Chief Resilience Officer’s email on Lane County re-opening

Dear University of Oregon community,

As many of you are no doubt aware, Gov. Kate Brown this morning approved Lane County’s plan to allow some local businesses to start operating as early as tomorrow through a controlled and phased reopening strategy. The county moving into a Phase 1 reopening stance is certainly good news, because it means that Lane County has not seen a significant growth in COVID-19 cases and that the local testing and contact-tracing infrastructure is beginning to take shape.

While a Phase 1 opening in Lane County will allow restaurants, some retailers, and certain service providers to reopen, it does not change the University of Oregon’s operational status. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Oregon’s universities are subject to an executive order from Gov. Kate Brown that suspends in-person instructional activities and limits campus operations through June 13. We cannot make changes until it is lifted.
  2. We are awaiting guidance specific to higher education from the Oregon Health Authority. That guidance, which we expect to be delivered in the next few weeks, will be the foundation for helping us develop plans for a safe and responsible reopening at the UO.

In the meantime, the university is taking proactive steps to prepare for a methodical and phased return to in-person work over the course of the summer and into the beginning of fall term. We have teams across campus that are currently developing mitigation strategies that will be needed for reopening, such as physical distancing protocols, a robust campus testing and contact-tracing program, recommendations for the use of face coverings, and more. We have already started and will continue to engage subject-matter experts from across campus. And we will seek input on these and other potential mitigation strategies from employee groups and various campus stakeholders through direct conversations, online surveys, and other feedback opportunities.

Next week, we’ll add a detailed reopening section to UO’s COVID-19 website, and we will continue to update FAQs with specifics about reopening plans and guidance as they become available. We will also continue to communicate the latest news and information about next steps and campus impacts as quickly and transparently as possible. Your input is always welcome. Diverse perspectives are vital when tackling complicated issues. If you have questions, ideas, or potential solutions related to our resumption plans, we want to hear from you. Please use the COVID-19 web form to submit your thoughts using the “Resumption Planning” category.

Finally, let’s remember that, even though it won’t be easy, we’re all in this together. Each new phase will require all of us to learn new habits and attempt different ways of doing things, which I appreciate can be unsettling and uncomfortable. I have great faith in the thoughtfulness and ingenuity of the UO community. In the last few months we’ve seen many examples of creative problem solving, and that flexibility, compassion, and can-do attitude are what will carry us through the upcoming phases of this collective challenge.

Thank you.

André Le Duc
Chief Resilience Officer and Associate Vice President
Safety and Risk Services

Contest for best “why I would like to work remotely during a pandemic” request

5/6/2020 update:

The latest email from HR is here. It gives the faculty a 6 day extension on the demand for requests for remote teaching. I clicked on the Remote Work Request Form link in the email. I was surprised to learn that there’s a university policy requiring all employees to demonstrate honesty in communication & conduct. I guess there’s an exemption for JH administrators.

In any case I’ve got a fifth of Laphroaig for whoever submits the best reason in the comments for wanting to work remotely. In keeping with UO policy, all entries must start with “Honestly, ”

5/5/2020: HR gives faculty til Friday to get BMI up to 40 & request opt-out from in-person teaching

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UO Fall Term Planning–Concerns about the Safety of In-Person and On-Campus Instruction

A letter to campus from one of our our Italian correspondents. Page down for her op-ed in today’s Oregonian:

From: Melissa Graboyes <[email protected]>
Subject: UO Fall Term Planning–Concerns about the Safety of In-Person and On-Campus Instruction
Date: May 6, 2020 at 6:54:09 AM PDT
To: Andre Le Duc <[email protected]>
Cc: Bruce Blonigen <[email protected]>, Karen Ford <[email protected]>, “Carol Stabile” <[email protected]>, Philip Scher <[email protected]>, “President Michael Schill” <[email protected]>, Provost <[email protected]>, “Gabe Paquette” <[email protected]>, Dennis Galvan <[email protected]>, “H Leslie Steeves” <[email protected]>, Juan-Carlos Molleda <[email protected]>, Laura Vandenburgh <[email protected]>, “VP for Equity and Inclusion” <[email protected]>, Sabrina Madison-Cannon <[email protected]>, Hal Sadofsky <[email protected]>, Sarah Nutter <[email protected]>, Lee Rumbarger <[email protected]>, Sierra Dawson <[email protected]>, Ron Bramhall <[email protected]>, Randy Kamphaus <[email protected]>, Kate Mondloch <[email protected]>, Marcilynn Burke <[email protected]>

