“But swear words as a terminable offense? You have got to be fucking kidding.”

Wait – before you report me to Penny Daugherty, UO’s famously incompetent Title IX investigator, that’s a direct quote from columnist Rebecca Schuman in Slate:

What is going to happen when these fragile beings, who probably saw their first pornographic image on the Internet when their ages were still in the single digits, enter the workforce? What if they want to work in finance? Entertainment? Media? Sailing? Literally anything? I would love to be a proverbial fly on the wall of the Goldman Sachs HR office, as some wet-eared little pipsqueak complains about his boss’s foul language.

One of my worries coming back to college after a few years working on oil exploration crews was that my professors would kick me out for being unable to speak a sentences without swear words. Should I still be worried? Naah, UO has a very robust free speech policy, thanks to Richard Lariviere – a man who could channel a little LBJ when necessary:

Free speech is central to the academic mission and is the central tenet of a free and democratic society. The University encourages and supports open, vigorous, and challenging debate across the full spectrum of human issues as they present themselves to this community. Further, as a public institution, the University will sustain a higher and more open standard for freedom of inquiry and free speech than may be expected or preferred in private settings.

Free inquiry and free speech are the cornerstones of an academic institution committed to the creation and transfer of knowledge. Expression of diverse points of view is of the highest importance, not solely for those who present and defend some view but for those who would hear, disagree, and pass judgment on those views. The belief that an opinion is pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or “just plain wrong” cannot be grounds for its suppression.

The University supports free speech with vigor, including the right of presenters to offer opinion, the right of the audience to hear what is presented, and the right of protesters to engage with speakers in order to challenge ideas, so long as the protest does not disrupt or stifle the free exchange of ideas. It is the responsibility of speakers, listeners and all members of our community to respect others and to promote a culture of mutual inquiry throughout the University community.

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Former Provost John Moseley agrees with Harbaugh on athletics funding

7/1/2015: In the RG Letters, here

UO athletics should share its bounty

I don’t often agree with Bill Harbaugh, but I must admit he and Dennis Howard made a very good point in their June 26 talk to the City Club of Eugene. The University of Oregon Department of Athletics should be contributing more directly to the UO general fund for academic support.

When I was UO provost and senior vice president (1994-2006), I reached an agreement in 2000 with then-Athletic Director Bill Moos that athletics would not be subsidized from the general fund and would become fully self-supporting.

Before that, the general fund subsidized athletics to the tune of more than $1 million per year.

I assume that agreement is still being followed. If it is, the UO program is one of the few among public universities that’s self-supporting, a laudable situation. Since then, UO athletics has flourished and is now in a position to give back to the university that gave it life and has supported it through many lean years, from the 1960s through the 1990s.

I believe the suggestion that 10 percent of the Athletic Department budget be returned to the general fund is reasonable, and certainly affordable for athletics. That shouldn’t be construed as a “gift” to the UO. All athletic facilities stand on land owned by the university. (Matt Knight Arena was paid for at least in part with Athletic Department funds and is technically owned by the university.)

A 10 percent fee for the use of the land, and the UO name, seems eminently reasonable to me.

JOHN MOSELEY

Moseley was Provost when the 2004 Task Force agreement was signed. As he notes, it called for an end to subsidies. From what I can tell those subsidies did end under Moseley’s tenure as provost. But millions more crept back on the books under provosts Linda Brady and Jim Bean, and Scott Coltrane did nothing to deal with them as Provost, or as Interim President.

6/26/2015: Can we make big-time Duck sports work for UO?

Diane Dietz has the story on the Eugene City Club’s Friday talk with myself and LCB professor emeritus Dennis Howard, in the RG here. Please consider posting comments there. Some ideas that came out of the panel:

… Put the fund-raising personnel the athletics department employs and those the university employs under the same managers, Howard said. Collaborate instead of compete for contributions, he said. Do joint pitches for athletic and academic gifts. “We could do it so much better,” Howard said.

Harbaugh agreed, saying, “It would be really good if we were all in this together and the athletic department was trying to help the rest of the university.”

