UO to announce Wednesday that all Fall classes will be on-line only.

(Except a few lab and performance classes). That’s the rumor down at the faculty club. Apparently the dorms will stay open.

Here’s hoping JH’s well-paid strategic communicators have the good sense not to blame this on our students. Or the faculty. Or the staff. Or the unions.

On Thursday, the Board of Trustees will meet to rubber-stamp the “UO Health and Safety Operational Plan re COVID-19” as required by Go’v Brown’s executive order:

Full plan and meeting info here. I know nothing about these issues, but here are a few snippets from the plan which will presumably guided UO’s decision on this, and will guide the decision about restarting classroom teaching in Winter:

UO hiding how many Duck athletes have tested positive so far

8/11/2020 update:

UO still hasn’t responded to the July 2nd request from Bloomberg News, but they’ve finally told the Oregonian this:

“UO also said it “does not possess documents” regarding the number of positive COVID-19 test results for football players, coaches or team support staff, but that if they did, they too would be exempt from disclosure.

Which fits with previous reports I’ve heard that UO is attempting to maintain plausible deniability by keeping its testing records with the Lane County Health Authority. So all we know at the moment is somewhere between 0 and 43 Duck athletes have tested positive so far.

[Post heading changed to reflect strategic miscommunication from UO].

8/10/2020 updates II:

II.I: “The University of Oregon will no longer report new cases of COVID-19 in the UO community in the Updates. Information on new cases and total cases to date is always available on the UO Case page, which is updated immediately when cases are reported to the UO and confirmed by local health authorities”

II.II: Kevin Reed’s PRO still won’t tell the Oregonian how many athletes have tested positive. Maybe it was 9, maybe not:

II.III: Mario Cristobal has been claiming it’s zero, which presumably helps him recruit unpaid players.

8/10/2020 update: Sort of makes you wonder what else GC Reed and Pres Schill would hide:

More in the Oregonian here.

In other news UO has now started releasing just a bit more data on positive cases, here.

7/21/2020: UO PR flack Kay Jarvis caught lying about Covid secrecy

Ken Goe of the Oregonian has a long report on UO’s continued failure to report aggregate data on the characteristics of students who have tested positive, here, and the various excuses they’ve used – which he’s checked up on. Some snippets:

The University of Oregon’s refusal to reveal the number of on-campus Ducks athletes testing positive for the novel coronavirus is raising questions about the school’s transparency and willingness to protect the university community.

While some Pac-12 rivals, including Oregon State and Washington, have divulged an aggregate number of positive tests for athletes, Oregon and others have not. Oregon reports only a total number of students overall who test positive.

As articulated by UO spokeswoman Kay Jarvis, the university’s shifting rationales for this have ranged from contending the release of an aggregate number of athletes to test positive would violate “state and federal privacy laws” to saying the decision was made in consultation with the “local public authority.”

The first contention, according to an attorney familiar with such privacy laws, is false. As for the second, a Lane County health official said it is up to the university to determine what to release.

“There is no trust. Zero,” said Stephanie Prentiss, who represents Oregon’s classified employees as president of the school’s chapter of the Service Employees International Union.

Prentiss said university employees have been given conflicting information from administrators about athletes who have tested positive for the coronavirus and are being quarantined on campus.

She said workers cleaning areas on campus where infected people are being isolated are inadequately trained and equipped to do that job in the midst of the pandemic. The lack of transparency and specificity, she said, has led to uneasiness and fear among university workers.

The school has designated Jarvis, Oregon’s director of public affairs and issues management, to answer questions about this policy and has declined to make others available, including UO’s general counsel.

When first asked why Oregon was refusing to release the number of positive tests among its athletes, Jarvis responded in a June 23 email by saying she could not release that information because of state and federal privacy laws.

Attorney Gunita Singh, legal fellow with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, called that rationale “absurd. It’s a classic over application of privacy laws.”

On July 10, Jarvis wrote the school is consulting closely with Lane County Health & Human Services to slow the spread of the virus and in contact tracing.

“Again, the university is not the one determining the health benefit of information released,” she wrote. “We work with the local public health authority to determine when and how that information should be released, such as if there is an outbreak or when they are unable to use contact tracing to limit the spread.”

Jason Davis of Lane County Health & Human Services confirmed the university has cooperated fully with the county.

