Senator Dembrow promises to revisit Univ Trustee appointment procedures in wake of Hornecker appointment

9/18/2019 update: 

UO Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms has still not responded to my public records request for her documents involving this latest in a long line of trustee appointments made in back-room deals, without campus input.

On Friday UAUO President Chris Sinclair, UO Senate Immediate Past President Bill Harbaugh (me), and UAUO Politics Chair Avinnash Tiwari sent the Senate Rules Committee this letter asking that they hold off on confirming Elisa Hornecker until the university community had a chance to give input. The letter is posted on the committee’s website here:

Chair Burdick, Vice-Chair Baertshiger, Jr., and members of the committee:

We are writing regarding Monday’s confirmation vote of a new member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon. At no point during this nomination process have faculty, staff, students, and most administrators had an opportunity to learn about this candidate, much less offer input on who would best serve the University of Oregon and the State of Oregon. We ask you to hold off on voting for this particular candidate until the campus community has had a chance to learn more about the candidate, their qualifications, and their knowledge of important matters that are sure to impact our campus in the next few years.

We understand that providing public comments regarding the appointment of a Trustee for the University of Oregon’s Board is highly unusual. Our comments are not about the candidate, as we know nothing about them. There was no notice of a vacancy on the UO Trustees website of a vacancy, nor was a call for nominations made to the campus community.

As mentioned above, Angela Wilhelms has not produced any public records on this yet, however Governor Brown’s office gave us what Wilhems wouldn’t: Elisa Hornecker’s application letter, here. It is minimalist. If she has any higher education policy knowledge or experience beyond her ’82 UO undergrad degree, and a stint on the secretive UO Foundation board she doesn’t she doesn’t mention it:

For comparison, there were four PSU Board nominees up for consideration as well. Here are the far more impressive qualifications of just one of them:

 

And here’s a link to the video of the hearing, with Senator Dembrow’s response. Back up to see the prepared statement from Ms Hornecker and the comments from myself and Tiwari. To quote Dembrow:

“I do think that we should look at the process by which candidates are nominated and vetted on our campuses. I think it was within the spirit of those of us who helped create this new system that there would be more participation on the campuses, and if that’s not happening then I’ll commit to doing that.”

Today the Oregon Senate voted to confirm this appointment, as we expected. I’d hoped that under the circumstances Hornecker would have done the right thing, withdrawn her name from consideration, and allowed for a more open appointment process, but no.

For more comparison, see the presentation from another of PSU’s eminently qualified nominees here:

 

9/9/2019: Who is Elisa Hornecker & who is she replacing on the Board?

I have no idea. The BOT’s webpage says nothing about a vacancy. The August 26 generic press release from Governor Brown is here. The list of appointments is here, and includes this:

The Senate Rules committee is supposed to vote on these next week, but their webpage has nothing yet. Thanks to an anonymous correspondent for catching this. The most recent previous appointee to UO’s problematic Board of Trustees was Marcia Aaron, appointed by Gov Brown after she and Pres Schill sat together at a basketball game:

If you see something say something.

VPFA Jamie Moffitt has buckets of money for top administrators

9/18/2019 update: SEIU local Pres Louie Vidmar posts open letter calling out CHRO Mark Schmelz:

Here:

Firstly, the characterization that SEIU (the Union) informed members that they would strike is inaccurate. Through an openly democratic vote, members informed the Union bargaining team that the proposal from the Universities is insulting, disrespectful, and unacceptable to the point of being willing to strike. They did so at a statewide rate of 95%.

SEIU Classified workers did not make the decision to vote for a strike lightly. For many of us it is a challenge to survive month-to-month. Our members’ average salary is just over $36,000—hundreds of workers make less than $25,000 annually. …

He’s correct about the average. And the starting salary for UO’s staff was $19,600 in spring 2019, which works out to about $10 an hour. And our administrators want to make them pay extra for food? Meanwhile these coaches and administrators get free cars:

Schill Michael H Car Allowance Stipend President’s Office Administrative $14,400.00
Andreasen Michael C Car Allowance Stipend University Advancement Administrative $9,300.00
Mullens Robert A Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $7,200.00
Altman Dana D Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $6,000.00
Duncan Michael P Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $4,800.00
Gamble Chelsea R Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $4,800.00
Martin Casey M Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $4,800.00
Mertz Katherine H Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $4,800.00
Peterson Lisa L Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $4,800.00
Stanton James T Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $4,800.00
Sykes Jody M Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $4,800.00
Won Keenyn M Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $4,800.00
Arroyo Marcus Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Batley James W Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Berry Jodie R Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Broders Jonathan M Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Crockett Lauren C Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Dietrich Jason E Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Dillard Erika M Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Harris Jason R Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Henson Seth H Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Heyward Keith Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Jamieson Joshua A Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Langenfeld Megan D Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Leavitt James P Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Lehman-Winters Helen L Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Lopez Megan M Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Lopez Xavier Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Mastro James E Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Robinson Elizabeth L Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Salavea Joseph Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Shea Devon M Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Shults Justin R Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Spencer Arron R Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Steele Jillian K Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Taylor Curtis A Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Thomas Benjamin D Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Uhlman Jason A Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Vaughn Monica R Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Wagner Carolyn M Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Wardsworth Katherine G Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Whitsitt Erik M Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Williams Donte A Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00
Wilson William K Courtesy Car Stipend Athletics Administrative $3,600.00

