NYTimes gives Oregon PERS a superficial once-over, doesn’t cite Sickinger or explain why PERS wants $20B more for its $70B endowment

Reporter Mary Williams Walsh has a poorly-cited rehash of issues originally raised by the excellent coverage of the Oregonian’s Ted Sickinger, who doesn’t even get a shout-out. Walsh:

For decades, PERS calculated pensions two different ways, and retirees could choose whichever produced the bigger numbers.

The first way was similar to what most states do, basing pensions on each worker’s final salary and years of service. But Oregon’s lawmakers included a golden touch, redefining “salary” to include remuneration from any source.

That was how Mr. Bellotti, the former football coach, came to be the state’s third-highest-paid pensioner, at roughly $559,000 a year.

When he retired in 2010 as the university’s athletic director, the standard pension formula was applied to his salary, plus a share of the outside licensing fees and product endorsements the football program brings in. (His pension details, along with those of other retirees in the system, were first obtained in 2011 from PERS by two newspapers, The Oregonian and The Statesman Journal.)

The link goes to the PERS database, not to Sickinger’s 2011 expose:

A new analysis by The Oregonian shows that his pension windfall is not solely the product of his base salary from the university, which was a relatively modest $150,000 in 2005 and 2008 as head coach, and $299,999 as athletic director in 2009. Rather, it was inflated by endorsements by Nike and the Oregon Sports Network, ticket sales incentives and other perks, according to public records released to The Oregonian. Those are sweeteners few public employes get. And it’s a stretch to define some of it as pay from the state. But it falls under the definition of PERS salary for pension calculations under Oregon law.

While Bellotti’s benefits are an outlier, they demonstrate how the mechanics of the PERS system can generate huge benefit flows for a fortunate few. They also show how PERS operated without any absolute cap on covered salary until 1996. And they illustrate how the burden of those benefits will be spread around the state for years.

These payments were included in his PERS calculations even though UO and Nike never made PERS contributions from them.

Walsh’s story then goes on to discuss the burden of PERS payments on Oregon at length, while managing to avoid any discussion of how salary replacement rates for new Tier 1/2 retirees with 30 years of service have already plummeted from 100% to 60% of final salary. From the PERS website:

Nor does she discuss the main reason for the increases in the contributions the PERS Board is requiring from state and local governments and school boards: the Board’s insistence on moving as rapidly as possible to add ~$20B to its endowment and make PERS a fully funded pension system, instead of the leaving it as a partly “pay as you go” plan, like social security.

There are economic arguments for fully-funded pensions, and for “pay-as-you-go” plans that use payments from current workers (or their employers) to pay the pensions of retired ones. Most states have made defacto decisions to go with a mix, with much smaller endowment funding than the 100% Oregon is shooting for. The average is 66%. Oregon is already above that.

As the story points out, the money the PERS board is demanding from the state to get to 100% has many negative consequences for Oregon.

So who will benefit from increasing the PERS endowment? The PERS consultants, the Wall Street banks and investment houses that manage the money, and – way off in the future – Oregon taxpayers who will someday be able to use the endowment earnings to pay retirees, leaving more money for public services and/or lower taxes.

Of course those future taxpayers will in all likelihood be richer and more numerous than we are today – so why does PERS think we should suffer for their benefit?

Former UO Diversity head Greg Vincent loses Pres job for plagiarism

The Chronicle has the news here:

… In March, The Chronicle first reported that Vincent’s dissertation appeared to copy at least one passage from another work without citation. Vincent earned a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. An anonymous email that was sent to The Chronicle and other outlets alleged multiple instances of plagiarism.

After the allegations, the board chair stated that the trustees would investigate the issue. On Friday, Vincent resigned as president, just nine months after taking office.

“After a great deal of thought and consideration, in the best interests of my family and myself, and for the love of Hobart and William Smith, I have decided to tender my resignation in order to explore new opportunities,” Vincent wrote in the statement. …

Vincent was hired at UO by Dave Frohnmayer in 2005 to create UO’s Diversity Plan, which was required by the settlement of Joe Wade’s racial discrimination lawsuit against Frohnmayer and Provost John Moseley.

Frohnmayer never told Vincent (or the faculty) about the lawsuit and the requirements of the settlement – they heard about it from me. Vincent left shortly after for UT-Austin, replaced by the over-committed Charles Martinez and then by Yvette Alex-Assensoh.

Eugene Weekly reports on GC Kevin Reed’s refusal to refund student $114 for Fed subpoena PRO wouldn’t provide, & Reed’s refusal to participate in Transparency Committee or send his assistant Bryan Dearinger

Max Thornberry has the story here:

Transparency Committee Takes on UO Records Policy
Student reporter denied paid-for public records

A student reporter at the University of Oregon was charged more than $100 to obtain UO public records before being told the university would not release them to him.

The reporter didn’t get a refund, and now the university’s Senate Transparency Committee (STC) is asking whether the UO is violating its own policy and abusing public records fees in order to discourage the public and news media from trying to shine light on the university’s operation.

Michael Tobin, a senior news reporter for the Daily Emerald, paid the UO Office of Public Records $113.64 for records before he was told they were exempt from release. He has not received a refund. Tobin submitted a complaint to the STC to find out why he can’t get his money back.

“I’m concerned about a fee for records I was not given,” Tobin told the STC during a Thursday, April 5, meeting. “And if they claim to know Oregon public records law, they should know that if there’s a pending federal investigation that this record would be exempt from disclosure from the start. So I don’t know why they would take my money and then go through the process of pulling the document, attempting to redact it and then say, ‘We can’t give this to you because we talked to the [Department of Justice] about it.’”

… Tobin filed his records request on Feb. 1 for any “federal subpoenas the University of Oregon has received over the past year.” Tobin told the committee he was requesting records he thought might be connected to the 2021 IAAF Track and Field World Championships; IAAF’s selection of Eugene to hold the event has spurred criminal investigations in the US and in Europe into possible corruption around the decision.

… Government agencies are allowed by state law to charge for records. According to the Attorney General’s Public Records and Meetings Manual, fees can still be assessed if no responsive records are found or “even if the records located are subsequently determined to be exempt for disclosure.”

UO’s policy, though, says nothing about exempt records and fees, only that “The Office of Public Records charges for the actual cost of making available public records.”

“They have to follow their policies. They have to follow both Oregon law and their policies,” Chris Sinclair, chair of the STC, says. “So if their policies are more restrictive than Oregon law then their policy is the one they have to follow. That’s my understanding.”

General counsel for the university Kevin Reed, a member of the transparency committee, refused to attend Thursday’s meeting and resigned from the committee before the meeting, telling Harbaugh that his office’s participation in the committee would “present a conflict of interest.”

[In an obvious self-contradiction, Reed then appointed Bryan Derringer, an AGC from Reed’s office as his designee.]

… In addition to stepping down from the committee, Reed expressed concern that Harbaugh’s participation presented a conflict of interest as well. Transcripts of emails between Reed and Harbaugh were posted to the University Senate blog.

“You have been assessed over $45,000 in fees on your public records requests over the course of the last five or so years,” Reed wrote to Harbaugh in an email. “You have paid a few hundred dollars for documents, but mostly you have protested the fees and argued for a change in fee policy that would reduce or eliminate fees. A private citizen is, of course, free to engage in such advocacy, but when a public official does so in his official capacity, he does so at his own risk. I have told you this before, and you have ignored my advice thus far. And, as I said the risk is on you, not the university, so I can’t tell you what to do.”

Following Reed’s prompting to consult with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, Harbaugh says, an investigator from OGEC — via a phone conversation — determined Harbaugh’s interest in public records makes him part of a class or group of people with shared interests, saying, “Your participation would not even be a potential conflict of interest.”

[UOM: ORS 244.020(1), (13) actually says:

(13)“Potential conflict of interest” means any action or any decision or recommendation by a person acting in a capacity as a public official, the effect of which could be to the private pecuniary benefit or detriment of the person or the person’s relative, or a business with which the person or the person’s relative is associated, unless the pecuniary benefit or detriment arises out of the following:

(a)An interest or membership in a particular business, industry, occupation or other class required by law as a prerequisite to the holding by the person of the office or position.

(b)Any action in the person’s official capacity which would affect to the same degree a class consisting of all inhabitants of the state, or a smaller class consisting of an industry, occupation or other group including one of which or in which the person, or the person’s relative or business with which the person or the person’s relative is associated, is a member or is engaged.

(c)Membership in or membership on the board of directors of a nonprofit corporation that is tax-exempt under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Why did the General Counsel’s office omit this important qualification?]

