Digital archivist goes rogue, and wins big in court

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has the news:

A federal judge today handed open-records activist Carl Malamud a victory in his battle to get the Internal Revenue Service to release Form 990 tax returns in a format that can be read by computers, thus making information about nonprofit operations far more accessible.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick rejected the IRS’s argument that producing the documents requested by Mr. Malamud’s group, Public.Resource.Org, would create a significant burden on an overstretched agency.

“The fact that an agency may be under significant financial distress because it is underfunded does not excuse an agency’s duty to comply with the [Freedom of Information Act],” he said in a ruling filed in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California.

Some people never learn. You can’t win a fight against an archivist. Not even the IRS.

Noted sociologist pays $87,500 for intentionally crippled AAU rape survey

1/29/2015 update: More than half of the universities in the prestigious AAU have bailed on President Hunter Rawlings III’s politically motivated and intentionally crippled rape survey. Page down for John Bonine’s evisceration, in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. Josephine Woolington has the latest in the Register Guard, here:

To ease concerns from some University of Oregon professors, UO Interim President Scott Coltrane has said the university could still back out of a nationalized sexual violence survey that has been criticized by dozens of scientists.

The UO, however, would likely be out $87,500 if Coltrane made that decision.

Coltrane announced in December that the university would develop its own campus “climate” survey in addition to using the national one overseen by the Association of American Universities, a nonprofit higher education trade group whose members include some of the nation’s top public and private universities, including the UO.

The UO agreed to pay for the AAU’s survey before an advisory committee appointed by Coltrane reviewed it and before the UO’s independent institutional review board evaluated it. …

UO psychology professor Jennifer Freyd and almost 60 other researchers from across the country say the AAU survey, which students will take in April, is flawed and could undermine federal efforts to understand the scope of sexual violence on college campuses.

The AAU has disputed such claims, noting that the survey will be based on a White House-recommended model and designed with a select group of 19 university professionals who have experience with survey research, sexual assault, gender studies and students affairs.

Experts say the survey lacks transparency because universities aren’t required to release the results to the public, a caveat that contrasts with recently proposed federal legislation that would require schools to conduct climate surveys and make the data publicly available online.

Why is Coltrane still participating in this charade?

1/18/2015 update: Almost half of AAU Universities just say no to Hunter Rawling’s campus rape survey

Michael Stratford has the story in InsideHigherEd:

More than two dozen of the nation’s top research universities have declined an offer by the Association of American Universities to anonymously survey their students about the prevalence of sexual assault on campus.
Twenty-six of the AAU’s 60 U.S. members told Inside Higher Ed this week that they had decided against participating in the association’s survey project, which some victims’ advocates and sexual violence researchers had criticized. …

Rumor is that AAU President Hunter Rawlings III (sic) has been calling the AAU presidents and engaging in some personal arm twisting. This makes his failure to get their consensus on how to spin the sexual assault problem even more embarrassing – if that’s possible, given the transparently political and anti-scientific nature of the AAU’s methodology.

And is UO going to be left holding a bigger financial bag because the cost of the consultant-prepared survey won’t be covered by enough schools? The one advantage of the AAU survey was consistency across schools. That was mostly eliminated by the AAU’s decision to strip school identifiers from the public data release. And now the data won’t even have much cross-school variation.

12/5/2014 update: Pres Coltrane will pay AAU $85K for problematic rape survey, and now seeks faculty buy-in.

Josephine Woolington has the report in the RG, here. John Bonine’s Chronicle op-ed below explains the political motivation for peculiar design of the AAU’s survey and its limited data-release plan, which violates the National Science Foundation’s guidelines. Other problems with its science are also documented in the letter to the AAU presidents from Jennifer Freyd and 60 or so other national researchers, linked to in Bonine’s piece below.

Now that Coltrane has made his decision, which ignored the recommendation of the UO Senate Task Force, he is trying to find “up to 10″ UO administrators and faculty willing to serve on his alternative “administrative advisory group”, I assume in the hopes they will give him some advice he will like better, or at least buy him some cover for a while.

