Nick Kristof on “The Dangers of Echo Chambers on the UO Campus*”

Nicholas Kristof is the son of two PSU professors and grew up on a farm in Oregon. A few years ago we got him to come to campus and talk to our SAIL students. He is arguably the most liberal of the NY Times’s columnists, although it’s tough to top Krugman. Here’s his latest column:

After Donald Trump’s election, some universities echoed with primal howls. Faculty members canceled classes for weeping, terrified students who asked: How could this possibly be happening?

I share apprehensions about President-elect Trump, but I also fear the reaction was evidence of how insular universities have become. When students inhabit liberal bubbles, they’re not learning much about their own country. To be fully educated, students should encounter not only Plato, but also Republicans.

We liberals are adept at pointing out the hypocrisies of Trump, but we should also address our own hypocrisy in terrain we govern, such as most universities: Too often, we embrace diversity of all kinds except for ideological. Repeated studies have found that about 10 percent of professors in the social sciences or the humanities are Republicans.

We champion tolerance, except for conservatives and evangelical Christians. We want to be inclusive of people who don’t look like us — so long as they think like us. …

UO’s first Diversity Plan, adopted by the Senate in 2006 after a long debate, explicitly noted the importance of those people who don’t think like us:

For purposes of this Diversity Plan, the term diversity is given a broad meaning and includes, but is not limited to, differences based on race, ethnicity, national origin or citizenship, gender, religious affiliation or background, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic class or status, political affiliation or belief, and ability or disability.

Here’s the data on political affiliation for the University of Oregon faculty in 2006:


But the 2016 diversity evaluation posted on the VPEI website is all about race and ethnicity:

Over the last three years, the University of Oregon (UO) Office of the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion (VPEI) has worked diligently to institutionalize the process of collecting and analyzing data on the ethnic, racial, and gender diversity of our faculty, staff, and students. This report on racial, ethnic and gender diversity among faculty and academic leadership ranks is the product of collaborative work with the Office of Institutional Research, the Center for Assessment, Statistics and Evaluation (CASE), Affirmative Action, the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs.

And that is where UO has been spending its diversity money – currently about $5M a year, if you count the VPEI budget and the UMRP money which is now running about $1M a year.


President Schill has now called for UO’s colleges to develop new diversity plans within 90 days. I wonder where they will focus our efforts and our spending?

*OK, so it’s not just about the UO campus.

University reinstates professor after apology for racially charged incident

That would be the University of Virginia. The WaPo has the details here. He claimed the #blacklivesmatter movement which protests illegal killings by the police was like the KKK which committed lynchings. He learned the hard way how stupid, offensive, and racist this claim is, and he asked to be taken out of class for a few weeks.

Here at UO there is still no news on the report on the Halloween incident, where a liberal law professor dressed up as a black doctor, with black make-up, in a stupid and offensive attempt to honor him and make a point about racism in the medical profession. We were told the outside law firm’s report would be finished several weeks ago.

Proportion of minority PhD’s increases, debt decreases

From InsideHigherEd:

The number of Ph.D. recipients rose by 1.9 percent in 2015, to 55,006 from 54,003 in 2014 — the smallest increase since 2011. Nearly 64 percent of them were U.S. citizens or permanent residents, up by about one percentage point from 2014. But the proportion of doctorate recipients who are American remains well below the level it was 15 or more years ago, when the foreign born were a quarter or less of Ph.D. recipients.

The percentage of doctorate recipients who are Hispanic increased by 8.67 percent in 2015, larger than the increase for Asian (6.6 percent), black (4.8 percent) or white Americans (2.5 percent). The proportion of new Ph.D. holders who are men continued to edge up slightly, as it has for much of this decade, to 53.8 percent.


The breakout by race and ethnicity is here, gender and other breakouts here.

… The proportion of all Ph.D. recipients who graduated with no debt increased by 5 percent, while the share who completed their degrees with $10,000 or less in debt grew by 8.2 percent and the proportion who finished with at least $30,000 in debt rose by 0.26 percent.

Can Willie Taggart save the Ducks from the elasticity of demand?

