Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Read the full story at: The Nation: Berkeley Faculty Vote to Condemn Chancellor for Police Violence
Saturday, November 26, 2011
"First, let me say that the situation involving the Oregon State Board of Higher Education and Dr. Richard Lariviere has nothing to do with an 'ongoing difference of opinion over the future of the University of Oregon,' as Dr. Lariviere suggested in an email sent out to faculty and students last Tuesday.
My education strategy includes building a world-class, innovative system of higher education that delivers better results for students and serves as an engine for our state's economic recovery. Achieving these goals requires all of our university campuses, the Oregon University System and the State Board of Higher Education to be pulling in the same direction.
While the timing of the Board's action on Dr. Richard Lariviere's employment contract may come as a surprise to some, the possible decision to terminate his contract should not, given his record.
There have been a number of well-publicized incidents involving Dr. Lariviere that have eroded trust and confidence with the Board of Higher Education. He disregarded Board direction on more than one occasion. His decision to bypass the Board and lobby for increased independence for the University of Oregon was a clear violation of policy and made our larger, collective efforts to advance system-wide reform much more difficult. Consequently, Dr Lariviere's employment contract was limited to one year and included specific performance standards in an attempt both to alert Dr. Lariviere to the seriousness of these issues and to create an opportunity to rebuild trust.
But his conduct has not changed.
Most recently, after agreeing face-to-face with the other presidents to limit compensation increases given the state budget's severe revenue constraints, Dr. Lariviere unilaterally granted substantial salary increases to his administrators and faculty. Unlike every other university president in the state, he disregarded my specific direction on holding tight and delaying discussion about retention and equity pay increases until the next biennium to allow for a consistent, system-wide policy on salaries.
His decision not only undermined the Board, it undermined my own directive and the credibility of my administration with the other campuses that complied with the agreement. I am not saying that retention increases are not warranted – they are – but the faculty retention problem is not unique to the University of Oregon. By acting alone, Dr. Lariviere has created significant difficulty for other schools. At Portland State University, the increased pressure on the administration continues to prevent successful conclusion of contract negotiations with its faculty. His actions show little regard for the needs of the rest of the university system, other campuses, and the state.
Dr. Lariviere's popularity in the University of Oregon community speaks for itself. But evaluating his performance requires more. His responsibility to the Board of Higher Education and his contribution to the larger issues and success of the entire system fall short. Indeed, Dr. Lariviere's actions have done damage to our vision for higher education and other institutions of higher learning; and, ironically, have served to undercut his own aspirations for the University of Oregon.
His vision for the U of O ultimately needs the support of the Governor, the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate and a majority in both chambers of the legislature. That does not exist today. I am personally committed to the concept of local governing boards and seeking new funding sources for Oregon's universities, including consideration of an endowment funding model, but Dr. Lariviere has made the path to reform much steeper. Indeed, the orchestrated media blitz over the past few days has made some of those who are not warm to his ideas even more resistant.
In my opinion, should the Board of Higher Education decide to terminate Dr. Lariviere's contract on this basis, it would be fully justified from an executive management standpoint. Any private sector CEO, faced with a division manager who was totally dedicated to his or her specific department but willfully and repeatedly undermined the needs and goals of the overall company would, I expect, fire the manager – and probably after the firstinstance of such behavior; not the second. And few would be sympathetic to a call for special treatment.
The Board of Higher Education is a group of thoughtful and dedicated Oregonians – many of whom have executive management experience themselves – and I am confident that their decision will not be arrived at lightly but only after much deliberation. I intend to fully support them as we pursue excellence in higher education across the state of Oregon."
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Rather than follow the meeting's agenda to work on non-monetary issues on which we're finally finding some common ground before coming back to money, the Administration pushed for consideration of their new pay proposal: Option B.
Option A: Pay Cuts with Insults is the proposal that states without evidence that 30% of us are not doing our job adequately to be promoted into the position we hold. Half of the proposed pay increases of 4.1% and 4.1% are in the form of "merit pay" that is really a graduated pay cut, so that only a minority keep up with inflation.
Option B: is 3% and 3% across the board: cuts in purchasing power for everyone if we don't accept their phony "merit" deal.
