Gender and minority equity raises: GC Kevin Reed and HR’s Missy Matella using fees and delays to hide analysis

Back in Sept 2017 the faculty union and the administration signed this MOU here, by which the administration would hold back 0.75% of a 2.0% across-the-board raise for TTF to address “unexplained equity differences potentially related to race, gender, or ethnicity” to be paid starting in Jan 2019.

0.75% works out to a pool of about $450K recurring. These will be permanent increases, if they are ever awarded. Instead of determining these raises transparently, the administration wasted time and money searching for a consultant to do the work. (About $120K near as I can tell. The work is at least a year behind, and still not finished.)

The consultant ran the usual regressions, replicating work I and others had already done, which showed no evidence of a gender gap in pay once the standard controls for rank and department were included. (Except, apparently, for Asian assistant professors.) The committee was skeptical of the results, so they had JP Monroe in IR rerun them. Came out the same, again.

From what I’ve been able to figure out from some leaks and the consulting contract, the administration then decided to proceed anyway, and made a dataset of all the TTF faculty whose salaries were more than ~1.5 standard deviations below and/or 80% or less than their predicted salaries based on rank, time in rank, and department. They then dropped all men who were not racial or ethnic minorities. I think this leaves about 80 people. They then sent departments a request for specific information on the hiring and outside offers of the remaining faculty that might justify their low salaries, or not. The rumor is that productivity was not considered.

This Friday the committee met and went through those faculty, one by one, using this information to decide whether or not they should get a permanent raise, and if so how much. I’ll guess 30 faculty survived this process, with an average raise of about $10K, leaving about $150K or $200 for the remaining faculty. Just a guess, this is all secret stuff.

This seems like an interesting way to attempt to address gender inequities. So back on Feb 28th I asked interim Chief HRO Missy Matella for a copy of the regression coefficients and other aggregate info that would be used to determine who got raises. No individual info, just aggregate results:

Hi Missy,

I’m writing as UO Senate President to request a copy of the regression results provided to UO by Berkeley Consulting Group, and currently being used by the Faculty Salary Equity Study group, as explained on the website at https://provost.uoregon.edu/faculty-salary-equity-study-overview#next-steps:

The Faculty Salary Equity Study work group is in the process of reviewing the regression analysis results and setting the threshold that identifies “negative outliers,” namely those faculty members earning lower-than-expected salaries for the purpose of this study. Identifying “negative outliers” is critically important to fulfilling the requirements of this study. Therefore, the threshold the work group establishes will be more inclusive than the common convention of 1.96 standard deviations below expected salary and 80% of expected salary.

I am not asking for any individual level data. I’m just asking for the regression results as commonly presented by consultants and researchers in this field, e.g.: http://www.utsa.edu/today/2018/images/GenderEquity-2018-08-29.pdf.

Specifically, you should have a table such as this from Berkeley:

And a few figures such as this:

Thanks,

Bill Harbaugh
UO Senate Pres, Econ Prof

Her response was:

Hi Bill – In follow up to our conversation on Friday, I would like to sit down with you, Chris and Melanie to talk about this request and the different interests involved. I talked to Chris and he thinks this makes sense as well. In particular, I think it makes sense to talk about the work of the TTF equity committee and its discussions about how and when to release a report explaining the results and the committee’s work. Chris and I can also discuss the conversations we’ve had about how and when information will be released to UA. Thanks and please let me know some times this week when you’re available.

Always best to read the documents before the meeting, so I followed Matella’s advice and made a public records request for them:

From: Bill Harbaugh <wtharbaugh@gmail.com>
Subject: Public Records request, Re: salary equity regression results
Date: March 8, 2019 at 4:31:13 PM PST
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Missy Matella <mmatella@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms. Thornton –

This is a public records request for the public records described in the email below.

Please note that the email below to HR Director Missy Matella comes from me as Senate President. She has declined to provide these to me as Senate President. Therefore I’m making this public records request as the editor of the uomatters.com blog.

Ms. Matella has these public records and can easily provide them without fees or delays, however if she proposes to charge a fee, I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest and my ability to widely distribute these public records to the public and reporters through UO Matters.

Thanks,

Bill Harbaugh
http://harbaugh.org

(Despite what Kevin Reed believed when he made a public records request for my emails about academic freedom, a UO employee can’t use the PR law to request docs from UO as an employee, because the state assumes agencies will of course share all information with themselves. Sure. So after Matella stonewalled my question as Senate Pres, I had to make the public records request as a private citizen.)

