Did Gottfredson sexual assault panelist Ted Spencer lie about public records?

Sorry to be so blunt, but it’s hard to see how else to interpret this. Cocktail party version: I was trying to get some info about Gottfredson’s sexual assault review panel. Dave Hubin tried to charge me $508 for the public records, so I made requests to the universities where the panelists worked. Ohio State gave me the docs gratis, but the Michigan panelist, Ted Spencer, told Michigan he hadn’t received anything, even though he had – including info about his $10K honorarium. I pointed out to Michigan that he wasn’t telling the truth, and they’ve now provided all the docs, also at no charge.

On July 7th I made this FOIA request to Patricia Sellinger at the University of Michigan’s FOIA office, asking for documents involving UM employee Ted Spencer’s service on Gottfredson’s sexual assault review panel.  I cced Mr. Spencer at his official tsz@umich address:

Subject: public records request, records related to Theodore Spencer’s service on UO review panel
Date: July 7, 2014 at 12:24:25 PM PDT
To: patsell@umich.edu
Cc: tsz@umich.edu

Dear Ms Sellinger:

This is a public records request for public records (including emails etc.) related to Mr. Spencer’s appointment to the University of Oregon “External Review Panel” listed at http://president.uoregon.edu/content/panelists-named-review-uo-sexual-misconduct-prevention-and-response.

Specifically I am requesting documents from 6/6/2014 to the present, and dealing with the charge, meeting schedule, agenda, and rules for expense reimbursement (not individual receipts or invoices).

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

A week or so later I received a letter from Ms Sellinger, saying that UM had no responsive documents and denying my request. I then made a follow-up FOIA request for the communications between Ms Sellinger and Mr. Spencer. The emails I received showed Mr. Spencer had met with Ms Sellinger, and that after this meeting she had emailed a variety of UM employees about this FOIA request, saying:

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As it happens, former President Gottfredson had also appointed Ohio State employee Javaune Adams-Gaston to this panel, and I had made a similar FOIA request to Ohio State. They provided these documents, which showed that, actually, Mr. Spencer had received emails from UO at his TSZ@umich.edu email address on June 19th, June 23rd and June 26th, and that these emails contained information were clearly about the panel. Here’s one example of these documents, which includes information on contacting Greg Rikhoff about the “financial elements of this work” (On this note I should point out that UO has finally revealed that Gottfredson was offering $10,000 “honoraria” for agreeing to serve on his review panel.):

I pointed this obvious discrepancy out to the University of Michigan General Counsel Tim Lynch, and today Ms Sellinger responded with a full set of Mr Spencer’s UO related emails, here, and this note:

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Four word joke nets UO student five unconstitutional bad-conduct charges

Update: Saul Hubbard has an excellent report on this in the RG. Peter Bonilla of FIRE notes:

“Universities have never prevailed in court when defending their [anti-free speech] codes,” he said. “Every single time there’s a court challenge, they lose.”

Of course that won’t stop Sharon Rudnick from collecting $300 in UO tuition money for each billable hour trying, just as she did with Gottfredson’s academic freedom restrictions.

8/26/14: If you’re a UO police officer keeping a list of people who should “eat a bowl of dicks” you get a promotion, high paid legal help from Dave Frohnmayer’s law firm, and UO Chief Strategic Communicator Tobin Klinger will write an angry letter to the editor denouncing the reporter for printing the story.

But UO’s rules are a little tougher for students. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has the story:

EUGENE, Oregon, August 26, 2014—The University of Oregon (UO) has filed multiple, blatantly unconstitutional conduct charges against a female student who jokingly yelled “I hit it first” from a dormitory window. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. FIRE is calling on UO to immediately dismiss all charges against the student and reform its unconstitutional speech policies. …

On June 9, 2014, the female student in question was visiting with friends in UO’s Carson Hall dormitory. The student, looking out of the dormitory window, spotted a male and female student walking together (she did not know either of them) and shouted “I hit it first” at them in jest. The female of the couple responded with two profanities and the couple reported the student’s comment to the Resident Assistant of the dorm. The Resident Assistant located the student and insisted that she apologize to the couple for her remark. The student readily obliged.

That did not end the matter, however. On June 13, the student was shocked to receive a “Notice of Allegation” letter charging her with five separate conduct violations for her four-word joke. In addition to dubious allegations of violating the residence hall’s noise and guest policies, UO charged the student with “[h]arassment,” “disruption,” and “[d]isorderly conduct.” After being presented with these outrageous and unconstitutional charges, the student contacted FIRE. …

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Actually, thanks to Richard Lariviere UO has a very clear and strong free speech policy, but Doug Blandy is in charge of it, and as is often the case at UO implementation leaves something to be desired.

And this all raises a very important question: Do these OARs trump official UO policies that have been adopted by the Senate and signed by the President?

