Is UO Matters bad for UO?

2/22/2012: That’s the line I’ve been getting from UO administrators lately: UO Matters is a primary reason that there is so little trust between the faculty and the administration. If you have any thoughts on this, pro or con, please comment.

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53 Responses to Is UO Matters bad for UO?

  1. Zach says:

    The administration might have a point if this blog’s author was actually anonymous.

    If one professor’s information-gathering and opinion-sharing is enough to destroy trust between the faculty and administration, it’s not that professor’s fault.

  2. Anonymous says:

    While UO Matters is clearly skeptical and sometimes is one-sided, I think that is often the only way I found out what is really going on. I would be in the dark, and yes perhaps less trusting without it. But then, I would be, uh, in the dark and not knowing what is going on. I believe that the administration is welcome to weigh in and clarify misunderstandings or poor assumptions on this Blog.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think your fact finding is valuable. The editorial commentary has gotten a little old and in some cases is off base. Present the info and then leave the commentary to the comments section. It also appears who UO Matters is is one of the worst kept secrets on campus. If the intent of the author was to be anonymous…it’s long gone. Might just want to own up to your opinions especially when you make almost the exact same statement on record in the press.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Nonsense. Our administrators are people who rarely, if ever, ask anyone’s opinion of how they are doing. They are obliged by Oregon state law to be reviewed on a regular basis. This never happens. You and I, as faculty, are reviewed by our students every three months. Our administrators are annoyed that there is an independent forum to assess how they are doing. Tough. Keep it up, U of O Matters!

  5. Financial Duck says:

    I’d be interested to know who in the admin is making these claims. Saint Lorraine? (Seems likely.) Pope Bob? (I think he has more class/sense of position.)

    Fact is, they do nothing to publicize the other side of the story to the sometimes wild claims made here by UO Matters and readers.

    Example: they did nothing to allay suspicion about non-teaching padding during the Frohnmayer years (probably beause the suspicions almost certainly were true); and then when Lariviere apparently pulled back, they did nothing to publicize what they were doing.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Transparency is destabilizing. That’s the damn point.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Bravo! Sometimes denunciation is a complement! Please keep up your fine work.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The administration is the reason there is so little trust. You must be doing something right.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The roaches don’t like it when the lights are turned on. Keep it up. I think you provide a valuable public service.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Stop begging for compliments. This blog only spews toxic slime. If Kyr created an online sharing space for all we would be better off.

  11. Anonymous says:

    UO Matters is more an effect than a cause of UO faculty/staff views of the administration.

  12. Anonymous says:

    UO Matters has raised interest in University Governance. The Old Man says there can be nothing wrong with that.

  13. Anonymous says:

    That’s like saying if those pesky cops would stop arresting people crime rates would go down.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It gets obsessively personal, toxic, ugly, and Sophomoric. It makes super pac ads look civilized, substantive, and balanced.

  15. Anonymous says:

    dog to UOmatters

    fuck ’em

  16. Anonymous says:

    dog more to the point

    1) if the Admin is threatened by a browser page then

    a) there are much bigger problems
    b) UOmatters has superpowers

    2) It doesn’t make any difference who or what hosts this forum. Kyr could be angelic
    and elegant at all times and it still wouldn’t temper ranting. All open forums usually
    produce rants with occasional informed opinion mixed in.

    3) I am sure there will be a union panel that will eventually moderate and censure UOmatters
    and its forum and the annoying dog.

    4) And what professor wouldn’t want to be called the Toxic Slime Monster of Rhetoric

    5) and, whether or not the identify of UOmatters is truly known (subversion goes a long way) at least they had the Balls to initiate this forum and none of the rest of us, including this dog, did.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Two above is an idiot. Grow up, I say. (note personal nature)

    I think admins would not like the forum. Does this make me a genious, or wasn’t everyone thinking that?

  18. Jennifer Freyd says:

    Trust can be a good thing when it is deserved and it can be a dangerous thing when it is not. Assuming that most readers of UO Matters check this blog because they care about the UO and want to be informed, what is the reason for, and the effect of, the primarily anonymous posting and commenting?

