The Daily Emerald has been doing good reporting about UO politics again. So far it hasn’t risen to the standard of Ryan Knutson’s Bernsteinian investigative pieces on the arena, but reporter Alex Tomchak Scott seems to know how to do an interview. See this story on the UO Senate’s version of Florida 2000. (Not in story: the Senate minutes show there was no quorum at the meeting that elected van Donkelaar either!) Check out Frohnmayer’s quotes on Tublitz – I hope Scott brought a handkerchief to wipe off the spittle:

“If anything,” Frohnmayer said, “I’ve made efforts to revitalize the Senate. If (demoralizing the Senate has) occurred, it’s occurred because of many other demands on faculty members’ time, and because frankly some people have attempted to use the Senate for their own personal agendas, including a couple that I’ve named, and that drives people away. But I don’t think it’s my doing at all. I really don’t. I’ve a clean conscience and an uninhibited mind on this.”

UO has now posted a job announcement for the new VP for Planning and Budget. Provost Bean created this position because VP for Finance Frances Dyke hasn’t been able to figure out a new budget model for UO, and just does not understand UO’s actual financial position. This was convincingly and embarrassingly demonstrated at the Furlough meeting, when she didn’t even know the faculty payroll sum. There are two obvious problems with this 1/2 FTE job, which is aimed at current faculty – apparently to give us a voice. Great idea, but as we learned from the recent Senate meeting there are just not that many people who are acceptable to the administration and trusted by the faculty. Second, Frances will still be in charge and will do everything possible to hide her mistakes and make sure this VP fails. Better to bite the bullet and just hire a new VP for Finance, and quick – IMHO.

UO < Missouri

6/3/2009:
Quoting from this story from Missouri:

A recently released study done by the American Association of University Professors reports University of Missouri salaries for professors ranked second to last out of 34 public institutions studied, ahead of only the University of Oregon.

How far is Oregon behind Missouri? According to this study, $8,300, or more than 10%. (A reader points out this ignores possible diffs in benefit packages. True.)

Nathan Tublitz will be Senate President for 2010-2011. This email from current President Paul van Donkelaar explains the situation:

Dear Colleagues:

I write to let you know that I have heard a number of concerns regarding the manner by which the election process for Senate vice-president was postponed until the October meeting. I have sought counsel from a number of respected colleagues including Paul Simonds, the Senate Parliamentarian; Gwen Steigelman, the Secretary to the Senate; John Bonine, a Senator from Law; as well as members of the Faculty Advisory Council. I trust the judgment of this group of colleagues and although they provided differing opinions on the matter, the consensus was that based on parliamentary procedures as applied in the context of the meeting last Wednesday the vote taken should stand. In discussions with Senate Parliamentarian, Paul Simonds, the following two issues became apparent:

  1. The election became final once the votes were taken and announced.
  2. My assertion that the election was out of order because of a lack of quorum was incorrect because the absence of a quorum is generally not permitted to affect prior action.

Therefore, the decision to postpone the election until October is not valid. From a procedural point of view, my decision today does not appear to be subject to appeal, thus, there is no need to hold a meeting at which such appeals could be discussed and voted upon. As a result of this counsel, I hereby announce the winner of the vote, Nathan Tublitz, as the next Senate vice-president.

Let me add that I have learned this year that trust is something that is often in short supply in matters of internal governance at the UO. I am not an unethical person nor do I wish to be viewed as such. It truly saddens me that, despite my efforts to build trust across many constituents, my actions last Wednesday were apparently viewed with suspicion by some present at the meeting and in the broader community. All I can say is that the goal of my original assertion was not to deny Nathan the vice-presidency, but simply to ensure that a sufficient number of people voted. I would have made the same decision had the vote totals for each candidate been reversed.

Yours, Paul van Donkelaar

6/1/2009:

ODE reporter Alex Tomchak Scott reported that the Senate has decided Tublitz did win the ballot and will be President after Gilkey. Story here. The alternative candidate does not have tenure and in our view a Senate president without tenure would be too beholden to the administration and unable to provide the necessary check and balance. The latest news is that the FAC has “confirmed” this decision.

