Senate: Policy review under way; progress on misconduct rules

Interim UO President Scott Coltrane said he hopes to have a new set of policies addressing sexual misconduct in place by the end of the academic year, following recommendations from three campus review panels.

In a UO Senate meeting Wednesday, Jan. 14, Coltrane said two more community forums will be held to gather comments, especially from students, on what to include in a comprehensive update of the university’s sexual misconduct response plan. Several steps already have been taken to enact changes recommended by a Senate task force, a presidential review panel and the Division of Student Life.

“We haven’t waited to do many of the things that are in (the reports),” Coltrane said.

The Senate also took a step forward in a major review of some 300 UO policies that were transferred from the former state higher education system and board when the UO Board of Trustees assumed governance of the university. Senators approved two motions on faculty and student records that repealed 21 inherited rules and endorsed 31, subject to the president’s concurrence.

Some rules are being repealed because they duplicate existing university policies or are no longer needed.

The university is embarking on a review of approximately 700 rules and polices inherited from the old State Board of Higher Education and chancellor’s office to ensure they are relevant and current.

In his remarks, Coltrane also thanked the Senate for working with him and the Board of Trustees to address the policies issue and develop a way to conduct the review “efficiently and effectively.” He said a new Policy Advisory Committee, made up of Kyr and 13 others from across campus, will review any policy repeal actions.

The Senate plans to hold extra meetings during winter and spring terms to help work through the long list of academic policy issues. Two more meetings are planned this month, three each in February, April and May and one in March.

Senate President Robert Kyr thanked law professor John Bonine in particular for wading through a comprehensive list of university policies to identify those that need Senate consideration and building a spreadsheet to make the review easier. Bonine credited sociology professor Michael Dreiling and Kyr for their help on the project.

In other action, the Senate approved a resolution calling on the UO Foundation to divest itself of stocks in companies that produce fossil fuels. The motion also called on the foundation to allow university faculty, staff and students to have input to investment decisions through a subcommittee and to serve on the foundation board.

—By Greg Bolt, Public Affairs Communications