Provost Coltrane credits faculty union for raises and UO hiring successes

It’s very promising to finally hear some non-confrontational talk from UO’s leadership about the positive effects of the faculty union:

UO full, associate and assistant professors make an average of $90,000 — $20,000 less than the AAU average, according to 2012-13 data from UO Office of Institutional Research. …

Coltrane said that one of the UO’s goals is to be more competitive in salaries. The collective bargaining agreement signed last year is the first step in doing so. The agreement guarantees smaller, but more frequent salary increases for faculty. Faculty will receive a total of three raises this year, each increasing by 1.5 percent of the base salary. In addition to the raises, faculty can also receive merit raises, though the process varies by department.

“How we get good at research is by hiring good faculty. That’s what it’s all about,” Coltrane said.

Jennifer Hernandez has an excellent, comprehensive story in the ODE, with a lot of other good quotes, more about NTTF contract improvements, and starting off with a depressing beer-barrel graphic, here.

Faculty union files grievance over delays in pay

2/5/2014 update, from an email sent to the UO faculty UO faculty union bargaining unit members from the union:

The contract language is clear: “All bargaining unit faculty members hired on or before June 30, 2012 will receive a salary increase equal to 1.5% of salary effective January 1, 2013.”

The university administration, however, has effectively denied this raise to many faculty members. Our efforts to resolve this issue informally have not worked, so we filed a grievance on behalf of all faculty who did not receive that increase to their base salary. This will be the first test of our new grievance process. We are confident that this process will compel the administration to honor the contract and grant faculty the raises that were negotiated.

What would Sharon Rudnick do if “The University” was this late in paying her invoices? Meanwhile, President Gottfredson has been much quicker – and more generous – in paying Tim Gleason. I wonder what his next blog post will say about that?:

1/21/2014: UO pays Tim Gleason $12,000 per blog post, while faculty lose $8,000 a month.

Latest Gleason post makes no mention of the administration’s delays in paying faculty raises.

1/19/2014: Former UO Journalism Dean is getting paid $218K a year by Gottfredson and Coltrane to communicate with the UO faculty about union contract implementation, and consult on “communication strategies and brand management”. But Gleason can’t even figure out how to use WordPress. His official UO contract implementation blog is here. It’s a mess – broken links, silly formatting, and inconsistent tags. Gleason’s blog handle is “UO CBA implementation team” – see the bottom of the screenshot. He’s been on the job for 2.5 months now, at more than $18K a month. Let’s round down, add OPE, and call it $60,000. I count 5 blog posts, so $12,000 per.

Meanwhile the latest rumor is that the administration has still not figured out how to pay the faculty the second round of raises. Your January paycheck will probably include the second 1.5% ATB raise, and it may include a raise from the 2013 2% merit pool, depending on your college. But it will probably *not* include the retroactive lump-sum payment of the raises for the months since July 2013. The administration has known they would have to pay this for almost a year – it was part of Rudnick’s March 2013 economic proposal – but apparently their accountants are overwhelmed with figuring out the sinecures for Gleason, Bean, and Frohnmayer.

The faculty will get that retroactive money eventually, but how much is UO saving by the delays? Including retirement contributions, the union payroll is about $10M a month, and 3.5% of that is $350K. Assume that Jamie Moffitt earns 5% a year on her reserves, ignore the 2012 ATB which was also late and offset that by counting Sept and Oct even though the CBA hadn’t been implemented:

Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 12.38.36 AM

The cost to you will vary according to your cost of credit, but the PERS contributions the university hasn’t been making on these raises would have earned 7.75%. If you’re in stocks via the ORP, you missed out on a fat fall quarter. Meanwhile UO has saved $18K so far by delaying the retroactive payments, and will save another $8K if they can push them off until the end of February. That will be almost enough to pay for half of Gleason’s salary:

Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 12.55.58 AM


Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 5.07.33 PM

Gleason’s mission:

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 5.21.25 PM

Full contract here.

Admin pays merit, retroactive catch-up

This is calculated for 9 month employees with average merit and equity raises. Go to Duckweb, employee information, earnings statement, then 2014. I’m in CAS and this now shows all the raises for July 2013, plus the retroactive payments. Other colleges may not have received the merit yet. You can back out your merit increase by looking at your job record change for Jan 2014 – there should be 1.5% ATB in there, the rest is Merit. If you are missing something, please post a comment. From what I can tell UO still hasn’t paid faculty on the ORP any of the raises or retroactive payments – just that goat.

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 9.37.59 AM

You might also want to check out Tim Gleason’s incomprehensible blog post on the raises, here.

UO to hire faculty labor director

Update: Make that 2:

President Gottfredson blew $1M on Sharon Rudnick and her helpers. After first putting Jim Bean in charge of bargaining, he’s now paying the feckless Tim Gleason $218K a year to work on contract implementation and strategic communications about the CBA. He’s paying $122,004 to Sam Hill, a new helper lawyer for Randy Geller who is apparently getting schooled by Rudnick. And Jeff Matthews, another Harrang lawyer, is getting some ridiculous hourly rate to negotiate the GTFF contract – the first time the UO administration has ever called in outside lawyers on the grad student union.

