VP for Equity delays release of consultant info, wants to charge for docs

7/24/2017 update:

This university needs an effective office of Internal Audit to examine these sorts of bids. It took 5 weeks just to get an estimate from the VP for Equity and Diversity for the public records, and now the PRO refuses to waive their $114.62 fee:


Dear Mr. Harbaugh:
The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “…a copy of all bids submitted in response to: RFQ for Executive Coaching Services Solicitation Number: PCS# 211000-00055-RFQ and emails between Michael Tani-Eshon or Yvette Alex-Assensoh and bidders or potential bidders regarding this RFQ” on 06/19/2017, attached.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $114.62. …

Thank you for contacting us with your request.


Office of Public Records


7/10/2017 update: UO Matters saves UO $25K and an uncountable amount of administrative B.S.

Sometimes a simple question is all it takes. In an effort to find out more about the $25K buzzword consultant VPEI wanted to hire, I made this public records request on June 18th:

From: Bill Harbaugh <[email protected]>
Subject: PR request VPEI Coaching Services
Date: June 18, 2017 at 10:32:41 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <[email protected]>
Cc: [email protected], Yvette M Alex-Assensoh <[email protected]>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for a copy of all bids submitted in response to:

RFQ for Executive Coaching Services
Solicitation Number: PCS# 211000-00055-RFQ
at https://pcs.uoregon.edu/content/business-opportunities

and emails between Michael Tani-Eshon or Yvette Alex-Assensoh and bidders or potential bidders regarding this RFQ. I’m ccing Mr. Tani-Eshon and VP Alex-Assensoh since they should have easy access to these public records.

I ask for a fee-waiver on the basis of public interest.


Bill Harbaugh

The public records office has sat on it for 3 weeks now, and hasn’t responded to my follow up, but the good news is that the request has already worked. As of July 6th, “THIS OPPORTUNITY IS CANCELLED”:

5/17/2017: Office of Equity and Inclusion searching for buzzword consultant

Nice to know that, after laying off 100 faculty, UO now has money to burn on a consulting firm to help with “executive trustbuilding”, “change management”, “active learning skills including paraphrasing” (that’s a direct quote) and “harnessing the power of culture to optimize outcomes“. $25K, or enough to pay for 4 Pathways scholarships. And it’s renewable:



Live blog: Senate meets Wed to continue fixing Chuck Triplett’s policy debacle

Over the summer Mike Gottfredson hired Chuck Triplett, the OUS Board Secretary who’d helped Pernsteiner fire Lariviere. The BOT and Angela Wilhems then put Triplett in charge of revising UO policies – and taking away the Senate’s former control over academic policies. No search, no faculty input, no affirmative action compliance, just a brand new $130K job as AVP for “Collaboration”. You can’t make this stuff up.

The one faculty member on the Board is Susan Gary (Law). But she’s away on sabbatical, seems out of the loop, and did not tell the faculty or the Senate what was being done – just as she didn’t clue us in on the Board’s previous power grabs. Not the way to build trust. (Fortunately Gary’s term expires this summer, and presumably the Governor will nominate a replacement who is willing and able to help the Board build bridges to the faculty).

Now the Senate Exec and most prominently John Bonine (Law) are hard at work trying to fix the policy situation. The Agenda for Wed’s meeting is below. The link to Bonine’s famous “Policy Tracker Spreadsheet of many colors” is here.

The Senate agenda also includes a motion to approve the membership of VP Yvette Alex-Assensoh’s Equity and Inclusion (i.e. Diversity) Advisory Group. Having this approved by the Senate is a noticeable improvement from Gottfredson’s efforts use Administrative AG’s to bypass the Senate, and deserves full support.

Senate Meeting Agenda – January 21, 2015

115 Lawrence, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

3:00 pm    1.   Call to Order

3:00 pm    2.   Approval of Minutes

3:05 pm    3.   State of the University

3.1       Remarks by Interim President Coltrane with questions [Note: this has now been taken off the official agenda, here. I don’t know why. Triplett and Hubin seem to be the only JH admins here.]

