Eugene city council gives UO $400,000 a year

5/8/2012: The Eugene city council has just voted to give UO $400,000 a year. How’s that? The upscale downtown Capstone apartments will get a $800,000 annual tax exemption from the city. These are aimed at wealthy out-of-state students, for whom UO competes regionally, nationally and internationally. Parents shop around, looking at the cost of tuition plus living expenses across UO type universities. If we assume the elasticities of supply and demand are equal, half the $800,000 exemption will go towards higher profits for the developers, half to lower rents for the parents. UO can now raise total out-of-state tuition by $400,000. Sweet! Not that I’m an economist.

Mixed progress on low-income and minority students

5/4/2012: Back in 2007 President Frohnmayer and Charles Martinez were putting UO through their expensive and pointless “5 Year Diversity Action Plan” mess. Meanwhile a group of 22 other universities started an evidence based program to improve college success among low-income and minority students. Their results have started to come in – mixed – but something to build on.

New UO VP for Diversity Yvette Alex-Assensoh starts this summer, I am hoping she moves UO away from unproductive rhetoric and the expensive and illegal UMRP program, and towards “fill the pipeline” programs targeted at low SES students such as those supported by the Education Trust.

Free parking for emeriti!

5/3/2012: Lorraine Davis has caved on her quixotic quest to have it called “subsidized parking”. Yup, better not to open that can of athletic worms. So the Emeritus Policy is now in effect and in the UO policy library, here. Key point: you must have been a full professor for 5 years to be an emeritus. I wonder how they will treat administrators like Lorraine Davis, Jim Bean, and Dave Frohnmayer?

Foundation pay for Presidents?

5/2/2012: The LA Times discusses a proposal to let Cal States schools do this. Oregon started this under Frohnmayer, and currently about half the UO President’s pay is from the UO Foundation. The problem is that the foundations are typically run by sports boosters. They either divert funds that should be used for scholarships and academic support, or make their own donations, perhaps with the implicit or explicit expectation that they will then control the president’s priorities. At least in CA the foundations are subject to the state’s public records laws – not in Oregon.

Female advantage largest in top quartile

Gains and Gaps: Changing Inequality in U.S. College Entry and Completion

Martha J. Bailey, Susan M. Dynarski    NBER working paper 17633

We describe changes over time in inequality in postsecondary education using nearly seventy years of data from the U.S. Census and the 1979 and 1997 National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth. We find growing gaps between children from high- and low-income families in college entry, persistence, and graduation. Rates of college completion increased by only four percentage points for low-income cohorts born around 1980 relative to cohorts born in the early 1960s, but by 18 percentage points for corresponding cohorts who grew up in high-income families. Among men, inequality in educational attainment has increased slightly since the early 1980s. But among women, inequality in educational attainment has risen sharply, driven by increases in the education of the daughters of high-income parents. Sex differences in educational attainment, which were small or nonexistent thirty years ago, are now substantial, with women outpacing men in every demographic group. The female advantage in educational attainment is largest in the top quartile of the income distribution. These sex differences present a formidable challenge to standard explanations for rising inequality in educational attainment.

Athletic giving decreases giving to academics. Athletic success does not increase enrollment

5/6/2012: Also see the links, quotes, and discussion on this UC-Berkeley page:

“Sacred cows such as intercollegiate athletics continue to graze on the core academic programs of the institution.” – – Former President of University of Michigan James J. Duderstadt, The Future of the Public University in America.

“More than a few college presidents seem to think that a successful athletic program will at least inspire the alumni to give more money to their alma matter.  Yet even this hope appears to be groundless. . .” “There is no reliable evidence that successful athletic teams raise … alumni giving to any appreciable extent”. – – Former President of Harvard Derek Bok, Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education.

5/1/2012 Updates: The discussion in the comments is getting interesting. People might also read the Orzag and Israel reports – commissioned by the NCAA. Original here, 2009 update here:

Hypothesis #8: Increased operating expenditures on sports are associated with changes in
measurable academic quality.

• In our previous reports we found no evidence to establish a pattern, positive or negative
between athletic expenditures and academic quality. 
• Looking at SAT and ACT scores, our updated results continue to show no consistent
support for such a relationship between athletic expenditures and academic quality.

Update: UO Administrators also often claim that football success increases enrollment or student quality. If not another outright lie, this is an anecdote that does not hold up to scrutiny. From an NCAA commissioned report:

NCAA data from a February 2009 study authored by economists Jonathan Orszag and Mark Israel shows athletics budgets amount to 6 percent of most universities’ total institutional spending (Orszag & Israel, 2009). Despite that relatively thin slice of a campus’ budget, athletics events where thousands of students, faculty, administrators and alums gather are often the visible “front porch” for a university. Contests can be community builders. Logos, nicknames, and television appearances brand institutions locally and nationally. Even if athletics programs do not generate net revenue, they surely stimulate alumni giving and increase prospective student applications. This is known as the “Flutie effect,” on the exaggerated notion that Doug Flutie put Boston College on the map with his Hail Mary pass in a 1984 football game against the University of Miami.

Rigorous studies of the subject, however, suggest that there is no significant institutional benefit to athletic success. In a 2004 report for the Knight Commission, Cornell University economist Robert H. Frank, after reviewing the extant scholarly literature, concluded any links to football and men’s basketball victories and increased applications and the SAT scores of the applicants “is small and not significantly different from zero” (Frank, 2004). A 2009 study by Devin G. Pope of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Jaren C. Pope of Virginia Tech finds applications do rise from two to eight percent after football and men’s basketball success, but “the impact is often short-lived” (Pope & Pope, 2008).