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UO offered $10,000 to each of Gottfredson’s sexual assault panelists

Update: (Posts on prostitute warning, public records, and panel history here.)

Two weeks after my public records request, UO has finally disclosed what it is paying the panelists Gottfredson, Mullens, and Holmes appointed to review their response to the rape allegations and UO policies. $10K each, plus expenses:

Honorarium

The University of Oregon is paying the travel and incidental expenses of the panelists. The UO has offered an honorarium of $10,000 to the panelists to cover the substantial time and expertise dedicated to this review effort.

I think this is for four day-and-a-half meetings. Presumably Bob Berdahl will decline on the grounds that he’s already got plenty from UO, and only took the job to help out Mike. Trustee Mary Wilcox probably cannot accept this even if she wanted it. As he has noted in the comments, Judge David Schuman has turned down the honorarium and is acting as a volunteer.

8/25/2014: Gottfredson’s Sexual Assault Review Panel Chair denies panel is a response to basketball rape allegations

The panelists come to town Tuesday for their second secret meeting in an undisclosed location, and will then accept brief public comments on Wednesday, 10-11 at the Ford Alumni Center. KMTR TV had this report a few days ago, interviewing Chair Mary Deits (a former judge and expert on business/construction law, now working as a mediator for hire):

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KMTR says Deits is claiming that the panel is not a direct response to the basketball rape allegations. Seriously? She expects people to believe that? Here’s the guy who appointed her to his panel telling the UO Senate why he set up the panel:

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Not exactly trust inspiring. How much tuition money is this charade costing UO? I sent in a public records request two weeks ago asking for how much we’re paying for expenses and to the panelists:

Dear Ms Thornton and Mr Rikhoff -

The attached public records on former President Gottfredson’s “External Review Panel” note that panelists should contact Mr. Rikhoff for information about “the financial elements of this work”.

This is a public records request for copies of any documents showing policies for expense reimbursements for members of the panel, honoraria, of other “financial elements”.

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

No response yet. Any guesses on how much of the bill, and the time of Rikhoff and Jane Gordon (Law), who appears to actually be running things, will be covered by the athletic department?

Meanwhile Gottfredson appointee Javaune Adams-Gaston (Ohio State) has left the panel after one meeting, replaced by Jackie Balzer (Willamette):

Jackie Balzer
Jackie Balzer has been a leader in student affairs for higher education institutions in the state of Oregon for two decades. In August 2014, she was named the associate dean of Campus Life at Willamette University. She previously served as the vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Portland State from 2011-2014, vice provost for Student Affairs at Portland State from 2008-2011 and as the dean of Student Life at Oregon State from 2003-2008.

Javaune Adams-Gaston
Javaune Adams-Gaston is the vice president for student life at The Ohio State University, where she oversees university operations including the student judicial process and student advocacy and crisis intervention. Prior to her arrival at Ohio State in 2009, she served in a variety of positions, including associate dean of academic affairs, assistant athletic director, and equity administrator at the University of Maryland. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Iowa State University.

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UO cancels legal contract with HLGR, will negotiate directly with grad students and faculty

Josephine Wollington has the story in the RG about this very unusual mid-negotiation change and the positive response from the union leadership. This is great news, Rudnick and Matthews have been an expensive disaster for UO. It seems that the new leadership wants a less confrontational approach, and isn’t going to be tied to the mistakes of the previous administration.

Oh, wait, never mind, this about the Eugene Public Schools and their negotiations with the teachers union. I guess we’ll have to wait to learn what Coltrane does about fixing the problems with UO’s General Counsel’s office and HLGR.

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AAU membership is no longer even an “aspirational goal” for UO, but Ducks ranked #3 in pre-season polls.

Update: The official UO post on the mission statement mentioned below is now getting some comments, here.

As President, Dave Frohnmayer would trot out UO’s AAU membership as a way of silencing faculty who criticized him for shifting priorities, administrative effort, and money towards his goal of running a big-time college sports factory. In 2013 Gottfredson doubled-down on the bullshit, setting an aspirational goal of getting to the top half of the AAU. UO’s academic accreditation comes through the NWCCU, which in turn is supervised by the US DOE. UO filed it’s latest report on 3/1/2013, compiled by Dave Hubin. Full of bold talk and more than a few half-truths. Read it all here. The cover page refers to our goal to be in the top half of the AAU:

But the subsidies for sports and pet projects like armed police and Portland kept growing, and sports scandals continued to suck up what little competent administrative focus the administration had. Just a year after this letter Scott Coltrane came clean with the new Board of Trustees, revealing the chilling “Benchmarking report”, which finally exposed where years of misallocated resources had left us.

The Trustees have responded with a realistic mission plan. Forget about moving up. They no longer mention even staying in the AAU as even an aspirational goal:

We aspire to lead as a preeminent public residential research university encompassing the humanities and arts, the natural and social sciences, and the professions.