3:05 pm    4.   New Business

4.1       Motion (Legislation): Approval of Membership for the Senate Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Group; Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion

Alex-Assensoh (VP for EI) introduces, passes unanimously. Brief discussion about how this “Senate Advisory Group” is sort of a mix between a regular Senate committee and an AAG. Advises VPEI, but appointed by Senate. Seems reasonable, we ought to try it with the secretive PAGIA and Hubin’s PRAAG.

4.2       Motion (Legislation): The UO Senate Award for Shared Governance, Transparency, and Trust; Bill Harbaugh, Professor (Economics) & UO Senator

Introduced with due credit to James Madison (and VWTH):

A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

Harbaugh amended to make all “members of the university community” eligible.

Passed unanimously.

Bonine introduces motion to clarify legislation/policy difference.

Passes unanimously.


4.3       Motion (Policy Adoption): Repeal of Two Duplicative Policies on Post-Tenure Review; Senate Executive Committee

Passes unanimously

4.4       Motion (Policy Adoption): Adoption and Amendment of 21 Due Process Termination and Resignation Policies; Senate Executive Committee

Bonine raises questions on how these policies interact with faculty CBA. Dreiling thinks it’s OK. Questions as to whether it applies to faculty or OA’s etc. Triplett: OA’s are treated as faculty in many ways. UO GC Doug Park is MIA, so no chance for a legal opinion. Consensus is these are in effect anyways, we should reenact them, but may need to be amended at some point.

Passes unanimously.

4.5       Motion (Policy Adoption): Repeal and Adoption of Two Policies on Academic Calendar; Senate Executive Committee

The biggee: Quarter’s or Semesters? UO has no policy. The Bonine number is 629. He wants to adopt the OUS IMD enshrining the status quo. Q: Can we vote now to switch to semesters? No. Triplett raises a useful point on history v. policy in the IMD’s. Amended. Passes unanimously.

4.6       Motion (Policy Adoption): Repeal of Duplicative Policy 337 on Academic Freedom (OAR 580-022-0005); Senate Executive Committee

Bonine: UO’s hard-fought Academic Freedom is better than the OUS one, let’s repeal theirs to eliminate confusion. Pases unanimously.

4.7       Motion (Policy Adoption): Repeal of Duplicative Policy 338 on Public Activities (OAR 580-022-0010); Senate Executive Committee

Bonine: We had a long debate about this conflict of interest issue and a good UO policy. (Geller and Rudnick tried to shred it in the union negotiations, but got stomped.) Keep ours, repeal OUS. Passes unanimously.

4.8       Motion (Policy Adoption): Adoption of amended Policy 339 on Candidates for Public Office (OAR 580-022-0015); Senate Executive Committee

Keeps UO employees rights to run for public office and serve. Changes “Board” to “President”. Passes unanimously.

4.9       Motion (Policy Adoption): Adoption of amended Policy 340 on Relationship with State Government (OAR 580-022-0020); Senate Executive Committee

“Nothing in this rule shall be construed as inhibiting an employee of the University from exercising the right of citizenship..”

Q: Can students testify at the Legislature as reps of ASUO? A: Ask Doug Park, he’ll find out some reason no… Sullivan: I’m not a lawyer, but of course you can say you represent ASUO if you do… Passes unanimously.

4.10     Motion (Policy Adoption): Repeal of Duplicative Policies 515 and 628 on Honorary Degrees (Board Policy and IMD); Senate Executive Committee

Passes unanimously.

Bonine: We’ve now done 85 of the 350 or so policies of Senate interest.

Kyr: You’ll be getting a survey asking about your expertise an interest in the remaining policies. 2 meetings in Feb.

4:55 pm    5.   Open Discussion

Davidson: Discussion of revocation was easy, because we understand tenure and the reasons for it. Easy for us to take tenure for granted. Reminder that privilege comes with responsibilities, including the willingness to contest popular ideas that we may disagree with.

Lubash: ASUO was called about 2 hours about the archives that were released. Is the Senate going to comment on this? Kyr: We just learned about this yesterday, its important, we just initiated a Senate award for transparency and have recently worked on academic integrity.