5/31/2009:

Greg Bolt has an article in the RG on overcomittment problems at UO. He mentions Edward Kame’enui’s $400,000 from Reading First, but not the $200,000 of UO money Melinda Grier spent lobbying the congressional committee (one invoice here) to get that investigation closed. Or so the timeline suggests. Charles Martinez comes in for special attention: he refuses to answer questions, but Provost Bean says he’s doing a heckuva job as Diversity VP, and it’s fine for him to ignore the 1 in 7 day rule, not run his grants through UO, have two jobs, and pull in over $250,000 – these rules aren’t for administrators! OSLC’s latest 990 form came out 5/15, but they’ve been ignoring our requests for it. As usual with Greg’s articles, you wish he would follow up on the quotes: “Really, Provost Bean – you think it is appropriate for one of your VPs to have a 29 hour per week job on the side? Would you offer the same deal to a professor?”

In fairness to Provost Bean he inherited Martinez from Provost Moseley, who had to hire a diversity VP on the quick, after he lost a discrimination lawsuit. So quick that UO didn’t even do an affirmative action compliant search. Rumor is that Bean and Lariviere intend to replace Martinez soon, hence all Bean’s effusive praise. One of the biggest problems with UO’s current administrators is they can never admit to the smallest mistake or tolerate any criticism. I’d think it would be hard accomplishing anything productive in an office where no one ever tells anyone the truth, but they really seem to enjoy it that way.

But probably the biggest conflict of interest at UO is Frohnmayer’s. Oregon law seems pretty clear:

… a public official … may not solicit or receive, directly or indirectly, any gift or gifts with an aggregate value in excess of $50 from any single source that could reasonably be known to have a legislative or administrative interest in any governmental agency in which the public official holds … any authority. (ORS244)

But half of Frohmayer’ pay from comes big time donors like Phil Knight, who certainly has a large interest in the UO President’s decisions. Phil apparently sends another $1 million or so a year to the Fanconi Foundation – except when Dave misbehaves. That’s a serious and very sad conflict of interest, in every sense.

5/30/2009:
Daily Emerald article says that at the 5/27 UO Senate meeting President Paul van Donkelaar decided after he knew the outcome of the voting for the 2010-2011 Senate President that there was no quorum and that the vote would be done over in October. The obvious interpretation is that Nathan Tublitz had the most votes, and that Paul made this decision to increase the chance of the election of an alternative he preferred. This is not a pleasant conclusion, so if someone knows more or has an alternative interpretation of what happened, please comment.

Just to be clear, we think the biggest problem with the Senate is that it has no input into basic budgeting decisions: like how much money will UO spend on academics, how much on administrators, how much on CAS, how much on Bend and Portland. The Senate doesn’t even have any credible information about current expenditures, because Frohnmayer, Bean and Dyke lie with impunity to the Senate and to the Senate Finance Committee about how they spend UO’s money. This problem needs to be fixed. Until it is the Senate does more bad than good, because it lets the administration claim their most bizarre and self-serving decisions have the consent of the faculty.

5/29/2009:
A few days ago we got a knowledgeable comment on our claim that the number of senior administrators was increasing. It said we were exaggerating: “this sure looks like a one-for-one replacement, distracting us from the more serious issues of the huge growth in Associate VPs, support staff, and so on.” We still think the number of senior admins has increased: We’ve added or will add VP for Diversity Martinez, and a VP for budgeting, and old VP’s Moseley, Davis, and Williams are still paid 1/2 time. But point taken otherwise.

Another reader then pointed us to UO’s institutional research site, here. It turns out there’s a lot of data on admin expenses. Still digesting, but the commentor seems correct that there has been big growth recently, much bigger than what has gone to the instructional side. More evidence as well that Provost Bean’s frequently reported 38% claim is bogus even according to the official UO data – which he presumably takes a look at every now and then!

