’t know the budgetary numbers well enough, but this is a failure on all sides, imho.

    The GTF’s are going to hurt themselves badly, I predict. Not only the loss of pay, but undermining relations with the faculty they will need as mentors and supporters of their careers. The faculty will be hurt in many ways too. UO as institution, too — this is not going to help recruiting of better and/or higher paying students.

    A friend of mine in Corvallis once asked me if UO has a death wish. I’ve thought about that many times over the years.

    • Jack Straw Man says:

      If you don’t know the budgetary numbers well enough, how do you know the GTFs are at fault? Instead of assuming they’re the ones undermining relations with faculty, why don’t you read up on the budgetary numbers (UOMatters has discussed them exhaustively)? You start by saying “this is a failure on all sides,” but then you say the GTFs are going to “hurt themselves” – as if the administration isn’t even a part of this.

      Might want to rethink your nym.

    • different anonymous says:

      Explain to me why you think this is the GTFF’s fault and not the administration’s.

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      I thought I had said pretty clearly a “failure on all sides.” First sentence.

      Then in paragraph 2 I said all sides will be hurt. The faculty I put in the passive voice because they are not a party to the dispute — it’s the GTFF union and the administration, together.

      Paragraph 3 stands.

      • Jack Straw Man says:

        Yes, you said “failure on all sides” in your first sentence. Your topic sentence, if you will. But then the body of your miniessay talks about how the GTFs are going to hurt themselves through losing money and faculty trust. Then you continue by asserting that the faculty, too, will be hurt. By whom? Since you’ve left the admin out of this, we can only assume you mean by the GTFs. Finally you say the UO as an institution will be damaged. Again, the implication is that it’s the GTFs who are doing the damaging.

        Maybe you *meant* to argue that both sides are at fault. But what you *actually* argued was that the GTFs are at fault.

        You know, many of us here grade papers for a living. We know how to match up an argument with a thesis statement.

    • charlie says:

      How insightful, it’s the GTF’s fault. Not the administrators, who have overseen a massive increase in worthless capital debt, a collapse in academic quality, so much so that U of Owe being kicked out of AAU is almost a done deal. Not the destruction of any accountability and transparency. Nope, it’s those pesky, short sighted GTF’s, who do much of the heavy academic lifting.

      Tell you what, why don’t you encourage the admins to go on strike, and see how well U of Owe would do if GTF’s and faculty took over their duties? We might get to see who is really needed and who is worthless….

      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        charlie, you should read my post right above yours and several hours earlier, find out what I actually said.

        Tell you what. Since you need to have a union to call a strike, you get Johnson Hall to unionize, and then I’ll encourage my acquaintances there to strike!

        • Clueless says:

          Bernie, here’s where you missed the boat:

          “Great damage being done over little.”

          It’s not over “little”. There is a great deal at stake for both sides. If there wasn’t, we’d have an agreement already.

          Ask your acquaintances in JH why they won’t put their offer in the CBA and make it legally binding? After the way they have handled this, would you trust that?

    • Old Grey Mare says:

      That’s interesting. My experience so far has been that this has undermined the relationship of the faculty and the upper administration, not the faculty and the GTFs.

      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        My guess is relations between all pairs from among the three groups will be damaged. Actually, there are at least 4 groups — the undergraduates are another big factor.

        I mentioned the GTF – faculty relation because the damage to that one is the one that is going to hurt the GTFs the most.

        • uomatters says:

          Call me a naif, but I haven’t seen any sign that faculty are upset at grad students for striking (or not), much less any sign that they would retaliate against them for their decisions. And I’m in a department where the grad students and the faculty swing both ways. The central administration, on the other hand, well, just read their public emails and imagine what’s in their private ones.

          • Old Grey Mare says:

            Yes, I agree, and I repeat: I know of no faculty who are upset at the GTFs.

          • Texas Guy says:

            Yes, I am a faculty member also and no faculty members I know are upset with the graduate students. We support the GTFF.

          • Jack Straw Man says:

            This. I know of more than one faculty member who was hostile or lukewarm about the faculty union but has become a strong supporter of this strike because she’s incensed at how the administration is treating the GTFF. Uncle Bernie may decide to trust his grad students less because of this, but I think most of us feel quite the opposite.

            • uomatters says:

              I don’t see anything in Uncle Bernie’s comments that would suggest that he does not trust his grad students, and I welcome his honest opinions, which we all benefit from hearing.

          • Jack Straw Man says:

            Maybe. But I don’t know of any other faculty member who thinks the GTF strike is “undermining relations with the faculty they will need as mentors and supporters of their careers.” That seems to be describing a loss of trust, and since other don’t seem to be feeling this, I could only assume Uncle Bernie was speaking for himself.

          • Anonymous says:

            Faculty, you aren’t the only ones. We all support the GTFs. Students, staff, the community. Even Mayor Piercy came to lend the GTFs her support. Organizations like UPS and Sanipac are refusing to do business on campus during the strike. Aside from a couple of individuals in Johnson Hall, is there really anyone who doesn’t support our GTFF?

          • Anonymous says:

            I’ve talked to plenty of faculty that are not at all positive about this strike. I’ve also found that they’re more likely to keep their opinions to themselves compared to the bullhorns outside.

          • Jack Straw Man says:

            “I’ve talked to plenty of faculty that are not at all positive about this strike. I’ve also found that they’re more likely to keep their opinions to themselves compared to the bullhorns outside.”

            Yes, because anti-union, anti-strike faculty have absolutely no voice, no allies, and no protection at this university.

            Except for the entire administrative power structure.

            Cry me a river.

          • John Fenn says:

            Jack Straw Man…are you faculty? some other element? Because this:
            “Yes, because anti-union, anti-strike faculty have absolutely no voice, no allies, and no protection at this university.

            Except for the entire administrative power structure.

            Cry me a river.”

            is all about a weird sort of prevarication—especially when you hide behind a nom de web. I’ve gotta say that as a member of the UA, I’m not entirely confident they speak for me on this issue. Furthermore, I feel it’s important to note I’m not “upset’ with GTFs (not all graduate students, by the way) for striking…it’s their right. Just noting that “union” does not (under many circumstances) equal “unification” of perspective…

          • Jack Straw Man says:

            @ John Fenn:

            I’m not sure what “weird sort of prevarication” you mean. No, really, I’m confused.

            I was responding to the anonymous immediately above my comment. That anonymous seemed to be suggesting that faculty who are disturbed by the strike are refraining from saying anything because they don’t want to be shouted down by the bullhorns. (The faculty who are against the strike being so much more sensitive than the ones who are for it, I guess?)

            I was trying to point out (okay, with a little snark) that the faculty who don’t support the strike don’t have the same imperative to speak up as those who do, because those who don’t have very powerful forces on their side: the administration, the Board, etc. The anti-strike position is well voiced. We get emails defending it every day, from the administration.

