Full UO BOT meeting – March 4 – liveblog

Update:

Diane Dietz reports that the Trustees voted 11-3 to raise tuition – here:

… The trustees voted 11-3 in favor of Schill’s proposal for a higher-level of tuition. The students stood, yelled and stomped out of the room.

Trustees Willcox, Ann Curry and student trustee William Paustain voted against the higher-level tuition increase.

Curry said that the rising cost of retirement and medical coverage for university faculty and staff drove the need for the larger increase — and placing those costs on students backs is “not right.”

“It’s fundamentally unethical. I would go as far as to say immoral,” Curry said.

After the vote, Paustain joined the students in the noisy walkout. After last year’s tuition increase of 3.7 percent, the students shut down the trustees meeting.

She also has a report on BOT Chair Chuck Lillis’s anti-tenure comments, here:

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Meeting of the Board — March 4, 2016 [Materials] Live stream here

10:00 am (other times approximate) – Convene Public Meeting – Call to order, roll call, verification of quorum – Opening remarks   – Approval of December 2015 and February 2016 minutes, and March 2015 Presidential Factors Committee minutes (Action) –

Public comment Those wishing to provide comment must sign up advance and review the public comment guidelines either online (http://trustees.uoregon.edu/meetings) or at the check‐in table at the meeting.

The UO Board of Trustees is the only one I’ve ever heard of that doesn’t allow for a regular report from the Senate President, followed by some Q&A with the board. Weird.

The current Senate President, Randy Sullivan (Chemistry) has submitted written remarks to the board anyway. I’ll post them when I find them.

Chair Lillis opens the meeting. Will start with public comment on Deady, then tuition. In the past Lillis has been actively hostile to public comment, he’s mellowed considerably. 90 secs per speaker.

Theodora Tho Thompson, SEIU classified union president: Comments on new strategic excellence framework.

Public Comment on renaming Deady Hall:

Professor Emeritus Ed Coleman speaks in opposition to the renaming of Deady Hall, noting that Deady not only repudiated his early racism, he became a strong supporter of black suffrage, women’s suffrage, the rights of Chinese immigrants, workers, etc. in a lifetime of consistent work as a federal judge. “It would be a disgrace to remove his name from Deady Hall.”

Jerry Rust,’65. Deady contributed money to support women’s suffrage. Was a friend of Chief Joseph. Hired blacks. He was a supporter of diversity and, financially, his contributions saved the university.

Scott Bartlett, alumnus: Heartfelt remarks opposing Deady’s racism and reiterating his later redemption.

Public Comment on Divestment:

Students Emma and Amber (sorry, missed last names): For fossil fuel divestment – argues this is consistent with UO’s claims on sustainability. Emma notes that President Schill reports the UO Foundation now has only $4M invested in fossil fuel stocks. Too bad Jay Namyet didn’t get out when the students first started arguing for this:

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Comments on tuition increases:

[Note: For more details on the increases, and Schill’s plan to reduce the cost of UO by helping them graduate in 4 years instead of the increasing common 5: http://uomatters.com/2016/02/one-extra-year-of-college-costs-students-more-than-a-100-tuition-increase-would.html

Jimmy Murray (libraries): Reports on information he has collected about student opposition to tuition increases, as a supervisor of student workers in the library.

Shawna Meecham (GTFF president) speaks in opposition.

Amber Potratz, student, speaks in opposition. Learning disabilities can only take 12 credits, first in family, tuition is already too high.

Chandler (missed name): Couldn’t be happier with Ducks or his professors. Worried about student debt. Not saying this board is responsible, but asks board to do their part to combat student-debt crisis.

Student (missed name): Argues that increased tuition will make it more difficult to meet diversity goals.

Helena Schlegel – the student Trustee that Lillis got to leave the Board: Announces that ASUO supports divestment, renaming, Supports Kurt Wilcox’s proposal to limit tuition increase to 3.5%. Not asking for a tuition freeze – we understand the UO’s financial situation. But remember what it was like to be a student – even $90 is a lot of money.

Shawn Stevenson, undergrad. Let’s compromise – 4.7% is just too large. [Shawn’s an econ major, in case you didn’t guess ;)] Argues that UO can find the $2.7M. [Easy: cut baseball, make the cash rich athletic department pay for the $2.4M Jock Box tuition, etc.] Stevenson goes on to argue that the state is not giving UO money in part because the legislators don’t believe UO when they say they will use state money to provide affordable education.