9/18/2019 update: Administrators throw staff a goat, prepare for strike:

By my rough math this one-time $750 goat bonus for senior staff works out to a bit less than 1% spread over the 2-year contract and with the 2% COLAs will still mean a real pay cut for them. There also seems to be a weird notch for those maxing out in 2019. No mention of the UO administration’s nasty hunger games plan, to triple what they charge food service workers to eat the food they prepare for us. Here’s the letter:

Dear Campus Community,

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has notified their membership that they will strike on September 30, and the State of Oregon’s public universities expect to receive the required 10-day notice in the coming days. Classified employees are a valued and important part of the University of Oregon community providing a range of services in support of our mission.

Should there be an SEIU strike, the university is committed to maintaining campus operations with as little disruption as possible. We have plans in place to ensure that vital services for students and other members of campus will continue. We will prioritize essential student services such as housing, dining, and urgent health care; essential campus services such as security, utilities, information services and payroll; and holding academic classes.

The universities and SEIU will continue bargaining at mediation sessions on September 23 and 24, and we remain hopeful an agreement will be reached soon. We also want to provide you with timely information related to the universities’ current contract proposals.

Universities’ current proposal from the last negotiation session:

Healthcare, pension, holidays, vacations, sick leave, personal leave, bereavement, and other benefits will remain unchanged for the next contract

Full steps in each year of the next contract (about a 9.5% overall increase for those who are not at the top of the salary range—4.75% in each year)

2% cost of living adjustment for all employees effective November 1, 2019 (up from 1% in 2017)

2% cost of living adjustment for all employees effective July 1, 2020 (up from 1% in 2018)

A $750 one-time bonus with the November 2019 pay increase for all employees who reached the top of their salary range on or before June 30, 2018, provided the employee is in good standing (no deficient performance rating in the performance cycle immediately prior to October 31, and no work plan as of October 31)

Updates about the parties’ negotiations, including the latest mediation sessions on September 11-13, are available on the USSE website. Additional information about bargaining is available on the Human Resources website including resources and frequently asked questions (FAQ). The University of Oregon will continue to provide information on Around the O, on the HR website, and through direct emails as necessary.

If you have questions about how this development affects your work, please connect with your supervisor.

Best regards,

Mark Schmelz
Chief Human Resources Officer and Associate Vice President

9/17/2019 update: SEIU staff vote 95% to 5% in favor of strike:

9/17/2019 update: Thanks to a reader for the table. It seems that VPFA Jamie Moffitt has no problem finding buckets of money for UO’s top administrators:

Update: As a regular reader points out, even after these “concessions” the offer still amounts to a real pay cut for many staff:

9/15/2019: Administrators make last minute concessions to union

That’s the rumor from a usually reliable source. I guess the bucket wasn’t empty after all. SEIU’s system-wide strike vote is tomorrow. Meanwhile the UO’s administration’s negotiations with the GTFF are stalled and the GE’s are on schedule for a mid fall strike, so I guess you can expect our administration to keep jacking them around til then. Bargaining with the faculty union will start early this winter.

Why didn’t Kevin Reed tell the feds about UCLA’s admissions scandal?

The LA Times has the story here. It took place while current UO General Counsel Kevin Reed was chief lawyer at UCLA, and it was a precursor to the “Varsity Blues” investigation that’s just led to jail time for some actress. Reporter Nathan Fenno:

Five years before William “Rick” Singer became known as the mastermind of the nationwide college admissions scandal, an internal investigation at UCLA uncovered key elements of his scam.

The first indication of trouble came in a phone call to the school on May 13, 2014. The mother of a high school student wanted to appeal the university’s decision to reject her daughter’s admission as a water polo recruit. The daughter had never played the sport.

“During this conversation,” a report on the investigation said, “the mother stated she was ‘still willing to pay.’ When asked to what she was referring, [the mother] explained that she understood from [Singer] that she was expected to donate $100K to the program, for the admission of her daughter through athletics.”