But, he said, Lane County Health does not have a position about what UO should disclose to the greater community unless there would be an instance when “five or more athletes start to get sick, and they all seem to be getting sick from the same source or reservoir. That needs to be addressed in public.”

Otherwise, Davis said, it’s up to the school to decide what it chooses to tell the community. …

Meanwhile, 19 days and UO GC Kevin Reed’s office still can’t figure out what to tell Bloomberg News:

“The university will not retaliate against anyone based on their response to this survey.”

I can’t imagine why our provost would feel the need to put that in writing. I think the gist of his email is that faculty can now opt out of in-person teaching, whether they are obese or not:

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you and your families are enjoying the summer. I am writing to update you on in-person instruction and to ask that you provide updated information about your availability to teach in person this fall. Please read this message in its entirety and respond to the survey link at the bottom before the close of business on Friday, August 14This survey is specifically for instructional faculty and graduate employees (GEs). We are communicating with other employee groups, managers, and supervisors to support them in their roles at the university and continued planning for the fall.
As outlined below, we continue to develop means to support safe and effective in-person delivery of courses, where our facilities and scheduling allow. Surveys of new and continuing students repeatedly show that in-person instruction is a central component of their decision to join us in the coming year. Additionally, we are dedicated to providing equitable access to education, including to students with disabilities and students for whom, for many reasons, a remote modality creates a real obstacle for accessing their learning.
We appreciate that for us to be successful, our top priority is to provide a safe and supportive environment for everyone on campus. Toward that end, we have been meeting regularly with a safety committee composed of representatives of our various labor groups, and have been hearing their concerns and ideas. Thus far, our first action has been to open up the campus to support the research and scholarly activities of our faculty and staff. We are well underway in opening research spaces in a very deliberate and careful manner—thus far without incident—and hope to shortly expand access for faculty to their offices and creative spaces.
The second stage is to assess whether we can move forward with a curriculum that has a significant portion of instruction done in-class or through a combination of in-person and remote (hybrid) mechanisms. We have made substantial investments in technology and safety measures to provide a classroom environment that is safe and supportive of both in-person and remote delivery modalities. Specifically, teaching in person will be supported by:
  • Provisioning of masks and face shields to all instructors.
  • Plexiglas partitions within the classroom lectern area.
  • Enhanced daily cleaning and availability of student-use “clean-up” wipes.
  • Video cameras and microphones in each classroom that allow recording and/or simultaneous streaming of lectures and in-person/remote classroom discussions.
  • Requirement that everyone in a classroom wear face coverings (accommodations will be provided for students who cannot for medical reasons wear face coverings).
  • Restricted in-person class sizes to allow for physical distancing requirements.
  • Clearly delineated occupancy information that enforces physical distancing requirements within the classroom (verified by the Fire Marshal).
  • Extended transition times between class periods to allow appropriately spaced transitions into and out of classrooms.
  • Instructors will be provided guidance and a centrally defined remediation approach to follow related to the expectation for face covering use in the classroom.
Safety procedures for more specialized spaces, such as teaching laboratories and studios, are being developed at the unit-level and approved centrally through the Incident Management Team.
More broadly, we will also be implementing a comprehensive virus testing program for individuals both on and off campus. The university has built substantial on-campus capacity for testing, now has a certified testing lab, and is in the process of gaining FDA authorization for several new techniques that should make testing much less costly and much easier to implement. More details on this plan will be forthcoming over the next month.
Updating Your Status – In-person Instruction
To more accurately understand our capacity to make this work, we are asking you to update your availability, given the safety measures that are being put into place, by specifically stating if you are willing to provide in-person instruction in the fall. We recognize a number of factors have changed over the last two months that might impact your ability and decision to teach in person, including the fall plans of 4J and other school districts within the state. We also recognize that other aspects of your personal circumstances may have changed as well. Please complete the in-person instruction survey at your earliest convenience. Your survey responses and our use of them are applicable to the fall term 2020 only. Decisions for winter term will be made at a later date.
This survey is in addition to the earlier UO Fall 2020 Request to Continue Working 100% Remotely Survey. All instructional faculty and GEs who did not already complete the prior survey—or who want to change their response to the earlier survey—should complete this survey in order to record your new response to either be remote or teach in person in the fall. If you filled out the prior survey your response will remain unchanged unless you now indicate a change to your prior response. We ask that you take into consideration the safety measures that the university has put in place before making your decision.
Submissions will be received and managed by the Office of Human Resources and will only be accessible to those with a need to know to perform their work. Responses will be compiled and submitted to academic leadership for planning purposes on or around August 16. Thereafter, your department head will follow up to confirm receipt and approval of your request and communicate other applicable information, if any. The university will honor any request to teach remotely during the 2020 fall term and will not retaliate against anyone based on their response to this survey.
This is clearly a challenging time for the entire UO community. By continuing to build upon our core values of respect and mutual support, the entire community will be able to face—and overcome—this challenge together. I thank each of you for your ongoing manifold contributions to this effort.
Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President

