CoD Dean Lindner apologizes, admits the union protects faculty right to meet and talk without fear

4/7/2018 update: 

Actually, as much as the administration wants to ignore it, the Senate’s hardfought Policy on Academic Freedom does too:

c. POLICY AND SHARED GOVERNANCE. Members of the university community have freedom to address, question, or criticize any matter of institutional policy or practice, whether acting as individuals or as members of an agency of institutional governance. …


These freedoms derive immediately from the university’s basic commitment to advancing knowledge and understanding. The academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal. Only serious abuses of this policy – ones that rise to the level of professional misbehavior or professional incompetence – should lead to adverse consequences.  Any such determinations shall be made in accordance with established, formal procedures involving judgment by relevant peers.

Apparently UAUO had to work pretty hard to extract this apology. No word on what happened to the photos:

Dear Colleagues:

There has been some discussion recently in our College regarding shared governance and the faculty’s right to gather and discuss difficult and often controversial subjects with respect to the direction of a particular department or program. Given those discussions, I want to take this opportunity to reiterate my strong commitment to shared governance principles, including the right of faculty to gather and discuss affairs without repercussion, retaliation, or interference by the administration.

In our unionized environment, those principles often overlap with the legal right of the union and its members to discuss union issues in a similar environment. I know my commitment to these principles has been questioned recently due to a member of staff inadvertently attending a closed faculty meeting and taking a picture. While I can assure you that those actions were not taken at my direction and were based on a misunderstanding that the meeting was an open town hall, I understand that this person’s actions may have been intimidating and caused some faculty to feel uncomfortable discussing important issues freely. For that, I apologize.

Since that incident, I have met with my staff and reiterated that attending union meetings, or taking actions that may interfere with a faculty member’s ability to participate in protected union or shared governance activities, is not permitted.

As we continue to build our new College of Design, I look forward to working together to create a positive and healthy work environment.


Christoph Lindner, Dean and Professor

2/22/2018 update: CoD fundraiser drops in on CoD Town Hall, photographs attendees

The event was pretty well attended, with about 30 CoD faculty and 5 or so union reps. There was a full and frank discussion that went on til 5:30, and continued in small groups afterwards.

I helped bring in extra chairs, one of which was then taken by a gentleman who unobtrusively started taking cell phone pictures. A union rep saw this and asked him to leave, which he did. He came back a few minutes later, and since I was lounging by the door he asked me why he’d been asked to leave and what the rules were for union meetings.

Full disclosure: I have no idea. So I told him that people wanted to have an open discussion and he was making them nervous since they didn’t know who he was. I asked him who he was. He said he was the director of development for design. I asked him why he was there. He said because he was worried about what they were talking about and wanted to know what was going on. I asked him why he was taking pictures. He said because he didn’t know many faculty by name and wanted to know who was there.

It seems a bit sad that the director of development would need to photograph a faculty/union meeting to figure out who the faculty are, but maybe he’s new. In any case turnabout is fair play, and so here’s his photo:

2/22/2018: College of Design faculty to hold Town Hall:

This Thursday at 4PM in Lawrence 230. Issues include:

The fate of AAD and the process used to terminate that program
The cutting of the summer Architecture program for high school students
The Portland Faculty Assignment Criteria & Process
The lack of Post-Tenure Review criteria
The management of the Ross Fund
De-emphasis on professional work and emphasis on peer-reviewed publications in reviews
The restructuring causing administrative bloat

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19 Responses to CoD Dean Lindner apologizes, admits the union protects faculty right to meet and talk without fear

  1. Dog says:

    “De-emphasis on professional work and emphasis on peer-reviewed publications in reviews”

    I really believe is an issue. There now are so many different ways to exercise and perform academic scholarship that exceeds that of peer review pubs, but which get no credit and no recognition. The era of Digital Scholarship is quite real and offers new kinds of possibilities, especially for young faculty that are essentially disincentived to do this. This is just wrong, Its 2018, not 1958. (By the way, the Internet turns 50 next year)

  2. Peter Keyes says:

    I think this was an inadvertent mistake. Patrick is just generally interested in the life of the college, and he’s still figuring out some of the protocols.

  3. arch departure says:

    What was said in the meeting?

    • uomatters says:

      It was 90 minutes of praise for the glorious leadership of the Dean and his loyal associates.

  4. Unhappy in COD says:

    It does not matter if Patrick was being aloof and uninformed. His presence as a member of the deans office – and taking photos of faculty without their permission!!!??? – intimidated several faculty who do not enjoy the security of tenure. Whether intended or not, Patrick’s presence and photo-clicking posed a very serious insult to the rights of faculty to freely associate and organize, per labor law. There is a long and ugly history of sending bullies or “nice guys” to meetings of employees as a means of intimidation to suppress dissent. That an administrator dumbly walked into a meeting where he was not invited and then thought he could take pictures of attendees WITHOUT anyone’s permission should raise flags, not whitewashing.

    • Peter Keyes says:

      I agree that Patrick’s presence was very problematic (I was the one who spotted him and asked him to leave), and I don’t mean to minimize its import. I’m just saying that knowing Patrick, I think it was a mistake, not an intentional incursion. That doesn’t change the possible effect on others, just moves the charge from first degree to second degree.

      • Seriously? says:

        It wasn’t just his presence, but he took photos of attendees! Very problematic.

  5. Anarchivist says:

    Surveillance (or even Unlawful Impression of Surveillance) by Management of protected Union activities is an Unfair Labor Practice. Formally put him on notice that such activity is impermissible and notify your Union’s attorneys.

  6. Woop says:

    That would be a ULB if you wanted to pursue it.

  7. The Final Straw says:

    As if someone who works for the Dean of the College photographing faculty at a faculty union meeting wasn’t intimidating enough, the faculty’s capacity to speak freely was also completely compromised by the presence of a member of the College leadership—a School Head—throughout the entire meeting. This folks, is what “freedom of speech” now looks like inside the College of Design.

  8. The Final Straw says:

    In case you’re wondering, that would be #6 on the “College Leadership” web page:

  9. Not Really says:

    I know the sixth person down on the “College Leadership” web page, and she was not there. Maybe you have confused her with someone else?

  10. Dog says:

    that is not an apology
    that is rationalized blameshifting

    I think Linder now qualifies for the new communicator position but he would have to take a pay cut

  11. There is no Dog says:

    Linder comes off here as gracious, if a little politically naive.

    And as for the picture thing, one of the things that makes being a newbie at UO difficult is the lack of a faculty directory with photos. I’ve no idea why faculty are so reluctant to be recognized.

    • uomatters says:

      My guess is that the wording of this letter was negotiated between the faculty union and the administration’s lawyers, and Lindner had little if anything to do with it.

  12. There is no Dog says:

    I’d love to see what the producers of Portlandia could do with a spin-off covering UO politics. :-)