… “This is symptomatic of the university’s contempt for public records law and the principle that people should have access to the records of their government,” Harbaugh says. “This seems to me a case where the university is using its powers under that law not to promote transparency but to try to hide things.”

[And it will certainly have that effect. UO’s high fees and general refusal to waive them for reporters already discourage access to UO public records. The possibility that you will pay the fees and then get nothing increases the expected cost significantly.]

Law Dean Burke does Q&A with students about Prof Shurtz

In an admirable demonstration of transparency she even had the Law School post it on their official twitter feed – although no photo of the wickedly funny (black) student who showed up in whiteface. This is in reverse chronological order, so start at the bottom.

  1. There is a curriculum committee that discusses all courses offered. Apologies, but there is a class in this room right now. I hear you, and thank you, all.

  2. Comment from Student: A lot of our frustrations are with Prof. Shurtz, who isn’t even here. Precedent in this matter doesn’t set a clear path for preventing a similar incident in the future, (return to faculty, take sabbatical, etc.).

  3. Res. : We could have had this conversation before Spring Break, but I wanted it now. It wasn’t clear from the agenda that this was the opportunity to talk about Prof. Shurtz coming back to teach class. Thank you to the UOLaw SBA, BLSA for getting the word out

  4. Comment from Student (3L in Portland, Pres. BLSA): The administration did not contact the Black Law Students Association after receiving 30 emails last year about this incident from the Dean.

  5. Comment from Student: What does diversity and inclusion mean to this law school community when the professor may not even understand the ramifications of her actions?

  6. Comment from Student: This professor is not held accountable to students. She isn’t here and should be here.

  7. Comment from Student: It’s not just that she’s coming back. It’s that she’s teaching a class that I would have to set aside my identity to attend.

  8. “I agree with about 93% of what you’ve said. The time is now,” Training for professors is part of our Diversity Action Plan and starts this summer. But, there is a lot of work to be done. Most cannot be done overnight, but it is being done.

  9. Statement from Student: I am really disappointed that change is not taking place now. I have had to explain environmental racism to other students and faculty. We need to make change now.

  10. Comment from Student: As a white person (1L), I am not as affected by the action Prof. Shurtz took as my colleagues of color, but I am disgusted by it.

  11. Q4: Please, say what the incident was. A4. “Prof. Shurtz wore blackface at a party in her home.” Questioner: The decision to apply makeup and a wig takes time and intention and planning. Others can intervene.

  12. A3: I am familiar with the opinions Prof. Shurtz has made in the press.

  13. Q3: Has Prof. Shurtz been educated about the difference between Blackface and cultural appropriation?

  14. Q2. How informed about the climate at was before coming here? (And how do you get sabbatical? I’d like one.)

  15. A1. The decision predates me and was made by the Provost before Prov. Banavar. What students have told me is that we () are more than 1 incident.

  16. Q1: You mentioned things about what defines Oregon Law, maybe to US News or law firms, but you also mentioned community. Does having [Prof. Shurtz] back in the classroom defining our community in a way we want?

  17. It defines us by the decisions we make, by the community we are, by what we choose to do. So, yes. It is a defining moment, and I look forward to working with you as we continue to define who we are as OregonLaw. —

  18. “Some of you might feel like not announcing [Prof. Shurtz’s return] was like sweeping it under the rug… Since that day, there is no sweeping it under the rug.”

  19. Dean discusses her decision to come to . “People are talking about the students, faculty, and staff and the great things we do in the world.” I came here knowing there was an ugly incident, too, but it did not stop me from wanting to be your Dean.

  20. “Imagine a world where we all looked the same. That would be a tragedy. “I know our school has gone through some tough challenges, and I look forward to learning more about it. “I want to be there to support , to support you, and to work together as a family.”

  21. “I have been told that we are much more than a traditional Law School, with more than a JD and LLM. We also have a Master’s degree program and an undergraduate program.” Within the context of a big research university, it means we can address the complexity of our world.

  22. Welcome to Provost Jayanth Banavar. “My job is really to champion your interests, to help you… and to do whatever I can to make things better for you.”

  23. The agenda was strategic plan, diversity plan, school climate and Q&A, but we’re changing that up due to student feedback. –

  24. Today’s is set to begin. Thanks, all for coming out!

Senate meets 3PM today: VPRI, Conflicts, Learning, Honors, Multicultural

DRAFT from Senate. Livefeed here. Some light live-blogging below.

Location: EMU 145 & 146 (Crater Lake rooms) 3:00 – 5:00 P.M.

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

Introductory Remarks: Senate President Chris Sinclair

The Administration’s view, from Melanie Muenzer: Associate Vice President and Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives, JH liaison to the Senate, Mother of two, Democrat, and generally helpful person.

This will be about the proposed “Conflict of Interest” policy. Some information on the long history of past Senate work on this topic is at the bottom. This time we learned about it from the faculty union. The bootleg copy of the administration’s discussion draft is here.

Muenzer: This comes out of discussions between VPRI David Conover and Provost Banavar that started in fall. She argues that this is in part an attempt to clarify the rules. Actually, it changes them substantially, to give the administration unprecedented control over outside work by the faculty and other UO employees.

The administration’s current plan appears to be to claim that this is *not* an academic matter, and that therefore the administration can impose it on us without Senate approval. Yet here are the first two sentences of the current draft:

Teaching, research, administration, and public service are essential to the mission of the University of Oregon.  This policy recognizes the primary importance of those activities and the value of the application of knowledge outside the institution.

So obviously the Senate is going to have to take this up, as we have in the past, and this process would have been a lot easier if we’d been brought into the loop 5 months ago.

3:30 P.M.   Approval of MinutesMarch 14, 2018

3:30 P.M.   Business/Reports

Report: David Conover, VPRI

High speed internet and computing. 33% increase in start-up funds for new hires in the past two years. (millions) New $2K grants for non-science hires. New bridge funds. Worked with other state universities and faculty unions to reduce the cost of post-docs, enabling UO to hire more of them. (This is not a loss to the post-docs, since they don’t stay long enough to vest.) $5500 FRAC awards. New and continuing awards for seed grants and start-up projects. Large increases in the number of applicants. New grants to support undergraduate and graduate student research. New efforts to reduce time costs for faculty making grant proposals, etc. Ready to streamline human-subjects process as soon as feds give the go-ahead, July 19 2018, we hope. Big improvements in UO’s communication and community outreach about faculty research.

And I have to mention the excellent three-minute thesis competition, which I got to help judge this fall.

Report: Conflicts of Interest; Kevin Reed (General Counsel). [UOM: Reed has re-expressed an old GC concern, dating back to the days of Randy Geller, that faculty participation in shared governance, particularly the Senate Transparency Committee, may create potential or actual conflicts of interest under Oregon Government Ethics law, and the Senate has asked him to elaborate.]

I’m not sure why, but Reed is no longer on the agenda.

Discussion: US17/18-17: Learning Goals for Methods of Inquiry; Chris Sinclair, Core Education Task Force

Discussion revolves around adding explicit language on logic, cleaning up wording, adding “sic” after “big ideas”, and making clear that the specific wording is part of the motion, which will come back for a vote in two weeks.

Vote: US17/18-15: Revisions on Criteria for receiving Department Honors; Frances White (Anthropology), Chair of Academic Council

Perfect. Approved unanimously.

4:45 P.M.    Open Discussion
4:45 P.M.   Reports
4:50 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion

  • Motion Intro: Multicultural Requirement; Lee Rumbarger
  • Motion Intro: Revisions to Faculty Research Awards Committee; Bill Harbaugh

4:50 P.M.   Other Business
5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

In an admirable demonstration of the efficiency with which Pres Sinclair has run the Senate this year, the meeting was concluded about 30 minutes early.

Some history on COI/C:

The Senate Ad-Hoc COI/C Committee


Pursuant to an email of 12 December to the UO community, quoted below, the committee is charged with “reviewing and, where needed, suggesting revisions to the draft COI-C policy to meet essential legal and policy requirements with a keen sensitivity to academic freedom and the culture of a public research university”. The committee is to make a focused effort to “consider the policy and associated disclosure form. It is anticipated that the revised draft will be presented at the March 11, 2009 UO Senate meeting.”

Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2008 11:07:43 -0800


December 12, 2008

To: All Officers of Instruction, Officers of Research, and Officers of Administration

From: R. Linton, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies

R. Tomlin, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Paul van Donkelaar, President of the UO Senate

Subject: Continued COI-C Policy Review

There have been a considerable number of thoughtful and substantive comments conveyed by faculty colleagues on the draft policy on Conflict of Interest and Commitment (COI-C). In response, the planned January 2009 roll out of the new disclosure process for COI-C will be suspended for an appropriate period of time to review and address the concerns expressed on the ‘blog’ or that have been communicated directly to Academic Affairs or the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. For the moment, then, the proposed new process is paused and existing policy and procedures will remain in force. Faculty with funding from agencies such as NIH or NSF, or whose research involves human subjects, will need to continue current disclosure practice as required by federal regulations.

We recognize the need to further review the draft policy and to include faculty more extensively in that effort to bring forward an integrated COI-C policy and effective implementation process. We have appreciated the careful and collegial concerns expressed by colleagues such as John Bonine from Law or Alec Murphy from Geography, along with advice from the Faculty Advisory Council (FAC), that supported the need to incorporate additional ideas and insights rather than to press forward prematurely. To that end, we have agreed that Senate President Paul van Donkelaar will convene a small ad hoc committee charged with reviewing and, where needed, suggesting revisions to the draft COI-C policy to meet essential legal and policy requirements with a keen sensitivity to academic freedom and the culture of a public research university. The members of the ad hoc committee will be posted as soon as Paul has confirmed their participation.

To proceed in this manner, the University requested (and received Wednesday afternoon) an extension of the January 31, 2009 deadline previously set with the OUS Internal Audit Division to the start of our next fiscal year, July 1, 2009. This extension permits at least a two-month period (January and February 2009) for a focused effort by the committee to consider the policy and associated disclosure form. It is anticipated that the revised draft will be presented at the March 11, 2009 UO Senate meeting. This permits, as needed, an additional period of review and comment by the faculty between March and June 2009. The new deadline to implement the disclosure policy and process, July 1, 2009, should allow sufficient time for better assimilation of both COI and COC issues. We’re grateful for your help in moving forward in this way.

Related documents:
    1. Conflict of Interest and Committment home page.
    2. Letter 1 December 2008 to OIs, ORs and OAs from James Bean, Richard Linton, and Russ Tomlin concerning COI.
    3. Section 4 of the OUS-IMD relating to Staff and Faculty Personnel (as of 17 Dec 2008).
    4. Oregon Revised Statues. Chapter 352 -State and Independent Institutions of Higher Education (as of 17 Dec 2008).
    5. Oregon Revised Statues Chapter 244 -Government Ethics (as of 17 Dec 2008).
    6. Email dated 17 Dec 2008 from Prof. Bonine.
    7. Email dated 7 January 2009 from Prof. Bonine.
    8. AAUP Policy statements on conflict of interest.
    9. Draft UO Policy on COI-COCC.
    10. Faculty Employment Outside of the University: Conflicts of Commitment (2004) AAUP.
    11. Archival documents
    12. Document dated 7 January 2009 from Prof. Horner “Considerations for COI/COC policy and process”.
    13. Information Email to C. Bybee concerning the town hall meeting.
    14. Document from Prof. Bonine concerning “Preliminary criticisms of Proposal (page 1 only) 10 January 2009.
    15. Document critique of page 2 of the UO’s draft policy 12 January 2009.
    16. Information on the town hall meeting 21 January 2009.
    17. Preliminary Report to the UO Senate 13 January 2009.
    18. COI-COC Briefing Book. This contains MANY materials:
    1. Announcement of town hall meeting.
    2. Campus Email 14 Jan 2009.
    3. Email from P. Gilkey to G. Bolt 15 Jan 2009.
    4. Email 16 Jan 2009 from William T Harbaugh.
    5. Agenda 16 Jan 2009 Committee meeting.
    6. Email from J. Bonine 16 January 2009.
    7. Email from A. Murphy 16 January 2009.
    8. Nine points to consider in licensing University Technology a document produced by the Association of University Technology Managers
    9. Document from Prof. Ian McNeely 16 January 2009.
    10. Email correspondence 18 January 2009 between John Bonine and Rob Horner. See also Oregon State Short Form
    11. Stanford COIC Form
    12. COI policy without COC policy as of 20 January 2009. Also see Document indicating deleted material.
    13. Remarks by COI/COC Chair Gilkey at the Town Hall Meeting 21 January 2009.
    14. Email of 21 Jan 2009 from Professor R. Mann concerning COIC
    15. Letter as of 21 Jan 2009 from Professors Paris and Moffitt.
    16. Email as of 22 Jan 2009 from Professor Jaeger.
    17. Blog posted on the COI-C web page 22 January 2009 concerning the town hall meeting.
    18. Email from Prof. McNeeley 22 Jan 09
    19. Email correspondence between Professors Tomlin and Lininger 23 January 2009.
    20. Minutes of the COI-COC committee meeting 16 January 2009 (posted 24 January 2009).
    21. Tab 6.12 U Indiana at Bloomington (added 25 January 2009). See also Tab 6.12 6.12-a, Tab 6.12 6.12-b, Tab 6.12 6.12-c.
    22. Email of 27 Jan 2009 transmitting a “lite” COI disclosure form to the committee for consideration.
    23. Email as of 27 January 2009 from C. Phillips concerning the “lite” COI disclosure form.
    24. Email as of 27 January 2009 from D. Koch concerning the “lite” COI disclosure form.
    25. Town Hall Feedback
    26. Email as of 27 January 2009 from S. Clark concerning the “lite” COI disclosure form.
    27. Email as of 27 January 2009 from R. Horner concerning the “lite” COI disclosure form.
    28. Email as of 27 January 2009 from H. Sadofsky concerning the “lite” COI disclosure form.
    29. Email as of 27 January 2009 from I. McNeeley concerning the “lite” COI disclosure.
    30. Email as of 27 January 2009 from R. Melnick concerning the “lite” COI disclosure.
    31. Email as of 27 January 2009 from D. Hulse concerning the “lite” COI disclosure.
    32. Email as of 27 January 2009 from B. Shelton concerning the “lite” COI disclosure.
    33. Email as of 27 January 2009 from Yuan Xu concerning the “lite” COI disclosure.
    34. Email 29 January 2009 by P. Gilkey.
    35. Email dated 29 January 2009 from M. Jaeger.
    36. Email dated 29 January 2009 from H. Lin
    37. Email dated 30 January 2009 from C. Jones.
    38. List of “Big Issues” related to the COI-COC as of 1 February 2009.
    39. Correspondence 4 Jan 2009 concerning Notice of Motion at the March Senate Meeting.
    40. Minutes of the 23 January 2009 meeting.
    41. Letter from Russ Tomlin 4 February 2009 concerning COC.
    42. Minutes 4 February 2009. concerning COI.
    43. Minutes12 February 2009 concerning COI.
    44. Minutes19 February 2009 concerning COI.
    45. Minutes26 February 2009 concerning COI.
    46. Cover letter 9 March 2009 from COIC COmmittee chair John Bonine to the campus community enclosing Sample COI financial disclosure form and Sample disclosure form.
    47. Minutes4 March 2009 concerning COI.

Bootleg versions of proposed Conflict of Interest Policy and Procedures

The Senate leadership first heard about these proposals late last week, although they have apparently been under development by the administration for months. The “discussion drafts” below have not been released to the Senate – these are bootleg copies.

These proposals involve substantial changes to current UO policy and procedures regarding outside work for faculty and all UO employees. Among other things they eliminate the default “one day in seven” consulting work allowance, require faculty to notify the administration in advance of much outside work, and give the administration the power to decide whether that work is in the best interests of “the university”, or not.

I do not understand the administration’s motivation for these proposed changes, or their decision to keep their development secret from the Senate. See the bootleg policy here, procedures here, or read the cut and paste versions below.



Reason for Policy

To set forth the University’s standards, as required by ORS 352.232, governing outside employment and activities, including actual and potential conflicts of interest, and procedures for reporting and managing conflicts of interest.

Responsible Office

For questions about this policy, please contact the Office of the Provost.

Enactment & Revision History

Approved by University President Michael Schill on _________ __, 2018.


This policy applies to all University of Oregon employees, officials, and agents.  It does not in any way alter the requirements contained in the Financial Conflict of Interest in Research Policy.



Teaching, research, administration, and public service are essential to the mission of the University of Oregon.  This policy recognizes the primary importance of those activities and the value of the application of knowledge outside the institution.  The function of the University may be enhanced by ethical relationships between employees and outside entities, and this policy seeks to protect the academic and personal freedoms involved in choosing those outside activities.  Prompt disclosure of outside activities, and management of conflicts of interests, are essential to protect the interests of the University and to ensure compliance with state and federal law.  To this end, the University encourages employees to engage in outside activities that advance the mission of the University, with the condition that those activities be proactively disclosed, reviewed and, if determined to be a conflict of interest by the University, managed in a manner that protects integrity, ensures legal compliance, and promotes good stewardship of public resources.