New UO re-opening plan has no actual criteria

The gist is a list of “criteria” that includes no actual criteria, standards, numbers, trends, required first or second derivative signs, or any other metrics.

So it’s gonna be a judgement call, and Provost Phillips is not going to disclose what criteria actually need to be met to reopen in-person teaching at UO:

On or before August 26, the university will make a decision about whether to alter our plans and either more significantly reduce the number of in-person courses or transition to a fully remote model for the fall. This decision will be based on public health guidance and the following criteria:

  • Indications of increasing community spread
  • County reopening phase level
  • Rate of county rapid testing turnaround times, and capacity for UO to provide testing to help sustain county needs
  • Capacity of contact tracing and case management at health authority, for example Lane County Public Health (LCPH) in Eugene, including UO contact tracing resources assigned to support LCPH
  • Implementation of protocols for enforcement of behavioral interventions, especially face coverings
  • Capacity of on-campus self-isolation space for students living in University Housing
  • Access to and availability of personal protective equipment needed to remain operational
  • Ability to maintain proper levels of cleaning and sanitation
  • Status of local K-12 schools and impacts on university personnel

Meanwhile UO’s Public Records Office is still delaying the release of basic testing data:

Full text online here and below the break:

Continue reading

UO still hiding data on positive tests

7/5/2020: In the RG letters:

As an alumnus, I strongly object to the decision by the University of Oregon to hide any information about the number of athletes testing positive for coronavirus. Why?

One, the decision represents a disservice to, and potentially puts at risk, other members of the team as well as other students and the public. Clearly most Oregonians and other Americans are concerned about the pandemic and want to be fully informed about infection rates and potential risks.

Two, the decision runs counter to what some, though not all, Pac-12 schools, and many colleges outside the Pac-12, are doing. For example, the University of Colorado, Oregon State University and the University of Washington are reporting the number of athletes testing positive.

UO claims that this decision was made to protect the privacy of athletes per “federal and state law,” implying that other colleges, such as OSU, are violating those statutes by publishing the very type of non-identifiable information that the UO refuses to release.

Finally, the decision contradicts the university’s purported commitment to prioritize health and safety above all else, and to maintain transparency, during the pandemic. It clearly prioritizes athletic department finances over health and welfare of athletes, other students and the public.

Bob Weinstein, Portland

7/4/2020: Still no details from UO, while UW is even reporting fraternity cases:

(Thanks to a reader for the link).

7/3/2020: That would of course *not* be the University of Oregon, which posts only numbers, here. Other universities release more helpful info – e.g. UCLA, here.  Oregon State reports positive athlete tests, UO does not. Why not?

Even USC – never known for transparency, and as a private school exempt from public records laws – does a better job than UO. Here’s a tweet from one of their PR flacks:

“The best way to prevent infection of COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus.”

Who would have guessed. From today’s email from the University of Oregon, here. Also:

The university has approved a new self-check health regulation which outlines that students and employees should conduct a self-check daily and not come to campus if they are experiencing or have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms in the previous 72 hours. Additional information will be provided about implementation and procedures of this requirement as they are developed.

From what I can see this is about liability – presumably the Ducks can use this to tell their student-athletes that they didn’t fill out the tracking sheet, so they’re on their own:

Self-Check Procedures

Every day before coming on-campus, employees and students should assess whether in the last 72 hours, they have had any of the below symptoms that are different from their baseline:

Stay at home until 72 hours after any/all of the primary COVID symptoms below dissipate without the aid of fever-reducing medications, unless symptoms are within your baseline. Employees should contact their medical provider** and students should contact the University Health Center 541-346-2770 if any of these symptoms are present.