Ryan Thorburn has his contract details in the RG. $3.2M a year for him, $4M for the players. Just kidding, this is the NCAA. The $4M is for his assistant coaches. He played football for uncle Jack, and coached with cousin Jim. But economics has no mercy. While Duck AD Rob Mullens’ badly timed contract renegotiations with Matt Helfrich and Dan Altman are burning through Phil Knight’s money like it’s Phil Knight’s money (plus $4-$5 million a year from from the academic side) price elasticity is still the top threat to Duck Athletics, with Professors Harbaugh and Tublitz in a poor fourth place. Full pdf of the Duck threat alert here:

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“No one should be charged. That would be nuts.” Prof Simmons

2013 Snowpocalypse repost

Members of the Campus Community:

On Friday, a short video was posted to YouTube depicting an incident in which several individuals inappropriately interfered with two vehicles attempting to drive through a snowball fight on our campus.

The UO Police Department responded to the situation quickly, and in concert with the Office of the Dean of Students and other campus officials began an immediate investigation of the incident. We have identified several of the individuals involved as UO students and are determining appropriate disciplinary actions to be taken in accordance with the university’s established policies and protocols. In cases where those involved are student-athletes, additional disciplinary action is being carried out by the Athletics Department.

Over the weekend, the UO Police Department, Dean of Students Paul Shang, and Coach Mark Helfrich spoke with the motorists seen in the video, an emeritus faculty member and a current staff member. Dean Shang issued a public statement on Saturday that read, in part:

“The University of Oregon takes the conduct of its students seriously. Consequences are clear for those whose actions reflect poorly upon the university or violate its standards for student behavior. However, until the facts of the snowball-throwing incident are sorted out, it would be premature to speculate about any potential outcomes in this case.”

Dean Shang’s full statement, as well as other statements regarding the university’s response to this incident, will be posted on the UO Communications website as they become available.

As president, I assure you that the University of Oregon will not stand for behavior that threatens the safety of our campus or violates our code of conduct. This unacceptable incident is not being taken lightly, and we continue to take swift, appropriate action to address the matter.


Michael Gottfredson, President

The ODE editorial page on the snowball fight and the administration’s reaction to it: Shame and embarrassment. Meanwhile the video has now reached 2M youtube downloads, and more than 400 comments. As President Gottfredson told the faculty Senate on Wednesday, you just can’t buy the kind of publicity that the Duck athletics program brings to UO.

The administration has cancelled all 8AM Monday exams. Official panic alert here.

  • Wondering what to do about conflicts with rescheduled times (which were not posted as of 7:40PM)? UO Policy is that the prof of the larger class has to deal with it – page to bottom here. But that policy is now replaced with this recommendation, from

    “If your rescheduled exam time is in conflict with another exam already scheduled, it is recommended that you attend the exam that was not moved and contact the faculty member of the rescheduled exam and ask to schedule the exam for another time. Faculty members whose exams have been rescheduled have been asked to be flexible when conflicts arise.‬”

  • Didn’t get an email and wondering where and when your exam now is? If your frostbitten gangrenous fingers can still use a trackpad, go to duckweb, faculty menu, class schedule information, select a term, then Fall 2013, then your course, then look at the very bottom for the new time and place.

Update: Julliane Parker has the interview in the ODE with Professor Simmons, who is a total mensch about the entire incident, and does the UO faculty and his profession proud:

“I have confidence that the reaction of the university given what has happened will be proportional,” Simmons said. “It will consider these young people and their futures and will also, I hope, suggest to them that they need to rethink behavior like that.” …

 “People were cheering when snow was thrown into my car,” Simmons said. “I don’t think people do that except under some sort of psychological mechanism that comes with people feeling they have permission because other people are doing it, and to act in a way they maybe wouldn’t act individually.”

Duck football Snowpocalypse. My guess is this all started when some Duck Strategic Communications sub-director flack decided to exploit the snow for PR, by unleashing the football players from their indentured servitude in the new $140M “Hatfield-Downing Football Operations Center” for a few moments of fun. Or was it just coincidence that the cameras were rolling, and it was heavily hyped in the national press?

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Before long, the Duck athletes were using their twitter feeds – apparently closely monitored by their athletics overseers – to challenge regular UO students to a fun snowball fight. Just the sort of camaraderie that might reestablish some connection between UO athletics and the students who subsidize the salaries of Matt Helfrich and Rob Mullens? I’ve heard worse PR ideas – like “we are the University of Nike” – but this one went bad even more quickly:

Now UO’s Dean of Students Paul Shang, has had to issue an apology:

Paul Shang, University of Oregon dean of students, issued the following statement regarding a Dec. 6 incident on campus:

The University of Oregon Police Department is investigating an incident, captured on video, in which a passing vehicle was the target of snowballs thrown by young people in an area on the UO campus. Police hope to determine the identities of those who were throwing snowballs, whether they are UO students and whether their actions constitute a criminal act.