Full (draft) statement here with a place for comments. Mine is that, with the board’s authority behind it, the goal of continued (or restored) AAU membership could provide some constraints on the administrative excesses and pet projects we have seen and continue to see come out of Johnson Hall. Giving up on the AAU is not just a sad recognition of reality, it’s a discouraging signal about where money and resources will be redirected in the future.

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U of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise’s sneak attack on academic freedom

The UO faculty union and the Senate fought hard with President Gottfredson over academic freedom. Gottfredson and his negotiators Tim Gleason, Doug Blandy, Randy Geller and Sharon Rudnick wanted the union contract to include rules requiring civility and proper respect, and they didn’t want the university to give explicit protection for criticizing administrative policies.

They lost, after a year of hard work by United Academics and the UO Senate’s Ad Hoc Committee on Freedom. Gottfredson and Geller are gone, Gleason has been put out to pasture as FAR, and UO now has an Academic Freedom Policy which says:

… Members of the university community have freedom to address, question, or criticize any matter of institutional policy or practice, whether acting as individuals or as members of an agency of institutional governance. … Public service requires that members of the university community have freedom to participate in public debate, both within and beyond their areas of expertise, and to address both the university community and the larger society with regard to any matter of social, political, economic, cultural, or other interest. … The academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal. 

As well as Lariviere’s strong Free Speech Policy, which says:

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 … 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. …

These policies are of course founded on basic human rights and the social purposes of universities, but they are also entirely practical. No sensible university leader or trustee wants to get distracted from their jobs by a political fight over some statement by some professor that offends some politician, donor, or alumnus.

They want to be able to respond like this: “Yes, that statement by professor X about Y in Z was deplorable. But I can’t interfere. My job is just to manage the administrative side of the university. I’m sorry, and I appreciate your years of support, but the only response our university can make to free speech that someone doesn’t like is more free speech.”

The latest example of the practicality of this approach is in Illinois. UI made a job offer to a professor. He then wrote something controversial. (The professor’s name is Steven Salaita, his writing was about Israel and Gaza, and it was on Twitter, but that is irrelevant). The Trustees and donors got upset about what he’d written and put pressure on the Chancellor, who caved and rescinded the job offer. The Chronicle has an article about some of the backlash.

Scott Jaschik has an excellent report on this in InsideHigherEd.com, with emails between the chancellor, trustees, and lawyers obtained from public records requests. And the AAUP blog Academe has an excellent post as well, by John Wilson:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign chancellor Phyllis Wise has written an open letter to the campus (copied below) explaining her decision not to allow the hiring of Steven Salaita. The letter is an appalling attack on academic freedom and a rejection of the basic values that a university must stand for.

Wise argues, “What we cannot and will not tolerate at the University of Illinois are personal and disrespectful words or actions that demean and abuse either viewpoints themselves or those who express them.”

Of course, this standard is ridiculous: individuals should be free to say personal and “disrespectful” things about others (for example, everyone should be free to say that Wise’s argument here is both stupid and evil, without facing punishment from the respect police). Respect is not a fundamental value of any university, and being “disrespectful” is not an academic crime.

But it’s notable that Salaita really didn’t say anything personal about anyone. So here Wise greatly expands the concept, declaring that not only persons but “viewpoints themselves” must be protected from any disrespectful words. I am puzzled as to exactly how a free university could possibly operate when no one is allowed to be disrespectful toward any viewpoint. Presumably, Wise will quickly act to fire anyone who has ever disrespected or demeaned Nazism, terrorism, racism, sexism, and homophobia. Since all “viewpoints” are protected, then biology professors must be fired for disrespecting creationism as false, along with any other professor who is found to believe or know anything.

Wise’s other main argument confirms this absurd approach: “A Jewish student, a Palestinian student, or any student of any faith or background must feel confident that personal views can be expressed and that philosophical disagreements with a faculty member can be debated in a civil, thoughtful and mutually respectful manner.”

If what a professors tweets before they’re even hired might undermine those “confident” feelings, then all professors would have to be banned from ever expressing any opinion anywhere, lest it create any doubt that a student will be unable to debate in a respectful manner. There is clear evidence in Salaita’s teaching evaluations that students are free to express disagreements with him. But since the standard that Wise sets is the imagined feelings of students, rather than actual evidence or reality, Salaita’s long experience as a teacher is no defense.

Wise claims, “We have a particular duty to our students to ensure that they live in a community of scholarship that challenges their assumptions about the world but that also respects their rights as individuals.” That sentence is exactly right. But Wise’s grotesque mistake is imagining that one of the rights of an individual is to be protected from the possibility of hearing “disrespectful” criticism. To the contrary, one of the fundamental rights of individual students is the right to hear dissenting points of views without censorship, and Wise is clearly violating that right of students to hear Salaita teach when she imposes her personal standards of “civility” on a university.