Employees, officials, and agents of the University have an individual legal obligation to provide advance, written notice to the University that describes the nature of their outside activities so that the University can make a determination of whether a COI exists.  This policy describes the outside activities at issue, requires the disclosure and review of such activities, and, if appropriate, provides for appropriate action by the University to manage actual, potential or apparent COIs. This policy also provides an appeal process and a process for reporting complaints about COI.


Oregon law defines conflicts of interest (“COI”) as any action, decision, or recommendation by a person acting in their capacity as a University employee that would (for actual conflicts) or could (for potential conflicts) have a private financial impact on the person or their relative, or any business with which either is associated.  ORS 244.020(1), (13).

The University may authorize employees to receive outside compensation. However, the University is prohibited from authorizing outside compensation that “does not comport with the mission of the public university or substantially interferes with an officer’s or employee’s duties to the university.”  ORS 352.232(2).


Employees must generally refrain from having financial interests incompatible with the impartial, objective, and effective performance of duties. University employees, officials, and agents generally may not:

  1. Engage in private business interests or other outside employment activities, whether compensated or not, on University time.
  2. Make use of University supplies, facilities, equipment, employees, records or any other public resources (other than incidental use) to engage in private business interests.
  3. Use information gained as a University employee to obtain a financial benefit for the employee, a relative or member of the University employee’s household or a business with which any are associated.
  4. Subject to the review and approval process described herein, participate in making University recommendations or decisions involving the employment, compensation, promotion, leave of absence, grievance adjustment, termination, or in the supervision of a relative or member of their household.
  5. Undertake any other outside business or employment activities that substantially interferes with the employee’s duties to the University, or other activities related to University employment, for compensation, that do not comport with the mission of the University.


Approval is generally not required for “exempt” activities identified below and described in the Procedures. However, if any these activities does not comport with the mission of the University, substantially interferes with one’s duties to the University, or creates a COI, the employee must disclose the activity in accordance with Sections III and IV below.  The Provost or designee(s) is charged with deciding whether the disclosure constitutes a COI. Employees must err on the side of caution and provide advance disclosure of any such activity.

  1. Exempt Activities for Which Prior Approval Is Not Required
  2. Exempt Activities Unrelated to University Employment

Employees are generally not expected to disclose outside activities unrelated to their University employment, unless the outside activity may interfere with the employee’s duties to the University (e.g., overlapping time commitments). If there is any doubt whether the outside activity may interfere with the employee’s duties to the University, or may be related to the employee’s University employment, the employee must disclose the activity pursuant to this policy.

  1. Exempt Activities Related to University Employment

Employees are not expected to disclose reimbursed or sponsored travel for seminars, lectures, teaching engagements, or service on advisory committees or review panels that a) when aggregated, does not exceed $5,000 per individual entity, or b) is travel reimbursed or sponsored by a federal, state or local government agency, an institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institution affiliated with an institution of higher education. In addition, pursuant to this Policy, employees are generally not expected to disclose professional, religious or political associations, appearances and publications related to University employment, and expert witness service related to their academic or professional work. Such activity may be subject to University policies and procedures concerning inventions and educational and professional materials development. This Policy does not in any way alter requirements in those policies. 

  1. Activities for Which Prior Approval Is Required

An employee must disclose, pursuant to Section III, non-exempt outside activities.  This includes, for example:

  • Consulting related to employee’s University work
    • Outside consulting undertaken on personal time will generally require disclosure if the value of any remuneration received from any single entity in the twelve months preceding the disclosure, when aggregated, exceeds $5,000.
  • Closely related enterprises
    • Outside compensation from, or ownership of equity in, an entity (including consulting firms) that carries on activities closely related to the University employee’s area of work and/or field of expertise.
      • This excludes publicly-traded equity unless the employee has a majority ownership in that entity.
    • Managing, or participation in the day-to-day operations of, an entity that carries on activity related to the employee’s University employment.

III.        Reporting Requirements; Reporting Concerns

It is important to record conflicts centrally to assess their impact on the functions of the University.

  1. Annual Outside Activity (“AOA”) Disclosure Requirement for University Employees: All employees must submit an AOA disclosure each year. The Provost or designee(s) shall ensure a reminder is sent annually to all employees.
  2. Reporting Concerns about Potential or Actual COI of Another: Any University employee who has concerns about the permissibility of an activity on the part of an employee is encouraged to consult with their unit/department head pursuant to the reporting process set forth in the procedures accompanying this policy. Confidential reports can also be made to the Office of Internal Audit using its Fraud & Ethics Hotline.

Approval Process

  1. Review Process: The Provost or designee(s) will conduct the Initial Review of all AOA disclosures to determine whether the information disclosed presents an actual, apparent, or potential COI.
  2. Requests for Approval: The Provost or designee(s) shall create procedures for the review and management processes, and for the complaint and appeal processes.  Activity that creates an actual or potential COI is subject to a management plan and/or a decision that the activity may not be authorized. The Provost or designee(s) may work with a COI Committee to evaluate AOA disclosures that require further review.
  3. Approval Process: In approving or denying requests, the Provost or designee will (1) determine whether the activity constitutes a COI (actual, apparent, or potential), (2) notify the employee if the activity constitutes a COI, and (3) if warranted, develop a management plan, in consultation with the employee and their supervisor/department head, to mitigate the conflict.


Decisions under this policy may be appealed in writing to the Provost or designee within 10 days of the receipt of the decision.


This policy has the force of law pursuant to ORS 352.087.  Failure of a University employee to comply with this policy and its associated procedures will subject the employee to discipline up to and including termination.  Discipline shall be imposed consistent with applicable University policies and/or applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Related Resources

Policies and Procedures Related to this Policy:


Topic Office Phone
Policy and procedure interpretation; reporting of COI concerns; complaints; appeals; general inquiries


Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs 541-346-3186




As set forth in the Conflicts of Interest (“COI”) Policy, University of Oregon employees, officials, and agents must report all non-exempt outside activities so that the University can make a determination of whether an actual, apparent, or potential COI exists and, if appropriate, help manage that COI. The following procedures outline the disclosure process and the review, approval and management of COI.

These procedures in no way alter the requirements contained in the Financial Conflict of Interest in Research Policy.  Thus, University employees, officials or agents with outside activities that involve design, conduct, and reporting roles in sponsored research will likely be required to provide both disclosures.


Failure to comply with the COI Policy includes, but is not limited to, failure to disclose a known non-exempt outside activity, or failure to abide by the terms of a finalized management plan.


A. Annual Outside Activity (“AOA”) Disclosure

  1. Each year, employees shall submit an AOA disclosure. Subsequent AOA disclosures must includes any activity governed by the COI Policy that was not disclosed in prior disclosures.
  2. New employees: All employees engaging in non-exempt outside activities shall submit an AOA disclosure annually—within 30 days of the date of hire and on the anniversary of that date. Before engaging in new, non-exempt outside activities, employees must supplement the AOA disclosure.
  3. Current employees: The Provost or designee will send notification to all employees to submit an AOA disclosure. All employees engaging in non-exempt outside activities shall submit an AOA disclosure annually—within 30 days of receipt of the Provost’s notification and on the anniversary of that date.
  4. AOA disclosures should be completed online at:
  5. For questions involving the AOA disclosures please contact createaroleaccount@uoregon.edu.
  6. The failure to report is construed as a representation by the employee that the employee is engaged in no outside activities that give rise to any actual, apparent, or potential COI.