            Maybe you feel your union doesn’t speak for you. Many of us feel our administration doesn’t speak for us.

            I don’t see where the prevarication comes in. And I don’t think see what a pseudonym has to do with it.

            I am faculty. I use a fake name on the web because it’s the web.

  2. anonymous says:

    “$52,000 year to cover 1500 GTF. Our team has been describing it as a ridiculously reasonable proposal,” said Cooper.
    But UO administration doesn’t see it that way.

    *That is about $34.66 per person/per year.
    * That’s chump change for the athletics department.

  3. The Truth says:

    How much net money would the university be out (if any) if at the start of bargaining they’d agreed to everything the GTFF wanted, and not wasted a cent on their HGLR lawyers?

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. They did the same thing with the SEIU bargaining last year.

      • White Queen says:

        Are you getting the feeling the UO is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a couple of law firms and construction firms? Because that’s whose making the money. Leaving the really big athletics equipment company out of it for the moment.

    • Anonymous says:

      The original proposal a year ago was $4 million dollars. $1 million of that for vision and dental which the GTFF got through other means. The current proposal stands at around $1.5 million.

  4. anonymous says:

    Big props to UPS for their stand in supporting Unions. Deliver this!

  5. GTF Dad says:

    Hopefully this won’t mess up the Admin junket to this weekend’s football game

  6. Michael Smith says:

    I went to the picket lines this morning and was reminded of everything that’s great about the University, its passionate educators, and their commitment to justice. In a more just, sane world the Administration would be applauding the courage of the GTFs.

  7. Bill S. says:

    Very disturbing video. Insulting offer. Coltrane’s going to regret bringing up the sports angle. No wonder so much wasteful vengeance is flying around.

  8. Licensed in Oregon says:

    That video is powerful stuff – it would make a good play if written up properly – but the GTF’s should never have leaked it. Mediation session conversations are supposed to be confidential, and UO has an easy unfair labor practices complaint here – so easy even a carport easement lawyer can win it.

    • Francis B. says:

      Many a child yet unborn shall have cause to curse Coltrane’s refusal to put parental leave into the CBA.

  9. anon and on, and on.... says:

    Are striking GTFs supposed to attend the classes they are enrolled in or risk failing them by striking in the last couple weeks of the term?

    • UO Grad Student says:

      Yes, we should continue to do all of our student-specific activities. The strike pertains to employment.

    • Three-Toed Sloth says:

      As students, they attend classes. As employees, they strike. As employees, they deserve the benefit of two weeks paid leave for serious illness and/or maternity/paternity. As Dr. Scott Coltrane has taught us, paid sick-leave is good for everyone in the long run.

    • GTFatLarge says:

      Yes. The strike is only about labor. GTFs are continuing their own course work, which is why populations on the picket lines fluctuate so dramatically during the day.

    • Anonymous says:

      of course they can do their research and finish their classes. IF they were affected then they would be more willing to work this out. They are students and they seem to forget that not qualified to be instructors check out all the complaints about the GTFF’s. Tried to tell their students they were doing this for the students…YEAH right. They want to be compared to other workers. well when others go on strike they are blocked from coming on company land. (hmmmm…)

      • uomatters says:

        “Company Land”? It’s a public university, if we can keep it.

      • anon student says:

        “they seem to forget that not qualified to be instructors”

        How do the GTFs forget that? They’re not the ones hiring graduate students to do a huge portion of the teaching on campus – if you want to blame someone for that, you should talk to the administration. The GTFs simply took jobs that were offered to them and are doing their best to do those jobs (I’ve yet to have a GTF I’d complain about, but tbf I’ve only been here a couple years).

        I don’t see how any of this pertains to the fact that as workers at this institution, they deserve the living wage and meager benefits they’re asking for, and that the administration has stated it is capable of providing.

  10. merp says:

    For sure you should keep attending classes; strike is only in your capacity as an employee.

  11. GTFatLarge says:

    If the Fund is for all graduate students, why is the size of the fund tied to pay for GTFs? Is the Administration asking GTFs to subsidize leave for other GTFs?

    • anon says:

      I appreciate all your comments and use of a consistent pseudonym, but I just have to mention that whenever I see your name, I think “Let’s see what FatLarge has to say”.

  12. soo says:

    OUS was shown the door in July

    The first contract with the new lords results in the first strike for the GTFF in almost 40 years.

    It may be that this is not so much about the GTFF as the new lords and the Governor telling labor (SEIU and UAUO) to get ready bend over and take prepare to take it without any lube.

    Ducks will play in the Pac 10 title game and perhaps the inaugural Bowl of Ducks Playoff for their first national championship

    I guess this is what the Governor meant by changing higher education.

    Win the Day, Win the Year, just Win. GO DUCKS!

    • another gtf says:

      I get your point, but next time could you please try to make it without the rape metaphor?

  13. different anonymous says:

    Let them eat polka? Is that for real, or is it photoshopped? What idiot would book a brass band in the lobby of Johnson Hall?

    • grad student says:

      That brass band is composed of music students and as far as I know, they perform something similar to this every year.

      • different anonymus says:

        I didn’t mean to offend anyone–I’m sure it’s a fine band, but in a shoebox echo chamber like Johnson?

        • grad student says:

          Pretty sure they didn’t decide the venue. If someone from JH calls up a music professor and says ‘can you bring an ensemble over to play for this?’, do you think that professor is going to say no?

  14. different anonymous says:

    Oh man, I just read the update with Coltrane’s quote. I’m almost starting to feel bad for the guy.

    • Old Grey Mare says:

      It would be no dishonor to be fired by this board.

      • Anonymous says:

        More president firings + more strikes = more uom hits + more fun for Union bosses + continued spiral down the toilet

  15. loyal Mongol says:

    Grad students should take a page from the Animal House playbook (“don’t get angry, get even”) and sabotage the national championship victory parade.

    • UO Grad Student says:

      It troubles me that this has been upvoted more than downvoted. I hope it’s tongue-in-cheek and I’m missing the tone over the internet. Sabotage/destruction will not further the GTF’s cause or reputation and I personally don’t think it’s funny to even jokingly suggest it. And I sure hope nothing happens, should we win a national title, that could come back and haunt us for comments like this.

  16. non name says:

    The post mortem on this one is going to be brutal.
    Can you just imagine the cat calls when admins, with families in tow, head off to the Pac 12 game in a couple days without having negotiated in good faith and solved this last detail? Coltrane’s quotes are utterly pathetic.

  17. Margaret Sanger says:

    Dr. Coltrane is perturbed about a plethora of fecund PhD students? That’s hysterical.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The current title seems more than a bit disingenuous. As I read it, the piece in the Register Guard makes no mention of Phil Knight at all. As such, I fail to see how “that’s the takeaway”.

    In the interest of accuracy, uomatters, you might want to change this title.