UCLA’s Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Kevin Reed commissioned this investigation. He left UCLA the next year, hired by President Schill as hi VP and UO General Counsel. As Reed noted in his June 2015 job application to UO:

Unfortunately it seems that at least one “potentially mission-interrupting matter” was not really “handled with success at UCLA”, and is now receiving “unwanted attention”. The report Reed commissioned was not made public until the LA Times got a heavily redacted version earlier this year with a public records request. As the LA Times story goes on to note:

UCLA spokesman Tod Tamberg said the school responded to the report with a range of reforms, including a ban on donations from families of athletic recruits until they enrolled. A handful of coaches also were disciplined.

But Reed didn’t notify the Feds, and UCLA allowed Singer to continue his schemes:

Less than a month after Cormier’s report was issued in July 2014, Singer’s company, The Key, held a four-day workshop at UCLA to help students become social media influencers. An advertisement for the event proclaimed: “It isn’t just what you know; it’s who you know and knows you that will make things happen.”

No kidding. Apparently it wasn’t until this year that UCLA turned the report over to the federal investigators preparing the Varsity Blues indictments:

Earlier this year, a UCLA spokesman said, the school turned over a copy of the 43-page report to federal prosecutors as part of its cooperation with the criminal investigation into Singer.

Michael Buckner, an attorney who specializes in sports and education law, said the university did the right thing in launching an investigation but should have referred the findings to federal authorities years earlier and conducted an expanded audit of athletic admissions at the time.

InsideHigherEd’s Scott Jaschik has more here:

Bradley Simon, a former federal prosecutor, said, “UCLA should have immediately notified law enforcement authorities. Had they done so at the time, UCLA would not be enmeshed in the current scandal.”

A few months ago I made a records request to UCLA for Reed’s communications on this. They are claiming attorney-client privilege for all of them:

Search committees, meet your mandatory new admin “thought partners”

Budget crisis? Not in our bloated Provost’s office, which has just issued new rules micro-managing whatever faculty searches get through the Provost’s Institutional Hiring Plan. All without UO Senate input or consent. I’ve added a few of the salaries of our new administrative thought partners, to give some perspective on where our limited hiring money is now going. So far as I know only one of the administrators who will now be supervising UO’s tenure track faculty searches has a PhD and has themselves been through the academic hiring process (Alex-Assensoh):

Active Recruitment Team

The ART is comprised of the following members, with their ART roles noted in parentheses:

    • [$197,925 a year] Melanie Muenzer* (team lead), Office of the Provost, associate vice president and vice provost for academic initiatives
    • [$253,173 a year] Yvette Alex-Assensoh* (ART senior advisor), Division of Equity and Inclusion, vice president
    • [$131,092 a year] Nancy Nieraeth* (HR recruitment expert), Human Resources, director of talent acquisition
    • Anna Shamble* (ART project manager), Office of the Provost, senior project manager
    • Ben Young (ART faculty advisor), College of Arts and Sciences, dean fellow and associate professor in Mathematics
    • TTF TBD* (ART faculty advisor)
    • TTF TBD* (ART faculty advisor)
    • TTF TBD* (ART faculty advisor)
    • [$135,000 a year] Jeslyn Everitt (legal advisor), Office of the General Counsel, assistant general counsel
    • Dan Currier (data specialist), Human Resources, interim project manager
    • Robert Garral (research specialist), Office of the Provost, interim project manager

*These members of the ART also serve as a point of contact for TTF searches. Please note that ART points of contact are not responsible for ensuring compliance requirements such as completing the search disposition summary (what happened with each candidate, such as did they meet the minimum qualifications) at the end of each search.

ART search contacts are responsible for the following:

    • Meeting with the search chair and committee at the beginning of the search
    • Approving the committee’s Search Plan
    • Offering advice and guidance to the search committee on ways to broaden the pool of candidates
    • Working with the committee to review data that describes the demographics of the available pool of candidates compared to the actual applicant pool to determine if the applicant pool is appropriately representative [UOM: UO was late again in compiling these data, but they are now posted at https://hr.uoregon.edu/employee-labor-relations/affirmative-action/affirmative-action-plans]
    • Providing guidance and serving as a thought partner to the search committee during the review of candidates including the steps to select candidates for phone or online interviews, invitations for campus visits, and final selection
    • As needed, making recommendations to the provost on extensions or continuation of searches that may be struggling to recruit candidates or have challenges during the review and selection phases of the search

Oregon Public Records Czar resigns, tells off Governor Brown

I can hear the champagne corks popping in Johnson Hall. Jennifer McCall tried hard to improve the state’s transparency problems and had some success. Apparently a little too much success. From Nigel Jaquiss in WWeek:

… In a separate letter to Brown, McCall was more forthcoming about the reason for her surprise resignation. Here is the key section of that letter, which WW obtained under a public records request:

 

I do not think that the staff of the Governor’s Office and I can reconcile our visions regarding the role of the Public Records Advocate. When I accepted this job, it was with the understanding that the Office of the Public Records Advocate was to operate with a high degree of independence and had a mandate to serve the public interest. That is an understanding that I believe the public, the Legislature, and the Public Records Advisory Council share.