A criminal act? Sure, though what kid hasn’t done worse? The professor seems to handle it exactly right, considering the provocation and intimidation. He gets out of his car, and tries to get them to talk. Presumably so he can explain to them what it means to be a bully and a jerk. And the Oregonian is now reporting it was Art History Professor Sherwin Simmons:

“It was a snowball fight,” Simmons, who does not plan to press charges, told Canzano. “The students shouldn’t involve people who aren’t part of it, but this is not high crimes, not an assault, not even a misdemeanor. No one should be charged. That would be nuts.”

UO email alert, December 2013:

Crews are working diligently to reopen campus for regular operations on Monday morning; please check the UO Alerts blog for updates.

Due to extreme cold conditions forecast for the next 24 to 48 hours, students and others are urged to dress appropriately and limit their exposure to the cold. Frost bite can occur in less than 30 minutes, and hypothermia can lead to disorientation and death.

But show up for that Monday 8AM final! Update: Don’t show up – the administration has cancelled all 8AM Monday exams. Official panic alert here.

As French resistance fighter and mountaineer Maurice Herzog wrote on his return from the first ascent of Annapurna in June 1950, where he lost his fingers and toes to frostbite, “There are other Annapurnas in the lives of men”:

Pompous Yalie twit insults Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, and UO Pres Mike Schill

In the NYT, of course:

Yale Sets Policy That Could Allow Renaming of Calhoun College

… “This isn’t about symbolic politics, but about the mission of the university,” said John Fabian Witt, a historian at Yale Law School and the chairman of the committee. Fostering an inclusive campus, he said, “is the best way to approach the project of research and learning.” The report acknowledges “a certain exhaustion” with the whole issue.

… As an example of an overly broad policy, Mr. Witt cited guidelines recently adopted at the University of Oregon allowing for potentially renaming buildings honoring anyone who demonstrated “discriminatory, racist, homophobic, or misogynist views that actively promoted systemic oppression” or who “failed to take redemptive action,” among other expansive criteria. “There’s a real risk that would catch up anyone alive before 1950,” Mr. Witt said.

Yes, research and learning can be exhausting, Professor Witt. But maybe you should have tried a little harder to understand the importance of redemption. Here are some references:

Is “Identity Liberalism” to blame for Trump’s rise?

Colleen Flaherty has an interesting summary of the discussion in InsideHigherEd here:

Point and counterpoint is the rhythm of academic life, but some ideas elicit more of a response than others. Case in point: scholars and other intellectuals have spent the past couple of weeks debating “The End of Identity Liberalism,” an opinion piece by Mark Lilla, a professor of humanities at Columbia University, in The New York Times.

Attempting to explain — as so many have — Donald Trump’s success in the recent election, Lilla blamed the political left’s affinity for what he called “identity liberalism.” He described college and university campuses as ground zero for a brand of liberalism that focuses on individual identity and diversity to the exclusion of other perennial but urgent questions about “class, war, the economy and the common good.” And while Lilla said he considers the U.S. “an extraordinary success story” in terms of diversity, he argued that that brand of liberalism cost the left the election and resulted in its “repugnant” outcome.

Lilla presumably opposes Trump but said his supporters are logically reacting “against the omnipresent rhetoric of identity, which is what they mean by ‘political correctness.’” Essentially, Lilla argued, “Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.”

Arguing for a ‘Postidentity Liberalism’

“Fox News and other conservative media outlets make great sport of mocking the ‘campus craziness’ that surrounds such issues, and more often than not they are right to,” Lilla wrote. “Which only plays into the hands of populist demagogues who want to delegitimize learning in the eyes of those who have never set foot on a campus. How to explain to the average voter the supposed moral urgency of giving college students the right to choose the designated gender pronouns to be used when addressing them?  How not to laugh along with those voters at the story of a University of Michigan prankster who wrote in ‘His Majesty’?

Lilla — echoing common arguments against contemporary approaches to the humanities — advocated instead for a “postidentity liberalism,” which “should draw from the past successes of pre-identity liberalism.” High school history curricula, for example, “anachronistically project the identity politics of today back onto the past, creating a distorted picture of the major forces and individuals that shaped our country.” While the achievements of, say, women’s rights movements, “were real and important,” he wrote, “you cannot understand them if you do not first understand the founding fathers’ achievement in establishing a system of government based on the guarantee of rights.”