11/26/2014: Chronicle publishes John Bonine’s (Law) criticism of AAU rape survey secrecy

Here. In a nutshell, the AAU wants its member institutions to sign on to an expensive sexual violence student survey. Part of their pitch is that they will delay release of the results to allow for spin control, and permanently hide university identifiers from researchers. This will prevent cross-sectional or time-series studies aimed at understanding what policies and interventions reduce campus sexual assaults. UO President Scott Coltrane – a sociologist with expertise in the analysis of survey data – has to decide whether to spend $85K on this by Dec 1. As Bonine explains, it’s not a tough call:

… One might expect a prestigious group like the Association of American Universities to take a leadership role in these matters. In reality, however, the AAU wants member universities to commit by December 1 to a survey of sexual violence that will be kept largely secret from the public, including potential critics. Nearly 50 experts in sexual assault have criticized the plan in three open letters, but the AAU has continued to encourage presidents to spend $5-million on a survey that hasn’t even been written yet. …

When both the White House and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, and Claire McCaskill, of Missouri, announced in the spring that they would push to require campus-climate surveys, the AAU sprang into action. But what were its motives? …

According to [AAU President] Rawlings last week, when institutions receive their campus results next summer, “AAU will require that universities agree NOT to publish or communicate survey findings internally (to the student population) or externally” until the AAU can engage its “national conversations” strategy. (The emphasis was provided by Rawlings.)

… Even so, the AAU is promising colleges that the results from their campuses will be kept secret from other colleges, the public, and politicians. It emphasizes in its letter to each president that “university-specific information will be shared only with that university.” The possibility of doing comparative analysis to determine which colleges have policies that actually work may become impossible.

John E. Bonine is a professor of law at the University of Oregon.

Tonight: free screening of The Internet’s Own Boy

Thanks to a student for forwarding the message – here’s hoping Doug Park doesn’t try to nail me on a FERPA violation for posting it:

University of Oregon Young Americans for  Liberty will be meeting at 6:30 tonight in Peterson 103.

We will be walking over to the Knight Law Center together to join the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politic’s Film screening of The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz.

It is the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz, who took his own life at the age of 26. Although this movie is not libertarian itself, it presents some controversial ideas regarding law, the state, and intellectual property.

Remember, you can find more information on our facebook page.

Here’s my post on Aaron Swartz from last year, with a link to an obituary by Carl Malamud.

Bargaining has commenced. Session I:

Today, Thursday 1/29/2015, in the Knight Library Collaboration Room, 10AM to 2PM.

First floor, on the RHS. All bargaining sessions are open to the public:

Oh wait, that’s The University’s 2012-13 bargaining team. Whew.

There have been a few changes at the table, and in the back-room too. Mostly good changes. More later, meanwhile check the UAUO Facebook page, here, for a live-blog.

Rumor has it that noted Duck Advocate Tobin Klinger will be handling the administration’s bargaining spin this time. He’s got a tough act to follow, and we’ll know soon if he’s up to the job.

Release of UO Presidential Archives was not illegal, or immoral. So was it improper – or insufficient?

1/29/2015 update: Rich Read of the Oregonian reports on Wednesday’s UO Senate meeting, here:

… Harbaugh sees both farce and tragedy in his latest episode, LibraryGate. He called Coltrane’s email alleging unlawful release of records “outrageously premature judgment on his part, and I’m assuming Tobin Klinger wrote it – but I can’t be sure until I get the next set of presidential archives.”

Klinger is the UO’s senior director of public affairs communications. He has fielded many of the media’s questions concerning the wayward presidential archives.

“There are always embarrassing things in archives,” Harbaugh said. “That’s why historians love them.”

“I can guarantee I’m a better muckraker than I would be a university president,” said Harbaugh, granting that administrators have difficult jobs. “I think there’s a role to play for people to point out what’s wrong with how things are being managed.”

As a search committee seeks the UO’s next president, Harbaugh said the next leader must be able to raise money, to talk to the faculty — which must maintain the university’s status as a top research institution.