4/30/2012: We’ve written before about the repeated claims by UO administrators that sports success means increased donations to the academic side. These are lies.

There’s a new study out, using national data, reviewed by former UO journalism student and current InsideHigherEd reporter Allie Grasgreen:

All athletics-related variables that Koo and Dittmore looked at (football and basketball winning percentages, and athletic giving) were negatively associated with academic giving, while the opposite was true for non-athletic variables such as school ranking and personal income.

A rise in athletic giving equals a decrease in academic operating dollars (academic giving minus deferred gifts), the researchers say, indicating that athletic giving crowds out academic giving. For every $1 increase in athletic giving, the current operating dollars restricted to academic purposes decreased by $1.40.

One classic paper on this is by UO business school professor, dean, and Knight chair holder Professor Dennis Howard. Not exactly a radical. He used UO Foundation data on donations to UO sports and to UO academics, for 1994 to 2002. His conclusion:

Both alumni and non-alumni show an increasing preference toward directing their gifts to the intercollegiate athletics department-at the expense of the donations to academic programs. Sperber’s (2000) assertion that giving to athletics undermines academic giving is strongly supported.

Or just look at this picture, showing donations to the UO Foundation for current expenses. (The Foundation won’t release the endowment or capital contributions data, even with a public records request.)

(Data source here.) And it gets worse: last fall the UO Foundation made a $1.4 million cut in the amount it provides for academic scholarships. But wait, that’s not all. A few month ago UO got a $5 million gift. And now Rob Mullens has admitted that he is going to use all the proceeds to cover the small part of the maintenance and utilities that the athletic department must pay for the Jock Box. Not a cent will go to help the academic side pay for the $1.83 million cost of running the athlete-only tutoring operations. Greg Bolt explains the basics. Duck press release here. Where was UO’s VP for Development Mike Andreasen while this gift was being negotiated? Not doing his job for the academic side. Where was UO Foundation President Paul Weinhold? Cashing his paycheck. What is the probability that the widowed 91-year-old donor, the generous and rather interesting Robin Jaqua, understood how UO’s athletic department would use her gift? ____%.

Go Ducks!

Faculty union CBA

4/27/2012 with updates:

Like it or not, most UO faculty are now in a union. This union will need to negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement with our administrative overlords UO/OUS management and put it to a vote. The comments are open for suggested CBA clauses. No non-CBA comments on this thread, please!

As a starting point, the PSU union CBA is here. The UO Matters union Meta-FAQ with other links is here. And here’s a recent AAUP/UConn agreement. Read the whole thing, to me this could be interpreted as a cap on merit raises:

Governor orchestrated president’s firing

4/29/2012: That would be Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindahl, firing LSU president John Lombardi yesterday. The LSU board members actually have some stones – it’s a 12-4 split, and some members are publicly accusing others of breaking the state’s public meetings law:

Board member Tony Falterman said board Chairman Hank Danos called Thursday night to say Lombardi would be fired. “How did you know you had the votes,” Falterman asked. “If you polled (other board members), you’re in violation of open meeting laws. I’m not accusing you of it, but I’d like to know how you had the votes.”

Sure you’re not accusing him. Pretty sad to think how sewn up tight Oregon politics has become – no one on the OUS board will publicly challenge Kitzhaber on what he did to Lariviere. But Lombardi’s comment bears on UO’s independent board plans:

“Having worked in different states with different college board and system arrangements, Lombardi added, ‘None of them are any good.'”

Thanks to an anonymous contributor for the story.

PERS double dipping

4/28/2012: Ted Sickinger of the Oregonian continues his PERS investigations, with a story on double dipping. Lorraine Davis gets a shout-out, but no mention of her family football plan. Word is that Lorraine is furious about me exposing that deal – but not embarrassed enough to give back the money. Bill Graves did a hatchet job on Berdahl over double-dipping a month or so back. Berdahl’s current UO contract is here. Must be a nice car.

None of this compares to Sickinger’s amazing story from December, on how UO and the athletic department helped Mike Bellotti trick state taxpayers into paying PERS on his Nike earnings – giving him a $490,000 a year pension to top off his $2.3 million Frohnmayer/Grier payoff.

Mr. Jefferson’s Academical Village

Applications for the position of Global Scholars Hall Resident Scholar are being sought. … The primary responsibility of the Resident Scholar is to help shape the intellectual life of the students living in the Global Scholars Hall, in both formal and informal settings, through residence-based programs. This will require collaboration with University Housing, the Robert D. Clark Honors College, the College of Arts and Sciences College Scholars Program, the College of Arts and Science’s language and literature departments, the University Library, and Undergraduate Studies. The purpose of the collaboration is to build on existing curricular offerings to create a culture that extends honors education and the study of language beyond the traditional classroom into this hall.

Very cool, though I’m guessing Matlab is not the sort of language they are thinking of. Too bad, they will want some male students too.

Faculty union by-laws and constitution

4/27/2012: Like it or not, most UO faculty are now in a union. This union needs by-laws and then a constitution. My understanding is that these are to be determined democratically.

Why does this matter? The PSU union negotiated a 0.75% union dues deal with the AAUP. Way better than the 1.5% that I’ve heard tossed around for UO by union organizers. I think we can and should get it lower than 0.75%, given that we have a larger membership and payroll. But it will take the right by-laws and then the right union leadership to avoid getting screwed on dues.

The comments are open for suggested clauses, please keep them serious. As a starting point, the PSU union by-laws are here. The UO Matters union Meta-FAQ with other links (including the PSU dues story) is here.

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

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 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.