    • Cough (Employees and students who have a chronic or baseline cough that has worsened or is not well-controlled with medication should stay at their place of residence)
    • Shortness of breath
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Fever (>100 degree F)
    • Chills

Stay at home until 24 hours after any/all of the symptoms below dissipate without the aid of fever-reducing medications, unless symptoms are within your baseline:

    • Loss of smell and/or taste
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Headache
    • Runny nose
    • Sore throat
    • Muscle pain
    • Nasal congestion

 Campus community members who have other symptoms that are chronic or baseline symptoms are not restricted.

**If you do not have a primary care physician, urgent care or any of Lane County Public Health’s clinics can also be a resource.  Benefits eligible employees can also find a primary care physician by reviewing the options available through their UO health insurance plan. Information is available on the Human Resources website. Information about graduate employees’ health insurance is available on the GTFF website.

Recording Procedures

Employees and students do not need to submit their self-symptom-checks to the university but they should record that it was completed in their personal notes or download and print this tracking sheet for personal use so that they can verify that they completed the check upon request.

Tracking sheet – complete twice daily! This sheet was designed for people who’ve been exposed to the virus, I don’t know why UO is suggesting in a mass email that everyone coming to campus complete it. Doesn’t really work for that:

Ducks won’t report number of players testing positive for Covid-19

Ken Goe has the story in the Oregonian, here.

The UO website revealed Thursday that five members of the campus community have tested positive.

Some schools, among them Pac-12 rivals Colorado, Oregon State and Washington, have released information about the number of athletes to test positive this month. Colorado reported four, Washington two and OSU did not report a positive test in June, although the Beavers did have one positive in March.

None of the three schools identified the individuals who tested positive, nor the sports in which they participate.

There is not a uniform NCAA or Pac-12 policy. Arizona State and UCLA are among the Pac-12 schools that will not report the number of positive tests among athletes.

Replying by email, UO spokeswoman Kay Jarvis said the school feared reporting a distinct group of athletes could violate their privacy by allowing members of the public to figure who had been infected.

“These are students and they don’t want to be identified as sick,” Jarvis said. “In the interest of privacy expressed in federal and state law, the institution has chosen to err in favor of restricting the release of identifiable information.”

Jarvis did not cite the specific privacy laws upon which the university based its decision. …

UO pays PR flack Kay Jarvis $106K, and General Counsel Kevin Reed $370K. You’d think that would be enough to answer a reporter’s question.

UO Prof posts results of UO Covid-19 Fall reopening survey

Full results and open-source docs, so that other universities to use the survey are now posted here.

The survey was done by Melissa Graboyes, Ph.D., MPH
Associate Professor, Medical History & African History Clark Honors College.

Here’s the gist from her website:

The UO Fall Survey ran from June 3-11. The anonymous survey had more than 2,300 University of Oregon students, staff, and faculty participants providing feedback on a range of topics, including their views about opening for an in-person, on-campus Fall term, but also asking about their experiences with remote teaching and learning, and their levels of trust and confidence in the UO administration to make safe, wise, responsible decisions in relation to Covid-19. We want to thank so many of you for taking time to provide your thoughts. There is a great deal to be learned from the survey results, and I was particularly struck by the more than 1,200 comments people took the time to write: impressively rich, thoughtful, nuanced, and indicative of what a complex issue the university—and all of us—are facing. ..,

1. There are wide differences in opinion between undergraduates, graduate students, staff, and faculty about whether it is wise to return to in-person instruction in Fall term, their level of concern about the health risks, and their levels of trust in the University administration to act in their best interest and the best interest of thew idea community. Overall, undergraduates are more enthusiastic about an in-person Fall and less concerned about risks; faculty, staff, and graduate students were more hesitant about on-campus instruction and expressed more concern about personal and community-level risks.

2. There are wide differences in the levels of trust people have in the University administration to act in their best interest, or the best interest of the wider Eugene/Springfield area when making decisions about Fall term plans. Undergraduates have the highest levels of trust. That differs significantly from employees: only 32% of responding faculty and staff stated they trusted the administration to make decisions in their best interest.