Option A is called "cost of living plus merit," but is really a graduated pay cut; Option B is a club to beat us into taking Option A.
All of this followed "answers" to our questions about the composition and purpose of PSU's record-breaking reserves -- 19.8% of operating revenues or $54 million this past year, and a projection of 18.5% of operating revenues, or $49 million, at the end of the current academic year. The response: "we have plans for that money, we will spend it, and we can't tell you anything more detailed than that."
(I know it's hard to believe that the reserves are so high, given the way PSU's being managed these days, but check it out for yourself, in the "Agenda and Materials for the Nov. 4th OUS Board meeting, page 7: http://www.ous.edu/state_board/meeting/dockets)
We'll most likely bargain again on Weds, Nov. 30th -- I'll send you an announcement about the exact time and location when details are firmed up. We're preparing some options of our own, modeled after other OUS strategies and following these principles:
* No pay cuts with record reserves and an expanding administration.
* Protect the hardest hit from rising health care costs.
* Reward merit with bigger promotion increases and more promotion possibilities, in addition to existing "special raises"--see below.
* Make progress on bringing PSU salaries closer to market.
We're also pushing several smaller initiatives, while resisting Administration proposals to make our disciplinary process more punitive.
Under the circumstances, we are NOT going to bring a resolution to the Faculty Senate in December. We made our point in November; it's time for other tactics.....
And remember! Despite the administration line that "the union prevents us from rewarding merit," the AAUP has NEVER stood in the way of anyone getting a raise, and never will. Last year, while PSU was on wage freeze, 35 members of our bargaining unit received "special raises" averaging over 10% for reasons of "equity, retention, exceptional performance or expanded duties." And yet we keep hearing: "We can't give you raises because the union ties our hands!" NO FURTHER COMMENT! (in e-mail....)
for the AAUP Bargaining Team
(Anh Ly, Bob Liebman, David Hansen, Ron Narode, Sy Adler
and Jonathan Uto and Phil Lesch, ex-officio)
NewsBreaking News: State Board of Higher Education to UO President Lariviere: Resign now or finish the academic year but you are done
Occupy movement proposing refusing to pay back student loans
Heavy police presence as more than 500 students and faculty walk-out at Portland State University
Corrections workers file unfair labor practices charge about Health Engagement Model Surcharges
UC Davis Police Brutality: Chancellor Katehi apologizes
Vanguard Editorial: PSU Faculty- a real fixer upper
Oregonian Op-Ed: Why Faculty Salaries are Important
Vanguard News: AAUP bargaining hits standstill
Rearguard News: Quantify Quality in Education?
Rearguard News: What's going on at the bargaining table
PSU-AAUP Blog: Bargaining Update # 14
PSU-AAUP website: Collective Bargaining Blog
Register Guard Article: Lariviere Defends UP Faculty Pay Raises
PSU-AAUP Blog: House Bill 3418 Task Force on Student and Institutional Success Convenes with PSU-AAUP representative
PSU-AAUP 2011 Summer Newsletter
Inside Higher Ed: Defeat of SB 5 saves AAUP in Ohio
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Chancellor Katehi on Monday apologized to thousands of students and others at the University of California at Davis who gathered to express their anger at the actions of police officers there who used pepper spray on Friday on a nonviolent student protest. There are no signs that her brief apology will end the controversy.
The plaque referenced by Katehi is in her native Greece; it marks events at the National Technical University of Athens, where she did her Bachelor's degree. On November 17, 1973, military forces crushed protests that had gone on for several days at the university, which Katehi attended at the time. Students at Davis were pepper-sprayed on November 18.
More than 70,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Katehi's ouster.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Police Casually Walk a Line of Sitting Protesters Spraying Them Point Blank
The video shows the student protesters at the University of California are being treated with brutality for expressing their right to assemble and protest peacefully. The students just sat there and were attacked by Lieutenant John Pike, from UC Davis Police.Pike's supervisor can be reached at: UC Davis Chief of Police Annette Spicuzza.
