UA Letter to President Schill regarding the denaming of Deady and Dunn Hall

Dear President Schill,

On behalf of the Executive Council of United Academics and the undersigned faculty, I write to urge you to dename both Deady Hall and Dunn Hall.

As you say in your letter to the campus community, the report submitted to you by the selected historians is sobering. During their lives, both Matthew Deady and Frederick Dunn sponsored, affirmed, and enforced laws and policies that discriminated against people based on their race, ethnicity, and/or religion.

One of the main intents of naming buildings is to honor the men and women for which they are named. The people for whom we name our buildings should be men and women who not only have a connection our campus, but are also men and women who we believe our students should seek to emulate.

Because of their discriminatory actions and troubling moral choices, Matthew Deady and Frederic Dunn are not men we should honor, nor are they men we should ask our students to emulate.

Some opponents of denaming have sought to absolve Deady and Dunn by arguing that it would be unfair to them to judge them by the standards and mores of today. But the question of the morality of slavery and its place as an American institution has been fiercely debated since the founding of the nation. No territorial politician in 1857, the year Deady ran on the pro-slavery ticket for the Oregon Constitutional Convention, was unaware of this debate. Deady’s white supremacy was neither uninformed nor incidental. Deady advocated and politicked for an all-white Oregon, denigrating non-white people. As the historians’ report states, “Deady’s remarks display clearly his comfort expressing hardened racial views in the 1850s, which he continued to voice until the outbreak of Civil War. “

In their summary of Deady’s life, the historians note that Deady’s pro-slavery and anti-black positions were not out of step with the majority of his fellow Oregonians. Yet, they were moral choices made by a man who grasped their meaning. Whether to be pro-slavery or anti-slavery was the major moral question of Deady’s day and many people, including many Oregonians, recognized the inherent evil in the system of humans owning other humans. Many citizens, including many Oregonians, shortly thereafter fought and died to end slavery in America. Deady was not merely on the wrong side of history from the perspective of today, he made a hateful moral choice by the standards of his own time.

Frederick Dunn was an Exalted Cyclops in the Ku Klux Klan. This fact should speak for itself and immediately render Dunn unacceptable as a person the university would seek to honor. Not only by the standards of today, but by the standards of the 1920s, the KKK was a malignant organization. The historians’ report points to the large opposition to the Klan in Eugene and quotes the Daily Emerald to this effect, “The University campus is no more a place for the white robed Ku Klux Klan, than is the great state of Oregon… Such an organization as this must never be countenanced on a college campus.” This was true in the 1920s and it is true today. We cannot honor a man who led the Klan in our city and on our campus.

Opponents of denaming make another argument as well: that letting the names remain will provide an opportunity for students to be educated about and engage with Oregon’s racist past. Such a position is offensive and condescending.

One of the main points the Black Student Task Force has made is that racism, both individual and systematic, is a feature of life at the University of Oregon for them every day. The students of color at the University of Oregon do not need buildings named after men with a history of white supremacy to know about discrimination and racism in Oregon. They live it every day.

We teach, live, work and learn on a majority white campus. When our students of color raise their voices to bravely talk about the isolation and oppression they feel here, we should listen and act where we can. We must not find reasons and excuses to dismiss or minimize their distress. Denaming these buildings costs the majority very little, it is imperative that we do so.

We support the calls to rename these buildings and to add plaques noting the buildings’ former names, providing a history of the men they used to honor, and explaining why the campus community chose to rename the building.

Sincerely,
Michael Dreiling
President, United Academics of the University of Oregon

*Letter submitted on August 24 with over 100 faculty signatures.

Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition at UIUC on strike!

Our union cousins at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign are on strike. The Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition at UIUC (AAUP, AFT 6546) has voted to approve a five-day strike beginning today, April 28, after another stalled negotiations session. After 18 months of negotiations, NTFC continues to seek improvements in multi-year contracts and reappointment language. Please support our colleagues by calling Interim Chancellor Wilson at 217-333-6290 and/or Interim Provost Feser at 217-333-6677, and asking them for a fair contract now!