    • Jack Straw Man says:

      I agree. I’m a big fan of UOMatters, and I’m moooooore than prepared to see Phil Knight as the villain in all of this. But I didn’t see that in the RG article, so I think the UOMatters title is misleading.

  19. anonymous says:

    The photo of the soiree w festive Tuesday afternoon polka music, champagne and hors d’oeuvres, reminds me of the Titanic. The U of O Aristocracy is alive & well. (Clink of Champagne glasses). No wonder they locked the doors to Johnson Hall as the strikers rallied there @ 5pm…. They did not want the riff raff striking GTFF’s breaking up the party! Just not enough champagne to go around, for everyone.

  20. Clueless says:

    This quote is just sad:

    “What if we get into the program and find out twice as many people were having babies and $1,500 was not enough or those kind of things?” Coltrane said. “We want to be able to adjust those amounts to meet the needs of the students, and we can’t do that if it’s written into the collective bargaining agreement.”

    That’s some twisted logic. Here’s a thought President Coltrane – I’m going to guess that the GTFF wouldn’t have any problem with you adjusting the fund upward to account for all these people having babies and needing more than $1500.

  21. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    for the “record” here — I have no grad student who is a participant in the strike. I do not have a TA in any of my teaching this quarter. I am absolutely unaffected by the strike unless I choose, as many faculty in my department have volunteered to do, to fill in for striking TA’s. But, in my department, the VAST majority of graduate students are coming to work. They do not want to lose pay or disrupt the classes they teach. Quite a few TA’s are incensed at the union, in fact. Moreover, I know quite a few faculty, inside and outside my department, who are not amused that this strike is happening right before finals. They blame both sides. But it was the union that made the decision to strike, and determined the timing, as far as we can see. We see the graduate students as hurting themselves far more than any gains they are likely to get out of this. Lost pay, for starters, which they badly need.

    I’m pretty neutral on how good or bad a deal, overall, the TA’s have been offered (and rejected). But I see lots of damage all around that seems far greater than anything that is going to be gained or lost as a result of this strike.

    • UO Grad Student says:

      The strike vote last spring was largely symbolic, since we needed membership to vote on it this fall once new grads arrived. We also needed time for new grads to be brought up to speed on the issues at hand so they could make an educated vote on the matter. Once the vote happened there was the mandatory 30 day cooling off period. And here we are, week 10. I’m not sure that the strike falling during this time is fairly characterized as planned timing so much as simply the logistics of following legal procedure to declare a strike.

      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        well, the pickets I walked past this morning were certainly proclaiming that they were disrupting classes and labs in week 10. We all know finals are coming up. Maybe it’s just bad luck that the strike had to be with finals looming. The SEIU managed to do it early in the term back in 1995 or so.

    • Jack Straw Man says:

      Nothing personal here, Uncle Bernie (how could it be, since I don’t know you?). But there are some statements here that need to be highlighted and called out, because they’re representative of the kind of reflexive pro-authority, pro-capital, pro-administration thinking that we’re up against.

      “They blame both sides. But it was the union that made the decision to strike, and determined the timing, as far as we can see.”

      Again with this both-sides-are-at-fault-but-I’m-only-going-to-criticize-one-side business. Review the history of these negotiations. One side gave ground again and again on its position, while the other side remained intransigent and even uncooperative at every turn. The union threatened a strike because that’s its only recourse. The admins have known this was coming for months, not days or weeks. And it’s they who have refused any meaningful compromise. This last deal for a hardship fund was something the admins proposed, but by refusing to put it in writing *they* torpedoed it. The GTFF didn’t “reject” a deal – there was never a deal on the table. If it’s not in writing it’s not a deal.

      As for the timing, this is the perfect time, if what you care about is getting this damn thing settled. It would certainly be much more *convenient* for everybody if the strike happened much earlier in the term. Better yet, how about summer or winter break? That way we could all ignore it. The point of a strike is to remind all of us how important this labor is. Some of us then realize that this labor should be adequately compensated. Others of us, I guess, blame the laborers.

      “We see the graduate students as hurting themselves far more than any gains they are likely to get out of this.”

      Well, that’s for them to decide, isn’t it? To a faculty member, the amount of money and flexibility at stake here probably does seem small. But it doesn’t to a GTF. I’ve lived under those circumstances recently enough to remember how gut-wrenching it was to contemplate my financial state, and I had a better deal than the GTFs here do. I can really only imagine what they’re going through. But I know they didn’t make the decision to strike lightly, over something that seems small to them.

      It does seem that there are wildly different attitudes toward labor issues, unions, and this strike among the various departments. I can’t argue that the other members of your department, and your grad students, don’t feel the way you say they do. And I’ll admit that if there are other departments out there where the faculty and grad students feel the way yours does, then my perception of more or less universal faculty support of this strike may not be accurate. That’s depressing.

      I do think a couple of questions about your department are warranted, based on the information you’ve given. Have you and fellow faculty members in your department acted and spoken in such a way as to let your GTFs know how anti-union you are? If “many faculty” have “volunteered” to do the work of striking GTFs, that would certainly create an anti-union atmosphere. (I know of many cases where faculty are not particularly pro-union but have been reluctant at best to step in and do the work of striking GTFs. It doesn’t sound like that’s the case in your department.)

      And no doubt your GTFs have picked up on this. And they’re not dumb, and they know who they depend on for everything from grades to mentoring to letters of recommendation to, yes, jobs while in grad school. They understand the power differential. On top of that, you seem to have a lot of information on who’s participating in the strike and who’s not, and for what reasons, considering that we were legally obligated not ask individual GTFs if they were going on strike, and that you don’t have any GTFs this term yourself.

      In other words, how sure are you that the grad students in your department really don’t support the union? How sure are you that they’re not just telling you what you want to hear, and working against their own interests because that’s what their bosses expect?

  22. Anonymous questioner says:

    Why have I seen this idea that GTFs are not paid a living wage? That is ridiculous. If that is true then many of the SEIU folks are also in the same boat. But the reality is most GTFs are paid substantially more than SEIU employees in ranges 19 and below. GTFs in our unit also get 4 PAID WEEKS OFF. They are off the hook this year from December 13 – January 4th and during spring break. That is one month off during a 9 month contract…pretty sweet deal. And they also get health insurance as part time employees working less than .50….that’s great but no other employee groups are eligible for health insurance benefits if they work less than .50. Then they get their tuition paid…..on top of all of that. And they are being offered a very nice COLA that hasn’t been seen for most other employees on campus in quite some time….hard to support the whining. Also people – you make life choices that your employer is not responsible for.

    • Jack London says:

      Dear anonymous questioner, the reason you’ve seen this idea that GTFs are not paid a living wage is because it’s true — *even according to the administration’s own calculations.* Try educating yourself a bit before asking snarky, uninformed rhetorical questions.