And now he decides to hire a professional to handle the administration’s labor issues? Better late than never, I guess:

Director of Faculty Labor Relations
Academic Affairs

Posting: 13537
Location: Eugene
Closes: Open Until Filled
Title: Director of Faculty Labor Relations
Department: Academic Affairs
Reports to: Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and the Chief Human Resources Officer
Term: 1.0 FTE for 12 months (renewable annually)

Salary Range: $120,000+

Review Date: Search will remain open until filled. To ensure consideration, please submit an application by February 7, 2014
Start Date: As soon as possible

General Responsibilities:

The Director of Faculty Labor Relations (DFLR) reports to the Senior Vice Provost and Chief Human Resources Officer. The person in this position is responsible for the implementation and day-to-day administration of the University’s collective bargaining agreement with United Academics, the AAUP/AFT union representing more than 1800 tenured-track and non-tenure-track faculty. The director’s activities will include: Providing collaborative and consultative advice and counsel on labor contract interpretation, application, and compliance for the university; Collaborating with peer directors and other members of the Academic Affairs and HR management team to ensure that all units working concert to provide seamless service and support to the university; Leading fact finding investigations, responding to information requests, and representing the university at arbitration, mediation, and appeal hearings; Conducting analysis and assessments, preparing reports and advisories, and recommending policies and programs that enrich and promote the integrity of the university’s faculty and labor relations functions; Keeping current in the occupational field to include new developments in concepts, practices, and regulations; Researching and analyzing the impact of changes in regulations and trends on operations.

This position demands a firm commitment to serving the University with sensitivity and professionalism. The position requires abundant self-confidence and the ability to multi-task many cases, processes, and unplanned happenings at one time. The ability to handle confidential material appropriately and maintain an institutional perspective is also critical.

Is the faculty union preventing faculty raises?


Sharon Rudnick, Doug Blandy, and Tim Gleason repeatedly claimed this during the contract negotiations, as did many other UO administrators. The union team called them out on it every time. After the contract was signed these claims persisted, despite clear contract language to the contrary. So the union sent the provosts and deans a letter explaining that the union raises were lower bounds, and that UAUO had no objections to the administration giving faculty additional raises for retention, internal equity, external equity, merit, or any other reason. Apparently the administration is still confused on this point – or at least some administrators are still purporting to be confused. Many UO departments still have average wages far below comparators. The union negotiated for money to fix this, but were told no. And it is still not the union that is the obstacle to fixing this problem.

(Meanwhile the administration will reportedly implement the 2nd 1.5% ATB raise and the 2% merit in the January paycheck, along with a lump-sum for the retroactive amounts. No word yet on what interest rate they’ll pay the faculty for being late on this. See here for some rough math on how much you’ll get. Or try Tim Gleason’s $218K contract implementation blog, here. On second thought don’t, it’s useless.)

The union’s latest statement on “extra-contractual raises”, from an email sent to the faculty a few days ago:


Q. Does our new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) prohibit the administration from granting raises to individual faculty above the levels required in the agreement?

A. ABSOLUTELY NOT. There is no language in the CBA that prohibits the administration from offering raises above the levels required by the contract (e.g. in a retention effort when the UO grants a raise to a faculty member who has received an outside offer). As long as such raises do not diminish the contractually guaranteed pools allotted for equity and merit raises, are disclosed to United Academics, and are implemented through a transparent and fair process, the Administration retains the authority to grant such raises at its discretion.

If you have been incorrectly told by an administrator or unit head that they are prevented from granting such extra-contractual raises because of the CBA or the union, please contact United Academics immediately at 541 636 4714 or [email protected].

Q. Does our CBA place a new restriction on faculty leave, engagement, or reporting responsibilities between fall and winter terms?

A. ABSOLUTELY NOT. The new CBA does formalize a paid leave for most bargaining unit members for the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. But there are no new campus-wide policies regarding expectations for faculty engagement in research, service and teaching between fall and winter terms that supersede existing practices and expectations within units. As in the past, bargaining unit members should consult with their respective unit heads or supervisors if they have questions about their expected engagement during this period.

A memo sent by the Office of the General Counsel to department heads and some faculty during the week of December 11 inaccurately implied that the CBA instituted new campus-wide changes to such policies. The CBA does not institute such changes, and it does not grant the General Counsel the authority to dictate such policy to individual units.

If you have been incorrectly told that the CBA has mandated a new campus wide change to faculty reporting and engagement responsibilities between fall and winter terms, please contact United Academics immediately at 541 636-4714 or [email protected].

Q. The UO has made a mistake in the amount of money deducted from my November paycheck for United Academic dues or fair share fees. What should I do?

Our new CBA stipulates that the UO is responsible for administering the required payroll deductions (1.1% of gross pay, as voted by United Academic members). For members of United Academics, the amount is deducted as dues. For those who have not yet elected to join United Academics but are still covered by the CBA and represented fully by the union, the same amount is deducted as fair share fees, as provided by state law.

Bargaining unit members pay dues or fair share fees only when they are actively employed by the UO and receiving a paycheck (e.g. no dues or fees are deducted during the summer months for faculty on a 9-month contract and not teaching summer school).

Dues and fair share fee deductions from November paychecks included both the standard November deduction as well as a pro-rated portion for October, since the CBA was ratified and went into effect in mid-October. (Our raises were similarly pro-rated).

If the UO has made an error in calculating and deducting your fair share or dues amounts, please contact UO Human Resources at 541 346-2964. The union’s contract implementation team has received a commitment from the Administration that the errors they have made will be rectified quickly.

