Senate election results, if it matters

5/19/2012: Bob Berdahl’s threats to veto faculty votes on who will chair our committees are getting more strident. And the administration has been setting up its own committees on important issues like policing, without even consulting the senate. But FWIW the senate and committee election results are now posted here.

Update: A comment posted by Pres Berdahl:

Once again, Bill Harbaugh tries to stir dissent with misinformation. I have NEVER threatened to veto Senate committee chairs. All I have ever said is that we could not bring to the Senate Transparency Committee a discussion of public records fee policy so long as the chair of that committee, Bill Harbaugh, has a conflict of interest about fee policy. This is not threatening to veto committee chair selections.

This comment raises still more questions – Berdahl is going to ignore the charge of a senate committee, purely on his own judgement about what constitutes a conflict of interest? Right.

On the veto issue, here’s an email from him to the IAC a few days ago, emphasis added. Berdahl is correct about his veto threat point, in that this is not an explicit threat to veto the faculty’s vote on who should be IAC chair.

On Fri, 18 May 2012 17:25:21 +0000, Bob Berdahl wrote:

This will be my last word on this matter.  I am not going to waste
any more time on it.  You asked that I publicly acknowledge that the
athletic department is not self- supporting, based on the USA piece. I
did so.  Although the USA data included revenue that may be
challenged, as I pointed out, I accepted the 2.8% as the number to be
compared to other universities.  By that number,  which is the only
apples to apples number we have, UO’s subsidy is lower than 212 out of
227 universities.

Now you seem to be rejecting the USA report because you think the
number is higher.  And you cite the other subsidies the university
provides.  My response is simply that everywhere i have been, the
universities provide similar services.  The UO is not unique in this
no matter what you may think.  And many of those services — general
counsel, public records, public safety, senior management,
parking–are provided all auxiliaries.

You reject the notion that athletic scholarships paid to the
university are a source of revenue for the university. Tuition is not
counted by USA, so it is not a part of that calculation.  However,
because non-resident tuition  subsidizes the education of residents —
non-residents pay more than the actual cost of education, the
difference between the cost of educating students and what the
athletic department pays is revenue to the university.

None of these calculations, of course, count the intangible benefits
— the visibility via television exposure, the enthusiasm of alumni,
the benefit to the city and local businesses that come from the
athletic program.  These intangible benefits can’t be measured, but
they are real.

Thus, I conclude that the only analysis of the institutional support
for athletics, the one you asked me to respond to, shows the UO to
look very good  compared with other Division  1 schools.

I do not think that an uncritical booster should be chair of the IAC, but neither do I believe a relentless and unfair critic should chair it either.

Please share this email with the entire committee.

Bob Berdahl 

Earlier correspondence between Berdahl and the IAC is here. There’s been a lot more lately, I’ll post when I get a chance in a day or two. For now I’ll just point out that Berdahl’s comments on athlete tuition (which originate with Jim Bean) would make sense, except for the fact that we don’t have a shortage of non-athlete out-of-staters willing to come to UO and pay the tuition.

And most of those are better students than the out-of-state athletes that the AD recruits. Many of those players (though certainly not all!) have academic records that require special dispensation from the admissions office. And they then require the $2 million in special jock box tutoring, subsidized by tuition money from the regular students.

It quacks like a subsidy, and it is a subsidy. I hope our next president will recognize that fact, and then move on to helping us reduce it, instead of trying to subvert the work of the IAC.

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8 Responses to Senate election results, if it matters

  1. Old Man says:

    The Administration can certainly set up whatever committees it wants. That does not stop the Senate from setting up whatever committees it wants. Either committee can bring legislation to the Senate, and their merits can be debated there. Should an unresolvable view emerge, it’s on to the StatFac Assembly. Under our Constitution, Committees don’t settle issues — they advise either the Administration (if they are Administration Committees) or the Senate (if they are Senate Committees). I believe this differs from past practices by assuring that decisions on which the Faculty feels sufficiently strongly are debated and settled in a transparent manner .

  2. Bob Berdahl says:

    Once again, Bill Harbaugh tries to stir dissent with misinformation. I have NEVER threatened to veto Senate committee chairs. All I have ever said is that we could not bring to the Senate Transparency Committee a discussion of public records fee policy so long as the chair of that committee, Bill Harbaugh, has a conflict of interest about fee policy. This is not threatening to veto committee chair selections.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why did I not think to adopt the “Bob Berdahl” handle? With that opportunity now lost, I will soon adopt a name that most reminds me of him. Fortunately, this will blend conveniently into the existing pattern of animal names.

  3. Cat says:

    While I very much appreciate UOMatters for digging up skuttlebutt about administrative incompetence and corruption and sharing it with the wider community, I’ve become very very weary of the spin UOMatters so often puts on that information. Here it seems to me that he has taken the issues pertaining to two particularly contentious committees, IAC and Transparency–which incidentally share membership–to stand for committees across campus as a whole. In fact, there are a wide range of committees, Senate and Administrative, appointed and elective, on which many faculty serve and thus make the work of the university possible. Some treat incredibly mundane matters (e.g., parking tickets, or students appeals concerning specific academic requirements), while other weigh in on policy matters. These committees, which include not only TTF but NTTF, OAs and students, rarely get any recognition, good publicity or bad: no shout out from the Senate, from UOMatters, from the admin (though there is a reception soon, so I take that back). The drama queens are forever stealing the show. To me this is rather sad.

    Certainly it does them–nor really anybody that I can see–a service to overdramatize the current difficulties on these particular committees and to posit that our current, interim president has taken aim at all committees and is actively scheming to manipulate committee chairmanships across campus. Really?!? It’s frankly inconceivable, as well as scarsely true. The real problem, as was made evident in the most recent election, is getting anyone serve and finding good people to commit to chairing all these committees–not some kind of administrative interference.

    While I rely on UOMatters to save me from whatever PollyAnna-ish tendencies I might have, the level of paranoia is sometimes out of control. And certainly now it’s become an embarassment: when Berdahl himself feels compelled to post here. I welcome his voice, but would prefer it appeared in better, more elevated circumstances.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, we are blessed that an administrator like Bob has chosen to walk among us. Expecting him to actually explain what in the world he is doing to us is heresy. We have failed him, and can only hope he has the grace to continue cashing his paychecks while he chastises us for our unworthiness.

  4. awesome0 says:

    Yeah, lets have more posts on the secret behind the scenes action on the parking ticket committee. After all, previous research has used parking tickets to identify corruption…

  5. UO Matters says:

    We’ve made lots of posts on the parking issues at UO, which mostly involve various athletic department scams, of course. has links to some excellent investigations by ODE reporters.

  6. Anonymous says:

    There really needs to be some follow up in the ODE about the parking lot associated with the jock box – it’s a 150 space lot intended only for athletes *while they are being tutored* – I see it every day, and the record number of cars that I’ve counted is 11.

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