3. There was general agreement between responding faculty and students that overall outcomes with remote learning and teaching in Spring term were disappointing. Faculty judged their efforts with remote teaching slightly more successful than students did. Over 75% of the 900 students participating in the survey reported their spring classes were more difficult to complete, and that they learned less compared to an in-person class.

4. Employees from across the university, of all types and rank, have concerns about job security, reduced FTE, and changing work expectations. More than 70% of the 1000 surveyed employees agreed that they are concerned about job loss or FTE reduction. Few employees feel secure in their job given the current climate on campus.

I want to acknowledge the great assistance and support of United Academics in producing the survey and report, and the partnerships with SEIU SubLocal 085, the GTFF, and numerous student organizations to help distribute the survey. It is my sincere hope that the time spent organizing this survey, the time people spent taking the survey, and now the widespread dissemination of results will result in more transparent and inclusive decision-making, and wise and safe decisions in the coming months.

VPAA to Deans/Depts: Stop granting your damn faculty’s requests to teach remotely!

Thanks to an anonymous source for the leak:

From: Janet Woodruff-Borden <[email protected]>
Date: June 16, 2020 at 7:05:16 PM EDT
To: Brad Shelton <[email protected]>, Bruce Blonigen <[email protected]>, DD Humanities <[email protected]>, Gabe Paquette <[email protected]>, Hal Sadofsky <[email protected]>, Janet Woodruff-Borden <[email protected]>, Juan-Carlos Molleda <[email protected]>, Karen Ford <[email protected]>, Kate Mondloch <[email protected]>, Laura Vandenburgh <[email protected]>, Marcilynn Burke <[email protected]>, Mark Watson <[email protected]>, Patrick Phillips <[email protected]>, Philip Scher <[email protected]>, Randy Kamphaus <[email protected]>, Sabrina Madison-Cannon <[email protected]>, Sarah Nutter <[email protected]>, Tim Inman <[email protected]>
Cc: Missy Matella <[email protected]>, Ron Bramhall <[email protected]>, Julia Pomerenk <[email protected]>
Subject: Fall schedule changes

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to ask that we pause on any fall schedule changes and that you work with department heads to maintain the current fall plan. The schedule was created based on faculty input on who could and could not be on campus for in-person classes. As of today, over 12,600 students have registered based on that information. We have been receiving a number of anecdotal reports of faculty now requesting to teach remotely and departments granting those requests. While those decisions may be appropriate at some future point, the process we followed to create the current schedule was planful and accommodated all remote requests received by HR via the survey. None of this is to say that we may not be able (or need) to make additional changes at a future time, but for now, requests should be catalogued but not acted on, so that we can have more discussion in a thoughtful manner about how to address any changes that may need to be made. Thanks so much for all you are doing in this unusual time.


Janet Woodruff-Borden, PhD
Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
[email protected] | 541-346-8994

Your chance to give input on UO’s re-opening plans

Update: This survey will close at midnight Wed June 10.

The UO administration isn’t going to do this, and few people would trust them to accurately report the results if they did. So this survey comes from UO Professor Melissa Graboyes. with the support of United Academics. Here’s more info and a link to the survey, which has skip logic for faculty, staff, students etc.

Please note that currently it is only for UO community members.

Dear Colleague,

We are writing to encourage you to participate in an anonymous 15-minute survey to gather opinions about the university’s plans to open for in-person, on-campus instruction in fall term. Currently, no one has a good idea of the range of views that exist on campus, and that puts us all in a weaker position in identifying concerns across different groups of people. Collecting this information will allow us to prepare to address the range of opinions and concerns people have and better advocate for safe fall plans. We hope that you will consider joining us in this important effort.

SURVEY: https://oregon.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0dlhPwHH61Ih72R

All of the unions on campus—United Academics, SEIU, and the GTTF—are participating in this effort, and the survey has questions specific to students, staff, and faculty. Everyone participating in this surveying project is committed to getting input from as large and as diverse of a population across the UO as possible. The only way we can do that is by getting participation from people like you. Because this is an effort targeted at the UO, we ask that you don’t share the survey outside of the UO community.