B. Required Disclosures

a. Exempt Activities Unrelated to University Employment

Pursuant to the COI Policy, employees are generally not expected to disclose outside activities unrelated to their University employment. For example, the following would be exempt from the advance disclosure and approval requirements of this policy:

    • College of Arts & Sciences faculty with outside yoga business (unless it is related to their University employment because, for example, the faculty member solicits University students to attend the yoga class);
    • Housing employee who runs youth baseball camps (unless it is related to their University employment because, for example, the employee uses access to University resources to bolster camp enrollment);
    • Employee invests in mutual funds or retirement accounts and does not directly control the investment decisions made in these accounts.

b. Exempt Activities Related to University Employment

Pursuant to the COI Policy, employees are generally not expected to disclose professional, religious or political associations, appearances related to University employment, and expert witness service related to their academic or professional work, including, for example:

  • Professional associations 
    • Participation in scholarly, professional, expressive (including performances), and philanthropic activities outside the University (This includes publications and the sale of goods, unless the material is prepared in compliance with University contractual provisions, as a specific University work assignment, or with the use of significant University resources.)
  • Appearances related to University employment
    • Seminars, lectures, or teaching engagements sponsored by a federal, state or local government agency, an institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institution affiliated with an institution of higher education;
    • Travel to other institutions or conferences for the purpose of:
      • giving speeches, presentations, lectures, performances, etc.;
      • serving as a panelist;
      • leading seminars or workshops;
      • visiting the laboratories of colleagues.
  • Service as an expert witness before a court or tribunal

c. Initial Review of AOA Disclosure

  1. The Provost or designee(s) will conduct an Initial Review of AOA disclosures to determine whether the information disclosed presents a matter for further review. Pursuant to the COI Policy and state law, ORS 352.232, to make this determination, the Provost or designee(s) will consider whether the activity disclosed may present an actual, apparent, or potential conflict of interest, whether the activity may not comport with the mission of the University, and whether the activity may substantially interfere with an employee’s duties to the University.
  2. The Provost or designee(s) will notify the employee if an AOA disclosure reflects a matter for further review. That determination will be documented.
  3. If the Provost or designee(s) determines that the AOA disclosure may require approval and/or a management plan, the disclosure constitutes a matter for further review. The Provost or designee(s) will forward AOA disclosures requiring further review to the COI Committee to further review the matter for consideration of steps to eliminate, reduce, or manage the conflict(s). If appropriate, the Provost or designee(s) will, with notice to the employee, develop a draft management plan to be reviewed by the COI Committee.


Reviews by the COI Committee will be conducted by a preponderance of evidence standard.


The COI Committee will review AOA disclosures that reflect matters for further review. The COI Committee will conduct its review based on, among other factors, the date of the disclosure, the likelihood of COI and the need to institute a management plan or sever the outside relationship to avoid a violation of law or UO policy. The COI Committee will complete its review within 60 days; however, this timeframe may be extended for good cause.

Criteria for Approval

In conducting the review, the COI Committee will consider whether the activity disclosed presents an actual, apparent, or potential conflict of interest, whether the activity comports with the mission of the University, and whether the activity substantially interferes with an employee’s duties to the University.

In determining the appropriateness of a management plan, the COI Committee may also consider whether the activity is significant (including time commitment and responsibilities), relatedness to University employment (including likelihood of interference with employee objectivity, integrity, and duties to the University, impact on the University, and consistency with the policies and objectives of the University), and adequacy of mitigation measures (including disclosure to supervisor, informed consent, and screening and/or recusal options).

In developing a management plan, the COI Committee will consult with the employee and, as appropriate, with the employee’s supervisor. The management plan, once finalized, will reflect appropriate management of the conflict. The management plan, once finalized, will be adopted by the Provost or designee(s) responsible for reviewing AOA disclosures.

The Provost or designee(s) will be responsible for notifying the employee when the management plan is finalized. The employee must comply with the terms of the finalized management plan. Examples of conditions that may be created by a management plan include:

  1. Public disclosure of actual, apparent, or potential COI
  2. Disclosure of COI directly to individuals or entities impacted
  3. Periodic monitoring of the scope and impact of the activity, including updates from the employee
  4. Recusal from University recommendations or decisions that may be directly and significantly impacted by the outside activity
  5. Adoption of an interim or modified management plan as circumstances change

All reviews, recommendations, denials, modifications and/or management plans shall be made by following the applicable state ethics law, the University’s COI Policy, and these procedures.


An employee may challenge a decision by Provost or designee(s)  by filing a written appeal with President of designee(s) within ten (10) days of receipt of the decision. The appeal must include a copy of the decision, the grounds for appeal, the issue in dispute, a full statement of the employee’s position related to the grounds for appeal, and any documents supporting the employee’s claim.

Decisions subject to appeal

An employee may appeal a final, written decision:

  • that the activity does not comport with the mission of the University;
  • that the activity substantially interferes with an employee’s duties to the University;
  • that the activity cannot be appropriately managed; or
  • setting forth a finalized management plan.

Grounds for appeal

The request for appeal must identify the decision being challenged and state one of the following grounds for appeal:

Procedural error: Failure to comply with the COI Policy and these procedures, such as failure to consult with the employee in the development of a management plan, that would more likely than not (by a preponderance of evidence) have changed the outcome of the decision;

Unreasonable based on the evidence: The decision that the outside relationship must be severed, or the management plan, is unreasonable based on the evidence provided, such as undue hardship to the employee;

New information: New information not previously known to the employee would more likely than not change the decision.

President or designee will notify the employee within 10 days whether the employee has stated grounds for appeal. If President or designee determines that the employee has failed to state grounds for appeal, the decision is deemed final. If President or designee determines that the employee has stated grounds for appeal, President or designee will notify the employee of the anticipated appeal decision date, which will be within 60 days of the appeal.

Before the decision date, President or designee will provide the employee the opportunity to present evidence and to be heard, in person, by telephone, or in writing, at the discretion of President or designee. President or designee may also consult with the COI Committee, the Provost or designee(s), and/or the employee’s supervisor or department head as appropriate.  If President or designee will rely upon information other than that submitted by the employee, the employee will have the opportunity to review the information to be relied upon and to provide a supplemental response to that information. President or designee will inform the employee of the deadline to provide any information to be relied upon, but all information relied upon must be received by President or designee no later than two days before the appeal decision date. President or designee will decide the appeal. President or designee will notify the employee and Provost or designee of the appeal decision, in writing.

Management Plan

COI Committee Review

A. Committee Appointment and Composition:

  1. The Provost or designee(s) shall appoint a COI Committee composed of at least one employee in each of the following categories: tenured faculty member, non-tenure track faculty, officer of administration, classified employee, and a representative from Office of the Provost. An attorney from the Office of the General Counsel shall serve as an ex-officio member.
  2. The Provost or designee(s) shall designate one of the appointed members to serve as a COI Committee Chair.
  3. The Provost or designee(s) shall appoint members for specific terms, generally three years from the date of appointment. Successive terms are permitted.
  4. Each COI member shall complete an annual government ethics training.
  5. Each COI Committee member shall recuse themselves in any proceeding in any matter before the COI Committee wherein their impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

B. Meetings

The COI Committee shall meet monthly as necessary. A quorum is a simple majority of the COI Committee. A quorum must be convened for the COI Committee to issue a finalized management plan and/or to recommend that any COI cannot be managed.  The committee makes decisions on the basis of a simple majority of those present at the meeting.

C. Responsibilities

The COI Committee will review all actual, apparent, or potential COIs referred to it by the Provost or designee(s). The COI Committee is responsible for:

  1. Assessing actual, apparent, or potential COIs in light of the employee’s institutional responsibilities.
  2. Making recommendations to the Provost or designee(s) regarding management of actual or potential COI. Steps of a such a plan may include, but are not limited to the following examples:
    1. Public disclosure of employee’s (or relative’s) financial interest;
    2. Use of COI Committee to closely monitor the activity and assist in avoiding conflicts;
    3. Recusal of the employee in any decision making involving the activities described in the AOA disclosure;
    4. Restructuring of University supervisory/management by employee over persons and/or activities described in AOA disclosure (e.g., limiting the employees’ involvement in personnel decisions on behalf of UO;
    5. Reformulation of activities described in AOA disclosure;
    6. Divestment of personal financial interest causing the COI;
    7. Severance of those outside relationships that cannot be adequately managed to prevent actual or potential COI;
  3. Taking appropriate action in response to reports of concerns about COI that have been forwarded to the COI Committee by the Provost or designee(s). Such action may include conducting a retrospective review of circumstances and recommending mitigation measures.

IV. Reporting Concerns About COI of Others

Any employee who has concerns about another employee’s potential conflict should consult with Provost of designee. If, after examining the report, the Provost or designee determines that a COI may exist, they shall refer the matter to the COI Committee for further evaluation pursuant to the process set forth above in Section III. Anonymous reports can be made to the Office of Internal Audit using its Fraud & Ethics Hotline.


The University will maintain records relating to AOA Disclosures, and the University’s review and response to such disclosures, for at least three years.


Within the constraints imposed by state law, in order to protect privacy rights, a personally identifiable request by an employee for approval, and the written disposition of that request, may be part of the employee’s personal record, subject to disclosure only to employees who have a demonstrably legitimate need for particular information in order to fulfill their official, professional responsibilities.