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Systems biology cluster hire proposal

8/24/2014: Diane Dietz has the report on a real cluster of excellence proposal:

The theory is “there might be some common principle that can be used to understand interactions of networks, whether it’s neurons or microbes or genes,” UO neurobiologist and assistant professor Cris Niell said. … Cresko and a half-dozen other UO researchers are proposing a “cluster hire” of five new faculty members — “two luminary senior researchers and three junior faculty,” he said. … “We’re in the realm of Harvard, Stanford, University of Washington. That’s the rarefied air that we’re in. We’re on the cutting edge in ways that are right up there with the best universities in the world,” he said.

8/17/2014 update: Mediocre former Provost Jim Bean on “spires of excellence” and sports product design

Diane Dietz has a report on Jim Bean’s “Sports Product Design” cluster spires culture of excellence in the RG:

Bean: “There are different measures of excellence in the academic side and in the athletic side, but there are also commonalities of how you progress from mediocrity to spires of excellence to a culture of excellence.”

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Former UO DPS employees give support for “bowl of dicks” complainant

8/23/2014 update:

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I’ve redacted the 4 names and signatures, of the grounds that they probably don’t want to see the bowl come up #1 when someone googles them.

It seems like interim UO GC Doug Park is still paying HLGR’s Jens Schmidt $300 billable for every hour he can drag this out. The case docket is here (courtesy of the RECAP program that Aaron Swartz and Carl Malamud helped create). The complaint, well worth reading in full, is here, and Schmidt’s response is here.

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7/23/2014: Latest Oregonian story details additional UO PD sexual harassment grievances.

Betsy Hammond has the story, here. One sexual harassment complaint was settled for $2K in attorneys fees, mandatory sexual harassment training, and 5 box seat tickets to the Civil War game. You can’t make this up. The department comes across as out of control, to be kind. No wonder Gottfredson had the EPD investigate the basketball rape allegations, and then gave the report to his athletic director instead of his police chief.

This story doesn’t even cover the three previous public safety directors who left under unexplained circumstances. Daily Emerald reporter Ryan Knutson won an award for reporting on one situation back in 2009. Some other recent scandals are here, but it’s hard to keep up. Last time I looked up the salary information UO was paying Chief McDermed more than the City of Eugene paid its police chief.

7/18/2014 update: UOPD dick list goes viral

Betsy Hammond has the story in the Oregonian, with many interesting comments, here.

UO’s Strategic Communication Command is still in full denial mode, but a UO Matters stringer has now provided incontrovertible photograph proof of the actual bowl, here. (Warning: This link is NSFW for most though apparently not all UO employees.) Continue reading

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Prostitutes from Russian motorcycle-mob strip clubs lead Duck athletes astray?

8/22/2014 update: Sure enough, this presentation on how football players can avoid getting assaulted, and advertised as “Sexual Assault Awareness” was on of the few things the Duck AD could point to as examples of “Sexual Education” they provide their athletes. Note that they began collecting these documents a full month before the rest of the campus learned of the basketball rape allegations:

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8/21/2014: Updated below with redactions from Gottfredson’s Sexual Assault Review Panel of the doc showing the “Team Rule” to call Tom Hart’s *personal* phone if in trouble with police.

8/20/2014: At his May 9th press conference a question from a UO student (whom the Ducks had tried to keep out) revealed that Dana Altman was very confused about what sort of sexual assault prevention training his athletes had received:

Now we know a little more. The athletics department is worried that it’s their players – and their coaches, and NCAA eligibility – that might be the victims of sexual assaults from predatory prostitutes, controlled by Russian/Egyptian motorcycle gangs. Or at least that seems to be the warning in this bizarre powerpoint from Tom Hart, hired in 2011 as Director of Duck Security and Facebook Monitoring (contract here).

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Hart is still on Rob Mullens’s payroll, as “Professional Development Coordinator”:

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This and some other fascinating documents from the athletic department – more revealing than anything Mullens has ever showed the IAC without me first filing a petition with the DOJ – were posted yesterday on the Gottfredson SARP website:

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Today, less than 24 hours later, the good stuff has been taken down and replaced by a sanitized set of links:

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But don’t worry, we archived it:

Athletics

Athletics Documents Overview
President’s Panel – Part 1
President’s Panel – Part 2
President’s Panel – Part 3
President’s Panel – Part 4

I’ll try to dig through these as I have time, but I immediately see the student-athlete conduct handbook, numbers on GPA and SAT scores for special admits by team, data on majors, and a statement that seems to back off previous claims from the AD that the Senate was to blame for canceling the FHS 199 class , and thereby preventing them from educating their players about sexual assault and harassment.

Update: Even Winston Smith would be confused. Now the SARP has reposted the Hart powerpoint – “with personal phone numbers removed”:

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So Hart is using a personal phone to take calls from athletes in trouble with the cops? I hope he’s keeping Jim O’Fallon, Jody Sykes, and the NCAA in the loop on that idea.

