Arts on the Chopping Block

Bob Keefer has the story in the Eugene Weekly, here. Some snippets:

The University of Oregon plans to solve its budget crisis by cutting money for the arts and culture.

That’s the message conveyed by a series of major budget cuts quietly proposed for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, the Oregon Bach Festival and the Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

… The university needs to cut its overall budget by $11.6 because of falling enrollment and other revenue losses, UO President Michael Schill has said.

Despite the university’s culture of secrecy, word of the arts cuts — which had not been publicly announced — leaked out when former Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy posted the news on Facebook April 10.

Apparently on orders from above, arts administrators declined to talk about the cuts to Eugene Weekly, referring questions to Molly Blancett, the university’s interim spokesperson. …

Why isn’t UO cutting subsidies for Duck sports instead?

Coach Altman: We will never pay players. Judge: Orders $6k payments to 53K “student-athlete” victims of NCAA antitrust violations

Dana Altman, from CBS sports:

Steve Berkowitz, from USA Today:

The plaintiffs’ lawyers have developed a list of roughly 53,000 football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball players who are set to get some share of the settlement money, according to Wednesday’s ruling. Those who played their sport for four years will get an average of about $6,000 apiece, the ruling said.

With his latest raise Dana Altman is paid roughly 600 times that much, per year: Additional lawsuits brought by players against the NCAA cartel continue.

Tree-sitting global warming protest sure to boost UO’s enrollment yield

The last survey I was allowed to see showed that UO students listed our reputation for environmental studies and activism as a bigger part of their enrollment decision than the ~$120M Duck athletic empire. So with freshman tuition deposits due May 1, this protest couldn’t have come at a better time. Reporter Michael Tobin has an excellent story in the Emerald, here.

Rumor down at the faculty club is that VP for Enrollment Roger Thompson plans to spend a few nights up on the platform, during breaks from his busy recruiting travel schedule.

Some data on west of campus crime trends, relevant to budget crisis

President Schill has decided to protect the UOPD from his budget cuts, arguing that as the Eugene PD tries to clean up downtown the “bad actors” are moving closer to campus and our students need protection. But the data (limited) shows a 21% decrease in reported incidents since 2016. If you start in 2016 there is no clear trend for serious crime reports. If you start in 2017 they have also decreased, by 38%.

From: Senate President [
Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 10:11 PM
To: Mike H Schill <>; Matthew Carmichael <>
Subject: crime wave data
Dear President Schill and Chief Carmichael – 
Having now heard several administrators repeat President Schill’s statements about a west campus crime wave, I started to wonder if there was any actual data on this. 
As it happens the EPD website allows for rudimentary searches of their dispatch log, at
Because the EPD webpage requires a street name, I focused on incidents with an address that included E 13th Ave, since this seems to be where the “bad actors” like to hang out. I searched for incidents reported from January 1 to March 19th for the years 2016 – 2019. The files are attached. They include everything from the trivial on up, so in addition to total incidents I looked for thefts and assaults. I found:
2016: 190 incidents, 11 thefts, 4 assaults
2017: 198 incidents, 11 thefts, 11 assaults
2018: 163 incidents, 11 thefts, 5 assaults
2019: 149 incidents, 15 thefts, 0 assaults
Obviously these data are limited, but they don’t seem consistent with a crime wave. If you have any additional data regarding trends in west campus crime I’d appreciate it if you’d share that with me.  
Bill Harbaugh
UO Senate Pres, Econ Prof

Chief Carmichael’s response is posted on the Senate website. He does not dispute the data above showing what could arguably be called a decrease. He does not provide any time-series data at all. This is weird, because this sort of data analysis has been the hallmark of good policing since maps with pins, and then the 1990’s CompStat.

“The Spirit of Transparency” to be laid to rest at budget cut Town Hall 2PM April 22, EMU Gumwood room

I was born in the town of Chaplin, Connecticut. New England towns are famous for their Town Hall form of governance. The town Selectmen (now mostly Selectwomen) make proposals about the budget, and then everyone – or every property-tax paying resident who cares – meets, discusses, and votes about the rate, and how to split it between snow-removal and teachers.

Our house was next to the Town Hall, so we shared a phone line with them and a few other families. This meant that the phone would ring in the Town Hall and all our houses if anyone got a call. In theory the operator was supposed to use a unique sequence of rings that identified who the call was for, but in practice this was spotty and regardless anyone could pick up their phone and listen in to whatever offer some contractor was making to the town.

UO’s governance is a bit less transparent. The Senate President is not allowed to attend the meetings of the administrative leadership team that makes budget decisions. Even simple public records requests for financial information are now met with delays and fees by Kevin Reed’s public records office. This is not how it works at normal universities, where the Senate is in the loop.

