Budget

10/19/20: The NYTimes has an article about the resignation of NDSU’s president over excessive spending on his official residence – it’s about $1 million over budget. Meanwhile, Greg Bolt has an RG article on budget cuts at UO. There is no mention of the $2 million a year ICC cut, the $2.4 million Frances just spent on remodeling administrative offices in Johnson Hall, the $1 million a year we spend on John Moseley’s Bend retirement gig, the undisclosed cost of for similar golden parachutes for other retired administrators, the $245,000 we pay Frohmayer to co-teach one undergrad course, etc.

Reading Greg’s article you get the feeling shit just happens. Sure, but this particular shit happened because UO’s administrators repeatedly decided to spend the money UO gets from tuition and the state on themselves. The people who made these decisions are all still on the payroll, in many cases because of their manipulation of PERS rules. We need to clean this mess up before we go back to the students and the taxpayers for more money.

Budget, Lottery $ for Athletics

10/15/2009: Jeff Mapes in the Oregonian writes that the state lottery take is falling. Bad news for UO’s “self-sufficient” athletic department, which for some bizarre reason gets about $1 million a year from lottery funds to pay for scholarships for athletes. The academic side gets about $200,000.

CJ Ciamarella has an article on the Wed Senate meeting here, mostly dealing with budget issues. Word is there may be more cuts coming, since tax revenues are running behind projections.

Every now and then we get discouraged by how difficult it is to extract public records from UO – so we browse through about the only thing Melinda Grier is willing to share with the public – the UO Directory. And we find this:

Name: Mister Ooh-La-La
Department: University Housing
Title: Food Service Worker
Address: Carson Kitchen
1220 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1220
Phone: (541) 346-2553
Email: oohlala@uoregon.edu

Hmm.

Melinda Grier’s stupid union bashing tricks

10/14/2009: We’re genuinely neutral on the AAUP/AFT faculty union issue – we are still feeling this out – and so we feel able to make an unbiased comment on UO General Counsel Melinda Grier’s decision to refuse to allow the UO professors who support the union to distribute flyers to UO mailboxes, announcing a talk by several visiting professors from unionized campuses. See this CJ Ciaramella story in the ODE.

Melinda, are you really this stupid? The faculty is on the fence about a union. Lariviere seems pretty good so far and (almost) everyone is willing to give the guy a year or two to turn Frohnmayer’s legacy – a poisonous administration/faculty relationship – around. So what do you do? Remind us all of how petty, dictatorial, incompetent, and avaricious a bunch of administrative cronies Dave nourished during his 15 years here, and bring home the fact that so far Richard Lariviere has not got rid of a single one of them – including you. This one is good for 20 23 Union votes, easy. Good work.

ICC

10/13/2009: Melinda Grier and Rich Linton are still refusing to give us documents explaining why the ICC rate was cut. Rich did point us to statements on how the funds are spent. These numbers show that the hit to UO research is closer to $2 million than the $4 million we first reported. This has already led to cuts in startup packages and ICC returns to departments. We can think of plenty of better places to cut – Frances. We will post more when we get more documentation, and we will.

UO tries to charge

10/9/2009 update: Rich Linton gave a very helpful response to a request for F&A/ICC expenditure, below. We will put together a post over the weekend summarizing what we now know about this issue.

We have been reporting similar data to UW’s since I arrived at the UO, primarily via the annual reports available at the ORSA Website; For FY08 see http://orsa.uoregon.edu/web/reports/pdf/FY2008_FA_Expenditures.pdf
Figures F-3 and F-4 are most relevant and illustrate the extent to which F&A is used in direct support of faculty and their research endeavors.

Although our breakout of F&A expenditures by category is not identical to UW’s, it appears that we invest proportionately more in central support of faculty (e.g. start-up packages, matching funds on grants), and proportionately less in central support of facilities (e.g. operations and maintenance) or administrative costs (i.e. general, departmental and sponsored project administration combined). Note that 48% of UW’s F&A is directed to administrative costs, while ours is 24% plus the extent to which the units use discretionary F&A funds to support administrative functions The units generating the F&A receive comparable percentages of return for discretionary use at both UW and UO.

Hope this helps.

Rich

10/9/2009: If you google University of Washington F&A rate you get this nice explanation, complete with a pie graph showing how they spent the money.


Try to get that kind of info for the UO from Melinda Grier and Rich Linton, and you get an email like this:

Dear Professor X:

The University of Oregon received your public records request for a copy of the University of Oregon proposal submitted to the Program Support Center (PSC), the response from PSC sent to the University of Oregon, and the University of Oregon’s contract with Maximus. The University is now providing an estimate.

The University estimates the actual cost of providing the documents responsive to your request to be $173.11. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon in the amount of $173.11, the University will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of the General Counsel’s office at 1226 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1226. Your request for a fee waiver is respectfully denied.