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President settles contract with grad students, no strike!

8/21/2014:

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Oh wait, that’s President Ed Ray at OSU. No HLGR lawyers were involved. They have a “family leave” policy of some sort, don’t know the details.

Meanwhile here at UO, the grad students have voted to authorize a strike for fall. Mediation over parental leave is today. HLGR’s Jeff Matthews, an expert on zoning easement law, is negotiating for the university administration. The grad students have done the math, parental leave would cost ~$100K a year, or roughly 11% of “A Gott”, and presumably less than UO has paid Matthews and HLGR at ~$300 an hour.

8/19/2014 update: GTF’s call out Coltrane over parental leave hypocrisy

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Register-Guard editors call out Gottfredson as a timid paper-pusher

8/21/2014: I’m hoping Coltrane’s meeting with the RG editorial board goes a little better than Gottfredson’s did!

8/21/2013, here:

… And if a president proves lacking in either vision of his own or the ability to execute the vision of others, the board can replace him.

Gottfredson’s response to this new arrangement — he’ll be liberated in some ways, more accountable in others — will be telling. The board will expect, even demand, that he become more vocal in articulating the university’s mission, and leave behind the caution that can characterize presidents who are in some respects mid-level state bureaucrats. …

A bureaucrat who is afraid to even ask the faculty for input on his performance review.

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SPQUO: Senate prepares for new era of shared governance, we hope

President Gottfredson’s relationship with the Senate was bad. He pointedly ignored Senate resolutions on athletics, set up a variety of “administrative advisory groups” to bypass Senate committees such as the IAC, and started pointless fights over academic freedom, legal services, and delegation of authority. The Senate had a resolution for a vote of no confidence in Gottfredson scheduled for October, and it’s difficult to see how it could have failed.

Fortunately Chuck Lillis saved us from that, and in the process gave most of us a lot of faith in the Board. (Although everyone seems to think they could have negotiated a tougher deal than Sharon Rudnick’s $940K giveaway.)

Now it’s up to Interim President Coltrane and Senate President Rob Kyr to try and rebuild some trust between the administration and the faculty and Senate. The message below is Kyr holding out the olive branch. Let’s hope Coltrane responds quickly by undoing Gottfredson’s mistakes. We need some quick, clear demonstrations that things are going to change.

To: University of Oregon Community; University Senate & Senate Executive Committee

From: Robert Kyr, University Senate President

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Gottfredson’s Sex Assault Review Panel schedules 3 minutes for public input

8/19/2014 update:

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Coltrane could have ended this sham and turned their substantial budget and resources over to the Senate Task Force. Instead he’s doubling down on Gottfredson and Mullen’s panel:

Sent on behalf of Mary Deits, Chair of the President’s Review Panel 

Dear Campus Community,

The President’s Review Panel remains committed to reviewing the University of Oregon’s practices to prevent and respond to sexual assault. Interim President Scott Coltrane has assured us that he remains dedicated to this effort and is eager for the panel to continue its review and offer recommendations to improve the university’s practices and the campus climate.

The review panel’s next visit to campus is on August 26 and 27 to continue to gather information, conduct interviews, and seek input on sexual assault prevention and response.

We invite the members of the campus and community to participate the panel’s first public input session on Wednesday, August 27 at 10 a.m. in the Guistina Ballroom of the Ford Alumni Center. The focus of this first session will be prevention. The panel would like to hear the community’s thoughts about the UO’s efforts to prevent incidents of sexual misconduct. Specifically, we would like to hear perspectives about what is working and what is not working to prevent sexual misconduct, as well as suggestions for change and improvement. Future public sessions will be dedicated to the process for reporting sexual assault, and the university’s response to reports.

If you cannot or do not want to participate in a public forum, you may also offer input in writing by clicking here. In addition to conducting individual interviews, holding public forums, and taking written input, the panel is creating additional ways to gather information and perspectives to gain a full and accurate view of the universities practices.

Additionally, the university has created a web page to share information about the panel’s review process, resource documents, and announcements about the panel’s work and public sessions.

The panel looks forward to engaging with the campus community and gathering a broad range of perspectives. We need everyone’s participation to help us assist the university in improving its practices to prevent and respond to sexual assault.

We thank you in advance for your participation.

Sincerely,

Mary Deits

Chair, President’s Review Panel

8/14/2014: Ohio State gives away unredacted emails that Dave Hubin tried to sell for $508

Will Scott Coltrane fix the train wreck in UO’s Public Records office? The latest is that the office, run by Dave Hubin, refused to release public records about Gottfredson’s “External Review Panel” unless I paid $508.48. See below.

So I made the same request to the public records office at Ohio State University, where one of the panelists works. Here’s the full doc dump (link fixed) they provided. No charge, no redactions. That’s right, it’s easier to get documents about Oregon from Ohio than it is to try and go through Dave Hubin. Presumably that was worth a raise for Hubin, under Berdahl and Gottfredson. It will be interesting to see what Coltrane does.