  19. Anonymous says:

    UO Matters is bad for the University in the same way that reporting abusive priests is bad for the Catholic Church.

  20. Anonymous says:

    It’s nice having a place online for discussion. Having more places would be nice too.

    A comments section on a Johnson Hall blog would be a hoot.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Another problem is the massive egos that drift through the comments section. For example, regular posters like dog seem more interested in hearing their own voices than introducing dialogue.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I think the administration’s actions are “a primary reason that there is so little trust between the faculty and the administration.”

  23. Anonymous says:

    sure a deliberate, consistent and respectful dialogue would be better, but time after time our leaders have misinformed and failed us, and I’m not much of a union supporter at all. those are the facts. read em and weep, denizens of Johnson hall. uo matters didn’t appoint incompetents who either stole the academic side of campus blind or at least akkowed it to happen. Robert’s a nice guy, fine music scholar, but would soon be duped.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Old Man is concerned. We all know that Johnson Hall suffers from personnel and attitudes left over from Moseley’s regime. We would all like JH to brighten up — in every sense. UO Matters may help that to happen, or it may encourage retrenchment. Who knows? A more serious concern is that the occasional incivility will discourage the best presidential candidates. Mea culpa.

  25. Anonymous says:

    UOMatters thrives on the lack of transparency and level of incompetence in Johnson Hall. To state the obvious, there would be no need for this blog if the university were managed more effectively and the administrators focused on the needs of students and faculty instead of promoting there own salaries and grandiose visions.

    And Dog is sure right on this point. Regardless of whether one agrees with the comments and editorial positions, it took considerable civic courage to initiate and maintain this blog. We would all be much poorer in spirit without it. So…a toast [single malt scotch, I believe is the preferred beverage] is long overdue to honor the editor.

    the Cheshire Cat who is more convinced than ever that we are indeed living in Wonderland.

  26. Anonymous says:

    You must have figured it out, but Jim Bean is after your ass UO Matters. Pernsteiner told him he’d be the interim president and have a shot at the permanent position. He bragged about it to his colleagues. After you posted his sabbatical contract it all went to shit. He’s humiliated, angry, and bent on revenge. Be careful out there.

  27. Anonymous says:

    There will always be a demand for a blog like this because there will always be a sub-group of faculty who want to complain about the administration. No matter how effective or efficient the administration is. This is campus life in thousands of colleges and universities across the country. Why is this? Because leadership involves making decisions. And some people will alwsys dislike those decisions. And others are unwilling to make any decisions. The disturbing thing about this blog is the uncalled for personal attacks. I believe this reflects very badly on the UO, and to outsiders looking in, makes us look quite infantile.

    • UO Matters says:

      It is much like the discontented sub-group of Americans who publish criticism of your government in newspapers. This reflects very badly on your country, and to outsiders looking in from, say, North Korea, it makes you look quite infantile. Why do you allow this embarrassment to continue? Don’t your leaders have some way to stop ordinary people from criticizing them?

      PS – What is the function of this “university” I keep reading about here?

      Sorry, I swore I’d keep my mouth shut on this thread, but this comment is a bit much.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s called free speech. Infantile? Maybe at times. But free nonetheless. That upper administrators from a major university would even hint at being uncomfortable with free speech is the most troubling thing of all.

      I hope the North Korea comment was a joke.

      Maybe this whole post is sarcasm and I missed it.

  28. Anonymous says:

    As the anonymous who wrote the comment that was a bit much for UO Matters, let me clarify. I have no problem with a blog that questions the leadership of the university. But some people just like to complain for the sake of complaining, and there’s a lot of that here. But UO Matters’ reply is classic UO Matters – twisting words and context. I would say its a bit much to equate my post with a brutal political dictatorship that starves its people to death. Thanks UO Matters, you proved my point. But what harms the UO even more than this are the personal and vindictive attacks on people. Since when is this the role of a university? Civil discourse and promotion of transparency, yes please; Character assasination and abusive language (not usually found in letters to the editors of the nation’s newspapers), no thanks. On balance UO Matters fails the test and fails the UO.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree with UO matters follow up above… this is crazy.