Harbaugh suggested the university take charge of the athletic department budget centrally, with university financial officers doling out the annual budget and the university absorbing any excess — as is done now for other UO departments.

Or, go a different direction, and cut the Athletic Department loose, encourage it to raise as much as it can and take 10 percent of revenues to pay for academic scholarships.

If scholarships were tied to wins in that way, UO professors would get their pom-poms out, he said.

Thanks to the City Club and organizers Karen Wyatt and Marty Wilde for hosting this discussion. We had a good turnout and what I thought was an interesting discussion and questions. Audio should be posted on KLCC in a day or two here. From the Eugene City Club website:

The Future of Collegiate Athletics at the U of O
Downtown Athletic Club, 3rd Floor Ballroom

… Many in the community say that the fondness for Ducks teams and other world class sporting events contributes to a sense of community pride and brings people together in a unique and spirited way. Others express concerns about the exploitation of student athletes say that the resources expended on athletics come at the expense of academics and other community resources.

Considered an international authority on sports finance, Howard was head of the Marketing Department for the UO Lundquist College of Business before becoming its Dean. He has held various positions at the UO for more than 25 years, with one five-year break to head the graduate program in sport management at Ohio State University. His PhD is from Oregon State University.

Harbaugh has a Phd in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He’s been an economics professor at UO since 1995, and has edited the UO Matters blog since 2009. His research on the neural foundations of charitable giving has been published in Science, and featured in the New York Times. He has been on UO’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee since 2011, and this June 3rd he was elected as the UO Senate VP and President-Elect on a platform that included a call for a new UO Task Force to fix the broken relationship between Duck athletics and UO’s academic side.

City Club members will engage the speakers in a Q&A session after the presentations.

Continue reading

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JH drops $1.3M on legal and consulting payments in May and June

7/1/2015: Johnson Hall drops $1.3M on legal and consulting payments in May and June:

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5/1/2015: UO drops $736K on legal and consulting payments in March and April

The usual suspects: HLGR, Miller Nash, Huron, etc. (The Givens and Berkman payments are for ASUO student legal services, not JH). PDF here. They’ve been leaving off the usual accounting codes so people can’t tell what the money is buying. This is in addition to the Gallatin PR stuff Clevenger runs through the Foundation.

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Civic Stadium’s replacement, PK Park, will divert money from UO academics until 2021

Today’s devastating Civic Stadium fire prompted me to look at the agreements between UO Foundation CEO Paul Weinhold, UO Presidents Frohnmayer and Lariviere, and Duck Athletic Directors Bellotti and Mullens for the UO Foundation guaranteed loans that financed PK Park, which became the Eugene Emerald’s replacement field.

One interesting clause shows that UO is using general unrestricted gifts to the UO Foundation – i.e. gift money that could be used for academic purposes – to subsidize the Duck Athletic Fund. Furthermore, the agreement specifies that UO’s academic side can’t reduce those athletic subsidies until the PK Park balloon loan is repaid, in 2021.

The full MOUs – which UO kept secret until I made a public records petition to the Oregon DOJ – are here:

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I’ve made a public records request for the accounting records:

Date: June 29, 2015 at 11:19:25 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Eric Roedl <roedl@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for BANNER accounting statements showing how much in UO Foundation general unrestricted gift funds and gifts designated to general operations (as distinct from Duck Athletic Fund or other contributions specifically earmarked by the donors for athletic purposes) have been allocated to the UO Athletic Department, for each of the fiscal years from 2008 to 2015.

I attach a copy of the PK Park loan MOU’s for 2009 and 2011, which note the existence of these allocations.

I’m ccing Duck AAD Eric Roedl, as he should be able to easily produce these records.

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LSU President F. King Alexander fires professor for cussing

The Baton Rouge Advocate has the news here:

… Buchanan was fired even though a committee of five faculty members that presided over an 11-hour dismissal review hearing held on March 9 recommended that she keep her job.