Admin to fund raises for grants

The union CBA says research faculty will get raises. The administration signed the CBA. The research faculty *will* get their raises. This memo from VP for Research  Espy explains that the money will not come from UO’s research fund – it will come from VP for Finance Moffitt’s emergency fund. $300K. Hell, that’s less than the cost of a Bean.

Problems with retroactive 1.5% ?

The person who forwarded this email thinks it relates to faculty who should have got the first 1.5% retroactive payment on their summer pay, but didn’t:

Dear University of Oregon Faculty Member:

As you are likely aware, the United Academics Collective Bargaining Agreement took effect this last month.  This resulted in an across the board increase of 1.5%, retroactive to January 1st of this calendar year.  You are receiving this message because you are likely missing some or all of the pay for that retroactive increase.  We apologize for this delay.  Unfortunately, our office was not able to complete all of our processes in order to have all of the retro pay applied to the November pay check.  We are continuing to process these payments, and anticipate them to be complete by Friday, 12/6/13.  Deposits processed on 12/6/13 should be deposited to bank accounts by Tuesday 12/10/13.  If you are expecting an additional payment, and do not see it in your account by the morning of 12/10/13, please contact Chad Hartvigsen at [email protected] or by phone at 6-1106.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Union delivers the goat! But check your pay-stub for raises.

11/25/13: UO’s Payroll Office just sent around an email reminding everyone that the 1.1% dues/FS deductions start with this paycheck (If you are wondering why the dues and fair share deductions are the same for now, read point 2, here.):

From: BAO Payroll Office News
Subject: payroll: United Academics Union Dues and Fair Share Deductions on Nov 30th Paycheck

The United Academics Union has authorized the university to deduct the dues and fair share on a monthly basis from the paycheck of Union members. The dues and fair share rate is 1.1 percent of the monthly salary. The deductions were included on the November 30, 2013 paycheck, and are retroactive to the ratification date (October 8, 2013) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Since these are retroactive to the contract ratification date of 10/9/13 they are actually 1.92%, for this month only. This deduction is on the pay-stub at the bottom, under “United Academics”. The goat is sacred: the union is not deducting dues/FS from it or from the retroactive payments described below.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that the email from the administration doesn’t mention the raises the union negotiated, or the status of their implementation by UO. My advice is log on to Duckweb and check your pay-stub yourself. Go to Employee information, pay information, earnings statement, display, then click on Nov 27. Here’s my very unofficial rundown. Fact-checks are welcome in the comments:

  1. If you were on the payroll as of 10/8/2013, you should get the $350 goat money.
  2. If you were hired on or before 6/30/2012 you should get the goat, a 1.5% ATB raise (The 2013 FY ATB raise) and a catch-up payment for the 1.5%, back to 1/1/2013 in this paycheck. That catch-up payment should be a healthy 10.5% of your (old) monthly pay. In January the administration will add the 2014 1.5% ATB and your merit raise from a 2% pool (you are meritorious, right?) to your pay. These are retroactive to 7/1/2013, so there will also be another significant catch-up payment in January – on average, 15.75% of your (new) monthly pay. In July 2014 you’ll get another 1.5% ATB and be eligible for a 3.5% merit pool and a 1.5% equity pool. 
  3. If you were hired between 7/1/2012 and 12/31/2012, you get the goat but won’t get any ATB in this paycheck. But in January you should get the 2014 ATB and your merit raises, and a catch-up payment for these, back to 7/1/2013. In July 2014 you’ll get another 1.5% ATB and be eligible for a 3.5% merit pool and a 1.5% equity pool.
  4. If you were hired after 12/31/2012 and on or before 12/31/2013, in July 2014 you’ll get another 1.5% ATB and be eligible for the 3.5% merit pool and the 1.5% equity pool.

NTTF’s: All the above applies, except instead of the equity pool and raise for 7/1/2014, there will be a pool for salary floors. Details are still being worked out.

 Research faculty: I think discussions about how to handle raises for grant funded faculty are still under way. 

TRP: If you are on the TRP you will probably get the goat this month, but not the 1.5% raise or catch-up payment. The administration should have paid these, but didn’t. The union is working to fix this.

Summer money and 12 month faculty: If you are on 9 months, but got summer pay, the catch-up payment will not reflect that. The union is still working this out with the administration. I don’t know what happened if you are on a 12 month appointment.

As I said, this is all unofficial. The administration is still working on implementation, and I advise patience if your pay is not correct. But it’s a good idea to check your pay-stub!

And remember, the union worked hard to get more money for merit and equity than the administration was willing to provide. It seems that someone had sucked the well dry. Negotiations for the July 2015 contract will start in the middle of the next rainy season, in 14 months or so.

Update: Looks like the union bargaining team took Sharon Rudnick and Tim Gleason for a ride – the going price on craigslist is only $70 – albeit for a castrated dwarf:

Union Exec Council

11/23/2013: The official announcement is on the UAUO website. No Executive Council positions were contested, so the names below will constitute the Exec Council until the next election, in May 2015. Elections will be in May of odd years, see the UAUO constitution and by-laws for the mind-numbingly democratic details.

