Summary of the 2/12 Senate meeting

Post meeting synopsis:

  1. Agenda here, video in a few days. It was a very well run, productive, and well attended meeting. Nothing brings out UO’s administrators like an attempt to take away athletic subsidies, except a bowl game junket. Lorraine Davis even showed up – perhaps it’s part of her job description?
  2. President Gottfredson’s speech emphasized how thrifty and genuinely concerned about academics the Duck athletic department was. This was met with silence, but he did get a round of applause for the hard work of the UO staff in dealing with the aftermath of the weekend storm, which left downed trees all over campus.
  3. After some very frank and heartfelt discussion by Senators about the glaring disparities between the academic side and athletics, and the revelation that Interim Provost Coltrane has not seen the gift contract for the Jaqua Center (below), I moved that the Senate give the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Ending Athletic Subsidies (SAHCOEAS) time to digest President Gottfredson’s 2/7 report, which he had never sent to the Committee. I found it on his website Friday, thanks to a friendly web-bot, and then sent it to the Senate, which just got it this Monday. The motion asked Senate President Paris help the Committee get the data needed to make their report on what to do next, due March 12.
  4. The motion on adding elected Senators to the Senate Budget Committee also got a thorough hearing. It passed with minor amendments, 24 to 11, just enough for the 2/3 majority needed to change the by-laws. (Thanks to Dave Hubin for calling for a re-vote.) Senate President Paris will hold the election within 2 weeks.
  5. The Senate had a preliminary discussion of the Stahl/Tublitz motion on  open meetings for Senate committees. Most comments were positive, Frank and Nathan agreed to meet with the Committee on Committees to hammer out details. Very productive.
  6. Interim Associate Dean Bruce Blonigen reported that his RIGE report would be available shortly, and Paris announced she would post it on the Senate website as soon as it was.
  7. Paris discussed the legal services policy. Serious questions were raised about the redactions by General Counsel Randy Geller, particularly his removal of Senate language saying UO employees have the right to get lawyers. Geller took this out with no explanation. Perhaps the Senate should hire a lawyer to get a second opinion. Oh, right, never mind. At this point Geller’s policy is a butchered, bleeding mess. It remains to be seen if the Senate committee can put it back together. You can find some information on the Senate web page here, page down and check the links. Randy Geller has finally agreed to meet with the Senate committee (Paris, Lininger, Sayre) on Feb 28. Presumably that meeting will be open to Senators, if not to the public?
  8. Academic Freedom: Another Randy Geller inflicted disaster for President Gottfredson. Yet another Senate Committee, this one chaired by Michael Dreiling, has been trying to patch this up into workable form. A lot of progress has been made, I’m guessing there will be a vote in March on a reasonably good policy.
  9. The call for self-nominations for next year’s Senate President was announced, the vote will be at the March 12 meeting.
  10. I think I have the flu, I’ll post more eventually, including a pdf of Dev Sinha’s handout for those who had trouble following his remarks. Yes, it does start with “Saying “Oregon is under-performing” is a lie.”

2/7/2014: Gottfredson rejects Senate proposal for an end to athletic subsidies

The UO Senate has voted for an end to subsidies for the Duck athletic department many times. The latest resolution was last May, and it was endorsed (as legislation) by 4 former UO Senate Presidents.

After President Gottfredson did nothing, the Senate took it up again as legislation, which is much harder to ignore. I made the motion in December, and then agreed to postpone the vote until February in hope of a constructive response from the administration. President Gottfredson is still ignoring the legislation, but has now posted a more complete rejection of the May resolution, here. He says no to ending the subsidies, and no to a contribution from athletics for academic scholarships. Now the Senate will have to take up this problem yet again, at the meeting this Wednesday.

Don’t despair. While it took many petitions to the Oregon DOJ and some embarrassing stories in the state and local press, President Gottfredson has already cut the subsidies by $555K , by raising the AD’s payments to UO for administrative overhead costs in 2012. (However these payments are still well below what they would have been under the 7% rate that was originally proposed for 2013.)

