NY Times Editors: Resist UO administration’s plan to arrest peaceful protestors

Update: The Daily Emerald’s Emma Henderson reports on student opposition to the restrictions, which the administration has given the Orwellian title of “The Time, Place, Manner and Protection of Speech Policy”.

2/12/2017: The UO administration wants to make peaceful protests a crime. They have proposed a new policy that will restrict the “time, place, and manner” of free speech at UO. Among the many restrictions our administration wants:

4. Use of University Campus for Speech Activities. … The interior spaces of University buildings are, generally, exclusively reserved for University business activities and therefore are not open for Speech Activities unless properly reserved in advance through the Facilities Scheduling Policy. …

And I thought one of the University’s primary business activities was free speech, or as Thomas Jefferson said, “for here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” Another:

6.4 While the streets and sidewalks of the campus are generally open to Speech Activities by University Entities, the Vice President for Finance and Administration may designate portions of a street and the time of day during which a street is not available for speech activities by any Person or group, in order to meet traffic, emergency access, and public transit needs. Any such restriction shall be content-neutral and viewpoint-neutral.

So they want to be able to ban marches down 13th Street by, say, South Eugene High School students protesting the Trump election. And UO students will need permission to put up protest banners:

9.4 University student organizations and ASUO may place banners or signs only in those locations authorized by University Scheduling and Event Services.

And, for those who disobey:


(1)            Any person violating these rules is subject to:

(a)             Institutional disciplinary proceedings, if a student or employee; and

(b)            An order to leave the immediate premises or property owned or controlled by the University by a person in charge of University property.

(2)            Persons failing to comply with an order by a person in charge to leave or to remain off the immediate premises or property owned or controlled by the University may be subject to citation or arrest for criminal trespass.

That’s right, the UO General Counsel’s office wants to have the right to arrest UO students who engage in peaceful protests such as last spring’s Divest UO sit-in.

Our administration is not alone in proposing these sorts of restrictions, and this Sunday the New York Times editorial page took aim at them all:

While their proponents say the bills and initiatives are needed to protect public safety and ensure civility, these efforts would crush the right of free protest at a time when key American principles and institutions are under attack.

Link here:

UO Foundation’s endowment strategies pay off – but where does money go?

Diane Dietz has the good news here:

The University of Oregon Foundation proved itself among the best in the country for shepherding university endowment cash in 2016 — and far better than Harvard or Princeton.

The overall UO endowment grew 5.5 percent last year compared with an average loss of 2.2 percent for peer endowments, according to the annual survey by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the money manager Commonfund.

About 2.4 percent of the UO’s gains came from investment returns, placing the UO in the top 5 percent of its peers. The rest of the growth came from donations. …

Not bad, considering that the S&P returned about 1.4% for the FY, with dividends reinvested. But we’ll have to wait for the Foundation to get around to releasing its tax return to see their expenses. Their IRS 990 was due Nov 15, but they typically ask for the maximum allowed extension – 6 months.

And the Foundation is not required to release much information about where their money goes. They dropped the athletic breakout from their audited financial statements years ago, and threatened to sue me for defamation when I pointed that out publicly, and released the data I could find:

President Schill proposes $945 per year tuition increase + $150 tech fee

An excerpt from Pres Schill’s letter:

As I have already noted, we will do everything we can to shield our most vulnerable
students from the impact of this proposed tuition increase. The PathwayOregon
program continues to provide full tuition and fees to about 2,000 Pell Grant–eligible
resident students on our campus, including more than a third of our first-year resident
students. [UOM: Thanks in part to the generosity of Trustee Connie Ballmer.]
We have also made significant progress toward achieving the goals set when
we announced the Oregon Commitment in 2015, which provides advising, planning,
and academic resources to help every student at the university graduate in a timely
fashion. To every extent possible, we intend to maintain the integrity of those important

TFAB report here: http://ir.uoregon.edu/sites/ir.uoregon.edu/files/TFAB_Memo_2-9-17.pdf. They are reporting the following cost increases:

Despite that $11M salary increase – a good chunk of which goes to upper administrators – UO faculty pay is getting worse, relative to our comparators:

For 2015-16, UO Assistant profs averaged 94% of AAU public university salaries, Associates 95%, Fulls 87%. That’s down from 95%, 98%, and 89% the year before. So UO is not going to be able to maintain “excellence” without more money.