Such a liberalism would, over all, “concentrate on widening its base by appealing to Americans as Americans and emphasizing the issues that affect a vast majority of them,” Lilla said. “It would speak to the nation as a nation of citizens who are in this together and must help one another.” And as for “narrower issues that are highly charged symbolically and can drive potential allies away, especially those touching on sexuality and religion, such a liberalism would work quietly, sensitively and with a proper sense of scale. (To paraphrase Bernie Sanders, America is sick and tired of hearing about liberals’ damn bathrooms.)” …

UO lawyers post summaries of Dana Altman’s players calls with Jane Doe

UO’s lawyers posted these on the federal court website on Friday, as part of their response to the response from Altman’s basketball players’ lawyers response to the UO lawyer’s response to Judge McShane’s decision to dismiss some but not all of the arguments of the players’ crew of attorneys in response to UO’s written request for dismissal and the oral arguments. If that’s not clear, the docket is here.

What’s not clear is why UO has now made these transcripts public by putting them into the court record. Jane Doe reported the alleged gang rape to the UOPD, who did not report it on their crime log or the Cleary report, but instead turned the investigation over the the Eugene PD. The EPD detective asked Doe to call the alleged rapists and record her conversations with them, apparently in the hope that they would say something incriminating, or not. Summaries of those calls are here, along with the EPD interviews with Jane Doe and Altman’s players. One excerpt:


Perhaps UO’s attorneys think that the police investigation records suggests that the players coordinated their stories, and that these reports therefore somehow weaken their case against UO?

If they did coordinate, I wonder if any Duck athletic department employees helped them. Tom Hart, a former New Hampshire state cop, is the go-to guy for Ducks athletes who get in trouble:

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UO’s lawyers have asked for Judge McShane to hear their oral arguments before deciding on their request to dismiss.

Potential Duck coach saw Sandusky in the shower with kid, didn’t report?

Greg Schiano, a former Penn State assistant now at Ohio State, is a prospect for a Duck football coaching job, according to the RG’s Austin Meek:

“The way I can describe Rutgers and (working under) Greg Schiano is ‘I came to Rutgers as a boy and left a man,’” Fleck told “I went there as an assistant coach; I left ready to be a head coach.”

I have no idea if Oregon could convince Schiano to leave Ohio State and be Fleck’s second-in-command, but the concept — a young, energetic recruiter as a head coach, paired with an old-school football guy as his defensive coordinator — seems like a model that could work.

Last year USA Today’s football blog had this story on Schiano:

Greg Schiano — former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach and current Ohio State defensive coordinator — witnessed Jerry Sandusky “doing something to a boy in a shower,” according to testimony that came out in the unsealed Penn State documents released today. Schiano was a Penn State assistant from 1990-1995.

That testimony came from the deposition of Mike McQueary, who witnessed a similar act with Sandusky and a boy in the shower in 2001, and went to Joe Paterno. After McQueary laid out in detail what he witnessed with Sandusky and how he had talked to Paterno, an attorney asked him if he talked about it with any other coaches. …

Schiano ignored the first story, then emailed the reporter a denial after the testimony came out. The Washington Post has more here:

Former Penn State assistant coaches Greg Schiano and Tom Bradley knew that Jerry Sandusky, their colleague on Joe Paterno’s football staff, was acting improperly with young boys years before law-enforcement authorities were first notified, according to testimony from former Penn State assistant Mike McQueary that was unsealed Tuesday by a Philadelphia court. …

Oregon State’s Jock Mills posts an informative budget report

(As updated with additional information from OSU.)

This is considerably more useful than the brief report sent out by UO’s Hans Bernard today, and which I’ve posted in the UO BOT live blog below. You can get still more info on OSU’s excellent government affairs blog. In comparison UO’s website is here – brief and out of date.

From: “Mills, Jock” <>

Date: Dec 2, 2016 4:39 PM

Subject: [Government_Relations_Update] Governor Brown releases her recommended budget for the 2017-19 biennium

To: “” <>

Governor Brown releases her recommended budget for the 2017-19 biennium

Governor Brown issued her recommended budget (GRB) for the 2017-19 biennium yesterday.  Facing a projected state budget shortfall of at least $1.4 billion compounded by rising personnel and health care costs, the GRB includes many difficult decisions.  This update provides a summary of the major elements affecting higher education in Oregon.  To review the entire budget document:

In short, despite increasing costs driven by state-mandated employee health and retirement benefit programs, the GRB provides no programmatic increases for the state’s seven universities.  The university presidents, who had sought at least a $100 million increase in order to meet current service levels while keeping tuition increases at a manageable level, issued the following statement:

“Oregon’s public universities commend Governor Brown for prioritizing students and higher education in her recommended budget. Ensuring a college degree is accessible to every Oregonian without taking on a lifetime of debt is how our state will remain vibrant and competitive. With limited resources, Governor Brown took great strides to protect students. The investments outlined in her budget will mean Oregon does not balance its books at the expense of those who are most vulnerable.