The Commentor writes back: Yes, I have known about the IR site for years and often go there to get the actual facts – not that having real facts actually does any good around here. People hear only what they want to hear – helluva of a way to plan. In any event. To me one of the most striking features of the raw data, and one which most faculty and adminstrators don’t realize is true is that the actual number of tenure and tenure-track faculty has been essentially constant (631 +/- 17) over the last 15 years. Thus despite claims of “new programs” and more favorable faculty to student ratios, the plain truth as that has been no growth in these kind of faculty positions for the past 15 years. That defines institutional stagnation.

5/27/2009:

This Daily Emerald story by Ben Schorzman challenges the frequent claim that UO’s Athletic Department is self-supporting. It turns out the state gives the Ducks $1.2 million in lottery money every year. If that money went to academics, athletics would be in the red. It’s a pretty interesting read. He’s got a related story here. Mr. Schorzman asks lots of questions, and I hope this is the beginning of some good reporting from the Emerald on athletics and money.

5/24/2009:

In 2006 UO Provost John Moseley retired and was given a 1/2 time $124,000 a year sinecure as Director of UO’s Bend Programs. He wanted this because it allowed him to pad his PERS account and because he has a vacation home on the Deschutes. It turns out he’s been billing UO for his trips there – as these UO mileage reimbursements show. One reader pointed out that “Between June and Sept 08 JTM racked up $4441.75 reimbursable dollars for mileage, at about 50 cents per mile that’s 8800 miles. It’s about 125 miles one way from JTM (Eugene) to JTM (Bend) so that’s about 35 round trips in a 4 month period or 9 round trips a month.”

In the summer? Does UO-Bend even offer summer courses? Any OSU-Cascades meetings that Moseley actually attended? 9 per month? UO-Bend graduates 15 students a year. Moseley’s travel expenses alone are over $500 per graduate. Add in his salary and benefits and this one part of the administrative costs for Bend are already well over $10,000 per graduate. And Provost Bean claims this program is “in the black?”

5/22/2009:

We’ve been wondering what happened to the voluntary Fourlough program. After a lot of publicity and the hyped town hall meeting, the web site was never updated with new information or the promised FAQ. We finally received the email below on 5/20 from Provost Bean. In it he makes no attempt to encourage people to enroll or to donate money, and he does not re-iterate any of the claims he made at the 4/14 meeting, such as: UO’s administrative expense ratio is 38% of peers, Bend is making money, and the Portland programs are not a drain on Eugene. We’ve asked him about all these claims, and he has been unable/unwilling the document any of them.

The following message is from Senior Vice President and Provost Jim Bean –

Colleagues:

The voluntary salary reduction program is still moving forward, and I thought this a good time for an update. As of May 14, 435 faculty and staff had contributed nearly $462,000 to help with the budget rescission this year. FTE reductions attracted 271 individuals contributing $327,000 and outright gifts attracted another 164 for $135,000. Of the 2,581 eligible staff, 17% participated. Among officers of instruction and research the participation rate was 9%, while among officers of administration it was slightly above 27%.

I sincerely thank all of you who chose to be part of the solution. The $462,000 contributed helped defray the $8.6M rescission (take-back) of state funds this year. For those of you in schools and colleges, your gifts reduced the take-back from your unit’s budget.

Regards, Jim

5/20/2009:

Interesting NYT story about how public records requests from an american freelance reporter have lead to the resignation of the speaker of the UK Parliament, because of his efforts to hide public records about second home expenses. It’s an open secret that UO has swallowed the million dollar Bend loses for so long because senior administrators have vacation homes over there – although probably not with moats. Makes you wonder what will turn up once UO admins have to post their expense info. Nathan Tublitz’s accounting transparency resolution is retroactive.

5/19/2009:

This letter in the Daily Emerald from an apparently well-informed student provides firm evidence that President Frohnmayer will soon have to give up on the Autzen “O” effort – he is just struggling not to withdraw from his position prematurely.

