11/18/2009: (11/19/2009 update at bottom: Lariviere shoots down Frohnmayer, says he wants to consult with faculty first)
This summer OUS paid Dave Frohnmayer $30K plus expenses to prepare his report, “The Coming Crisis in College Completion: Oregon’s Challenge and a Proposal for First Steps”. Dave’s contract called for a report about enrollment and retention, but it ended up being about a new funding model for OUS schools.
The first 33 pages are a formulaic rehash of ideas and analysis about enrollments, demographics, and educational productivity cribbed from the usual academic papers and reports. We’ve all seen this many times. Dave’s usual style is a combination of pomposity and vacuity that is hard to miss, but we did run it through UO’s plagiarism detection software just in case – only a few hits. He’s more than a bit confused about the upward bias in the investment return estimate caused by unobserved heterogeneity, omitted variables, and selection effects – not that I’m an econometrician – but it’s still a reasonable effort for an undergrad research paper, and solid B work.
The substance starts at page 34, where he proposes incorporating the OUS schools as public corporations, like OHSU. He says that the articles of incorporation should exempt the institution from having to comply with large parts of Oregon law. Yes, that Public Records law sure can be inconvenient when you are using state money to pay off your buddies. And check out footnote 2:
… I am deeply grateful for the legal insights of former Deputy Attorney General Peter Shepherd and his present colleagues at Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick, who have special expertise dealing with the legal status of independent public corporations. …
If the legislature goes along with this plan, what do you think the chances are that Harrang, Long, etc. and their new “of Counsel” Dave Frohnmayer will get the contract for legal services to establish the corporation? Boy does this state need some new blood. And if you think I’m a cynic, check out Lewis and Clark Law Professor Jack Bogdanski’s post. He apparently has some familiarity with the reality of OHSU’s administrative structure. Not entirely promising, it seems:
We interrupt the relentless flow of stories of the financial disaster at OHSU with a flash from Dave Frohnmayer: He thinks the murky, semi-autonomous, nonaccountable “governance” model on Pill Hill is so wonderful that it ought to be extended to the state’s other big universities.
Yes, let’s replicate the kind of boondoggles perpetrated by Peter Kohler and the rest of the Goldschmidt crew systemwide. Let’s make the U of O public when it wants to be, and secretive when it wants to be, just like OHSU. It’s working so well.
And of course, the Scone, a Goldschmidt man from way back, thinks it’s a wonderful idea.
Just think: Maybe the U of O will soon be opening a research campus in Florida.
And this just in from Greg Bolt in the RG, POTUO Lariviere shoots down Frohnmayer:
UO President Richard Lariviere echoed that concern. He called many of Frohnmayer’s proposals “music to my ears” but said the university community has to be given an opportunity to discuss and debate the plan before deciding whether to support it.
“Many of his suggestions are extremely insightful and helpful,” Lariviere said. “But we’re not ready here at the University of Oregon to engage the Legislature on these issues simply because we have a great deal more consulting on this campus that we have to engage in.”
We are starting to like this guy.