The 51 Representative Assembly slots are by rank and unit. 16 slots had no nominations, and the Exec Council may appoint people to fill those slots. There will be an election for the TTF Humanities Representative Assembly members, which had more nominations than slots. So ballots will be mailed to TT Humanities faculty only.
UAUO Executive Council:

President ○ Michael Drieling (Soc)

Executive VP ○ Deborah Olson (Education)
Secretary ○ Kira Homo (Libraries)
Treasurer ○ Bill Harbaugh (Economics)
VP for Tenure Track Faculty Affairs ○ Gina Psaki (Romance Languages)
VP for Non-Tenure Track Instructional Faculty Affairs ○ Ron Bramhall (Business)
VP for Non-Tenure Track Research Faculty Affairs ○ Nathan Dunn (CASIT)
Chair of the Diversity of Equity Committee ○ Jane Cramer (Poli Sci)
Chair of the Grievance and Contract Administration Committee ○ Deb Merskin (Journalism)
Chair of the Organizing, membership, and Communications Committee ○ Daniel Martinez HoSang (Ethnic Studies)
Chair of the State and Higher Education Issues Committee ○ Joe Lowndes (Poli Sci)

Update on admin fact check site

The University of Oregon administration has been bargaining a union contract with the UO faculty’s AAUP/AFT affiliate local since November. I regularly blog about the bargaining sessions. In February the University of Oregon’s administrative bargaining team wrote an unsigned “Open Letter” to the UO community, saying:

“We write this letter to our University community because we believe it is both necessary and appropriate to inform you of circumstances that are significantly impeding the on-going bargaining between the University and United Academics—the continued reporting of biased, erroneous and inflammatory reports from the bargaining table by Professor Bill Harbaugh on his blog, UO Matters, and Mr. Harbaugh’s insertion of himself into the bargaining process by filing repeated public records requests for information directly related to bargaining. We have raised this concern privately with the UA bargaining team several times, and the response each time is the same: what Mr. Harbaugh reports regarding bargaining is not our responsibility and there’s nothing we will do about it. Given the Union’s unwillingness or inability to address this matter, we have decided to bring it directly to the University community’s attention. …”

The administration’s bargaining team is led by the University’s General Counsel Randy Geller, and includes Senior VP for Academic Affairs Doug Blandy, Journalism Dean Tim Gleason, VPAA Barbara Altmann, and hired attorneys Sharon Rudnick and Kate Grado, from the HLGR law firm.

I thought this letter was more embarrassing to its authors than to me – although a few colleagues thought it was defamatory and professionally damaging. I mostly ignored it except for a letter to university President Mike Gottfredson asking him to disown it, which he did not respond to.

Then the administration rejected the union’s free speech and academic freedom proposals, countering them with restrictions that would give university administrators the ability to discipline faculty for criticism of the administration, which I frequently engage in.

At that point I made a public records request to get information about the authors of the letter and how it came about that Mr. Geller, an attorney, would approve putting such a thing on university letterhead and posting it on an official university website. Or alternatively, if your attorney allows, you may be able to get a letterhead template from somewhere like MyCreativeShop or somewhere similar.

To add to the absurdity, President Gottfredson’s Public Records Office, which is supervised by his Special Assistant Dave Hubin, replied by saying that I would have to pay $225 to see those documents:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any emails, letters, or memos sent to, cced on, or received by UO General Counsel Randy Geller, regarding the 2/28/2013 open letter from the UO administration’s faculty union bargaining team to UO Economics Professor William T. Harbaugh…”, on 08/20/2013, 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 $225.56.

The letter, and my unanswered reply to President Gottfredson are below:

My Response:

From: Bill Harbaugh
Subject: your Feb 28 open letter about Professor Bill Harbaugh
Date: April 12, 2013 6:22:40 PM PDT
To: Sharon Rudnick , Randy Geller
Cc: James Bean , doug park , Barbara Altmann , Timothy Gleason , Doug Blandy , [email protected], William F GARY , [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], Bruce Blonigen , “[email protected] Coltrane” , President Gottfredson
, “[email protected]” , Ryan Hagemann , Robert Kyr , Margaret Paris

Dear Ms Rudnick and Mr. Geller:

I’m writing you in regard to the Feb 28 “Open letter from the UO Bargaining Team” which is attached, and which is posted on the official University of Oregon website for faculty contract negotiations, at

A colleague came across this website a week or so after the letter had apparently been posted, and alerted me to it. I thought it was pretty hilarious, particularly in its discussion of the UO Matters blog at, which I edit, and in regard to the claims that I am “indelibly associated” with the faculty union.

In truth I fought long and hard against faculty unionization. I signed the membership card only at the end, because I wanted to be on the winning side, where I could make a difference. I have made it very clear on my blog and in conversations with many UO administrators that I am still quite skeptical of faculty unions and that my ultimate loyalty is to the University of Oregon and to the principle of public education for which it stands. I regularly tell the union organizers I will turn on the union the moment it starts doing more harm than good to this principle, and I’m pretty sure they believe me.

But I digress. Many UO faculty have now told me that I should be outraged by your letter, that it is harmful to my professional reputation, and even that it constitutes “defamation per se”, whatever that means.

While I’m no lawyer, on closer reading I think they may have a point. The letter is on UO letterhead, is posted on an official UO website, is addressed to my academic colleagues in my university community, and it even uses my professional title:

“We write this letter to our University community because we believe it is both necessary and appropriate to inform you of … the continued reporting of biased, erroneous and inflammatory reports from the bargaining table by Professor Bill Harbaugh …”

The letter and the website also make some damaging accusations about my actions and intentions, stating them as if they were facts. I note in particular the statement that my blog is “consistently anti-university”, and “He has also filed frivolous and repeated records requests for information directly related to bargaining.” I’m thinking maybe that was supposed to say “not directly related to bargaining” but regardless, I am not the sort of person who takes accusations of frivolity lightly, even confused ones. Economics is a serious subject, and no potential employer would want to hire a professor with a reputation for joking around.