The panel’s next meeting is for August 26-27 in “Portland or Eugene”. Portland? Why? And it looks like UO’s president’s office may be paying the panelists honoraria? That would be quite interesting. I’ve got a PR request in for more:

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Contact Greg Rikhoff for more information about the “financial elements of this work” and Jane Gordon for more information about whether or not Coltrane will end this expensive sham and turns things over to the Senate Task Force.

7/31/2014 update: Gottfredson’s “External Review Panel” to continue secret meetings today

While the UO Senate’s Task Force is holding open meetings in accordance with Oregon Public Meetings Law (see report here) Gottfredson’s self-appointed external review panel has barred the press and public. Their secret meetings continue today in Room 301 of the Ford Alumni Center.

The Review Panel is meeting on campus today and tomorrow. The panel will be establishing its organizational structure and gathering background, and this first meeting is not open to the public or media. The panelists are expected to hold a public forum and take input in a variety of ways, and will be making decisions about how to do that going forward.

So, maybe a scripted public meeting at some point. That’s the word from UO Strategic Communicator Julie Brown. No doubt “Around the O” will put out more PR fluff soon, however. Meanwhile Dave Hubin is still trying to charge $508.48 for public records. Not the way to build trust or credibility.

Camilla Mortensen has more on US Attorney and UO Alum Amanda Marshall’s decision to join the Senate Task Force, here.

7/27/2014 update: Gottfredson rejects US Attorney for Oregon, so she joins Senate Task Force

Steve Duin has the report in the Oregonian here. There’s an interesting bio piece on Ms Marshall here. Gottfredson’s decision is yet another blow to his credibility and that of his hand-picked “Administrative ERP”, which already has issues with cronyism, inexperience, and secrecy.

After being rejected by Gottfredson, Marshall agreed to serve on the faculty Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support. As you can see from their website, the Senate committee includes many knowledgeable experts and practitioners, and is holding open meetings in accordance with state law. I will have a report on their 7/24 meeting later today.

7/23/2014 update: Gottfredson thinks his research shows the best way to deal with sexual violence

Yes, that’s really what our President’s anonymous PR flacks at “Around the 0″ have him saying:

President Gottfredson says his own work in criminology and social behavior makes it clear that prevention is far and away the best place to invest much of our energy for ending sexual violence.

And VP for Student Life Robin Holmes thinks this is all “an incredible opportunity”, and that the president has encouraged everyone on campus to share information readily.

Excuse me while I laugh at the ground. By all accounts Gottfredson had no intention of ever reporting the incident to the public, and he is still battling requests from the New York Times, the Oregonian, and the Register Guard for documents showing how he responded to the allegations. Where is Gottfredson’s committee meeting? Is it open to the public? Write Gottfredson’s Chief of Staff Greg Rikhoff a $508.48 check and he might tell you. Or maybe he’ll redact it all.

While Gottfredson is trying to hide, the UO faculty Senate Task Force is going for transparency. They meet tomorrow, 3-5PM, Lewis Lounge 4th floor of the Law School, Their webpage is here, and their meetings are open.

7/17/2014: Gottfredson wants $413.87 + $94.61 for docs on secret “external review panel”

I’m not yet abandoning all hope, but Gottfredson’s “External Review Panel” is going to have to get out ahead of the transparency problem to avoid looking like they aren’t just another part of Gottfredson’s cover-up of how he handled the rape allegations. Letting Gottfredson hide information on how they were picked and what they are doing is not going to cut it.

President Gottfredson learned of the basketball rape allegations on March 9th. He then waited three months to appoint his “External Review Panel”. He had himself, Athletic Director Rob Mullens, and VP Robin Holmes pick the members. The chair is former Interim UO President Bob Berdahl, one of Gottfredson’s mentors. Not exactly an independent review. But at least it will be transparent, right? The first announcement made it seem so:

  • Evaluation of current practices and protocols for the prevention of sexual misconduct and support for those who have experienced it
  • Benchmarking of the UO’s practices and protocols in relation to those of our peer institutions
  • Review of the athletic department’s processes for evaluating prospective student-athletes
  • Review of life-skill education and support for students, including the communication of conduct expectations
  • One or more campus climate surveys with a focus on the UO’s prevention, response, and education culture regarding sexual misconduct
  • A follow-up review of the recent report commissioned by the Division of Student Affairs to assess the university’s sexual misconduct policies and procedures to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of those recommendations
  • Further refinement of the charge will be informed by the expertise of the panelists themselves

Process and Timing
Work is to begin immediately, with care taken to collect initial input from the campus community prior to the end of the spring term.

