Law school to raise tuition 7% – and not pay back UO debt or $10M subsidy

Dean Marcilyn Burke will ask the Board of Trustees for a 7% increase – but it’s a shell game. She will keep the money for the law school’s own budget, including more fee remissions. So actual cost will barely change, and after scholarships law students will still pay only ~50% of the listed tuition (on average). In contrast UO only has funding to give undergrads discounts of about 10%. From the Tuition Fee Advisory Board here:

A rough estimate of the current law school subsidy is $10M per year. The latest available data is 2017-18, at https://ir.uoregon.edu/files/Operational_Metrics_LAW_01092018.pdf They spent $13.2M on personnel costs. Figure another 20% for mics, you get about $16M. Add in overhead to JH, IT, Facilities etc, and you’re at at least $20M. They brought in maybe $7M from law student tuition after the discounts, and they taught another 4800 credits to undergrads at about $220 per, averaging in and out-of-state tuition. Let’s call it a total of $8M in tuition revenue versus costs of about $20M. Through in a few offsets from donations and you get $10M in subsidies.

Why are UO’s undergrads paying $10M to subsidize law students and professors? This subsidy helps the law school recruit better students, and is crucial to keeping their US News ranking high. Cutting this subsidy would of course leave the rest of UO with more money – which it could use to improve it’s over all US news ranking. But apparently that’s not important to our administration.

The huge increase in law school scholarships started with this deal cut back in 2014 between then Law School Dean Michael Moffitt, his spouse and VP for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt, and VP Brad Shelton:

UO was late paying 700 GE’s last fall

From Ryan Nguyen in the Emerald:

The University of Oregon’s original estimate of how many of its graduate employees it failed to pay last October has doubled from 350 to 700 since the mistake was first announced, according to an internal university report.

The report reviews the October 2019 incident in which the university failed to pay a significant number of its 1,500 GEs. Though the university originally said that it had not paid only 350 GEs, the report states that the actual figure is double that, at 700.

… The university did not provide comment about the report before publication of this story after four business days, including questions about why the university had originally estimated that only 350 GEs had not been paid, why it missed its deadline by two days and what specific actions it would take in the future. …

Helps you understand why their union insisted on keeping control of their health insurance.

 

MMXX-VI bargaining: Some crap CBA articles no one really cares about

That’s the rumor from the faculty club last night. Today’s Faculty Union proposals will include Release Time, Training, and Union Rights. I have no idea what the Administration will bring to the table, they like to surprise us.

Should be plenty of space to spread your work out. Free UO Matters coffee cup to whoever gets the most grading done between 12-3PM today in 125 Chiles. My continuing series on Budget Buckets is here. No live-blogging today, try the official Union tweets or Facebook, or wait for the Union’s synopsis Monday.

In other news the state is flush with cash, because our economists underestimated income tax collections again, and death tax collections have soared. Not because the olds are dying at an unexpected rate, but because they now have all the money – until suddenly they don’t and the state finally gets its cut of the wealth they have accumulated because they were lucky enough to be born in a country where the government protects property rights and commerce, winks at anti-trust laws, makes it easy to trade campaign donations for special favors, and pays for their medicare with a regressive tax on workers.

Get your tickets to Hamilton here, page down for the data from the latest Oregon State Economist’ revenue report:

 

UO Senate to meet on Expedited Tenure, Test Optional Admits, Admin Hiring

Today, Wednesday 2/12/2020, Location: EMU 145 & 146 (Crater Lake rooms)

Sorry, no live-blogging this time. Expect a lively discussion over the proposal to expand the Expedited Tenure Policy to Assoc Prof hires, (vote) and the Guidelines for Academic Administrator Hiring – which would write down some minimal practices for our Administration to, hopefully, use when hiring provost and dean types. They keep coming up with new rules for faculty hiring, and the new IHP is, from the rumors, still dominated by Brad Shelton – but they don’t want the Senate to even pick a few members for hiring committees for provosts etc.

Provost Phillips will also discuss the possibility of UO going test optional for admissions (no requirement for SAT/ACT). This would be a boon to Lorraine Davis and her special athletics admits, and might help with recruiting minority/first generation students whose parents don’t know the test-prep game, or have the money to hire someone to take the test for their students. The UC Senate recently voted in favor of keeping the test requirement – but of course UC is far more selective than UO, so the argument that the tests help admit smart students with bad HS grades is less relevant to us. InsideHigherEd story here.