      • anon says:

        I think people are using wage differently. Paid per hour as half-time workers, GTFs are paid OK. But the sum total of wages is low because they are at most half time. So for some SEIU members and many workers in the private sector, they may see someone getting a higher pay per hour plus benefits plus tuition, where others can see that GTFs are prevented from working full-time and yet expected to live on what they are allowed to get.

    • Jack Straw Man says:

      “If that is true then many of the SEIU folks are also in the same boat.”


      This is the way it is in race-to-the-bottom America. Almost all workers are exploited. But we’re all so used to it that when we see one group of workers whose situation has been made better through collective action, or who are trying to make it better, we say they’re whining and don’t deserve more than us. When what we should be thinking is, we deserve a better deal too.

      Solidarity, folks. The GTFF deserves a better deal. So does the SEIU. So does UAUO, when the time comes. The idea that there’s any conflict between those groups comes from an administration that would rather see those groups fight with each other than give any of them a better deal.

      • another gtf says:

        It’s not a one-or-the-other situation, and it’s ridiculous to claim that it is. If SEIU went to fight for better wages or benefits, I’d be right there behind them.

    • grad student says:

      I assure you, there are GTFs whose duties require them to work over the December break.

      • GTF Since '09 says:

        Also, we’re paid a per-term rate that is spread evenly across a 9 month contract (if one has a year-long GTF appointment; obviously this varies, but pay-schedule also affects single-term appointments). We receive 10 paychecks–the first and last of the academic year are for 1/2 month’s pay (Sept. 15-30 & June 1-15). So yes, this results in “getting paid” while not working, but it’s for work we’ve likely already performed. This is *not* paid vacation.

        As an instructor of record, I regularly work more than the 19.5 hours/week my appointment requires. Furthermore, I put a lot of thought and time into my course design even when it’s not a new prep. This means additional hours between terms. To be clear, my supervisor doesn’t require me to work more; this is not a complaint. Rather, it’s to clarify that there are a few reasons why “getting paid” between breaks does not amount to paid vacation or PTO.

  23. Anonymous questioner says:

    Dear Jack,

    So inform me. What do you and the administration consider a living wage?

    • Anonymous says:

      Huh? It’s posted by UO administration on the UO website. Both sides agree the amount on the table doesn’t cover their own estimated expenses to live and work here. A living wage is the amount to cover that cost.

  24. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    I was naturally intrigued by the headline and so went to the RG story linked in the article. Absolutely no mention of Phil Knight there! Furthermore, Coltrane clear states that the board is “governing” not “managing” and he is making only occasional calls to Lillis. Though he also notes that the Board fires presidents. Duh, as if that needs reminding after events of recent years. (And aren’t we all glad that they fired Mike?)

    But Phil Knight the decider decoded from that RG article? Only in a parallel universe.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’ve never met Chuck Lillis, have you?

      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        No, actually, I haven’t.

        Is he a toady of Phil Knight? Should the Governor have appointed someone else? Are you already pining for the old OUS arrangement?

        Should Scott Coltrane not be talking the the head of the UO Board about this labor dispute and strike? Should the Board not be asking?

        • uomatters says:

          Thanks Uncle Bernie, from this point on I’m deleting additional comments on this particular sub-thread unless they add more substance.

  25. A2 says:

    Do Lillis and the other trustees have to pay to use the skybox? And if they do, does athletics get that money too?

  26. Clueless says:

    The email to students reveals, again, the admin’s failure to develop an actual “academic continuity” plan.

    “no formal instruction” – will there be informal instruction?

    “keep up with the syllabus to the best of your ability” – what does that even mean?

    “read the book on your own” – as opposed to not reading it on their own?

    But have no fear…finals will be taken and grades will be submitted.

  27. uomatters says:

    I think the trustees can’t accept gifts from the university, but they could always claim this was part of an “inspection visit”.

  28. Leporello says:

    Despite being notoriously cheap, I donated $50 to the strike fund. I hope these GTF’s win and I’ve been disgusted by Coltrane and his administrative college of flunkies.

  29. Just Asking says:

    Is it true that GTF appointments are not allowed to exceed .49 FTE? If the answer is “yes,” perhaps this is to prevent GTFF from arguing that they should have the same sick leave benefits as other UO employees who are at least .5 FTE? Because I’m hearing that the reason the admin cannot financially afford to grant the current request is that UO would then have to extend the same benefits to other part-time (i.e. less than .5 FTE) employees such as adjuncts. Really?

    • GTF Since '09 says:

      Yes, it is true that GTF positions cannot exceed .49 FTE. The purpose is not, at least originally, to deny such benefits. The rationale behind the limit is that GTFs are “students first,” so on an FTE scale, our scholarship, coursework, and professionalization are, at minimum, .51 FTE.

      In an ideal world, the .49 cap is a way to ensure grad student workers aren’t pressured or coerced into working over their hours, which could cut into time they should devote to research, coursework, writing, service, conference presentations, etc. If a GTF is being expected to work more, they can file a grievance with the union. So mostly, the cap offers us protection, since often our supervisors are also our professors and advisors (obvious power imbalance). This intertwines our GTF work, our professional development, and our progress as degree-seekers in complicated ways.

      But fancy for the admin, huh, how all that seems to work in favor of its stance on paid medical & parental leave?

      • anon and on, and on.... says:

        GTFs can be appointed over .49 FTE at U of zer0. This can be done with special permission and filing papers with some idiot administrators.

        .49 FTE helps increase time to degree and keeps people in the system long enough to need benefits.

        It seems that this strike may be highlighting the class divisions that exist between GTFs across Departments at U of zer0.

    • Anonymous says:

      As pointed out above, the reason GTF appointments are held to 0.49 is because they are students first. I’m sure all the undergraduate students working part time jobs would like to demand a living wage and benefits for their part time work, but of course that seems silly.

      • GTF Since '09 says:

        Why does it seem silly? Fast food workers across the country are walking out for $15/hour minimum wage. Wal-Mart workers are organizing. Have you been paying attention? I’d like this world a whole lot more if everyone’s basic needs were met, and there’s really no *good* reason they can’t be.

        Aside from that, to say a .49 GTF is the same as any undergrad’s part time job reveals a total misunderstanding of the positions that GTFs occupy on this campus as student-researcher-teachers. The non-GTF-related labor I’ve performed for my department, program, and campus in 5 1/2 years is impossible to put a $ value on. A GTF isn’t just a job like the one I had in a coffee shop for 2.5 years while working through my MA. And all the GTF positions I’ve held have been far more challenging and demanding than the career I pursued in marketing before returning to finish my BS. GTFs are professionals who perform highly-skilled labor.