While the committee found that her adult language and humor violated university policies that protect students and employees from sexual harassment, it found no evidence Buchanan’s comments were “systematically directed at any individual.”

The committee recommended she be censured and agree to quit using “potentially offensive language and jokes” that some found offensive.

The committee also faulted the university for failing to have the chair of Buchanan’s department work to resolve her behavior prior to having the Human Resources Office investigate.

LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander rejected the faculty committee’s recommendation that Buchanan be censured and instead urged the LSU Board of Supervisors to dismiss her.

In an April 2 letter to Buchanan, Alexander pointed to the committee’s finding that she had engaged in sexual harassment but didn’t mention that the committee had recommended censure, not termination.

The chancellor also cited an allegation that Buchanan had violated a student’s rights under the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, an allegation the committee had rejected as “not substantiated by testimony.”

Kevin Cope, president of LSU’s Faculty Senate, said Alexander’s dismissal of the faculty’s judgments in Buchanan’s case is disturbing, but part of a larger problem at many universities, not just LSU.

“Once it goes to the president, there is no constraint on what the president can do,” Cope said.

You gotta wonder what people call President Alexander around campus: “King”, “F.K.”, or just “FKing”?

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Susan Anderson to replace Barbara Altmann as co-SVP for Academic Affairs

Around the 0 has the excellent news, here. In a welcome break from past practice, the report by UO spokesperson Julie Brown doesn’t ignore Anderson’s union work, and includes this quote:

“Her experience as an accomplished humanities researcher, department head, engaged member of UO Senate committees and involvement with the first collective bargaining agreement with United Academics will be a wonderful addition to the team,” said Scott Coltrane, interim president.

Anderson will be co-SVP of Academic Affairs with Doug Blandy. Two years ago they were on opposite sides of the faculty union bargaining table. I’m losing track of how many faculty union leaders are now working as administrators. Blandy is even telling new faculty he thinks they should sign a union card.

I don’t know why, but UO paid Altmann $19K less than Blandy:

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Chief Justice calls the wrath of Han and Carthage down upon American people

Fortunately this is from the minority report:

“The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs,” [Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts] wrote. “Just who do we think we are?”

And no, it’s not the Onion’s version. The WaPo has the news and some analysis of Roberts’ opinion. Such as:

The Aztecs

Here’s an excerpt from a discussion of Aztec customary law on the Web site of the University of Texas at Austin. It hardly presents a picture-perfect snapshot of conservative family values:

Marriage was conditional in that the parties could decide to separate or stay together after they had their first son. Marriages could also be unconditional and last for an indefinite period of time. Polygamy and concubines were permitted, though this was more common in noble households and marriage rites were only observed with the first, or principal, wife. Aztec families could live in single family homes, though many opted to live in joint family households for economic reasons.

Then you have to factor in the whole human sacrifice thing.

And yes, I googled it, Chief Justice Roberts is a college graduate, or at least that’s what his wikipedia page claims.

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Perverse financial incentives add $20K to Duck AD Rob Mullens’s $700K pay

Rob Moseley has the news here:

By Rob Moseley
Editor, GoDucks.com

A strong spring fueled by NCAA championships in men’s and women’s track & field propelled the Oregon athletic department to a school-record 13th-place finish in the 2014-15 Division I Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, as announced Thursday.

The Directors’ Cup uses a points system and accounts for 10 men’s and 10 women’s sports from each school to calculate an annual ranking of the nation’s most successful athletic departments. Despite fielding just 18 NCAA programs, Oregon totaled 933.5 points to finish in the top 15 for the third year in a row, and the fourth time ever.

The Ducks remain the only program ever to finish in the top 15 with 18 or fewer NCAA-sponsored sports. Stanford, UCLA and USC took the top three spots in this year’s ranking and Cal was 12th, giving the Pac-12 five of the top 13 spots.

“The culture of excellence we’ve worked to foster with our staff, student-athletes and supporters is unique, and provides an incredible competitive advantage,” UO athletic director Rob Mullens said. “We’re competing in the toughest conference in the country and enjoying unprecedented success.”