      How the university community debates the merits of this, or any other blog is as revealing of our integrity and intellect as anything else. There are substantive issues of concern on this campus, many of which stem from or originate in JH. I don’t know what people expect from fair reporting and transparency, to be honest with you. There is ugly stuff being revealed… it is going to stink to high heavens, and those personally associated with the stench should be called out. Get off this ‘personal attacks’ line or back it up.

  29. uomatters says:

    Satire and mockery are ancient and important forms of free political speech for good reason: they are often effective civil discourse when dealing with people with power who can ignore more polite criticism.

    But your point is taken, and I’ll try backing off for a while, and put more focus on getting and posting documents and facts.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Yes, this blog is bad for the University of Oregon. You lie; you waste administrators’ time by forcing them to dig up documents that are ultimately irrelevant; you smear good people’s reputations; and you delude your fellow professors into thinking what you say is true/accurate/worthwhile (as evidenced by the positive comments responding to this post). Out of curiosity, do the readers here realize that the author of this blog has filed NUMEROUS ethics complaints against a large number of people, ALL of which were summarily dismissed for lack of merit? That’s quite telling.

    Sorry UOMatters. I think dissent and skepticism of authority is a good thing, generally, but to say you take it too far is an understatement.

    • Anonymous says:

      As a faithful reader, I think I’m correct in adding that many complaints and records requests were filed only after noncooperation or information withholding. This raises the question, why would admins not be transparent up front if the would survive an ethics complaint? A little more transparency would have likely cut down on dismissed complaints.

    • Anonymous says:

      I understand that we could have increased Barbara Altman’s appointment to full time if we didn’t have to spend so much money every year on public records requests that are basically fishing expeditions that go nowhere. OK, I’m done with UOM, it is a sinkhole.

    • Anonymous says:

      We could also have done that if we weren’t paying Provosts’ car payment, giving raises to administrators who were about to retire under the guise of “retaining” critical people, giving poor performing administrators golden parachutes in the form of “special advisor” positions, hiring consultants to tamp down the union, paying Frohnmayer $$$ to teach a 1 credit class….should I go on? To say that information requests are a main financial drain on the UO is laughable. JH is the sinkhole.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Some comments on both ends of this question strike me as extreme. Does UOMatters occasionally go too far? Yes, muckraking almost always does. I would prefer the muckraking to be more civil, although then I suppose it wouldn’t be muckraking. Does UOMatters provide a service? Yes, it is one of the few places where certain important university issues are discussed openly and skeptically, with all of us given a free chance to respond. If the administration wants to weaken this forum, the best way, as suggested in a comment above, is to operate with as much transparency as is legally and ethically possible. I am no historian, but the past teaches me that as soon as people gain position and power, they often become too busy or nervous to explain what they are doing and why. Such behavior invites suspicion and ultimately the kind of intemperance sometimes seen here.

  32. Anonymous says:

    It takes hypocrisy to a new level to come on here and slam UO Matters for personal attacks on others.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Dog (a.k.a.) “massive Ego” remarks

    I think its important to examine the evolution of UOmatters, its content
    and its approaches and therefore to judge UOmatters on the body of its work.

    1. It did start out in a reactionary way and not in a proactive way – much
    like the origin of the Union movement. Negative points for that

    2. In its early days it was less impartially focused and more biased towards
    vehement attacks on Frohnmayer. This is when UOmatters was in its adolescent stage. Even more negative points for that. Indeed I know many cases
    where 1 and 2 were enough to turn readers off for ever or make them classify
    UOmatters as evil, with no possibility of redemption.

    3. But, UOmatters has always served as a public forum for presenting public
    documents that are pertinent to matters at the UO (hence the name) and which
    are either misrepresented or hidden. Semi-infinite positive points for that.

    4. After Dave. F was no longer an issue, UOmatters matured, in my view, and
    being to post/comment/verify many different aspects of UO operations (financial
    and otherwise) that effect us all. Such postings drew a range of emotional and
    thoughtful responses. Certain posters were able to respond with additional
    documentation and evidence that would either refute or verify the claims of
    UOmatters. I believe this is called civil discourse but wouldn’t know since
    dogs just bark at each other. As I posted before, many positive points for
    having the “civic courage” to do this.