However the strangest part of this open letter is that a group of UO administrators and attorneys would write something like this, put it on official UO letterhead, post it on an official UO website, and then not sign their names to it.

So, I am writing to ask Ms Rudnick, who is apparently the leader of this team, or perhaps more appropriately Mr. Geller, her immediate supervisor at UO, to send me the names of the people on the “UO Bargaining Team”.

I’m ccing all the people I’ve been able to identify as potential members of the UO Bargaining Team, from the website, the HLGR invoices, and a few other sources. I’ve also cced my department chair, CAS Dean Coltrane, President Gottfredson, OUS Chancellor Rose, OUS General Counsel Ryan Hagemann, current UO Senate President Kyr and incoming Senate President Paris.

I’d appreciate a prompt response, listing the names of the people on the UO Bargaining Team. If any of the team members want to disavow the letter, I’d appreciate it this would be posted on the website where the letter appears. Feel free to also post this letter if you’d like, and let me know if you’d like a signed copy on UO economics department letterhead.


Bill Harbaugh
Professor of Economics
1285 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403

10/20/13 update: The administration’s fact-check website about the faculty union negotiations cost the academic budget about $250,000. It was unceremoniously taken down a week or two ago, and has now been quietly replaced by a new, partially sanitized site at The new site keeps some of the old fact-check stuff, such as

Claim: UO Matters blogger Bill Harbaugh is also acting as an economic consultant for United Academics. Tuesday, when the UA bargaining team left the table to caucus, he went with the team. But that doesn’t mean he can get his numbers right.

but it removes the “open letter” from the administration’s bargaining team that accused me of being “consistently anti-university” and “indelibly associated with United Academics”. It also removes all links to that letter. It’s as if Rudnick and Geller never wrote it. (I’ve got an archive of the entire old site, let me know if you want the files.)

Under the resources tab, the administration’s site provides a helpful (if it weren’t broken) link to an Inside Higher Ed story that vaguely supports VPFA Jamie Moffitt’s arguments for increasing UO’s reserves, but I can’t find any mention of the more critical Inside Higher Ed story reporting on President Gottfredson’s efforts to limit academic freedom and freedom of speech. I’m happy to provide both: Budget story here, academic freedom story here, more on that issue and links to other stories here.

President calls for more academic freedom!

10/14/2013 update: 

That would be President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. The Chronicle has the story.

9/16/2013 update: InsideHigherEd reports on UO Academic Freedom fight

UO’s free speech fight has gone global. Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed broke the story on Thursday, then CUNY’s Cory Robin posted his take on his blog and on the popular Crooked Timber (tagline: Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made). He included a call to faculty worldwide to write President Gottfredson about this nastiness, and from the emails I’ve seen, they certainly have. The pro academic freedom Foundation for Individual Rights in Education blogged about it here, and Betsy Hammond of the Oregonian has a related story here. Info on the administration’s bizarre “open letter” accusing me of being anti-university is here.

9/12/2013 update: I really hope the UO administration and President Gottfredson think this post is sufficiently civil and respectful. I’d just hate to get disciplined for being too blunt in a post about free speech. Their “open letter” post about me is here.

Today, reporter Colleen Flaherty of has an excellent story on the academic freedom debates occurring between the UO faculty union and the administration, here. (See below for the live-blog of the 4/17/2013 Senate meeting leading up to a unanimous vote in favor of the Academic Freedom Policy, which President Gottfredson then rejected.):

… Oregon’s existing policy [Approved by President Lariviere] calls free inquiry and free speech “the cornerstones of an academic institution committed to the creation and transfer of knowledge.” The belief that an opinion is “pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or ‘just plain wrong’ cannot be grounds for its suppression,” it says. …

Margaret Paris, professor of law and president of the Faculty Senate, has not been involved in union negotiations but said that the union statement likely would set a precedent for the ultimate Senate document, since it would be difficulty to work off two different policies when most of the faculty belong to the union (although law professors do not).

Paris also said she was aware of the university’s preference [I think this should read Randy Geller’s preference] to decouple academic freedom and free speech in the final Faculty Senate statement, and that she would likely support it. Because the document applies to all university employees, it makes sense that academic freedom – which protects faculty but not staff – deserves individual attention, she said.

Oregon’s administration works closely with the Faculty Senate and Paris is looking forward to a collaborative process finalizing the document, she said. 

The new UO policy, unanimously approved by the Senate, which Gottfredson refused to sign, said:

Freedom of Speech 

All University employees retain the right to address any matter of institutional policy or action without fear of institutional discipline or restraint. They also are guaranteed the protections of freedom of speech with regard to any matter, so long as it is clear that they are not acting or speaking on behalf of the University. 

Contractual Force of Policy 

This Policy on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech shall be given contractual force by incorporation into pertinent contractual and collective bargaining agreements and individual letters of appointment. It shall be incorporated into the Faculty Handbook and the UO University Policy Library.

Gottfredson rejected this Senate policy back in May or so. Does anyone know if the Senate ad-hoc committee has met to try and work out the changes he asked for? I can’t find anything in the UO policy library, just what Lariviere approved in 2010.)

