Nasty comments

Some of these union comment threads are nasty. On the other hand there’s plenty of good information and interesting opinions too, even if some people just want to vent. In any case I am hardly one to talk, and I am not a censor and I will continue to post pretty much every comment sent in. I would appreciate fewer flames and less trolling that seems mostly aimed at provoking angry responses.

It would also be helpful if frequent commentators would adopt some sort of screen name – The Dog is a good example of this – so the threads are easier to follow. Note that if you use the name/URL option when you comment you can type in whatever screen name you want.

Put their union cards on the table

Updated 3/18/2012: The union organizers tell me they are reluctant to release this information for fear the administration will use it against them, but they tell me they are aware of people’s concern’s and are thinking about how to address them. One informed TTF writes in the comments:

… let me be clear that even though I am union supporter, I am not representing any official union position.

Everything is in flux right now – the cards have been submitted, the ERB has notified the administration, the administration will post that notification, the administration will then have two weeks to respond. A small delegation from the organizing committee was supposed to meet with the President last week to discuss where things were going, and to begin to feel out whether we could cooperate. That meeting was cancelled, with no reason given. That was too bad, but certainly well within the administration’s rights. It’s also understandable – probably they need some time to get a handle on what is happening, and figure out the best course to pursue, before they meet with us or make an official challenge. So we accept that the administration is being a little cagey; to my way of thinking, the union would have to be out of its collective mind to behave any differently. I may agree that the union should release a more detailed breakdown of the vote, and I might make that argument at an organizing committee meeting. But I certainly don’t think those numbers should be released right now, for the reasons I cited above. 

FWIW, my read is that no one in the administration really cares if there is a faculty union so long as they can continue to use tuition money to pay for their beamers, football game junkets, and golden parachutes. My guess is they don’t put up much of a fight. I also don’t buy the argument this will make it harder for us to hire a good president. First, we’ve seen the folly of relying on charismatic leadership. We are on our own. Second, my definition of a good president is one who wants to cooperate with the faculty and help us achieve our goals. If such a person exists I don’t think a faculty union will scare them off.

3/17/2012: The complete report is here from an email survey done by two UO professors, of the entire pop of UO tenure track faculty (including law?). They have a 50% response rate, with 18% supporting a union. The union organizing committee is reporting that more than 50% of TTF’s signed cards supporting the union.

While the complete survey report lists some caveats, the results are hard to reconcile with what the union reports. The state ERB has told me that they will not break out votes by TTF, etc:

The petition itself will be available to the public on our website. The petition will probably give an estimated number of employees covered by the petition. When the showing of interest is checked, the only information I would release is the percentage of those signing, no other information. We are a small agency and would not have adequate staffing to go beyond that. The petitioner might release more detailed information.

I think the union organizers should release information on the percentage of TTF’s, NTTF’s and OR’s, cross tabbed by >= 0.5 FTE and < 0.5 FTE, that signed cards. By college would also be interesting. There’s plenty of support out there for the union, but also plenty of opposition and suspicion. The union needs to address those concerns head on if they want to broaden their support. Fortunately there’s an easy rule for gaining trust: look at how Randy Geller and Johnson Hall behave, and then do the opposite.

…, the right of the students to keep and bear cell phones shall not be infringed.

3/12/2012: Complaint against DPS to be filed over cell phone confiscation. Becky Metrick has the story in the ODE, and some great quotes – one arguing confiscation was probably OK, then this:

In Schlossberg’s case, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin determined that the Fourth Amendment protects privacy if that expectation is “reasonable and justifiable.” He also determined that electronic devices such as Schlossberg’s holds more private information, thus requires a “higher standard of privacy.”

“I find that warrantless searches of such devices are not reasonable incident to a valid arrest absent a showing that the search was necessary to prevent destruction of evidence, to ensure officer safety, or that other exigent circumstances exist,” Coffin said. Battery life, he noted, would not qualify as an exigent circumstance.

Get real, your honor, a dead battery is the definition of exigent. Anway, who will hear the complaint? Who knows – while the new UOPD has a bloated budget, plenty of SUV’s, and a modest supply of guns, they don’t have more than a draft complaint process:

Andy Stahl for Lane County Commissioner

3/11/2012: Andy Stahl is running against Pete Sorensen for South Eugene Lane County commissioner. It’s district 3 – yes, even if you live in Eugene you vote for a county commissioner. The election is May15th, ballots are mailed out in about 6 weeks. It’s a nonpartisan position, so no primary.