        Instead of thinking of us as “students,” maybe those who don’t know what it’s like to be a GTF could try thinking of us as entry-level workers in an industry that reimburses your tuition continuing education (of which there are plenty). After all, our students seem to think we should be in our offices 9-5 and available to help them, or that we’ll not just read but also reply to their 1AM crisis emails before tomorrow’s 10AM paper deadline. In my discipline, my work as a GTF combines with my work as a graduate “student” to result in 60+ hours of dedicated labor most weeks. Thanksgiving was the first full day I’d taken off in over 2 months. Every one of those 60+ hours results in positive contributions to this university and its academic reputation. I legitimately care about my students and how this strike is affecting the end of their term. And I really hope I get to read, view, and listen to their final projects. But “academic integrity” means a lot more than disruptions to one term.

        Lastly, please do not use misguided analogies to audit others’ experiences and imply their struggles aren’t real. Our concerns are valid, and we deserve the protections for which we strike. And we support benefits for all workers.

        • anon says:

          Many grad students do seem legitimately confused, though, about separating their studies from their paid work. Like you, they talk about how they “labor” 60 hours a week, and then in the same breath mention a yearly wage of $16,000 or $22,000 and then claim they make $5 an hour. Undergrads don’t work a side job and then calculate their hourly wage by taking their total wages and dividing by hours worked plus hours spent studying!

          If GTFs are working far longer than the contract calls for, that is a problem that should be resolved. And yes, your work as a researcher has value, although not value that can be easily monetized. But don’t mix your hours spent on dissertation research that you do to attain a degree for yourself with employment, because it isn’t.

          • different anonymous says:

            They’re not confused at all–that’s exactly the point. Quite unlike the situation with undergrads, for grad students their studies are part of their jobs and their jobs are part of their studies. A somewhat arbitrary line is drawn so that using them as cheap labor doesn’t get out of hand, but grad students make a full-time commitment to the university, since their jobs and their studies both contribute to the university’s productivity. And they should be compensated accordingly.

          • anon says:

            different, it sounds like you think grad students should be paid for teaching, and then also be paid for being students. Their studies primarily benefit themselves, and if they really think anyone, anyone at all, is going to pay them to take classes and write dissertations, then they should announce to the world that they are willing to be hired for that, or go on strike and refuse to do the part of being a graduate student that makes them a student, and see if anyone cares at all.

            Right now, GTFs get recognition for their studies with tuition waivers. The arbitrary line is where people are actually willing to pay someone for that work, and I don’t see it changing.

          • different anonymous says:

            It’s unfortunate that “grad students” and “undergrad students” both rhyme with “students,” because that’s the source of this kind of confused rhetoric. Let’s call grad students “interns” while I make my point.

            Imagine you have a college degree, and now you want to break into a difficult career that requires a 60-hour-a-week, five- to seven-year internship. Furthermore, if you make it through this internship, this career has employment prospects ranging from mediocre to horrible. Even if you land a “good” job, it doesn’t pay a whole lot more than you would get right now with your bachelor’s degree. You can also be fired from your internship at any time, for any reason, or for no reason.

            It’s true you’ll be learning a lot during this internship, but you’ll also be contributing a lot of value to the company. Because you have to work 60 hours a week, there’s no way you can get another job to pay the bills for the five to seven years you’re doing this internship. The company hires a huge number of interns and relies heavily on them–in fact, they do a big fraction of the work and the company couldn’t operate properly without them.

            Are you really going to tell me that the company doesn’t owe you enough money to live on with minimal benefits just because the company calls itself a “school,” calls your on-the-job training “tuition,” and calls you a “student”? Do you think for a second that paying a 60-hour-a-week intern $14,000/year for seven years wouldn’t be called out as the most appalling exploitation imaginable in any other context but this one?

          • anon says:

            diff, why do companies offer paid internships? Because they hope to fill internal positions from the pool of interns, and paying interns for a brief period is an efficient way to do that. The university pays GTFs for their teaching because that provides value as well.

            To be clear, I agree with the posts here that say GTFs should get a living wage at half time, because that is all they can work. But GTFs should realize that only they value their own dissertation work as much they do, so they should stop pretending that their 60 hour weeks are what they are being compensated for. It isn’t. You seem totally in denial that you are a student at all. Try offering to do just your class work for your compensation and see if that gets you anywhere… if it doesn’t it isn’t because you are being exploited, it is because you are asking to be paid to do something that mostly benefits you.

          • Jack Straw Man says:

            Anon writes: “Try offering to do just your class work for your compensation and see if that gets you anywhere… if it doesn’t it isn’t because you are being exploited, it is because you are asking to be paid to do something that mostly benefits you.”

            But turn that around. Try offering to do just your teaching, ignoring your dissertation research, and see if that gets you anywhere. The fact is that you have to be engaged in study to be allowed to work as a GTF. That’s the bind a GTF is in. You can’t work full time because then you couldn’t study and then, paradoxically, you wouldn’t be allowed to work at all (at this job). And it may sound harsh, but I think it’s accurate to say that universities (certainly UO isn’t the only one) exploit this situation.

            Plus, let’s be realistic. Departments are under pressure to take in grad students and turn out advanced-degree-holders. Large grad programs with students making steady progress increase the university’s rankings. Job prospects in academics suck, and yet we keep recruiting grad students, and not just because we need the cheap classroom labor. We do it because it makes us look good. Let’s not pretend, then, that grad student research only benefits the grad student.

          • different anonymous says:

            The intern analogy does break down somewhat because grad students are actually training to enter “the field” rather than any particular institution. But you are mistaken about dissertation work, and even about graduate coursework. Both benefit professors and overall research productivity of the university in a way that undergraduate work almost never does.

            European schools get this right: they hire PhD students outright as PhD students, and they call it a job with a government-determined pay grade. It’s the bifurcation of work and study that’s artificial, and it’s the result of the unfortunate history of higher education– and legal decisions about higher education–in the U.S.

            You’ve actually put your finger on what I believe the dispute between the GTFF and the administration is about at its core. You probably know that mediation has stalled because UO won’t put the details of the hardship fund into the CBA. Why would they do such a stupid-ass thing and drag the strike out? I think it’s because they don’t want the union getting involved if a non-union grad student has a claim denied. This is problematic for the university for purely symbolic but highly significant reasons.

            If the GTFF starts representing non-unionized grad students, even over a medical hardship fund, it’s an incursion into the sovereignty of the university with respect to academic matters, which to them includes all decisions involving non-unionized students. If you read the CBA, you will see there is a veritable Berlin Wall between “employment matters,” which is the purview of the union, and “academic matters,” which the university controls. This division also exists in US laws–it’s nearly impossible to challenge an academic decision in court.

            It would be great if the GTFF could do something fight the routine abuses of academic discretion in graduate programs, but they’re not allowed to. The university will never ever give up one iota of control about academic matters to the GTFF, even if it means putting everyone else through a strike. My guess is that they see writing a student-based hardship fund into the CBA as the thin end of the wedge. I can’t imagine why else they won’t just sign the damn contract.

      • different anonymous says:

        I wish there were a button that could give an automated response to everyone who thinks that “students first” is somehow a justification for shafting GTFs.

