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Pres Phillips expects that yet more committee busy-work will improve campus culture?

The good news is that these working groups have almost no faculty participation, so the soul-destroying time-suck will mostly be borne by OA’s who at least will be paid for wasting their time. Meanwhile, GC Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office still has not provided the contract with Gallup or the analyses they did for UO – basic public records that the university should have made public months ago. 

Now that would be a concrete way to improve campus climate – start being transparent about our problems.

Dear colleagues,
I am writing to provide an update on the University of Oregon’s work to improve our campus culture and foster a welcoming and respectful environment. In June, we shared the initial, high-level results of the IDEAL Climate Survey conducted by Gallup of our faculty, officers of administration, classified staff, and graduate employees.
The survey findings, which include university-wide results and other analyses by Gallup, are eye-opening, and frankly show we have much more work to do to ensure everyone feels valued and respected. We have come through a very difficult couple of years, and moving forward we must—and will—do better. We are each other’s most valuable resource, and our strong sense of community and shared purpose are among the things that I have most valued in my more than two decades at the UO. We cannot truly achieve greater success as a university unless everyone feels they have the opportunity to thrive.
The work to improve our campus culture is well underway. Over the last several months three committees further analyzed the survey results and worked on action planning. They identified several key areas for improvement. Four work groups are addressing these areas:
Employee engagement and onboarding
Response, reporting, and antidiscrimination
Faculty service, promotion, and tenure
Each work group is charged with identifying strategies, resources, tools, and activities in their area of focus to improve the campus climate. Each group will provide information directly to employees in the coming days and weeks about their work and the resulting strategies to address the climate survey findings.
In addition, the vice presidents and deans have now received access to the Gallup data specific to their units, schools, or colleges, and have begun their own assessments of unit level opportunities for improvement, which will ultimately include providing tools for unit heads to engage in this work.
Improving our campus climate is all of our responsibility. It requires reflection, commitment, and action at the university, unit, and individual levels. This work must also be continuous and systemic. Our ultimate goal is vital—to ensure every individual at the University of Oregon feels welcome, included, and able to achieve and contribute.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey and to the survey committee members and leaders who worked tirelessly over the last several months to move our work forward. I appreciate your support and commitment to improving the University of Oregon.
Patrick Phillips
Interim President and Professor of Biology

Response, Reporting and Anti-discrimination 

  • Nicole Commissiong, Associate Vice President, Chief Civil Rights Officer, & Title IX Coordinator, Office of the President, Co-lead
  • Brett Harris, Co-Lead, UO Ombudsperson 
  • Kersey Bars, Painter, Campus Planning and Facilities Management
  • Jeslyn Everitt, Associate General Counsel
  • Norma Kehdi, Senior Director, Accessible Education Center
  • Patrick Phillips, Interim President and Professor of Biology, Senior Leader

Faculty Service, Promotion and Tenure

  • Gabe Paquette, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Lead
  • Gerard Sandoval, Associate Professor, School of Planning, Public Policy and Management
  • Janet Woodruff-Borden, Acting Provost and Executive Vice President, Senior Leader


  • Elliot Berkman, Professor, Psychology Department, Co-Lead
  • Lesley-Anne Pittard, Assistant Vice President, Campus and Community Engagement, Division of Equity and Inclusion, Co-Lead
  • Lorraine Davis, Special Assistant to President and Provost, Office of the Provost
  • Karen Ford, Dean for Faculty, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Grey Pierce, Digital Accessibility Architect, Information Services
  • Norma Kehdi, Senior Director, Accessible Education Center
  • Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Professor of Political Science, Senior Leader

Engagement and Onboarding

  • Kaia Rogers, Senior Director, HR Programs, Services & Strategic Initiatives, Lead
  • Chelsey Megli, Chief of Staff, University Advancement 
  • Damien Pitts, Assistant Director, Student Organizations and Diversity Outreach, Lundquist College of Business
  • Krista Chronister, Vice Provost, Graduate Studies
  • Sierra Dawson, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty and Leadership Development
  • Mark Schmelz, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer,  Senior Leader


  1. honest Uncle Gangsta 11/17/2022

    They should publicize their accomplishments, such as the coming expansion of the Knight Campus enabled by the reduction of parking north of the real campus. Shared services is another. The new dorms on Agate Street, a boon to the whole community. The pedestrian-vehicle patterns are pure magic.

