Admins responded to last year’s heat emergency by banning new PLC window AC units

8/3/2017 update: 

That’s not a rumor, it’s a fact. Meanwhile, reports from staff survivors are that the inside temperature hit 92 an hour ago.

Here’s the report from last year:

8/19/2016: Faculty Union to sue university over cruel and inhumane lack of AC in PLC

The NYT has the story here. Just kidding about the faculty union, it’s about Louisiana inmates suing the State Department of Corrections. Interestingly, Texas law requires jails be kept between 65 and 85 degrees. (Fahrenheit, I hope.)

Here in PLC, the administration has dealt with the heat problem with this list of helpful suggestions, including “sit forward in your chair instead of leaning against the backrest” and “wipe your face, neck and arms with cool water”:

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 1.52.17 PM

Panicked UO communicators spew nonsense in basketball allegation response

8/3/2017 update: No charges filed against former Dana Altman player

Dylan Darling has the latest in the RG here:

Police at a small college in Wyoming have closed a sexual assault case involving a member of the University of Oregon’s Final Four basketball team and no charges will be filed. …

Presumably this means the UOPD and NWCCDPD police reports will soon be released.

6/22/2017 update: And don’t get me started on their grammar. I’ve made a few notes on the response below, the official version is posted on Around the O:

The university issued the following statement June 22:

Recent media coverage of an allegation of sexual assault by a former member of the UO’s basketball program has created some questions about the university’s response. The University of Oregon takes very seriously any allegation of sexual assault or misconduct regardless of whether [or not] it involves a student athlete.

In most cases involving accusation[s] of sexual assault, it is impossible [perhaps you mean to claim it is illegal?] and inappropriate to publicly disclose details to protect the rights of victims [and yet police departments and prosecutors do this all the time by using pseudonyms – see for example the Jane Doe documents for the last basketball rape allegations] and those who report violations under Title IX, to comply with federal student privacy laws [say, don’t athletes have to sign the FERPA release?], and to provide those accused with appropriate due process. [Uh, so then why did the UOPD (eventually) release the police report to the Emerald? See it here.]

This was a scenario [scenario is the word when you’re play-acting crises and responses, not when you’re responding to an actual event] that stemmed from a law enforcement inquiry by the Northern Wyoming Community College [District] police.UO police have no jurisdiction in Wyoming, [thanks, good to know] and it would be inappropriate for the UO to provide details on an inquiry led by another law enforcement agency. [Even if doing so might protect UO students? Did the UOPD ask the NWCCDPD if they cared?]

The UO Police Department was contacted in the fall of 2016 to assist the NWCCD police in an interview with Kavell Bigby-Williams. UO athletics assisted UOPD in contacting Bigby-Williams, who declined to be interviewed through his attorney. [It’s OK, we know what you were trying to say here.] That information was provided to the NWCCD Police Department. 

Information detailing allegations was not shared with the coaching staff to protect [the] integrity of the inquiry. [We can understand why the UOPD wouldn’t trust Dana Altman, but why wasn’t it shared with AD Rob Mullens and President Mike Schill? Does the UOPD not trust them either?] The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics’ only role was to provide contact information for the player and to coordinate with the university’s Title IX coordinator. [What does coordinate mean here? Was a Title IX investigation started?]

University processes, then as now, involve communication between campus police, the Title IX office and athletics administration to determine whether there is a risk to the campus community that requires immediate action. In September 2016, there was insufficient information to warrant interim action. Since September, UOPD has received no further information or requests for assistance from the NWCCD police suggesting the inquiry had advanced in any way. [Did they ask? And did any new information develop? Was anyone alerted to look for it?]

6/22/2017 update: Dana Altman brings UO more of that national publicity money just can’t buy

Now in the Washington Post here:

Kavell Bigby-Williams played one season for the Oregon men’s basketball team, helping the Ducks to the Final Four in 2016-17. For the entirety of that season, he was being investigated for sexual assault by police in Wyoming for an incident that took place in September near Gillette College, the junior college from which Bigby-Williams transferred to Oregon.

According to a report by the Emerald’s Kenny Jacoby, a woman accused Bigby-Williams of sexually assaulting her at an apartment near the Gillette College campus sometime between 10 p.m. on Sept. 17 and 3 a.m. on Sept. 18, about a week before fall classes began at Oregon. The Northern Wyoming Community College District (NWCCD) campus police then began its investigation, which according to Jacoby remains open, though NWCCD police refused to comment about it. Bigby-Williams has since announced his intention to transfer to Louisiana State.