        Grad students ≠ undergrad students. Period. Any comparison between them is idiotic and irrelevant. I’ll just mention the well-established fact that undergrads spend about 12 hours/week studying outside of class, but grad students spend more. Much much much more.

        • Anonymous says:

          Both of these posts show how the entitlement culture that we live in is justified. You work really hard??? Guess what? I worked hard in my part time job to put myself through school too, and I didn’t expect a living wage and benefits for only working part time. It’s “idiotic and ridiculous” to compare undergraduate and graduate students simply because graduate students study more???? Please.

          • Anonymous says:

            Did you have to walk 15 miles in the snow uphill both ways every day too?

          • charlie says:

            Yup, you’re right about entitlement. Tell me, do you believe that a failed U of Owe pres was entitled to nearly a million to get lost? Do you believe that that admins are entitled to lie and obfuscate public data regarding how they use university resources? Do you believe that admins are entitled to draw checks from the university coffers to pay a street agent by the name of Willie Lyles at least $25k for scouting reports on dead hs school recruits? I could go on, but I’m guessing you get the point.

            Seems as if you have a blinkered idea of who is entitled and who isn’t….

          • GTF Since '09 says:

            Undergrads work really hard, too. I don’t accept that our interests are at odds, or that support graduate workers needs to come at the expense of undergraduates through rises in tuition when our administrators continue to pad their own paychecks and enjoy luxury perks.

            I am entitled to benefits. I’m a working adult. This is the first step in my career. Do you agree that I am a person? Do you think I should go further into debt because my wages aren’t rising to reflect increases in cost of living? Do you think GTFs who make less than $500/month have very many choices about how they live? Do you want everyone in your campus community to have a basic level of security?

            And to say that graduate students work harder on their studies than undergrads do is not to say that grad students are better or deserve more. Rather, our priorities and positions are different, and to compare our student status is just inappropriate. Further, my life is far from cushy. I can be thankful to be in grad school, love my job and my research, *and* believe that as workers for this university, GTFs are entitled to a hell of a lot more than they’re asking for. Stipends are standard, and in my discipline, grad workers at Oregon do a lot more and have far fewer opportunities to secure terms free from teaching to focus on research than other comparable programs.

            We are not attracting the best and the brightest grad students to UO. We are losing people who would love to come study here because our institution is not offering them funding packages that come close to what they can get (for lighter teaching loads) elsewhere.

          • merp says:

            I don’t understand; if you did not receive a living wage, how did you live? Loans, savings, or generous benefactors? Or some other means? (Note that “living wage” changes with time, as

            My understanding is that undergraduates take out loans, receive scholarships, or pay out-of-pocket.For graduate students, scholarships are rare (and typically short-lived) and federal loan programs are less readily available.

            Maybe you thus believe that graduate students should take on additional part-time jobs; certainly some graduate students do this. My only argument against this is, with what time? If we were to restrict ourselves to students that could fulfill teaching, study and research obligations and still have time to work a part-time job, our school will suffer from the loss of researchers, teachers, etc.

            The contrast between undergraduate and graduate work is OK, I think. Undergraduate courses cover “basic” material, generally: material that every skilled worker in the field must learn. (The term “common core” may be apt.) Knowledge at the undergraduate level is not so rare.

            Graduate courses are more specialized; the line between study and research gets very hazy as you move past the common knowledge of experts in the field (i.e. department faculty) and move towards experts in the topic (i.e. leading researchers on your research subject). At this point, the (graduate) student becomes a (more) valuable contribution to the research mission of the university.

            A junior researcher must still be trained, whether at a company (where they may be making 5x what the top-tier GTFs are paid) or at a university.

          • anon says:

            You’re getting the down votes, but it does seem strange to highlight more studying as a fundamental difference between grad and undergrad students.

            To me, on the scholarly level, undergrads are learning while grad students are becoming the world expert in their very narrow specialty. As employees, undergrads do often work a side job while GTF positions are much more intertwined with their scholarly work as students. And as others have noted, GTFs are working as highly-credentialed professionals while undergrads may or may not. So there are differences.

            More importantly, GTFs cannot choose to work more than part-time and get benefits or work less and not get benefits. They are only allowed to be part time. Because of this, I think it is justified to offer benefits.

          • Jack Straw Man says:

            This is just a poisonous attitude. Everybody who works is entitled to a living wage! Why is that so hard for people to wrap their minds around? Somehow we’ve got workers in this country internalizing the idea that they’re worthless, that they should be grateful for any little crumb an employer throws them, and that anybody who demands a fair deal is whining.

            It sounds like you got exploited in your part time job, Anonymous. That sucks. I wish you hadn’t been exploited. But the answer is to try to make sure fewer people are exploited. Not to make sure that everybody’s exploited.

          • anon says:

            Jack Straw, is everyone that works entitled to a living wage? If I decide to work 2 days a week, am I “entitled” to be paid equally with someone working 40 hours a week? It is pretty easy for me to say that there is a line where someone is not entitled to make a living wage.

            I think the better question is, since GTFs can only work part-time, shouldn’t they be paid enough to live on?

          • Jack Straw Man says:

            Anon writes: “Jack Straw, is everyone that works entitled to a living wage? If I decide to work 2 days a week, am I “entitled” to be paid equally with someone working 40 hours a week? It is pretty easy for me to say that there is a line where someone is not entitled to make a living wage.”

            I don’t think that’s how a living wage is usually thought of. See MIT’s living wage calculator:


            A living wage is “the hourly rate that an individual must earn to support their family, if they are the sole provider and are working full-time…” So saying that every worker deserves a living wage doesn’t mean that a part-time worker should receive the same total wages/salary as a full-time worker. It means that even if you’re working part-time, your hourly rate should be high enough that, if you were working full-time, you’d be able to live on what you earn.

            So no, I don’t agree that there’s a line where someone’s not entitled to make a living wage.

          • anon says:

            Jack straw, I was confused about the living wage, but now am even more confused about the idea that GTFs are not paid a living wage.

            The living wage in Eugene is $8.44, which for 2030 hours of full-time work (as per the site you linked) is $17,133. Many GTFs are paid more than this for 0.49 FTE work so are making more than twice the living wage. Are some GTFs paid less than $8,395 for 0.49 work? If so, I can see why they are striking. If not, then why the rhetoric about not being paid a living wage? Is it because they are the sole earner with kids in which case the living wage is higher?

          • Jack Straw Man says:

            Take the time to read all the comments here. Lots of people are addressing this. GTFs can’t work full-time, because they have to study. But they’re still adults, many of them with dependents, and all of them with bills to pay. Many of us feel that the work they do for the university is valuable enough that they should be paid enough to support themselves.

            How else do you propose they do it?

            BTW, the way the comments show up on this thread makes it a little difficult to figure out who’s responding to whom. When I wrote my comment saying “Everyone who works is entitled to a living wage” I was trying to respond to the anonymous commenter who wrote “I didn’t expect a living wage and benefits for only working part time.” I think all workers should expect a living wage, based on the definition I linked to.