Dear Mr. Le Duc and UO Leadership,

I am writing to share my deep concerns about the current plans for the UO to open for in-person and on-campus instruction during fall term. I write as someone with professional training and expertise in the area of public health, as someone who is witnessing the Italian government’s response to the outbreak in the north, and as a committed faculty member. There are many reasons I am worried about fall plans, and believe that many of my concerns are shared by others in the UO community. I recognize that many talented people are working very hard on this issue, and I appreciate those efforts. However, I still believe that this decision about fall term is the wrong one, and that there are significant problems with the process being used to make decisions about the university’s Covid-19 response.

To that end, I respectfully request:
1. Greater transparency about current plans for fall term, including the specifics of how testing, tracking, and isolation systems would be built and function. The UO also ought to share information about who is part of the Incident Management Team (IMT) that is making such important decisions for our campus and for our wider community. There needs to be more communication about what this group is doing and how decisions are being made.

2. Greater faculty involvement in determining what is safe and acceptable risk for fall term and in gathering ideas and input from across the university community. Feedback from across campus should be gathered, compiled, and shared publicly so the community knows the range of concerns and opinions. This could be done through a university wiki or qualtrics survey with public results. Having people send individual emails or phone calls is not enough, and does not allow faculty, staff, or students to know whether their concerns are shared by a few other people, dozens of others, or hundreds across campus. Part of an effective public health response is about maintaining trust. This is a critical moment when trust can be quickly lost, or, ideally, sowed through open sharing of information and vigorous public discussion about what is best for our whole community.

3. Greater faculty involvement through the creation of an Expert Advisory Committee made up of roughly a dozen faculty to advise the Incident Management Team on the changing science, international public health best practices, and to allow the UO to make decisions that are not only based on finances and campus logistics. This group would leverage the UO’s knowledge bank of talented scientists and public health experts and allow for our campus to make more nuanced decisions and more realistic plans. In the past three months, there have been multiple times when agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) have been slow to respond to changing scientific data, or have chosen not to fully embrace methods that have been shown to be effective in other parts of the world. Two examples of this are around the dangers of asymptomatic transmission and the benefits of masking in reducing transmission. In both of these areas, all three of the agencies the UO turns to as official sources of information were weeks behind the scientific consensus, and still remain behind the curve in mandating masking in public. This Advisory Committee should also be public in that it’s members are known, and meetings and discussions should be as public as possible.

4. Greater sharing from the UO to the wider community about how effective measures could be taken on campus to keep the wider Eugene and Lane County community safe

I have shared these concerns in an open letter to colleagues (pasted below) and in an article running in today’s Oregonian: https://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/2020/05/opinion-to-stay-safe-university-of-oregon-must-stay-the-course-on-remote-learning.html

Thank you for your attention,

Melissa

Melissa Graboyes, Ph.D., MPH
Associate Professor, Medical History & African History
Clark Honors College
University of Oregon
www.melissagraboyes.com
www.coronaviruschronicles.com

Op-Ed:

To stay safe, University of Oregon must stay the course on remote-learning

Melissa Graboyes

Graboyes is an associate professor of medical history and African history at the University of Oregon. She is currently living in northern Italy with her family while on research leave and writes about the Covid-19 outbreak at www.coronaviruschronicles.com

University of Oregon President Michael Schill recently sent a note outlining his commitment to an in-person and on-campus fall term. But considering how much of his note focused on the university’s financial picture, it’s worth questioning whether that or sound public health policy is driving that decision. As a UO faculty member, a trained public health professional, and someone who has directly experienced the COVID-19 outbreak in northern Italy, I feel strongly that the university’s current plan to open in the fall for in-person, on-campus teaching is unsafe. Reconvening tens of thousands of students from across the globe to live in close quarters with each other could jumpstart COVID-19 transmission on campus and spread into the wider community. For the safety of everyone, the UO ought to continue remote-learning for fall term.