It remains unclear whether Ducks Coach Dana Altman, Athletic Director Rob Mullens or other school officials were aware of the specifics of the investigation. …

For the nostalgic, here’s video of Duck Coach Dana Altman, AD Rob Mullens, and former President Mike Gottfredson pretending they didn’t know anything about the previous allegations:

6/21/2017: New Duck basketball sex assault allegations

Reporter Kenny Jacoby has the latest in the Emerald, here:

Former Oregon forward Kavell Bigby-Williams played the 2016-17 men’s basketball season while under criminal investigation for an alleged sexual assault, the Emerald has learned.

… UO President Michael Schill did not know about the sexual assault allegation involving Bigby-Williams and declined to share his thoughts on it.

“I don’t have any awareness of that,” Schill said. “In any event, I can’t comment on an individual student. What if I was asked by another reporter about you being obnoxious? Would you want me to tell them that?”

… Bigby-Williams played 37 games for Oregon this season, averaging 9.8 minutes and 3.0 points. He played increased minutes off the bench during the Ducks’ run to the NCAA Tournament Final Four, after center Chris Boucher went down with an injury.

He recently asked for and was granted a release to explore a transfer to another school. On June 20, Bigby-Williams committed to transfer to LSU.

For the record I’ve had many conversations with Kenny Jacoby, and I’ve always found him to be polite, smart, calm, well-informed, and curious. I hope my saying that is not a FERPA violation, because I doubt that Emerald reporters sign the same release form that Dana Altman’s student-athletes must sign, before they can get their scholarships and play ball:

Has ex-Duck Mark Helfrich finally found gainful employment?

We can only hope so. Under the porky contract that AD Rob Mullens negotiated, and Chuck Lillis and the UO Board of Trustees Executive Committee approved in Feb 2015, UO is still on the hook for $10M or so in salary payments to Helfrich, even though Mullens fired him last winter.

Helfrich is supposed to make reasonable efforts to find new employment, the earnings from which would offset what UO is paying him. So a new job is a net negative for him – he’s gotta work, but it adds nothing to his millions in take home. And Lillis thinks *faculty* deadwood are the problem?

Of course, if UO was willing to threaten cutting his payments if he couldn’t demonstrate some job search efforts, that would change his incentives a little. And today the Oregonian’s Andrew Greif reports that Helfrich may have found temporary work this fall, for Fox Sports.

UCF football player won’t bend the knee to NCAA cartel, loses scholarship

I wonder how long before one of Rob Mullens’ unpaid student-athletes stands up to the system. Probably a while. They are pretty scared, and with good reason. The Washington Post explains:

… The NCAA released a statement of its own, saying the kickoff specialist could have kept making the YouTube videos so long as he didn’t mention his status as a football player. NCAA bylaw 12.4.4 states that an athlete “may establish his or her own business, provided the student-athlete’s name, photograph, appearance or athletics reputation are not used to promote the business.”

“You know the NCAA monsters, man,” De La Haye said. “If it don’t benefit them, they don’t want it.”

He’s started a gofundme campaign to get the money to stay in college and finish his marketing degree, currently at $4500 in donations. I chipped in $25.

New hire for UO physics department

Seems he’s pretty well qualified:

Around the O has more here:

Wineland in the news

UO Trustees avoid students & faculty by meeting before fall classes start

Gosh, I wonder whose idea this was.

Faculty with 9 month contracts start on Sept 15. Classes start Sept 25th. And the UO Board of Trustees meets Sept 7-8.

But at least the Board’s December meeting will be at a time when our Trustees can expect to have a chance to talk to some students and faculty, right? Nope, the Trustees will hold that meeting Dec 7-8, which would be Thursday and Friday of finals week. Campus will be dead.

In comparison, the OSU Board seems to have no problem finding OSU’s academic calendar, and scheduling meetings when classes are actually in session.

PERS Board obeys consultants, lowers assumed rate of return to 7.2%

The variance on the prediction that the rate of return on investments over the next 20 years will be 7.2% and not 7.5% is so large that those PERS consultants willing to say 7.2% with a straight face must be very well paid indeed.

As Professor Fearless explains in today’s post on his persinfo blog, this reduction in the assumed rate of return means that those of you that are so lucky to be in PERS Tier 1 (not me, I’m an idiot who chose the ORP) will need to work an extra 4 months to offset the resulting loss in benefits, unless you retire before Dec 1 when the change takes effect:

After the meeting, I checked with Matt Larrabee, the principal actuary for Milliman, who confirmed for me that the setback would be 4 months for a typical retiree.  This means that if you delay retirement past December 1, 2017, it will take you 4 additional months of working to recover the benefit you would have received if you retired on December 1.  While the most directly affected members are those who remain eligible to retire under Money Match (less than 13% of all non-retired members), it will have an impact on beneficiary options for Full Formula retirees as well.  The changes to mortality had virtually no impact on the rates, as changes in one element were offset by other changes.  Overall, the totality of the economic assumptions other than the assumed rate itself, had a near zero impact on liabilities for the system.  The impact to employers on the uncollared rates will be approximately 1.9% of payroll, less than it could have been.