“As the Legislature weighs difficult budget choices, we urge lawmakers to increase operating funds beyond the Governor’s budget. By doing so, every campus can keep tuition at a manageable level for the next two years and maintain vital support services that keep students on track to graduate. If we want to enable more Oregonians to earn college degrees at an affordable level of tuition, additional resources will be needed. 

“Public universities are educating the workforce and leaders of tomorrow, and we act as incubators of ideas and solutions that can change the world. Oregon must protect students by recognizing that higher education is a fundamental necessity for a robust economy and a living wage. We stand as partners with the state, ready to work with the Legislature and the Governor to address the challenges that lie ahead.”

In comparison, K-12 State School Fund received a 9% increase in funding, for a total of $8 billion.  This figure is approximately $500 million below what the Oregon School Boards Association says local schools need to maintain current service levels. 

OSU-Cascades Campus Expansion

OSU is seeking, and the HECC has recommended, a $69.5 million campus expansion for OSU-Cascades which includes:

·         $20 million in site reclamation and campus infrastructure improvements necessary for construction;

·         $39 million in bonds for a new academic building (matched by $10 million in donor funds);

·         $10 million in bonds (matched by $5 million in student fees); and

·         $500K for a renovation of the Graduate Center.

The Governor’s recommended budget included the first $20 million for site preparation and infrastructure improvements.  (This figure element was endorsed by all seven university presidents.)


Governor Brown’s commitment of $20M in her recommended capital budget to prepare the construction site for the expansion of the OSU-Cascades campus is a significant step in the right direction.  The university is grateful for her recognition of the need to increase higher education capacity in this underserved region.  Earnest money of this magnitude clearly demonstrates a commitment to expand the campus, but it will not result in improved services to students in the region in the near future.


As the Governor recognized in her comments, the budget involves many difficult decisions.  There is still much to be done to address the needs of students and employers in the Central Oregon region.  Central Oregon is geographically isolated from other universities and OSU-Cascades is well positioned to support HECC’s charge to serve underrepresented, first generation, and rural students.

Another academic building is desperately needed in Central Oregon to accommodate the enrollment growth the region anticipates in the next few years at OSU-Cascades.  At its current capacity the 10-acre campus can serve no more than 1,890 students; enrollment is currently 1,122.

OSU and the Central Oregon region look forward to continuing this conversation with the Governor and Oregon legislators, and working together to find opportunities that could fully fund the project.

The Public University Support Fund (PUSF)

The PUSF is funded at the 2015 Legislatively Approved Budget (LAB) level of $667.3 million.  Flat funding when costs are increasing means that universities will need to turn to tuition increases, personnel reductions, service cuts, and other actions to balance their budgets. The GRB was a significant improvement over Department of Administrative Services (DAS) internally driven proposals that would have restricted university access to general funds to support retirement and health insurance cost increases.  The Governor sought to shield public universities and students from taking a disproportionate cut, but since nearly 70% of the academic personal costs are born by tuition revenues, 70% of those cost increases will be covered by tuition increases. 

The university presidents had sought to insulate students from these cost increases with their request for at least a $100 million general fund increase, which would have driven the PUSF to $765 million.  Now it falls to the legislature to determine whether or how this gap can be filled.  Legislators initially convene in January for organizational purposes, and then go into full business mode the first week of February.

OSU Statewide Public Service Programs – Agricultural Experiment Station, Extension Service, and Forest Research Laboratory

The GRB proposes no increases for the OSU Statewide Public Service Programs – the Extension Service, Agricultural Experiment Station, and Forest Research Laboratory, known as the “OSU Statewides.”  This spring, the OSU Board of Trustees sought a $9.4 million continued service level increase for these programs – simply the amount of funding that would be needed to provide the same level of service next biennium as what was provided during the current biennium.

Last session, after a year of activism by a broad coalition of advocates, the legislature approved a $14 million increase for these programs.  The resulting $118 million funding level enabled OSU to hire some 40 new research and extension positions across the state to address significant challenges facing Oregon family farmers, low income families, and Oregon’s natural resources enterprises.  This was a monumental step reversing a 15-year decline when these vital programs were forced to eliminate positions that served a diversity of Oregonians in all 36 counties. 