This is an independent surveying effort, outside of the UO central administration, organized by Professor Melissa Graboyes with the support of United Academics. Participation is entirely voluntary and all viewpoints are welcome. Responses are anonymous and no personal information such as email address, name, IP address, or geo-location is being collected. The results will be publicly shared no later than June 15. The project has been reviewed and determined to be Exempt by the UO’s Institutional Review Board. Questions can be directed to: [email protected] and more information about the survey is available at: https://www.coronaviruschronicles.com/uo-survey

Thank you for your participation,

UA Executive Council

UO joins state Workshare program 2 months late.

This program has been around for years as a way for employers to reduce hours for a group of employees, rather than layoff a few of them.  Normally it’s a mixed bag – employees have their hours and pay reduced by 20-40%, and then get back about 2/3rds of the pay reduction from the state’s Unemployment Insurance fund. But the CARES act $600 a week UI add on makes it a great deal. An employee earning say $1000 a week could take a 20% furlough. They’d lose $200 in pay, but get back ~$130 in UI, plus $600 from the CARES act supplement. Net, their gross pay increases from $1000 to $1530.

Of course it takes a while to enroll, and the CARES act funding runs out July 25th. Benefits will be retroactive to the time of application, but UO could have done this at the beginning of April. UO would have saved money and their employees would have made money. In this example, the employee lost about $4K because UO started the program 2 months late.

That said, better late than never. Details here:


Senate de-names covid financial planning task force over shared governance theater concerns

The decisions about UO’s financial and academic response to the coronavirus and its long term consequences are being made by Pres Mike Schill, Provost Patrick Phillips, BoT Secretary Angela Wilhems, VPBP Brad Shelton, CAS Dean Bruce Blonigen, and VPFA Jamie Moffitt in secret.

The idea that they would use this joint Senate Admin task force and its confidential meetings as anything more than a vehicle to claim Senate buy-in for whatever changes are coming was a sham, and Senate Pres Elizabeth Skowron and VP Elliot Berkman should have known that and refused to play along. Now, after the threat of a motion from former senate Pres Chris Sinclair and others to require that the meetings be open, and the charge and membership determined by the Senate, they’ve backed down and removed the Senate stamp of approval.

Dear University Senators,

Last week, we announced the formation of a joint task force that will advise the UO president on potential long-term institutional responses presented by the COVID-19 crisis. This task force was formed in response to our recent call for collaborative long-term planning that would bring together the knowledge and experience of UO faculty, staff, and administrators to find new, creative ways to accomplish our mission in the face of significant cuts to our operating budget in the coming months/years. I am writing you today in response to questions raised about how task force members were chosen and attempt to address any confusion about the relationship between the task force and the university senate.

Our goal in proposing this task force is to engage proactively with the administration to advocate for significant representation from the university’s senate and diverse constituencies in this important long-term planning effort. We view the task force as an outstanding opportunity to promote an elusive goal:  academic shared governance in the long-term financial planning of the institution. We are proud of the level of representation on the task force, which is comprised of many individuals who serve in elected, representative positions on campus, including current and former senators, and members of university academic and advisory committees. Further, the task force is comprised of a majority faculty.  Of 15 members, 9 are women.  Three members are senior academic administrators, one is a member of the classified staff, one is an officer of administration, and there will be one student member as well.

Members of the task force were identified and chosen jointly by the Senate President (myself), Senate President-Elect Elliot Berkman, University President Mike Schill, and Provost Patrick Phillips.  Together the Senate President and President-Elect generated a list of prospective members for the Task Force and the President and Provost made some edits and suggestions as well.  Together we finalized a list of candidates. All who were approached recognized the importance of this opportunity and agreed to serve. We sought broad representation from the ranks of TTF and Career Faculty, Classified Staff, and Officers of Administration across campus, with a student representative to be named in the coming weeks.  We sought individuals who would bring diverse expertise and a deep commitment to the institution-as-a-whole, while also keeping the committee manageable in size.

Though the task force members were appointed jointly by the senate leaders and administrators noted above, we want to be clear that the task force cannot speak for the senate nor substitute for consultation with the senate or any senate committees. Further, in no way does the task force replace the important work that will continue in the senate’s various committees in the coming year. On the contrary, the work ahead will intersect with many parts of the academic mission of the university, making it important to engage with these committees throughout the coming year where their expertise is relevant.