Activity Related to the Employee’s University Employment: activity that reasonably appears to be related to the employee’s responsibilities to the University.

Agent: any individual performing governmental functions, which are services provided on behalf of the University, as distinguished from services provided to the University. This may include private contractors and volunteers, depending on the circumstances. It also can be a volunteer.  Volunteers are “public officials” when they are i. Elected or appointed to a governing body of a public body; ii. Appointed or selected for a position with a governing body or a government agency with responsibilities that include deciding or voting on matters that could have a pecuniary impact on the governing body, agency or other persons; or iii. The volunteer position includes all of the following: 1. Responsible for specific duties and 2. The duties are performed at a scheduled time and designated place.

Disclosure: an employee’s formal or explicit statement disclosing outside activity to the University.

Employee: as referenced in the COI Policy and these procedures, employee refers to employees, officials or agents.

Entity: a natural person capable of being legally bound, sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, limited liability company or partnership, limited partnership, profit or nonprofit unincorporated association, business trust, two or more persons having a joint or common economic interest, or any other person with legal capacity to contract, or a government or governmental subdivision.

Management Plan: the prospective plan for COI mitigation.

Preponderance of the Evidence: proof that leads to the conclusion that the fact at issue is more probably true than not.

Relative:  as defined in ORS 244.020:  (a) the spouse, parent, stepparent, child, sibling, stepsibling, son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the employee or official; (b) the parent, stepparent, child, sibling, stepsibling, son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the spouse of the employee or official; (c) any individual for whom the employee or official has a legal support obligation; (d) any individual for whom the employee or official provides benefits arising from the employee’s public employment or from whom the employee or official receives benefits arising from that individual’s employment; (e) a member of the employee’s household.


Berdahl to ask Trustees to give Gottfredson another chance

4/10/2018 repost, for no particular reason.

6/8/2014: Rumor down at the faculty club is that Gottfredson and Berdahl are closeted in McMorran House, working on a strategy to convince the Trustees to give Gottfredson another chance. From the meeting packet here:

June 12, 12:00 pm: Trustees roundtable discussion with Bob Berdahl Ford Alumni Center, Room 403

Presumably Berdahl will be introduced to the board as former UC-Berkeley president, AAU, etc. A legendary leader in higher education. Then he will explain to the awestruck trustees that any more turnover in the UO presidency would be so disruptive, and the search for a replacement so difficult, that it’s better for the new Board to suffer an obvious incompetent, the last bit of baggage from OUS and Pernsteiner, rather than to do what most everyone hopes they will do: Replace Gottfredson with Scott Coltrane as interim, and get UO off to a fresh start.

Given Berdahl’s role in hiring Gottfredson (closed search, etc.) and the latest from FSU on closed searches and search firms, this all reminded me of an old post:

5/15/2012: Berdahl on his and my conflicts of interest and UO transparency crackdown. (See below for response from Pres Berdahl).

From Insidehighered.com:

Legislation in Illinois would bar public universities from using state funds, tuition revenue or student fees for search firms, The News-Gazette reported. The University of Illinois has spent almost $6 million on search firms over the last nine years, including funds on some searches that did not work out well. Critics question whether the spending is necessary, while board members say that search firms have recruited top talent.

The News-Gazette story is very balanced. We could ask our interim President Berdahl what he thinks about the costs and benefits of presidential search firms, but he seems to have a conflict of interest:



He didn’t report this on his Oregon Government Ethics Commission Verified Statement of Economic Interest – must not have made the 10% income threshold, which I’m guessing would be about $100,000.

After I posted to above, interim President Berdahl emailed me asking that I add the following response from him:

The following is a comment that I tried to submit to UOMatters in response to your suggestion that I have conflicts of interest.  Since the comments are limited to 4,000 characters, UOMatters would not accept it.

Despite your campaign of innuendo, I have nothing to hide.


Berdhal’s comment:

At last week’s Senate meeting, I suggested that Professor Harbaugh had a conflict of interest because, as the largest single requester of public records, he also served as the chair of the Senate Transparency Committee, which has advised the administration on the university’s public records fee policy.  It is a straight-forward conflict of interest: the largest single user of a public service should not be in a position to try to influence the policy on fees for the provision of that public service.

Now, obviously irritated by the suggestion of his conflict of interest, Professor Harbaugh is responding by trying to suggest that I somehow have a conflict of interest. So, let me set out the facts for those readers of UOMatters who may be interested in facts.

Here is a summary of all of my activities and engagements since retiring from AAU, some of which have been compensated, others not.  All of these engagements involve commitments and obligations made prior to my becoming involved at UO, either as a consultant from mid-October to late December, or as interim president after December 28. I have undertaken no new commitments since becoming interim president.

In the summer of 2011, I was asked by AGB Search, an academic search firm associated with the Association of Governing Boards, to serve as a search consultant on their presidential search operations.  I agreed.  After coming to the UO in mid-October, I suspended that association.  I did not serve on any searches.  I received no compensation of any kind.  Because of a potential conflict of interest, I did not recommend that the UO presidential search committee even consider AGB Search to assist in the UO search.  These facts would have been easily determined had Professor Harbaugh been interested in them.

Because Professor Harbaugh has submitted a public record request of South Dakota State University for the details of my consulting there, let me shorten his wait by laying out the details here.  In September 2011, SDSU President Chicoine asked me to come to the campus to meet with faculty, students, administrators, and donors to assist in their strategic planning efforts leading up to a capital campaign.  He also asked that I deliver a public lecture.  In late November, I spent three days there.  I was paid $4,000. Knowing that I had graduated from Augustana College, President Chicoine arranged with Augustana President Oliver for me to spend two days there, again meeting with students and faculty and delivering a public lecture.  Augustana provided a $2,000 honorarium which I subsequently donated to the college.

In September 2011, I spent a week consulting with faculty and administrators at the University of Chile.  I received no compensation other than my expenses.

In my economic interest statement I also disclosed, as I had to Chancellor Pernsteiner and the OSBHE before accepting the interim presidency, that I have served as a member of the Board of Directors of Lam Research Corporation, a semi-conductor equipment company in Fremont, CA, since being elected to that board in 2001.  In 2011 I received a retainer of $60,000 and restricted units of stock.  I am the lead independent director and chair of the nominating and governance committee.  I was also elected to the Board of Directors of ACT, a non-profit academic testing service, in 2011.  I received $11,500 in 2011 for service on that board.

In April 2012 I spoke at the annual meeting of CASE, the organization of university foundation directors and development officers.  This was a commitment that I made last fall prior to my coming to UO.  I received no compensation for this address.

I am a member of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This commission has met three times since the summer of 2011, once, last month, since I became interim president.  I am also a member of the Policy and Global Affairs Commission of the National Academy of Sciences.  My schedule has not permitted me to attend the meeting of this group.  Neither of these assignments is compensated.

I do not believe any of these activities involve a conflict of interest.

[Interim President Bob Berdahl]

I’ve got nothing against people making money – far from it – but for completeness, the Forbes.com report on the LAM Directorship is here. The “restricted units of stock”mentioned by Berdahl above total about $800,000 from 2007-2010, total payments about $1 million, 2011 is not yet listed.

Berdahl says of my participation on the Senate Transparency Committee:

It is a straight-forward conflict of interest: the largest single user of a public service should not be in a position to try to influence the policy on fees for the provision of that public service.

But Berdahl has no problem with AD Rob Mullens and GC Randy Geller trying to influence this policy, just to mention a few people on the supply-side of UO public records. Yet one of the reasons President Lariviere removed responsibility for public records responses from the General Counsel’s office and set up a new office with direct reporting to the president was the conflict of interest between the job of making public records public and the job of providing legal advice and defense to the university. This conflict of interest led to the firing of Melinda Grier, and the $2.3 million Bellotti payoff, to provide one well documented and expensive example.

I don’t think making a lot of public records requests and posting the records online constitutes a conflict of interest. I’ve been transparent about explaining my role in those few public records complaints that have come before the STC. The STC’s policy recommendations on the $200 fee waiver were enthusiastically supported by Dave Hubin, the recording of the meeting is here. I’ll also add that I receive no compensation for running UO Matters, except for the all-to-rare bottle of donated scotch.

The real issue here is very simple. I’ve posted a lot of public records about UO and UO athletics, many of them pretty embarrassing to the central administration. Richard Lariviere’s September 2011 public records reforms made it easier for me to do that. Rob Mullens and Randy Geller want to make it harder, and they’ve found a helpful partner in Bob Berdahl.

