ORP survey

4/25/2012: Email sent yesterday:

This email is being sent to all Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) employees on behalf of the OUS SB 242 Optional Retirement Plan Review Committee. This committee was formed as a result of Senate Bill 242 which requires OUS to review the current ORP plan and make any recommendations for possible change to the Oregon Legislature by December 1, 2012. For additional information on the charter of the ORP review committee please see the following http://www.ous.edu/sites/default/files/dept/hr/benefits/files/SB242_Optional_Retirement_Plan_Review_Committee_Charter.pdf.

Within the next day or two you will receive an email from John Chalmers, a member of the OUS ORP Review Committee. This email will contain additional information about the survey, a list of ORP Review Committee members and a link to the survey itself.

If you have any questions after you receive the survey document please contact Ernie Pressman, Benefits Administrator at pressman@uoregon.edu or 541-346-2967.

Thank you!

I am confident that the survey will be above-board, given that it involves Ernie Pressman and John Chalmers. I don’t know anything about the legislation behind this though.

OUS seeks collaborator for UO President

From Diane Dietz in the RG:

Variations on the word “collaborate” appear nine times in the committee’s formal “position description and ideal candidate profile.” “It was definitely on purpose,” Oregon University System Vice Chancellor Sona Andrews said. The committee is seeking “someone who can be a real collaborator with the other institutions in the system and with the system as a whole — and someone who can collaborate internally with the institution as well.”

It’s a word with an interesting history. Seems like Pernsteiner took Berdahl’s editorial literally:

If you want to be president of the University of Oregon, be prepared to knuckle under to the chancellor and the board and be wary of the promises of the governor.

New AAUP Pres moves towards unions

4/20/2012: From Insidehighered:

… Fichtenbaum repeated Wednesday what he had said during his campaign: union organizing will be a priority. “That certainly is a direction we would like to take the AAUP. Tradition is important and we support the core policies of the AAUP but we need to build an organization of activists who will work together. There are private institutions where having a union might not be possible but we can still have collective action to defend academic freedom and shared governance,” he said. But critics have questioned whether the AAUP has the financial resources to do more of any one of its missions without sacrificing resources in other areas.

The AAUP president-elect said all this may alter the character of the AAUP slightly, but it could also be the foundation for supporting the historic mission of the AAUP. “What is the best way to achieve academic freedom, shared governance and protect economic interests of faculty members? I think the answer is being an organization of activists, where the core values of the AAUP remain a centerpiece.”

Fichtenbaum said his main goals revolve around increasing AAUP membership, which is currently about 40,000, and building more coalitions, including those representing the interests of non-tenure-track faculty. “We continue to support tenure, of course. But we support the idea of academic freedom for all faculty,” he said. …

Muckraking

4/19/2012: The issue of the net social social value of this blog has come up in the comments. While not even an economist would argue that the revealed preferences of our readers and commenters means it must be positive, there is an argument from history, and from authority – no less an authority than former (US) President Theodore Roosevelt. From wikipedia:

After President Theodore Roosevelt took office in 1901, he began to manage the press corps and to do so he elevated his press secretary to cabinet status and initiated press conferences. The muckraking journalists who emerged around 1900, like the muckraking Lincoln Steffens, were not as easy for Roosevelt to manage as the objective journalists, and the President gave Steffens access to the White House and interviews to steer stories his way.[15][16]

While he may never have used the term himself, the origin of the “muckraker” is attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt, who, during a speech delivered on April 14, 1906, and on the occasion of dedicating the U.S. House of Representatives office building, drew on a character from John Bunyan’s 1678 classic, Pilgrim’s Progress, saying:

“… you may recall the description of the Man with the Muck-rake, the man who could look no way but downward with the muck-rake in his hands; Who was offered a celestial crown for his muck-rake, but who would neither look up nor regard the crown he was offered, but continued to rake to himself the filth of the floor.”[17]

While cautioning about possible pitfalls of keeping one’s attention ever trained downward, “on the muck,” Roosevelt emphasized the social benefit of investigative muckraking reporting, saying:

There are, in the body politic, economic and social, many and grave evils, and there is urgent necessity for the sternest war upon them. There should be relentless exposure of and attack upon every evil man whether politician or business man, every evil practice, whether in politics, in business, or in social life. I hail as a benefactor every writer or speaker, every man who, on the platform, or in book, magazine, or newspaper, with merciless severity makes such attack, provided always that he in his turn remembers that the attack is of use only if it is absolutely truthful.