Meeting Agenda. To watch live streamed meetings, click: WATCH.

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

  • Introductory Remarks; Senate President Elizabeth Skowron

3:04 P.M.  Approval of the Minutes

3:05 P.M.   State of the University

  • President Schill

3:15 P.M.   New Business

4:30 P.M.    Open Discussion

  • Guidelines for Academic Administrator Hiring: Senator perspectives

4:50 P.M.   Reports
4:55 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion
4:56 P.M.   Other Business

  • Legislative Updates; Libby Batlan and Hans Bernard

5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

Students to protest Board in Salem, Sec Wilhelms invites economist to speak

Hannah Kannik has the protest story in the ODE here:

“We are out here plugging folks to show up to a community meeting at the end of this month,”  Pishioneri said. “We’re also getting signatures not only to be added to our email list but also to be taken up to Salem on Thursday.”

Thursday is student lobbying day, where students from all seven public universities in Oregon flock to Salem to show the importance of funding higher education, according to the UO Alumni Association website. Pishioneri said the group plans to voice its concerns to state legislators.

“[Students] fund this university and they deserve a say in how it’s run,” Pishioneri said.

Nick Keough, an ASUO senator and member of the campaign group, said they are working to get the community involved in their campaign.

“We deserve a board of trustees that reflects who we are and represent us in that capacity,” Keough said. “Right now they don’t; they represent corporate interests and continued privatization. That’s why we’re working to democratize the board.”

As a neo-liberal economist I’ve got nothing against corporate interests or privatization, so long as they serve the public good – something which UO’s insular board has consistently failed to demonstrate.

In other Board news, they’ve invited an economist to their next meeting, to explain the “demographic cliff” to them. In a nutshell, the US birthrate fell during the great recession and has not recovered, so the number of college age students will start falling in about 5 years – just when Brad Shelton’s budget model had been predicting big enrollment increases. Whoops.

The Senate’s Exec Committee asked Faculty Trustee Laura Lee McIntyre about this last year. She’d never heard of it, then got mad when we asked civil and respectfully tough questions about what she did know about how UO was planning to deal with it in future budgets. It appears she, or BoT Secretary Angela Wilhelms got the message though – as often happens during uncomfortable conversations – so they’re bringing out an economist to explain it to the BoT next month:

Hello.

Dr. Nathan Grawe, a professor of economics at Carleton College and author of Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, will visit the University of Oregon on March 17 for a presentation and Q&A session about his demographic analyses and the potential implications to higher education.

March 17, 10:30 a.m. EMU 214 – Redwood Auditorium

For decades, demographic forces have been reshaping the composition of the population of traditional-aged college students.  Now, a recent decline in fertility points to additional disruption as prospective student pools shrink in the mid-2020s.  After examining these forces and their potential to disrupt markets for higher education, Professor Grawe will share examples of how various colleges and universities are proactively engaging these demographic challenges.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to trustees@uoregon.edu. Please also pass this information on to others in your unit or department who might be interested.

Dr. Grawe is coming to the UO at the invitation of the Board of Trustees, which will meet with him in the afternoon of March 17 at approximately 2:00 p.m. If you cannot attend the morning session but are interested in Dr. Grawe’s presentation, the Board of Trustees’ meeting is open to the public (Ford Alumni Center, Giustina Ballroom) and will be webcast (https://trustees.uoregon.edu/meetings).

Thank you, Angela Wilhelms, University Secretary & Advisor to the President

Great timing for the Administration to use it against the Faculty Union in bargaining.

Duck AD Rob Mullens looking to leave too

5/2/2019 update:

The Oregonian’s James Crepea has the scoop here:

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens is a candidate for the recently vacated position at Texas A&M, according to a source with knowledge of the search. …

Which is sort of odd, because when he got his last raise he said he wanted to stay in Eugene and raise his family here.

7/7/2017: Rob Mullens’ secret $10M 8-year porkalicious contract & perverse incentives

Continue reading

President Schill to mingle at Faculty Club tonight

Senators and Presidents at the Faculty Club, January 29, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

The Faculty Club is open this week, at the usual times (5-8 on Wednesday and Thursday).  Wednesday, rub elbows with the UO Senators, many of whom repair to the Faculty Club after their body adjourns—this is an excellent way to get the scuttlebutt without having to sit through the full Senate meeting!