In theory, I’m not opposed to the idea of the UO fully opening in fall, but it would require a heroic public health effort. Experts agree that safely having together thousands of people in contact—as would happen in dormitories, dining facilities, libraries, classrooms and labs—would require a robust plan for regular testing on campus, quickly tracking contacts of positive cases, and having facilities to isolate those who test positive. To effectively test, track, and isolate would require the UO to build a complex public health infrastructure that has eluded US states and rich European countries alike. When I see the wealthiest area in Italy still unable to roll out sufficient testing, when I see the EU unable to figure out a viable digital contact tracking strategy, and most countries unable to humanely isolate those who are positive, forgive me for saying I don’t think the UO can develop these systems independently in four months.

President Schill hasn’t provided any convincing information that suggests testing, tracking, or isolating protocols could be ready by September. In his note, there is a single sentence describing how the university’s Incident Management Team will “explore a variety of methods to safeguard our community” that include reducing density in offices, residence halls, and dining facilities; intensive cleaning of all facilities; and testing and contact tracing for students and employees. But how will that testing possibly be done at adequate levels, especially knowing that as many as 60% of positive cases are asymptomatic? The U.S., Oregon, and Lane County have all been unable to scale up testing to anywhere near reasonable levels. Veneto Province in northern Italy, where I am located, has spent millions of euros on tests and has the highest testing per capita in Italy; but it still remains below what experts say is necessary to catch and prevent a second wave of infection.

The news is not much better for building out contact tracing and isolation systems. Not a single U.S. state has put in place a convincing contact tracing program, though Massachusetts has a promising effort. Italy is trying to scale up tracing via apps and human workers but has run into legal challenges around privacy and resistance to using the apps. Finally, stopping an outbreak on campus would require places where people who test positive can recover without infecting others. Neither the United States nor Europe has set up effective out-of-home isolation facilities such as those used in China and South Korea. So, please forgive me (again) if I remain deeply skeptical that the university could complete all of these steps and have them ready in four months. The UO is a special place filled with talented and hardworking people whom I am lucky to call my colleagues and friends—but these are unreasonable expectations.

We can’t lose sight of the fact that the decision about fall term isn’t just about the university’s fiscal health—it’s about people’s actual health and actual lives. Oregon has been lightly hit so far, but we are not done with COVID-19. Witnessing the COVID-19 outbreak and response in Italy, I’ve seen what happens when an area gets the full brunt of a coronavirus outbreak and when health systems are overwhelmed. One of the ways our community can minimize risk is by acknowledging it is unrealistic and unsafe to have tens of thousands of students back on campus. To protect our community’s health, the UO needs to remain remote in fall.

Senate’s Academic Council updates rules for teaching w/ closed campus

ACADEMIC COUNCIL: UPDATED ACADEMIC CONTINUITY EXPECTATIONS

The Academic Council met 4-22-20 to discuss academic continuity planning for the duration of the COVID-19 disruption. The Academic Continuity Plan approved by the Academic Council on March 4, 2020 (https://senate.uoregon.edu/2020/03/05/academic-continuity-plan-for-the-coronavirus-health-emergency/) remains in effect until the academic disruption is declared over by the Academic Council except as modified below. The modifications and new expectations below are in effect beginning Summer 2020 and until the Academic Council declares the end of the Academic Disruption or approves new modifications.

(Note: “Instructor” is used in this document to indicate “Instructor of Record”, which may be instructors or GEs.)

Assumptions Guiding These Changes

  • Changes made to Winter and Spring had to consider the fact that we had less time to plan, and were changing expectations for students and instructors that they had not accounted for
  • We know how summer term will operate and have time to plan for that
  • We will know more about how fall term will operate and will have time to plan for that
  • We have policies governing student engagement and contact hours and should follow those as closely as possible
  • Students will be able to make choices about summer and fall courses that account for their specific situation, so we need fewer accommodations and we will insist on our high expectations for courses
  • Some students will still be in less than ideal situations for summer and beyond, and Instructors should try to accommodate them  where reasonable
  • In a non-pandemic scenario, instructors of courses would have been expected to deliver content and engage with students during scheduled class times
  • In a scenario where all or some courses are remote, some instructors will be in less than ideal situations in terms of workspaces, teaching materials, and technology.