[There’s a lot of emotion from some student and staff commenters. I’m surprised at how little recognition there is of UO programs like Pathways, diversity scholarships, etc. No one has mentioned Schill’s plan to accelerate completion to reduce the opportunity cost of college – which far exceeds the tuition increases. This would all be more interesting with some back and forth from the board. They’re getting a lot of very serious thoughtful comments from students, it’s odd that the board just sits there making sympathetic faces instead of getting into the back and forth.]

And then the penultimate speaker goes off the rails with a rant. Oh well.

The last one (missed name) reads comments collected from students opposing increase. Says she’s got 30 pages. What is the point of this? She’s shutting off discussion with this.

Ann Curry tries to save the day by suggesting that this can be put into the record.

Nope, she goes on and on. The other students tell her she’s made her point, time to sit down. She does.

1. AY2016‐17 Tuition and Fees (Action), President Michael Schill, Vice President for Finance and Administration/CFO Jamie Moffitt and Vice Provost for Budget and Planning Brad Shelton

Break 1b. Additional Resolutions from Committee ‐‐Seconded Motion from FFC: Authorization for Bond Issuance (pending March 3 committee action)

Lillis: Complicated, difficult, we’ve considered all the ins and outs.

Schill: I’ve listened to everyone, but my recommendation stands. Increase tuition by $405 per year.for the average in-state student. This is necessary because we must invest in the university in order to deliver an excellent education. I wish it weren’t so, but because of low state support we need to fund UO with tuition.

[Wasn’t one of the arguments for an independent board that there would be $2B in philanthropy to augment state funding? How’s that going?]

VPFA Jamie Moffitt: We had lots of public meetings, 3 forums, got feedback, then ignored it all. We’re unwilling to go after the bloated athletic budget and their hidden subsidies, because the jocks and boosters scare us. So we’re hitting up the students. And please don’t ask me about the $10M UO undergrads are now paying to prop up my husband’s law school. Any other questions?

VPB Brad Shelton: Info starts on page 68 of pdf here. Unfortunately this info was not part of the original board materials, here. This is too bad, it might have led to better public comments, or not.

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VPFA Moffitt then explains why UO is using millions from the “education and general fund” to pay for the jock box tutoring and Knight Arena land. Just kidding. It’s all about the increasing cost of salaries and benefits:

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Peter Bragdon mentions that not only does the legislature not fund UO much, they also impose unfunded mandates such as requiring UO employees to stay in the state health insurance pool ($25M a year, if I recall) plus PERS. They’ve raised the minimum wages, which benefits many student workers e.g. in the library, but UO will have to fund all that.

[Sorry, I have to go. Please post comments if you are here or watching.]

2. President’s Report and Strategic Framework Overview, President Michael Schill

Nothing says mediocre like saying EXCELLENCE. So Schill won’t say this word.

3. Presidential Goals and Evaluation (Action), Chair Chuck Lillis and Vice Chair Ginevra Ralph

Snoozer. Schill’s doing his job plus all the jobs the previous 5 presidents and interims were supposed to be doing but didn’t.

4. Capital Campaign and University Advancement Update, Vice President for Advancement Mike Andreasen

Andreasen isn’t showing much. I wonder why not? All the donations are going to the Jocks?

5. University of Oregon Foundation Overview, University of Oregon Foundation President and CEO Paul Weinhold

Basic due diligence.

I’m sure the Board will ask Weinhold some tough questions about the decline in transparency since he took over the Foundation, and his loss exposure for the various IAAF track championships.

6. Information Technology Strategic Planning, Provost and Senior Vice President Scott Coltrane, Vice President for Finance and Administration/CFO Jamie Moffitt, Interim Vice President for Research Brad Shelton and Assistant Vice President and Chief of Staff to the Provost Melanie Muenzer

Yikes.

Things that should be on the BOT agenda but aren’t (suggestions welcome).

 

Background:

The last time the UO Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition UO’s Public Records Office tried to charge $474.28 for public records explaining the increase:

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any documents provided to the Tuition and Feed Advisory Board, from 7/1/2013 to the present”, on 11/04/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $474.28. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

The university has received your request for a fee waiver for these records. The decision to waive or reduce fees is discretionary with the public body. After considering your request, the office does not consider that the totality of the circumstances you presented meets the standard for a fee waiver.