UO’s athletic budget is now a record 15% of total spending, even ignoring what’s kept off the books. It has almost tripled since the 2004 Task Force report calling for contributions to the academic side. Compensation for the 230 AD employees now costs ~$35M. So there is plenty more money in the AD’s well. (For comparison, salary and benefits for UO’s 1900 faculty are about $120M.)

The Senate legislation has about $2.7M at stake, plus the scholarship money. $2.2 million hinges on Gottfredson’s argument that the academic budget – specifically Provost Scott Coltrane – should pay for the athlete-only Jaqua Center for keeping athletes eligible to play NCAA sports. Gottfredson’s message to the Senate doesn’t mention it (perhaps Randy Geller forgot to tell him?) but Phil Knight’s Jaqua Center gift contract with UO requires that this should be run by, and presumably paid for by, the Athletic Department:

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 12.46.27 AM

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Another $455K hinges on the argument that the academic side should have to pay the athletic department for the right to use Matt Court for classes. We aren’t and we shouldn’t. Matt Court was famously built with student funds, on UO land. And after we gave Phil Knight the Jock Box land for $1, it seems a bit churlish for the athletic department to then turn around and charge the students $455K a year for what already belonged to them.

Gottfredson’s letter to the Senate says: “The consensus is that our athletics department receives no general fund support from the university. (The 2004 Task Force Report (attached) reached the same conclusion, calling the notion that the campus subsidizes athletics “a myth” (page 22).)”

However, when that task force report was written in 2004 the cost of athletic tutoring was $560K a year. Now, with the Jaqua Center, it is $2.2M a year – up another $300K just last year. These costs are in part because of the general extravagance of the center, and in part because of the intensive tutoring needed to keep academically underprepared athletic special admits eligible to play for the NCAA.

Several years ago Robin Jaqua donated $2.5M to help cover the Jaqua costs. The athletic department seems to have hijacked that gift, and uses the revenue from it to pay for maintenance costs on the building (the only cost they pay) and not the growing tutoring costs, which the academic side is still stuck with, in full.

Additionally, the President is now required to pay ~$475K a year to athletics for the President’s Autzen skybox and basketball tickets:

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 10.05.21 AM

From what I can tell in 2004 there were no such payments. As mentioned above the academic budget now pays athletics ~$455K a year for the Knight Arena land costs. In 2004 there were no such payments.

It is true that as President Gottfredson says, athletics pays the tuition for its athletes, and that a larger proportion of them are out-of-state than is the case with regular students. However, this higher proportion of out-of-state student-athletes hurts UO when it comes to helping meet Governor Kitzhaber’s 40-40-20 goals and justifying state subsidies for student tuition.

Likewise, the extravagant excess of UO’s athletic buildings, including the Jaqua Center, the widely mocked “Football Operations Center”, and the $235M in state bonds used to build Knight Arena – the most expensive college arena in history – hurt us when we go to the legislature and plead poverty, seeking state funds for much needed academic buildings.

The issue of academic control over the Jock Box tutoring operations is particularly problematic given recent events at UNC. This includes a professor indicted for fraud, for running sham courses for jocks. UO’s athlete-only classes, taught in the Jaqua Center by athletic department employees, for academic credit but without faculty approval, seem pretty questionable.

I’m on the Senate committee charged with oversight of athletics, so as a matter of due diligence, I asked UO who was in charge of the Jaqua Center and what they were in charge of doing. Apparently it’s Lorraine Davis, but her mission is top secret:

PR Office email for the latest contract:

Attached are the records responsive to your request made 08/01/2013.  Some information is exempt under OAR 571-030.  The univesity has searched for, but was unable to locate, a job description for Ms. Davis.

The office considers these documents to be fully responsive to your request, and will now close your matter.  Thank you for contacting the office with your request.
Sincerely,Lisa Thornton
Office of Public Records

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27 Responses to Summary of the 2/12 Senate meeting

  1. It’s on Netflix, BTW

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  2. Anonymous says:

    What if the Senate took action to limit the use of special admits for athletes? I assume part of the reason we’re spending so much on tutoring is because we are admitting students who are not academically prepared for college, and thus need extra help. If we can’t limit the budget on the supply side, maybe we can reduce demand.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I love that MG points to the AD’s “transparency” without knowing UOM’s role in moving them in that direction.

