11/5/2018 second update:
Lynn Frohnmayer: ‘University of Nike’ exploits my family’s tragedy to support a false narrative:
To be clear, I think Frohnmayer was wrong to have UO join the WRC and I sent Knight a letter saying that at the time. To paraphrase Karl Marx, it’s capitalism and people like Phil Knight who have saved most of mankind from “the idiocy of rural life”, not knee-jerk liberal professors and their privileged students.
But here’s what I can document. In Saturday’s RG, Lynn Frohnmayer denies any link between the WRC fiasco and Knight’s Fanconi donations:
I am profoundly dismayed about the book “University of Nike” by Joshua Hunt, which was the subject of a column published Oct. 26 by The Register-Guard.
The book purports to be a deep-dive “investigation” into how corporate dollars have “bought American higher education,” but the truth is that it exploits my family’s tragedies in support of a sensational and patently false narrative.
I might ignore a writer’s careless disregard for the facts, but this book distresses me so deeply that I cannot overlook its glaring inaccuracies and shoddy reporting, at least as they pertain to my family and Phil Knight. …
Phil Knight, Nike’s founder and our family friend, first contributed to the fund in 1994. … Hunt has twisted Knight’s generosity into a work of fiction. It is well-documented that in April 2000, when UO joined the Workers’ Rights Consortium — an organization that criticized working conditions at Nike’s overseas factories — Knight halted planned gifts to UO. … This narrative could not be farther from the truth.
On Dec. 22, 2000, just eight months after UO joined the WRC, Knight wrote a check to FARF for one million dollars. On Dec. 18, 2001, he wrote a second million-dollar check to FARF. The Knights’ support of Fanconi anemia research was never affected by the WRC controversy.
The above seems at odds with what the FARF told the IRS in 2001, in several respects:
From what I can decipher, the FARF’s accountant had misclassified the $2M 1999 donation on their IRS filing and someone dropped a dime on them, perhaps because the IRS gives whistleblowers a cut.
This letter is pretty clearly about Knight’s donations. Ms Frohnmayer says in the RG that “Phil Knight, Nike’s founder and our family friend, first contributed to the fund in 1994.” But the FARF told the IRS in 2001 that “The Contributor has made no other donations.”
For that matter, even the donations and timing she reports in the RG are entirely consistent with Hunt’s argument and the timing of former UO General Counsel Melinda Grier’s successful Fall 2000 efforts to find Dave Frohnmayer an escape from his ill-considered move to join the WRC.
The above is page 15 in http://uomatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/2001-930995453-1-9-1.pdf For those interested in checking dates and dollars, more FARF IRS 990’s, scraped from the web, are here:
While Johnson Hall and its PR flacks have decided to bury their heads in the sand about this book, the Frohnmayer family is not afraid to publicly dispute some of Josh Hunt’s claims. Matthew Kish has the report in the Portland Business Journal here.
You can buy the Kindle version of The University of Nike from Amazon now. Notable excerpts and your thoughts are welcome in the comments on this post. Please use a screen name.
Despite the claims of the Duck PR machine, this book is very relevant to UO’s future, and this Wed and Th should be interesting down at the faculty club.