VP for Student Life seeks Assistant Strategic Communicator for Buzzwords

Requirement #1 is a working knowledge of every imaginable administrative double-talk buzzword, with the notable exception of academic excellence. Reports to the VPSL’s Director of Strategic Communications. Job ad here:

Anticipated Starting Salary:   $50,000-$60,000 commensurate with experience

Excellent Benefits:  Health and dental, employer-paid retirement, tuition benefits for employee or an eligible dependent, and sick and vacation leave.

Who we are:

The Division of Student Life provides and promotes exceptional and transformative experiences that prepare students to be healthy, successful, inspired global citizens.  Within collaborative and inclusive communities that embody the values of diversity, innovation, and social justice, we actively facilitate experiential learning and engage students in meaningful and deliberate activities, programs, and services. …

Our values and goals:

The Division of Student Life values and is committed to integrity, multicultural competence, care and compassion, sustainability, innovation and adaptability, accessibility, personal development and responsible stewardship. We have three key strategic goals: create an exceptional experience for every student, serve as a model of equity, inclusion, and collaboration and work to maximize effectiveness and efficiencies, prioritizing decisions using evidence-based analysis.

Emerald reports on the administration’s Bias Response Team

Reporter Will Campbell has dug into the history and found a few brave (i.e. tenured) souls willing to speak on the record. Read it all here. The start:

The History of BERT

BERT was created in May 1999, when a comment made by a student sparked a protest that resulted in the arrest of 31 students, according to an Emerald article from 1999. The ignition point was a presentation on Hispanic communities in which a UO student said Hispanic individuals have poor work ethic and blamed their culture.

In the heated discussion that followed, students took to email to criticize or defend the statement. Eventually, a student threatened three women in the class, saying to one that she deserved to be sexually assaulted.

Former president Dave Frohnmayer didn’t expel the student. A rally at the Erb Memorial Union followed, and 75 protesters went to Johnson Hall to stage a sit-in. When they stayed after-hours on the floor of Johnson Hall, 31 were arrested for trespassing.

Students demanded action after the arrests. One demand included the formation of a “discrimination response team” that would “notify authorities, provide victim support and ensure due process for the accused discriminator.” …

University must pay fired blogger $100K

The harassment allegation sure is familiar, but the terrorism accusation is a new one. The ACLU took his case pro bono. Here’s the report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:

By July 26, 2016

Adams State University will settle a federal lawsuit brought by a former ASU professor who says the school violated his free speech and due process rights when it banned him from campus over blog posts criticizing the university’s pay practices.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado announced in a press release yesterday that ASU agreed to rescind the “No Trespass Order” it enacted against Danny Ledonne and will pay $100,000 to settle the lawsuit the ACLU of Colorado brought on Ledonne’s behalf in February.

Ledonne was banned from campus in October 2015, two days after he began blogging critically about ASU administrators on his Watching Adams blog. Ledonne taught in the Mass Communication department and did media production work for ASU between 2011 and 2015. After ASU didn’t renew his contract in the spring of that year, he launched Watching Adams.

After banishing Ledonne, ASU repeatedly said that the former professor had not been targeted for his protected speech. But we pointed out numerous inconsistencies in the school’s story here on The Torch. Specifically, we noted that the persona non grata policy used to ban Ledonne had only been enacted the day after Ledonne’s first critical post appeared. Within 24 hours, ASU’s police chief personally delivered a trespass notice to Ledonne at his home.

… Other ASU missteps that may have led to the settlement include “multiple unsubstantiated public claims” by ASU President Beverlee McClure in the wake of Ledonne’s banishment that he “had engaged in ‘harassment,’ ‘direct and indirect threats,’ and ‘terrorism.’” The ACLU of Colorado said in its release that the university was unable to produce a single piece of evidence to substantiate those allegations during litigation. …

Are Oregonians more bored by Altman’s basketball, Duck baseball, or soccer?

Hard to say, according to this report in the Daily Emerald. While Altman and baseball are heavily subsidized by the football players, there’s some chance UO – or more likely Rob Mullens’s Duck athletic enterprise – made some money off the recent Inter Milan / Paris Saint-Germain match. The RG’s Austin Meek has asked for the contract, and will presumably have a story soon.

FEMA: Odds Trump wins presidency same as for deadly Cascadia quake

“13,000 will die … millions of others will be displaced or lose access to power, running water, and functioning sewer systems.”

The most likely outcome, however, is still that Clinton wins, the Democrats take back the Senate, and PLC stands for at least another 10 years. The FEMA risk analysis is linked to here. Predictwise has the betting on Trump here:

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Economist takes over Business School

Congratulations, Bruce!