Bill Harbaugh, professor of economics and moderator of the “UO Matters” blog, which is frequently critical of university policy, said decoupling academic freedom from free speech left room for administrators to punish those faculty – like him – who say things administrators don’t like. He also objected to the idea that administrators would be the ones deciding what qualifies as “civil.” 

The university has previously publicly accused Harbaugh of including “consistently anti-university” statements on his blog. …

Asked about the civility clause, [Dave] Hubin said Oregon has a long history of promoting respectful discourse – one that’s covered by the university’s existing policy on academic freedom and free speech: “It is the responsibility of speakers, listeners and all members of our community to respect others and to promote a culture of mutual inquiry throughout the university community.” Any determination of what’s civil would likely include faculty input, he said.

The reporter apparently couldn’t get an interview with Gottfredson – I don’t think anyone has since January, when ODE student reporter Dash Paulson asked him why he’d cracked down on public records. But she includes a boilerplate email from him about how great freedom is.

Here is the live-blog of the 4/17/2013 Senate meeting (by a guest blogger) leading up to a unanimous vote in favor of the Academic Freedom proposal that President Gottfredson then rejected:

3.2 Motion (Policy Adoption): Academic Freedom & Freedom of Speech;
Margie Paris (Law), Senate President-Elect & Chair, Academic Freedom
Review Committee

Presumably Mr. Geller will be there to defend his work, which should be interesting. It looks to me like the Senate committee handling this did a bang-up job editing the proposal from our administrative overlords:

Geller had removed “they are entitled to comment on our criticize University policies or decisions” from the original draft, and added a lot of other restrictive language. Because this free speech stuff is dangerous, and we don’t want our students getting any ideas from the faculty.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: this blog has never criticized University policies or decisions. Just administrative ones. Which makes me a little worried about this job ad:

Campus Operations

That’s right, the president’s counsel is hiring “plumbers” to conduct “campus operations”. We know where that leads.

Notes: Seems like Geller chickened out.

Kyr reads the motion.

3:34: Margie Paris gives history of this motion: a committee in 2010 made a “very able and well-written draft” passed by the Senate and submitted to Administration. “A lot happened and it was not approved.” The GC office had “suggestions and changes” it wanted to see in the policy. When Gottfredson arrived, Kyr asked him for permission to take up the three policies—facilities, academic freedom, I forget the 3rd

The new committee started with the language that the UO Senate had approved. “This version is very close to the original language the Senate had approved.” Small committee of Paris and 3 others accepted some of the GC office’s suggestions, and discarded others. Tightened up the preamble, mentioned the mission statement of the UO.

Margie: “I didn’t realize how impt these statements are, not only in their own right but because accrediting bodies ask to see these statements.”

Adkins: asks to amend the policy to include officers of administration, who are not included in this policy but deserve this freedom as well.

“The University protects academic freedom, and Officers of Instruction, Research, and Administration [“faculty members”] shall enjoy…”

Passes unanimously.

Psaki: again, simple and uncontroversial.

Sinclair: “the freedom to teach”: does this mean anyone can walk into a classroom and teach?

Paris: No. Read the context.

Foster: Curious about the interpretation of “so long as it is clear that they are not acting or speaking on behalf of the university.” The interpretation of that can be quite wide. Nationally people have been identified as a professor, and were penalized for that. How far do you have to go to establish that you are not speaking on behalf of the university, and what does that mean anyway?

Paris: I’ve thought long and hard about this. This is a change suggested by GC. If I write an editorial, I should specify in it that I’m not speaking on behalf of the U. We have certain freedoms due to our role, and we have the responsibility to clarify when we are not speaking for the institution.

Foster: It’s actually very unusual for professors to state this. It’s usually taken for granted. Does this then apply to academic articles? TV appearances? Radio interviews? It’s actually a new requirement, and awkward. I don’t want to be seen as supporting Ward Churchill, but there have been cases where people have been disciplined for speaking their minds and identified as professors—how far does this go?

Merskin: In wrtg we often say “in my 20 years of teaching” etc. we refer to our prof. exper. to back up our point of view.

We weren’t asking for a statement everyone should make, which would restrict freedom of speech.

Kyr: a statement of intent.

Paris: there are many situations and contexts where it is quite clear that one is not speaking for the university. Where there might be ambiguity or confusion, it’s appropriate to add a statement. This would clearly not apply to research publications.

Jin: what does “to fulfill the demands of the scholarly enterprise” mean?

Paris: this is from the original draft; it’s a way of articulating both the freedom and the responsibility it entails.

Jin: What kind of scholarly enterprise? Am I free to deny requests for my syllabus from people who aren’t enrolled?

Paris: the ‘demands’ in question aren’t any demands anyone might make of you; they are the demands that are part of your job.

Motion passes unanimously. Yippee!

9/9/2013 update: As discussed below, The UC system recently worked in cooperation with its faculty to develop a strong statement on academic freedom and freedom of speech. I got curious about what position if any President Gottfredson took in that process, so I made a public records request last night to UC-Irvine for his related emails:

This is a public records request for any emails, memos, or other documents sent to or received by former UC-Irvine Provost Michael Gottfredson, dealing with the UC system’s new policy on academic freedom, which is described in this IHE news story: 

This request covers the period 1/1/2008 to the termination of Provost Gottfredson UC employment, or the closing of his UC email accounts, if that was later.