The Regents of the University of California responsible for the police brutality on UC campuses can be reached at: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/regents/contact.html. We should all let them know how we feel about the war they have begun against their students.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Portland, OR – On a rainy afternoon, more than 500 students, faculty, and staff from Portland State University (PSU) walked-out of scheduled classes to draw attention to systemic problems facing students and faculty in higher education, particularly at PSU. An excited audience cheered on speakers who called for an end to year-after-year tuition increases, for halts in increased class sizes, for an end to corporate approaches to teaching and learning, and for university administrators to stop pretending like PSU does not have money to give faculty raises.
"I'm here today because I have more than $40,000 in debt, and I don't know if a degree will help me get a job in this economy," said PSU student JT Howard. "We're paying a lot," he continued, "and we should be getting more, but class sizes are increasing and our teachers have low morale since they're overworked and underpaid."
PSU faculty member, Dr. Marcia Klotz, rallied against corporate influences in the classroom. "They think that if you assess faculty output – how many committees you serve on, how much you publish, how much grant money you receive – that this is somehow related to quality student learning." Dr. Klotz continued, "How do we know if quality learning takes place in online courses, when I don't even know my students faces?" Many in the crowd booed at the reference to online courses, which raise significant revenue for the university and have become a popular in higher education.
Applause erupted when an announcement was made that the PSU Faculty Association, American Federation of Teacher's Local 3571, unanimously passed a statement of support to, "stand in solidarity with students as they work to address increasing rates of tuition, student debt, lack of economic opportunities, and declining support for faculty, particularly adjunct faculty."
Sociology professor, Dr. Randy Blazak, challenged the argument that PSU doesn't have money to offer raises to faculty. "Portland State has $53.8 million dollars in a rainy day fund. You know what," he said, pointing to the sky, "It's raining!" The crowd cheered and students chanted, "It's raining," over and over again.
As students, faculty, and staff marched to US Bankruptcy Court, many marchers were surprised by the heavy presence of the Portland Police. The march stopped at US Bankruptcy Court and students spoke publicly about the student loan debt that they have acquired and how it impacts their lives. Students also addressed the Portland Police in order to clearly affirm that they were nonviolent, and were simply exercising their right to freedom of speech and their right to peacefully assemble.
"For many students, like the international students in the crowd, this was probably the first protest they'd ever been to," said student and Occupy PSU organizer Tasha Triplett. "People were scared," she continued, "There were lines of riot police staring us down as we talked about our fears of being unemployed, our crushing debt, and how tuition needs to become more affordable."
The crowd thinned to slightly more than 150 marchers after leaving US Bankruptcy Court. As the remaining marchers moved back toward the PSU campus, people at the front of the march crossed 5th Avenue to protest outside of Mayor Sam Adams' office in City Hall for the police's forceful eviction of the Occupy Portland encampments. This created a traffic jam as students and faculty at the back of the march were left blocking 5th Avenue. Portland Police cleared 5th Avenue and those marchers swelled onto the sidewalk, which caused other marchers to overflow into Madison Street. Police tried to clear Madison Street by shoving student-marchers with their bicycles as other officers in riot gear assembled into lines. Students reported rough treatment when the Portland Police attempted to clear them from the edge of Madison Street.
"Students were chanting, 'The whole world is watching,' but we couldn't step back up onto the sidewalk because of everyone else behind us," said student and Occupy PSU organizer Wael Elasady. "One student next to me had a coffee cup, filled with hot coffee, smashed in her face. I was shoved and then punched in the groin. Others were hit and had their hair pulled." He continued, "We were unarmed, peaceful student protestors and the police were hitting, shoving, and pulling at us -- it really goes to show how far the Portland Police Bureau will go in order to protect the interest of the 1%."
One marcher, believed to be unaffiliated with the PSU community, was arrested. Tension was thick as the roughly remaining students marched back to the Portland State campus as they were flanked by closee to 60 police officers in riot gear and on bicycles, as well as a contingent on motorcycles and a handful of horse mounted patrols.