No differential tuition for B-School this year, and the in-state tuition increases will be bought down if the legislature coughs up more money:

Full text of the letter:

To University of Oregon community members,

Pursuant to university policy, the provost and I have received the recommendations of
the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board (TFAB), a body containing students,
administrators, and members of the faculty and staff. Among the recommendations is an
increase in tuition of $21 per credit hour—or $945 per year—for in-state undergraduate
students. The TFAB recommends the same increase for out-of-state undergraduates
students of $21 per credit hour, or $945 annually. For the 2017–18 academic year, this
equates to a 10.6 percent increase in undergraduate tuition for in-state students and a 3
percent increase for out-of-state students. The TFAB also recommended various tuition
increases for graduate tuition and a new technology fee of $50 per term.

I regret that I have little choice but to accept the TFAB recommendations on tuition and
fees for next year. Pursuant to university policy, I am posting the TFAB
recommendations together with this memorandum for public comment. After receiving
public input, I will forward my final tuition recommendation to the UO Board of
Trustees for consideration at its next regular meeting on March 2–3.

I wish it were not necessary for us to increase tuition by these significant amounts.
Although the vast majority of our lowest-income students will be spared from this
increase by the PathwayOregon scholarship program, for some students a $945 increase
will make attending the UO difficult or impossible. Yet the state’s fiscal problems leave
us no choice. Oregon’s disinvestment in higher education over more than two decades
has shifted the burden of paying for college from the state to our students and families.
In 2015, the state made some positive moves toward addressing this trend with an
increase in funding, which was greatly appreciated. The governor’s recommended
budget, however, keeping funding flat over the next biennium in the face of rapidly
rising costs, returns us to the previous status quo of disinvestment.

Only four other states in the nation provide less funding per student for higher
education than Oregon. That is simply unacceptable. Public universities in Oregon have
calculated that it would take at least an additional $100 million in state support for
public higher education to preserve core student services and financial aid. If we
received this amount we would voluntarily limit tuition increases to about 5 percent.
Flat funding may not sound like a reduction, but the university is forecasting very large
cost increases over the next couple of years—largely created by salary increases from
collective bargaining agreements and unfunded retirement costs. These increased costs
amount to roughly $25 million.

Even with the substantial tuition increases recommended by the TFAB, the university
will still need to close an $8.8 million recurring gap in our budget for next year. We
have already begun a process, aided by faculty members, administrators, and students,
to identify how we can create new revenue streams and/or cut expenses. Roughly 80
percent of our educational budget pays the salaries of our faculty, staff, and
administrators. Therefore, any efforts to cut the budget will inevitably lead to a loss of
jobs and pain to our community.

As we move forward, we will strive to protect the academic and research programs of
the university. Our goal will be to continue and accelerate the progress we have seen
over the past couple of years in enhancing excellence in teaching and research,
including investments in faculty hiring, research infrastructure, and support for student
access and success programs. Budget challenges will make this harder and may require
difficult choices, but we cannot and will not take our eyes off the pursuit of excellence
in all that we do at the UO.

As I have already noted, we will do everything we can to shield our most vulnerable
students from the impact of this proposed tuition increase. The PathwayOregon
program continues to provide full tuition and fees to about 2,000 Pell Grant–eligible
resident students on our campus, including more than a third of our first-year resident
students. We have also made significant progress toward achieving the goals set when
we announced the Oregon Commitment in 2015, which provides advising, planning,
and academic resources to help every student at the university graduate in a timely
fashion. To every extent possible, we intend to maintain the integrity of those important

It is my hope that we can still avoid raising tuition by more than 10 percent and
reducing our budget through layoffs and attrition. I call on all of our constituents—
students, faculty and staff members, alumni, and friends—to join me in requesting that
the legislature and governor prioritize higher education and stop shifting the cost of
educating our future workforce to our students and their families. Over the next several
months I will be in Salem urging our lawmakers to remember that the future of our state
is being shaped in places like Eugene, Corvallis, and Portland. Please join me in that

If, collectively, we are successful, we can reduce the tuition increase. The TFAB
recommendation estimates that each $20 million increment in increased state funding
for public higher education would allow the UO to reduce the proposed resident
undergraduate tuition increase by roughly 1 percentage point. The full $100 million in
state support for higher education would result in a 5.1 percent recommended tuition increase
at the UO. Increases of state support would also reduce the operating cuts that
would be needed in the coming year. This would significantly help our students, their
families, and our employees.