  2. vhils 11/17/2022

    2 faculty out of 22 committee members…I have no idea why surveyed faculty feel like the administration ignores their input.

    • honest Uncle Gangsta 11/17/2022

      Can I sign up for the waterboarding committee,?

      • uomatters Post author | 11/17/2022

        Believe me, you’re already on the list.

        • honest Uncle Gangsta 11/18/2022

          Am honored to be there with UOM.

    • Sam Pepys 11/17/2022

      It was difficult to find faculty with the desired diversity of thought. We needed people with views covering the gamut from “I agree with whatever means we don’t need another meeting” to “I need an administrative job to pay for my kid’s college so I won’t make any trouble, promise.”

    • HR is Not Your Ally 11/30/2022

      Exactly 1 classified staff.

  3. Cancel me 11/17/2022

    Did anyone else attend university senate yesterday? I felt like it was a “through the looking glass” meeting. The whole ordeal added another straw on my camel’s back, and made me rethink my career in academia again.

    First, almost 1.5 hours were spent on “Rehearsals for Life,” which, in the years I’ve been here, present unrealistic vignettes of what highly woke members of UO’s community perceive our cultural problems to be. Vignettes that become more unrealistic with each passing year. In any case, the takeaway is always the same: straight white man = bad. Unless you’re an “ally” who believes in the same woke things as the leaders of rehearsals for life. God help you if you disagree with the punchline, which means I self-censor. Thankfully, I’m not a straight white man, so I can avoid some of the ire.

    Meanwhile, what limited data that has been released from the climate survey shows that ideological conservatives have some of the lowest levels of psychological safety on campus. I doubt Rehearsals for Life is rushing to paint the ardent Trump supporter as the victim in one of their boringly formulaic and intellectually lazy “oppressor – oppressed” skits, although on our campus a political moderate or conservative being alienated for their beliefs is a far more likely scenario than anything I’ve ever seen in their productions.

    Once we got through the literally performative wokism of the Rehearsals for Life skits (1.5 hours of my life I’ll never get back), not to mention the eyeball-roll worthy land acknowledgement, we finally got to our VP of DEI’s presentation on our campus climate.

    I’m reminded again why having a DEI position is such a waste of money. Because whenever you pay someone to be in charge of an ideological goal (even a nobel one) instead of a specific task, that person will always fall short. In this case, someone who is in ostensibly leading the charge towards the ideological goal of inclusion at UO faced an irate crowd of people that don’t feel valued and appreciated.

    This is a no win situation for anyone. Whoever is in the role of VP for DEI will always fail to live up to the unobtainable standard inherent in their title of making everyone feel included. Along the way, the VP of DEI will alienate people who agree with the unobjectionable goal (making people feel included) by making choices which others disagree with. And, at the end of the day, they have no real power over the specific goal of inclusion anyway, because employees feel included largely based on factors totally outside the VP of DEI’s control. As for the diversity and equity components of the position, I am so hopeful that the Supreme Court will finally put an end to the bigoted systemic racism known as affirmative action this term.

    Anyway, back to the climate survey. Hardly any new information was presented. I’ve rarely seen the senate so uniformly irate and visibly frustrated. And, ironically, after the rest of us suffered through the performative wokism in the Rehearsals for Life skits, we now witnessed many of these same unhappy woke people asking extremely tough and pointed questions of our African American VP of DEI about her office’s failure to provide timely information about the climate survey (which, yeah, is kind of on her). Anyway, what a shitshow of a meeting.