4:55 pm    6.   Reports

4:55 pm    7.   Notice(s) of Motion

4:55 pm    8.   Other Business

5:00 pm    9.   Adjournment

More from 1/20/15: Unfortunately some real policy damage has already been done. In December the BOT accepted Triplett’s recommendations and voted unanimously to repeal a host of existing policies, including this one – my personal favorite:


(Made inescapable and inviolable policy of the Oregon State Board of Higher
Education, Meeting #40, October 16, 1933, pp. 72-73.)

First. The people of Oregon have dowered the Board with plenary powers in the field of higher
education and the Board must honorably and courageously execute this sacred and important

Second. In the exercise of that trust, the Board has selected a Chancellor who is amenable at all
times to the Board, but who is the Board’s chosen and trusted chief administrative officer. The
Board has the right to ask, and will demand, full and unequivocal loyalty from those who, in
turn, serve under the Chancellor’s direction. This does not involve the loss of cherished
academic freedom; it does not limit or abolish open and fair discussion, but it means the
elimination of subversive tactics.

The educational institutions should have their faculty councils. Moreover and better still, there
should be interinstitutional councils, in which the Chancellor’s presence and participation
should promote understanding and mutual confidence. The scope and content of their
proceedings should be constructive and helpful and should leave no room for the type of
devious undermining and sapping that endangers the successful operation of the sane and
wholesome System created by the will of the people of this state.

Intelligent and fair-minded men will recognize that this does not involve subserviency to the
personality or identity of any specific Chancellor who may hold official tenure, but it does mean
that the Board regards the subtle negation of his efforts, and attempts to weaken, minimize,
and impair his efficiency, as inevitably tending to defeat achievement of the purposes of the
Board that is responsible for him, and to which he is responsible. Unreasoning and
irreconcilable feudists should, accordingly, be relegated to theatres of combat beyond the walls
of the institutions whose permanency and growth is a matter of such vital concern to the

I’d love to know the history from 1933, explaining why this was adopted.

Gottfredson strongly supports Alex-Assensoh

Update: And don’t miss the RG Op-Ed from former VP for Diversity Charles Martinez, hired and promoted by Frohnmayer and Bean without an affirmative action compliant open search, then fired by President Lariviere after widespread complaints from people on all sides of the diversity debates. Martinez took the money and ran, and from what I can tell is now the highest paid Associate Prof in the Ed school, at $153,502.

An email sent out today, 1/15/2013:

Message from UO President Michael Gottfredson
Our commitments to a campus that embraces diversity with a culture of inclusivity and equity are fundamental to our mission. As such, it is imperative that we continuously examine our progress and work to improve our achievements.
When I arrived on campus last August, I learned of solid faculty interest in enhancing our efforts and accomplishments in equity and inclusion, and in strengthening our achievements in diversity. While much has been accomplished at the UO, there was an expressed interest to do more – to examine structure and programming to ensure that we keep pace with the best practices in the field of equity and inclusion.
Our ongoing restructuring of the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI), under the leadership of Vice President Yvette Alex-Assensoh, is intended to address some widely-shared concerns from campus and community stakeholders. It will enhance the strengths of that unit and enable it to most effectively pursue its goals. It will allow for the creation of new policies, programs and positions, drawing additional highly-trained, racially and ethnically diverse staff and faculty to the UO.
Dr. Alex-Assensoh, with the support of members of the OEI team and leaders from many campus units, has held several meetings in the past week to discuss our ongoing strategic planning process for equity and inclusion on campus, as well as the organizational restructuring. The meetings have provided an opportunity for transparent and open dialogue. More opportunities lie ahead for all who wish to meet with our campus leadership team to become involved in planning for the future of OEI and our university. Information about these meetings will be posted on AroundtheO, on the OEI website and through ASUO channels.
I want to thank all of those who have participated in these important conversations, through meetings and correspondence. We all appreciate the concerns that have been expressed. All views about these changes are welcome and deserve the serious consideration they will receive. I also want to express my appreciation on behalf of the entire university for the work that has been accomplished by the former Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OEID) and the many contributions of its employees. 
We are of course continuing our commitment to outreach work, pipeline programs and partnerships with educational institutions, and engaging in new opportunities that contribute to the state’s 40-40-20 goals for post-secondary education. We are committed to strengthening the university’s strong relationships with the tribal governments of Oregon, our local racial and ethnic minority communities, and other civic and cultural groups. Student support programs at OEI remain healthy and robust. The office’s new structure will allow us to engage in partnerships with campus advising, academic units and community groups that make our student support efforts even more effective. OEI’s restructuring is intended to strengthen our relationships with tribal governments by empowering people in existing positions and bringing additional new employees on board, who will focus on pipeline programming and fundraising for Native American initiatives.
I was also pleased to learn about the new work that is being led by our Center on Diversity and Community (CoDaC), the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and VP Alex-Assensoh to help faculty, chairs and deans better understand and use the best practices in recruiting and retaining underrepresented faculty on our campus. Provost Bean and I are committed to working with faculty, chairs and deans to use the new opportunities for hiring as a way to reach out to talented minority faculty at all ranks so that our campus can benefit from the abilities that diverse faculty members bring to campus and our students.
I am grateful for Dr. Alex-Assensoh’s leadership as she moves us toward a position from which we can achieve our shared vision. But the Office of Equity and Inclusion cannot do the work alone. Each member of the campus community has an important role to play in making sure that our commitment to academic excellence is reflected in our attention to recruiting and retaining faculty from diverse backgrounds. We must support all of our students during their time on our campus, and in preparing each of them for an ever-changing world. Thank you for your work to support this institutional commitment.
Michael R. Gottfredson