Ultimately, we likely will not know how state funding for higher education will shake
out until June or July of this year, which is when state lawmakers historically approve
the budget for the next biennium. I will continue to keep the UO campus community
abreast of changes to our budget situation and the potential impact on the UO campus
as information becomes available.

I invite you to comment on the tuition proposal prior to my making a final
recommendation to the UO Board of Trustees. Please provide input using this form by
5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 17, 2017.

Thank you.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

As universities try to restrict free-speech, state legislators try to protect it

The UO administration finally gave the UO Senate a copy of their proposal to restrict free speech, here, and the Senate is now working on a less restrictive policy.  The Chronicle has a new report on the state legislation here (gated if off campus). An excerpt:

… So far, all of the lawmakers who have introduced such legislation have been Republicans. President Trump himself expressed anger this month, when violent protesters shut down an appearance by Mr. Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart editor, at the University of California at Berkeley.

In Virginia, however, Democratic members of that state’s House of Delegates played a substantial part in its passage this month of a bill briefly declaring that no public college there can abridge the freedom of anyone — including students, faculty members, employees, and invited guests — to speak on its campus.

Even before the 2016 presidential election made clear that the nation had become exceedingly polarized, some state legislatures had been moving to protect the speech rights of public-colleges students, mainly by barring such institutions from maintaining limited “free-speech zones” or by adopting new protections for student journalists.

The divisiveness that the election and its aftermath have brought to campuses, as well as recent uproars on campuses over certain speakers, appear to have heightened awareness of such speakers’ vulnerability to what is widely known as “the heckler’s veto” — protest disruptive enough to keep them from being heard.

The measure that North Carolina’s lieutenant governor has proposed is based heavily on model legislation devised by the Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank in Arizona, and by Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the right-leaning Ethics and Public Policy Center, in Washington, D.C.

Likewise, the Tennessee bill contains a provision calling for public colleges to punish people who interfere with the free-speech rights of others. The bill also has language providing that students may sue colleges that violate their speech rights for injunctive relief, attorney fees, and court costs.

A measure passed 65 to 25 by North Dakota’s House of Representatives, and now pending before that state’s Senate, takes a different, and somewhat softer, tack. It would require the State Board of Higher Education, which governs the North Dakota University System, to adopt a policy that prohibits public colleges from restricting speech, punishing students for free expression, or shielding students “from constitutionally protected expression merely because it is considered unwelcome, disagreeable, or offensive.” …

Athletic Dept to give the academic side $5.8M from new TV contract!

Great news – just as President Gottfredson promised the Senate he’d try and do! This will certainly help reduce the expected tuition increases!

Just kidding, this news is from the University of Wisconsin athletic department. And of course there’s some funny accounting anyway – story here. But still, it’s progress. How did it happen? Well, unlike the Ducks, Bucky actually has *faculty* on the committee that determines the athletic department budget:


UO reconsidering draconian liability waiver for T&F officials

2/7/2017 update:

From: “Oregon Track & Field” <oregonofficials@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2017 21:45:58 -0800
Subject: Waiver Update
To: Oregon Ducks

Dear Oregon Track & Field Officials,

Thank you for your emails and valuable feedback today regarding the
waiver that was part of the online officials database. Because of
your input, I am working within the University of Oregon to address
the concerns you have shared. I will provide an update as soon as
possible, but please allow me a couple of days to work on this.

Thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention. We value your
contributions to our program and appreciate your communication on
this issue.



