Mandatory Implicit Bias Training starts by noting IBT doesn’t change behavior

The UO administration is now requiring all search committee members to take a two-hour training on implicit bias. I did an abbreviated version at a BOT meeting last year, and I’m at one of the three long versions right now, with about 60 other faculty and administrators. The presenter, Erik Girvan (Law), who gives these talks often, starts this one off by acknowledging that there is lots of empirical evidence showing that these trainings do not affect implicit bias, or actual behavior. So I guess we’re just here to check a box – or for the talk, which is an interesting mix of advocacy and science.

More (from my comment), responding to a comment saying Erik did a good job:

I agree. It’s tough to mix science and advocacy without going off the rails in one direction or another – particularly when you’re being paid to present a particular argument, and the audience has been ordered to attend and pay with their time. (I’ll guess that, including the opportunity cost of attendee time, these trainings cost UO about $75,000.) Erik did a good job despite this.

There was plenty I’d argue about – i.e. the casual use of “bias” when talking about conditional means which are by definition unbiased estimates, the general over-emphasis on the implicit association test, and starting with the shades-of-gray visual illusion, which is too obvious an attempt to manipulate people into agreeing they must be biased about race too. But it did grab people’s attention.

I thought the most powerful part was the behavioral results from the randomized resume and email response surveys, which show pervasive racist behavior in decisions that are clearly related to actual mentoring and employment situations.

My understanding is that people’s racist employment decisions are generally not correlated with their IAT results. That said I think Erik successfully used the IAT as a useful teaching tool, in part because it opens people up to thinking about their own biases, and maybe about their own behavior, in a safe, non-threatening way. I can see why administrators love it, regardless of the validity of the science.

Sanjay Srivastava (Psych) posted my “check a box” comment on his @hardsci twitter, and there are a bunch of comments, including some arguing that mandatory diversity training of this sort actually harms diversity, because of a reactivity effect. Check it out at

And, for the record, I am now officially certified by the University of Oregon Office of Equity and Inclusion as being allowed to participate in faculty hiring. Please don’t tell my chair!

Hello William,

You are now enrolled in the following session: “Understanding Implicit Bias”.

Below are the date(s)/time(s) of the session: Oct 12th, 2017, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

*** Course Description ***

How can someone’s race, sex, age, and other characteristics influence the way we see and treat them even when we are genuinely trying to be unbiased? What concrete steps can we take to help prevent this from happening? To help answer these questions, this workshop introduces the concept of implicit bias. Through a mix of short presentations, lively activities, and discussions, we will explore some harmful side effects of how our brains naturally perceive, categorize, and draw inferences about the world, including other people. We will also examine when this kind of bias is most likely to occur. And we will talk about what practical steps we can all take to try to reduce or eliminate it as well as what has been shown not to work. This workshop may be of particular interest to those serving on search committees and hiring managers.

*** Session Information ***
Description:  For more information, please contact: Rafael Lopez –

Location:  EMU: 231 & 232, Cedar & Spruce Rooms

Instructor:  Dr. Erik Girvan

Please do not reply to this email as it is automatically generated.

Thank you for using Making Tracks: A Registration and Tracking System for the University of Oregon brought to you by Professional Development.

LA Times wants a copy of any FBI subpoenas of Dana Altman’s Ducks

10/9/2017 update:

In what may be it’s fastest turnaround time since I asked Dave Hubin for a copy of Jim Bean’s sabbatical contract, UO’s Public Records Office says today that “there are no responsive records” to the LA Times request for federal subpoenas or search warrants involving Altman or his coaches. For comparison, here are the last 3 or so months of the public records log.

Still no Tim Gleason rhabdo docs for HBO, no new Bach docs, etc:

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UO Public Records Office doing its best to hide Tim Gleason’s docs


According to the date stamp, this report on some of Tim Gleason’s spending as the NCAA’s Faculty Athletics Representative was pulled on Sept 25th – and that was only after they’d claimed they didn’t have any BANNER records, and made me file another request. But Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office didn’t send this to me until Oct 6th:

And now they want $84.92 to explain how much more the academic side is paying to help do the NCAA cartel’s job:


Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “This is a public records request for records showing the expenditures of the Faculty Athletics Representative and his office, from July 1 2010 to the present” on 09/22/2017, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. With this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

Some records have been provided to you in response to your public records request 2018-PRR-072 for “…a BANNER reports showing the expenditures of the Faculty Athletic Representative and his office, from July 1 2010 to [9/13/2017]”. However, the University possesses additional records that are responsive to your current, more general, request

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to this request to be $84.92. 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.



Office of Public Records

6207 University of Oregon | Eugene, OR 97403-6207

(541) 346-6823 |

Meanwhile, it’s not clear where the HBO request for Gleason’s rhabdo docs is at. The PR office is way behind. Perhaps they’re busy with FBI search warrants?

9/22/2017: Apparently HBO has paid UO the $754.28 Tim Gleason wanted for the rhabdo docs, and presumably he’s now compiling them. I’m not sure if Gleason gets the money, or if it will go to his office and offset some of the cost to the academic budget of his FAR salary, and I’m still waiting for the docs showing just how much his FAR office is costing UO.