… Thank you for contacting us with your request.

Sincerely,

Lisa Thornton
Office of Public Records
University of Oregon
Office of the President

Really? No public interest in understanding why a public university is increasing tuition? A few months later the board met to approve the increase. The students came out in mass to protest. The very high participation by the international students was striking. Full post here. The signs called  out the administrators and coaches for their bloated salaries:

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BOT chair Chuck Lillis just couldn’t stomach the fact that the UO Student Board Member, Helena Schlegel, then proposed a slightly smaller increase. Lillis drove Schlegel off the board and had the Governor replace her with a new student trustee, picked by the board instead of by student government. What a horrible precedent.

Off course there are good reasons to increase tuition. The basic model is to raise tuition and raise the discounts for low income students. And, in fact, UO is proposing to keep tuition for in-state Pathways students at $0. This is really not that hard to explain to people. Every university does it – and there’s no reason to hide it.

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22 Responses to Full UO BOT meeting – March 4 – liveblog

  1. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Kudos to Ed Coleman, Jerry Rust — with both of whom I’m acquainted, they go back a long way here, no memory hole wanted at their age, I’m sure! And to Scott Bartlett, whom I’ve never met.

    If UO Board does cave in to pressure of the moment and renames Deady Hall — I will not be unhappy if alumni and others who go back a ways decide to stop supporting UO.

    Look at what’s happening at the University of Missouri. Big dropoff in private and public financial support, apparently.

    You can only bite the hand so often before it gets withdrawn …..

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  2. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    “[Wasn’t one of the arguments for an independent board that there would be $2B in philanthropy to augment state funding? How’s that going?]”

    THIS should be at the top of their agenda, right along with tuition.

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    • Coltrane Speaks says:

      I think he said somewhere that they’ve raised a billion so far, but they can’t use any of it because the donors aren’t dead yet.

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  3. Dog says:

    The real operational problem with getting rid of tenure (which I am on the fence about – I would like to see successively longer peer reviewed contracts – that would kill deadwood) – is that the
    first University of Universities that do this, are gonna take a huge hit in that they won’t be able to hire new faculty. That’s a big catch 22 and surely Lillis is old enough to know who Yossarian is

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    • awesome0 says:

      Or retain their tenured faculty who can get outside offers.

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  4. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Oh boy, Chuck Lillis making an oblique attack on tenure. (“Most people would say …”)

    Good luck attracting and retaining an AAU-level faculty without tenure. My physician and corporate attorney cousins all have de facto tenure (partnerships in their firms) and make a multiple of what most tenured faculty at UO make. Ditto my CEO cousins, they don’t need tenure because they are millionaires multiple times over. I don’t think they are attacking tenure, because we all grew up together and they have some idea what it takes.

    Chuck Lillis — rich corporate CEO. Glad that UO axed the NTTF people, questioning tenure. OK, he gave a lot of money to the business school — but really, he doesn’t look like he’s in shape to perform at the level of a TTF research-active professor. Does he throw stones from the Jock Box? People who live in glass houses ….

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  5. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Like Ann Curry, I have a lot of reservations about the tuition increase. She thinks it was driven by rising retirement and medical costs? Well, maybe retirement costs coming up in 2017 — maybe cuts in the state appropriation driven by rising state pension costs. But what about faculty salary increases? A big part of it too.

    But what does she propose to do about it? If not the students paying for this out of tuition, then what? Did the trustees discuss raising a few million more per year in private donations? Again, what does she propose instead?

    I don’t blame the students for being pissed. If you asked most of them, asked their parents, I suspect the vast majority would feel that they’re being gouged. You know, the fat cat faculty. The parents, if not the students (who have always been amazingly supportive of faculty financial interests, is my observation). Of course, the students can take a walk if they don’t like it. I hope they don’t. But how many more years can this keep going on? I suspect UO is closer to the breaking point than the trustees realize.

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    • just a thought says:

      Maybe someone needs to remind the students that they are also being gouged by the ASUO.

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  6. uograd says:

    UO tuition up 4.8% next year. Here are some comparison points.
    The national Higher Education Price Index was up 2.1% in 2015 and is projected to increase 1.4% in 2016. The Portland CPI was up 1.0% for the second half of 2015. UO administrators and its trustees ought to be ashamed. It’s time they started making cuts instead of passing the costs along to students and burdening many of them with substantial loans. Incoming freshmen would be well advised to take the first two years of their general education courses at their local community college; much lower tuition with quality instructors, many of whom have Ph.D.’s.