UIUC Flier

Case Update: Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

The Supreme Court of the United States upheld an appellate court decision that found agency fee constitutional. Thus, the law remains as it has for over forty years. This is good news for unions and our siblings throughout working America.

Additional detailed information can be found here on the SCOTUS blog.

Issue: (1) Whether Abood v. Detroit Board of Education should be overruled and public-sector “agency shop” arrangements invalidated under the First Amendment; and (2) whether it violates the First Amendment to require that public employees affirmatively object to subsidizing nonchargeable speech by public-sector unions, rather than requiring that employees affirmatively consent to subsidizing such speech.

Judgment: Affirmed by an equally divided Court in a per curiam opinion on March 29, 2016.

 

The vital work of non-tenure track faculty

The vital work of non-tenure track faculty in higher education is widely undervalued and underappreciated. Too often, administrations fail to acknowledge the indispensable expertise and labor of NTTF and fail to appreciate their contributions to the research, instructional and service missions of universities. This is one of the central reasons we unionized and why faculty at many other universities are following suit.  Our collective bargaining agreement has moved this campus in the right direction with respect to NTTF – better pay, longer-term contracts, transparent channels for promotion, increased sabbatical eligibility, and new benefits. These gains are the first of many needed steps for the UO to achieve a secure and stable workforce and provide credible respect for the critical academic work of all NTTF.

The long-term success and the continuity of operations of the university require the specific advanced skills, expertise, and stability of a team of career professionals working to advance the university’s instructional and research missions.  These roles are generally complementary and interwoven with those of tenure-track faculty and not a cheap substitute. The University of Oregon cannot realize its  mission without the work of hundreds of NTTF in research labs, classrooms, and service roles across this campus.

Front-line research in the laboratory sciences critically depends on NTTF in the roles of bench scientists, scientific programmers, and career professional scientists with advanced degrees who staff and manage the core research infrastructure.  The career professionals in the shared core research services provide a high degree of specific technical expertise and commitment to the successful  long-term continuity of operation of shared instrumentation centers. Appropriate staffing is a requirement by funding agencies (e.g. NSF, NIH, DOE) and receives intense scrutiny in the consideration of major research instrumentation grant proposals.

Our NTTF colleagues also play an essential day-to-day role in the one-on-one training, mentoring, and supervision of undergraduate and graduate students. Many units rely completely on NTTF to advise undergraduates and encourage department majors.

A commitment to growing the tenure ranks can and should occur alongside a commitment to fully embrace the professional roles of NTTF in our university. The recent administrative decision to emphasize hiring TTF while simultaneously cutting NTTF positions in select programs has impacted NTTF morale and raised concerns about the redistribution of workload among faculty.

Financially starved departments vital to the university’s mission should not be further reduced and imperiled. The heads of several language and composition departments outlined the risks to their programs with these cuts.  Further, many faculty in the NTT ranks are worried that they might be the next target of cuts, sentiments exacerbated by the relative silence about how these cuts will materially impact the respective academic programs, class sizes, and ultimately our liberal arts promise. Because these cuts involve reductions in teaching faculty, the ability of these programs to sustain and grow student credit hours is curtailed.

President Schill has set ambitious goals to grow the university and solidify our place among the nation’s best research universities. United Academics supports these broad goals, but we believe we cannot achieve them without a robust and respected non-tenure-track faculty.

Fossil Fuel Divestment

Students demonstrated with a rally and sit-in at Johnson Hall Feb. 16. Speakers spoke boldly to the scientific and ethical implications of investments in fossil fuel infrastructure, compellingly urging the UO Foundation to divest from the poorly performing investments. Last year students voted overwhelmingly in an ASUO poll for the UO to divest. The University Senate also voted, unanimously last year, urging the UO Foundation to divest from fossil fuels within six months. The Foundation has not acted on the advice of that resolution.

Along with UA President, Michael Dreiling, Naomi Klein spoke at the rally in support of the students. Naomi Klein will address the community tonight at7:30pm EMU Ballroom. For more information, see http://ohc.uoregon.edu/W-16Klein.html