UO Senate motion on financial transparency

5/14/09 Update:

Nathan Tublitz’s UO Senate motion for a bit of financial transparency passed on an unanimous voice vote with a few minor amendments. The argument was over when a Senator said to Frohnmayer: “You are asking us to give up our pay to help out UO. We deserve to know how you are spending our money.” Somehow that didn’t sink in with Frances, who kept on arguing. The motion as passed is here.

Professor Nathan Tublitz has introduced the motion below, calling for UO to follow the OSU lead and provide public access to all accounting information. This simple change would mean the faculty might finally learn how UO spent the extra $12 million in tuition money that came in last year.

Rumor control says Frohnmayer has told the Johnson Hall dwellers that they are to say publicly that they don’t oppose this motion and try and move the Senate to a compromise that would only apply to transactions that occur after President Lariviere takes over. Now why would that be so important? Anyone who’s been at UO for more than a few years knows Frohnmayer’s code of omerta. Perhaps the most vicious recent example was what happened to PPPM Prof. Jean Stockard. But remember, she fought it and won.

UPDATE 5/5/2009: Frances Dyke has now caved on Nathan Tublitz’s motion to require UO to post accounting info on the web. A bit late. Rumor is that Bean is going to hire a new VP for Finance, with responsibility for all the parts of the job Frances hasn’t been able to figure out. She of course will keep her $212,493 salary – hey, it’s not like the state is short of money or anything.

Motion US 08/09-8 Concerning Transparency of University Financial Transactions

MOTION TO ESTABLISH AN ON-LINE BUDGET REPORTING SYSTEM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON

SPONSOR: N. Tublitz, Department of Biology

BACKGROUND: The University of Oregon releases general financial information regarding expenditures on an annual basis. However detailed information on specific expenditures is not easily available. For example, it is currently nearly impossible to ascertain how much did the Biology Department spend on frogs for dissections last term or what were the monthly fax charges accrued by the Romance Languages Department last month.

Our colleagues at Oregon State University have developed a user-friendly, on-line budget reporting web site where users can track expenditures, transaction by transaction, by clicking on specific budget lines in an academic department or administrative office, from the President’s office on down (https://bfpsystems.oregonstate.edu/webreporting/). The OSU system easily tracks individual line items and shows for each how much was budgeted, actual expenditures and available balances. A video demonstration of the OSU system can be viewed at http://oregonstate.edu/~dennisb/videos/nacubo/demo1.html

The OSU on-line budget reporting system has received national exposure and praise (e.g., http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/03/07/financial). A State of Oregon legislative bill (House Bill 2500; ) has been introduced in the current legislative session to establish a similar type of searchable budget reporting website for all executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government. This motion proposes to establish an on-line budget reporting system at the University of Oregon similar to that already in place at Oregon State University.

MOTION: The University Senate directs the University of Oregon Administration to establish a publicly accessible, on-line budget reporting system at the University of Oregon by 1 September 2009 that will allow users to track current and retroactive individual university expenditures as is currently done at our sister institution Oregon State University on their budget reporting website ( https://bfpsystems.oregonstate.edu/webreporting/).

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: OSU’s VP for Finance and Administration, Mark McCambridge, states that their cost of developing a web site to interface with their existing budget database (BANNER) cost less than $10,000. Given that OSU has already produced the interface, the cost to the University of Oregon should be significantly less.

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