As we aggressively continue our search for the next dean of the Charles H. Lundquist College of Business, it is my pleasure to share with you that Bruce Blonigen, Philip H. Knight Professor of Social Science, has accepted our offer to serve as interim dean.

While some may consider his appointment nontraditional, Bruce’s experience as associate dean of social sciences in our College of Arts and Sciences has given him a depth of experience that we believe will be highly beneficial to this role. Additionally, as an economist who examines international trade issues with respect to multinational corporations and trade policies, his work has much in common with many of the disciplines housed in the college of business.

Bruce will assume the role on August 1, taking over for Jim Terborg, who has served as interim dean since September. 

Jim delayed his retirement by a year to continue to serve the college where he has spent the last thirty-five years. Under his leadership, the college experienced a year of exceptional research productivity, earned a “#1 Green MBA” ranking from the Princeton Review, achieved reaccreditation, and had a record-breaking $30 million year of fundraising. We are delighted to send Jim off on his much-deserved retirement.

Bruce will continue to serve as the chair of the committee that is working to find a permanent dean. I am told that there is great enthusiasm for the candidate pool and that we have great reason to be optimistic that we will find the perfect fit in the near future.

Please join me in thanking Bruce and Jim for all they do for the University of Oregon.

Sincerely, Scott Coltrane, Provost and Senior Vice President

CAS Dean Andrew Marcus also sent out this announcement:

Dear CAS colleagues,

As Scott Coltrane details below,  Bruce Blonigen, currently associate dean for social sciences in CAS, has graciously agreed to serve as interim dean of the Lundquist College of Business while continuing to chair the search for a permanent dean. Bruce plans to return to CAS when his interim assignment is over and will remain actively engaged with CAS leadership during the period of his interim position. Over the past year, Bruce has served in an unofficial capacity as senior associate dean, overseeing many of the internal management issues across the college – an essential role given how frequently I am on the road for development travel (over 70 nights last year).  Karen Ford, associate dean for humanities, has agreed to serve in this capacity while Bruce serves as interim dean of LCB.

I will announce an acting associate dean of social sciences for the 2016-17 year shortly.

I want to thank both Bruce and Karen for stepping forward and taking on additional work load in this time of transition.  Much of my optimism about the future of the college and the university is because of the many faculty leaders like them who continually lift us up and move us forward.

Best regards, Andrew

 W. Andrew Marcus, Tykeson Dean of Arts and Sciences

I can’t wait to exchange my PLC office for one in Lillis, even if it does still have that ugly yellow O on it. Rumor down at the faculty club is that we’ll be swapping with the b-school professors in mid August, although the official announcement above is circumspect on the exact date. I’m happy to move earlier, really.

The LCB fell completely out of the US News rankings under Dean Kees de Kluyver, and I’m guessing Blonigen will be busy even as interim. Previous Interim Dean Jim Terborg took over last year from Kees de Kluyver, whom Coltrane paid 1/3 of a Gottfredson to step down and take a year’s leave at full pay, then give up his tenure and be a 1/2 time professor for 3 years. Kluyver’s predecessor Jim Bean was able to get UO to pay him for years after Gottfredson fired him as Provost, never teaching a class. Any bets on how much teaching de Kluyver actually does?

Psychologist Examiners: Shelly Kerr unethical. Doug Park merely clueless?

The Final Order in regard to the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners investigation of Counseling Center Director Shelly Kerr’s decision to comply with UO Deputy General Counsel Doug Park’s request for alleged basketball gang-rape survivor Jane Doe’s confidential counseling records was made today. You can download the thorough report from Oregon Administrative Law Judge Alison Green Webster and the ruling of the OBPE here. Kerr was represented by C. Robert Steringer of HLGR. He lost:

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In contrast whistleblowers Karen Stokes and Jennifer Morlok, whose retaliation lawsuit UO just settled for $425K, come off as total professionals.

According to the timeline in Webster’s report, Jane Doe’s attorney John Clune sent Park a “litigation hold” on Aug 5th 2014 to ensure that the records were not destroyed. But Park’s office didn’t ask the Counseling Center for the documents until December 8th, *after* mediation failed. Despite this 4 month gap, and despite the fact that he knew Clune already had a copy of the file (Clune had shown him some excerpts during mediation) Mr. Park maintained that the only reason his office asked for the counseling records was to comply with Clune’s litigation hold and keep the records safe. Some excerpts from Judge Webster (Licensee & Respondent refer to Kerr):

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CORRECTION: IDs to feature sports egofices, AND SAFE reporting website

7/22/2016 CORRECTION: I emailed VPSA Robin Holmes about this, relaying the suggestion for stickers in the comments. She quickly replied that the info *will* be on the cards. Good news:


I checked with the Director of the EMU and the card office to confirm that we will indeed be placing the emergency numbers on the card as we planned and as was advised and advocated for by students.  I am not sure where the information came that we were not planning on doing that—I am sure it was just some sort of miscommunication.  As you can see from the email below, not all of the numbers could be placed on the card so the idea was to have the card in a sleeve (to keep it from becoming de-magnified) and that that sleeve would have the additional numbers. 

