University Senate rejects adminstration's plans for GTFF strike

University of Oregon Senate voted yes on a resolution to oppose UO administration’s plan for finals in the event of a strike by graduate teaching fellows on Nov. 19. The resolution is titled “Opposition to Efforts by Academic Affairs to Dilute and Degrade Academic Standards in the Event of a Graduate Teaching Fellows Strike.

By supporting this resolution, University Senate is saying two things:

– University Senate does not support the administration’s plan to change finals and called it “diluting academic standards” in the resolution. The plan includes turning final essays into multiple-choice tests, shortening long essay finals, or hiring non-GTF graduate students, officers of administration or even upper-level undergraduates.

– University Senate doesn’t appreciate the UO administration sending the plans to department heads instead of discussing the plans with the senate. University Senate wants to instead work with the university and come up with a solution together.

Originally, the plans were sent out with a stamp of ‘confidential,’ which the senate pointed to as an attempt to hide the plans from them in the resolution. Barbara Altmann, senior vice-provost of Academic Affairs, denied this. Altmann said the watermark was “vestigial,” and that the university knew emails would be shared and the senate would learn of the plans.

Members of administration who attended the meeting stated that the university’s first priority in making these plans is to protect the students who need final grades on time for registering in sequential classes, financial aid and scholarships.

Altmann said the university wants the “collaboration” of employees.

“We would very much like to tap into your pedagogical expertise,” Altmann said. “And have you help us figure out what unusual measures we can best use in these unusual times.”

Gene Psaki, a co-sponsor of the bill and senator for Romance Languages, said that graduate students are students too, and protecting them should be on the university’s mind as well.

“There isn’t a way for a seamless educational delivery here in the absence of the GTFs,” Psaki said.

The co-sponsors of the resolution are Monique Balbuena, senator for Clark Honors College; Jane Cramer, senator for Political Science; John Davidson, senator for Political Science; Diane Dugaw, senator for English; Deborah Olson, senator for Education; Gina Psaki, senator for Romance Languages; and Gordon Sayre, senator for English.

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Scott Greenstone

Scott Greenstone

Rehabilitated ex-homeschooler, former Emerald Senior News Editor, editor-in-chief of The Broadside at Central Oregon Community College, and freelance blogger for Barnes and Noble.

Now I write campus politics. Easy conversation starters include Adventure Time, Terry Pratchett novels and Arcade Fire.