The GRB will have the effect of eliminating nearly 70 percent of the programmatic increases the legislature approved last session.  Because the vast majority of these funds are used to cover personnel costs, the primary tool the Statewides have to manage their costs during budget reductions is through the elimination of positions. 

While academic programs at OSU rely on state general funds, they also are able to turn to tuition when the legislature cuts their funding.  The Statewides do not have access to tuition revenues and so feel the full impact of state funding reductions.  However, because many of the Statewides’ positions are “shared appointments” which have both teaching and research responsibilities, there will also be impacts on the university’s education enterprise.  The elimination of research positions also inhibits OSU’s ability to compete for federal funding.  OSU estimates that every state dollar invested in the OSU Statewides leverages nearly $10 in economic benefits to the state.  The Governor’s budget puts these economic returns at significant risk.

It is too early to identify the precise number and location of the positions that could be eliminated as a result of flat-funding the Statewides.  The first step available to program managers is to leave position vacancies un-filled when they occur.  Managing through attrition is not a strategic approach to addressing Oregon’s challenges in the coming biennium, but it is the only practicable alternative currently open to the Statewides.

In order to maintain the same level of service for the Statewides the legislature will need to find $9.4 million in general fund resources.  OSU is committed to work with legislators and the broad coalition of stakeholders who have supported these programs in the past to find practicable solutions for addressing the funding challenges facing the Statewides in the 2017-19 biennium.

Outdoor School:  Due to the passage of Measure 99, which established and funded “Outdoor School” with $44 million in Lottery Funds, the GRB also includes a $44 million increase to the OSU Extension Service which, under the measure, is responsible for administering the funds and developing the curriculum for the program.  OSU has estimated that about $1.6 million of these funds will be needed to meet Extension’s responsibilities under this program.  Despite the ballot measure provisions, the legislature will ultimately make the final funding decisions, both for the amount of lottery funding that will be provided to local school districts and to Extension to administer the program. 

Other Highlights in the GRB 

Sports Lottery (Title IX Scholarships):  The Governor eliminated all funding for this program which under state statutes is supposed to provide 1% (approximately $12.5 million in 2017-19) of the economic development fund from the state lottery fund for scholarships for athletes and graduate students. Most of the scholarships are used to meet Title IX requirements for women athletes.  In previous legislative sessions (including 2015) legislators have capped the funding for this program at $8.2 million.  Previous Governors have also recommended eliminating funding for this program, but have faced legislative opposition.  The seven public universities will mount another campaign in 2017 to recover these funds.  During the current biennium, OSU received $1 million.

Public University State Programs/ETIC:  The GRB essentially provides flat funding for multiple state programs administered by the universities.  Funding for programs that are administered or located at OSU include:

·         OSU Marine Research Vessel Program:  $638,929

·         OSU Fermentation Program:  $1.3 million

·         OSU/UO Center for Advanced Wood Products:  $3.5 million

·         OSU Natural Resources Institute:  $411,420

·         OSU Climate Change Research Institute:  $322,492

·         ETIC Sustainable Funding:  $25.2 million (distributed by a formula to all seven universities; about $14 million to OSU in 2015-17)

·         Signature Research:  $1.1 million (distributed among OSU, PSU, and UO; about $500,000 to OSU in 2015-17. 

Oregon Talent Council/Oregon Inc./Signature Research Centers:  The GRB indicates the Oregon Talent Council is “winding down” and the work on the Talent Development Plan will be continued by one of the former OTC partners.  It is funded at $200K for one limited duration position in 2017-19.  There is not sufficient detail in the GRB to provide information regarding the other programs. 

Student Financial Aid: The Governor increased funding for the Oregon Opportunity Grant by approximately 8% from last biennium, bringing the total funding amount to $151 million.

Community Colleges/Oregon Promise:  The Community College Support Fund was also held at 2015-17 LAB levels at $550 million.  The GRB includes $39.7 million for the Oregon Promise “Free Community College” program, an increase of over $29 million to expand the program to cover two new cohorts of students over the next biennium.

OHSU:  Funding for OHSU is at the 2015-17 LAB levels, consistent with universities and community colleges. 

Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) Agency Budget

The GRB reduced HECC’s General Fund Budget by 3% from the 2015-17 LAB.  The total funds budget for the agency was reduced by 11%.  The GRB included the following HECC Policy Option Packages (“POPs):

·         Replacement of the Financial Aid Management Information Systems

·         Addition of internal audit and human resources positions

·         Funding for issuance of community college and university bonds

The GRB also included targeted reductions in the HECC budget, including:

·         An 11% reduction in positions through the elimination of limited duration position authority

·         Reductions in personnel services and supplies

·         Reductions in GED, ASPIRE, and match against federal Perkins Loans

·         Reclassification of 3 positions 

Business Oregon

The Governor’s Budget removes the Small Energy Loan Program (SELP) from the Department of Energy and places it in Business Oregon and includes $2.7M for administration and to initiate a recapitalization of the program.  Specific information regarding the Signature Research Centers is not enumerated in the budget and will be provided at a later date.

University Capital Funding

The HECC Agency Request Budget prioritized the original “Tier One” projects recommended by the seven university presidents earlier this year. At the request of the Governor, the HECC also prioritized additional OSU-Cascades projects that had not been included in the Tier One.  In November, UO sought additional state capital as a partial match for its Knight Campus project.  At that time, the HECC raised the rankings of two Cascades projects – the Site Reclamation for $9 million and Infrastructure for $11 million and inserted the Knight Campus project for $100 million at #13.  This resulted in the projects originally ranked at #11 or below all moving down three steps, including the OSU Fairbanks project moving from #13 to #17 (out of a total of 20 projects).

The GRB recommends $269.6 million in capital support.

Funded Projects:

  • ALL – Capital Improvement and Renewal:  $45.7 million
  • PSU – Grad Education Building:  $40.5 million
  • OSU – Quality Food & Beverage Building:  $9 million
  • OSU – Gilkey Hall Renovation:  $3 million
  • EOU – Information Technology Equipment Facility:  $1.2 million
  • OSU – Cordley Hall Renovation Phase I:  $15 million
  • OIT – Cornett Hall Renovation:  $38 million
  • UO – Classroom Building:  $44 million
  • SOU – Central Hall Deferred Maintenance:  $6 million
  • WOU – Oregon Military Building Renovation:  $7.7 million
  • OSU-Cascades – Site Reclamation:  $9 million
  • OSU-Cascades – Infrastructure:  $11 million
  • UO – Knight Campus:  $34 million
  • EOU – Loso Hall Renovation, Phase I:  $5.5 million

New project not previously considered by HECC:

All campuses, including community colleges, campus security measures allocated via competitive bid (based on recommendations by the Governor’s campus security task force):  $15 million


  • OSU – Fairbanks $11 million
  • OSU-Cascades – Academic Building $39 million
  • OSU-Cascades – Student Success Center $10 million
  • OSU-Cascades – Graduate and Research Center $490,000
  • EOU – Fieldhouse $6 million
  • WOU – IT Building $5.5 million


  • PSU – Graduate School of Education project reduction of $4.5 million
  • OIT – Cornett Hall project reduction of $2 million
  • All – $20 million reduction to $45 million for seven campuses for capital renewal and maintenance (2015-17 funding was at the $65 million level)
  • UO – $66 million deferral of the Knight challenge grant

No ranking changes except what resulted from project eliminations:  The GRB included capital funding of $75.2 million for eleven projects as well as $15 million in lottery bonds for competitive grants for public safety improvements at Oregon’s public universities and community colleges.

Read this and other updates on our blog.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Jock Mills
Director, Government Relations
Oregon State University

Day 2: Liveish-blog, Board of Trustees Th & Fr in Portland

Meeting of the Board — 1:45PM December 1-2, 2016 [Materials]

The 2015-16 audited financial statements are finally posted here, with past statements here. Spending on Instruction is up 9% over 3 years, spending on research is down, spending on Institutional Support (i.e. administration) is up 17%.


Despite previous requests from the board, UO is still not breaking out Athletics in these operating cost reports.

UO is still stuck with a pile of debt from Knight Arena and the baseball stadium, but is gradually paying that off (unfortunately the bonds were sold without a provision for refinancing) and will be able to borrow for replacing dorms, etc.:


FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2 – 9:00 am (other times approximate) – Reconvene Public Meeting

4. UO Portland Vision Statement: Jane Gordon, Vice Provost for UO Portland (Moved from Th)

Sorry, missed most of this.

6. Seconded Motions and Resolutions (Pending December 1 committee action) (Action)
–Recommendation from EAC: Selection of Board officers

Passes on a voice vote with no discussion.

–Seconded Motion from FFC: Authorizing Acquisition of Property Rights

Maybe I missed this.