Robin H. Holmes Ph.D., Vice President
Division of Student Life

7/20/2016: New UO IDs feature sports egofices, but not SAFE reporting website

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The Daily Emerald reports that a UO student group has been lobbying for the latter since 2014:

In 2014, UO Active Minds launched a campaign to persuade the university to include university resources numbers – Health Center, Safe Ride, Sexual Assault Prevention, Non Emergency Public Safety – on the back of the card.

“A lot of the time (these are) resources that students forget,” Active Minds member Juan Rivera said. “In my case, as a first year student you know about them, and you learn about them. As you progress throughout the years, you start forgetting what was originally there.”

Those numbers didn’t make it on the new design, though students will find their student ID number and barcode on the back of their new cards.

The SAFE website is here. It’s the best antidote to the confusing, outdated, and wrong information that has been posted on UO’s Affirmative Action and Police websites about reporting sexual harassment and assault. Putting the URL and 24-hour hotline number on ID’s was also very exciting to Mike Gottfredson and Robin Holmes’ hand picked $80K “External Review Committee”, as explained here. Bob Berdahl was enthusiastic. I wonder why the new UO administration wouldn’t do it, and who made the decision?

Comedy Central on college sports-revenue v. rapes & new UO Shushy mascot

This Comedy Central show starts with some statistics on college sexual violence, including the finding in a recent NBER working paper that reported rapes of college age women increase 41% on football home-game weekends.

Brenda Tracy then recounts the story of her 1998 gang-rape by Oregon State football players, explaining the pressure brought on her to drop charges, given that OSU was trying to raise money for a new football stadium. Tracy then introduces a campaign to try and get the NCAA to ban violent athletes, and the emcees explain the expected value calculation that has led so many colleges to hide rapes by revenue-sport athletes, and then introduce UO’s putative new mascot, Shushy the rape-ignoring ostrich:

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This is arguably unfair, given that Tracy was raped by student-athletes from Oregon State, not UO. But then Duck fans can hardly complain, given that President Gottfredson’s administration did its best to keep the March 2014 gang-rape allegations against three of coach Dana Altman’s basketball players secret until the players could be quietly transferred away to other unsuspecting campuses, as the documents in their lawsuit against UO demonstrate. (Docket here, correspondence between Altman’s recruit’s attorney and current UO Deputy General Counsel Doug Park, showing the agreement to keep the nature of the accusations against the player off his transcripts, here.)

I have a few issues with the expected value comparison of the costs of rapes and the benefits of football revenue that the show presents. Setting aside the issue of the non-pecuniary costs, the emceee’s state “If [the expected value of legal settlements for rape victims] is less money than the money generated by your football program then it’s more cost-efficient for you to just convince these co-eds that they were never raped.”

However, this math ignores the fact that the profits from big-time sports goes to the coaches, athletic directors and NCAA leaders like Mark Emmert, while the costs of the legal settlements are typically paid by the universities. The downside risk to coaches who tolerate rapists and alleged rapists seems to be small. For example, Mike Riley, who was OSU football coach when Tracy was raped, gave the two players one-game suspensions and appears to have lost nothing by that decision, being hired by OSU for a second stretch in 2003. The Duck’s Dana Altman will presumably receive a fat raise when his current contract expires, despite his decision to not ask any questions about why one of the alleged rapists, whom he recruited to UO as a transfer, had been suspended by his previous university for an entire year.

Diane Dietz has more on Shushy here, including the inevitable quote from self-described Duck advocate and PR flack Tobin Klinger.

Faculty delight as “inane and insulting” 160over90 branders chased off campus

7/20/2016 update: “What If” President Schill carried through on his promise to redirect 160over90’s branding bucks to new faculty hires? He has, as “Around the O” reports here.

