GC Kevin Reed to settle another sexual assault claim

While there is still no sign the GC’s office is willing to settle the gender discrimination lawsuit brought by Prof Jennifer Freyd, this is the second time that I know of that Reed’s office has agreed to settle with a male student who complained that UO had botched its investigation of sexual assault allegations against them. Kenny Jacoby had the story on the previous settlement in USA Today here:

… The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) under Secretary Betsy DeVos facilitated a confidential deal between Wallace’s mother and the University of Oregon, in which Oregon agreed to change the athlete’s transcript to remove reference to the sexual assaults.

In part because of the “apparent predatory nature” of the acts, the university had marked Wallace’s transcript with a rarely used notation that would alert other schools to his actions, records show. “Expelled for sexual misconduct,” his transcript said.

Tristen Wallace disciplinary records. [University of Oregon]

But with the federal agency’s help, Loleta Wallace brokered a deal in which Oregon amended her son’s transcript to say simply, “Expelled for student conduct,” records show, a change that would make other schools more likely to recruit him.

Oregon promised Loleta Wallace that the August 2018 resolution agreement would “not be discoverable or releasable” under the Freedom of Information Act, but the USA TODAY Network obtained a copy from a university source. …

Hannah Kanik has the latest story in the Daily Emerald, on a different case, here:

The University of Oregon partially settled a lawsuit filed by a student who said he was denied his due process rights and was discriminated against because of his gender when he was accused of sexual assault in February 2016.

The university acknowledged that it failed to follow the procedures outlined in the Student Conduct Code and Standard Operating Procedures while investigating the student after the accusation, court documents show.

… In July 2017, Doe filed a complaint against the UO officials in charge of overseeing Title IX investigations, Sandy Weintraub, Carol Millie and Robin Holmes, as well as the University of Oregon, alleging violations of the Student Conduct Code and Standard Operating Policies, as well as gender-based discrimination.

… Carol Millie, UO Title IX investigator, was accused of interviewing Roe during the investigation without reporting the content of the conversation to the “record” — another violation of the university’s policies. …

Read the partial settlement agreement here

As near as I can tell the plaintiff has agreed to drop his lawsuit against former VP Robin Holmes (now at Lewis and Clark), former UO Title IX investigator Carol Millie (now at OSU) and former Student Conduct Director Sandy Weintraub (now Director Oregon Law Commission) in exchange for a settlement to be determined in the next few weeks. As part of the agreement, UO  agreed that it had been negligent and had broken a long list of its own rules:



Former PSU Pres Shoureshi broke ethics law, must pay $2,580

That works out to 0.3% of his $800K golden parachute. Violations included accepting a gift trip to Bohemian Grove, conflicts of interest regarding the PSU presidential mansion, and something about sneakers. Jeff Manning has the story in the Oregonian:

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission has determined that Rahmat Shoureshi, former president of Portland State University, violated state ethics laws three times in his short stint leading the school.

Shoureshi agreed to resign as the university’s top executive last May after he had come under fire for his treatment of employees and several ethically dubious deals following a 2019 investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive. Highly touted as a “change agent” who would bring private-sector ambition and discipline to Oregon’s largest university, Shoureshi lasted less than two years on the job. …

CAS interdisciplinary research talk series starts

Dear colleagues,

I am delighted to invite you to the next in the CAS Interdisciplinary Research Talks series:

During last year’s discussions about a potential reorganization of the College of Arts and Sciences (in the CAS Task Force), we heard from faculty members across all CAS divisions who expressed the desire for more opportunities for interdisciplinary dialogue and potential collaborations. They wanted support for interdisciplinary teaching and research and also said they’d simply like informal opportunities to get to know faculty in other disciplines.

In response, among other things, CAS is organizing a series of monthly Interdisciplinary Research Talks (CAS IR Talks) for the current academic year. The winter term CAS IR talks will be held in the EMU Crater Lake Room South and will be 35-40 minutes in length, followed by a Q&A. We have asked faculty presenters to speak to a general audience of faculty from across the College.

Vera Keller, Associate Professor of History, researches the history of science and of knowledge more broadly in Europe of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Her talk will look at the long history of universities and major shifts they have faced in the past, and how interdisciplinarity offered a means to regroup and face those challenges. In particular, she will explore the emergence of the research model and the modern scientific disciplines at the turn of the eighteenth century in Northern Europe. There, new research practices and disciplines were forged from a deliberately diverse blend of activities, including the study of global cultures, collecting art and nature, archaeology, mechanical invention, gardening, history, poetry, and opera.

I hope you will come out to hear Vera and enjoy the discussion on January 9th at 3:30 in the EMU Crater Lake Room South. Please support our CAS IR Talks and help us ignite interdisciplinary conversations. Light refreshments will be served.