    5. So one should evaluate UOmatters on balance. From my perspective, UOmatters
    does air important issues that otherwise would have no forum. Its incumbent upon
    the rest of us to react and discuss with less intemperance than is often shown.
    On balance, UOmatters is positive and serves as a vehicle for discussing issues,
    sometimes rationally and sometimes not. We the readers, also need to evolve.

    6. Dogs can’t count past 5.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Mistrust of UO employees for central administration came long before UOMatters. UOM is a response to the corruption of central administration that dates back a few years. We may not always agree with UOM, but we need someone posting information that exposes the corruption. Interesting how central administration wants to pass the responsibility for their own actions onto UOM. Keep the pressure on!!

  35. Anonymous says:

    After years of experience with our leaders in Johnson Hall, I trust them only to the extent I can see them. This blog keeps a lot of things in the light, and if it went dark my trust in the UO leadership would go to zero.

    But you should cut out the vitriol and tone down the sarcasm. When you post something like Jim Bean’s sabbatical contract, people will read it and form their own opinions. Oh yes they will!

  36. Anonymous says:

    Dog’s point #5 is the most important point. Yes, we all tend to go over the top a bit. But if you read the comments here on this blog – they do temper and correct what was said in the posts. So if you have good counter information then you can state it in the comments.

    I think we were all in the dark before UO matters. Thanks for shining the light. And when the Presidential firing occurred, I think a lot of us spent a lot of time here – it was a comfort.

    Irreverent, yes, but also quite informative.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Really? UOM is why there’s distrust, and not the actions of administration? Talk about shooting the messenger…

    If UOM didn’t exist, something else like it would by this point. At least, I hope it would.

    As for the angry person up there who states matter of factly that UOM “lies” (and wastes so much precious time with information requests that it somehow damages the UO financially, what?) I do not see any figures, examples, or evidence. If you’ve got it, share it.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I note the new disclaimer… ” this blog does not purport to represent UO or the UO Senate.” Maybe it should also note that the blog does not represent the unthinking masses, either, those who want to leave the dirt well hidden so they can pretend it is not there.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I love this blog, love the sarcasm and love the irreverent attitude toward the people and the issues that abso-duckling-lutely deserve it. People who try to worm their way out of the fact that they’ve lied, stolen, obfuscated and generally made the U of O suffer in the short- and long-term don’t deserve to be treated with respect.

    Much of what this blog has talked about isn’t a secret, especially with the grappling over power in JH and the regime shifting that kind of, almost happened with the most recent President. I will say that some in JH have done well to try and improve things, but it’s lipstick on a pig in a lot of ways. There are some who have tried to use their new attitudes to hide past transgressions as well.

    When I first started at the U of O, it took about a month before I started learning about some seriously screwed up stuff. Nothing much was done about it, at least in public. Some behind-the-scenes maneuvers managed to hide what had been going on, but then I open up UOM one day (years later) to find the same issue pop up. This, among many other things, only confirmed to me that the problem was not solved in those original, behind-the-scenes deliberations. Yet another reason why finding ways to force JH to be transparent and to deal with the truths that aren’t always comfortable in PUBLIC. There needs to be a higher degree of accountability. Does that mean we need to watch every move they make? No. But for the issues that are typically brought up here, it would be warranted.

    People are tired of the demons running amok. UOM has put a voice to that and admirably done what it could to shed some light on things. I don’t blame the blog for occasionally going over the deep end because many of these issues would push me over the edge pretty quickly…..

  40. uomatters says:

    Thanks. This comment means a lot to me.

  41. Anonymous says:

    UO adminstrators think information is bad. They don’t want to release it, and they don’t want it publicized. What line of work are we in as teachers and researchers? Oh yeah, finding stuff out and telling people…. geez. Sounds like UO Matters. Thanks!