“If we get a person who doesn’t know how to do that,” Harbaugh said, “it’ll be the end of this place.”

For the record, I can’t imagine many jobs that are more difficult than running a public university like UO. I’ve got plenty of respect for those who do it well. I think UO could do worse than keeping Interim President Scott Coltrane and Interim Provost Frances Bronet. In fact, from my brief and now prematurely terminated look at the uncensored presidential archives covering the period from Dave Frohnmayer and his provost John Moseley to Mike Gottfredson and his provost Jim Bean, mostly we have. A lot worse.

I’ve posted plenty of negative stuff about Coltrane’s decisions. There’s more in the comments. If you want the happy-face PR fluff, ask Klinger or one of the other Duck flacks. But on balance, I’ll be surprised if Chuck Lillis and Connie Ballmer can find a better candidate for the permanent job. Very surprised.

Diane Dietz of the RegisterGuard reports, here.

… The UO’s new dean of libraries, Adriene Lim, told the gathered faculty on Wednesday that she considers an individual’s right to privacy to be a universal human right.

But she also said that Oregon public records laws “spell out types of records that should be public and available for scrutiny. I’d be the first one to advocate for that openness and ­transparency.”

Coltrane and Lim said the issue of transparency will be reviewed by university officials after Hershner Hunter completes its investigation. [UO M: I’ve made a public records request to Dave Hubin’s Public Records Office for the contract showing what UO’s Interim General Counsel Doug Park has asked HH to do. No response yet.]

The university will “try to increase openness and transparency as much as we can,” Lim said. Coltrane said he’d bring the university’s Office of Public Records to the table.

Harbaugh said Wednesday that that’s what he had in mind when he sought the presidential documents at the archive — after being thwarted by the public records office.

He said he had no intention of violating student privacy laws or damaging the university.

“I’m trying to make a point about the university’s obsessive secrecy, about how it functions, makes decisions and operates as a public agency,” Harbaugh said.

And the Eugene Weekly has this:

Public records are for the public and archivists should not be punished for doing what archivists do — making archives open to the public. The next chapter will appear in The New York Times. Josh Hunt from the Times has been in Eugene this month digging through redacted documents, interviewing the players and weaving his story on the UO in Eugene.

1/29/2015 update: UO is no longer claiming there was anything unlawful or immoral about the release of presidential archives to a library patron – which would be me. Now it’s just “improper”.

Google Tim Clevenger and Tobin Klinger’s official UO “Around the 0″ blog for the post. Strange, but none of our well paid strategic communicators would sign their name to it.

Where will this backtracking on prior claims of illegal and immoral archive release end? I’ll go out on a limb and predict that it will turn out that at least one previous UO president kept documents out of the official archives that, legally and morally, should have been preserved for the historical record and made available to the public.

1/28/2015 5:00 PM update: Coltrane and Library Dean Lim commit to public review of UO’s public records transparency problems

That’s my takeaway from their generally positive and constructive statements and the Q&A at today’s Senate meeting. (Archives too). A review of Dave Hubin’s Public records office and its use of fees and delays to hide public records from the public and the press offers the potential for some improvement in trust and transparency at UO, and would make Coltrane a candidate for the Senate’s new “Shared Governance, Trust, and Transparency Award“, which would certainly be a positive outcome from LibraryGate.

Trust, but verify.

Update: Interim President Coltrane gives UO Matters “get out of jail free” card

Also at today’s Senate meeting, after John Bonine (Law) noted that it might actually be possible to construct a (tortured) argument that parts of the “ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED” memo from Randy Geller to Bob Berdahl and Dave Hubin recommending dissolving the UO Senate, really do involve attorney-client privilege:

Q: Harbaugh to Coltrane: “Bonine has me worried. Will you waive your attorney-client privilege on this one memo, which I’ve posted on the internet, and help this professor get some sleep tonight?”

A: Coltrane: “Yes. I waive the privilege. You’ve got a get out of jail free card on this one.”