It’s now July 17 – almost 4 and a half months since Gottfredson learned of the allegations. What’s going on with his committee? He’s named the members (below) but he wants $413.87 to show the emails explaining how he and Mullens and Holmes picked them. Not exactly trust building. How about just showing the charge, meeting agendas, that sort of thing? Let’s ask:

Subject: public records request for “external review panel” communications
Date: July 1, 2014 at 3:23:18 AM EDT
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>, Gregory Rikhoff <grikhoff@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Bob Berdahl <bob.berdahl@gmail.com [etc.]

Dear Ms Thornton and Mr. Rikhoff:

This is a public records request for any communications from the UO President’s Office to the members of the “External Review Panel” listed at http://president.uoregon.edu/content/panelists-named-review-uo-sexual-misconduct-prevention-and-response, dated from 6/6/2014 to the present, and dealing with the charge, meeting schedule, agenda, or expense reimbursement of the panel

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

Two weeks later, after a reminder:

07/16/2014

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any communications from the UO President’s Office to the members of the “External Review Panel”… dated from 6/6/2014 to the present, and dealing with the charge, meeting schedule, agenda, or expense reimbursement of the panel” on 07/02/2014, 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 $94.61. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure.  Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

You requested a waiver based on an assertion that release of these documents is in the public interest.  The office has performed the three-part analysis of your request, has determined that your request does not meet the public interest test, and has exercised its discretion to deny your request for a fee waiver.  Upon receipt of payment outlined above, the office will begin to prepare your requested documents.

Please note that if the cost of preparing the documents for you is less than the estimate, we will refund the difference.  If the cost of preparing the records for you exceeds the estimate, however, you may be charged for the difference.  Following is an outline of how costs are determined. …

Thank you for contacting us with your request.

Sincerely,

Lisa Thornton
Office of Public Records
University of Oregon
Office of the President

Gottfredson’s Panelists: 

Javaune Adams-Gaston
Javaune Adams-Gaston is the vice president for student life at The Ohio State University, where she oversees university operations including the student judicial process and student advocacy and crisis intervention. Prior to her arrival at Ohio State in 2009, she served in a variety of positions, including associate dean of academic affairs, assistant athletic director, and equity administrator at the University of Maryland. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Iowa State University.

Bob Berdahl
Bob Berdahl is a higher education expert who retired as president of the Association of American Universities in 2011, He served as interim president of University of Oregon in 2012 and was the dean of the UO College of Arts and Sciences from 1981-1986. He also previously served as the chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1997-2004 and the president of the University of Texas at Austin from 1993-1997.

Mary Deits
Mary Deits retired as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals in 2004 after serving for 18 years, including seven years as chief judge. From 1974-1986, she served as an assistant attorney general in the trial, appellate and general counsel divisions of the Oregon Attorney General’s office. Since Deits’ retirement, she has worked extensively as a mediator and arbitrator.

Laura Hinman
Laura Hinman was the 2012 president of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon, where she created the Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force, now known as the University of Oregon Organization Against Sexual Assault. She is currently a Masters of Education graduate student at the University of Southern California.

David Schuman
David Schuman is a retired judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals, where he served from 2001-2014. Earning his Ph. D. from the University of Chicago and his J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1984, he was the deputy attorney general for the Oregon Department of Justice from 1997-2001. Schuman also was on the Oregon School of Law faculty from 1987-1996 and served associate dean for academic affairs from 1994-1996.

Theodore Spencer
Theodore Spencer is the outgoing associate vice provost and executive director of the Office of Undergraduate Admission at the University of Michigan, having worked at Michigan since 1989. Prior to his arrival at the University of Michigan, he was the associate director of admissions at the United States Air Force Academy after previously serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Kevin Weiberg
Kevin Weiberg recently retired as the Pac-12 Conference’s deputy commissioner and chief operation officer, where he served from 2010-2014. Prior to joining the Pac-12, he was the chief executive officer of iHoops from 2007-2010, the Big Ten Network’s vice president for planning and development from 2007-2009, the commissioner of the Big 12 Conference from 1998-2007 and the deputy commissioner of the Big Ten from 1989-1998. He also worked in the athletics departments of Wichita State University and University of Maryland.

Mary Wilcox
Mary Wilcox is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon and vice president and director for Capital Realty Corp., a family-owned real estate and financial investment company. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oregon in 1976 and her J.D. in 1980 from the University of Oregon School of Law.

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Report calls for Trustees to stand up to boosters, admins, faculty, search firms

Written by former Yale President Benno Schmidt for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, here. Scott Jaschik has a review in InsideHigherEd.com. Among other things, the report argues boards should not rely on search firms for presidential searches.

… The report also urges trustees to be more engaged on issues of athletics — and not simply to promote athletic spending. “Trustees must be willing to withstand pressure to grow athletic programs that are a net drain on resources, and they should ensure that salary contracts for coaches reward academic performance first and athletic success second,” the report says.