And on Thursday we up the ante; UO President Michael Schill will be with us, hobnobbing with the crowd and delivering the Six-o-Clock Toast.  As the President’s office is the primary sponsor of the Faculty club, let’s try for a record turnout to show how well this “noble experiment” is working.

I hope to see you one night or the other (or both nights — remember that attendance awards, with mystery prizes, are given at the end of each academic year).

Yours, James Harper
Chair of the Faculty Club Board

+++++++++++++++++++++++

WHO: The UO Faculty Club is open to all UO faculty—tenure-track faculty, non-tenure-track faculty, library faculty, and OAs tenured in an academic department, as well as people retired from positions in these categories.  Eligible people may bring any guests they like.

WHAT: Cash Bar with beer, wine, liquor and non-alcoholic beverages; complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

WHERE: The Faculty Club meets in a designated room on the ground floor of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.  Enter at the museum’s main entrance and turn right; the club room is right off the lobby.

WHEN: Wednesdays & Thursdays 5:00-8:00 pm.  We will meet through the last week of classes in Fall Term (i.e. through November 29); activity will resume in the Winter and Spring terms.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Faculty Club Board Chair James Harper (Dept. of the History of Art and Architecture), harperj@uoregon.edu

UO journalism students demonstrate the public interest in public records

As the RG sinks into the abyss, the Eugene Weekly is doing a more and more impressive job in keeping tabs on local government, with the help of UO journalism students. Their latest:

An Unsuccessful Solution


• Nearly 30 percent of people who completed the Community Court program have since been convicted in the city’s courts, a recidivism rate far higher than city officials have made public. In fact, these Community Court graduates are being convicted of crimes at the same rate as before they entered the program.

• Overall, Community Court isn’t reaching the people who need it most. Defendants who failed in the program or simply opted out are showing up in court more often, creating an even bigger caseload than before.

Daily Emerald on new policy on faculty/employee relationships w/ students

Hannah Kanik, here:

Sonja Boos, co-chair of the committee on sexual and gender based violence, said the policy aims to protect students from authority figures abusing power.

…  Going forward, the committee will begin a push to inform students of the policy so they are aware of their rights, Boos said.

“The emphasis is not on policing the sexual behaviors of people. The emphasis is to change the culture where people with power can abuse that,” Boos said.

Duck Football brings more great publicity and legal bills to UO

1/13/2019 update:  

UO football player Sam Poutasi suing UO, Taggart 1 day after Doug Brenner files similar lawsuit

Jack Butler and Shawn Medow had the scoop on the second lawsuit in the Daily Emerald on Friday. There are many national news stories on this now, including Austin Meek in the RG here:

… Brenner, who is seeking $11.5 million in damages, said he decided to move forward with a lawsuit after recent tests revealed long-term kidney damage that could shorten his life by 10 years or more.

“Because of those results, and because my life will be shorter because of those results, I decided that I needed to take action, partially for me but mainly to make sure this doesn’t happen to any other kids along the line,” Brenner said Thursday, speaking from the office of his Portland-based attorney.

Lawsuits from Brenner and Poutasi have brought renewed scrutiny to the workout incident and the university’s response. The players say they were forced to perform hundreds of push-ups and another rigorous strength training exercise without rest and with no water readily available on the first day of winter workouts, causing some players to vomit and at least one to pass out.

Kicker Aidan Schneider was in the same workout group with Brenner and Poutasi and confirmed Brenner’s account of the incident.

“Doug’s description is very accurate as far as I remember,” said Schneider, who graduated after the 2017 season. “I think what a lot of people were thinking is, ‘This is ridiculous.’”

According to the players’ accounts, the group was forced to perform a series of exercises in unison. If any player faltered or had imperfect form, the entire group was forced to repeat the exercise. …

The players need a union, but lawsuits seem like a reasonable second best.

1/9/2019: Mr. Brenner seems like a stand-up guy:

And he’s represented by Jason Kafoury, who has run circles around UO’s General Counsel Kevin Reed and his deputy Doug Park before.