      He “was very pleased that much of the information necessary for an informed understanding of these issues had been posted by athletics for some time.” Thanks UOM.

      Nobody should take from this that the athletic department is transparent. It is far from it, as every bit of information has many hours of pushing behind it. At best, it is merely more transparent than it has been.

      Likewise, that “direct” subsidies are not lying like line items scattered all over the place should not have anyone take from this that the athletic department is self supporting, or unsubsidized. Rather, they have worked tirelessly to hide and make subsidies “indirect.” This leave Gottfredson and Coltrane plenty of room to spin their stories, of course, which I am growing sick of.

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  3. uomatters says:

    From Gottfredson’s letter to the Senate:

    “The consensus is that our athletics department receives no general fund support from the university. (The 2004 Task Force Report (attached) reached the same conclusion, calling the notion that the campus subsidizes athletics “a myth” (page 22).)”

    However, when that task force report was written in 2004 the cost of athletic tutoring was $560K a year. Now, with the Jaqua Center, it is $2.2M a year – up another $300K just last year. These costs are in part because of the general extravagance of the center, and in part because of the intensive tutoring needed to keep academically underprepared athletic special admits eligible to play for the NCAA. Several years ago Robin Jaqua donated $2.5M to help cover the Jaqua costs. The athletic department seems to have hijacked that gift, and uses the revenue from it to pay for its maintenance costs on the building, not the growing tutoring costs, which the academic side is still stuck with, in full.

    The President is now required to pay ~$475K a year to athletics for the Autzen skybox and basketball tickets. From what I can tell in 2004 there were no such payments.

    The academic budget now pays athletics ~$500K a year for the Knight Arena land costs. In 2004 there were no such payments.

    It is true that athletics pays the tuition for its athletes, and that a larger proportion of them are out-of-state than is the case with regular students. However, this higher proportion of out-of-state student-athlets hurts UO when it comes to helping meet Governor Kitzhaber’s 40-40-20 goals and justifying state subsidies for student tuition.

    Likewise, the extravagant excess of UO’s athletic buildings, including the Jaqua Center, the widely mocked “Football Operations Center”, and the $235M in state bonds used to build Knight Arena – the most expensive college arena in history – hurt us when we go to the legislature and plead poverty, seeking state funds for much needed academic buildings.

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    • LLB says:

      I think there is a lot of hidden definitions in the statement that “Athletics” takes “no money” from the “general fund”.

      Also, given the NY Times article on the revenue (google for it) as stories like this:
      http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_23385875/pac-12-other-big-time-schools-raking-eye

      Where is all that new money they are rolling in going? Given that the foundation, advancement, and boosters “donate” to Athletics by a disgusting disproportionate margin, given that the Foundations books are less transparent than the Athletics department, which is less transparent than the administrations finance and budget, which is less transparent than the millstone weighing down our credibility, why is it not time for a change?

      All books should be open and transparent, and there should be one set of books.
      All donations must have a percentage that goes to the unrestricted endowment.
      All funds revenue and debt from all enterprises including athletics, are deemed to be and will be accounted for as part of the University of Oregon General Fund.
      As a thank you for the hundred or more years of being subsidized by the students, Athletics will provide free to students a skybox and a set amount of tickets to the students athletic events! The students can let the president use the sky box if they want.
      As a thank you for the hundred or more years of being subsidized by the students, part of the Athletic revenue will be used to retire the asinine EMU and Rec Center Upgrade fee.

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      • LLB says:

        To add to potential changes:

        All Athletes will be students first.
        All athletic scholarships will be awarded multi-year to these students regardless of their status as an athlete, so that there will be no more pay to play.

        http://www.post-gazette.com/Pitt/2013/05/19/Colleges-universities-slow-to-offer-multiyear-athletic-scholarships/stories/201305190222

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        • LLB says:

          Sorry I keep thinking of more possible changes:

          As the University of Oregon is holding all properties in trust for the State of Oregon, the University of Oregon shall reclaim its authority on all properties and all events.