The muckrakers themselves proudly adopted the label.[18]
The term eventually came to be used in reference to investigative journalists[citation needed] who reported about and exposed issues such as crime, fraud, waste, public health and safety, graft, illegal financial practices. A muckraker’s reporting may span businesses and government.

ERB hearing May 7-9, no video, seats for only 10 to 12.

4/19/2012: That’s the word from the ERB on the hearing to consider the UO unionization case:

The hearing is set for May 7-9 here in our offices beginning at 9:00 a.m. The notice of the hearing will be posted no later than May 1 on our website (www.oregon.gov/ERB) and the details of that are being worked out at this time. The notice should answer some of your questions.

Our hearing room [Room 340 in the Old Garfield School Building. 528 Cottage Street NE, Salem] has limited seating and the only parking available to observers is metered on-street parking. Additionally, we share the building with a number of private offices and must respect their ability to do business and provide access for their customers.

We cannot provide video feed of the hearing. Securing an alternate site for a 3-day hearing would mean postponing the hearing to a later date, something the Board does not wish to do.

Audience seating in our hearing room is limited to 20 and at that will be very crowded. Additionally, some of those seats will be needed for people who will testify at the hearing, so only a portion of the seating (10-12) will be open to others. Perhaps someone can be designated to attend the hearing and report back to the others.

My guess is that at least a hundred UO faculty are interested in this hearing. If you are interested in attending or would like to encourage the board to have a video feed, I suggest you email the board at Emprel.Board@state.or.us and make this known, soon.

Reality check

4/18/2012: Springfield school district graduated 897 HS students last year. 258 dropped out before graduation. 51% of the 2008 graduates have enrolled in college (including 2-year) at some point. 60% of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunch – for a family of four this means income below $41K. More Oregon data here.

So Cliff didn’t smoke it *all*

4/18/2012: In case you had no idea what was the source of that sweet smell drifting over from the “student athlete” apartments in The Kilkenny Towers. Patrick Malee has the story in the ODE. ESPN report here. The consensus is that the wide dissemination of the fact that Oregon law forbids random drug tests should make if much easier to sign those special admits for the Duck football team. Malee also has an interesting post on the twitter history of this shocking outbreak of reefer madness, here. It’s interesting how reporters use twitter. The UO Matters feed is here.

New job for Lariviere at Chicago’s Field Museum

Update: ODE story here.

4/13/2012: Rumor down at the faculty club is that he’s up for a job “in Chicago.” Update from Bill Graves: It’s president of the Field Museum of Natural History. Previous president was paid $509K.

And from an anonymous correspondent, this great article in the Trib:

The former president of the University of Oregon, Richard Lariviere, is expected to be appointed the next chief executive of The Field Museum, pending a board vote next week, according to a memo from museum chairman John Rowe.

Lariviere’s contract at the university was terminated at an emergency meeting of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education in November after a political dispute among Lariviere, the board and the governor. … 

That would be OUS Chair Matt Donegan, board member Jill Eiland, Chancellor George Pernsteiner, and Governor John Kitzhaber, just for the permanent record.

By all media accounts, the Sanskrit scholar, who previously was provost at the University of Kansas, was popular with those who worked for him.

No shit. Except of course for the UO admins who stabbed him in the back, hoping for a shot at his job.

The Oregon education board received a 6,300-signature petition asking that he be retained, and newspaper photographs capture supporters crying at the emergency meeting. According to The New York Times, the school’s most prominent booster, Nike CEO Phil Knight, called the ouster “astonishingly bad,” amounting to “an application of Oregon’s assisted-suicide law.”

Heh.

“In the face of strong political differences in Oregon’s complex university system, we believe Richard’s work at the University of Oregon demonstrated courage, commitment and passion,” Rowe wrote in a letter to the executive committee of the museum’s board of trustees. “These are characteristics we highly value at The Field, and are exactly what’s needed to build upon the superb legacy of John McCarter, and take the Musuem into the future.”

Oregon’s loss, Chicago’s gain, and Dr. Pernsteiner’s shame.