[Not exact quotes, but close.] Now how about cards for the UO archivists?

getoutofjail

1/28/2015 update: Release of Presidential Archives no longer unlawful. Now it’s immoral?

Interim Provost Frances Bronet releases statement. Apparently Scott Coltrane is no longer saying these archives were “unlawfully released”. (Page down for that email). Now it’s Frances Bronet, saying UO has “a moral obligation” to keep documents out of the Presidential Archives. Presumably that’s why UO’s Public Records Office delays and frustrates requests from reporters too.

Presumably whole chapters of the history of the University of Oregon are now going to be deleted from the Presidential Archives, because it would be immoral to leave them there and maybe embarrass someone. I’m no history professor, but this is nuts:

From: Provost Office [mailto:provost@uoregon.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 1:12 PM
To: Tobin Klinger
Subject: Documents returned; review continues

Friends and colleagues,

Many of you are following with interest the recent release of electronic documents, which bypassed archival processing procedures, and the university’s efforts to get those documents back.

I am pleased to inform you that the documents have been returned.

Our separate policy and personnel review of this situation will continue. We hired an independent law firm, Hershner Hunter, to complete this inquiry so that we can identify how and why confidential documents were disclosed, and take steps to ensure that something like this never happens again.

What was at stake went beyond a concern that confidential information was shared before being appropriately processed. Of greater concern is that the release violated the trust of the students, parents, faculty members and others who saw the Office of the President as a safe place to share concerns or seek assistance.

We have a moral obligation to maintain the confidentiality ! [sic] of those who see the Office of the President as a point of last resort. This includes those who chose to outline personal struggles in their academic pursuits or parents who might write to seek support for their child during times of personal challenge. Students, parents, faculty and staff need to have confidence that we will follow appropriate procedures to ensure their right to privacy.

One of my greatest concerns throughout this situation has been the way that it has impacted the talented team in our university library. The faculty and staff in UO Libraries are among the most committed and entrusted to carrying out our mission. Their commitment to the ethical standards and values of their professions should stand as a model for us all. They deal with these kinds of complex privacy rights issues on a daily basis and balance them with their advocacy for openness and transparency. They do so with passion and integrity.

Thank you for your understanding of this im! portant [sic] issue.

Sincerely,

Frances Bronet

Acting Senior Vice President and Provost

1/26/2015: Oregonian, RG, WWeek post Blandy and Altmann’s demand for takedown of UO Presidential Archives

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.22.07 PM

“Zip drive”? I had one of those – back in 1994.

“Remove any documents you have posted on the internet”? You mean the confidential Geller/Berdahl/Hubin legal opinion about dissolving the UO Senate? Sorry guys, that’s not how the internet works. The RG, Oregonian and Internet Archive have already, uh, archived it.

The Diane Dietz report in the RG is here:

The letter to the unnamed professor warned “any further disclosure of confidential documents would be in direct contravention of your responsibility as a member of the faculty.”

The letter was signed by Barbara Altmann, vice provost for Academic Affairs. The professor got the documents from the UO library archives on Dec. 3.

The unnamed professor has not returned documents — which were delivered to the professor electronically — to the university. Two archivists are on leave pending an investigation on how the documents were released.

To date, one document and a set of emails appeared on the UO insider blog uomatters.com published by UO economics professor Bill Harbaugh. The single 14-page document suggested dissolving the University Senate in the wake of the faculty’s vote to form a union in 2012.

The other was a series of emails regarding the drafting of a column that appeared on the editorial page of The Register-Guard on July 14, 2014, and attributed to Robin Holmes, vice president for student life.

The emails suggest that the opinion piece that defended the UO’s handling of a rape allegation was actually drafted by a UO public relations employee.

Can anyone point me to the part of UO’s Faculty Handbook that says professors can be disciplined for refusing to take Randy Geller’s legal opinions off the internet?

The report from Rich Read (two Pulitzers) in the Oregonian is here:

Whatever the case, Coltrane and members of his administration seem desperate to get the material back. They say that release of the confidential information, which Blandy said was “improperly disclosed,” violated a state privacy law and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Another official signed Blandy’s letter for him in barely legible handwriting, appearing to be that of Barbara Altmann. She holds the identical title of senior vice provost for academic affairs.