Modifications to Current Expectations

The following expectation from the March 4th Academic Continuity Plan is modified by the Academic Council as indicated below:

  • March 4, 2020 language: Requires instructors with attendance or participation polices to modify those such that attendance is not counted in grades and participation points could be made up or waived.
  • April 29, 2020 update: Instructors may count attendance and participation as part of the grade provided they have reasonable ways for students to complete make-up assignments for missed class sessions or participation points without loss of credit. Instructors must communicate these policies in their syllabi. Instructors who are unsure whether they are making reasonable accommodations should confer with their unit heads for guidance.

Continuation of Grading Policy Adjustments

The following grading policy adjustments approved by the Academic Council on March 25, 2020 for Spring term are continued by the Academic Council until modified or disruption is declared over. These adjustments are in effect for undergraduate and graduate courses except for graduate courses offered in the JD and LLM programs in the Law School, which are under a different policy passed by the Law School.

  • The deadline to change grade-optional courses from graded to P/N (pass/no pass) will be extended 30 days after the date that final grades are posted for that term.
  • The option to change from graded to P/N will be available for all courses that are designated as graded only and for grade optional courses.
  • Courses that are designated as P/N only will remain as they are. There will be no additional options for these courses.
  • Any course grade of P will be counted as a P* grade for the purposes of the policies below. This means that courses taken as P/N can count toward graduation requirements. Credits earned in courses offered only as P/N will use the P* designation.
    • Undergraduate: “Students must earn 168 transfer or University of Oregon credits with grades of A, B, C, D, or P*.”
    • Graduate Master’s degrees: “A minimum of 24 credits must be University of Oregon graded (not pass/no pass) credits.”
  • Instructors of record shall maintain letter grades throughout the term and record final course grades for students in all courses).
  • If a student chooses P/N by the deadline, grades will be recorded as follows:
    • Undergraduate: a P grade for a C- or above, and an N grade for a D+ or below.
    • Graduate: a P grade for a B- or above, and an N grade for a C+ or below.
    • Law: a P grade for a D- or above, and an N grade for an F.
  • Departments are asked to waive any requirements that (a) limit how P/N courses count toward the major; that (b) require specific grades for courses that count toward the major; or that (c) serve as prerequisites for other courses. This is especially important for cases where the lack of such a waiver will require students to enroll in an additional term or delay graduation for students. Departments are to report how they want P/N grades from any term during the disruption to count toward requirements to the Registrar’s Office by May 6, 2020. The Registrar’s Office will send a link to a webform for reporting this information. The Registrar’s Office will reach out to departments directly regarding prerequisites.

New Expectations

The following new expectations are approved by the Academic Council as of April 29, 2020 and effective beginning Summer 2020. These expectations follow two principles: first, that we have policies on student engagement and contact hours that instructors should follow, and, second, that we have time for students and instructors to plan for new expectations that will improve remote education in Summer 2020 and beyond.

  • Courses that were originally scheduled for online and coded with “V” (for virtual) shall be taught as planned.
  • It is expected that non-WEB courses shall provide live engagement during the scheduled meeting times as defined by the Student Engagement Inventory for the course. Instructors may make the following adjustments for courses that have to be offered remotely or partially remotely (some face-to-face and some remote):
    • Live engagement can take many different forms. For example, it might include a mix of content delivery, facilitated discussions on Zoom, facilitated discussion board discussions, breakout sessions for students on Zoom, group project time with the instructor available for guidance. The following are not suitable replacements for contact under current policy:
      • Posting of supplemental content materials
      • Announcements
      • Assignments
      • Office hours, online or otherwise
    • Whatever the mix, at least 50% of the live engagement should include planned and structured content delivery or discussion.
    • Where appropriate and possible, instructors should create opportunities for student-student interaction.
    • Whatever the mix, instructors should be available to students during each scheduled class period. If instructors are not going to be available during a scheduled class period, they should treat that as a “cancelled” class meeting and handle that as they would during a regular, non-remote term with appropriate notifications to students and anyone else as required by the department, and appropriate replacement of that instructional time.
  • Instructors should schedule and be available to meet during office hours outside the scheduled class time in accordance with department and/or school/college policies on office hours.

