Trustee McIntyre to propose tuition freeze & cuts to Duck subsidies

Just kidding, there’s no sign that Faculty Trustee Laura Lee McIntyre will make any such motion, or raise any questions about why the board continues to rubber-stamp raises for Rob Mullens and his coaches while increasing undergraduate tuition and cutting museums.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES, Th 9:30 AM FORD ALUMNI CENTER

Full Board meeting.

Original meeting materials here. Latest release here. For some reason the webcast link isn’t working.

– Call to order, roll call, verification of quorum – Approval of March 2019 summary (Action) [There is no mention of what this summary is in the posted materials.]

Public comment: 

The room is full, the public comments are blunt, calling out the Board for incompetence etc., e.g.:

Immediate Past Senate President / Current Faculty Union President Chris Sinclair:

The board of Trustees at the University of Oregon is in an untenable situation. The people ‘below you’ on the .org chart—represented by the people in this room—are supremely unhappy with the financial management and strategic vision of the university. Simultaneously the people above you, legislators and political appointees, are supremely unhappy with the financial management and strategic vision of the university.

It seems the only people happy with university leadership on budget issues are donors (and trustees themselves).

The mission of the university, approved by this body, is:

The University of Oregon is a comprehensive public research university committed to exceptional teaching, discovery, and service. We work at a human scale to generate big ideas. As a community of scholars, we help individuals question critically, think logically, reason effectively, communicate clearly, act creatively, and live ethically.

And aside from the vapid “human scale to generate big ideas” phrase, it is a good mission. The mission is the touch stone for decision making. It should be the North Star of the board—the words to revisit when making your decisions.

You are about to be asked to approve an extremely high tuition increase. You are being asked to finance the university on the backs of Oregon students. By doing this you are implicitly agreeing that it is more important to preserve athletics and other donor driven initiatives in exchange for millions in additional debt for Oregon students and families.

The University of Oregon has already telegraphed the message that, instead of plugging the looming budget shortfall. it is more important to install state-of-the-art sound systems in athletics facilities. The new speakers will undoubtedly come from donor money, but this is irrelevant. Legislators have already heard the message that speakers are more important than students. Faculty have heard the message that world-class athletics facilities are more important than students. Students themselves have heard that we’re broke, and that they should take on debt (and years of financial risk) to accommodate the fickle whims of an octogenarian billionaire.

How do these decisions, and the resulting negative change in public perception, benefit students? How do they benefit the relationship between the university and the state? How do they support the mission—the North Star—of the university?

This is but one example, and it is emblematic of a larger problem.

Cultivating donors is like trophy hunting for University Presidents. However, as a skill, it is only valued by other university presidents and those who measure their success in dollar signs. Our president is particularly good at this aspect of his job, and it will undoubtedly lead to a promotion to a better university one day.

On that day, will we be looking at a university with a handful of expensive white elephants littering campus, and serving a handful of elite researchers/coaches, while the core academic facilities rot from neglect, classrooms overflow, and Oregon students are saddled with debt?

Or will we see a “community of scholars, who help individuals question critically, think logically, reason effectively, communicate clearly, act creatively, and live ethically.”?

The choice is yours, and it’s time for you as trustee to shift the financial decision making back to the mission of the university. You must be brave. You must do this. The University of Oregon is counting on you.

Thank you.

Chris Sinclair
Associate Professor of Mathematics, University of Oregon

A student: “You ask us to go to Salem and lobby for more state money, but the legislators tell us they don’t trust you to spend the money wisely”

Prof Ellen Scott (Sociology) walks the board through some of the work that LERC and UO faculty and grad students have done and how it has led to changes in Oregon laws that have improved the lives of working Oregonians.

Prof Maram Epstein (East Asian Languages) asks the board to exercise their independent fiduciary responsibility to redo the proposed budget in a way that is consistent with UO’s mission as a public university.

Many, many students make comments as well.