The Oregonian’s James Crepea has the latest fallout from Rob Mullen’s decision to fire what’s his name and hire Willie Taggart:

Former Oregon Ducks football player Doug Brenner is suing the University of Oregon, former football coach Willie Taggart, former strength coach Irele Oderinde and the NCAA for negligence stemming from his January 2017 hospitalization following strenuous offseason workouts that resulted in rhabdomyolysis and subsequent injuries.

Brenner is seeking $11.5 million in damages.

In an 18-page suit filed in Multnomah County circuit court on Wednesday, Brenner’s attorneys allege the University of Oregon was negligent for failing to prohibit, regulate or supervise the workouts, which they describe as “physical punishment regimens.” The lawsuit also alleges that Taggart and Oderinde, both now at Florida State, were negligent in imposing and carrying out the workouts, and that the NCAA has failed to regulate such practices.

According to the lawsuit, shortly after Taggart was hired in December 2016, he told the team that he and his coaching staff “were going to focus on discipline in strength and conditioning and that they were ‘going to find the snakes in the grass and cut their heads off.’”

Brenner was one of three Oregon players, along with fellow offensive lineman Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick, hospitalized following the workouts in early January 2017. They each were diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a syndrome in which muscles break down with “leakage into the blood stream of muscle contents,” according to the NCAA sports medicine handbook. Neither Poutasi nor McCormick, who are still members of Oregon’s football team, are parties in the lawsuit. …

“Faculty” Athletics Representative Tim Gleason’s report on the Rhabdo Incident is here. Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office tried to hide Oderinde’s resume from CBS by claiming he was faculty. And the Duck’s Director of Athletic Medicine, Greg Skaggs, was not board certified in Sports Medicine. Discovery should be interesting.

Portland State IRB goes after philosopher for critical studies hoax

Wow is this a dumb move. Here’s hoping their Senate takes action to defend his academic freedom. From InsideHigherEd:

Peter Boghossian

A hoax revealing that academic journals had accepted fake papers on topics from canine “rape culture” in dog parks to “fat bodybuilding” to an adaption of Mein Kampf met with applause and scorn in the fall. Fans of the project tended to agree with the hoaxers that critical studies scholars will validate anything aligned with their politics. Critics said that the researchers acted in bad faith, wasting editors’ and reviewers’ time and very publicly besmirching academe in the process: the story was covered by nearly every major news outlet.

Now the controversy has flared up again, with news that one of the project’s authors faces disciplinary action at his home institution. Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University and the only one of three researchers on the project to hold a full-time academic position, was found by his institutional review board to have committed research misconduct. Specifically, he failed to secure its approval before proceeding with research on human subjects — in this case, the journal editors and reviewers he was tricking with his absurd but seemingly well-researched papers.

University pays $650K to end lawsuit over blog

The Chicago Tribune has the story here:

A bitter lawsuit between Chicago State University and two professors who published a blog rebuking school leadership is coming to an end after more than four years.

Chicago State has agreed to pay $650,000 in damages and attorneys fees to professors Robert Bionaz and Phillip Beverly, concluding yet another costly litigation involving the Far South Side institution in recent years. The professors alleged that the university violated their free speech rights in repeatedly attempting to shut down their blog, CSU Faculty Voice, which they billed as “the faculty’s uncensored voice.”

Launched in 2009, the blog has criticized university administrators, …

Here at UO Matters I’ve had many lawsuit threats, from the UO Foundation, from former President Frohnmayer (who made similar threats against the Daily Emerald and at least one other newspaper) and from various UO general counsels. Most recently I was warned of one critical comment, that “It is not likely to lead to a place you would want to go.” Or perhaps he just meant North Dakota?

President Schill finds safe space for State of the University speech

You may recall that there was a bit of trouble in the EMU last time. This year the Eugene City Club is holding it, off campus. UO gave the city club a $5K donation to become a sponsor, contract here. I’ve been told by one City Club member that the club made assurances that it would make efforts to limit protests and disparaging statements, but the contract has no such clause.

Undergrads shifting demands for knowledge

UO physicist Raghu Parthasarathy’s Eighteenth Elephant blog has a fascinating post about changes in what students are majoring in, here. It was motivated by this report about the decline in history majors, which included this remarkable figure:

Obviously there have been huge shifts in what sorts of knowledge undergraduates demand. Raghu takes the next step, comparing the changes at UO to comparators:

Read the rest of his post for interpretation and methodology.