And now, in remembrance of the Spirit of Transparency past, UO is holding a fake Town Hall. Selectman Mrs. Danielson would be appalled. I learned about this from Around the O here, not from listening in on the JH phones, or from a notice to the Senate:

… The focus of the event will be the University of Oregon’s budget situation, and Banavar will lead a discussion around how the administration is working to make reductions to UO’s schools and colleges, and and the provost’s administrative units. Vice President for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt will join Banavar to provide background and context on the university’s financial picture.

The purpose of the town hall is to spark dialogue and a spirit of transparency around the difficulties faced by the university and its funding. …

Apparently President Schill will not be attending, presumably out of respect for the dead.

Duck AD Rob Mullens to charge Hayward fans $50K for Slusher’s Schlong

I swear I am not making this up.

I thought Phil Knight was paying for the “renovation” of historic Hayward Field and the erection of the 165′ tall Slusher’s Schlong, to be constructed from “Heroic wood”. How naive of me. KEZI is now reporting that Duck AD Rob Mullens plans to make Eugene Track and Field fans “donate” $50,000 each towards construction costs, if they want season tickets in the shade.

UO’s attempts to dismiss Freyd lawsuit include redefining “Professor”

4/11/2019 update. Arguments about to start. More later.

4/8/2019 update: Full disclosure: I am not a lawyer.

But having now spent a little more time with the docket, I see that in addition to the retention raise issue mentioned below, our administration’s lawyers are pursuing another interesting and potentially more troubling strategy in their argument for dismissal.

If I understand it, they are arguing that there is no such job as Professor. Instead, there are different professor jobs, each with different responsibilities. So different that every professor should really be in their own separate, unique, incomparable job classification. Presumably they also think these classifications should change annually, or at least with the NSF grant cycle.

This argument means that there can be no such thing as pay discrimination for professors, because there are no two professors with the same job classification. Therefore Judge McShane must dismiss this case. Brilliant.

While universities have been mistakenly lumping all these different professor jobs under the category of professor for centuries (albeit with subcategories for rank and discipline) now is the time to put a stop to this professor thing, and the University of Oregon is just the place to do it! Presumably our administration’s new Faculty Tracking Software will help with the slice and dice.

As I mentioned, I’m not a lawyer, or even a legal historian. However it seems to me that an opinion from the judge agreeing that this argument is grounds for dismissing the case, if sustained, would be a precedent with wide ranging effects, making it nearly impossible for anyone in a professional job with varying job responsibilities to ever win a pay discrimination case.

You can read UO’s outside attorneys Paula A. Barran, Shayda Zaerpoor and Donovan L. Bonner of Barran Liebman LLP laying out their arguments in this motion to dismiss. A snippet:

They’ve even persuaded a few UO people with the job title soon to be formerly known as  Professor to give sworn affidavits that support this argument. Other professors swear that it is bullshit. Check the docket here.

Suggestions for our new job titles are welcome in the comments.

4/7/2019: Gender gaps in outside offers and retention, Freyd lawsuit

Oral arguments in Prof Freyd’s gender pay discrimination lawsuit against UO are this Thursday at 2PM (lengthy docket here). The crux of the case, as I understand it, is whether a gender gap in salaries that results from a gender gap in retention and outside offers, rather than intentional gender discrimination, is illegal.

The timely report by Harvard’s Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE), here, bears directly on the existence of these gender gaps. (Thanks to a reader for forwarding this link.) Some snippets:

Further, the study’s insights into the negotiation process are suggesting some troubling gender gaps. For example, among those who didn’t ask for a counteroffer, men are more likely than women to receive one, anyway; among those who do ask for a counteroffer, women are more likely to be denied.

Higher ed’s “counteroffer culture” has real costs. Faculty are expected to cultivate outside offers before they can ask for a better deal at home. This requirement pushes them out the door: we are finding that nearly 1 in 3 faculty who left had originally sought the offer only to renegotiate the terms of their employment.

Universities have a “home-field advantage” in retaining dual-career couples. Retentions were nearly twice as likely as departures to have a spouse employed at the same institution. The implications for women are particularly acute: 48% of women versus 21% of men ranked spousal employment as a primary factor in their decision to stay or leave.

COACHE’s mission is interesting:

… a research-practice partnership (RPP), committed to improving the academic workplace and advancing the success of a talented and diverse faculty. We accomplish this by providing comparative, actionable insights on what faculty need to do their best work. We derive these insights from survey and institutional data that we collect and analyze under the highest standards of research. We share these insights with a community of practice in academic affairs who are, like us, committed to making academic leadership more adaptive and governance more strategic.