The letter says that once the professor returns the electronic documents, officials will review them. “We will ultimately make the documents that are not exempt from disclosure available to all library patrons as part of the university’s archives,” Blandy wrote.

“Ultimately”? Is that sort of promise legally binding? I didn’t think so.

The Nigel Jaquiss (one Pulitzer) report in Willamette Week is here:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.35.00 PM

I’m surprised Doug Park hasn’t sent Jaquiss a takedown notice over that Duck © image. FWIW, here’s Scott Coltrane’s “unlawfully released” email again:

Date: January 20, 2015 at 7:39:38 PM PST
From: “President’s Office” <pres@uoregon.edu> Reply-To: pres@uoregon.edu
Subject: Archive release investigation

Dear Colleagues,

We have recently learned that a significant number of archived records from the President’s Office have been unlawfully released. These records contain confidential information about faculty, staff and students, but our current understanding is that no social security numbers, financial information or medical records were shared.

We have launched an investigation of the incident, and we have put staff members on administrative leave, pending that investigation. The information was sent to a university professor, and we have already requested that the professor return the information and refrain from any public release of confidential information. To our knowledge, only one record has been shared externally at this point.

We are committed to taking steps to mitigate the potential injury associated with this situation.

Sincerely,

Scott Coltrane, Interim President

Our President really needs a competent lawyer, or at least a strategic communicator who can backward induct.

Meeting Today: Senate: Coltrane Q&A and more policy work

Summary:

A kickass meeting. Large turnout. Coltrane and Lim are generally forthright.

Coltrane and Library Dean Lim commit to public review of UO public records problems. That’s my takeaway from their generally positive and constructive statements and the Q&A at today’s Senate meeting. (Archives too). A public review of Dave Hubin’s Public records office and its use of fees and delays to hide public records from the public and the press offers the potential for some improvement in trust and transparency at UO and would make Coltrane a strong candidate for the Senate’s new “Shared Governance, Trust, and Transparency Award“, which would certainly be a positive outcome from LibraryGate.

Trust, but verify.

Motions pass quickly, but with plenty of discussion where needed.

(Note: links fixed, I hope. Live blogging will be light. Live video here.)

Rob Kyr and John Bonine have been breezing through the agendas, so show up on time, get out early, and don’t let Chuck Triplett pull any tricks.

Senate Meeting Agenda – January 28, 2015, 115 Lawrence, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

3:00 pm    1.   Call to Order

3:00 pm    2.   Approval of Minutes

3:00 pm    3.   State of the University

3.1        Remarks by Interim President Coltrane with questions [and answers?]

3:05 pm    4.   New Business

4.1       Motion (Legislation): Change of Membership for the Graduate Council; Joe Lowndes, Professor (Political Science) & Graduate Council Chair

4.2       Motion (Legislation): Amendment to US12/13-13, “UO Representation on the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate (IFS)”; Senate Executive Committee

4.3       Revised “Policy on Policies”: An explanation and open period for comment (January 28 through February 10); Senate Executive Committee (through Professor John Bonine, SEC member)

4.4       Motion (Policy Adoption): Endorsement of Ten Policies and Formation of a Workgroup on Grievance Procedures; Senate Executive Committee; Michael Dreiling (Sociology), Senator, and Lisa Raleigh (Director of Communcations, CAS), Senator

4.5       Motion (Legislation): Establishment of a Student-Centered Workgroup to Consider Policies 36-41 (Student Grievance Policies); Senate Executive Committee (through Professor John Bonine)

4.6       Motion (Legislation): Establishment of a Senate Workgroup on Curriculum and Program Matters; Senate Executive Committee

4.7       Motion (Legislation): Legislation to Refer Athletic Policies to the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee; Senate Executive Committee

4.8       Motion (Legislation): Legislation to Establish a Workgroup on Employment Matters; Senate Executive Committee

4.9       Motion (Legislation): Legislation to Establish a Workgroup on Admissions; Senate Executive Committee

4.10     Motion (Legislation): Legislation to Refer Discrimation Policies to the Senate Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Senate Executive Committee

4:50 pm    5.   Open Discussion

4:50 pm    6.   Reports

4:50 pm    7.   Notice(s) of Motion

7.1       Motion (Legislation—Change in Senate Bylaws): To Promote Representative Attendance at Senate Meetings; Frank Stahl, Professor Emeritus (Biology)

4:55 pm    8.   Other Business

5:00 pm    9.   Adjournment

NOTE: The Policy Tracker may be viewed here.

