New AAEO Director Tracey Tsugawa disappears from AAEO website

Update: If anyone knows what’s really going on, please post a comment.

Around the O has the official trust-destroying non-explanation from strategic communicator Tobin Klinger here. It’s all part of “Ensuring the University of Oregon has an inclusive and welcoming campus”:

The University of Oregon is forming a new Office of Civil Rights Compliance with the responsibility of investigating and responding to all forms of discrimination and harassment.

The restructure consolidates efforts previously housed in the Title IX and Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity offices.

President Michael H. Schill, Vice President for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt and Vice President for Student Life Kevin Marbury announced the restructure in a memo to academic and administrative leaders.

“Ensuring the University of Oregon has an inclusive and welcoming campus for students, staff, faculty and the community is a top institutional priority,” they state in the memo. …

Ms Tsugawa spent an hour talking to the faculty union’s representative assembly meeting on Tuesday. If she had any knowledge of this reorganization she hid it well. She did make clear her objections to the UO General Counsel Office interpretation of FERPA, her amazement at the lack of written policies and procedures she found when she arrived at UO, her belief that many AAEO practices violated due process rights, her belief that it was a mistake for UO to appoint so many administrators without open searches, and her efforts to address some of these problems.


I must have missed the job posting and open search for her replacement:

9/26/2017: Wow did she take the wrong job

Daily Emerald reporter Logan Marks has the report on new AAEO Director Tracey Tsugawa:

New Affirmative Action Director has social justice in her genes

“[I want to] make sure that we have a campus that is as free as possible from forms of harassment and discrimination, and cultivate a campus that is truly inclusive and welcoming for everyone…” Tsugawa said. “I’m totally excited about coming to Oregon – totally excited about becoming a Duck.”

Tsugawa mentioned two overarching goals for the AAEO office. One is providing prevention education and training for office staff on how to address interpersonal conflict. The other is making processes more transparent so people know what their options are. She also emphasized the importance of protecting people instead of the university.

“Our job is to protect the students, staff and faculty of the campus, not to protect the university…We need to be independent and autonomous to a degree so that we can protect people.”

Which sounds admirable, but is either disingenuous or confused. UO will be not be paying her ~$150K to protect people. Her job is to protect the university. As UO’s Discrimination Complaint and Response Policy warns:

Employees should be aware that AAEO is tasked with ensuring compliance with this policy and state and federal law.  Therefore, while AAEO will work with employees, students and campus community members to ensure that they understand their complaint options, are protected from retaliation and are provided with interim measures as appropriate, AAEO employees are not advocates for individuals participating in the process.

This policy wording was approved by the UO General Counsel’s Office and has been implemented twice by the UO President – once as an emergency policy and once as an interim policy. It is still in effect, except for situations involving sexual harassment or violence against students. Those are now handled by UO’s Title IX Office, under UO’s new student-directed reporting policy.

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14 Responses to New AAEO Director Tracey Tsugawa disappears from AAEO website

  1. Publius says:

    “Best practices”: based on long experience dealing with the U of O’s “procedures”, the best thing to do if you have a complaint or a student comes to you with one is to go directly to the police and/or an attorney. I was involved with the Laura Hanson case, which she detailed in an article for the Weekly. She had been given the run-around for NINE MONTHS. She spoke to an attorney, and the NEXT DAY she was showered with emails from Jamie Moffitt, Penny Daugherty, Robin Holmes, etc. all telling her they were sorry etc and how much they felt her pain.

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  2. Pollyanna says:

    Just when I think they really can’t go any lower, like water, they find a way to. Kudos for the phrase “the official trust-destroying non-explanation from strategic communicator Tobin Klinger.”

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  3. Inquiring Minds says:

    This consolidated new office of “compliance” sets a pretty low bar– ensuring that processes and procedures follow the law. That is no way to make real change. Nothing proactive about it, seemingly. Here’s an excerpt of the purpose of this change:

    The move to streamline operations and merge these investigatory functions aligns the UO with emerging best practices within higher education as institutions across the country seek to improve consistency and coordination of policies and processes for investigating and responding to all forms of discrimination and harassment.

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    • uomatters says:

      “emerging best practices”. Thanks, I’d missed that excellent jewel.

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  4. Susan Bee says:

    The real worry is the new reporting structure. Say what you will, but AAEO formerly functioned outside the direct authority of University… though yes, those in it were UO employees, technically speaking. It at least gave the pretense of operating without a conflict of interest. Tracy was a breath of fresh air and someone who wanted to clean up UO policy. With this move, the department now directly reports to the President. This is a big problem. Also it was announced right before a holiday. Always the way to deliver news hoping no one will notice.

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    • anarchivist says:

      AAEO formerly reported to the Chief Human Resources Officer, whose department is explicitly tasked with safeguarding institutional liability. This was a prima facie conflict of interest and essentially gave HR veto power over AAEO investigations.

      I agree that the loss of Tracey is devastating. She gave every appearance of being highly ethical and reform-minded. Her presence created a possibility, however brief, of genuine course-correction within a department with a serious deficit of credibility.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And so the consolidation of power and removal of oversight continues. How much of this is related to Penny Daugherty’s forced removal last summer? She sent a letter to colleagues dated July 28, 2017 stating she had been “demoted” inexplicably “contrary to the performance feedback I had received through the years, formally and informally,” from leading AAEO to an investigator. Her letter intimated that because of that, she needed to leave UO. What followed were a rotation of fill-ins until Tracey was hired… and now also let go.

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      • uomatters says:

        Thanks, perhaps you should post the full text of this letter.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Tracey was an excellent Director, this is an awful decision. Darci Heroy was directly appointed to her previous position with no process as an Interim, then appointed as a permanent position with no process, and now has been appointed this position. Isn’t this office charged with ensuring fair processes for positions?

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Aaaaaaand – she GONE!

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    • uomatters says:

      Thanks and if you know the backstory please post it.

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