They partner with about 250 universities to conduct surveys on faculty matters, at quite reasonable costs:

Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey

The Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey offers academic affairs administrators unique insights into the faculty experience. The survey captures faculty sentiment with regard to teaching, service and research, tenure and promotion, departmental engagement and collegiality, and other aspects of the academic workplace.

Faculty Retention & Exit Survey

The Faculty Retention & Exit Survey involves COACHE partners in the only comparative study of faculty retentions and departures. The results show the implications of certain policies and offer insight into the causes, costs, and conduct surrounding faculty exit.

I wonder why the UO administration is so eager to blow money on things like Academic Analytics and now Faculty Tracking Software, but unwilling to participate in efforts like these?

UO Senate votes to end numerical teaching evals. Vote on ACP delayed. Info on contacting state legislators on budget crisis.

4/10/2019: Results from today’s Senate meeting:

After a presentation by Sierra Dawson (OtP), Lee Rumbarger (TEP), and a discussion with participation ranging from student senators on down to several unit heads responsible for instructor evaluation, and responses from the CIET committee members, and an amendment to require that the CIET report back on potential biases (w.r.s.t to women and minority instructors) after the  new Student Experience Survey is in place, the Senate voted unanimously for the legislation below. It will end UO’s collection of numerical student evaluations starting in Fall, and in any case no later than next spring. So many people have worked so hard on this for so long. Thanks.

In regard to the Academic Continuity Plan / Emergency Grades legislation, the vote was postponed for at least two weeks, in light of late breaking news that raised the possibility that the President might be legally entitled to overrule an Academic Council decision on emergency grades. Given this, President Schill suggested, and the Senate Pres (me) agreed that it would be best to give the GCO time to form an informed opinion on this, and then time for the Senate and its constituencies time to digest that opinion before a vote. Perhaps the policy will be amended, perhaps that will not be necessary. I hope that this will be accomplished in time for a vote a the 4/24 meeting.

The Senate then adjourned, and VP Skowron and Melanie Muenzer (OtP) explained to the senators how they could contact key state legislators regarding key legislation that will affect UO’s budget, and tuition. Needs to be done by tomorrow.

See here for more info. A snippet:

Senate meets 4/10/2019, 3-5PM, EMU Crater Lake

Location: EMU 145 & 146 (Crater Lake rooms)
3:00 – 5:00 P.M.

3:00 P.M.   Call to order

  • Remarks: President Schill
  • Introductory Remarks. To include budget crisis, our regional accreditor’s proposed changes to standards, University nominations survey, Dean’s nights at Faculty Club; Senate Pres Bill Harbaugh

3:30 PM   Approval of Minutes

3:30 PM     Business/ Reports:

4:50 PM   Open Discussion
4:51 PM   Reports

  • Legislative update, Melanie Muenzer (OtP)

4:58 PM   Notice(s) of Motion

4:59 PM   Other Business
5:00 PM   Adjourn to Faculty Club, all invited!

GTFF bargaining moves to mediation

I had to miss Friday’s bargaining session, but it seems the administration finally responded to the GTFF’s economic proposal by repeating their previous proposal, throwing in an additional 0.5% per year to make it an even 1%. I know a few economists, and they tell me the western US consumer price index increased by 3.1 % last year, so as might have been predicted this did not go over well.

Likewise, while the administration’s proposal to move some of what it pays for GTFF health care (by all reports it’s a cadillac plan that puts PEBB to shame, although the GTFF did manage to cut what UO paid for it last year) and put it in salary, while optimal to a rational expected-income maximizing risk-neutral agent, is not so optimal under the assumption of utility-maximization and the resulting risk aversion that has been the working model of economists since before there were such things as economists (Bernoulli, 1738). Yes, I know that newer models of loss aversion from psychologists and behavioral economists make this result stronger, but they are not needed to predict the response here.

The messages from the GTFF and the administration are below the break.

Continue reading

Faculty Club: Queer Studies on Wed, Pres Schill & Prov Banavar on Th

As noted in last week’s post about the Faculty Club, the Thursday session is sponsored by the Senate, and all Senators and all OA’s and classified staff interested in university service and shared governance are invited to come discuss this with the President and Provost. I am hoping for a good turnout. I believe a reminder email with a link to the survey for Senate and committee service will go out tomorrow.

This week’s email from Chairman Harper to the faculty:

Dear Colleagues,

The Faculty Club reopens for the Spring Term this week.

