Directing the Oregon Law Commission and supporting students

Sandy Weintraub

Editor’s note: Duck of the Week is a section in Around the O Workplace that highlights UO employees and their work. Each story features an interview with one employee, in his or her own words, with light editing for clarity and length only.

Sandy Weintraub
Director of the Oregon Law Commission; Interim Assistant Dean of Student Affairs

How long have you worked at the UO?

I’ve been working at UO since 2014. I’ve been with the Law Commission since 2018, and I’ve also been serving as the interim assistant dean of students in the law school since November. I also serve as the parliamentarian in the UO Senate.

Tell us about your work:

The Oregon Law Commission is a law reform organization headquartered at the University of Oregon School of Law. The commission consists of 15 appointed members whose commitments are dictated by an Oregon statute. We take nominations from attorneys, interested parties, including judges and members of the legislature, about laws that need to be improved for people in the state of Oregon. I’m just an employee of the law commission and coordinate their work.

I served as the director of Student Conduct and Community Standards in the Dean of Students Office from 2014 to 2018, and took on another role last November as the assistant dean for student affairs in the law school. As the assistant dean, I help law students in a variety of capacities to ensure that they’re successful and can navigate their way through law school during the pandemic.

Since 2019, I’ve been serving as the parliamentarian for the UO Senate. I make sure the rules are followed in the Senate and consult with the senate president to ensure that those meetings are running smoothly.

What does your typical day look like?

The Oregon Law Commission role is unique in that I work on my own. I spent a lot of my time driving up to Portland or Salem to work with various groups and attorneys. I went to lots of meetings and hearings with the legislature. Everything has shifted over to Zoom, however, so I’ve been doing these meetings from home. Those meetings have adjusted to Zoom quite well because they're working professionals. Even though it’s nicer to have everyone in the same room, the remote format has worked pretty well for creating bills.

My role as the assistant dean has been all-consuming. I meet with students for a variety of issues and meet with faculty on various committees ranging from setting academic policies, managing finals, trying to set policies for returning in the fall and working on a remote commencement program. It's a lot of Zoom meetings, emails and talking with folks on the phone. On the student end, I try to make sure that they have an advocate as a member of the administration in the law school.

What do you like about working at the UO?

I started working at the UO while I was in law school, which gave me that love for higher education. I became very involved in the institution, served on various university committees and was a member of ASUO senate for two years. I was student body president of the law school and worked in the Dean of Students Office for two years doing student conduct work there.

I think we’re an institution with an energy about us that is unique even in higher education. There's a certain character of Eugene community that’s quirky in its own right, and I think that students, staff and faculty that are attracted to come work here have that personality as well. It's the ability to better yourself through education or through working and surrounding yourself around it.

What keeps you motivated?

I believe that we’re doing good work that helps the people around us. It may sound kind of boring, but one piece of legislation that we’ve been working on during the pandemic is a bill that allows people to access notarial services. In the past, that would only be allowed to do in person, which is difficult to do. We were able to pass a temporary law during a special session last summer, which is going through the current legislative session now to allow people to do that through video conference.

In the assistant dean’s role, I really just want students to feel supported. They're doing something difficult, and I sincerely want them to know that they have an advocate. While I can’t always give them good news, I'm trying to make sure that they have a road to success. I really love the atmosphere and the community.

What is something people may not know about you?

I’m a 2010 graduate of UO law and was a very active student in graduate school. I really enjoyed serving on student government, and when I used to meet with undergraduate students I would talk about my understanding of the processes of funding and getting involved on campus.

Sandy Weintraub is part of the School of Law.

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