Alex-Assensoh speaks at diversity meeting

In the RG: 

Three additional meetings are scheduled for today and Friday to address the university’s strategic equity and inclusion plan, and the restructuring of its equity office. The biggest part of Wednesday’s meeting involved audience members breaking into groups to answer questions intended to inform the equity plan.

Next meetings:

The second will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10, in the EMU’s Board Room. 

The third will be from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, in the EMU’s Rogue Room.

Diversity updates 1/5/2013

RG editors call for UO to follow state law on search for new football coach:

Turns out that promoting Helfrich without interviewing a qualified minority candidate — or at least making a good-faith attempt to find such a candidate — would violate Oregon law. 

Three years ago, the Oregon Legislature passed pioneering legislation that made Oregon the first state in the nation to require its public universities to interview a qualified minority candidate before hiring a head coach or athletic director. The bill had overwhelming support in both chambers of the Legislature, passing the Senate with all 29 senators present voting yes.

Randy Geller may well come up with some sham to allow Johnson Hall to claim we are following the letter but not the spirit of this well intentioned law. But remember this is a university that doesn’t even hold open public searches for president or provost. Not going to happen for something important like a coach.

VP for Equity Yvette Alex-Assensoh has posted an ad for a new AVP. Minimum qualifications:

Ph.D. in any field and three years’ experience in program development for faculty, staff and students in higher education, including experience in developing campus-wide diversity programs, initiatives, workshops, conferences, and efforts for students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, three years of experience in managing program budgets for campus-wide entities.

And she will hold 3 campus wide meetings on diversity plans this coming week:

The first of the town hall meetings will be from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 9, in the EMU’s Oak Room. The second will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10, in the EMU’s Board Room. The third will be from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, in the EMU’s Rogue Room.

Update: New VP for Diversity Yvette Alex-Assensoh shakes the table

Update, from the comments:

One of the groups leading the attack against the restructuring is the Oregon Indian Education Association. Their president is Alison Ball. http://02af27e.netsolhost.com/OIEA/welcome-to-oiea/board-of-directors/

She is the wife of Tom Ball, one of the 3 AVP’s that was just reassigned: http://diversity.uoregon.edu/dr-tom-ball-assistant-vice-president 

I haven’t seen any acknowledgement of this rather obvious conflict of interest in any of the statements her group has made opposing the OIED restructuring, including this online petition: http://02af27e.netsolhost.com/OIEA/calltoaction/

12/28/12: And it’s about time someone did. Diane Dietz has the story in the RG, which focuses on complaints from local minority leaders about lack of consultation. My view is very different. This office has been horribly mismanaged for years. Yvette Alex-Assensoh was brought in by Lariviere to change things, after a petition from more than 60 faculty, staff, and OAs. And it seems like she’s got the courage to make change happen. Good for her!