Andy is a longtime advocate for environmental and child-welfare causes with many important accomplishments. (His father is UO professor emeritus Frank Stahl). Most recently he has helped developed a sensible plan to divide Oregon’s BLM forest lands, and manage the most environmentally important half for environmental quality, while auctioning off long term leases for the parts best suited to logging. Pete Defazio has endorsed this idea as a long term solution to help provide jobs, county revenue, and protect environmental quality. From the RG:

“Each is trying to accomplish a different but complimentary set of objectives,” he [Stahl] said. “The timber trust wants to make sure the land in the timber trust can actually be logged in real life without people sitting in the trees in protest, and the environmental trust wants to make sure the land it protects is worthy of protection.”

The timber trust lands could be leased to a private company — a long-term 99-year lease with the investor paying an upfront fee; $3 billion is the figure being batted around. That money would be invested, with the annual interest going to Oregon counties, DeFazio said. …

“We need long-term stable funding for essential county services, and if we can establish a trust that would provide for that, it would be most attractive in the current environment in Washington,” DeFazio said.

Stahl and his plan have picked up endorsements from many other local politicians, from all over the political spectrum. One other contender for the commissioner position, Kieran Walsh, just withdrew and is now supporting Stahl.

Stahl’s remaining opponent is the incumbent Pete Sorensen, who was most recently in the news for using secret meetings and email to make decisions that were then followed up with sham public meetings. Rather Pernsteineresque. The court found he had violated Oregon’s public meetings law, and by the end legal fees were over $300,000. Sorensen then managed to get the county to pay most of them for him! The Eugene Weekly is a big Sorensen supporter, and regularly posts bits accusing Stahl of being in bed with the timber industry. I don’t understand the backroom politics here, but anyone who knows Stahl’s history knows how ridiculous that charge is.

Berdahl gets hatchet job from Oregonian

and their higher education reporter Bill Graves. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Graves to write something on George Pernsteiner’s perks or top 5 PERS beneficiary Dave Frohnmayer. His hatchet is for people like Lariviere and Berdahl who dare to disturb Oregon’s insider politics.  I am not defending PERS tier one but there are 394 people getting larger benefits than Berdahl – oftern much larger. Why is he the focus of Bill Grave’s story? To punish him for supporting Lariviere. This will teach Berdahl not to criticize Goldschmidt’s boy George, by writing things like:

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.

Ted Sickinger – who wrote the story on Mike Bellotti’s exploitation of PERS – has a much more policy oriented story on the money match, here. 3/10/2012.

loss of presidential control

Roughly two-thirds of presidents over all said they believed the past year’s scandals had “hurt the reputation of all higher education, not just the institutions involved,” and an overwhelming majority (86.9 percent) said they did not believe that the presidents of institutions with big-time sports programs were “in control” of those programs. Three-quarters also agreed with the statement that “colleges and universities spend way too much money on intercollegiate athletic programs.”

From Inside Higher Ed’s survey of college and university presidents.

Help UO Matters with NCAA certification report

NCAA rules say:

In order to complete the certification process before the moratorium, the institution finished a self-study led by an institution’s president or chancellor. In addition, institutions completed a review of these primary components: governance and commitment to rules compliance; academic integrity; gender/diversity issues and student-athlete well-being. Each member institution is to complete a self-study at least once every 10 years. …

I’m trying to get a copy of UO’s most recent NCAA “self-study” report. Rumor control says it was done sometime around 2007. Most universities have these posted, e.g. Kansas, here.

If you have a copy or know something about UO’s report, please email me at Thanks. 3/6/2012

implosion of Binghamton basketball

3/1/2012: Pete Thamel has the NYT story. The university president and provost have stepped down. The coaches and AD’s who perpetrated the scandals have moved on, mostly to better jobs. The NCAA, FAR, IAC etc. never noticed anything wrong, such as players recruited despite not meeting admissions requirements, etc. It came to light because an adjunct lecturer started asking questions. The university is on the hook for millions.