9/21/2017:  On Sept 13th I made a simple public records request (at bottom of post) for an accounting report that would show how much money it’s costing the academic side for UO Journalism Prof Tim Gleason’s NCAA “Faculty Athletics Representative” office. Today I got a response denying my request on the grounds that there is no such record.

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Editor withdraws pro-colonialism paper after credible threats of violence

Inside Higher Ed:

[Portland State University professor] Bruce Gilley’s eyebrow-raising essay in favor of colonialism has been scrubbed from the scholarly record, but not for any of the reasons cited by its critics. (Among them: that it was historically inaccurate, that it ignored the vast literature on colonialism and colonial-era atrocities, that it was rejected by three peer reviewers, and that Gilley himself requested it be pulled.)

Rather, the article has been withdrawn because the editor of Third World Quarterly, the journal in which it appeared, has received credible threats of violence. That’s according to a note posted online by journal’s publisher, Taylor & Francis.

Full text of Pres Mike Schill’s 2017 State of the University speech

Posted for those who, like me, would have liked to have been able to hear it delivered in person. Pre-recorded video here. The comments are open. The elevator version:

Someone made $50M, Mike Schill got them to give it to UO, and now he’s going to spend it to make the university better.

It would have been a long speech. Here are some highlights:

This fall, we welcomed the most diverse class of incoming students in our history. These amazing students from every county in Oregon, every state in the nation, and more than 100 countries cannot be defined in simple terms. Many of them are the first in their families to attend college, as was I.

We are taking steps toward helping our students be successful and graduate on-time through investments in advising and progress tracking, by working with the University Senate to revise curriculum and programing, and by enhancing student engagement opportunities through under-graduate research, academic residential communities, and freshman interest groups.

In other instances and at other universities, students seek to disinvite or shout down speakers they don’t agree with. Faculty who ask probing questions are sometimes vilified as sexist or racist creating a chilling effect on campus speech and robust discussion. As part of our commitment to excellence and to producing research and students who will make an impact I want to strongly reiterate the University of Oregon’s core values of protecting freedom of speech, academic freedom, and the virtues of robust discussion and debate. If someone says something we don’t like, we should not try to shut them down. That is not what we do in an open democracy. Instead—to paraphrase one of our most monumental Supreme Court justices, Louis D. Brandeis—the antidote to speech we don’t like is MORE SPEECH.

Today I am delighted and humbled to announce that this summer the University of Oregon received a $50 million gift to further excellence at the university over the next five years. … Today, I would like to announce the first five allocations from the Presidential Fund for Excellence.

First, … Like all good academic ideas, the Initiative in Data Sciences bubbled up from the faculty.  I have repeatedly heard that we need to develop greater capacity to support our teaching and research in fields as disparate as literature, economics, geography, biology, business, computer science, and design. With the growth of big data comes the need for sophisticated applications and techniques to understand underlying trends and scientific, literary, economic, and social phenomena. And our students need to learn how to apply these methods. Data Science will help connect our disciplines and increase our capacity for discovery.

Second, I will further invest in faculty, because an excellent university is only as good as its faculty. … , I am earmarking funds from the Presidential Fund for Excellence to match gifts to create nine new faculty chairs.

For my third allocation, I will dedicate money from the Presidents Fund for Excellence to support student success programming at the Black Cultural Center. I am extremely excited about this project and can’t wait to break ground sometime in the summer of 2018.

My fourth investment … to support the School of Journalism and Communication’s plan to create a new Media Center for Science and Technology.

For my fifth allocation, I am awarding the College of Education funds to seed a new and exciting initiative that holds the promise of improving the quality of schools in our state and increasing the number of college-ready students they graduate. This program—the Oregon Research Schools Network—will place faculty members in up to 10 high schools across the state. Each faculty member will train high school teachers in the newest innovations of pedagogical practice and also teach students. The cost for each placement in this five-year pilot program will be shared jointly with local school districts. We hope that the initial set of placements will occur in schools with high proportions of first-generation and under-represented students. We will explore the feasibility of dual credit offerings. We also hope our presence in these schools will increase the pool of high school graduates qualified to come and study here in Eugene. We will also examine providing additional institutional support to some of our most successful pipeline programs at the university including the Summer Academy to Inspire Learning and the Oregon Young Scholars program as part of this initiative.

2017 State of the University Address:

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UO supporter Lorry Lokey is a generous and funny guy

I’m not sure why Around the O doesn’t have this posted yet, but I snuck into the UO Fund for Faculty Excellence awards ceremony tonight, and I can report that Lokey, who has given many millions to UO’s academic side, also gave us – and the UO Foundation Board members who are meeting in secret this week – a really good speech about why he has been such a strong supporter of UO’s faculty.

Gabon’s Pres Ali Bongo one-for-two in libel case over poisoning claims

The history of UO’s bizarre foray into foreign affairs and Gabonese politics has yet to be written, but it started with a UO alum and US ambassador to Gabon Eric Benjaminson seeing a chance for a retirement gig at UO, the State Department’s sophomoric remix of Kissinger’s real-politic, Richard Lariviere’s desperate effort to get some money for something other than Duck sports, and a lot of oil money stolen from some very poor Africans. Like so many corrupt Oregon deals, some otherwise smart people gave it a pass because it was sold as “green” and “sustainable”. Oregon and Gabon: Twin Edens.