  42. Anonymous says:

    This blog is nice representation of just about every University campus in the country. Every campus I have ever worked on has an “evil administration” who is never quite transparent enough for faculty and never makes all of the decisions faculty like. Faculty who gain their doctorate degrees somehow become experts in supervision, administering a massive organization and knowing everything even if their terminal degree is completely unrelated to any of those functions. Those who complain the most are generally those who have so little of the complete picture. I know they would say “Well then give us the complete picture.” That is such a simplistic response to a complex issue.

    I agree there are some bad decisions made sometimes by any administration and they don’t always consult everyone on campus when they make them, however, I think that most administrators on most campuses are good people trying to educate students. Most faculty on most campuses are good people trying to educate students.

    There is nothing wrong with a little rabble rousing and it can be quite healthy. When it rises to the level of targeted, personal and unrelenting attacks on decent people then a line gets crossed.(We can all debate who is decent and who is not, I really don’t know many of the people mentioned here from Adam but I work in the system so the names are somewhat familiar) I can say that as I move along in my career I continue to operate on the basic philosophy of “If you do the right thing you will never have to explain yourself.” I want to be careful with tax payer money and student tuition as for me those items are a sacred trust.

    All of that being said, I would be hesitant to work at a University where a blog like this had heavy readership and influence. It feels more like a scandal sheet than an information page. Never get into a war of the press with people who buy ink by the barrel. The stories and commentary by the author frequently feel very targeted and slanted toward his personal point of view, which is certainly fine if that is the intention of the blog. If the intention is just to be a purveyor of information then I think you have some way to go.

    Why not report on the faculty member who rarely shows up for their class, or schedules their classes Monday-Thursday between 8 am and 3 pm with none on Friday so they can never be around? How about the staff member who plays on their facebook page all day?

    We report…You decide

    Fair And Balanced.

  43. Anonymous says:

    We’re not talking about showing up late to class.

    We’re talking about people paying themselves more and more while taking that money from everyone else to do it. We’re talking about the academic side of the house suffering dramatically because the university has sold its soul to athletics. I guarantee you, you would be angry if your neighbor started raiding your bank account and retirement to remodel his or her house and that’s not far from what we are seeing in some of these arrangements. That’s not to say anything about whether or not athletics should have a strong presence. I believe it should, but it should do so on its own merits and without the subsidization of the academic side which, quite frankly, can’t afford to keep building other people’s houses.

    Let’s not forget that auxiliaries on campus are also paying in just to merely exist and serve students (that’s the EMU and Student Rec for starters). They get little support from the U of O, so they have to beg the students to pay/raise fees that are designated to help them improve and meet the expectations of the students who come to school here. Furthermore, the university in some cases and athletics in more than a few have stepped in to no longer work with these entities and, due to fiscal concerns, CHARGE them for space. As if they don’t get enough already. It all reminds me of a very bad mafia movie.

    The question is: What kind of university do we want? One with great, somewhat shady athletics, shitty auxiliaries, and an academic side of the house that treads water while everyone else swims by? Or do we want to emulate schools that have athletic powerhouses, students who are happy to support the auxiliaries and an academic side of the house that decides to blow past mediocrity and to take advantage of every strong point possible to better itself? It wouldn’t be that hard. Hell, most of the schools the UO currently emulates go so far as to insist that 1% of every donation to the school go to academics. Sounds crazy, I know…

    Also, there have been a couple of issues that flirt with being criminal. This tends to involve how money is spent or how money is abused or how money is gained and then spent nefariously. I know, personally, of at least two situations where there were people running so far amok they would have been in court for fraud and embezzlement had they not been living in the insulated world of Academia and had certain higher-ups stepping in to ‘correct’ (hide) the actions by not punishing them for their actions and keeping them on as members of the university community despite mountains of evidence against them crying out for them to be let go. This is the sort of thing that leads to low morale, no real confidence and ‘whining’ from faculty.

    For what it’s worth, I feel like UOM deals more with that sort of thing than the petty who likes who and whose ego is bigger than whose stuff. Not always, but most of the time.

  44. Anonymous says:

    The childish commentary and name-calling detract from the information. It is opinion, but you do have a moral responsibility, regardless of what others do or say, to be fair and mature. Constructive commentary, devoid of ad-hominem attacks, would be more powerful in the long haul.

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