    So I’ll end on this note: an open call to senate president Dan Tichenor (albeit an anonymous call, because way too many of my colleagues just reaffirmed yesterday with their words and actions that l’m not wanted here): if we’re doing performative acts that don’t do anything but make ideologues in the room feel better about themselves (like the land acknowledgement), maybe we can also do the Pledge of Allegiance going forward? For one, because I think it’s worth saying in its own right. And to also highlight the absurdity and uncomfortableness with which my highly woke colleagues make me, a political moderate (I voted for Johnson), feel when performative woke acts take place?

    • honestly! 11/17/2022

      Cancel — I admire you being able to take 1.5 hrs. of that stuff, if you really lasted that long.

      As for “As for the diversity and equity components of the position, I am so hopeful that the Supreme Court will finally put an end to the bigoted systemic racism known as affirmative action this term,” I suspect your wish will be granted, but I recommend being discreet about letting people know, except when you’re out and about with the non-academic component of society.

      The Pledge of the Allegiance is fine, as long as it includes “under God”! Recitation of the Second Amendment is fine for those who feel their First Amendment rights would be violated by having to recite the Pledge cum God.

      Honestly, is the DEI stuff accomplishing anything, say in the way of improved performance by lagging groups? (Apart from the effects of grade inflation, I learned well in my youth that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” as well as that inflation ruins everybody.)

      Honestly, if the public were aware of the woke nonsense that is taking over (UO in particular and academia in general), would the majority want to give a dime of public money?

    • uomatters Post author | 11/17/2022

      Call me autistic, but I actually liked the rehearsals for life thing. My default is to try and be nice to people – unless I’ve got a particular reason to piss them off – and it’s not always obvious to me what things might offend or bother someone with different life experiences than mine. As for the DEI stuff, yeah, what an embarrassing waste of money, time, and goodwill.

      • Cancel me 11/17/2022

        I 100% agree with the statement “My default is to try and be nice to people – unless I’ve got a particular reason to piss them off – and it’s not always obvious to me what things might offend or bother someone with different life experiences than mine”

        Which is why I think it’s a good thing you’re already a tenured full professor. Under UO’s DEI rubric (aka ideological litmus test) for hiring/promotion, I suspect that sentiment would rank as a low 1 or 2 (of 5) in the “Track Record in Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” category.

        Source from the provost’s website:

        • uomatters Post author | 11/17/2022

          That says Berkeley at the bottom, you sure UO is using it?

          • Cancel me 11/17/2022

            I found it linked from this webpage, which says:

            “In recognition of the University of Oregon’s determination that equity and inclusion competencies are fundamental to faculty excellence, and also in keeping with our goals of becoming an institution committed to antiracism and other forms of anti-oppression more generally, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statements are now part of (a) recruitment and (b) the promotion and tenure process. Faculty contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion receive consideration in the academic review process.”

            It looks to me like the Berkeley rubric was adopted as UO’s provost-approved guidance. If that’s not the case, admin should clarify on their website.


            • Publius 11/18/2022

              Dear “Cancel me”: What are you upset about? The leadership of the U of O remains, as it always has been, traditional white males–bland in personality, devoid of vision, firmly committed to an institution known throughout the world for its achievements in sports. Where else can you find trillion dollar shrines to players like Marcus Mariota with glass-cased displays of his jock straps? Despite the energies you bemoan to make this a more diverse place–by dragging it into the 21st century–Oregon remains a university where Dobie Gillis would be at home, where “Leave It To Beaver” could be filmed on location, and where “Father Knows Best” would be happy to send his sons. So no reason to worry–and “stay true to your school”!

              • Cancel me 11/18/2022

                “The leadership of the U of O …[is]… white males…”

                Here we go with with the not-so-subtle woke racism and sexism. Which is actually just racism and sexism.