Nike and Oregon High School athletics

Apparently not all the deals are transparent and above board:

How Nike Dominated Oregon High Schools in 1 Fell Swoosh
SFGate/ San Francisco Chronicle, via the Associated Press:
UO marketing professor Bettina Cornwell provides expert commentary.

Sign up now for Senate & committee service

Dear Campus Community,
Thank you to everyone who has already completed the survey regarding university service opportunities. Between the University Senate and several university committees, there are myriad ways for you to be involved in shared governance at the UO.
We know there are countless demands on your time, but encourage you to take a look at the opportunities to serve the UO through a committee or senate position. This type of service is extraordinarily beneficial to the institution.
Please respond by Thursday, April 12. Filling out the survey does not automatically put you on a committee or the ballot – we’ll follow up with you before doing anything official.
If you have any questions, please contact Betina Lynn, the Senate’s executive coordinator, at senatecoordinator@uoregon.edu.
Chris Sinclair
University Senate President
Professor of Mathematics
Bill Harbaugh
University Senate Vice President and President-elect
Professor of Economics

CoD Dean Lindner apologizes, admits the union protects faculty right to meet and talk without fear

4/7/2018 update: 

Actually, as much as the administration wants to ignore it, the Senate’s hardfought Policy on Academic Freedom does too:

c. POLICY AND SHARED GOVERNANCE. Members of the university community have freedom to address, question, or criticize any matter of institutional policy or practice, whether acting as individuals or as members of an agency of institutional governance. …


These freedoms derive immediately from the university’s basic commitment to advancing knowledge and understanding. The academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal. Only serious abuses of this policy – ones that rise to the level of professional misbehavior or professional incompetence – should lead to adverse consequences.  Any such determinations shall be made in accordance with established, formal procedures involving judgment by relevant peers.

Apparently UAUO had to work pretty hard to extract this apology. No word on what happened to the photos:

Dear Colleagues:

There has been some discussion recently in our College regarding shared governance and the faculty’s right to gather and discuss difficult and often controversial subjects with respect to the direction of a particular department or program. Given those discussions, I want to take this opportunity to reiterate my strong commitment to shared governance principles, including the right of faculty to gather and discuss affairs without repercussion, retaliation, or interference by the administration.

In our unionized environment, those principles often overlap with the legal right of the union and its members to discuss union issues in a similar environment. I know my commitment to these principles has been questioned recently due to a member of staff inadvertently attending a closed faculty meeting and taking a picture. While I can assure you that those actions were not taken at my direction and were based on a misunderstanding that the meeting was an open town hall, I understand that this person’s actions may have been intimidating and caused some faculty to feel uncomfortable discussing important issues freely. For that, I apologize.

Since that incident, I have met with my staff and reiterated that attending union meetings, or taking actions that may interfere with a faculty member’s ability to participate in protected union or shared governance activities, is not permitted.

As we continue to build our new College of Design, I look forward to working together to create a positive and healthy work environment.


Christoph Lindner, Dean and Professor

2/22/2018 update: CoD fundraiser drops in on CoD Town Hall, photographs attendees

The event was pretty well attended, with about 30 CoD faculty and 5 or so union reps. There was a full and frank discussion that went on til 5:30, and continued in small groups afterwards.

I helped bring in extra chairs, one of which was then taken by a gentleman who unobtrusively started taking cell phone pictures. A union rep saw this and asked him to leave, which he did. He came back a few minutes later, and since I was lounging by the door he asked me why he’d been asked to leave and what the rules were for union meetings.

Full disclosure: I have no idea. So I told him that people wanted to have an open discussion and he was making them nervous since they didn’t know who he was. I asked him who he was. He said he was the director of development for design. I asked him why he was there. He said because he was worried about what they were talking about and wanted to know what was going on. I asked him why he was taking pictures. He said because he didn’t know many faculty by name and wanted to know who was there.

It seems a bit sad that the director of development would need to photograph a faculty/union meeting to figure out who the faculty are, but maybe he’s new. In any case turnabout is fair play, and so here’s his photo:

2/22/2018: College of Design faculty to hold Town Hall:

This Thursday at 4PM in Lawrence 230. Issues include:

The fate of AAD and the process used to terminate that program
The cutting of the summer Architecture program for high school students
The Portland Faculty Assignment Criteria & Process
The lack of Post-Tenure Review criteria
The management of the Ross Fund
De-emphasis on professional work and emphasis on peer-reviewed publications in reviews
The restructuring causing administrative bloat

Johnson Hall to blow $145K on another brander

Assistant Vice President, Marketing and Brand Strategy

Apply now(link is external)Job no: 522077
Work type: Officer of Administration
Location: Eugene, OR
Categories: Business Administration/Management, Communications/Public Relations/Marketing, Executive/Management/Director

Department: University Communications
Appointment Type and Duration: Regular, Ongoing
Salary: $140,000 – $150,000 per year
Compensation Band: OS-OA12-Fiscal Year 2017-2018
FTE: 1.0

Application Review Begins
May 3, 2018; open until filled

Special Instructions to Applicants
Please submit the following with your online application:

• A cover letter in which you clearly describe how your knowledge, skills, and abilities prepare you for the job responsibilities and requirements outlined in the job announcement. Please discuss each element completely and succinctly.

• A resume of your educational and professional work experience.

Department Summary
The department of University Communications is charged with telling the University of Oregon’s (UO) stories to a broad range of audiences and positioning the university to succeed and thrive. The department utilizes and manages a comprehensive suite of communications tools, including public relations, branding, advertising, licensing, digital media, and more for the benefit of the university.

Position Summary
Reporting to the Vice President for University Communications, the AVP of Marketing and Brand Strategy leads a team of creative professionals to advance the institution’s mission through the development and execution of exciting, innovative, and effective design concepts and campaigns that are delivered across multiple platforms. The AVP will provide direct supervision, oversight and direction to teams responsible for graphic design, video, photography, licensing, analytics and the university’s primary web presences.

The AVP works closely with the Vice President and other members of the University Communications leadership team to create a progressive, unified, metrics-driven organization dedicated to serving the university’s interests, including those of the students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

The AVP will demonstrate and inspire a team-building work environment, motivating staff and cultivating productive relationships across campus to innovate, collaborate, and reach and exceed stated goals.

This position plays a central role in achieving UO’s goal of ensuring effective engagement with the university’s many core constituents and helping UO retain and improve on its position as an innovative and leading American public research university.

The AVP also oversees the university’s paid advertising efforts, leading the team through concept, messaging, and development of campaigns that reinforce the UO’s goals and build brand awareness and affinity with key audiences.

Finally, the AVP collaborates with the UO’s Information Services division to ensure high availability of infrastructure supporting essential web-based communications applications and with emergency management to develop communications plans via the web.

Minimum Requirements
• A Bachelor’s degree in marketing or related field.
• Ten years in the marketing and communications field, with at least five of those years managing and directing creative teams in large, complex organizations, institutions, and/or brands.

Professional Competencies
• A strong understanding of brand development and multi-channel marketing concepts.
• An in-depth understanding of strategically sound design concepts and best practices in a variety of media.
• Proven ability to develop strategic ideas and transform those ideas using conceptual writing and art direction in measurable and metrics-driven branding campaigns designed to meet established goals.
• Digital literacy, proficiency in project-management software tools, and willingness and ability to keep abreast of the latest in marketing and communications technology.
• Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to communicate and work effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
• Demonstrated ability to manage and work effectively with a wide variety of people across multiple units and outside vendors to develop strategies to achieve goals.
• Ability to demonstrate tact and diplomacy and manage confidential or sensitive information and issues responsibly.
• Commitment to and experience with promoting and enhancing diversity and equity.

Preferred Qualifications
• Demonstrated ability to manage multi-tiered teams of 10 to 15 or more professionals.
• Demonstrated commitment to enhancing diversity through inclusive design and language.
• Experience in higher-education marketing.

FLSA Exempt: Yes

Architecture faculty raise new questions about competence of leadership, reject Provost & Head’s accusations of bullying, argue decision to reject new hire is retaliation

Sorry for the long post. Those who know the history should cut to the bottom for the new letter from the faculty.

The UO administration has a long history of making vague charges of bullying, harassment, and “incivility” against faculty who complain about administrative misfeasance and malfeasance, or otherwise question their leaders. They are trying it again on the Department of Architecture faculty. Those faculty are fighting back.