UO’s Diversity office was started by Dave Frohnmayer and John Moseley – but only after they lost a discrimination lawsuit to UO administrator Joe Wade, who forced them to create the office in his legal settlement:

Joe Wade’s complaint against Frohnmayer and Moseley was valid. The court ruled in his favor, and UO’s central administration still shows minority under-representation – a legacy of Johnson Hall’s continuing failure to hold open searches for executive positions:

Frohnmayer even appointed insider Charles Martinez to run the Diversity office without conducting an AA compliant public search. And he let Martinez double dip at an off campus job. Not surprisingly, Martinez ran the office into the ground.

Eventually the faculty and the diversity office staff rebelled. I heard 60 people signed the letter of protest. Richard Lariviere then fired Martinez and held an open, public, AA compliant search for a new VP for Diversity. CAS Dean Scott Coltrane ran the search, with plenty of input from the local community – including many racial and ethnic minorities and community leaders, such as 4J superintendent George Russell, on the hiring committee. Coltrane held 5 “visioning sessions” to get input from various stakeholder groups, including local minority community groups. The hiring committee was a notably diverse group, in terms of race and ethnicity:

Scott Coltrane, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Robin Holmes, Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Allison Davis-White Eyes, OSU Director of Office of American Indian Initiatives
Sergio Ibarra Bolanos, UO MBA student
Maneesh Arora, UO undergraduate student
Rasheid Light, Multicultural recruiting, UO Admissions
Edward M Olivos, Associate Professor of Education
Gregory Rikhoff, UO Director of Community Relations
George Russell, 4J Superintendent
Carol Stabile, Director, UO Center for the Study of Women in Society
Roger Thompson, UO VP for Enrollment
Mia Tuan, Director of the UO Center for Diversity and Community
Carmen Urbina, 4J Schools 

Three candidates came to campus, with well attended public meetings. UO then hired Yvette Alex-Assensoh from Indiana. She was the top pick of the committee. She has stellar credentials: poli-sci professor, law degree, administrative experience, and a record of real accomplishment. From her application letter:

Legally proper. Retention. Good jobs. I like. She started this fall. Give her a chance to set a long, long series of wrongs right.

New VP for Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh

3/4/2012: Best of luck to Ms Alex-Assensoh, who was hired by CAS Dean Scott Coltrane and VP Robin Holmes after an open, reasonably transparent national search, and who has excellent credentials (PhD, law degree, research) and relevant experience at IU. I didn’t go to the interviews but on paper I though she looked like the best candidate. Let’s call her the VP for Equity for short. From the new VPEI website:

Yvette Marie Alex-Assensoh, a political scientist and attorney who has served on the Indiana University faculty for the past 18 years and as dean for women’s affairs since 2008, has been named vice president for equity and inclusion at the University of Oregon. She will begin work at the UO in August.

The diversity position was originally created because former UO administrator Joe Wade sued Provost John Moseley for employment discrimination, and then insisted in the settlement that UO make some policy changes to encourage open searches, and transparent hiring processes. Good for Mr. Wade! Unfortunately UO is still a long way from doing the right thing when it comes to administrative hiring.

The office got off to a troubled start, then suffered through 5 years of mismanagement by Charles Martinez, who ironically was appointed by Frohnmayer and Moseley without any search at all, and then allowed to double-dip at an off campus job. Two years ago most of the relevant faculty and staff broke out in rebellion against Martinez, so Bean and Tomlin created a tenured position for Martinez in the Ed School, then President Lariviere dumped him as VP and sent him back to teaching.

Robin Holmes has already made some much needed changes in the office as interim head. Here’s hoping this office is now off on a good track and that the new VP will undertake a thorough review of  some of its more questionable programs, such as the UMRP, and move resources to fill-the-pipeline efforts that work and are legal, such as the OYSP. The fact that Ms Alex-Assensoh has a law degree seems like a good sign. Maybe she will even abandon the 5 year “diversity action plans” window-dressing effort.

Her application materials are here. This clip from her application letter looks very encouraging. “legally proper”, “best students”, and “just as likely to complete the program and find good jobs”:

Nice contrast to the inane “diversity *is* excellence” mantra that Martinez and Linda Brady used to spout.