Technology Tools and Software
It is required that Canvas be used for all courses during the academic disruption. Instructors shall publish their Canvas sites and use them to post materials, collect assignments, provide alternatives to lectures/discussions for students who are absent from class, and post grades. Students and Instructors are required by university policy to use their Uoregon accounts for university business including instruction, and must not share their credentials with anyone.

Instructors may use other FERPA-compliant software to supplement Canvas use. These include the UO licensed versions of Office 365, which includes One Drive and Teams, Zoom and Dropbox. You can find out more about acceptable technology tools and software here: https://is.uoregon.edu/remote.

Another carefully scripted town hall to promote illusion of shared governance

From Around the 0, of course:

University of Oregon students, faculty members and staff are invited to attend a virtual town hall meeting at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, May 7, to discuss planning for in-person, on campus instruction for fall term.

President Michael H. Schill announced the intent for fall term, including the engagement of the UO’s Incident Management Team to plan for and facilitate the steps needed to open campus.

As planning gets underway, members of the campus community have questions about what an on-campus fall term will look like. In a message to faculty and staff members, Patrick Phillips, provost and senior vice president, highlighted concerns and potential solutions, as well as the UO’s participation in a consortium of West Coast campuses “working together to understand how to employ best practices from a public health perspective to provide a safe environment for our faculty, staff, and students.”

The virtual town hall will include Schill; André Le Duc, associate vice president and chief resilience officer; and other UO administrators. The event is available via livestream. Campus community members are encouraged to submit questions in advance through an anonymous web form. Email questions in advance or during the live event to [email protected].

Pres Schill offers faculty union a pay cut proposal and a threat: take it or suffer the consequences

The short version, from the union:

Executive Summary
The administration wants faculty to agree to a wage cut plan in the event of revenue loss. United Academics leadership has concerns about the proposal and would like to bargain the plan. If UA does not agree to the wage cut plan, the administration intends to either non-renew all 211 Career faculty who are up for renewal this spring or offer them only 0.1 FTE contracts. In order for a wage cut plan for faculty to go into effect, the membership of United Academics would have to vote in favor of the plan.

In a nutshell this plan would put the full cost of any tuition losses or state funding cuts on the faculty and OAs. There is no discussion of an offset for increases in federal funding, such as the $16m UO is getting from the CARES act. There is no discussion of cuts for Johnson Hall’s pet projects.

There is no accountability for the administration’s past decisions to spend down UO’s reserves on an Athlete’s Village for the 2021 Track & Field championships, on utility connections for Hayward field, on the Law School, on continued hidden athletic subsidies, etc, which led to the decrease in reserves and the increase in bond debt.

There is no provision for shared governance oversight of future spending.

The scheme is barely progressive – the cuts start at a very low $40K, and the top rate peaks at $200K, meaning those making say $400K pay the same percentage as those making $200K.

Amusingly, or perhaps I should say incompetently, whoever cooked this scheme up does not understand the difference between average and marginal – so after these cuts, an AVP now making say $199,999 would end up with a higher salary than one making $200,001. Under the middle scenario, the new salaries would be $178,819 and $176,000, or a $2,820 bigger cut for the poor soul who started out $2 ahead. This does not inspire confidence in our VPFA and VPBP’s ability to run our university’s finance and budgeting without supervision.

Here’s the schedule, with 5 scenarios and corresponding cuts, as calculated by the Administration:

The Administration’s full draft proposal is here. The Faculty Union’s full response is below.

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UO lays off 282 classified & OA’s, income doubles under UI for lowest paid

(Note: updated with info from an always well informed commenter, who also points out that this blog and its commenters sometimes come across as uncaring about the staff and OA’s who keep the university running. She is right, and for my part I resolve to try and do better on that.)