Where are the uncensored Presidential Archives? Ask Klinger

1/28/2015 update: Interim Provost Bronet releases statement:

Friends and colleagues,

Many of you are following with interest the recent release of electronic documents, which bypassed archival processing procedures, and the university’s efforts to get those documents back.

I am pleased to inform you that the documents have been returned.

Our separate policy and personnel review of this situation will continue. We hired an independent law firm, Hershner Hunter, to complete this inquiry so that we can identify how and why confidential documents were disclosed, and take steps to ensure that something like this never happens again.

What was at stake went beyond a concern that confidential information was shared before being appropriately processed. Of greater concern is that the release violated the trust of the students, parents, faculty members and others who saw the Office of the President as a safe place to share concerns or seek assistance.

We have a moral obligation to maintain the confidentiality ! [sic] of those who see the Office of the President as a point of last resort. This includes those who chose to outline personal struggles in their academic pursuits or parents who might write to seek support for their child during times of personal challenge. Students, parents, faculty and staff need to have confidence that we will follow appropriate procedures to ensure their right to privacy.

One of my greatest concerns throughout this situation has been the way that it has impacted the talented team in our university library. The faculty and staff in UO Libraries are among the most committed and entrusted to carrying out our mission. Their commitment to the ethical standards and values of their professions should stand as a model for us all. They deal with these kinds of complex privacy rights issues on a daily basis and balance them with their advocacy for openness and transparency. They do so with passion and integrity.

Thank you for your understanding of this im! portant [sic] issue.

Sincerely,

Frances Bronet

Acting Senior Vice President and Provost

1/28/2015: I’m directing all media inquiries about LibraryGate to our $115K-a-year Deputy Strategic Communicator and self described “Duck advocate“, Tobin Klinger:

You can reach Mr. Klinger at

Tobin Klinger
Senior Director of Public Affairs Communications
541-346-5558
tklinger@uoregon.edu

Chronicle publishes mini-profile on UO Matters blogger

“The Open Records King of Eugene”, by Eric Kelderman, here. (Gated if you’re off campus). Some extracts:

Since 2009 the University of Oregon has had five presidents, including interim officeholders. It has gone through four athletic directors, and it’s now advertising for its fourth general counsel.

During that time the institution has endured an almost endless stream of controversies, involving athletics, governance, union contracts, and allegations that the administration mishandled reports of sexual assaults by three student basketball players.

Through it all, there’s been one constant: William T. Harbaugh. Mr. Harbaugh, a professor of economics, has chronicled every twist and turn on his blog, UOMatters—a project he began more than five years ago, he says, to shed light on an administration that many believe lacks adequate transparency.

The blog, along with his persistent requests for public records, has earned Mr. Harbaugh the reputation of a muckraker, a thorn in the side of the administration, and the sharp end of faculty discontent.

In a narrow sense, Mr. Harbaugh might appear to fill the role of a well-known stereotype: The cranky campus crusader who is never happy and rarely effective. What sets Mr. Harbaugh apart is his ability to effect change through both the sharing of information with the university community and his work setting policy. …

Mr. Harbaugh is also an active member of the University Senate, where he is credited with leading efforts to pass several pieces of legislation, including measures relating to faculty involvement in the hiring and review of administrators. Administrators generally tell Mr. Harbaugh that they hate his blog, he says. …

“The most common comment I get is: ‘I really appreciate what you do and your willingness to stick your neck out,’” he says. …

The blog, meanwhile, has become a must-read for the region’s journalists—and for anyone else who is hungry for the unofficial version of the university’s actions. And there has been no shortage of material for the professor to skewer. …

Mr. Harbaugh says the university has strong free-speech protections for faculty members. He feels confident in his legal position. And he’s unlikely to back down quietly.

