Opposition to Efforts by Academic Affairs to Dilute and Degrade Academic Standards in the Event of a Graduate Teaching Fellows Strike

Number: 
US14/15-20
Date of Notice: 
Tue, 11/11/2014
Legislation, Resolution, or Policy Adoption: 
Legislation
Current Status: 
Approved on 11/19/2014
Motion: 

Section I

1.1    WHEREAS Section 1.3 of the University of Oregon Constitution states “Sole faculty governance authority at the University of Oregon resides in the Statutory Faculty. This authority extends to all academic matters as commonly understood in higher education. The Statutory Faculty may delegate its authority but must retain oversight responsibility.”

1.2    And WHEREAS the choice of assignments, the methods of testing and the assignment of grades are clearly academic matters under the sole governance authority of the faculty;

1.3    And WHEREAS the faculty have historically maintained such standards in an open transparent way, as demonstrated for example by the public operation of the Committee on Courses, the UO Senate, the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils, and when necessary the UO Faculty Assembly;

1.4    And WHEREAS on October 24 2014 the University of Oregon Administration undermined the faculty’s sole authority over all academic matters by sending a memo to Deans and Directors suggesting the weakening of these academic standards by administrative fiat, for administrative convenience in dealing with a potential strike by the university’s graduate student fellows;

1.5    And WHEREAS this memo suggested pedagogically questionable approaches faculty might take in event of a GTFF strike, such as replacing written essay exams with multiple choice exams with “an equal level of rigor”, or simply skipping finals and giving course grades based on incomplete work;

1.6    And WHEREAS the memo was not sent to faculty, but rather was stamped as “confidential,” presumably to hide it from the faculty;

Section II:

2.1   BE IT THEREFORE MOVED that the Senate, as the legitimate representative body of the faculty, reject on behalf of the faculty, this confidential memo, the secret process by which it was written, and the dilution and degradation of academic standards it suggests;

2.2 And BE IT FURTHERMORE MOVED that the Senate directs Interim President Scott Coltrane and his administrators to work openly, publicly, and transparently with the UO Faculty, through the UO Senate in accordance with the UO Constitution, to determine how the University will maintain its academic standards in the event of a strike by the GTFF.

Financial Impact: 
Cost neutral
Sponsor: 

Monique Balbuena (Senator, Clark Honors College)

Jane Cramer (Senator, Political Science)

John Davidson (Senator, Political Science)

Diane Dugaw (Senator, English)

Deborah Olson (Senator, Education)

Gina Psaki (Senator, Romance Languages)

Gordon Sayre (Senator, English)