Vice President of Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh,Vice Provost for International Affairs Dennis Galvan, Jay Namyet of the UO Foundation and John Manotti of UO Development went to Gabon to get the money, but in the end Bongo reneged on the $15M endowment promise. Check the Gabon tag below for more info, including links to two RG editorials raising questions about the deal.

And now The Daily News has the latest from Gabon here:

A Paris court on Thursday fined French journalist and writer Pierre Pean 1,000 euros ($1,170) and ordered him to pay a symbolic one euro in damages in a libel case brought by Gabonese President Ali Bongo.

In a 2014 book called “Nouvelles affaires africaines” (“New African Affairs”), Pean insinuated that Bongo was behind two attempts to assassinate Jean-Pierre Lemboumba, who was once a close aide to his father, former president Omar Bongo.

The accusations were “very serious” but had “insufficient” facts to support them, the court ruled.

However Bongo lost his complaint against other parts of the book in which Pean accused him of ordering the poisoning of Georges Rawiri, the president of Gabon’s Senate, and of having fomented an “electoral coup d’etat” in 2009.

The court ruled that Pean had produced “solid, varied, abundant and concurring” documents to justify the statements were made in good faith.

For the record, I have no information suggesting Bongo tried to poison anyone from UO.

Mostly good news from the Pravda of the University of Oregon

The full list of officially approved UO workplace news is on Around the O here.

1) Scott Pratt, Extraordinary Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, gets some much needed help:

Scott Pratt, executive vice provost for academic affairs, announced that Ellen Herman, professor of history and faculty co-director of University of Oregon’s Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, and Rebecca Flynn, managing co-director of the Wayne Morse Center, will be joining the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs in interim roles.

Herman will serve as interim vice provost for academic affairs and Flynn will serve as interim assistant vice provost for academic affairs. Together, they will be responsible for managing tenure-track faculty review, and tenure and promotion processes.

whoops, I guess Scott’s title is Executive VPAA. Anyway, great news.

2) 3% raises coming in January:

Information on a salary increase that takes effect Jan. 1 for faculty members and officers of administration was recently issued by Jayanth Banavar, provost and senior vice president, and Jamie Moffitt, vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer.

Uh, I sort of remember the faculty union having something to do with getting those raises, but whatever – we’ll take the money, comrades. I’m guessing faculty pay is still at the bottom of the AAU publics but IR still hasn’t released the updated metrics. What gives, JP?

3) General Counsel’s Office hires more competent legal help:

“Jessica [Price] brings a great deal of important experience to the table, as the Office of the General Counsel addresses a wide variety of legal issues and navigates some challenging waters,” said Kevin Reed, UO’s sometimes understated vice president and general counsel.

I was in the interviews for this job and I think this is an excellent hire.

4) OA Council to conduct campus climate survey:

The council will launch a workplace climate survey for all OAs on Oct. 3 to gather information about important issues, receive guidance on OA Council priorities and learn what training or professional development would help OAs succeed and support the UO’s mission, vision and values.

The VPEI has been talking about doing this for campus for years. But the OA’s don’t just talk, they do. Although it’s not for faculty or staff – just OA’s? Bummer. I guess we’ll have to rely on my rather unscientific poll on the right.

UO lawyers’ defense against native-american prof’s lawsuit? It’s not discrimination – our Affirmative Action office treats *all* faculty with contempt


Among the years of reports, last summer Daily Emerald reporter Max Thornberry had this about this famously mismanaged office, here. A snippet:

Concerns about the timeliness and effectiveness of the AAEO office [aren’t] new. A 2014 report from the ombuds office found that, “classified staff report high levels of distrust…in the fairness, competence and responsiveness of the University’s AA/EO function.”

And in their motion for a summary dismissal of Chixapkaid Pavel’s lawsuit against SVPAA Doug Blandy and former AAEO Director Penny Daugherty and others, UO’s lawyers have decided to run with that, here:


I’m no law professor, so I have nothing to say about the likely success of this argument by Amanda Walkup and Alexandra Hilsher of Eugene’s Hershner Hunter law firm, except that it seems a bit odd to try and use something like this to persuade the Honorable Ann Aiken to dismiss the case, unless you think there’s a pretty high probability she’ll take it as true despite that weasley footnote.

Another aspect of UO’s motion also seems problematic:

Unfortunately Exhibit H isn’t in the docket, since UO submitted it under a protective order. However, a quick glance through the Bias Response Team documents that UO’s Public Records Office submitted to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, here, will reveal at least one recent informal complaint that was submitted to AAEO and led to a full and expensive AAEO investigation and the potential for serious discipline – although the GCO eventually told AAEO to drop it and exonerated the professor.

5/12/2016: Professor Chixapkaid Pavel files suit against UO, Penny Daugherty, etc

Docket here, full complaint here.

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