At Portland State, students and faculty convened Occupy PSU's First General Assembly meeting and began the process of determining how collaborative, democratic decision-making would take place. A decision was made that Occupy PSU's next General Assembly meeting will take place on Monday, Nov. 21st at 2PM in Parkway North on the first floor of Portland State's Smith Memorial Student Union. Meanwhile, other students spoke about the particular challenges that they face as they take out large sums of student debt while gambling for an uncertain future.
PSU student Bao Vuong told students and faculty at the General Assembly how he acquired $30,000 in student debt in order to earn an undergraduate degree from Portland State, but that now he cannot find a job.
"What am I supposed to do?" he asked. "How am I supposed to pay for my loans?"
He then pulled out a copy of his college diploma and, as the crowd cheered, set it on fire.
As the General Assembly came to a close, rumors spread throughout campus that buildings were being "locked-down" and that students could only get into them after showing student identification. While the PSU administration has not released any information about this to the student body, one person was arrested by PSU Campus Public Safety Office (CPSO) for refusing to provide identification as he entered the Academic and Student Recreation Center (ASRC). One witness said the unidentified male refused to show identification because he was not required to provide identification to enter into a public building. The ASRC houses public offices like the City of Portland's Archives and the Oregon University System's Chancellor's Office. One witness reported that she was not asked to show identification as she entered the building, and that she observed many other people entering the building who also were not asked to show identification. Witnesses speculated that the man was arrested by members of the Campus Public Safety Office because he "looked homeless."
Upcoming Schedule for Occupy PSU:
General Assembly Meeting (All student, faculty and staff are invited)
Monday, Nov. 21st at 2PM in Parkway North inside the Smith Memorial Student Union (SMSU) building
For more information: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-PSU/291659684187809
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Two unions representing Oregon corrections employees have filed separate complaints of unfair labor practices over a series of new surcharges included in the 2012 health plan for state workers.
The Association of Oregon Corrections Employees (AOCE) and the Oregon arm of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) both argue that the state should have negotiated the monthly surcharges as part of collective bargaining.
The surcharges will be assessed starting in December against smokers, employees whose working spouses are included on their coverage, and workers who refuse to participate in the state’s new wellness program.
If successful, the unions would force the state to reopen contract talks and negotiate the surcharges.
“We did not negotiate anything regarding these surcharges,” said Tim Woolery, coordinator of AFSCME’s corrections units, which represent about 3,000 Oregon workers. “Our intent is to get the state back to the table to talk about this and do it in a better way.”
The Employment Relations Board will take up AOCE’s complaint at a hearing starting 9 a.m. today, union president Sgt. Michael Van Patten said. AOCE represents about 780 corrections professionals. A ruling on the complaint is not expected immediately.
AFSCME filed its complaint last week and is awaiting a hearing date, Woolery said.
The agency that oversees the state’s health plan, the Public Employees’ Benefit Board, does not comment on pending litigation, spokeswoman Ingrid Norberg said.
The state agency that conducts labor negotiations, the Department of Administrative Services, also declined comment through a spokeswoman.
PEBB adopted the series of surcharges earlier this year as part of a larger effort to rein in rising health care costs.
Both unions filed their complaints after the state rejected written demands in October to reopen contract negotiations over the surcharges and the implementation of the wellness program, which is called the Health Engagement Model.
AOCE’s complaint specifically targets the Health Engagement Model, which requires workers to take an online health assessment and follow action steps to reduce their risk of chronic disease.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
This kick off meeting established the context for the task force and set in motion its course for the future. Jock Mills, Governor's advisor, lead the introductions until Jim Frasesconi and Ed Dotson were elected task force co-chairs.
Representative Dembrow, who authored HB 3418, provided an overview of the bill. Tim Nesbitt, the Governor's manager of the Oregon Education Investment Project, talked about the need for this task force to coordinate with other legislation that passed this year that will restructure the education system in Oregon. Those bills are SB 253, SB 242, SB 909, and the funding bill HB 3521.
Student success practices were discussed by Sona Andrews from the Oregon University System, and Cam Preus from the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development. They provided the bureaucrat's perspective of what they think they know, what they are doing, what they think they need to be doing, and what they think they need to stop doing.