Reducing the assumed rate of return on the PERS endowment means that the annuity formula will pay new retirees less each month – hence the need to work longer until you retire. The extra work adds a little to your account balance, but mostly those four months mean you’ll be spending less time alive and drawing benefits, so you get more each month. Enjoy.

The reduction in the assumed rate of return also means that the state is predicting that the PERS endowment, which was $74 billion at the end of June, will not be earning as much as it had previously hoped. This means the state will have to increase its contributions to the endowment, if it wants to continue to to attempt to reach the magic 100% fully funded level that the state’s bond buyers want – although Oregon’ PERS is already far, far better funded than most states. Remember, 70% of all PERS payments from state employers go to increase the endowment, the earnings from which (less fees for the investment companies, etc.) are then used to pay the benefits of retired workers. Only 30% is for current workers.

Regardless of this change, if you are nearing retirement, you really should get a benefits estimate from PERS – your retirement might not be as fat as you’d thought. The Bellotiesque days of retiring at full pay are over. Last year new retirees with 30 years of service got benefits that averaged less than 60% of their final salary. PERS by the numbers:

And I’m no economist, but you might ask why the state would want to put *more* money into the PERS endowment now that they believe the rate of return on it is going to fall. Shouldn’t this shift in the price ratio mean Oregon should invest *less* in corporations, and more in productivity increasing investments such as education and infrastructure?

Here’s how Oregon compares on public debt, followed by how it compares on higher ed funding:

Mathematicians ditch Springer, start free Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics

InsideHigherEd here. Also see Ted Bergstrom’s page here.  Why is the prestigious AAU apparently doing nothing to help its librarians combine to fight the predatory monopolistic science publishers?

The non-profit JSTOR once seemed like it had some promise, but now it seems to function as a part of the big publisher’s price-discrimination scheme, with a $500K CEO, and $90M in revenue – mostly from charging libraries like UO’s for access.

UO SAIL program brings 340 diverse HS students to campus to learn about college

KEZI has a good if brief video report on SAIL here. KLCC has a report here, and Around the O here.

SAIL is UO’s largest and most successful diversity initiative. The goal is to get more HS students that “should go to college, but are not now on the college track” into college. SAIL focuses on recruiting local students from low-SES families with parents who are not college graduates. As a result our students are considerably more diverse than the typical UO student on just about every metric.

SAIL gives students week-long summer day camps focused on an academic subject, interlaced with talks about how to get into college and get financial aid. Each camp is led by one or two UO faculty, with help from others in their department and from UO’s OA’s and staff. The camps are free to the students. Donors pay the staff and the undergraduate helpers (they are fabulous), and all the faculty volunteer their time.

SAIL started in 2005 with one camp (Economics) and 13 HS freshman students. The next summer those students went on to a camp organized by Psychology, then to Physics and Human Physiology, then Journalism. Meanwhile the Economics department started a new cohort each year. When they start, most of our students have never been on the UO campus, have no parent or grandparent who has graduated from college, and have never met a professor. The idea behind SAIL is that after 4 years of summers on the UO campus, enrolling in college would seem like the natural next step rather than something scary and unfamiliar. The data bears this out: the students who go through SAIL are representative of their HS peers on most measures, but after SAIL they are twice as likely to go to college.

This year SAIL had 340 students and 15 camps. For the full list of academic subjects, along with info on how to help out next year, see the SAIL website here.

And while SAIL does a lot to help students, most volunteers report that they have also learned a few things from the SAIL students. Don’t worry, UOM is not going to go all maudlin on you, but I will say that damn did I have it easy growing up, and if you want to learn something about why the arts matter, as I have, come to the Performing Arts Camp performance this Friday at 2PM, in the amphitheater on the north side of SOMD.

Duck’s prep new missile for first strike against UO’s academic side

UOM agents have acquired photographic evidence that the new Hayward Field “cell phone tower” – Diane Dietz story here – is actually a disguised Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, now in the final stages of fueling.

The Duck athletic department, whose leadership has long viewed UO’s faculty as an existential threat, now appears to have the most of the academic side of campus – excepting the new Knight Campus – well within their destructive range.

Administration insiders have reiterated past promises that they would consider a Duck missile launch against the faculty and students as “just cause for firing” under the AD’s new contract – or at least shave a little off his bonuses.