Please note that if the cost of preparing the documents for you is less than the estimate, we will refund the difference. If the cost of preparing the report for you exceeds the estimate, however, you may be charged for the difference.

We’ve got a ways to go. Oh yeah, their rate is 55.5%, versus 42% at UO.

Promotion

10/8/2009: We’ve heard that Provost Bean has decided to reduce the weight given to research and teaching and boost the importance of administrative service in considering promotions to full professor. Another rumor is that Diversity VP Charles Martinez – given tenure last year – will be promoted to full professor this year. Please pass on any additional info on these topics, using anonymous comments. (We cannot tell the source of anon comments and if you request in the comment we will use the information but not post it.)

UO’s ICC rate cut – by $4 million per year.

10/6/2009 update: We hear from many disparate sources that this $4 million screw-up came from Frances Dyke’s office, not from Rich Linton’s.

  • Version A is that Frances did not take the DHHS documentation request seriously, and did not submit sufficient documentation.
  • Version B is that Frances took the DHHS documentation request seriously, but so much of the money had been spent on non-research items there was nothing that could be done.
  • Version C (everyone agrees this is part of the story) is that Frances’ accounting system is so messed up she can’t document anything convincingly.
  • Version D is that Version C is on purpose: there have been so many diversions of funds that it is important for the people at the top to be able to argue they don’t know the details.
  • Version E is that the person who had collected the data for the previous review left and Frances forgot to tell the replacement this was part of the job.

Version D would be consistent with her efforts to hide accounting information: removing BANNER codes from the web, exaggerating the cost and delaying efforts to post accounting records online – something OSU did several years ago. We will get to the bottom of this, because that’s what we do here. Thanks to our readers for the plethora of tips on this.

9/29/2009: Back in May we reported on the cut in UO’s F&A ICC overhead rate from 48% to 42%. (It had been 50% until 2000). This rate is negotiated between VP for Research Rich Linton and DHHS every few years and then applies to all federal grants. The idea is that a university has many legitimate expenses related to research, but not covered explicitly in the grants awarded to researchers. The ICC money goes for lab space, startup, GTFs, etc. It’s the bread and butter of research at UO, and amounts to about $30 million per year.

By our math – and keep in mind this is preliminary – this is a hit of about $4 million per year to UO’s research efforts. So the loss will approximately offset all annual research expenditures from the Lokey gifts. Huge. Here is Linton’s memo explaining how he will cut budgets.

We have been trying to figure out how the hell this happened. Here is the memo from the DHHS office that negotiates these rates with Linton’s office, stating the new rates but not explaining the cut. There is some speculation going around campus – like maybe the NIH didn’t think Moseley’s travel expenses and remodeling Frances Dyke’s office counted as legitimate research support? But here at UO Matters we deal in facts and public records – not rumor, innuendo and vitriol. And we will have those public records soon. (Meanwhile, please keep sending rumors and innuendi to uomatters@gmail.com, or post anonymously in the comments.)

Update, from an email from the federal employee in charge of the negotiations with UO:

The University of Oregon submitted a facilities and administrative rate proposal based on the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006. The proposed rate of 46.3% based on actual cost was lower than their current rate of 48%. The University proposed higher rates for the future years based on projections. As a result of our review of the proposal, we made adjustments to the proposed rates for the following reasons:(i) the useful life for the building depreciation was too short, (ii) the organized research base was understated, and (iii) adjusted rooms identified as 100% research to something lower. The University rates were negotiated with University Officials Richard Linton, Laura Hubbard, Paula Roberts. A summary of the proposed rates and our adjustments to the rates were provided to the University’s consultant (Maximus) and the University.

The Maximus website says:

In order to receive the highest rate possible, and to ensure compliance with OMB circular A-21, colleges and universities should consider outsourcing the F&A rate development process to MAXIMUS.

How to interpret what happened? The UO administration has been spending a chunk of the ICC research money that has been coming in for non-research things like Bend, Portland, and their other pet projects. About $4M per year. The feds caught them at it, didn’t believe their promises to stop, and cut them off. We will get more documentation – you can count on it – but can you read this any other way?
5/6/2009:

VP for Research Rich Linton has just announced he’s cutting the ICC grant money he sends back to departments to support research – money that comes from the hard work of UO faculty, and which is legally supposed to support UO research efforts. Any questions about where it’s really going? More on this soon.

upcoming Union meetings

10/4/2009: We are passing along information on 2 upcoming Union events. As background, a joint AAUP-AFT group is working to organize a UO faculty union. Their website is http://unitedacademics-of-uo.org. They are currently attempting to build support, get President Lariviere to adopt a neutrality policy, and at some point will presumably call for a vote. As we understand the new – and controversial – cardcheck election process, they will then have 90 days to get a majority of faculty to sign cards supporting the Union. If they can do this, UO’s faculty will be unionized. Not sure about OA’s.