On Feb 15th the faculty held a department-wide meeting and voted by secret ballot, 20 to 9, to protest a series of decisions by their new dean Christof Linder. Full minutes here. The gist:


In response to input from a substantial group of self-organized Department of Architecture faculty, the Department of Architecture Ad Hoc Committee, whose members were elected by a vote of the Architecture faculty, advanced the following motion (made by Tice):

As one of the best known programs of architecture in the United States with a distinguished legacy of faculty, students and alumni going back over a century and to best serve our current and future students, the University of Oregon, the State of Oregon, and the profession of architecture:

–  the faculty of the Department of Architecture believe it is imperative to expeditiously create a School of Architecture at the University of Oregon that is autonomous and independent of the College of Design, and

–  the School of Architecture should oversee, direct, and manage all academic and budget matters within its purview on the Eugene and Portland campuses, and

–  initially this School of Architecture should include three departments: Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Historic Preservation.

The need for an independent School of Architecture is driven by the necessity to address at least 10 issues with the current structure of the College of Design:


  1. Fiscal autonomy (example: lack of budget control – it is now primarily at the SAE and CoD level)
  2. Program autonomy (example: closure of summer academy)
  3. Assignment autonomy (example: Portland criteria)
  4. Communication autonomy (example: lack of input on website – may seem minor but may have significant recruiting impacts)
  5. Hiring autonomy (example: inability to forward needed positions outside of the CoD)
  6. Administrative autonomy (example: SAE office staffing shuffles may have driven retirements and limited retention)
  7. Endowment autonomy (examples: Ross and Baker endowment fund allocations)
  8. Outreach autonomy (example: Dean’s Advancement Council rather than a true advisory council we can outreach to for advice)
  9. Access autonomy (example: Architecture is not even represented at the Dean’s level and accessing the Dean through additional layers is time-consuming and inefficient)
  10. Strategic autonomy (example: the CoD Strategic Plan (draft) has been developed with little to no input from architecture faculty and says nothing directly relevant to a professional program)


One marvels at the level of incompetence it must take for a dean to let things deteriorate to the point where the faculty would find it necessary to organize such a meeting and then vote 2 to 1 against his leadership.

Three weeks later, on March 8th, Head of School Liska Chan held a meeting of the School of Architecture and Environment and doubled down. The notes from her speech, which do not address the substantive issues raised by the faculty, but which instead focus on accusations against them regarding their “tone” and “bullying”, are here. An excerpt:


Intentionally or not, this movement threatens our school, and impacts every one of us in it. To summarize my assessment of it I will say this: It is harming our reputation within the University. It is stalling some of, and impacts all of, the progress we are making. It is taking emotional energy away from building this place and putting energy into tearing it down. Moreover, some individuals in the department of Architecture (this includes some NTTF, some TTF, junior faculty, and leaders) have been excluded from these discussions—discussions that aspire to abolish the very School in which these individuals work!

I further object to the tone of this movement. I honestly do not see how any concerns are going to be resolved with the independence movement or under the divisive tone it sets. The brinksmanship it creates, whether intentional or not, creates a climate of fear. I have heard accounts of, and seen first-hand, that faculty members in architecture feel intimidated and silenced either through exclusion and/or hostility. I am talking about eye-rolling and other gestures of dismissal in faculty meetings, communications that imply that someone who isn’t with the movement “lacks courage”…snide comments behind people’s back –I’ve seen colleagues attempt to undermine other faculty members who stick their necks out and ask for clarity, explanation, and a voice for the less dominant voices in the room. I’ve seen gender discrimination. Let me be clear: the hostile work environment in Architecture is totally unacceptable.

This kind of behavior has NO PLACE HERE.

In my role as a faculty member in the department of landscape architecture for the past 17 years, I have been consistently treated with respect, trust, kindness and compassion. This is true even when I make mistakes, go against the grain, or disagree with my colleagues. Yet in my short time in this role I have seen some faculty members gas-lighting other faculty, some faculty members using abusive language, yelling profanities and making snide comments in faculty meetings. I have seen attempts to undermine others in the form of rumors, half-truths, and baseless claims. Again, this kind of behavior has NO PLACE in the School of Architecture and Environment. Regardless of what the argument is, what the conversation is, this behavior – this bullying – has NO PLACE in a professional environment. Period.


This speech was delivered to the architecture faculty – or those who stayed to hear it all – with Dean Linder watching from the back.

The next day, Provost Banavar sent a letter to the faculty, previously posted here. This letter repeated the themes in Chan’s speech and was presumably drafted by her. One snippet:

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not express my disappointment in the tenor of this conversation and the actions of some that have led multiple faculty members to express fears of retaliation and describe a hostile environment and bullying by their faculty colleagues. Such behavior – intended or unintended – is not welcome at the University of Oregon. It too must end.


Shortly thereafter Provost Banavar told the Department of Interior Architecture that he refused to approve the hiring of their top choice for a previously approved search.

Today faculty from architecture sent two letters to the Head, the Dean and the UO Senate and the faculty union eviscerating Chan’s speech and Provost Banavar’s letter, and making it pretty clear who has been bullying and retaliating against whom:

The second, longer letter is under revision as signatures are collected. It will be posted when available.

UO Senate starts search for new VP, president elect

Email sent to the UO statutory faculty today:

Dear Statutory Faculty:

It’s time to start the annual process of electing a new Senate VP & President Elect. This is one position, elected by the Senate at its last Spring meeting. Any statutory (i.e. teaching) faculty are eligible to run (not just Senators) excepting those serving in administrative positions “above” that of department head.

Neither Chris nor I plan to run for the VP/Pres Elect position. We both agree it’s time for new Senate leadership to step forward.

Three year commitment:

The VP/PE is a three-year gig. Having been elected Senate VP/Pres Elect for 2017-18, I will be Senate Pres for 2018-19, and the new electee will be VP, and then Senate Pres for 2019-20. The year after they will be “Immediate Past President”.

Job duties:

The Senate VP chairs the Committee on Committees, the primary work of which is to fill appointed committees and vacancies and serves on the Senate Exec.

The Senate Pres appoints their Senate Executive Committee (with the Senate VP and Academic Council Chair and ASUO Pres as ex-officio) and is in charge of the Senate agenda and meetings. The VP and Pres are ex-officio appointees to the UO President’s Faculty Advisory committee, and the Senate Pres is ex-officio on the Academic Council.

The IPP has few formal duties, but typically assists, gives advice, and finishes up projects started as President.

All these jobs also involve serving on a variety of administrative advisory groups, Senate Task Forces, etc. The entire job also involves working with the UO President and Provost and their Senate Liaison (Melanie Muenzer). This year that has meant bi-weekly meetings between the Senate Pres and VP and the UO Pres and Provost and Liaison, and pre-meetings with the liaison. We also meet bi-weekly with the VPAA or whatever they are calling Scott Pratt now. There are also a few meetings a week with administrators, and Senate constituents about Senate legislation, resolutions, and so on. And of course there are the occasional emergency meetings. This year we have also been holding 4 hours of Senate office hours at Marche per week (9-11 Tu and Th, RSVP as occasionally we miss an hour for another meeting.)


The current compensation for these jobs is

Senate VP/PE: $10K, Senate Pres: $30K, Senate IPP: $10K

These amounts are prorated and paid at the end of the quarter served, and can be used as research money or as summer salary (after paying OPE benefit costs from them). Depending on your department, you might also be able to use this money for course buyouts.

This compensation is far below what the administration pays its administrators for comparable work, so we are currently negotiating with them to change this compensation to 1, 2, and 1 months of summer salary and benefits for the three years respectively, and also add a 1,2, and 1 course buyout for each year, with the final year buyout conditional on the IPP agreeing to continue substantial service work.

This compensation discussion with the administration is not going well. We had hoped to have it resolved before sending this email, but have made no progress as of yet.


The Senate employees a full time Senate Executive Coordinator (Betina Lynn) whose duties include keeping the Senate calendar and website, helping staff committees and schedule meetings, and other tasks as assigned. We also have a 1/2 time program assistant, Kurt Willcox, and undergraduate helpers for the Senate meetings.

Election process:

The Senate will vote for a new VP/Pres elect at the last meeting of Spring, which this year is June 6th. All voting Senators vote – not just faculty. The rules allow nominations and self-nominations at any time up until the vote. However practice has been for candidate(s) to identify themselves in advance of this and submit a written statement about their goals etc. Regardless, the Senate will hear candidate(s) statements and have a Q&A at the June 6th meeting.

We urge you to consider self-nominating, or talking with other potential candidates that you think would be interested and qualified. We would be happy to meet with anyone who is considering running for this job to discuss our experiences.


Chris Sinclair and Bill Harbaugh
Senate Pres and VP
University of Oregon