At the 4/14 furlough meeting President Frohnmayer and Provost Bean said that UO’s administrative expense ratio was 38% of peers, Bend was “in the black”, and that the Portland projects have not cost the Eugene campus. We’ve recently heard that the OUS Board has now asked Provost Bean to provide his data in support of these claims. His remarks at the 5/13 Senate meeting were a first (unsuccessful) attempt regarding the admin expense issue, and we’ve been told more will be forthcoming on Moseley and Bend, and on UO-Portland. We’re not sure what has prompted this sudden change in heart at the OUS Board. Perhaps someone (not us!) filed a DOJ complaint about the Furlough meeting. Perhaps Lariviere has told Bean to clean up this mess before he arrives. Perhaps the Board members have finally gotten more aggressive now that their old friend Frohnmayer has checked out. We’ll see.

Bullies

5/15/2009:

“So the bullies have won.” The Register Guard Editors. The RG takes UO President Dave Frohnmayer to task for failing to defend Professor Sohlberg from the mob that was incited by this RG story on the O sign. The RG Editors can’t bring themselves to criticize Dave by name, but still this is a new and relatively courageous step for them. His contempt for the faculty has been obvious for years and is now part of the DNA of his administration and the athletic department. But his refusal to issue a strong public defense of Sohlberg’s basic right to “peacefully petition for redress” goes far beyond his usual pettiness. Still, now that the sign can stay, we’re sure he will issue a florid public statement of some sort.

underpaid administrators

5/14/2009:

At yesterday’s UO Senate meeting Provost Bean spent a long time talking about “misinformation spread by blogs.” We are happy to hear he’s been reading UO Matters, and we welcome his response to our comments on his speech:

  1. He refused to repudiate his Furlough meeting claim that UO’s Admin expense ratio was 38% of peers. Odd, because an hour before the meeting one of your Editors was talking with OUS Legal Counsel and Board Secretary Ryan Hagemann, who said that despite extensive searching OUS could find no evidence to support this, other than the document referred to here, which he agreed – in fact insisted – was not relevant. Mr. Hagemann then said that he would be encouraging Provost Bean to stop making claims of this sort unless he could back them up with data. Why was Mr. Hagemann so firm on this point? Perhaps because he knows that in Oregon it is a crime to misrepresent administrative expenses when you are soliciting charitable donations – as Provost Bean did (legal disclaimer: appears to have done from the video) at the furlough meeting. The ball is in your court Jim – got any more anecdotes for us?
  2. He claimed that Frohnmayer was paid just slightly more than his peers. But Bean – who has a PhD in Operations Research – departs from the standard Chronicle.com definition by not reporting the $206,000 Frohnmayer receives in 401K and retirement pay.
  3. Similarly with his comparisons of administrative salaries. He is claiming UO is the equivalent to the median AAU public university. Provost Bean, have you looked at that list of universities? Budgets, enrollments, Med schools, … You are comparing VP for Finance and Research jobs at Berkeley, Michigan, Wisconsin, UVA with UO? The VP’s at those schools deal with budgets that are what – 3 to 5 times UO’s. While the source for Bean’s comparisons (CUPA) includes this budget information, Bean dropped it from his tables. Provost Bean also left out his own $25,700 “stipend” – which he takes as additional salary.
  4. Provost Bean claimed that the faculty salaries we have posted included salaries for medical school faculty. It does not. However, his comparison group of administrators does include those with responsibility for medical schools.
  5. In short, the salary comparisons we have posted here are more reliable than Bean’s with respect to both the set of comparators and the accuracy of the UO salaries.
  6. Interestingly, Bean didn’t try to justify Diversity VP Charles Martinez’s salary or explain his second job at OSLC. See below, more here, and still more to come.
  7. Frances Dyke’s $170K helper VP. We get it: you are a gentleman. (When spending other people’s money.) But you are paid to make tough calls for the good of the university. Time to earn your pay and make this one.
  8. Bean’s claims on Bend have morphed from “we are slightly in the black” when asking the faculty for furlough contributions to “we’ve lost millions but we will almost break even next year – if no one notices we are keeping everything possible including Moseley’s salary off the books.” Uh, but he’s the Director, Jim. And what about Leahy and Seitz? You are going to lose your last shreds of credibility over this Jim. Everyone including the CAS Dean knows you haven’t been telling the truth about Bend and still aren’t. Sunk costs are sunk – so don’t use them to justify digging a deeper hole. You are paid enough to do hard things, this one is easy.