Best regards,

Bruce Blonigen
Tykeson Dean
College of Arts and Sciences

Duck Women’s Basketball censors Soromundi Lesbian Chorus

There’s nothing like people singing “O’er the land of the Free and the home of the Brave” to bring out the fascism in big-time sports. The latest from the RG letters a few days ago:

On Dec. 21, University of Oregon women Duck fans were treated to a great game. Unfortunately, before the game, many fans were shocked and disappointed when the UO introduced the Soromundi Lesbian Chorus of Eugene as the Soromundi Singers. The lack of recognition for this fine chorus, that sang a remarkable rendition of our national anthem, was wrong.

The UO did a disservice to the chorus, lesbians and LGBTQIA friendly fans who support and deserve recognition and inclusion. At the very least an apology is owed.

On another note, missing from singing of the national anthem was the Kansas State team itself. This, too, was an unusual occurrence. I don’t know what the relationship between these two events is, however, it does make me wonder.

Debbie Hrycyk, Eugene

Presumably Duck AD Rob Mullens will now give their coach another raise, as he did for Dana Altman after this:

12/10/2014: Coach Dana Altman thinks National Anthem is the wrong time to protest racism

Our fool of a basketball coach thinks he owns those players. They shouldn’t protest when he’s trying to collect his $2M paycheck, off their free labor.

Fortunately we’ve still got people who can hear someone sing “O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave” and actually understand what it means.

Want to ask the players what they think? No. Duck AD Rob Mullens and his PR flack Craig Pintens have a rule about players talking to reporters without permission, and “Benjamin and Bell have not been made available to comment.”

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CAS Admin gives Faculty Union some credit for 2020 merit raises

Just kidding, of course they don’t:

The MOU between UAUO and the UO Administration is here. The TTF merit pool is 1.625% by department and the NTTF merit pool is 2.125%, so if your raise is more than that you are excellenter than the rest of your department.

For TTF, the union also negotiated a 0.5% university-wide pool for external equity raises. Expect an announcement about those in a few weeks. For the external equity raises, you can see the comparator data, by department and rank, here. Although these data are a bit dated, basically if the “UO Avg as % of AAU PUBLIC Peers Avg” for your department/rank is lower than 90%, you can also expect an external equity raise in your January paycheck.

Irrational exuberance for Masters degrees?

From InsideHigher Ed here:

The explosion of new master’s degree programs in recent years hasn’t corresponded with a surge in students, analysis by the research and technology services company EAB suggests.

Megan Adams, managing director of research at EAB, said many colleges have overestimated the popularity of new degree programs. They may anticipate awarding hundreds of degrees per year, but the true number is often a single digit, she said.


EAB chart showing lower expectations for growth every year since 2013 (NCES actual and projected master’s degree conferrals)

Forensics Director Jacobsen on fund modification and debate at UO

12/19/2019 from Forensics Director Trond Jacobsen:

I’d like to thank him for sending this very interesting letter on the history and present of debate at UO. It also explains his work on the fund modifications, which will allow these gifts to be used to benefit our students. And follow his link below to the Daily Emerald article, which has much more.

As the Director of Forensics at Oregon, and an alum of the forensics program, thank you for bringing attention to the good work of Oregon Forensics. Oregon Forensics traces our origins to October 1876, a week after the university opened, and we are among the most successful co-curricular activities at this university.

Oregon students participated in some of the first intercollegiate forensics competitions, the first radio and televised debates, and the first world tour of debate. An Oregon economics professor in 1926 invented the type of debate dominant in the United States, one that is practiced in modified form in parts of Asia as “Oregon-Oxford” debate. There is no public university in the country with a more impressive forensics legacy. Now based in the Robert D. Clark Honors College – President Clark was also the Director of Forensics in the 1940s and 1950s – we are and will always remain open to every undergraduate student on campus, regardless of background or experience.

That legacy attracted modest gifts over the years designed to promote and encourage student participation. As the Director of Forensics I became aware that three such gifts, totaling $140,000 as of 2018, were dormant, benefiting no one because they imagined a speech and debate environment that no longer exists. For instance, the smallest and most recent envisioned distribution through a Department of Speech that no longer exists. The other two imagined a world where 2500 people would buy tickets to see Oregon debate Oxford on campus and where competitive speech was the cultural highlight of a small and remote campus.

More students now compete in forensics activities at Oregon than perhaps any time in our nearly 150-year history, with more than 120 students in speech, debate, and mock trial, up from about a dozen when I arrived in 2013. Unlike competitions in 1889 or 1920, our competitions now take place mostly outside Eugene, at institutions like Washington, Berkeley, Utah, UCLA, UC-Irvine, Texas, and Cornell.

Using the regular and normal process we succeeded in ensuring that every cent of the income from these endowments will support students competing in modern forensics activities, rather than supporting precisely zero students, perhaps awaiting some future use removed from the intent of the donors.

Here is a link to an Oregon Emerald article about my efforts:

Trond Jacobsen
Director of Forensics and University Forum
Career Instructor, Information Science
Robert Clark Honors College
University of Oregon

12/17/2019: UO Foundation’s latest donor fund modifications: communism, oratory

Back in early 2018 I had a series of posts about the UO administration’s successful effort to seize control of a $2.5M fund donated by former professor Marion Dean Ross to the Department of Art History, for the purpose of buying books and photographs on architectural history. Full post here. The gist was that, over the objections of Ross’s executor, UO GC Kevin Reed and Foundation CEO Paul Weinhold were able to eliminate the restriction that the money go for books, and get control of spending from the fund removed from the department’s faculty, and put under the discretion of the CoD Dean – at the time Christoph Lindner.

