Now w/ video: Coltrane chastises Senate – but Senators not chastened

Video of 4/8/2015 Senate meeting now posted here:

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.07.22 PM

Some links to highlights:

Coltrane reads Chuck Triplett’s talking points on Senate rules, here.

Criticism of gender inclusive bathrooms motion, here.

What Coltrane and Lillis are really upset about: the Senate messing with the sports deals, here.

John Ahlens gets the first response to Coltrane. He notes that all the Senate’s work is public. Here.

Former Senate President Gordon Sayre disputes Coltrane’s claim that Senate shouldn’t deal with athletics, while one pissed off looking Tim Gleason gives him the evil eye, here. Followed by me reiterating my willingness to meet with Coltrane and talk about a compromise.

Student Senator Samantha Cohen and John Bonine take Coltrane to task for his administrations continued botching of the confidential student counseling records, here.

Cocktail party version:

Back in November, Board of Trustees Chair Chuck Lillis came to the Senate and gave us a hard time for being too slow in approving motions. Lillis was particularly upset that Senate hadn’t yet approved the plans for a new Sports Product Design degree, which RG reporter Diane Dietz later discovered was the pet project of one of Lillis’s friends, and in any case had been held up by B-school faculty and administrators who were skeptical of Jim Bean’s initial “trust me, I’m Jim Bean” proposal, and not by the Senate.

Today Interim President Coltrane came to the Senate and gave us a hard time for being too fast in approving motions. (Plus something about how we’d screwed up approving the gender neutral bathroom motion. I don’t think I was the only person who found this part of his argument a bit puzzling). Coltrane also had a lot to say about how the Senate doesn’t get a say when it comes to intercollegiate sports and student-athletes, because those aren’t academic matters as commonly understood. Interesting. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that AVP for Collaboration Chuck Triplett was the driving force behind Coltrane’s speech.

The Senate has gone through a lot of work in the last few months. John Bonine has been a monster on policies, 4 athletics motions passed unanimously after serious debates. Then there was the Freyd and Stabile work on sexual assault prevention and the Jane Doe countersuit, Interim GC Doug Park and the counseling confidentiality problem, etc. Senate President Rob Kyr has worked incredibly hard to keep everything on track. No one in the Senate feels that they’ve been slacking off.

So, the Senate didn’t exactly take this lying down. People were polite to Coltrane – out of respect for him, his hard work, and the impossible position that Gottfredson left him – but the general sentiment did not seem to be that the Senate was the reason for the general lack of trust that the faculty, the university community, and the state’s press has in the leadership of the University of Oregon, and in whoever is the president in any given month.

Kyr followed Coltrane’s remarks with an idea for a retreat type meeting between the Senate and the Administration, to discuss how to strengthen shared governance. Lots of support for this idea.

Senate Meeting Agenda – April 8, 2015

Lawrence, Rm. 115; 3:00-5:00 pm

3:00 pm    1.   Call to Order

3:00 pm    2.   Approval of Minutes

2.1       February 11, 2015 and March 4, 2015

3:03 pm    3.   State of the University

3.1       Remarks by Interim President Coltrane with questions

Sorry, this is very skimpy:

Pres Kyr introduces, notes that Pres Coltrane has some issues with motions that have been passed recently.

Coltrane: Remarks will focus on shared governance. Committed to this principle, and has worked on it in practice. Says current relationship is suffering from lack of respect, trust.

Claims that Senate is not following its rules, not interacting with administration, not relying on committee structure to collaborate.

Says that Senate has over-reached into non-academic areas, e.g. athletics. (This of course is the red-line for the administration. Nothing gets their back up like the faculty thinking that have something to say about athletics. Not under Senate’s purview. He then goes culty elect the FARon to talk about how important athletics is to UO’s academic mission ….

Then goes into the motion to have the faculty elect the Faculty Athletics Representative. Asserts that Tim Gleason was selected appropriately.

Claims that he’s heard from many research active faculty that don’t want to get involved in Senate because of theatrics. (I’ve heard the same, saying they don’t want to get involved with administrative working groups, because they never get a straight story from the administration and nothing ever gets done.)

Solutions? Problems are rooted in lack of trust. Says he will continue to work with Senate, wants to broaden participation. More shared conversations.


JA: Agree somewhat, particularly about last minute motions. But we are very public. Hard to get information from the administration.

GP: Senate elections have generally been unopposed. This is not a new problem.

GS: Regarding athletics – not just a UO problem. You challenge is Senate has authority. But Senate takes these actions out of desperation, because university presidents nationwide haven’t done their job.

WH: We need to solve the athletics issues. Let’s talk. Coltrane: OK.

JC: We love the ducks, it’s not antagonistic, the faculty wants some respect too.