–Seconded Motion from FFC: Authorization for Use of Certain Derivatives

Agreement to settle UO’s $42M lawsuit against the construction companies over shoddy construction of the Global Scholars Hall. UO gets $6M in work to fix the buildings over 3 years, so it will be ready for the IAAF, plus $1M to pay for UO’s external lawyers. I thought there was some cash involved too, but maybe I’m wrong.

Passes on a voice vote.

7. Long-Range Facilities and Physical Infrastructure Planning: Michael Harwood, Associate Vice President for Campus Planning and Facilities Management

No discussion of Ron Lovinger’s idea about moving Franklin Blvd back along the railroad tracks to allow for joining the Knight Campus to the regular campus. New Black Cultural Center to be constructed near Hayward Field. Many other new construction and renovation projects. Unfortunately there don’t seem to be any plans to tear down PLC or Collier house.

8. Budget Overview and Key Cost Drivers: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President and CFO


Of course not. Wouldn’t want the Trustees to have this in advance – they might ask informed questions.

The board’s public talking point on enrollment is that it’s leveled off in a planned effort to avoid overcrowding, not declining as Diane Dietz has reported. Actually they’re both sort of right – freshman enrollment is steady (below, by residency) but past large classes are finally graduating. Lots more on the IR website at


Moffitt & Schill explain that out-of state tuition is at market, but there’s still room to increase in-state tuition. UO has increased spending on tuition discounts, much of it for in-state tuition, and the Governor’s budget also projects more state funding for financial aid for low income students. So my take is that increases in the posted tuition price will *not* mean increases of the same magnitude for our low SES students.

Moffitt talks about how the administration gives itself raises according to the same scale that the faculty union negotiates. Why? She also says that the union contract includes promotional raises that the administrators don’t get, but she’s obfuscating: OA’s get promotions and new job titles, and raises to go along with them. How big? I don’t know, but administrative spending us up 23% over 3 years.

Schill notes that UO is essentially subsidizing the state’s other employees by participating in PEBB, because our employees are healthier. (I think this is $5-10M a year – OUS’s Jay Kenton had a good presentation about it a few years ago.)

Schill asks abut Title IX costs. $1M a year? Moffitt explains that it’s hard to calculate, but yes costs and hiring have gone up. Not to mention how much money we’re paying to cover for Penny Daugherty’s AAEO office mistakes. Lillis asks Moffitt to prepare a summary of these costs.

Bottom line is that Moffitt is predicting a 5% increase in UO’s “Education and General” costs for 2017-18, on a base of about $500M.

Moffitt and Schill tell the board that UO’s administrative staffing is below our AAU peers. Of course so is our faculty staffing.

Obviously there are many places UO can cut administrative spending and also some places where we need to spend more – despite the 23% increase over the past 3 years. The board has not been give anywhere near enough information to have an informed discussion on this.

Schill notes that the Knight Campus will allow UO to recruit more top Oregon students to do science.

9. State Government Affairs: Hans Bernard, Assistant Vice President for State Affairs; Libby Batlan, Senior Director for State Affairs

Hans Bernard has sent this helpful report on UO’s Legislative Agenda and the Governor’s budget, here, starting with the usual PR bragging:


Here’s the beef:


UO got $44M of $55M request for a new classroom and office building. UO will pay $30M in gifts and our own bonds. The missing $11M would have gone to fund renovation of the offices of the administrators and faculty who move into the new building. (This building is in addition to the Tykeson building, for which we got $17M last round.)

Governor agreed to fund the $100M asked for the Knight Campus over 3 biennia. UO is going to try and accelerate that.

Peter Bragdon says he’s willing to join Will Paustian in a protest in Salem over the state’s refusal to fund higher ed. (Anyone know what the Time Place and Manner free speech restrictions are for the capitol’s lobby?)

10. Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact: Patrick Phillips, Acting Executive Director

Patrick Phillips does a great job explaining why the campus is excited about this – more research, more good students – and why it will be good for the state.

Schill gives the Senate a shout-out for its enthusiasm and support for helping implement this project.

Willcox asks if the Campus Planning Committee will be involved. Moffitt: Sort of. They’ve been briefed, and are supportive.

Ginevra Ralph notes that UO should collaborate more with local businesses to help solve the spousal hire issues that UO currently faces, and which will need to be better addressed in order to hire all these new faculty.

12:17PM: Meeting adjourns, then subcommittee reconvenes to approve the GIS programs left over from yesterday.