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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      What do you think of the argument that the increases are needed to make it possible for UO to hang on to its membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities and that this is important for the future value of the UO degree? That the money is largely going to and need for replacing contingent faculty (adjuncts, non tenure-track) with tenure-track faculty?

      Do you not know that UO just laid off a good many non tenure track faculty and administrators?

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      • uograd says:

        Bernie, my man. I typically enjoy reading your observations and suspect we would both enjoy sitting down with one another over a couple of ales and discussing the state of the UO. Having written that, and a the risk of being accused on plagiarizing two of our country’s most eminent scholars – Click and Clack, the tappet brothers – I think the argument that AAU membership “is important for the future value of the UO degree” is BOGUS! Its greatest importance is in assuaging the egos of UO faculty and administrators. I adopt my perspective from having received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the UO before it joined the AAU and going on to receive a Ph.D. from one of the world’s most prestigious research universities and to work at an Ivy League university, both AAU members. Neither university touted its AAU membership nor did they care that my earlier degrees were from a non-AAU institution. They cared about my scholarship and performance.

        As to your point that the added tuition funds will be used to replace contingent faculty with tenure-track faculty, I’ll be interested in learning next spring the year-to-year increase in the percentage of lower division courses and sections taught by tenure-track faculty at the UO. My hunch is that the increase, if any, will be nearly infinitesimal.

        One final observation. The real culprits is all of this are the Salem politicians who lack the will and courage to take on the tough issue of the state’s lack of tax revenue generation since the passage of Measure 5. All levels of public education – elementary, secondary, and higher – have suffered greatly because of their neglect.

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        • honest Uncle Bernie says:

          I disagree about the AAU, I think that UO’s precarious position bespeaks a real decline. Expulsion from that group would signal a nearly irreversible diminution of UO’s stature and aspirations.

          That said, I do think it’s sad that this last ditch effort has to be financed on the backs of today’s students.

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        • Oryx says:

          It’s not that being in the AAU is beneficial, it’s that being kicked out of the AAU indicates a downward trajectory.

          Like uograd, I also have been at other AAU universities, and during that time never heard of the AAU. It’s pretty meaningless to any school that is clearly a high-performing research university. That said, it’s meaningful at the edges. Some universities have pushed hard to be let into the AAU, and no one wants to be seen as falling out. The goal of staying in the AAU is a useful one for UO. Lacking clear internal visions of what we want as a research university, an external anchor helps.

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    • awesome0 says:

      Race to the bottom. Keep it cheap. Don’t offer enough classes and people take too long or don’t graduate….Also the value of college degrees is going up over time.

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      • uomatters says:

        All Blandy’s Arts and Administration, all online, all A’s.

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  7. Dysfunction says:

    What happened to the Executive and Audit Committee Meeting?

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    • uomatters says:

      UO’s financial procedures are beyond reproach so the auditor had nothing to do and quit. They’ve dissolved the audit committee since the meetings were so boring, what with everything being already perfect.

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  8. Just sayin' says:

    Was I the only person that noticed ASUO is getting something like a 4.5% increase in fees? How can ASUO object to UO looking for a comparable increase with a straight face? Until I saw that, I had some empathy for the students’ request for a 3.5% increase. But when they didn’t get their way and knocked over chairs while exiting and yelling slurs about a specific individual I couldn’t help but see a resemblance to how young children act when told “no, you can’t add candy to the shopping basket”. It appeared to me that every trustee was paying attention to each student that spoke unlike (some of) the students who spent their time looking at their phones while the board presentation was going on. Hint: you will be more persuasive if you can propose an actionable solution (such as what services you want eliminated) rather than a random demand.

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    • uomatters says:

      Slurs? I was gone before that. Please elaborate. Or on second thought, please don’t.

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      • Just sayin' says:

        The news reports have been tactful about it by only showing footage that includes the chairs being knocked over and, to be fair, it was “a slur” rather than “slurs”. As you realized, it’s not appropriate to perpetuate the comment by writing it down. You probably know enough people who were still there to ask around about it.

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  9. regarding tenure, academic freedom and free speech says:

    “Exclusive: an interview with fired Professor James Tracy”

    https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/exclusive-an-interview-with-fired-professor-james-tracy/#comments

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