While many faculty members might well cheer the idea of trustees questioning athletic spending, many professors will likely object to statements in the report about the faculty.
For example, the report says that there is “evidence that self-interest and personal ideologies can drive departmental directions rather than the interest of the students and preparation of citizens. And studies show that there are fields — such as military history, constitutional history, and diplomatic history — that are fast disappearing from college curricula.”

The report calls for trustee involvement to assure “intellectual diversity” and to protect the academic freedom of students. Such calls in the past have alarmed faculty leaders, who have said that these types of statements are built on unfair characterizations of the faculty as enforcing some kind of ideological test in teaching. Many experts on the professoriate don’t dispute that faculty members lean to the left of the American public, but say that there is no evidence of students being punished for non-liberal views or of conservative ideas being squelched in the academy.

Here’s what the new report says: “To inform themselves, trustees should annually ask for a report from the president or provost outlining disciplinary diversity. This report can include a list of new hires and tenure and promotion decisions in each department (and their disciplines and fields). Does the history department, for example, have expertise and offer coursework on the Founders, the American Revolution, and the Constitution? It is trustees’ duty, in rare but urgent circumstances, to demand action if they believe a department places limitations on the representation of disciplinary fields and academic viewpoints its research and teaching should otherwise encompass. The president and provost must be prepared to explain how they will ensure intellectual and pedagogical diversity going forward.”

The report also criticizes administrators — and the way they report (or don’t) to board members and the public. “As fiduciaries, trustees must make their decisions based on data. Massive ‘data dumps’ of opaque charts and ‘death by powerpoint,’ i.e., show-and-tell presentations from faculty and administration, are not the answer; instead, trustees need to insist on a dashboard of key, carefully defined measures, including: graduation rates by demographic including students who transfer; tuition rates; administrative versus instructional spending; building utilization (both classrooms and laboratories) by time and day of the week; low enrollment majors; general education courses and enrollments; and athletic spending (including student fees and institutional spending).”

And the report questions the use of search firms to pick presidents — which is the norm for how institutions select leaders. “It is time for boards everywhere to consider carefully whether search firms really add value to the process,” the report says. “There is a growing case that their use gives rise to a conflicted, expensive, and inefficient process that undermines college communities and diminishes trust among their constituencies.”

The report urges boards to take charge of searches and to give more consideration to candidates from outside academe. “The trustees alone are the ones who can and must see that the search is done right. They must lead in developing the vision for what they want and articulate the vision to the community. They should consider a wide range of types of candidates, including those outside the academy. The ranks of business and government are full of skilled, public-spirited executives who believe in higher education and would consider serving as college presidents.”

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Some advice to new provosts

From https://www.aplu.org/document.doc?id=4030. Thanks to a retired UO administrator for the link.

New Provost’s session
Risa Palm
Georgia State University
July, 2012

My experience set is one of having moved to various parts of the country and having
to adjust to new situations: I was dean of large college twice (Oregon and Chapel
Hill) and provost three times (LSU, SUNY system and now GSU).
When you are new to an institution, you can always rely on the “three letters” story.
If you haven’t heard it before, talk to an experienced provost!
Some thoughts on your new position:

1. Congratulations – you have intense new responsibilities and an opportunity
to make a major impact on the academic achievements of your university

2. But you only have 5‐6 years to get this done!  The sense of urgency is
important for your success.

3. You have a short honeymoon in which to make some major decisions:

a. Do you have the right leadership team in your office and in the deans
who report to you?  Most common regret is that they did not replace
people sooner.  You will need to delegate . . . so you need to trust the
people to whom you are delegating!

b. Does the administrative structure above you (at the university level)
give you the latitude you need ‐ ‐ ‐ be sure to negotiate this early.  The
relationship with the CFO is particularly important.

4. First impressions (of you!) count – be visible, get out of the office to learn
about the institution (even if you come from within).

5. Establish a strong working relationship with your president/chancellor . . .
your major job is to ensure the success of the entire team.

6. Remember that you have no friends within the university – even if you were
hired from within.  If you think that being a dean puts you on the “dark side”,
the position of provost is even more so.  The difficulty of the provost position
is that you really have no base of support other than the president ‐ ‐ ‐ always
remember this.

7. Think about how you will use your time, and how you will use meeting time.
Remember that the least efficient type of staff meeting is 1‐2 hours, once a
week.  I recommend the book “Death by Meetings”.  As a result of my reading
the book, I have adopted “standing meetings” each morning for as little as 10
minutes with the team.

8. Need a balance of prompt decision‐making with thoughtful decision‐making:
and the metaphor of chess is a useful one

9. Your every word and expression is scrutinized: things you say take on an
undue amount of importance.

10. If you are on a path to the presidency, this is the last position where the
academic life (teaching and research) will be the dominant aspects of your
life and job.  Enjoy them!

11. Give yourself a break to refresh and plan – both on your own and also with
your team.  It is all too easy to get caught up in the daily emergencies and lose
track of where you really want to be going.

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