In light of concerns that have been raised, we are changing the name of the task force to the “University Task Force on Long-Term Financial Responses to COVID-19”, so as not to confuse matters and make it clear that the members of the task force have not been chosen by the senate, nor have they been formally endorsed by the senate. This name reflects the reality that the whole university will need to be part of our long-term response to the changes brought forth by the pandemic.

In closing, Elliot and I would like to express our gratitude to those of you who have worked with us to clarify the role this task force will play in the coming months. We view this conversation as yet another example of the positive outcomes that result from direct communication, constructive engagement, and shared governance and cooperation between the senate and administration.


Elizabeth A. Skowron, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychology
Center for Translational Neuroscience
UO Senate President
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403


New task force on long-term response to COVID-19

Dear University of Oregon community,

We all recognize the profound impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on both the University of Oregon and the national higher education landscape. The simple truth is that the coronavirus is an invisible disruptor that suddenly and harshly threatened what has been the UO’s foundation for nearly 150 years—the ability to fulfill our mission of excellent teaching, research, and service as a residential campus.

We know there will likely be drops in enrollment and state budget cuts that will create real financial challenges for the UO. It is too soon to know whether it will be a sharp but short-term hurdle that we must find a way to overcome or a systemic recalibration of the way the UO operates. Ultimately, the scope and duration of the financial and operational challenges posed by COVID-19 will be revealed in the coming weeks, months, and years.
To help the UO address the challenges, we are announcing the creation of the Joint UO Senate/Administration Task Force on Long-term Responses to COVID-19. This joint task force, which is advisory to the president, will review data on university operations and revenue projections, engage campus stakeholders, seek input and feedback, and use this information to analyze proposals, develop and consider strategies, and provide advice for long-term planning.

The 16-member task force is broadly representative of units across campus, including faculty, deans, classified staff, officers of administration, and a student. The group will begin meeting in June and be co-chaired by Elliot Berkman, Associate Professor of Psychology and Senate President-elect, and Sabrina Madison-Cannon, Dean of the School of Music and Dance. The full charge and membership of the task force are posted on the president’s website.

What we cannot do is sit idly by and wait for budget cuts or other impacts to happen to us. Ensuring the UO is poised to meet these challenges means we must do all we can now to look around corners, anticipate problems, develop scenario-based solutions, and proactively seek innovation. One thing we all agree on is that the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the University of Oregon are not going to be solved by any one person or group of persons. We must leverage the collective wisdom, creativity, and intellectual horsepower of our entire campus. Our intention is that this joint task force is a step toward doing that.

Thank you.

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law
Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President
Elizabeth Skowron
Professor of Psychology and UO Senate President
Elliot Berkman
Associate Professor of Psychology and UO Senate President-elect


Elliot Berkman (co-chair), College of Arts and Sciences, Associate Professor of Psychology; University Senate President-Elect
Sabrina Madison-Cannon (co-chair), School of Music and Dance, Phyllis and Andrew Berwick Dean and Professor of Dance

Bruce Blonigen, College of Arts and Sciences, Dean and Professor of Economics
Liska Chan, College of Design, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture; Clark Honors College, Associate Dean for Faculty
Robin Clement, Lundquist College of Business, Director, Master of Accounting Program; Academic Director, Sports Product Management; Robert and Lois Braddock Distinguished Senior Instructor
Nicole Dahmen, School of Journalism and Communication, Associate Professor, Honors Program Coordinator
Judith Eisen, College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Biology
Larissa Ennis, University Advancement, Government and Community Relations, Associate Director of Sponsorships and Community Relations
Kent McIntosh, College of Education, Philip H. Knight Chair and Professor of Special Education and Clinical Sciences
Terry McQuilkin, School of Music and Dance, Instructor of Composition; University Libraries, Music Services Department, Access Services Specialist
Michael Price, College of Arts and Sciences, Senior Instructor of Mathematics, Assistant Department Head
Gerardo Sandoval, College of Design, Planning, Public Policy and Management, Associate Professor
Doneka Scott, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Student Success
Melissa (Lisa) Redford, College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Linguistics, Department Head
Jennifer (Jen) Reynolds, School of Law, Associate Professor; Faculty Director, Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Center

A student will also be part of the task force but has yet to be chosen. More information will be available for students, undergraduate or graduate, interested in serving on the task force.