Since then I’ve been keeping an eye on these fund modifications, thanks to the Oregon DOJ’s Public Records Office, which sends them on request without the fees and delays Kevin Reed’s office here at UO uses to subvert the clear intent of the law.

Most of these are sensible modifications to small gifts from long ago, with “impractical and impossible” (sic) restrictions, e.g.,

Although that doesn’t stop our INS from asking something similar on their Application for Naturalization:

In any case the court has agreed with UO to remove this test:

Here’s another one, dating back to 1889. That year about one out of a hundred Americans got as far as a Bachelors Degree, and the possession of one was apparently enough to attract a crowd, eager to hear your thoughts on matters of the day:

Times have changed:

What’s perhaps most remarkable about this modification is that Jacobsen didn’t have to give spending authority to his Dean – instead it gives it to him, the program director, where it should be. With the Ross modification, GC Kevin Reed argued that it was standard practice in gift modifications to take spending authority from the faculty and give it to the Administration. Glad to see it’s not.

How to boost STEM enrollment for women

Info on former UO CAS Assoc Dean Ian McNeely’s 2009 effort to bring grade inflation (most present in non-STEM fields) under control, which failed after massive faculty opposition and Johnson Hall indifference, is here.

If the argument below is correct, it would have led to a large shift of students – particularly women – towards STEM courses.

Colleen Flaherty in InsideHigherEd:

Harsher grading policies in science, technology, engineering and math courses disproportionately affect women — because women value good grades significantly more than men do, according to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

What to do? The study’s authors suggest restricting grading policies that equalize average grades across classes, such as curving all courses around a B grade. Beyond helping close STEM’s gender gap, they wrote, such a policy change would boost overall enrollment in STEM classes.

Using administrative data coupled with thousands of students’ course evaluations from the University of Kentucky from the fall of 2012, the study’s authors determined that students spent one hour more per week studying for a STEM course than for a non-STEM course, on average. At the same time, they earned lower grades in STEM courses.

The STEM classes in the sample were almost twice as large as their non-STEM counterparts and associated with grades that were 0.3 points lower. They were also associated with a 40 percent more study time.

Women in the sample had higher grades in both STEM and non-STEM courses than men. But they were significantly underrepresented in STEM.


More from Paula Barran’s lawyer Peter Jarvis

Well, she switched from using “bodily fluids” to “biological samples” in her legal arguments to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after I pointed out that that the former might be a bit too Dr. Strangelove. So my post was not just parody, it was constructive parody – the best and, I hope, the most legally protected kind of parody.

In any case here’s the latest letter from the lawyer who’s the lawyer for the lawyer who’s working for UO’s lawyers who work for UO President Schill, a lawyer. He wants to talk to my lawyer:

Mark Thoma retires, closes influential Economist’s View blog

From Noah Smith of Bloomberg, reposted in the SF Chronicle:

The end of econ blogging’s golden age

If someone asked you to name the greatest economics blogger of all time, you might name Paul Krugman, or my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Tyler Cowen. But there’s a third name that deserves to be on that short list: Mark Thoma, an economics professor at the University of Oregon. On Friday, Thoma announced a well-deserved retirement. But the changes his blog made in the economics profession will endure.

Thoma’s blog, Economist’s View, began in 2005. Like many bloggers, Thoma posted off-the-cuff thoughts on policy, data, theory and news. But it was when he began putting up daily lists of links from other blogs that Economist’s View became something truly influential. Many bloggers post periodic lists of links, but Thoma’s was daily and comprehensive; if anyone said anything interesting on any econ blog, there was a good chance that Thoma would broadcast it to the world. No one was too obscure to go on his daily roundup; if he thought you had something interesting to say, he would give you a platform.

… This had an important leveling and invigorating effect on a profession that had grown much too hierarchical and insular. But it also allowed crucial policy matters to be debated in real time. Academic journals often take years to publish research papers, then years more to publish the responses. But in 2008 and 2009 catastrophe was unfolding in a matter of days and weeks. Policy makers looking for timely and novel analysis in those desperate days couldn’t find it from the American Economic Review, but they could find it on Thoma’s blog.

Bloggers were thus able to influence a policy world still in the process of shaking off outdated ideas. … Thoma was both a participant and a crucial mediator in this epic clash of ideas. He himself was among the voices favoring stimulus, though he always took a moderate and measured tone. Crucially, he always took care to broadcast the arguments of the opposing side. I have never seen a fairer arbiter of debate.

… Thoma’s retirement marks the end of an era. With the rise of Twitter and other social media, public economics discussion has moved on. But the changes the blogosphere wrought on the profession – greater openness, a decreased reverence for hierarchy and a willingness to debate important issues in public – will live on.