            I’m not sure if I believe that everybody should be able to support themselves working part time. (I’m not sure they shouldn’t, either!)

            But I do think the GTFF makes a convincing case that the combination of study and work that is expected of GTFs leaves it impossible to work full time (not to mention they’re barred from it as a matter of policy). So we can either pay them enough to support themselves, or we can let them starve/work through illness/skip paying bills/drop out/however they resolve the impasse. That’s the choice.

          • confused says:

            Jack straw, let me thread the argument as I see it:
            Jack London: the reason you’ve seen this idea that GTFs are not paid a living wage is because it’s true
            Anonymous: A living wage is the amount to cover that cost [of living here]
            Jack Straw: Everybody who works is entitled to a living wage!
            anon: is everyone that works entitled to a living wage? If I decide to work 2 days a week, am I “entitled” to be paid equally with someone working 40 hours a week?
            Jack Straw: A living wage is “the hourly rate that an individual must earn to support their family, if they are the sole provider and are working full-time
            anon: Are some GTFs paid less than $8,395 for 0.49 work? If so, I can see why they are striking
            Jack Straw: GTFs can’t work full-time, because they have to study. But they’re still adults, many of them with dependents, and all of them with bills to pay. Many of us feel that the work they do for the university is valuable enough that they should be paid enough to support themselves.

            It seems that the GTFF is not asking for a living wage, at least how you defined it: enough to support yourself IF you are working full time. The GTFF is asking for a different concept… enough to support yourself if you are working half time.

  30. UO Alumnus says:

    So why isn’t the Alliance supporting the strike? I don’t mean sending their VP to a rally. I mean stopping work or other tactics.
    Will the Alliance expect the GTFF to support their quest for substantial faculty pay raises in 2015?

  31. Clueless says:

    Coltrane in Register Guard:

    “Interim UO President Scott Coltrane said Tuesday that a tuition increase is possible, depending on how negotiations turn out.

    “There’s a direct relationship between tuition and how much we pay in salary and benefits,” he said. “Although we would love to pay more and give more benefits, we basically spend all the money that we take in. If we give more at the bargaining table, we generally are faced with hard decisions about raising tuition.”

    This is utter bullshit. You don’t ever hear the administration say: “You know, we have to hire more strategic communicators and that might cause tuition to go up”, or “Everybody in JH needs a higher car allowance and that might cause tuition to go up”.

    Playing the tuition card only in this situation is simplistic nonsense served up for rhetorical purposes only. It should be beneath a President of an AAU University.

  32. Dr. Funkenstein says:

    You know, I think this garbage pickup refusal may just be the solution. Hopefully this will all end today.

  33. Klaus says:

    Can the administration and plutocrats running the show please get on with bolstering academics at the U of O once Mariota hoists the trophy and the Ducks win a championship? I am tired of reading UO Matters and getting pissed off.

    • Jack Straw Man says:

      No, because if the Ducks win a championship, the project will then be to Repeat. If they repeat, the project will be to Three-peat. If they fail at either one the quest becomes Getting Back To The Top. And winning a championship would only make it worse, because then we’d have to Ensure We Have Sports Facilities (Programs, Staff) Befitting A National Champion.

      Cold turkey. It’s the only way.

  34. Michael Smith says:

    In the RG piece Coltrane says tuition would likely go up to cover GTF benefits. The Administration’s strike-breaking tactics–trying to turn undergrads against GTFs, or non-unionized graduate students against GTFs, etc.–do incredible damage to a university community. This is why it’s important to keep pointing out that the benefit requested by the GTF equals about 10% of Coltrane’s salary. If tuition goes up, it will be because this administration has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting against a truly tiny expense. We all know that the benefit itself would not have any real effect on tuition.

    For Coltrane to argue that undergraduates would see a real difference in tuition is disingenuous and an example of the kind of failure of ethical discourse articulated in the letter signed by the Comp instructors.

    • UO Grad Student says:

      Not to mention that 16% of the entire fund requested by GTFs could be covered by Bronet’s car allowance (assuming a 12 month and not 9 month allowance).

      Also, for the $150,000 fund, each undergrad (24,548 according to wiki in 2013) would see a $6.11 tuition increase in dollar for dollar coverage. If students were saddled with paying for the zoning lawyer as well, that brings up the per student cost to $16.49.

      But to be totally honest, with a reported $11M surplus from tuition last year I think Coltrane’s comments are plainly dishonest and meant to foment unrest within the University community.

  35. Michael Smith says:

    In an alternate universe, Coltrane tells the RG the administration will stop spending $375,000/year on the Presidential Suite and 80 Club Seats for friends and donors at the football stadium. “There’s a direct relationship between tuition and how much we spend on viewing athletic contests from luxury suites,” said alternate universe Coltrane. “Although we would love to keep watching football games without getting wet, we basically spend all the money we take in. Plus, we could provide paid leave for our wonderful GTFs with the cost of a handful of those Club Level seats.”

    • anon says:

      Unfortunately, there is a inverse relationship between paying for suites and just shoveling more general fund monies to athletics. They are going to get theirs no matter what.

  36. GTF Dad says:

    Don’t forget about the $1.8MM for “free” tickets that goes directly to the student fees.

    Suites, football junkets, $600k+ Interim President salary, $350k+ Interim Provost salary, $1MM to make the last President go away, paying more for legal support than the cost of the entire package, etc etc. I have to hand it to him, to lay tuition increases at the hands of GTFs takes some serious stones.

  37. Anonymous 1 says:

    This issue is not a box in the football stadium that is always full and entertains big donors — academic and athletic.

    This is, the Admins gave themselves raises on July 1 — the same that the union faculty bargained for as far as I know. If they paid back those raises, there would be more than enough to cover this fund and many others. In fact, now that I think about, whatever the admin has budgeted for raises next year could probably cover just about everything if they don’t give themselves raises. Oh, right, they don’t do any budgeting until they see what the tuition hike will be.

  38. Some dude says:

    You are correct in the presumption that the “X” grade does not impact one’s GPA, and therefore is not treated as a non-passing grade in the GPA calculation

    However, an X grade is not “Proof of Participation” and would require the student to prove their participation in the class. If acceptable proof is not provided by the deadline, then it is possible that the student could lose some, or all, of their financial aid. For more information, please see:

    • Clueless says:

      Yes, Some Dude, and proof could easily be provided by faculty. This is a logistics problem for admin.

      • Some dude says:

        Actually, it is a logistics problem for the student, and possibly for the professor. The proof can include graded courswork with dates, or a written statement from the professor. The administration can not provide this proof, so it falls on the student to get it.

        If there isn’t any graded coursework from the end of the term, or at least none with a date on them, then they have to get letters from their professors for all X graded classes.