After some back and forth we scheduled a meeting, and the morning of it I got this response:

From: Missy Matella <mmatella@uoregon.edu>
Subject: Re: salary equity regression results
Date: March 26, 2019 at 7:17:30 AM PDT
To: Bill Harbaugh <wtharbaugh@gmail.com>, Melanie Muenzer <muenzer@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Chris Sinclair <sinclair@uauoregon.org>, Elizabeth Skowron <eskowron@uoregon.edu>

Thanks Bill. I’m looking forward to talking about the TTF equity committee’s work, the underlying interests and next steps. I’m also interested in discussing the various roles of campus stakeholders relating to this project, which is being implemented under an MOU between United Academics and UO administration.

Bill, with respect to your individual public records request, I’m happy to pass along your thoughts regarding timing to that office again. I previously sent the office your thoughts regarding when the documents should be produced.

Then, 30 minutes before the meeting started I got this from Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office:

03/26/2019

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “…regression results provided to UO by Berkeley Consulting Group, and currently being used by the Faculty Salary Equity Study group…” on 03/11/2019, attached. With 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 $435.69. 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.

Please note that if the cost of preparing the documents for you is less than the estimate, we will refund the difference. If the cost of preparing the records for you exceeds the estimate, however, you may be charged for the difference. Following is an outline of how costs are determined.

The office will provide the documents electronically to avoid a copy fee of 25 cents per page.  The office also charges for the actual cost of making public records available.  The charge includes, but is not limited to, staff costs for locating, gathering, summarizing, compiling, reviewing, tailoring or redacting the public records to respond to a request.  The charge may also include the cost of time spent by an attorney in reviewing the public records, redacting material from the public records, or segregating the public records into exempt and nonexempt records.

The cost of time for each employee is calculated by multiplying the employee’s hourly wage calculation (including benefits expenses) by the hours or portions thereof necessary to locate, gather, summarize, compile, tailor, review, redact, segregate, certify or attend the inspection of the public records requested.

Thank you for contacting us with your request.

Sincerely,  Office of Public Records

6207 University of Oregon | Eugene, OR 97403-6207, (541) 346-6823 | pubrec@uoregon.edu

When I talked to Ms Matella at the meeting about charging me $435 for a document she had on hand, her response was to deny that she had the consultant’s report, then say she had to follow Kevin Reed’s (purposively dilatory) procedures, and then to say that she did not want to release anything until the process was over, the equity raises had been determined along with the remaining amount to be paid out ATB if any, and (to paraphrase) the administration and its PR flacks had decided how to spin the results. Needless to say these are not justifiable reasons for delaying release of a public record under Oregon’s public records law.

My guess is that faculty – female, minority, or generic – will be lucky to see any money by the end of spring, at which point the complaints and lawsuits from those who feel that this secretive process has harmed them, or not benefitted them enough, or that it has violated Oregon’s new Equal Pay Act will begin.

Too bad. The simple takeaway from this should have been the very good news that, unlike most universities, UO has very little detectable pay discrimination. Instead it’s the same old news – our administration can’t handle transparency.

Check the provosts’s website here for the administration’s spin: https://provost.uoregon.edu/faculty-salary-equity-study

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6 Responses to Gender and minority equity raises: GC Kevin Reed and HR’s Missy Matella using fees and delays to hide analysis

  1. Curious George says:

    Stupid question time: why not file this request under the rationale of making sure the CBA is being implemented? That should be free.

  2. Jokes on them says:

    Kevin made HR get rid of all their hourly classified staff, now they have no reason to charge you any fee. Kevin and Missy, and all their staff are salaried, they get paid the same whether they fulfill your request or not. Fees can only be charged for actual, not punitive costs to produce the records.

  3. #releasethereport says:

    #releasethereport

  4. Dog says:

    This seems like another example of spending more than 435K to solve a 435 K problem. Raises are so minimal now as it is, why does JH spending so much time and waste other people’s time
    on meeting an obligation that is relatively minimal. Something is way wrong here.

  5. April showers bring says:

    I’v been waiting for this report because I believe I am one of the very very few women who indeed has a low salary that cannot be explained through any other means.
    I guess I will never know.

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