But we should all celebrate this:

Nathan Tublitz’s UO Senate motion for a bit of financial transparency passed on an unanimous voice vote with a few minor amendments. The argument was over when a Senator said to Frohnmayer: “You are asking us to give up our pay to help out UO. We deserve to know how you are spending our money.” Somehow that didn’t sink in with Frances, who kept on talking. During the debate VP for InfoTech Don Harris said it would cost $26K to implement, vs. the $10K OSU paid. He also said that UO was upgrading to BANNER 8.0. Perhaps this upgrade already includes basic web reporting features? If anyone has any inside knowledge of this or on why cost is so much higher at UO, please go here and pass it on. Why does Frohnmayer insist on fighting transparency to the bitter end?

The meeting also had the Diversity Progress report by VP Charles Martinez. Charles’s speech was straight up bureaucratic double-speak. As has become traditional, Charles brought a large contingent of Diversity Committee people with him for protection, announced their presence and had them stand before speaking, and took so long to say nothing that there was no time for questions about that nothingness. But at least this year he took time off from his OSLC job to show up for the meeting, and we appreciate that gesture – so thanks Charles, you are doing a heckuva job. Notably, he did not mention the UMRP once. We will have more on why later. The other rumor is that his office will be reorganized and Charles will be replaced in fall, because of his questionable second job – though the press release will read something like “Mission Accomplished”. We expect (hope?) that President Lariviere will insist on an open hiring process – it’s a little embarrassing having a Diversity VP who was hired without an Affirmative Action compliant search!

5/13/2009 AM:

The UO Senate meets in 115 Lawrence today at 3. The agenda includes Charles Martinez’s Diversity report and Nathan Tublitz’s motion for financial transparency. We hear that Frohnmayer has told the Johnson Hall dwellers that they are to support this iff:

  1. It is not implemented until sometime after he steps down as President on 7/1/2009.
  2. It is not retroactive to payments made while he was President.
  3. It does not cover expenditures from UO Foundation funds.

Now why would those particular things be so important?

The Daily Emerald’s 3 part series of retirement interviews with Frohmayer continues. Today‘s topic is athletics and donor influence. He moves from yesterday’s “UO is a hot brand” and “the state never gives us enough money” memes to “athletics brings in money for academics”. His claims that athletics has improved the academic side aren’t absurd, but they are all based on selected anecdotes, and the reporter doesn’t question them. The story ends with this quote from Dave: “That’s what the essence of academic freedom is.But the ODE website is apparently not accepting comments on the interview!

Yesterday there were no questions about why the hot brand is all about athletics instead of academics, and why Frohnmayer has spent the money we do get from the state on himself and his administrators and their pet projects instead of on improving UO’s academic ranking.

Nearly a month after the hyped 4/14 Town Hall meeting – Frohnmayer was so proud of this he posted it on youtube – the voluntary furlough program seems to have all but vanished. A few hundred people signed up – mostly junior administrators pressured into it by their bosses, who left the filled out forms in their subordinates mailboxes. But many faculty were told by their Deans and Heads that it was all politics, and to ignore it. Provost Bean has stopped answering emails about it, and the administration website hasn’t posted any updates since the meeting. Meanwhile, the junior admins and the few faculty who, I’m sorry – got tricked into this by Frohnmayer and Bean – are still giving up their pay, and no one will explain why. If you know any thing recent email us at uomatters@gmail.com or post an anonymous comment here.