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
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.
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.