And that success means money. While all of these sports, except football, lose money, that doesn’t mean Rob Mullens will. In Feb 2015 the UO Board of Trustees (minutes here) gave Mullens a $250K raise, to $700K, plus a generous package of performance incentives, including renewing this:

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The full contract is here. This clause gives Mullens every incentive to increase the number of UO sports teams, and increase the amount of money that each spends on coaches, recruiting, travel, etc. If ticket sales and TV revenue isn’t enough, he can try paying for it by raising the amount athletics charges UO’s student government for “free” tickets.

Many of the UO Trustees are business people who serve on corporate boards. Why didn’t they do what a corporate board would do, and write Mullens a contract that included incentives for reducing the financial subsidies that the Duck athletic department gets from UO? Or even give him an incentive to actually helping out the academic side, by cutting costs so and saving some money for, say, merit scholarships for Oregon undergrads?

I don’t know.

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Phil Knight’s $500M gift matched by another $500M

Bloomberg has the news on the OHSU gift here. $200M in matching funds came from the state, $100M came from Gert Boyle, founder of Columbia Sportswear:

The $500 million donation by Knight and his wife Penny is the largest single gift ever made to a U.S. college, while the $1 billion total is the biggest successful matching pledge on record, according to Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The money will be used to support research into the early detection of cancer.

While UO administrators argue that big-time sports are crucial to fundraising, OHSU managed to raise this money despite an athletic program that is just slightly less big-time than the Ducks:

The Student Center offers intramural sports leagues including indoor soccer, competitive and recreational basketball and volleyball.  All of the leagues are co-ed and on a first come, first served basis.

From what I can tell they don’t even have a mascot. Or a branding contract with 160over90. And they call it a university?

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Update: Bar clears UO lawyers over handling of Jane Doe’s counseling records

6/23/2015 update: Diane Dietz’s story, with some interesting comments, is here:

On June 18, the bar’s initial investigation found there was no evidence that Hill and Park did anything “obviously illegal or fraudulent” in taking the counseling records.

However, the bar took “no position” on the major question of whether it was legally permissible for the attorneys to take the records, according to the letter by Troy Wood, an assistant general counsel for the Oregon State Bar.

Neither of the university lawyers responded to requests for comment on Monday.

The earlier Woolington story is here. Park has said that he has returned the hard copies of the records to the counseling center, but I don’t think it’s ever been explained what was done to protect the security of the copies that GC staff scanned an put on their server.

6/19/2015: It’s never a surprise when a professional association takes the side of its members. Rich Read has the latest in the Oregonian:

An Oregon State Bar division has cleared two University of Oregon lawyers of professional-misconduct allegations in the handling of a student’s mental health records.

Troy Wood, assistant general counsel at the state agency that regulates the legal profession, dismissed the complaints in a letter Thursday to Jennifer Morlok, a clinician whom he identified as the therapist for a UO student who says she was raped by three basketball players last year. Wood wrote that he was responding to a complaint filed by Morlok against UO lawyers Douglas Park, interim general counsel, and Samantha Hill, associate general counsel.

Wood wrote that the Bar’s Client Assistance Office could find no evidence that  Park and Hill violated a rule of professional conduct by obtaining the student’s therapy records from the University Counseling & Testing Center.

“We find the evidence is insufficient to support a conclusion that it was obviously illegal or fraudulent for the university’s lawyers to take custody of the UCTC file,” Wood wrote. “We have no evidence that the university’s lawyers knew it was illegal or fraudulent to do so.”

It was interesting to learn, from the Bar decision letter, that UO employees are not supposed to talk to lawyers without Doug Park’s permission:

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Is that in the Legal Services Policy? Do we have a Legal Services Policy? Anyway, UO strategic communicator Tobin Klinger sure sounds happy:

“The university has known all along that the individuals named in the complaints are professionals who carry out their responsibilities with honesty and integrity, and we are glad to see that the Oregon State Bar agrees,” Tobin Klinger wrote in an email. “We now look forward to a similar finding for those under discussion by the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners.”

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