Student SC: Disagrees with what Coltrane said about confidential records.

JB: Given how you started this meeting – saying the Senate is disfunctional – you’ve set the faculty up to come across as contentious if we disagree with you. Frances Bronet made a *very* strong statement abut UO policy and how counseling would be kept confidential. Then Shelly Kerr put up new policy language that was inconsistent with that. Why didn’t they “pick up the phone” and consult with the faculty, or at least the Provost…


3.2       Senate Updates: Robert Kyr, Senate President

3:25 pm    4.   New Business

4.1       Motion (Policy Adoption): Delivery of the M. S. Program in Historic Preservation to a New Location; Kellie Geldreich, Academic Affairs Manager (Graduate School)

Postponed because the administration botched the motion. VPAA Barbara Altmann told the Senate a donor would pay for the move, but the motion asked for $105K for the move. Then it turned out the rest of the financial information had been redacted from the pdf.

All the motions below were also postponed. The hope is that the administration will meet with Senators to work out differences and get these back on the agenda in compromise form. We’ll see.

4.2       Motion (Policy Adoption): Hiring of Academic Executive Administrators; Senate Executive Committee; Senate Executive Committee [Redlined copy: Hiring of Academic Executive Administrators (REDLINE)]

4.3       Motion (Policy Adoption): Review of Academic Executive Administrators; Senate Executive Committee [Redlined copy: Review of Academic Executive Administrators (REDLINE)]

4.4       Motion (Legislation): A Report on UO’s Academic Support for Student-Athletes; William Harbaugh (Economics), Senator [Return of Item 4.6 from March 11, 2015 Senate Meeting]

4.5       Motion (Legislation): The UO Senate will decide on the addition or subtraction of intercollegiate athletics sports; William Harbaugh (Economics), Senator

4:45 pm    5.   Open Discussion

4:45 pm    6.   Reports

4:45 pm    7.   Notice(s) of Motion

4:45 pm    8.   Other Business

8.1       Executive Session

5:00 pm    9.   Adjournment

To: University Senate
From: Robert Kyr, Senate President

RE: Senate Meeting WEDNESDAY, April 8, 2015;
3:00-5:00 pm, Lawrence Hall, Rm. 115

I am writing to remind you that our first Senate meeting
of spring quarter is Wednesday, April 8th at 3:00-5:00 pm
in Room 115 of Lawrence Hall.

At the beginning of the meeting, Interim President Coltrane
will give a State of the University update, in which he will
respond to many of the motions that were passed during our
March 4th and 11th Senate meetings. After he speaks, you
will have an opportunity to ask questions about his responses
and about any other topics that he covers in his remarks.

At this meeting, several very important motions will be
considered, including a proposal for the relocation to Portland
of the M. S. Program in Historic Preservation, two policies
related to academic executive administrators, and two motions
regarding athletics.

The agenda for the April 8th meeting may accessed through
the following link:

Please note that the text for each of the motions (4.1 through 4.5)
is linked to its agenda item.

I very much look forward to seeing you at our Wednesday meeting
and to our work together.
All the best,

Robert Kyr
President, University Senate
[email protected]

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14 Responses to Now w/ video: Coltrane chastises Senate – but Senators not chastened

  1. Question says:

    Did Lariviere come to the Senate with complaints about lack of trust, respect and patronize the faculty in 10-15 minutes sound bites at the first crossing of swords?

    It’s become a fall back pattern now along with the defense of athletics, and probably recommended by the PR elite to try to shame and stall change. It’s that time of year when stuff starts to get shifted to next year’s calendar.

  2. I want to gag says:

    Scott’s speech was dishonest, passive agressive, and mostly just gross. Bullshit like this

    These issues are simply not academic in nature, and they are not under the senate’s legislative purview. There are several administrative units, with staff, faculty and advisory committees dedicated to the oversight, review and consideration of the administration of athletics. The university, the NCAA, Pac-12, state and federal governments have carefully crafted and vetted rules and policies regarding these matters

    when the NCAA bylaws say that athletics *is* part of academics

    Intercollegiate athletics programs shall be maintained as a vital component of the educational program, and student-athletes shall be an integral part of the student body. The admission, academic standing and academic progress of student-athletes shall be consistent with the policies and standards adopted by the institution for the student body in general. is particularly frustrating.

    Also, why shouldn’t the faculty get to pick the “Faculty Athletic Representative”? How is asking for that “overreaching”?

    • disgusted says:

      Coltrane, thankfully only the interim, makes a nice case for separating UO sports from UO. In other words, he’s admitting the whole U of Nike thing is using the UO as cover, and shame on faculty, not *just* the Senate, for wanting to have some say. Of course everyone knew this was true, but it is stunning, and a bit comical, to see him be so openly perturbed and indignant on behalf of the owners.