“I love the university and the state,” he says. “They’re not going to get me to leave here; I’m going to make this a better place.”

Dana Altman and UO hire MillerNash for basketball rape allegation case

Makes sense, it would be a conflict of interest for UO’s Interim GC Doug Park to let Randy Geller get too close to this one. Seems like a lot of lost billable hours though, I wonder how Geller is making it up for Sharon Rudnick and the other HLGR shareholders? The victim’s complaint, with accusations that UO attorneys illegally obtained her confidential counseling records, is here.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 12.52.48 AM

Faculty Union Bargaining Kick-Off: Tuesday, 6-7 PM, 220 HEDCO

It’s a union, of course there will be beer. And also info about bargaining priorities and how you can help the union convince Scott Coltrane to honor Richard Lariviere’s promise to get UO faculty salaries to the AAU medians.

There’s plenty of water in the well this year, as demonstrated by the latest increases in pay for our central administrators, the proposed 50% raise for the new UO President, and UO Foundation Chair Paul Weinhold’s largesse in offering a blank UO check for the IAAF Track Championship bid. So I’m assuming bargaining will be short and sweet, at least on the economics. The actual bargaining starts Th at 10 AM.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.59.17 AM Tagged

Coltrane looking for new Senior Executive Assistant

Job ad here. Rumor has it that Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms wants a Chuck Triplett type, who will keep her and Chairman Chuck Lillis informed about exactly what UO’s President is up to:

Title: Senior Executive Assistant

The University of Oregon seeks applications for the Senior Executive Assistant for the Office of the President position. The Office of the President is the chief executive office for the University of Oregon. The office consists of the president, chief of staff, and several high-level executive and administrative support positions. The office staff works to provide efficient and responsible operation of the president’s office in support of the president’s initiatives and priorities in service to the students, staff, and faculty, as well as the Board of Trustees and external partners of the institution.

LibraryGate: NYT confirms crackdown on access to Presidential Archives

1/25/2015: Rachel Donadio has the story in the NY Times, here:

… Every archival official knows that he or she would be safer” erring on the side of “denying access to documents.” The problems are both bureaucratic and political. The slow-moving federal committee in charge of declassifiying state archive material has been renamed the Commission on State Secrets, and it sees its mandate as protecting them, scholars say. …

Others scholars offer tales of more recent closures. Mark Kramer, the director of cold war studies at Harvard, cites the abrupt closing, in September 2003, of material on Stalin’s postwar foreign policy that had been available since the early ’90s. “One day I was able to order files … and a couple of days later I was told that the whole opis” — or batch of material — “had been sealed and would need to be re-declassified,” Kramer said in an e-mail message. “I was no longer permitted to see even the files I had pored over in the past.” Similarly, James Person, an associate at the Cold War International History Project, which publishes material from former Communist countries, said that five years ago he consulted documents from 1956 concerning the Soviet relationship with North Korea; when he returned in March 2006, they had been reclassified.

But many researchers find imaginative side doors. “You don’t give up because you can’t get into the presidential archive in Moscow, which is still the holy of holies,” James Hershberg, a historian at George Washington University, said of the former Politburo archive that contains the most sensitive material.

Oh, wait. This is from 2007, and it’s about Russia’s President Vladmir Putin, not UO’s President Scott Coltrane. And so far has I can tell Putin has never demanded the return of “unlawfully released archives”, threatened a professor for posting archived documents on the web and demanded that they be taken down, or put librarians or archivists on leave for making archives available to the public.

Thanks to анонимный for the link.

1/24/2015: Bob Keefer’s Eugene Art Talk reports on Friday’s faculty party Archives gossip

Here. I’ll have a report on the Saturday parties after this one quiets down, and more rumors trickle in. As always, I advise faculty to check VP Robin Holmes’ website and obey Eugene’s “Ordinance on Unruly Gatherings”, especially if you’re inviting professors from the natural sciences.