Interestingly, the waiver form for other UO volunteers at https://safety.uoregon.edu/sites/safety1.uoregon.edu/files/volunteer_form_09_01_2016.pdf explicitly exempts volunteers from having to waive their right to sue UO if they experience damage or injury “caused by the negligence or intentional acts” of UO:

Please Read Carefully In consideration of being able to volunteer for the University and University providing liability coverage as detailed previously, I, for myself, my heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, release and forever discharge the State of Oregon, Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon, University of Oregon and their respective officers, employees, members, agents, and volunteers (the “Released Parties”) from any and all demands or claims for damage or injury, from any cause of suit or action, known or unknown, that I may have against the Released Parties and from all liability under the Oregon Tort Claims Act, ORS 30.260-300, for any and all harm or damage to my health in any manner resulting from or arising out of my volunteer activities that is not caused by the negligence or intentional acts of Released Parties.

I don’t know why they wanted the Track and Field volunteers to give up everything.

2/6/2017: UO wants Track and Field volunteers to sign strict liability waiver & pay lawyers

A longtime volunteer at UO track events forwards the following email, regarding the new UO policy to require their volunteers to sign a liability waiver:

I refuse to sign a waiver of all my legal rights “to be permitted to participate in any way” as an unpaid volunteer in multi-million dollar enterprise that (as we are repeatedly informed) could not function without our participation. As your email states, this is a new requirement that has not previously been demanded from track volunteers. As a lawyer, I recognize and understand what is clearly corporate counsel’s effort to “tie up loose ends” by forcing us to sign such a waiver, an effort that I view as a slap in the face of all of those who literally make this program possible.

I don’t mind standing for hours in sideways rain in April or 95 degree heat in July to support track and field. However, I will not “release, waive, discharge, and covenant not to sue the State of Oregon, the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon, and the University of Oregon (collectively, hereafter called the “University”), their officers, employees, and agents from liability from any and all claims including the negligence of the University, its officers, employees and agents, resulting in personal injury, accidents or illnesses (including death), property loss, and damages arising from, but not limited to, participation” for my unpaid volunteer work.

This waiver ignores and inverts the idea that it is we who are providing the free service for the University rather than the University providing us some benefit for which we are supposed to be thankful and thus give away our legal rights.

I don’t mind giving my “irrevocabl[e] consent to and authorize the University of Oregon to videotape, film and record me” since I’m not particularly photogenic, but if I am injured by some act of negligence of the University, I expect to retain the full range of my legal options which the waiver you demand I sign would eliminate.

I have tried to complete the sign up form without consenting to the waiver, but your “new system” prevents this. I have volunteered with the track program for nine years and had expected to be doing so for many more but if this what you now demand for my free labor, I – with great regret – must inform you that you just lost at least one volunteer, and I suspect many more.

I hope you will reconsider and retract this new policy and act in a manner that respects the volunteers who make the Oregon Track program function.

If you google volunteer liability release site:edu you’ll find that these releases aren’t uncommon. But UO’s language is particularly mean-spirited:

I also agree to INDEMNIFY, DEFEND, AND HOLD the University and its officers, employees, and agents HARMLESS from any and all claims, actions, suits, procedures, costs, expenses, damages and liabilities, including attorney’s fees brought as a result of my involvement in the Activity and to reimburse them for any such expenses incurred.

No need to shout, we get the message. If you volunteer for UO and they are negligent and you get hurt, our General Counsel’s Office will want you to pay UO’s legal expenses.

“Oregon Promise” takes from the poor, sends the rich to community colleges

The technical term is “lose-lose”. Saul Hubbard has an excellent story on the results of Oregon State Senator Mark Haas’s experiment – free community college tuition regardless of how rich you are – in the RG here:

-More grant recipients than the state expected come from well-off and middle class families. That reduces the amount of federal aid they receive, driving up the share of their tuition the state must pony up. Over 30 percent of “Promise” funds are going to students coming, for example, from a household with two kids and a gross income of $110,000 a year or more.

– African-American, Latino, and Native American students are all statistically underrepresented in grant receipt, compared to the respective shares of Oregon’s high school population they make up.

The only ethnic group that’s overrepresented, slightly, in this year’s crop? Non-Hispanic whites.

Oregon’s seven public universities, which saw a slight dip in in-state enrollment this year, are pointing to some of those problems and calling for the state to scrap the “Oregon Promise” next year.