      • Jack Straw Man says:

        Actually, this is great. Sports are not academic, as our esteemed President has admitted. UO is an academic institution. So let’s get rid of sports. It’s not part of our mission. And as I’ve said a number of times in comments on various threads, it’s obvious that completely getting rid of sports here is the only way to root out the corruption and regain any sort of focus on academics. Cold turkey. It looks like Coltrane agrees.

  3. Bat Girl says:

    As a faculty member of the senate, I was dismayed by Interim President Coltrane’s address today. I would like to thank Prof. Bonine and Senate President Kyr for responding eloquently and extemporaneously, capturing much of what I was thinking. I was surprised that Coltrane, who was still in the room, didn’t take the opportunity to respond to either of them; in doing so he might have salvaged some good will. Instead, his tone deafness and the disrespect he showed towards the faculty were profound.

    On the bright side, I appreciated the irony when, after the President chastised the Senate for routinely rushing through poorly constructed legislation, we were asked to quickly approve an administration initiative for which none of the three administrators present could explain an apparent inconsistency. The initiative (involving the move of a A&AA masters program to Portland) was developed several years ago and tabled until the gift to fund the initiative was actually in hand. Two administrators stammered around before admitting that the actual development of the initiative predated their involvement and said they’d have to ‘dig in the archives’ to answer the questions raised by the Senate. To be fair, both (Altman and Berglund) have already jumped ship and are apparently just phoning it in at this point. More curious though was that Interim Provost Bronet, who presumably spearheaded the initiative as A&AA dean, wasn’t able to clarify either. And, Coltrane wonders why so many have lost confidence in the administration…

  4. Hen says:

    We may be ducks, but we are not rubber duckies.
    Good for us that we did not rubber stamp the “OUS proposal”
    That’s why we are here (senators). To point out the problems, make the arguments, suggest improvements and to play devil’s advocate.
    It is messy and uncomfortable, but that is the only way to move forward.

  5. Not the real Chuck Triplett says:

    I can’t wait for Tobin Klinger to post the authorized version of what really happened at this meeting on AroundTheO.

  6. Tooscaredtorepresent says:

    Ok. It has come to a boiling point. This is not Oregon. How are we going to organize beyond this blog? Who is putting their head on the chopping block? We are all scared… There has to be a critical mass point, where enough people are hurting enough to get involved. What can we do? The senate is not the answer. Oregon has to survive! And thrive! We are not a private or corporate university, we are a nonprofit. We are Oregon!

  7. The Truth says:

    “Coltrane also had a lot to say about how the Senate doesn’t get a say when it comes to intercollegiate sports and student-athletes, because those aren’t academic matters as commonly understood.”

    Funny how they suddenly very much become academic matters any time the subject of paying players is brought up…

  8. Old Man says:

    Apparently Scott does not realize how much time the Senate has had to spend undoing the messes sent to it by the Administration. I offer a small, but well-defined, “f’rinstance”:
    The redlined version of the Policy Proposal “Hiring of Academic Executive Administrators” reveals that, in the Senate’s version, the composition of committees is specified in terms of Statutory Faculty as defined by the UO Constitution. The version returned to the Senate, after being “improved” by the Administration, replaced that precise language with the word “faculty.” Readers of UOM know that here, at UO, the word “faculty” has only one published definition, that given by the Lane County DA, who declared that if the UO President says someone is faculty, they are faculty. In the past, this definition has identified (for instance) Ernie Kent (former UO basketball coach) and all the members of the current GC’s office as “faculty”. For the Administration to expect the Senate to give such sloppy material a passing grade reveals a sad lack of respect for the Senate and the Constitution.

  9. Leporello says:

    Our new sidewalk slogan, spray painted outside of Jockbox, Autzen and Matt.

    “Bridges to Academic Exceptionalism”

    (Do I at least get a mug for this?)

  10. Rosco P. Coltrane says:

    Unfortunately, Scott was talking to the Senate like he’s never seen one before. The University Senate is remarkably well behaved and gets an incredible amount of work done when compared with other Senates.

    It’s clear that Scott was parroting what the Chucks have been telling him, that in their experience Senates do a far better job of working with lobbyists or the executive branch. Translated, that means his experience is that Senators can be bought. They are understandably a bit frustrated that the University Senate isn’t subservient to money the same way their political counterparts are.

  11. strike bound says:

    I’m not sure I follow. Scott. Is there no institution outside of JH that get’s your attention, or makes you wonder if JH is a problem? The Oregonian doesn’t get your attention? The RG? The national media points the finger at you guys and you still blame UOM or the Senate?