LibraryGate: RG editorial on Presidential Archives records release

1/24/2014: The case of the UO records. In the Register Guard, here:

Decoding the curious case of the University of Oregon’s misdirected records requires the deductive powers of a master sleuth — one with an ear for dogs that do not bark, an eye that can detect the fig behind the leaf, and a nose that will wrinkle at the whiff of a rat. But in the absence of a Holmes, a Columbo or even a Clouseau, ordinary Ducks are left to sort through the case on their own by eliminating various possibilities.

Did an unnamed professor do anything wrong when he obtained 22,000 pages of UO presidential documents? Apparently not — the records were placed in the university’s open archives, and were available to anyone. All that sets the professor apart from other members of the public was that he knew what to ask for.

Did the UO’s librarians or archivists, two of whom have been placed on paid leave for releasing the records, commit a breach? Evidently not — making archival materials available to the public is the very essence of their job. The records should have been redacted to protect against the release of such material as legally protected information about students, but redactions should be made by those who are the source of the documents and know what they contain.

Did the office of the president or someone else in the administration cause grave offense? A spokesman for the president says the documents do not contain Social Security numbers, medical records or financial data, eliminating several of the most serious possible violations of student privacy. So far no damage has been done.

What’s in the records, anyway? The only clue is a 14-page memo by the UO general counsel discussing the possibility of dissolving the UO Senate after the university faculty voted to unionize. To those who suspect the administration of plotting to undermine shared governance at the UO, it’s a smoking gun. To the administration, it’s an opportunity to show that the UO stuck with shared governance despite being given a legal argument for weakening it.

The other 21,986 pages could contain information about former UO President Michael Gottfredson’s departure, or the administration’s response to allegations of sexual abuse against three UO basketball players. Information of this kind should be public, or is likely to become public in the course of litigation.

So no wrongdoer can be identified in the release of the records, and no damaging consequences have followed. A detective might conclude that there’s nothing for the university to be terribly upset about.

I apologize to the Register Guard for posting their entire editorial. Given the subject, I hope they won’t sue me. All my posts on the Presidential Archives can be found here.

Rich Read of the Oregonian’s latest report is here:

As university officials urgently seek return of the documents, they are warning employees not to talk with reporters. Adriene Lim, dean of UO libraries, wrote an internal memo instructing library faculty, managers and staff members to keep a lid on information.

But Lim’s memo was leaked to Bill Harbaugh, a UO economics professor who posted it Thursday on his blog, UOMatters.com. Harbaugh has repeatedly declined to comment on matters including whether he’s the person who has the records. He says his attorney has advised him not to talk yet.

“If you receive any media inquiries about this situation, please do not try to handle them yourselves,” Lim wrote in the memo obtained and posted by Harbaugh. “Refer these calls to Tobin Klinger in UO’s Public Affairs group.” …

In a July 15 post, Harbaugh skewered Klinger, writing: “Go away Mr. Klinger. UO needs more faculty, not more PR flacks.”

The skewering was in response to the letter Klinger – a trained media professional, whom UO’s pays $115K a year, and who really ought to know better – sent to the RG editors:

I’m a recent transplant to Eugene, having spent a majority of my adult and professional life working with media in northwest Ohio. Like many, I idealized life in the Pacific Northwest. Eugene and its people have lived up to my vision. Eugene is access to independent film, unique foods, outdoor activities, cultural happenings and community pride. I don’t know that this shines through on the pages of The Register-Guard, particularly with the sophomoric “reporting” of Diane Dietz. …

Sorry Tobin, but Eugene’s community pride isn’t just about “unique foods”. We’ve also got a legacy of free speech (obligatory Wayne Morse link) and some of us aim to keep it that way.

Speaking of which, redacted U of Nike coffee mugs are still available, here. All profits go to buy UO public records from Dave Hubin. Or maybe to someone’s legal defense fund?

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