          This shall include but is not limited to all events and facilities currently used and operated by any other entity which is not the University or State like Athletics, the Foundation, or Duck Athletic Fund using University resources and properties for its own enrichment and financial gain of itself or its affiliated boosters. Along with this an immediate change to Duck Athletic Funds that will weigh academic donations as higher than athletics only donation for priority seating and other remuneration that uses University or state resources pending and audit and overall reevaluation of the current system that will place as its primary concern the University. For example, this change could also allow the University to prioritize and direct the use of its resources for the general good and welfare of the University and the students it serves as highlighted in the recent best and highest use of MATT court and statewide high school sports.

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  4. Anonymous Senator says:

    President Gottfredson’s response is no better than we’ve heard from JH before, back when the athletic budget was 1/3 of its current $93 million. He doesn’t bother to try and justify using academic funds to pay for Chip Kelly’s lawyer, address the MKA parking and the policing costs, or the many new legal liabilities and academic problems stemming from UO’s recent shift to big-time sports.

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    • uomatters says:

      It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it? He could have a least slipped in a snowball fight joke. Or maybe “Sorry, professors, but the coaches smoked all the budget”?

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  5. Moffitt and Shelton speak says:

    “… we feel that it would be unwise to require the Athletic Department to contribute further resources to the University at this time. Over the last decade the Athletic Department has taken on many financial obligations that it must meet in the coming years (e.g., arena debt, PK Park debt, deferred compensation, etc.)”

    There you have it: For UO’s financial officers, academic scholarships come after deferred compensation for the coaches.

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  6. PK Park says:

    The PK park document shows that athletics was willing to take on millions more in expenses for baseball while claiming they couldn’t find any money to contribute to scholarships. Kilkenny used the “New Partnership” to bully Lariviere into this:

    http://www.goducks.com/fls/500/pages/athlfin/MOU-PK-Park.pdf?DB_OEM_ID=500

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Legislation. Yes, that’s your answer. That’s your answer to everything. Tattoo it on your forehead. Your revolution is over, Mr. Matters. Condolences. The bums lost!

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  8. uomatters says:

    “Asked and answered.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJjCnWm5cvE

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    • Anon says:

      Please don’t tell me that Gottfredson used this line again. So smug.

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  9. Anonymous advisor says:

    The argument about out-of-state tuition is weakened by fact the Jaqua Center advisors steer many athletes to self-support and online classes. Tuition for these is low, and there is no out of state differential.

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  10. Concerned faculty says:

    Gottfredson argues that it is ” proper for student advising and tutoring to be under the jurisdiction of academic affairs, as it is now, and funded via the academic budget.” What does it mean “under the juridiction of academic affairs” when faculty cannot go into the Jaqua Center? Who is in charge at academic affairs? Should academic affairs be investigating if these funds are being properly spent? Why is this tutoring so expensive relative to other student tutoring?

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  11. helpless TTF says:

    Considering the strong armed approach the U-Oh admin have tried to implement in the last year to rape and pillage grant money away from PIs, I am absolutely appalled that they do not have the balls or ovaries to push back and capture money from athletics (a place where there is plenty to spare).

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    • observer says:

      They don’t have the balls because they’ve been counting on a savior … a monetary reprieve from some magical donor who hasn’t, and won’t, arrive.

      Frankly, it was a bit shocking. Too many came to the meeting to watch, not to act. There was time for open discussion and yet the same few contribute, while some complain because they feel they haven’t been consulted. Tublitz’ call for simple communication between concerned parties on the open meetings legislation hit at the central core problem, and no meeting nor any legislation will begin to solve it until people get over the touchy blame and victim game to move forward. Comments reflecting students feelings about Athletic Dept. excesses also strike pay dirt along with acknowledgement that so-called “higher education” now revolves around the successful excesses of athletics. Gottfredson will never conquer that truth in his “blah, blah, it’s all terrific” speeches.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Pretty sad, listening to our Prez lick the athletic department’s Nikes.

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  13. uomatters says:

    Mixed metaphor alert! Or is that a simile?

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    • observer says:

      It’s not unlike listening to someone chew gum badly while watching how it all unfolds.

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  14. Give Gottfredson credit says:

    At least he didn’t pull out that crap about Duck victories helping increase academic donations, or bring in smarter students. Nor has Coltrane, yet.

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    • observer says:

      Wait a month or so until the Outdoor Track season begins.

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