The first event is a panel discussion on Tuesday, October 6th, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the Ben Linder Room of the EMU. The theme for the panel discussion is “Why Unionize at an AAU Institution?” and panelists are from several unionized universities.

The second event is a lecture/discussion on Wednesday, October 7th, from 4:00 – 5:20 p.m. in the Knight Library Browsing Room. The guest speaker is Ezra Zubrow, Professor of Anthropology, SUNY Buffalo and the University of Toronto, and the topic of the lecture is “What is the Role of the Senate on a Unionized Campus? The SUNY Buffalo Experience.”

Feds recognize UO Matters as a news media organization.

10/04/2009: On Friday we received a letter from the US Gov’t recognizing UO Matters as “News Media”, in recognition of our efforts to disseminate factual information regarding the University of Oregon and higher education in general. (We have no idea why they fell for this, but they did.) This apparently means quicker turnaround and a substantial discount on our FOIA requests. Damn I love this country.

LeGarette Blount gets a lawyer, Bellotti is represented by Melinda Grier.

10/3/2009: After 2 years of Kilkenny’s prodigal spending, UO’s athletic department has a serious budget problem. Fortunately their media contract includes a bonus for higher TV ratings. By reinstating Blount, Chip Kelly stirs up a little more controversy, brings in a few more viewers, and makes it a little more likely his $1 million a year checks won’t bounce. Maybe Kelly will get really lucky and Blount will hit someone else.

But there is some real news here. First, Blount got a lawyer from the new NCAA Alumni Association. There are few quotes below, but you should read the whole story on ESPN – the reporter has done some real investigating. Of course, the lawyer has an agenda of his own, but it’s obvious Bellotti and Kelly have been trying to hide the back room deals.

Bellotti dismissed the notion that Blount having legal representation or assistance from the advocacy group played any role in Kelly’s reversal. “None whatsoever,” Bellotti said. “That’s never been an issue in any of these discussions.”

Yeah, uh, whatever you say, Coach.

Second, this really gets interesting if you check out the sociologist Harry Edwards on wikipedia. Edwards has been advising Blount. Long, long ago, when America was a different country, Harry Edwards was a Black Panther and was the architect of the black power protest at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Personally, I think that was a great day for sports and for us all.

So, what do you think? Did Harry Edwards tell LeGarette Blount to “keep your head down and that nice Irish coach will surely take care of you and your kid just like he promised” or “this is your whole life, get a lawyer and fight for it.” And who paid for Edwards to spend 2 days in Eugene anyway?

10/1/09: The Daily Emerald explains that President Lariviere decided not to spend another dime of UO money on Frohnmayer’s “Old Town” sign craziness. The rumor is that Lariviere is also going to dump Moseley’s UO-Bend programs as soon as feasible. Lots of other good rumors. Early days, but it’s hard to avoid a strange and unfamiliar feeling of optimism about UO.

leadership advice

LBJ slept around, drank whiskey, got rich selling his influence, and lied a lot even for a lawyer. Then one day he gave the best speech in American history. Four minutes before Congress gets over the shock and realizes they need to applaud. “… and should we conquer the stars, but fail at this cause, then we shall have failed as a nation …” Take that pretty boy Jack. Two months later they passed his bill. Even the southerners voted for it – because he had them by the balls. Oh yeah, we landed on the moon too.

illegal public records

9/19/2009: From openuporegon.com:

Carl Malamud has now sent Oregon Attorney General Kroger this letter, stating that he has posted the Oregon Public Records manual online for free access. He also tells Kroger he will soon do the same for several of the other law manuals that the DOJ trys to sell, including the Administrative Law Manual, Public Contracts Manual, and Core Mediation Training Manual. Malamud’s letter to Kroger says:

… I’m sure you will agree that “the law, which, binding every citizen, is free for publication to all, whether it is a declaration of unwritten law, or an interpretation of a constitution or statute.” Banks v. Manchester, 128 U.S. 244, 253 (1888).

Malamud’s work is described in this NY Times story. His efforts to “make public law public” are funded by the Omidyar Foundation (ebay) and endorsed by Larry Lessig – one of Kroger’s old law professors at Harvard. These are serious people – if they weren’t, could they afford to boast that they are endorsed by the “Great Seal“?

9/17/2009: According to this post at openuporegon.com, and this and this, a UO Professor is in trouble with Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, for illegally posting a copyrighted version of the “Oregon Attorney General’s Public Records and Meetings Manual.” Now slashdot.org, a hotbed of open source information and activism, has put up a post. Last I looked there were 200 comments, and multiple mirrors of the illegal manual. When the open source guys decide your information should be public, it will be public.