The universities argue that the money would be better sent directly to them and to community colleges to hold down tuition increases, or redirected to the existing Oregon Opportunity Grant program, which provides financial aid exclusively to low-income students at universities and community colleges.

But Sen. Mark Hass, the Tualatin Democrat who led the charge to create the “Oregon Promise” in 2015, is bullish on its future. …

Next year’s story will be on how few of those students are still in school, given community colleges low retention and transfer rates.

Data on grades, courses, and meal cards helps students graduate on time

Yesterday UO’s AVP for Student Success Doneka Scott and Director of Academic Advising Kimberly Johnson talked to the Senate about UO’s efforts to use predictive analytics to help students graduate on time. Today the NYT has a report on similar national efforts – which include using data on social interactions – here:

… Different courses at different universities have proved to be predictors of success, or failure. The most significant seem to be foundational courses that prepare students for higher-level work in a particular major. Across a dozen of its clients, the data analysts Civitas Learning found that the probability of graduating dropped precipitously if students got less than an A or a B in a foundational course in their major, like management for a business major or elementary education for an education major. El Paso Community College’s nursing hot spot was a foundational biology course. Anyone who got an A had a 71 percent chance of graduating in six years; those with a B had only a 53 percent chance.

At the University of Arizona, a high grade in English comp proved to be crucial to graduation. Only 41 percent of students who got a C in freshman writing ended up with a degree, compared with 61 percent of the B students and 72 percent of A students.

“We always figured that if a student got a C, she was fine,” said Melissa Vito, a senior vice provost. “It turns out, a C in a foundation course like freshman composition can be an indicator that the student is not going to succeed.” The university now knows it needs to throw more resources at writing, specifically at those C students.

… At the University of Arizona, Sudha Ram, the director of Insite: Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics, has been experimenting with tracking freshmen — the category of students most likely to drop out — as they swipe their identification cards to go to the library or gym, pay for a meal in the cafeteria or buy a sweatshirt in the bookstore.

“We are measuring social interaction,” Dr. Ram said. “How many people do they tend to hang out with for different activities, and is their hanging out dropping off week by week or getting stronger? A lot of theoretical work has been done on this.”

The findings are put into algorithms to predict who is in danger of not making it to sophomore year.

“Most of the predictive-analytics people are looking at grades,” Dr. Ram said. “A lot of times it’s not the grades but whether they feel comfortable and socially integrated. If they are not socially integrated, they drop out.” ..


Jerry Falwell Jr. to lead Trump efforts to cut higher ed administrative bloat

The Chronicle has the news here:

Jerry L. Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, has been asked by President Trump to head up a new task force that will identify changes that should be made to the U.S. Department of Education’s policies and procedures, Mr. Falwell told The Chronicle on Tuesday.

The exact scope, size, and mission of the task force has yet to be formally announced. But in an interview, Mr. Falwell said he sees it as a response to what he called “overreaching regulation” and micromanagement by the department in areas like accreditation and policies that affect colleges’ student-recruiting behavior, like the new “borrower defense to repayment” regulations.

“The goal is to pare it back and give colleges and their accrediting agencies more leeway in governing their affairs,” said Mr. Falwell, who said he had been discussing possible issues with several other college leaders and at least one head of an accrediting agency for the past two months. “I’ve got notebooks full of issues,” he said. …

UO Town Hall tonight on response to Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban

Update: Standing room only for an excellent talk from UC-Davis’s attorney for supporting DACA/Dreamer students.

Meanwhile our wily neighbors to the north are taking advantage of Trump’s fear-mongering by offering an easy path to Canadian citizenship for international students who get a Canadian college degree. The catch, according to the NYT, is that you have to spend your college years in Newfoundland.

Update: UO Administration to host Town Hall tonight at 6PM in EMU ballroom, on UO’s implementation of the Sanctuary Campus resolution and other efforts related to Trump’s travel ban.