 

Meetings with the Governor’s General Counsel and staff have made it clear, however, that the Governor’s staff do not share that view. I have received meaningful pressure from the Governor’s General Counsel to represent the Governor’s Office’s interests on the Public Records Advisory Council, even when those interests conflict with the will of the Council and the mandate of the Office of the Public Records Advocate. I have not only been pressured in this direction but I have been told that I should represent these interests while not telling anyone that I am doing so. I believe these actions constituted an abuse of authority on the part of the General Counsel, and are counter to the transparency and accountability mission that I was hired to advance.

 

While I have always endeavored to work collaboratively with all offices of government, I believe strongly that independence is both essential to the effectiveness of the Office of the Public Records Advocate and enshrined in the law. However, if I am incorrect regarding the legal basis of the Advocate’s independence, then the Advocate’s responsibility to represent the interests of the Governor’s office should be acknowledged before the public and the Council. If the Advocate were to represent the interests of an elected official while allowing the Council and the public to believe that she is acting independently, that would be both unethical and particularly inappropriate for an office that was founded to promote transparency.

 

(Brown’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment)

McCall, whom Gov. Kate Brown hired last year to be the state’s first public records advocate, came to Oregon in the wake of a scandal that ended the political career of former Gov. John Kitzhaber in 2015.

Her assignment was to help make state and local government more transparent by mediating disputes over public records; providing training and education about public records and leading the governor’s newly-formed Public Records Advisory Council.

Oregon’s Public Records Law says that, with some exceptions, all documents in the government’s possession belong to Oregonians and are subject to inspection by the public, including the media.

Pres Schill worried about Trustees’ lack of due diligence at tuition increase meeting

At least I assume that’s what he’s complaining about. From the RG here:

“I’m committed to working with our graduate students, with our classified staff, and faculty,” Schill said. “I do worry as we move forward in these contract negotiations about the type of behavior we saw at our last (board) meeting. I worry that this could intensify the culture. … We’re a community.” A community, he said, that only works if there is joint cooperation.

I was at that meeting, and the lack of engagement from the trustees was indeed concerning. They rubber-stamped the tuition increase without any substantial discussion or questions about UO’s real budget situation and spending priorities.

The incurious culture that UO’s board has developed under the leadership of Chuck Lillis and Angela Wilhelms is a problem – some might even call it disrespectful to the university community – and it certainly doesn’t help us with the legislature. Fortunately ASUO and the unions are stepping up with the kinds of skeptical questions that will need to be answered if the administration wants to regain some trust.

Students confuse actual learning with the feeling of learning

A new PNAS paper concludes:

… Comparing passive lectures with active learning using a randomized experimental approach and identical course materials, we find that students in the active classroom learn more, but they feel like they learn less. We show that this negative correlation is caused in part by the increased cognitive effort required during active learning. …

While this experiment was limited to entitled Harvard undergrads, the results should be of general interest to any university administrators who still don’t understand how student course evaluations create bad incentives for good teaching. Of course those deans who just want to use evaluations to measure “customer satisfaction” won’t care about the results:

 

UOPD not really sure where it got all those guns

From reporter Michael Tobin in the Emerald, here:

… In addition to being out of compliance with federal rules, the audit also found that some of the department’s firearms lack acquisition records. Of the 121 firearms UOPD acquired since 2012, 18 did not have records documenting their acquisition. Of the 18 firearms for which acquisition records could not be identified, 14 were “traded in for credit,” three were “converted from evidence to agency use,” and one is issued to a UOPD officer. The audit stated that the firearms without purchase records had been in the department’s inventory since the previous police chief and UOPD saw a complete staff turnover since that time. …

Live tweets from the Board of Trustees meeting from @ryanjjnguyen

Follow Emerald Reporter Ryan Nguyen on twitter at https://twitter.com/ryanjjnguyen. It sounds like an interesting meeting – maybe a little too interesting for our bosses:

This is what the people with the power have been telling us plebes since before there was a word for plebes.

Dean Burke welcomes Knight Law School’s most heavily subsidized class yet

About $23K each. Most of that will come from regular UO undergraduate students’ tuition payments, to discount the tuition of mostly out-of-state law school students:

According to the terms of this 2014 MOU the law school was to get a temporary bailout from UO’s general fund, peaking at $3M, then declining to $1M, with the total $10M to eventually be paid back:

This was nonsense. Not only will it never be paid back, new Dean Marcilyn Burke was able to negotiate a huge increase in the subsidy.

With listed tuition of $38K in-state, $47K out of state, and about 360 students, the law school would bring in about $15M – but their subsidy for tuition discounts will be $8.2M. Here’s last year’s breakdown:

When will this end?