Wednesday, we have the “season opener” – the bell rings at five.  We’ll be featuring the multidisciplinary Queer Studies Minor, with a gathering of participating faculty, friends & allies.  Judith Raiskin (Department of Women’s and Gender Studies), director of the minor, will give the Six o’Clock Toast.

Thursday we kick off a series of Senate-sponsored “Talk to Your Dean” nights.  Over the next two weeks, deans will be on hand to hobnob with faculty over drinks & hors-d’oeuvres.   We’re starting right at the top, with President Michael Schill and Provost Jayanth Banavar.  Both will be there to discuss issues in an informal conversational setting.  The series will continue next week with deans from Arts & Sciences, Education and the Honors College on Wednesday, and deans from Business, Music & Dance and Journalism on Thursday.

Finally, if you’re an enthusiast of Latin American music, consider pairing your visit Thursday with a look at the JSMA’s “Visual Clave” exhibition, which features album cover art in a gallery right across from the Faculty Club room.  At 3:30 pm, exhibition curator Philip Scher (Anthropology & Folklore) will be holding a public conversation with writer/musician/artist/collector/DJ Pablo Yglesias, followed by live music.  Once it’s finished, samba on over to the Faculty Club, grab a mojito and chat up the luminaries!

I hope to see you one or both evenings.

Yours, James Harper

Chair of the Faculty Club Board


WHO: The UO Faculty Club is open to all UO faculty—tenure-track faculty, non-tenure-track faculty, library faculty, and OAs tenured in an academic department, as well as people retired from positions in these categories.  Eligible people may bring any guests they like.

WHAT: Cash Bar with beer, wine, liquor and non-alcoholic beverages; complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

WHERE: The Faculty Club meets in a designated room on the ground floor of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.  Enter at the museum’s main entrance and turn right; the club room is right off the lobby.

WHEN: Wednesdays & Thursdays 5:00-8:00 pm.  We skip Week One of the term, but then meet from Week Two through the last week of classes.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Faculty Club Board Chair James Harper (Dept. of the History of Art and Architecture),

U of Nike author Joshua Hunt to speak at U of O, Tu April 9th 5:30

For some reason I can’t find this on the Around the O calendar of upcoming events, but there are plenty of posters up around campus:

Josh Hunt, author of the University of Nike, will be speaking the evening of Tuesday, April 9 at 5:30 in 100 Willamette Hall. (map)

Come hear Joshua Hunt, author of the University of Nike – the dramatic exposé of UO’s relationship with Nike, and what it means for the future of our public institutions and society.

Josh Hunt: “I thought I was writing a book about what has gone on at the University of Oregon in the past two and a half decades. It turned out I was writing a book about a phenomenon that’s taking place now at a number of public universities across the country.”

GC Kevin Reed believes “toxic” Faculty Club “reeks of white male privilege”

Update: Shocking photo reveals Faculty Club debauchery, here.

In other news I believe I have learned the real reason for GC Reed’s anger at me, that it has nothing to do with the Faculty Club, and that it will be public eventually.

Update: Thanks to a commenter for reminding me about the 2016 email from Pres Schill and Prof Harper establishing the UO Faculty Club, which I’ve appended to the bottom of this post.

4/3/2019: Over the past year or so I’ve received many angry emails from UO’s $352,612 a year VP & General Counsel Kevin Reed, above, accusing me of various things and threatening me with various forms of retaliation. I’m posting this latest because he cced others, and because it might be of more general interest:

From: Kevin Reed <>

Subject: Re: University Service Opportunities

Date: April 3, 2019 at 9:10:31 AM PDT

To: Senate Executive Coordinator <>, “William Harbaugh” <>, Elizabeth Skowron <>

Cc: [names and addresses of OA, SEIU, and ASUO student leaders redacted]

Bill [Senate Pres Harbaugh, me] and Elizabeth [Senate VP Skowron]

I write in my capacity as a proud Officer of Administration at the University of Oregon.  In that capacity, and as a person who is committed to improving the functioning of shared governance at UO,  I write to question your decision to hold “informational sessions” relating to opportunities to serve the Senate at the “Faculty Club.”

The Faculty Club is not open to OA’s, classified staff, GE’s or students.  It is not an environment where any of those crucial constituencies are likely, in my view, to feel welcome or to show up. Neither to I believe it to be a place where members of UO’s marginalized communities feel in the slightest bit welcome. Indeed, the Faculty Club has earned a reputation on campus as being an exclusionary group, dominated by white men.  Exactly the sort of “good ole boys club” I think the Senate would want to distance itself from.  Curiously, however, Senate leadership has chosen to treat it as its clubhouse.