Former staff Trustee Kurt Willcox: The university is turning away from its outreach mission to the state by defunding LERC and the museums.

1. ASUO and University Senate Reports

-ASUO President Maria Gallegos and Incoming ASUO Vice President Montse Mendez and Chief of Staff Hibo Abtidon

“Hayward Field does nothing for me. I’m a student.”

– Incoming Senate President Elizabeth Skowron

written comments in board materials

2. Provost’s and President’s Reports

these seem to be postponed

3. Undergraduate Resident Tuition (Action): Michael Schill, President; Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO; Kevin Marbury, Vice President for Student Life

VP Marbury is upset because the ASUO President criticized him.

President Schill blames outgoing Provost Banavar for the budget cuts to LERC and the museums. This is chickenshit bizarre.

12:47, and none of the trustees have yet mentioned any of the issues that came up in the public comments, such as cuts to athletic subsidies.

Ginevra Ralph asks why students don’t understand about gift restrictions. VP Moffitt explains that they do, they just think the university should shift its fundraising priorities. (Or just tax athletic donations. The UO Foundation already taxes donations, but won’t explain where the money goes.)

Wilhelms reports that Pathways costs about $6M.

Lillis calls the question on President Schill’s tuition increase.

Ralph and Paustian talk about how difficult this is and what a great job VP’s Moffitt and Marbury have done. Paustian says he will vote no – but doesn’t present an alternative motion. Colas gives a shout out to the students and GTFFs – but doesn’t present an alternative motion.

Vote: All in favor except Paustian.

Recess: Estimated to Reconvene at 1:00 p.m.

4. Resolutions from Committee (pending May 22 committee action)
–Seconded Motion from FFC: Capital Construction Project (Housing Project Preliminary Costs) –Seconded Motion from FFC: FY20 Expenditure Temporary Authorization

5. Student Conduct Code Changes (Action): Kris Winter, Dean of Students

6. A Look at PERS: Tim Nesbitt, Interim Deputy Director of PERS Solutions for Public Services and former Higher Education Coordinating Commission Chair; John Tapogna, President and Partner, ECONorthwest economic research and consulting firm

7. Academic Area in Focus – ShakeAlert, ALERTWidlfire, and the Emerging Internet of (Wild) Things: Professor Doug Toomey, Earth Sciences

Meeting Adjourned

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7 Responses to Trustee McIntyre to propose tuition freeze & cuts to Duck subsidies

  1. Nauseated says:

    From a graduating senior advisee:

    “Here’s the link for the UO football facility tour:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpbKM6qJ2Tc&t=606s
    It’s even more enraging than I remember, enjoy!”

    • New Year Cat says:

      Wow, you would not know school, college, or studying was a part of their lives at all. No wonder the well is dry for the rest of the university.

  2. Dog says:

    I am pretty sure that Laura Lee is not going to get the joke
    or satire. I think this blog should refrain from this sort of
    behavior in the future.

    but feel free to post this image of me

    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/fa/70/a5/fa70a53a9aaec67b65d6a434fde3e323.jpg

    with the caption that “the insight of Dogs is driven by blinders”

    • uomatters says:

      I think a sense of humor, and a sense of the absurd, should be a prerequisite for serving on the Board of Trustees.

      • Dog says:

        no, I think you mean as a prerequisite

        a) implementation of the absurd
        b) done with a sensor of humor and a big smile

  3. Teiresias, the blind seer. says:

    UO Matters: UOM suffers from a Cassandra complex. Cursed by the gods to always tell the truth but never to be believed. And who said that classical studies fail to yield important insights?

    I regret that I cannot see the postings. Why is there no audio?

  4. darby says:

    “The UO Foundation already taxes donations, but won’t explain where the money goes.”

    With the soon to be signed delicious HB 2353 regarding public records requests, well, maybe we can find this out!

    And maybe the public can find out the REAL budget and expenditure details!

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