        • different anonymous says:

          The administration can certainly get the proof, and they can do it much more efficiently than the student, especially in circumstances like these. They’re choosing not to because, as usual, they’d rather push any accountability off onto someone else.

          • No grade until real grades are possible says:

            Proof can consist of an email from the instructor and an attached roster with a checked column that indicates all students who participated. Easier than entering false grades, then managing the reams of emails about ‘placeholder’ grades, and then entering grades again. X can work and is already designed for this problem. The admin simply dismisses it and promotes irrational fears because it does not weaken the strike.

            • uomatters says:

              Exactly – the administration wants to use the faculty to scare the undergrads into opposing the gtf strike. Shame on Blandy and Altmann for playing along with this, and thanks to anonymous for leaking those docs.

              Although I think, given the timing, the football championship eligibility issue may prove to be just as important. But it will take a few more leaks to pin that down.

        • Clueless says:

          I think you would find faculty willng to provide such proof. The real problem here is that faculty were not presented this option and asked about their willingness. It was just decided.

          If it really is this simple, then the administration has really set back relations with faculty. Chuck Lillis, are you watching? Are you willing to hold admins feet to the fire for the bad relations with faculty the way you scolded the faculty at the Senate?

          • Anonymous says:

            Faculty weren’t presented this option because it’s ridiculous at face value. This faculty member would not be willing to provide such proof for 70+ students unless it was a last resort – and it isn’t. Like many other faculty (I hope), I’m getting the grades in with or without the GTFs.

          • different anonymous says:

            Hmmmmmmm. You’re certainly free to do as you like, but why do you hope other faculty are going to turn grades in no matter what?

          • Old Grey Mare says:

            This faculty member is willing, and has many more that 70 students.

          • Three-Toed Sloth says:

            If all the Registrar needs is “proof of participation,” I can pull together a list of my 95+ students in a matter of seconds. That way, I can satisfy the needs of financial aid students without compromising my standards or abetting the fraud of presenting partial or nonsensical grades as “final.”

          • JBlair says:

            The critical issue with the ‘X’ is not grading in regular faculty’s classes, it’s in GTF-instructed classes. While on strike they’re under no obligation to send the registrar participation confirmation, and the fill-ins don’t have a frame of reference for class participation unless the instructor kept attendance on Blackboard.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you trying to rain on my pitchfork?

  39. Clueless says:

    Anon – your comment makes no sense. How is it both ridiculous at face value and possible as a last resort? In addition, it certainly is a last resort for many. Glad to hear you are willing to do whatever it is you are doing to get grades in without GTF. For others, that isn’t possible without compromising their academic integrity.

    Finally, it’s actually not that hard to create a form letter that would meet the proof requirement and just change the student name. Probably easier than doing all that grading yourself.

    But the main point is that these are individual faculty decisions about academic standards in their classes, not administrative decisions.

    Happy Grading!

  40. anon student says:

    Calling the UOPD to kick students out of Johnson Hall? *Really?*

    I guess I have to get used to the feeling of being amazed by what the administration will do to stop protest, other than actually giving the GTFs their contract.

  41. Anonymous UO Alum says:

    Since UOPD wouldn’t help, the JH admins should call the UC cop that
    was photographed pepper spraying students during a UC Davis
    protest. And get their “strategic communicator” to alert the local
    media types to get a few choice photos…

  42. Dr. Funkenstein says:

    Good for the UOPD. At least we don’t need to worry about being bludgeoned into posting acceptable grades. Yet.

    • Anonymous says:

      UOPD employees are unionized, are currently in bargaining with the same Harrang Long attorneys, and are also working without a contract. UOPD stands in solidarity with the GTFF. Police are, by law, not allowed to strike, but aren’t going to do this administration any favors until we get a fair contract.

  43. Larry Wayte says:

    The average salaries data is certainly disturbing enough as is, but I don’t understand why NTTF average salaries wouldn’t be broken out as a separate column. (Are NTTF salaries even included in the “faculty” data at all?) If they were a separate data column, my guess is the average would fall somewhere between classified staff and library staff, and the increases over time would be flatter than for any other column. Yet NTTF are just as large a group (or larger) as these others, no?

    • Old Grey Mare says:

      The note at the bottom of the chart says that the salary averages are for tenure-related faculty only.

  44. anonec says:

    “Three officers arrived at Johnson approximately ten minutes later.”

    Parking SUVs around JH is tough – all those car allowances there..

  45. you who says:

    This thread is getting WAY too long to follow. The most recent comments are hard to find and I still haven’t found what I wanted to read.. Time to start a continued post!

  46. Extremely Upset Student says:

    It is utterly disappointing how all this mess is being handled by the UO administration. International students have been threatened to have their visas revoked, department’s heads and faculty members have been manipulated and coerced, undergrads are being told not to bother and just to go home because they will have their grades anyway (though no one talks about education, let alone GOOD education). The cherry of the cake is the unbelievably disrespectful way in last night’s Coltrane message to the community “Yes there is the strike, but… GO Ducks!?”. Are you serious? How is it possible that no one in the university has the decency to call out Coltrane and his minions for his unethical actions, some of them arguably even illegal? How is it that this kind of people hold a position of power that can mold the future of thousands of young persons that are here looking for good education? What kind of example are they being given by this administration?
    It is so patently obvious that the powers to be are orchestrating several coups at the same time, if people think that the GTFs are the only victims here, they are very wrong. This is not about a paid leave. This is about quality of EDUCATION. The Admin is clearly targeting the faculty, actually the whole teaching body is being forced to knee down to a corporation system.
    I would hope that by now someone would have asked the WHOLE administration to leave, it is painful to see that the Board stands by the administration. How is that even possible? In any decent environment this administration would have been fired immediately. I’m really in shock.

    • Lemony Picketts says:

      When administrators tell international students that if they strike they risk deportation, it is both false and illegal. Thankfully the department that works with international students at UO shut it down:

      Coltrane skipping bargaining to go watch a football game is just bullying, he’s letting the GTFs know that he’s cool to have them stand in the rain as long as they like while he munches on some popcorn.

    • Clueless says:

      The Board is part of the takeover. Make no mistake – Coltrane is getting his marching orders from the board.

      • Bernie's Niece says:

        I wish Coltrane had the guts to stand up to the Board and his attorneys and lead this University. By not settling this contract, he is quite literally lining his own pockets and selling out the University. I might have sympathy for Coltrane, except for the tenure and six figure salary he could fall back on. Shame on Coltrane! Do the right thing!

        • nom says:

          I *totally* agree with your sentiments.
          He’ll never be anything other than an interim, and be treated as a pariah IF he goes back to the classroom. He has nothing to lose, except maybe an inflated view of himself. Yes, do the right thing!

      • Extremely Upset Student says:

        True, I meant to say that! What how is that even possible? The UO is a state university, not a private school governed by the whim of a corporate private power. How can this type of Board even exist and have the face to back this administration? This is so wrong, in so many regards.