Indeed, a respondent to a recent campus survey on faculty hiring had this to say about the Faculty Club:

“The faculty club – an extension of UO senate and Bill’s blog is a place where gossip takes place in an exclusive zone.  Sidebar conversations empower those who show up to a space that is less than welcoming to anyone outside a core group of faculty. It reeks of white male privilege – even the name Faculty Club is destructive and screams of exclusion and privilege. Why does the UO community not actively resist these toxic activities?”

As an OA who truly thinks UO deserves better, I could not have said it better.  I add, however, that the message this sends is especially toxic in the context of the current budget situation, in which the president has called for significant cuts to programs.  On his blog, the Senate President has been posting conversations that suggest that there is bloat that should be targeted for cuts in the ranks of student workers, classified staff and officers of administration who are dedicated to making this university a safe and highly effective organization.

I believe the University and the Senate deserve better.

Kevin S. Reed

219 Johnson Hall | Eugene, OR 97403-1226

(541) 346-3082 |

My response:

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for raising these issues. The email from the Senate should have noted that everyone interested in university service, faculty or not, would be welcome to these events. We’ll fix this in the reminder email, which will come out later this week.

I announce at the end of every Senate meeting that *all* Senators are invited to come to the faculty club afterwards.

I encourage the OA’s, student, and staff leaders to contact me and Elizabeth if they have any concerns or suggestions about this.

Bill Harbaugh
UO Econ Prof & Senate Pres

Kevin’s response:

The fact that you believe that response to be adequate speaks volumes.

Kevin S. Reed
Vice President and General Counsel
University of Oregon

Email sent 11/1/2016 from President Schill and Professor Harper, establishing UO’s new Faculty Club:


We are pleased to let you know that at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 9, we will open the new University of Oregon Faculty Club in a new designated space in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. This idea has been in the works for a number of years, and is meant to provide a place where statutory faculty and their guests can gather in a welcoming and collegial space.

The UO Faculty Club will feature full no-host bar service and complimentary snacks. It will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays through December 1 and resume operations January 11 at the beginning of the winter term. This effort is a pilot project to determine if the club can support regular service. If it is successful, then we will look at extending operations on a permanent basis.

A faculty club like this is something that faculty members have long requested at the UO. The minor renovations needed to accommodate this pilot effort are in line with the long-term needs of the museum, which will also use the room for other events and occasions.

Ultimately, we believe this could be a great way for faculty at the UO to get to know each other outside of the departments and colleges where most spend their time. While this is a social club, we hope that it is also a catalyst for relationship building and collaboration among faculty across the UO campus.


Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

James Harper
Chair of Faculty Club Board


WHO: The UO Faculty Club is open to all UO statutory faculty—tenure-track faculty, career non-tenure-track faculty, and OAs tenured in an academic department—and their guests.

WHEN: 5 – 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Pilot project dates will be November 9, 10, 16, 17, 30 and December 1. Operation will resume January 11 after the holidays.

AMENITIES: The UO Faculty Club will feature full no-host bar service and complimentary snacks.

CHILDCARE: Enjoy socializing in the faculty club while your child (ages 3+) participates in a drop in art workshop in the museum’s art studio, directly across from the faculty club. Cost is $10 for the first child, $5 for the second sibling. RSVP […]

INFORMATION: Faculty Club Board Chair James Harper (associate professor, History of Art and Architecture),

¿CAS? task force lunch with Pres Schill Wed 12-1

4/3/2019 free lunch update:

Pres Schill is buying the task force lunch. Burritos. Less than 1/2 the members are here. I’m free-riding. In response to the first question, Schill says that the motivation for this entire process was the lack of “vision” from Marcus and CAS. I guess Tykeson doesn’t count. This is news to the members, one of whom notes that this is the first they’ve heard that lack of vision was the point of this task force, except for a brief comment from Shelton early in the process. A discussion ensues of what “vision” means in practice, beyond mission statements and buzzwords like excellence. Schill says CAS needs some “jewels”. Shiny things he can show the board?

If inadequate vision really is the crux, perhaps this should have been explained to the task force at the start. They seem like an engaged, creative group who’ve revealed their commitment to CAS. Put them to work on creating visions, instead of discussing the optimal re-arrangement of the deck chairs!

The outside member notes that she believes an important vision that would excite donors and the state would be focusing on delivering the best possible liberal arts education, to students who will need a broad education to prepare for the many possible different futures.

The remainder of the meeting was a pretty interesting and engaging conversation between the members and President Schill, who told the task force that he will not be disappointed if they come back to him with the conclusion that the current structure is fine, and some visions.

4/2/2019 update: An ¿exciting? three hours of meetings this week:

Continue reading