10:30 this morning, I get this response from the UC-Irvine public records office:

With regard to the time needed to process your request, please note that we are not the office of record for these requests and we cannot tell you how long the search will take at this time.  We will let you know what the results of our search are as soon as possible.

With respect to fees, please note that our office typically waives the cost and no fees are expected for your request. 

We will process your request today.  You should see an official acknowledgement email from us shortly.

Meanwhile, here at UO, Dave Hubin’s public records office is still trying to charge me $225 to tell me who which UO anonymous administrators wrote that “Open Letter to the UO Community

 9/8/2013: Gottfredson to gut Senate’s Academic Freedom Policy:

 The current UO policy on Academic Freedom is here:

… Free speech is central to the academic mission and is the central tenet of a free and democratic society. The University encourages and supports open, vigorous, and challenging debate across the full spectrum of human issues as they present themselves to this community. Further, as a public institution, the University will sustain a higher and more open standard for freedom of inquiry and free speech than may be expected or preferred in private settings. 

Free inquiry and free speech are the cornerstones of an academic institution committed to the creation and transfer of knowledge. Expression of diverse points of view is of the highest importance, not solely for those who present and defend some view but for those who would hear, disagree, and pass judgment on those views. The belief that an opinion is pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or “just plain wrong” cannot be grounds for its suppression….

The Senate’s April 2013 revision is here. President Gottfredson has still not signed it. A well-informed correspondent passes along this:

Minutes of May 22, 2013 Senate Meeting” “3.9 Academic Freedom & Freedom of Speech Policy (Kyr) 

Senate President Kyr informed the Senate that President Gottfredson preferred that the Senate divide this policy into two different policies; one addressing academic freedom and the other addressing freedom of speech. Senate President Kyr had agreed to these terms and mentioned that this would be a change in formatting, not content. This policy would be carried into Senate VP Paris’ (Law) administration in case further discussion was needed.”

Note that Kyr was not acting properly when he made this agreement. Only the Senate had that authority. They will exercise it as they see fit in the coming year.

The faculty union’s Academic Freedom Article was basically the same as the Senate proposal. Instead of accepting it, Gottfredson’s bargaining team has put up a counter-proposal that limits some rather basic freedoms that faculty assume we have.

In particular, the proposal from President Gottfredson’s bargaining team includes none of the forceful pro free-speech language from current UO policy. It also strikes out the Senate’s language guaranteeing faculty the right to engage in criticism of university policies and actions, replacing it with language that seems to limit this right to situations where the faculty are working through committees or other university approved forums.

In addition, his proposal requires that faculty treat colleagues “fairly and civilly”, and that participation in shared governance be “civil and effective”. Sounds great, but who gets to define these words? I’m guessing it’s rare that a faculty meeting, not to mention a seminar, can go on for more than an hour without at least one person crossing the line. The administration wants us to resolve these sorts of arguments with grievances and arbitration? 

In the bargaining session discussion the administration’s team made it pretty clear they don’t think this blog can pass those rather vague tests. This is presumably the reason they are trying to add them to the contract, since their efforts under existing UO policy and Oregon law to shut me down have failed – including a threatened defamation lawsuit from Gottfredson’s lead negotiator Sharon Rudnick, and a bizarre “open letter to the UO community” about me posted on the official UO webpages, from GC Randy Geller, VPAA Doug Blandy, Dean Tim Gleason, attorney Sharon Rudnick, and VPAA and Oregon Humanities Center Director Barbara Altmann.
Here is the Senate proposal, with the more egregious changes President Gottfredson is trying to impose marked like this for deletions, and in bold for insertions. A pdf of the latest admin proposal to the union, showing more differences, is here.

Academic Freedom 

The University protects academic freedom, and Officers of Instruction, Research, and Administration [“faculty members”] shall enjoy all of its benefits and responsibilities. These are defined as: 

  • the freedom to conduct research and creative work and to publish or otherwise disseminate the results of that work. Within the broad standards of accountability established by their profession and their individual disciplines, faculty members must enjoy the fullest possible freedom in their research and in circulating and publishing their results. This freedom follows immediately from the university’s basic commitment to advancing knowledge and understanding. 
  • the freedom to teach, both in and outside of the classroom. Faculty members must be able not only to disseminate the results of research, but also to train students to think about these results for themselves, often in an atmosphere of controversy that, so long as it remains in a broad sense educationally relevant, actively assists students in mastering the subject and appreciating its significance. 
  • the freedom to engage in internal criticism, which encompasses the freedom to address any matter of institutional policy or action whether or not as a member of any agency of institutional governance. Universities promote the common good through broad-based engagement in the scholarly endeavor. Faculty members, because of their education and their institutional knowledge, play an indispensable role as independent participants in university decision-making. By virtue of this role, they are entitled to comment on or criticize University policies or decisions, either individually or through institutions of faculty governance.

Faculty responsibilities:

All University employees retain the right to address any matter of institutional policy or action without fear of institutional discipline or restraint. They also are guaranteed the protections of freedom of speech with regard to any matter, so long as it is clear that they are not acting or speaking on behalf of the University. 