Dear University of Oregon community,

The United States has historically attracted and welcomed people from around the globe who helped build our nation, made scientific discoveries, contributed to the arts, fueled our economy, and created our diverse civic culture. Our nation’s first president, George Washington, observed that the “bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respected stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges . . .” Part of the University of Oregon’s mission, as a public institution, is to continue to support this tradition by bringing the best and the brightest here to be part of a rich and vibrant community of scholars.

Academic excellence and global engagement go hand in hand at the UO. By continuing our long history of welcoming eager, talented scholars from many countries, we draw global perspectives into our community and enrich the educational experience. By sending 25 percent of every graduating class to study abroad or participate in overseas internships, we widen our worldview, develop cross-cultural skills, and prepare students for a global economy.

We are troubled by the decision of the new US administration to begin a process of closing our borders by indefinitely banning refugees from Syria, placing a 120-day ban on refugees from all over the world, blocking new visas from seven predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) for 90 days, and signaling a religious test for admittance of new refugees. The UO is proudly committed to welcoming talented individuals from all countries to study, teach, and carry out research and scholarship on our campus. We stand with the Association of American Universities in supporting a visa system that “prevents entry by those who wish to harm us, while maintaining the inflow of talent that has contributed so much to our nation.”

Many in our community are worried that recent executive orders send the wrong message about our country. Many are concerned for our fellow students, faculty members, and staff members from the targeted countries. If you feel vulnerable and unwanted because of the US president’s actions, please know that you are welcome and appreciated at the UO. You are part of our community, and we stand with you in defense of our shared values of inclusion, equity, curiosity about the world, and global engagement as core to academic excellence. 

Like other public research universities across the nation, the UO welcomes and supports students without regard for immigration status. We clearly stated this as our leadership signed onto a statement by our University Senate on November 16, 2016. The university is now in the process of creating an administrative position within the Division of Student Life that will be a point of contact and a resource for undocumented students and those covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

More recently, we have been working to make sure the most directly affected members of our community receive our full support:

  • Last week we communicated directly with students, faculty and staff members from the seven countries targeted for a 90-day visa ban, recommending these students avoid travel outside the US, given the ban and ensuing uncertainty.
  • We identified all of our students currently on UO study-abroad or overseas internships. While none are from the seven targeted countries, five are non-US citizens, and we are working to ensure their smooth return to campus at the end of their international academic programs.
  • A few UO academic units are about to admit graduate students from the seven targeted countries. We also have undergraduate applicants and potential American English Institute applicants from these countries. We will work to maintain the academic integrity of the admissions process (seek and welcome the best candidates, with an eye toward equity and inclusion), while also acknowledging that the UO cannot control the issuance of US entry visas at embassies and consulates abroad. We will signal willingness to work with these newly admitted students and applicants, on a case-by-case basis, to explore every option available, as we gain more clarity on visa policies to follow the 90-day ban.
  • We will hold a town hall on changing immigration rules at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, January 30, in the EMU Ballroom. Experts on international immigration will review the current state of affairs, answer questions, and reinforce the core message that this university cares deeply about international and undocumented students. The event is open to all. 

We know many people may have questions and concerns. We will soon provide a list of frequently asked questions on UO policies and programs related to international students, faculty and staff members. In addition, the following individuals are available to answer questions:

  • General questions about international policies and programs at the UO can be directed to Vice Provost Dennis Galvan in the Office of International Affairs, dgalvan@uoregon.edu or 541-346-5851
  • International students and visiting scholars can contact Abe Schafermeyer, director of International Student and Scholar Services, abe@uoregon.edu or 541-346-1215
  • International employees may contact international employment specialist Jennifer Doreen, jdoreen@uoregon.edu or 541-346-2638, or Bill Brady, assistant vice president for employee and labor relations, wbrady@uoregon.edu or 541-346-2305

As we have stated so often recently, the UO remains committed to fostering an academic environment that is inclusive and welcoming to all, and it bears repeating that this commitment includes our international students, faculty, and staff.


Michael H. Schill

President and Professor of Law

Scott Coltrane

Provost and Senior Vice President

1/29/2017: Muslim-ban protesters ignore free-speech time, place and manner restrictions.  The NYT has the report on the JFK protests here. Think of it as a how-to guide for future protests. And the RG has a report on the Eugene rally here.