They will still get health benefits – thanks to work by HR. Assuming an average salary of $30,000, this will save UO about $2.2M a quarter, or 1/6 of a Jumbotron. It will be a windfall for the employees, except perhaps the most recent hires and ones who are paid the highest, who would be eligible for other policies, such as key employee insurance. This can help insure all the extremely essential employees a company has. For full-time workers at $15 an hour, instead of $500 or so a week take home, they will get ~$400 in regular unemployment benefits, plus the $600 per week CARES act add-on. Part time workers will do even better in percentage terms.

Of course first Oregon’s Employment Division needs to figure out how to get the checks out. Their COBOL system crashed again this weekend. For context, back on March 6th 1933, the day after his inauguration, FDR closed the entire U.S. banking system in response to bank runs. That week he had the Federal Reserve fly bags of freshly printed currency to banks across the country, and almost all banks were reopened and cashing paychecks by March 15.

President Schill’s message below the break:

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Oregonian reports on Pres Schill and AD Mullens’s sacrifices

Reporter James Crepea here, with a simple recitation of the facts and numbers:

EUGENE — Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens and UO president Michael Schill are among a group of the university’s top administrators taking voluntary pay cuts for at least the next six months — and possibly through the 2020-21 school year — and the school has instituted a hiring freeze due to the coronavirus.

Schill announced the measures, including a 12 percent reduction in his pay and 10 percent reduction for Mullens and 10 UO vice presidents, during a virtual town hall meeting for faculty members, staff and graduate employees on Thursday.

“Simply put, we are all going to have to make sacrifices,” Schill said.

… Mullens, who in under contract through June 2025, earns $717,500 salary plus deferred compensation, performance and retention bonuses. He is due a $200,000 retention bonus at the end of June.

Schill, who received a $100,000 bonus in December, is earning $720,000 in salary in the second of a five-year contract through June 2023 and is due $738,000 next year. He can earn annual bonuses up to $200,000 and also receives a $50,000 annual retirement contribution, vehicle stipend and is due a $200,000 retention bonus if he remains president until Sept. 30, 2021.

You can support the Oregonian’s reporting with a $10 a month digital subscription, here.

Or you can read the free Around the O’s version of events, by a former journalist now held in captivity by VP Kyle Henley in the bowels of Johnson Hall, here. A cry for help from Virtual Town – our common future:

As it turns out Mullens’s salary was actually $780K last year, plus a $100K retention bonus, plus some other bonuses and perks like a car and country club dues:

Here’s his 2015 contract, for some reason his new one is not posted at https://publicrecords.uoregon.edu/documents

[pdf-embedder url=”https://uomatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Mullens-2015.pdf” title=”Mullens 2015″]

Pres Schill, Prov Phillips, VPFA Moffitt to speak to fac & staff Th 4PM

I wonder how much Johnson Hall paid the consultant who told them it would be a good idea to have a $150K PR flack moderate this. It seems Moffitt refused to participate, or was disinvited. Her substitutes were not up to the job. The Emerald has some damning quotes here. No word yet on which sports Schill will cut.

Click to watch on youtube –  and yes, of course they disabled comments:

 

4/2/2010: I notice they are not bringing out the people who actually make the decisions: BoT Secretary Angela Wilhelms and VPBRP Brad Shelton. Yesterday’s version for the parents and students was heavily scripted and managed by PR flack Jennifer Williams, who ignored some students pointed online questions about tuition refunds. I’m hoping this session will be a little less DPRK.

Dear colleagues,

As spring term gets underway, we want you to know how much we appreciate everything you are doing to support our students and the campus community during this unprecedented time of disruption. We have heard so many positive and inspiring stories about the important work you are doing as we continue to deliver on our teaching and research mission. We are proud, heartened, and deeply grateful.

Modifying University of Oregon operations in response to COVID-19 is not without challenges, but we are confident that, together, our resiliency and fortitude will see us through. Many of you may have questions about the university’s response and the move to remote education and operations for the spring term. The rapid and dramatic changes may create uncertainty and stress for some. We want to make a concerted effort to be responsive to faculty and staff as key contributors to the university’s success. Given the pace of change, we don’t have all the answers, but we want to take your questions and share as much as we can.