Academic responsibility implies the competent and full performance of duties and obligations and the commitment to support the responsible exercise of academic freedom by one’s self and others. Each bargaining unit faculty member has the responsibility to 

a. Observe and uphold the ethical standards of his or her discipline in the pursuit and communication of scientific and scholarly knowledge; 

b. Treat students, staff, colleagues, and the public fairly and civilly in discharging his or her duties and in accordance with this Agreement. 

c. Respect the integrity of the evaluation process, evaluating students, staff, and colleagues fairly according to the criteria and procedures specified in the evaluation process; 

d. Represent one’s self as speaking for the university only when expressly authorized to do so as part of one’s position or professional responsibilities; 

e. Participate, as appropriate, in the system of shared academic governance, especially at the department or unit level, and seek to contribute to the civil and effective academic functioning of the bargaining unit faculty member’s academic unit (program, department, school or college) and the university.

A helpful commenter notes:

Why not remind the president of what the UC Board — his former employer — just did to strengthen and confirm academic freedom? In July the UC Board newly upheld the “freedom to address any matter of institutional policy or action when acting as a member of the faculty whether or not as a member of an agency of institutional governance.” If it’s good enough for California, why is it not good enough for UO?

    Faculty out of the loop on new UO borrowing

    10/14/13 update: Gottfredson is now hiring a full time “Director of Treasury Operations” to deal with the upcoming bond sales that he hasn’t told the faculty anything about:

    The University of Oregon Business Affairs Office (BAO) invites applicants for a full-time Director of Treasury Operations. This position is a fixed-term appointment for one year with annual renewals. This recruitment is open to any applicant who meets the qualifications listed below.

    The University of Oregon (UO) has recently been granted legislative authority to establish its own governing board and manage its own treasury functions. We are looking for an experienced and dynamic leader to guide the institution in assuming management of the university’s cash and debt portfolio, establish an institution-wide Internal Bank, and collaborate with the new governing board to develop and implement new policies related to debt and investment management.

    10/12/13 update: It turns out the football team’s ranking doesn’t matter to Moody’s.

    The Oregon Treasury Department just sent me a copy of the July 2012 report from the PRM consultants on the consequences of UO independence for OUS, and the likely bond ratings for UO and PSU when separated from OUS. Full report here. A concise summary:

    The cocktail party version is that PFM forecasts a respectable but not excellent Moody’s rating of Aa2 or Aa3. A rather remarkable third of our outstanding bonds are for Mac Court, (before the EMU and Straub) but it’s not clear how much of a hit that made to the rating forecast.

    I’m still waiting to get the docs on the meeting with Goldman Sachs, which Gottfredson and Moffitt hid from the faculty during the union negotiations, and which yielded more promising results, or at least that’s the rumor.

    9/14/2013: Would you buy a used car from this man?

    If the dealer showed you an odometer reading and repair records like this, you’d give him the wave, and say no thanks:

    But that’s about all VPFA Jamie Moffitt will show the UO faculty, and it’s the basis on which President Gottfredson expects us to trust his administration when it comes to UO’s finances. Pretty disrespectful, and un-civil.

    SB 270 gives the new UO Board the power to issue its own bonds. The investment bankers aren’t going to sell them without seeing some credible data and forecasts. Why shouldn’t the faculty be able to see that same information? And why would President Gottfredson think that his faculty union should cut a deal with him without first seeing the same information his finance people are showing Goldman Sachs?

    So here’s a public records request to Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler, asking to see what information UO has shared with his office and the bond rating agencies:

    Dear Treasurer Wheeler:

    This is a public records request for documents related to discussions between the Oregon Treasury Department, UO administrators, and bond rating or lending firms regarding the potential sale of bonds by UO, or by other state agencies for UO and UO’s bond rating.

    Specifically, I am asking for any documents shared with your office or these firms showing UO’s financial situation, including;

    a) current data and projections of enrollment, tuition, state funding, grant revenue, athletics revenue, licensing revenue, donations, and other significant revenue streams.

    b) current data and projections of cost items such as salary, benefits, facilities services, athletics, etc;

    c) discussions and analyses of potential upside and downside risk for UO involving changes in revenue or costs or potential legal liabilities.

    d) data on current UO debt and assets and analyses of the impact of the recent changes in higher education on debt and assets.

    e) reports from bond rating firms and investment banks analyzing these data and or providing advice to the Treasury Department, UO, OUS, OIEB and or HECC on bond ratings and projections and estimates of borrowing capacity

    For universities, the bond rating agencies such as Moody’s and S&P look pretty carefully at these factors, and the consequences of holding back information are substantial. Here are a few examples of their reports, from universities that practice transparency:

    9/13/2013 update: The most recent Oregon Higher Ed bond sale was rated Aa1, the second highest rating after AAA. UO’s financial reserves are the highest in the system. UO’s enrollment, tuition, and student quality are all growing too, and SB 270 will soon give UO the ability to issue its own bonds. I’m thinking UO’s well will be able to handle quite a bit more flow than what Rudnick and Moffitt have been telling the faculty.

    9/11/2013: Maybe President Gottfredson’s chief negotiator Sharon Rudnick wasn’t kidding when she told the UO faculty on Tuesday that

    “The well is dry. Hear me please. The well is dry.”

    Or maybe there’s a very different explanation for the 8/27/2013 meeting between the UO administration, Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler, and representatives of Wall Street’s respected Goldman Sachs financiers?

    The UO Matters surveillance cameras capture some interesting stuff in the Johnson Hall lot. I’ll make a public records request for the details on the meeting. Hubin’s office won’t release anything until the union negotiations are over, but Wheeler faces some different incentives.