                My goal is to make sure everyone has a fair shot at professorial and administrative positions at our public university. Publius apparently wants to gatekeep these positions by political ideology (disgusting in its own right), and also by sex and race. Absolutely abhorrent, and also illegal. Although Publius has a right to hold this embarrassing worldview, I find it a shame that we have any citizens in positions of power which subscribe to this profoundly bigoted viewpoint. The fact that Publius feels free to express this kind of naked bigotry (which, for the record, I also firmly believe is their right to express) is a clear exhibit as to why large swaths of the public have lost faith in higher education.

                • Publius 11/18/2022


                • just different 11/19/2022

                  Lol “woke racism and sexism” followed by accusations of “gatekeeping” and “bigotry” directed at anyone who recognizes that the playing field has never been remotely fair. That National Review subscription is really paying off for you.

                • Cancel me 11/19/2022

                  @just different: One can be acutely aware that past discrimination existed (and still exists) while simultaneously rejecting remedies which simply foster discrimination against individuals in the present who happen to be branded as “privileged” due to statistical stereotyping.

                  Rejecting unfair remedies (unfair at the individual level) to the very real issue of unequal opportunity (even if the remedy may work at the systemic level) gets you publicly branded as racist/sexist by closeminded professors and students, however. So the smart would-be-dissenters keep their mouth shut, keep their heads down, and thus we get ideological echo chambers at UO where people on the woke left feel comfortable spouting their views while anyone moderate or conservative feels compelled to self censor. Least evaluations functionally equivalent to “Dimwit” show up on graded coursework (for students) or hire/promotion decisions (for faculty).

                  Lol at male privilege btw — as even left-leaning news outlets are starting to begrudgingly recognize that young men are falling behind on an alarming number of metrics, which I believe is partly due to actual systemic discrimination against boys by their overwhelmingly female K-12 teachers. Teachers that have been taught how to teach by overwhelmingly woke professors which teach undergraduates to be hypersensitized to racial/sex issues in ways which are actually counterproductive to a fairer, more just society.

                  Of course, lost in all of this conversation is a needed focus on class and income. Any sort of analysis around skin color, genitalia, and what genitalia one is sexually attracted to always wins the day at UO with the ad nauseum attention paid to these characteristics. But non-tokenized conversation surrounding economic class during childhood and one’s current income bracket always seems to be missing (unless lumped in with skin color/genitalita).

                • just different 11/25/2022

                  First, some facts. By any measure, the education gender gap has gotten an enormous amount of attention for more than a decade, so it’s nonsense to claim that anyone is “finally” recognizing its existence. Higher participation and graduation rates for women at the postsecondary level is a global phenomenon resulting from large-scale changes in economic incentives and opportunity. In the case of K-12 in the US, the gap is pretty conclusively due to developmental differences between boys and girls, especially in reading and self-regulation, which became apparent as educational expectations for girls reached parity with boys. You can call that “bias” against boys if you like, but it has absolutely nothing to do with “woke” anything. And the paltry percentage of men teaching K-12 is the result of disinvestment and plummeting respect and salary over half a century.

                  Second, I rather admire the way you come out and say what I’ve always suspected affirmative action concern-trolls actually believe: namely, that you don’t give a crap if AA works to remedy social injustice because it’s more important to you that AA hypothetically might “disadvantage” individual white men. But maybe you should compare that with the not-at-all-hypothetical disadvantage of a few decades of having your intelligence, potential, and competence continually questioned and undervalued because of your race, gender, etc.

                  You certainly have every right to believe that DEI shouldn’t be part of your job. But you don’t determine your job description or your employer’s priorities, your employer does. If you can think of some more palatable way to implement those priorities, then share them instead of whining about “bigotry” and “censorship” and “ideology.” And if you’re not on board with an employer’s priorities, then why would you want a job there at all?

                  I don’t get the entitlement about this. Wanting to advance social justice is a laudable and thoroughly American goal. The data in favor of intentionally increasing diversity is pretty good, especially when compared with passing the buck to “society.” The system is not fine as it is–not for most people, anyway–and it’s high time we recognized that and did something about it.

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