1/20/2015: Faculty delight as “inane and insulting” 160over90 branders chased off campus

Kellie Woodhouse of InsideHigherEd has a report with many interesting quotes, here:

The University of Oregon’s decision to cut back its multimillion-dollar branding campaign has many faculty at the institution cheering. …

The change of course appears to have built good will among faculty members, many of whom complained the “If” campaign is too generic. A video for the campaign, for example, shows vague scenes and programs from Oregon’s campus, and doesn’t highlight with any detail the specific academic programs at the university.

“The original campaign was inane and insulting, and we were really disappointed that the Board of Trustees and our former president decided to spend that much money on advertising instead of addressing the university’s real problems,” said Bill Harbaugh, an economics professor and president-elect of the Oregon’s University Senate.

The quotes from President Schill’s new VP for Communications Kyle Henley are circumspect about the quality of 160over90’s work and the financial gains from ending the contract, as should be expected given the Chair of UO’s Board of Trustees past support for the branding:

Chuck Lillis, president of the UO Board of Trustees, built a $60-billion-plus empire on his background in marketing. Lillis earned a doctorate in marketing at the UO in 1972. …

Lillis, the inaugural chairman of the UO board — and $14 million donor to the UO business college — is squarely behind the 160over90 campaign.

“We can’t spend $3 million more intelligently than this,” he said recently.

That’s OK, Kenley deserves plenty of respect for doing the deed.

1/17/2016: UO Pres Mike Schill uses 160over90 ad firm to establish his “academic brand”

By firing their useless asses and putting the money to hiring new faculty for UO.

Schill is getting a lot of positive press for this. Diane Dietz’s report in the RG on Thursday now has 3.6K Facebook likes, including plenty of faculty nationwide:

The University of Oregon has pulled out of its high-profile three-year, $3.4 million contract with Philadelphia branding and advertising firm 160over90, and is redirecting money toward university academic and research goals, the UO said Wednesday.

… UO administrators negotiated a Jan. 1 end to the contract, which cost the UO about $40,000 in penalties but saved $400,000 to $500,000 in further spending, [VP for Communications Kyle Henley] said in an e-mail. The UO has paid 160over90 about $3 million in all. [And had planned to spend $20M over 5 years.]

InsideHigherEd and the Chronicle of Higher Ed are both doing stories on this. Perhaps the Chronicle story will be a bit more positive than Jack Stripling’s September report on UO. (Still gated, extracts here.)

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And the Register Guard’s Editorial Board notes that Schill has picked up “Oregon values” pretty quickly, for a New Yorker:

Any rancher could have told the University of Oregon that a brand isn’t worth much without a steer to put it on. UO President Michael Schill has reached that understanding, and now intends to spend less on hype and more on the university’s product: academics and research. Bully for him. …

So now that the branders are gone, let’s get to work on ending Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick’s contract with UO for legal work. The City of Eugene did that years ago, and has apparently saved millions:

UO’s HLGR contract is here. We pay them by the hour, which creates an obvious moral hazard. So who did former Interim General Counsel Doug Park put in charge of it? Harrang’s noted big-tobacco attorney Sharon Rudnick:

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No written report from Pepper Hamilton lawyers on Baylor football rapes

The NYT has the story here:

The former Baylor president Kenneth W. Starr complained that he had never seen it. Baylor’s alumni association called for its release. The Big 12 Conference has asked for it — twice.

But there is one problem. It — a written report of an investigation conducted by an outside law firm in the wake of several sexual assault allegations and convictions involving Baylor football players — does not exist.

“Various voices have called for the release of the ‘full report,’” the university’s interim president, David Garland, wrote in June after the Board of Regents demoted Mr. Starr and fired the football coach Art Briles. The lawyers’ report, however, “was delivered in the form of an oral presentation that fully and comprehensively presented the individual and aggregated findings and the evidence supporting the findings,” Mr. Garland said.

Baylor’s decision to forgo a comprehensive report — after an investigation that granted the lawyers what the university called “unfettered access,” more than 65 interviews and one million pieces of information including emails and personnel files — has frustrated not only the supporters of the punished administrators but transparency advocates, who wonder about the impartiality of the lawyers the university hired to investigate itself and whether Baylor is withholding information publicly to protect itself from criticism, lawsuits or both. …

Say what you will about Mike Gottfredson but he went the extra mile on this particular idea, by refusing to conduct any investigation whatsoever of the UO Basketball rape allegations.

President Schill deluged by academic donations

Diane Dietz has the story in the RG:

… The nearly $202 million received in the past 12 months fell short of the $215 million received in 2014-15, but exceeds the amount raised in previous years.

In the year since Schill took the helm, the giving has shifted in favor of academics, with 80 percent of donations earmarked for learning and research vs. athletic giving — while the mix in the previous year was 62 percent academics and 38 percent athletics. …