From: John Bonine
Subject: Scheduling of Public Hearing of Aug. 23
Date: July 26, 2012 2:04:10 AM EDT
Cc: Robert Kyr
Dear Bob [Berdahl] and Michael [Gottfredson],
I am writing to ask you to postpone the public hearing on binding regulations of the University that is scheduled for August 23. This can be done by either the Interim President or, after August 1, by the new, permanent President of the University.
The regulations at issue will directly affect University of Oregon students. What affects students can also affect faculty who interact with students on a daily basis. Procedures for adopting such regulations should [not] be scheduled while both are absent from campus.
Such scheduling of University rule making processes during vacation or exam periods has unfortunately occurred often during past years. I hope that a new Administration at UO will institute new, collaborative methods of governance and participation on this campus. The lodestar from here forward should be not what is convenient, but what is proper. Engaging in crucial rule- and policy-making while most of the campus is absent is not proper, no matter how convenient it may be.
The Attorney General of Oregon has written, "Government transparency is vital to a healthy democracy. Public scrutiny helps ensure that government spends tax dollars wisely and works for the benefit of the people." This is, of course, true of the University as well, where we strive to prepare citizens for tomorrow.
Under the Oregon Administrative Procedure Act, the purpose for soliciting public participation in the adoption of administrative rules in the State of Oregon is both to allow the relevant public to help formulate administrative policies and to improve the quality of decisionmaking by administrative bodies. Those affected by regulations must have the opportunity to share information with agency officials prior to adoption of policies.
Under the Oregon Administrative Procedure Act, the University retains the authority to adopt temporary emergency regulations (in a state of true emergency) that can go into effect while public processes are taking place. In other words, there is no administrative need to adopt permanent changes to regulations while we are all absent from campus.
In addition, the University of Oregon carefully designed a "Policy on Policies" (adopted as faculty legislation) to ensure that the Executive Committee of the University Senate can review new policies (which includes, of course, legally binding regulations) before they go into effect. The Executive Committee can decide that a new policy needs no further review or can refer it to the full University Senate.
Nothing in Oregon law or University policies contemplates, however, that a member of the Administration would decide on his or her own to make it difficult for us to share in collaborative governance.
I respectfully request that this public hearing be postponed and that officials of the University Administration be instructed to adhere to the spirit as well as the requirements of the relevant laws and policies.
Professor John E. Bonine