On Thursday, April 2, at 4:00 p.m., the university will hold a virtual town hall for all faculty and staff. You can watch the livestream on this webpage. Submit questions ahead of time using this web form or ask questions during the town hall by emailing [email protected]. It will be recorded and posted on the town hall website for those who cannot join the live event.

The town hall panel will include university leaders who will address key components of our operational response, such as employee relations and benefits, academic support services, and technology and information services, to name a few.

As always, you can find the latest information about the UO’s response to COVID-19 at uoregon.edu/coronavirus and on the FAQ page. Information for faculty on remote teaching is available on the provost’s website and human resources information for faculty and staff is available on the HR website.

Take care of yourselves, be healthy, and we hope you can join us Thursday.

Sincerely,

Michael H. Schill, President and Professor of Law
Patrick Phillips, Provost and Senior Vice President Professor of Biology,
Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer

Union asks President Schill and Provost Phillips for job security for the 211 Career instructors up for renewal in June

The cost of a year of contract extension for these faculty would be roughly $16M, or to put it in terms our Board of Trustees can understand, 1.3 Jumbotrons:

Proposal for Career Faculty Job Security

Dear Colleague,

Earlier this morning, the leadership of United Academics sent the letter below to President Schill and Provost Philips. This letter was drafted after many meetings and hours of conversation between officers, stewards, and representatives in response to many statements of concern from Career faculty who are up for renewal this year. We have had a very good working relationship with the administration during the COVID crisis, and we are positive that relationship will continue as we discuss how to provide Career instructional faculty with the security they need to focus on their important work.


Dear President Schill and Provost Philips,

Over the past two weeks, more than 1000 faculty members have dedicated countless hours, while many were also juggling home-bound families and everyone was giving up a week’s vacation, to enable the university community to shift to remote teaching while maintaining the standards of a world-class university.

Along with our graduate employee colleagues, these phenomenal faculty will keep the university up and running; their work will ensure our students have a positive experience, learn the material they need to know, and can complete the classes they need to graduate on time.

Over their careers and the last two weeks, the University of Oregon faculty have made an extraordinary commitment to our students and to the university community.

Unfortunately, 211 Career faculty members have contracts that expire at the end of the term. All Career faculty who have expiring contracts face the permanent loss of their employment at the university. The administration has not made any commitment to these faculty.

United Academics calls on the administration to extend the employment for all Career faculty who have expiring contracts for the period of one year at their current FTE, save for those who can be non-renewed for documented performance reasons.

We understand that the university may be in a difficult financial situation should there be a large decrease in enrollment next year, and we appreciate the work the administration is doing to deal with this unprecedented crisis. We are more than willing to work with the administration to find solutions to these temporary challenges, without sacrificing our instructional faculty. We know we can do it if we work together.

Workers file complaints about Phildo construction during coronavirus

While UO faculty and staff need a hall pass from the dean to visit their office for 30 minutes, egofice construction continues. Nigel Jaquiss in WWeek, here:

Oregon’s Construction Industry Is Chugging Along Like It’s Still 2019. Some Workers Say That’s Dangerous.

Gov. Kate Brown’s March 23 order did not restrict construction sites. An avalanche of workplace complaints ensued.

… On big jobs like the Intel and University of Oregon projects (which include both the Hayward Field renovation and construction of the new Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact), there are also steelworkers, carpenters, pipefitters, electricians and concrete workers laboring at the same time on the same site.

“We call it ‘trade stacking,’ where one trade is getting on top of another,” says a veteran worker on the Hayward Field project, who requested anonymity because he’s not authorized to speak to the press. “And you’ve got guys who chew tobacco and spit everywhere or blow their noses with their thumbs because they are outside.”

The Hayward Field worker says the project’s general contractor, Portland-based Hoffman Construction, has issued strict instructions on social distancing—rules that, in practice, are not obeyed. …

Pres Schill to deliver remote State of UO & coronavirus town hall

Today at 2:30: https://president.uoregon.edu/virtual-town-hall:

Submit your questions for UO leadership now using an anonymous webform or emailing [email protected]. You can also submit questions during the live event by emailing [email protected].

Expectations are high:

Meanwhile in bathrooms across Eugene, faculty begin their remote lectures with the tools they have on hand: