Gottfredson builds stonewall higher

7/5/2013: Diane Dietz of the RG had a story last month on the problems with UO’s public records office, here. Now the Student Press Law Center has a report on UO’s efforts to prevent the Oregon Commentator, a student publication, from seeing President’s Gottfredson’s official calendar. Erlichman and Haldeman Hubin and Geller are pulling out all the stops on this one: in addition to the usual fees and delays, they’ve stopped the Commentator from using student fees that ASUO appropriated for the precise purpose of paying the UO administration for public records:

“We officially heard back from General Counsel,” Consuela Perez-Jefferis wrote to Ekblad. “They confirmed that the incidental fee money can’t be used for an outside party’s public records requests because incidental fee money is state money.” 

Perez-Jefferis could not be reached for comment despite multiple attempts. David Hubin, Gottfredson’s senior assistant, said that despite the email sent to Ekblad, the university’s attorneys haven’t made a decision yet as to whether the Commentator can pay for public records out of its budget. Hubin said that issue “is in front of our lawyers and each of the Oregon University system lawyers.”

Ah yes, the lawyers. I wonder whose side they’ll take on this one?

The Daily Emerald has had to set up a non-profit to solicit donations to pay Hubin’s fees, in order to get around this fresh attempt to prevent students from finding out what their university is up to. UO is even claiming that the names of the students that Gottfredson holds official meetings with – people like ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz, and so on, can be kept secret under FERPA. I don’t think that’s going to stick:

Adam Goldstein, attorney advocate for the Student Press Law Center, said It seems unlikely that most of what was redacted fits into the exemptions cited by the school. He also said that none of this information would be protected under FERPA. … 

Goldstein said there is no reason to redact student names because a president’s calendar isn’t a student education record under FERPA. 

“A president’s calendar is not part of a student’s educational file,” he said. “The subject matter of the meeting might be protected by FERPA, but the fact that the meeting happened isn’t.”

Read the whole story here. Gottfredson has repeatedly claimed he’s in favor of transparency, and repeatedly had the PR office and the General Counsel – both of whom report to him – stonewall in every possible way. Of course, as Paul Krugman noted in the NYT yesterday, this sort of hypocrisy is in some ways a hopeful sign – at least our president still has to pay lip service to the idea of transparency. 

Daily Emerald begs for cash to pay Hubin’s fees

6/25/2013: UO’s student-journalists at the Daily Emerald have started a non-profit to raise money to pay the fees UO charges them to see public records about UO. Their explanation is here and the donate button is here. Note that all donations are public. Dave Hubin’s response, in the form of a letter to the ODE Editor, is here:

… We are committed to supporting quality journalism, and as members of the university community, are particularly supportive of the work of students. …

The Oregon Commentator reports similar problems with UO public records here. Apparently UO has prevented them from using student money, appropriated by ASUO for the purpose of buying public records, for paying the $240 President Gottfredson is charging them to see a copy of his official calendar. And the Register Guard had a story last week here, on other UO public records problems. My response to Hubin:

You should be embarrassed by what you’ve said and not said here Dave. And also by what you’ve done, and not done about public records and transparency. 
For starters, you said that the meetings of your PR AAG – which you set up to subvert the Senate Transparency Committee – would be open to the public. But you’ve never even told UO’s student journalists when the PR AAG meetings would be. I found out about them by being persistent, and then told the reporters and posted the times and locations on UO Matters. At the last meeting you wouldn’t even let the student reporters ask questions.

The Senate Transparency Committee recommended fee waivers for UO student journalists in February. You said after the meeting that such a policy would be in place “expeditiously”. You’re still stalling.

Your 72% number for no fees is padded by including the many requests where the PR office simply forwards a link to an existing document. How many times has UO waived fees on the basis of a public interest claim since you’ve been in charge of the PRO office? 

I think the answer is zero. Occasionally you give 20% discounts, if Lisa Thornton likes what she finds when she googles the requester, and decides that the local community should know the information – but the requester often still has to pay hundreds of dollars. For details on the Dec 2012 meeting where we learned how ad hoc her methods were, try here:

You do waive fees for what the office considers to be simple requests. Or should that be “un-embarrassing public records”? Because you’re still stalling and trying to charge the students $240 to see Gottfredson’s official calendar. That’s just bizarre. 

You claim that response times are decreasing. Again, that’s because you include requests for things like coaches contracts, which are online. For anything else, it’s typical to wait two weeks, or longer, to get a response. Often there is no response at all until I petition the DA’s office. And even then responses typically involve a hefty fee and no substantive explanation for the fee-waiver denial. The office gets about 1 request a day – including the trivial ones – and has a budget of $240K and 2-3 staff. They can do better.
You and PR Officer Lisa Thornton attempt to justify these delays and fees for student-journalists by saying that’s the way the real world works, and dealing with these obstructions from their university is helping their education. Insulting.
I know that running the PR Office is not a job that you sought, or enjoy. But you’ve become a hypocrite about it, and you are now far to comfortable and facile with that role.
Bill Harbaugh
UO Economics Professor
UO Matters Editor

Or, as Vladimir Putin recently said, trying to get public records from UO is “like shearing a pig: there’s lots of squealing and little fleece.”

AAU update. RG calls out Gottfredson and Hubin on public records fees and delays.

Update: Can Oregon’s flagship university stay in the AAU? If so what do we need to do? That seems like a question of public interest. But not to President Gottfredson, whose public records office is trying to charge UO student journalists $94 for the records:

Public records fees charged by the UO continue to hamper the newspaper’s ability to get records that student reporters need, Stites said. For example, the UO said the Emerald would have to pay $94 for copies of correspondence between UO President Michael Gottfredson, Provost Jim Bean and the American Association of Universities, Stites said. 

“We haven’t been able to get it yet because we can’t scrape up the money because we’ve already used so much money on other public records,” he said.

At Gottfredson’s previous university, UC-Irvine, these sorts of records would be available at no charge. The University of Nebraska, the last university to get kicked out of the AAU, can charge for the pro-rated cost of the pdf scanner and the electricity it uses, but nothing else. Under Gottfredson UO has *never* waived fees on the basis of public interest.

And for the Potemkin Village press release story of UO’s public records office, check out Friday’s report in “Around the 0”.

6/16/2013: President Gottfredson seems hell-bent on raising journalists’s suspicions about the legislation for an independent UO Board. Diane Dietz of the RG has the latest story, which emphasizes the continued stalling by Dave Hubin and Gottfredson on a Senate Transparency Committee recommendation to give student journalists fee waivers, so that they can get information about UO and keep the students informed:

The debate is happening as the UO asks the Legislature to create an independent UO governing board — on the assumption that the board would govern the university as a public body in an open and transparent way.

So presumably Gottfredson is getting his marching orders to cut back on transparency from the donors pushing for a UO Board. Hubin has a lot of quotes about how complex it all is:

What if, Hubin said, a student wanted to know if faculty travel to conferences was done with the lowest carbon expense, and the student asked for records involving 60 departments? Would that be reasonable?

What if? That’s Hubin doing what he does best – running out the clock. In fairness to Hubin he did a great job implementing public reforms under Lariviere. He got the public records office to respond promptly and cheaply to public records requests. But now we’ve got a new president who hates transparency, and at the most recent meeting of Hubin’s public records advisory group Hubin wouldn’t even let the 3 student journalists present ask questions.

Meanwhile, Hubin is fine with letting his office charge Nick Ekblad of the Oregon Commentator $240 for a copy of President Gottfredson’s official calendar. And now UO won’t even let them use student funds to pay to see it. The RG quotes Frank LoMonte, attorney and executive director at the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va.:

“We tell people all the time that if the president won’t sit down and make himself available for an interview, then use your state open records law to get a copy of his appointment calendar and e-mails. If the president would open his door and sit down and make time for you, then you might not need his e-mails.”

Speaking of which, it’s now been more than a month and no answer from President Gottfredson to my question on how an independent UO board will be handled under the public records and meetings law:

The current draft says that most of ORS 192 will apply to “a university with a governing board” but it does not say that the board itself will be. Additionally, the intent is to have the board appointed by September of this year, although it doesn’t have any actual power for another year. Under ORS 192 this means the board’s meetings until then might not be subject to the open meeting rules, even if ORS 192 does apply to the board.

Student reporter Dash Paulson had an excellent ODE interview with President Gottfredson back in January, and extracted this quote:

When asked about transparency at UO, Gottfredson said, “I absolutely support it.” However, he didn’t dive into details. When asked about making public record requests less expensive (or free, as they are at his previous university) Gottfredson said, “That’s something we’ll look into.”

Sure. Gottfredson hasn’t let a student journalist interview him since. As for the rest of the press, Gottfredson told the RG last August that:

In the future, Gottfredson said, his presidential press conferences will be more substantive — and not like White House press briefings, where reporters are reduced to hollering their urgent questions at the president. 

“I look forward to meeting with all of you on a regular basis, and you won’t need to shout your questions,” Gottfredson told the assembly. “I may shout a few answers, but you won’t need to shout questions.”

That’s not happening. He’s withdrawn deep into the JH bunker. It’s sad. We’re a public university, we need a president who is not afraid to talk to the press and who is not afraid to share information with the public.

Update: And the contempt from the administration continues. Want to find out about the secret “Budget Advisory Group” where Gottfredson claims faculty have a chance to weigh in on budget priorities?

From: Jamie Moffitt
Subject: RE: [Econ_faculty_staff] cas-heads: Open Letter from the Deans to UO CommunityDate: June 16, 2013 8:16:07 AM PDT
To: Bill Harbaugh , Brad Shelton

Bill –

I would suggest that you contact the Office of Public Records for this type of document request.


Jamie Moffitt
Vice President for Finance and Administration & CFO
University of Oregon

 Here’s what Hubin told our accreditors in March:

2.F.3 The institution clearly defines and follows its policies, guidelines, and processes 
for financial planning and budget development that include appropriate opportunities 
for participation by its constituencies.

The UO engages several cross-functional teams to assist with budget preparation and
operational assessment. These teams include:
• Budget Advisory Group – comprised of students, faculty and staff; advises on
general fund allocations
• Tuition and Fee Boards – comprised of students, faculty, and staff; advises on
tuition and fees, and evaluates performance and projections.
• Internal Bank Advisory Committee – comprised of faculty and staff; analyze and
advise on debt-funded projects.
• Senate Budget Committee – comprised of members of the elected University
Senate; review and make recommendations on budgetary policy and long-term
financial strategies.

I’d say the reality is a little different. The SBC website is here – not a lot of consultation going on, much less reporting. The academic plan was drafted by Bean in 2009 and then forgotten about  (the 2011 date is when they located a copy of it – not when it was revised.)

The only link I can find to the “Budget Advisory Group” on the UO pages is to the accreditation report itself. How’s that for “appropriate opportunities for participation”?

However the faculty union did learn a little – see page 4 of this doc, which they were able to extract from Moffitt during bargaining. Basically the BAG deals with the small change that’s left over from Shelton’s budget allocation model. If Gottfredson even has a process for setting long-run budget priorities he isn’t letting the faculty get within a mile of it.

Secret slide update on Senate IAC expels student-journalists from meeting

6/6/2013 update: AAD for finance Eric Roedl’s secret athletic slides, with redactions, here. Oregon Commentator Nick Ekblad got them via a public records request, after the IAC voted to kick him out of their meeting on budgets and athletic subsidies. More below. Why in the world would the blacked out part be exempt from disclosure? No reason, most of the redacted numbers were simple 4% growth projections with a few blips to pay off their operating debt to the Foundation, and Kilkenny’s PK park balloon loan. Net income is always zero, because the AD spends any surplus on increasing their own salaries. Roedl’s just went from $170K to $190K.

5/28/2013: From UO student-journalist Nick Ekblad, of The Oregon Commentator:

Last Wednesday, the UO Senate’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (IAC) held a meeting at which AAD for Finance Eric Roedl was scheduled to give the IAC information about the athletic department’s budget and some projections about the next 6 years.
The UO Senate voted last week to require the Athletic Department to start paying back some of its subsidies, like that of the Matthew Knight Arena property, so this meeting had attracted myself from the Oregon Commentator, and two Daily Emerald reporters.
Right away there was tension in the air. This was the last IAC meeting of the school year and the AD still hadn’t released minutes from the previous meeting. Glen Waddell was met with an awkward silence when he asked about the delay in preparing the minutes.

“I’ve been really busy and haven’t gotten around to it,” the stenographer said.

Bill Harbaugh then asked IAC co-chair Andy Karduna if he had followed up on the request to the AD for the syllabus for the College of Education FHS 110 class that the athletics department requires all new players to take.
Karduna replied that he hadn’t, and had no plans to ever do so.
I had been under the impression that the IAC meeting was open to the public, as it was – until AAD Roedl realized that the media was present. And so began the discussion of whether or not to allow the media to stay during the presentation of revenue projections.
Some members of the IAC referred to the projections as “confidential… sensitive information”. When asked why projections would be “sensitive information”, those believing it to be sensitive did not want to discuss specifics because the reporters were still in the room.
Maybe the UO has patents pending on “long-term strategy and business plan” and Roedl doesn’t want competing universities to know the secret. I pointed out that “the information shouldn’t be sensitive as long as they are presented as ‘projections’ and not ‘promises’.”
Harbaugh backed me up, asking, “without going into specifics, why would projections be sensitive?”
“We’re dealing with projected ticket sales. This is sensitive information that should be kept confidential,” Roedl said.
Harbaugh then pointed out that that all five appointed student representatives were missing from the meeting, and argued that we student-reporters had a right to attend the meeting as we are indeed students and could tell the rest of the students where their money is going. Glen Waddell backed him up.
But the rest of the IAC was hostile. Someone was concerned that, with the media present, “the Athletic Department is not going to speak honestly.” That is a direct quote. After a moment, she corrected herself, saying, “I mean they might not speak fully”. Craig Pintens, the AD director of communication, kept his head low, buried in his iPad throughout the entire discussion.
There was then a debate regarding whether or not the meeting was technically public. Apparently this came up last year as well, the result being the IAC deciding that it was not a governing body and not subject to Public Meetings Law.
Harbaugh made a motion to allow the media to stay for the entirety of the meeting anyway, and Glen Waddell seconded it. However, most of the members of the committee present either voted “No” or abstained, keeping their heads down in shame. Members present included Karduna (Human Phys), Rob Illig (Law), David Koranda (Journalism), Donna Laue (English), Kurt Krueger (Printing), Dev Sinha (Math), and Jim O’Fallon (Law).
The Daily Emerald reporters and I begrudgingly left the meeting, but we were invited back at the very end. There were only a few slides left of the presentation and I learned that the Athletics Department’s total expenditure last year was $93.9 million. 34% of that went into Operations, 35% into Salaries and Benefits, 20% into Debt and 11% into Scholarships – athletic scholarships.
Student money has essentially been stolen but the majority of the IAC doesn’t think that students should be informed of specifics. In addition to the Matt Knight subsidization having been forced on ordinary students, $2 million of students’ money is spent per year in the Jaqua Center on personal tutors for student-athletes. 
Because the IAC kicked out student-reporters, it is obvious that the Athletic Department is afraid that students will not be blindly faithful to their Ducks, knowing that we pay to have their grades raised to a passing level.
 – Nick Ekblad

UO Matters:

Having been present for most of the financial presentation, I can say that I didn’t hear anything remotely confidential from Mr. Roedl. If The President’s Council of Economic Advisors can make their revenue and spending projections public why can’t the Ducks? The Daily Emerald has now filed a public records request for Roedl’s powerpoint, so I guess we’ll know after a few months of the usual delays – unless Dave Hubin charges another exorbitant fee.

Gottfredson, email, public records, and legal advice

President Gottfredson must have had some bad experiences with leaked emails while he was at Irvine. I don’t know anyone who has yet received a substantive email from him.

But he does read email – and apparently he’s a bit sensitive even about that. When I first asked for Randy Geller’s advice to Dave Hubin on public records policy, I got the email on the left. I petitioned the redactions to County DA Gardner, who ruled that while the text was exempt from disclosure under attorney-client privilege, Hubin’s office had to de-redact the header info, and provide the version on the right.

Sure enough, Gottfredson is in the loop. And he will not allow the public to see the advice that UO’s publicly paid General Counsel is giving UO’s publicly paid administrators on how UO, a public institution, should comply with public records law.

To add a little more meta, he doesn’t even want the public to know he knows what that advice is. And when he asked his assistant Dave Hubin to form a committee to look into public records policy, he even told Dave not to provide a written report. Not exactly transparent. 1/18/2013.

Admin Transparency Group 12/18/12 live-blog

Short version:

This “administrative advisory group” will not even make a written report to Gottfredson. Wouldn’t want to leave a paper trail on their transparency recommendations!

Meanwhile JH is spending tens of thousands of tuition dollars on “Around the O” PR spin, while nickeling and dimeing journalists and bloggers trying to get real information through the public records law. The SD Tribune has a good story on this trend:

There used to be one government PR specialist for every four reporters in America; now the relationship is almost 1-to-1.

But see below – UO’s Journalism Dean Tim Gleason (for a few more months) isn’t worried about the many hundreds of thousands UO spends on PR flacks – he’s worried about how to stop reporters from getting a few $1000 worth of UO public records without fees and delays.

On Roster: (italics if present)

Barbara Altmann, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Dietrich Belitz, Professor, Physics
John Bonine, Professor, Law
Julie Brown, Senior Director of Communications
Stuart Chin, Professor, Law School Dean designee
Tim Gleason, Journalism Dean
Laura Hinman, ASUO President
Dave Hubin, Chair and Convenor
Renee Irvin, Associate Dean for Finance, AAA; Associate Professor, PPPM
Orca Merwin, Contracts Specialist, Sponsored Projects Services
Jennifer O’Neal, University Historian and Archivist, UO Libraries
Allie O’Connor, Contracts Manager, Purchasing and Contracting Services
Craig Pintens, Sr. Assoc. A.D. for Marketing & PR, Athletics
Kim Sheehan, Professor, Journalism & Communication
Greg Stripp, Associate VP for Administration, Finance and Administration
Lisa Thornton, Public Records Officer, Office of Public Records
Jaime Tryon, Transfer Articulation Specialist, Registrar’s Office

Guests: Your blogger and an Anon reporter type, who must have found out about the meeting from this blog, because Hubin sure didn’t tell anyone.

They didn’t send it to me, sorry. Printed copy includes “best practices” stuff, something Kim Sheehan on “public interest”.

Live Notes: Usual disclaimer: My opinions of what people meant, not a quote unless in ” “.
Dave Hubin: Usual pleasantries. 1.5 years working on public records. Charge of this group: This is an AAG, not a committee because we want to cut the faculty and the STC out of things and that requires an end run around Kyr and the Senate.

Dave’s history: PRO formed 2 years ago by Lariviere because Melinda Grier fucked up. Turnaround time is now ~7 days. (Not true for the ones Geller steps on – i.e. everything of interest – those typically take ~30. DOJ says 10 is typically reasonable). Lariviere proposed fee waiver (not true: Senate had asked for this a year prior). Lariviere asked for log of requests and follow-through. (Not true. STC fought for this too.) Hubin says $ limit caused problems, still needed to convert time estimates to $. (How hard is that – it’s multiplication.)

Hubin then switched to one hour. He casts this as efficiency – in practice it lead to a large and noticeable decrease in responsiveness. Additionally, the interim PRO, Lisa Thorton, with Hubin’s blessing, stopped approving any fee waiver requests, a policy which continues to this day unless the requester is able to figure out how to embarrass the administration into it, as UO Matters did with the Oregon Hall air quality docs.

Hubin will not even share the opinion from Randy Geller which purports to justify PR Officer Thornton’s refusal to even explain her fee waiver denials. 

Kim Sheehan: Does the money go back to departments? (Not until UO Matters discovered it wasn’t, now it does.)

Lisa Thornton, PRO: Reviews PRO website, here. Sheehan: No anonymous requests? True – all names except students. Hubin: Good Q for group. We could. Hubin: We would allow this for whistleblowers. (Not true, I’ve tried it).

Dietrich Belitz: Who determines what gets posted automatically? Thornton: It’s only athletics contracts. These and other docs are hidden from Google, by our special $25,000 software, but if I have them and someone somehow finds that out, I send them out.

Hubin: This group could recommend posting more stuff – e.g. contracts over $100K. (Oregon law requires UO to do this annually, but Geller hides a lot anyway.)

Thornton: Comparison of that other AAU’s do. Claims one hour wavier is working – for whom? Still working on the definition of the public interest. Health (aftermath of Oregon Hall air quality fiasco and UO Matters pushing it). Wrongdoing – we waive fees if we think there’s evidence of wrongdoing. Sure you do. 20% discount for “traditional media”.

Rennee Irvin: Union? Not using PR

Tim Gleason: Back to his claim that law allows them to charge fees even when the public is interested. Wow does he have a problem with giving away documents to the public. He’s all about the “burden on the providing organization”. This guy is Dean of Journalism? Not for long it seems.

Hubin: It’s complicated. I’ve got handouts. Including one from John Bonine – I’ll add later.

Belitz: Why not put everything that’s clearly a public record up on the web – e.g. as Portland does with property records. (Many municipalities do this with many things). Hubin: We could do this, do we want to? Q for this group.

Jennifer O’Neal (UO archivist): Retention: State mandates retention schedule for UO docs. As of 3-4 years ago we ran out of space, now take in only after about 15 years. Have a grant to make them available to researchers. These now are getting utilized. We help PRO or work directly with requestors.

Hubin: How good a job are we doing with retention? 

O’Neal: Some dept’s are good, many don’t think about it, have staff. (And some are simply hiding things.)

Hubin: Thanks, that’s it. We’ll use doodle to find a time that we can hide from the public again.

O’Neal: Is this group going to come up with anything tangible, or just meet? (Let me guess – she’s new here.)

Hubin: I might take some of what you say to Gottfredson, I might not. It’s all advisory. Not even a written report!!!

Oregon loses to Tennessee on transparency

Both came from public records requests for invoices from the same firm, for their work on NCAA infractions:

UO’s redactions
UT’s redactions

Randy Geller has gotten much cockier lately, for Sharon Rudnick’s invoices he redacts everything
Richard Lariviere made a point of saying that the General Counsel’s office was out of control, firing Melinda Grier, and setting up an independent Public Records Office. But then Geller outsmarted Lariviere and hired Melinda Grier’s old friend Liz Denecke to run the office. Disastrous hire. After pressure from the Senate Transparency Committee Lariviere eventually put Dave Hubin in charge, and after more pressure – including a letter from Oregonian editor Peter Bhatia – he moved Denecke on to something less, uh, visible. 
But after Berdahl took over, Hubin started letting Geller walk all over him. And Gottfredson hasn’t done anything to fix UO’s public records problems – not yet anyway. At UC-Irvine public records requests went through Gottfredson’s office. Their policies are here and are a huge step up from Geller and Hubin. Example?


  • We typically provide requested documents in electronic form and there is no charge for this.  If, on the other hand, you are requesting a photocopy of records, you may be charged 10 cents per page for the duplication of documents (California Government Code, Section 6253(b)).  In the event that data must be queried, you may be charged with the associated programming and production costs (California Government Code, Section 6253.9(b)).

    Requesters will be notified of any associated costs prior to the release of documents.

More as this develops, starting with the meeting of Hubin’s administrator group, tomorrow at 9AM. 12/17/12.

Public records meeting, this Tuesday 9AM

in the Johnson Hall Conference room. This is the administrative group Dave Hubin set up to try and justify Berdahl’s decision to revoke Lariviere’s transparency efforts. Dave had told me the meetings would be open, but must have forgot to add me to the email list. It’s not really open if you don’t know where and when it is! I only found out about it because I happened to ask this morning. Thanks Dave.

Not clear if Randy Geller’s redaction problem will be on the table, but the DA’s ruling should be out soon. Meanwhile, things in JH have gotten so bad that Geller and Hubin have tried to refund the excessive fees they’ve been charging me – with redacted scotch. 

So who else is on Hubin’s team?

Barbara Altmann, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Dietrich Belitz, Professor, Physics

John Bonine, Professor, Law

Julie Brown, Senior Director of Communications

Stuart Chin, Professor, Law School Dean designee

Tim Gleason, Journalism Dean

Laura Hinman, ASUO President

Dave Hubin, Chair and Convenor

Renee Irvin, Associate Dean for Finance, AAA; Associate Professor, PPPM

Orca Merwin, Contracts Specialist, Sponsored Projects Services

Jennifer O’Neal, University Historian and Archivist, UO Libraries

Allie O’Connor, Contracts Manager, Purchasing and Contracting Services

Craig Pintens, Sr. Assoc. A.D. for Marketing & PR, Athletics

Kim Sheehan, Professor, Journalism & Communication

Greg Stripp, Associate VP for Administration, Finance and Administration

Lisa Thornton, Public Records Officer, Office of Public Records

Jaime Tryon, Transfer Articulation Specialist, Registrar’s Office

Some of these people have lots of experience stalling public records requests, I wonder if any of them have ever actually made one?

(Updated) Readers: Should I pay Hubin $236? Revealed preference: Yes

11/26/2012 update: Geller is still redacting the contracts and invoices on legal advice about the union – it’s been more than a month now since I asked for them. But Dave Hubin did send me a copy of the emails between him and Geller on the subject of UO’s fee-waiver denial. That’s right, UO is redacting Geller’s advice to Dave Hubin about granting fee waivers. Batshit crazy:

11/16/2012: We got 16 donations for a total of $180. I converted the bottle of scotch to its dollar equivalent and put us over the top. That hurt, but these public records will be public. Randy Geller is now going through Rudnick’s invoices with his magic marker – remember Randy, there’s a law about what you can’t redact, so keep a steady hand and when in doubt consult your GC Emerita.

I want to know why a simple request like this took so long. So I made another request:

… this is a public records request for any emails between your office, the GC’s office, and/or Dave Hubin about the public records request below. 

I ask for a fee waiver on the grounds of public interest. The public has an interest in how UO follows the public records law. The DOJ argues that 2 weeks is normally a reasonable time to fill a public records request. This was a simple public records request of the sort other public agencies typically fill within days, and which in the past UO has – sometimes – filled promptly. It’s now more than 3 weeks and it still has not been filled.

This round’s on me, but the chipin is still open, any additional donations go to refill the liquor cabinet.

11/14/2012: Three weeks ago I sent this to Dave Hubin’s public records office:

I am asking for any contracts or invoices for legal advice or consulting, legal or otherwise, relating to the faculty union, from 3/20/2012 to the present.

Yesterday, after a petition to DA Alex Gardner, I got back this:

Dear Mr. X:  

The University of Oregon has received your public records request “any contracts or invoices for legal advice or consulting, legal or otherwise, relating to the faculty union, from 3/20/2012 to the present” on 10/24/2012, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request.  By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.  

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $235.88. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure.  …

UO can waive fees on the basis of public interest, but Dave’s refused to do that. What do people think? Should I pay Hubin his money? 11/14/2012. And thanks to readers for the idea (it takes a while for donations to show up but we’re already at $25 $75 $125 + 1 bottle of scotch):

Hubin doesn’t appoint Grier to head public records committee

President Gottfredson has passed the public records buck to Dave Hubin, who has passed it to a committee. It’s a mixed bag of appointees, mostly administrators, ranging from apathetic to obviously conflicted to excellent. None have recent experience making public records requests to UO.

Their charge – or at least the part of it Hubin is willing to make public – is limited to questions about the FAQ on the Public Records website. Tell me you are joking Dave.

I wonder what this “Advisory Group” will do if they get information about violations of Oregon public records law by the PR or General Counsel’s office?

From: David Hubin
Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2012 1:48 PM
To: Barbara Altmann; Dietrich Belitz; John Bonine; Julie Brown; ASUO President; Renee Irvin; Orca Merwin; Jennifer O’Neal; Allie O’Connor; Craig Pintens; Kim Sheehan; Greg Stripp; ‘[email protected]‘; Timothy Gleason; ‘[email protected]
Cc: President Gottfredson; Public Record Requests; Deanna Heying
Subject: FW: The Membership and Meeting Plans for the Public Records Administrative Advisory Group

November 1, 2012

TO:         Members of the Public Records Administrative Advisory Group:
                                Barbara Altman, Professor, Romance Languages
                                Dietrich Belitz, Professor, Physics
                                John Bonine, Professor, Law
                                Julie Brown, Senior Director of Media Relations
                                Laura Hinman, ASUO President
                                Renee Irvin, Professor, Public Policy Planning and Management
                                Orca Merwin, Research Contracts Officer
                                Jennifer O’Neal, University Historian and Archivist
                                Allie O’Connor, Senior Contracts Manager
                                Craig Pintens, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Public Relations
                                Kim Sheehan, Professor, Journalism
                                Greg Stripp, Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration
                                Jaime Tryon, Transfer Articulation Specialist, Registrar
                                Tim Gleason, Dean, School of Journalism and Communication (or designe)
                                TBA, Dean, School of Law (or designe)

FROM:   Dave Hubin, Senior Assistant to the President

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for agreeing to serve on the new Administrative Advisory Group.  Your advice to our Public Records Office on the administrative functions associated with fulfilling our responsibilities will be valuable.

I anticipate that the group will meet once per term, with our first meeting in early December. The Office of the President will send you a “doodle calendar” with some possible dates and times for you to indicate your availability. Prior to our first meeting, I will send you an agenda and some materials related to our Public Records procedures. Public Records Officer Lisa Thornton and I will also be sharing information on how comparator public institutions within the AAU approach their public records services, as well as the approaches of sister institutions within OUS, and other public agencies within the state.

I encourage you to become familiar with our Public Records Office website  As you examine the website, I ask you to consider questions such as:

·         Is the site clear in its portrayal of the Public Records Office’s mission?
·         How can we make the online resources more complete and useful?  For example, is there a pattern to requests that suggests certain types of information in offices and units could be posted proactively?
·         Are there additional topics or questions that we should address in the FAQ’s?

Lisa and I look forward to working with you and to your counsel.



David R. Hubin, Ph.D.
Senior Assistant to the President
University of Oregon

UO fails public records audit, President in denial

The Daily Emerald reports their audit of UO public records requests finds significant problems with the UO General Counsel’s compliance with the law. But the president is denying anything is wrong:

“If there were a persistent violator or you had the door slammed in your face, that would indicate training would be needed,” he said. “Again, based on a scan, you haven’t persuaded me that the University is seriously deficient in something that indicates a systematic or even a careless inattention to the law.”

The UO president goes on to blame any lack of transparency at UO on Islamic terrorism:

“There are lots of things that in post 9-11, pre-9-11 would have seemed very innocuous, but people are in a very different frame of mind,” he said. “Granted some of that may even seem to approach paranoia, but it’s not unreasonable in terms of how some people have been urged to react in terms of those kinds of issues.”

Wait, sorry, that story is from 2005, and it’s about Grier. The quotes are from Frohnmayer, link here. This was five years before the $2.3 million Bellotti meltdown and the Grier firing, and was rather prescient.

Now that Frohnmayer’s longtime assistant Dave Hubin is in charge of UO public records, and Osama Bin Laden is dead, I’m sure everything is fine with UO transparency.

But maybe the Emerald should try making some public records requests, just to make sure? You could start with the Robin Holmes / EMU election manipulation emails – whoops, someone beat you to it. 10/31/2012.

Who is advising Gottfredson on union bargaining?

In March, during the union certification drive, I made a public records request for documents showing what law firms and consultants were advising Berdahl. I got these heavily redacted contracts and invoices. (Maybe a bit too heavily redacted, Randy?) No charge, though it did take a petition to Lane County DA Alex Gardner to get Geller moving on it. Today I asked for an update. The previous request was just before Hubin and Berdahl gutted UO’s public records procedures, so I’ll be interested to see what hoops JH makes me jump through this time. 10/24/2012.

Hubin tries to salvage his reputation on transparency

by passing the buck to an “Administrative Advisory Group”, though I suppose it’s possible he’s looking for cover to do the right thing.

Last I heard Dave was still claiming that the $200 fee waiver policy he and Berdahl rescinded in May had really only been implemented by Lariviere on a “trial basis”. The truth is it was just a bit too effective for our administration to stomach – particularly Bean and Geller, who suffered dearly from documents obtained using it. Berdahl of course had his own reason for hating public records laws. It will be interesting to see what sort of people Dave is able to convince to sit on this group. 10/9/2012.

[Sent 9/28/2012]
TO:                        Deans, Leadership Council, Executive Leadership Team
FROM:                 Dave Hubin, Senior Assistant to the President
Subject:               Public Records Appointment and Administrative Advisory Group                        

Dear Colleagues,
                I write with two purposes. First to announce the appointment of Ms. Lisa Thornton as the University’s Public Records Officer.  She comes to this position with exceptional qualifications and a deep commitment to our university and to public transparency. You might find it interesting to look at the website of our Public Records Office–, which includes a log of requests, a library of links to previously sought information, and a section of frequently asked questions.
                Second, I write to ask your assistance in forming a new Public Records Administrative Advisory Group, which will provide guidance and counsel on the  practices of our Office of Public Records. In comprising this group, I am seeking representation from across disciplines as well as across campus constituencies, including our teaching faculty, officers of research, officers of administration, classified staff and student body. The Senate Transparency Committee and the Senate Executive Committee will also be represented, with a member invited to serve from each committee.
I encourage you to suggest names of individuals you believe would offer productive and diverse contributions to this new administrative advisory group by Friday, October 12th.   Thank you.

Best Regards,
Dave Hubin

David R. Hubin, Ph.D.
Senior Assistant to the President
University of Oregon