Future meetings were discussed. The next meeting is November 17 in Salem at a location to be announced.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
In a nutshell: the administration is messing with us to try to scare us and push us into accepting a completely repellent and inappropriate re-structuring of the faculty work environment that assumes that a big group of us are doing a lousy job.
They went so far at the bargaining table on Friday that they appear to have scared themselves and pulled back, just a little.
We need to push back, and push back hard, if we want to work in a place that values the hard work of all of us in a collegial, collaborative community, rather than an inept attempt to create a "business model" that rewards a few super-stars and insults the rest.
It's time to flyer the campus, invite members of the bargaining team to your units to update people, raise questions in Faculty Senate next Monday at 3 pm, and come to observe bargaining on Monday, Nov 14th at 1 pm (location TBA).
The Full Story
Friday the 28th, starting at 9 am, they heard our proposals - modified to deal with some of their concerns - and stated that they were gratified that we'd moved, that they'd work with the numbers and focus on the nits and grits of our other proposals.
They left us cooling our heels for a couple of hours, and came back to say that we appeared to be close enough that they would like to sign a couple of small agreements, and continue to work with the numbers to see if they couldn't come back with something we'd consider, and also extend the contract.
They left us waiting around another couple of hours, and then came back with
* an absolutely foul - and completely new - pay proposal - details below,
* utter refusal to increase job security for Fixed-Term faculty, limit out-of-schedule work for APs, create standards for academic quality, pay people during the Winter Closure, or increase promotion raises,
* a persistent attempt to dismantle protections of due process in discipline, and
* a refusal to extend the contract, so that we'd be working without a contract, starting Nov. 1st.
The pay proposal
* offered a total of a 4% COLA, which equals inflation over the last biennium but nothing toward the next 2 years, and
* another 4% in a "merit" structure that asserts that 30% of the faculty aren't even doing their jobs at the level required to be promoted to the position they currently hold. Another 40% were asserted to be only OK, not doing anything meritorious. Only the "top" 10% would have a hope of coming out ahead by the end of the biennium.
SO, they are going to incent us to work hard by
* giving most of us a pay cut, while salaries rise around us - at U of O, in the academy as a whole, and in Portland,
* allowing the whole PSU pay structure to drop even further from market, and
* letting us know while they're at it that most of us are doing a piss-poor job.
What management consultant advises you to insult the majority of your work-force and pit them against each other?
What we teach at PSU is that a merit pay program should offer at least a 5% raise, be available to everyone and 80% of your people should get it.
This is only more true when people work autonomously, as we do, and have a lot of control over the quality of their work.
On the way out the door at 5 pm, after keeping us there all day, they let us know that they would not be interested in extending the contract - an unusual and hostile act aimed at the union, particularly at the protections of the grievance process.
Then, over the weekend, they seem to have gotten nervous, realizing perhaps how dependent they are on the good will of the faculty to work with donors, community partners and granting organizations, as well as to recruit both students and faculty - not to mention, educate students and keep the place running.
We always have the option of both taking our case to the public, and "working to rule," of doing only what we absolutely have to do to meet our job descriptions, and nothing that could be conceived of as "optional," like taking on extra committee work, or more students, or answering surveys, or fundraising, or addressing community groups, or talking to reporters, or taking potential recruits out to dinner, or a myriad of other things that we do because we're professionals who take pride in our work and university.
How could they even tell, if so many of us are so deficient in our performance already?
Or maybe they realized how bad it would look to the mediator to have refused to extend the contract. This morning, Oct 31st, they decided that they DO want to extend the contract, after all, and we have done that- to November 30th or until we settle, whichever comes first.
But that's all we've got, the old contract extended for another month, a date to bargain on Nov. 14th, and a date with a mediator in mid-December, if we haven't settled by then.
Stay tuned - we're going to need your support to get a half-way decent contract. I guess they need all of that enormous reserve for really important priorities, like hiring more Associate Deans and Assistant Vice Presidents....
And don't forget - despite how they cry that the union prevents them rewarding people they'd like to, they already have all the ability they need to reward performance. They gave millions last year and the year before in special equity and retention raises. Did you get one? If not, perhaps you should apply!
Mary King, AAUP VP for Bargaining
for the PSU-AAUP Bargaining Team