Update on UO Board of Trustees December meeting
The full meeting of the University of Oregon Board of Trustees kicked off Thursday morning. The meeting started off with high attendance, a similar crowd to Wednesday’s emergency senate meeting, and the audience was mostly made up of Graduate Teaching Fellows and university senate members. Several audience members provided public comments, most of which were about the about the GTFF strike and shared governance.
Carla McNelly, the Service Employees International Union president, was visibly shaking when she addressed the board.
“I just got reamed by one of the deans,” McNelly said.
In her statement McNelly addressed the UO’s treatment of graduate students, misinformation that was spread about the strike and the potential of an item removed from the board’s agenda to supersede the UO constitution. McNelly affirmed that she, the classified staff and the senate are committed to the university and to shared governance.
“We are here to work together,” McNelly said. “Please, please let us be successful.”
There were many pleas for shared governance and transparency throughout the public comment portion of the meeting.
“Your board is called the Board of Trustees…” said UO assistant professor of philosophy Mark Alfano. “Please, show us that we can trust you.”
ASUO Vice President Tran Dinh and Student Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Ramos delivered the ASUO President’s report to the board in the absence of Beatriz Gutierrez. Ramos said that during fall term the ASUO worked on five different campaigns for free STD testing, a student tenant association, food security for students, cultural competency and raising awareness for the services offered by the counseling center. Ramos also said that the ASUO have been in full support of the GTFF.
University Senate President Robert Kyr asked the board to join the senate for healing. “We have to have a process of healing,” Kyr said. “Trust has broken down.” Kyr also told the board about two senate motions to investigate grading irregularities and potentially retaliatory disciplinary procedures during the strike.
Board of Trustees member Mary Wilcox gave a special report from the President’s Review Panel, which presented its report to the president on Tuesday. The panel examined the university’s handling of sexual misconduct and presented recommendations for UO to improve prevention and response efforts.
President Coltrane thanked the panel for its report and said that winter term there will be more discussion on campus using the reports of the President’s Review Panel, the Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support and a gap analysis by the division of student life.
Board of Trustee member and head of the Presidential Search Committee, Connie Ballmer, gave an update on the committee’s progress.
Ballmer reaffirmed that there is no timeline for the presidential search but did say that all the search firms that the committee interviewed recommended a concentrated search. The search will officially begin in January and, according to Ballmer, search firms said that the final interviews could be done by April. Ballmer emphasized that there is no definite timeline.
The board approved several resolutions at it’s Thursday meeting. A resolution that could potentially supersede the UO constitution was removed from the agenda on Tuesday.
The board voted unanimously to authorize the creation of a Sport’s Product Management Program, which still needs to be approved by the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
The board voted unanimously to amend a UO policy on required reporting. UO Ombudsperson, Bruce McAllister, can now maintain confidentiality in regards to sexual violence except in cases where consent is given to release information or there is an imminent risk of serious harm. Both the Senate Task Force and the President’s Review Panel recommended in their separate reports that that Ombudsperson be exempt from mandatory reporting.
The board also voted to approve a new residence hall project south of the Global Scholars Hall.
The Board of Trustees meeting will continue Friday, December 12 at 8 a.m. in the Ford Alumni Center. The meeting is open to the public. This post will be updated.
Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.