Student money pays for athletic fundraising

11/16/2011: The UO students are starting to ask some serious questions about athletic department finances. For example, why does the athletic department get $375,000 from the academic side for the “President’s Box” at Autzen?

(Update: I’ve revised this post after UO spokesperson Phil Weiler told KEZI the Autzen money comes from the UO Foundation pot, not from tuition. So it’s technically possible some donor said “use my gift to pay for the skybox and not for scholarships, etc.” but it’s much more likely this is general gift money, which the president’s office then funnels to athletics. We’ve asked to see the the gift letter.)

(Second update: it turns out Phil Weiler was not telling the truth. All the $375,000 comes directly from the academic side, not from the Foundation. Weiler has seen the documents, he has acknowledged to me that he was wrong, but he has refused to correct his statement to the reporter.)

The real reason is simple. Athletics gets that money because Dave Frohnmayer put his signature to this secret deal, two weeks before he stepped down as UO President, after AD Pat Kilkenny had contributed some serious money to Frohnmayer’s Fanconi Foundation.

But I’ll go out on a limb and guess our latest AD, Rob Mullens, is going to put a slightly different spin on this. Soon he will be claiming those ungrateful students should be glad athletics gets this money, because the boosters in the box with Lariviere are big donors to the academic side.

That’s a nice story – but it’s not what the data show. Last winter Stefan Verbano of the ODE had a great interview with former UO Business School Dean and current Warsaw Sports Marketing Prof Dennis Howard on the link between athletic contributions and the real University of Oregon:

“It’s called a donation or a contribution … when, in fact, as we have discovered in our research … it’s a transaction,” Howard said. “It has nothing to do with giving back to the University or a philanthropic motive. It is purely and simply a commercial transaction in which the individual in paying for tangible benefits: better seat location, access to the Autzen Club amenities. All of those things are driving those transactions.” 

As you can see from the photo, Howard is not exactly your anti-establishment, bearded longhair professor type. But his paper, which uses data from UO donors, is brutal:

“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.”

And here’s an update of the UO data on giving to the academic and athletic sides, showing that most of the growth in giving to UO over the past 11 years has indeed been to the athletic side – and this excludes most if not all of the Knight donations, which have all been to athletics since the WRC fiasco.


And the UO Foundation has just announced a $1.4 million cut in the amount it provides for academic scholarships – while payments for athletics scholarships are up yet again.

Academic side pays Jock Box electricity bill

11/3/2011: I’m not exactly shocked to learn that the Jaqua Center glass box burns through electricity like a Norwegian Casino. But it is rather surprising to discover that the academic side of UO – meaning tuition money, mostly – pays the electric bill. The athletic department sticks us with a bunch of other maintenance costs as well, totaling about $160,000 a year:

Sure, we’ll take out your trash, Mr. Mullens. And, of course, as we learned from the Register Guard earlier this year, general fund money also pays for the athlete only tutoring operation itelf – about $1.8 million, last time I looked. Let’s round it to a $2 million subsidy. Here is a summary of the previous stories:

5/8/2011: Greg Bolt has dual front page stories on the UO administration’s complicity in subsidizing UO athletics with state tax revenue and regular student tuition, in today’s Register Guard. The first compares the dismal support services for regular students with what the athletes get at what the NY Times calls UO’s “Jock Box”:

The agreement requires the UO to run the Jaqua Center “at the leading edge of academic excellence” by substantially increasing staff and services. The cost of providing those services comes from the UO’s academic budget, not from the athletic department. It comes to almost $2 million a year, which works out to about $4,000 per student-athlete. … (vs. about $225 a year for regular students.)

Bolt’s second story points out it’s the regular students who pay for the athletes-only Jock Box extravaganza:

At the University of Oregon, the cost is borne by the UO’s overall academic budget. It’s not part of the athletics department’s budget.

The weird part is that, given how his gift letter reads, I think Phil Knight expected the athletic department would pay for this – but then they realized they could trick our Provost, and keep the money for their own salaries. So get that dumb jock stereotype out of your head. We are the fools here.

Stereotype threat

11/3/2011: I’m no psychology professor but Claude Steele is, and he has done some fascinating work on “stereotype threat”. The classic experiment is to tell women everyone knows women are bad at math, just before they take a math quiz. They do worse. It works in reverse too. Or so I’m told. He’s speaking today on campus, courtesy of CODAC:

The Center on Diversity and Community is turning 10 and it¹s time to celebrate! To mark the occasion we have  organized a series of special events and talks throughout the academic year,  all guided by the theme of “Unscripting Diversity: Celebrating 10 years of  Engaging Challenge, Building Community.” Our inaugural event takes place on Thursday November 3 at 4:00pm (EMU Ballroom) with a  keynote address by esteemed social psychologist, Dr. Claude Steele, author of  the book, ‘Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do.’  

Occupy Eugene to move in with Pernsteiner at Treetops Mansion

11/1/2011: Word down by the Duck Pond is that the Occupy Eugene folks are going to take Chancellor Pernsteiner up on his gracious offer to host the whole movement at his official state owned mansion, Treetops, at 2237 Spring Blvd. Dr. Pernsteiner is quoted in a flyer making the rounds:

“Not many of those of us in the elite 1% can say that they get every dime of it from taxpayers and student tuition money. And of course on top of that fat $280,900 salary I get a housing allowance to pay the mortgage at my other house in Portland, extra retirement money, $23,120 for professional expenses, travel money, and a car. Treetops has a lovely lawn, 3000 square feet of verandas, and 9000 square feet of living space. It’s the second largest house in the county. It’s almost too much – even for a man as important as I am – so I welcome these visitors. I do feel obligated to warn them that thanks to UO Matters and those vengeful bastards at the DOJ the university system has cut my maid service to every other week.”

Turn-by-turn walking directions here.

Ex-PSU Official Mike Burton Under Criminal Investigation

10/31/2011: For expense account fraud. From Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week:

Burton, a former longtime lawmaker and Metro chair, abruptly left the university last summer ahead of a damning audit, first reported in August by WW, that found he took an 11-day European junket on PSU’s dime under highly questionable circumstances. Burton claimed he was going to attend professional conferences but the conferences either did not take place or took place when he was not present.

Burton subsequently repaid $4,500 and PSU referred his case to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. But WW has learned Burton is now under criminal investigation. …

Provost Open Forum

Sorry for the late posting:

To: UO Deans and Directors

From:    Robert Kyr
                President, University Senate

Re: First Provost’s Forum
This Wednesday, October 19, 2011
4:00-6:00 pm, Beall Concert Hall
University of Oregon School of Music & Dance  (Please see the map attached.)

As President as the University Senate, I am writing to you to ask you to please forward this message to everyone in your department (or unit) as soon as you receive it. Thank you for helping us to encourage the largest possible turnout for this important event, the first of our Provost’s Forums for 2011-2012.

This year, the University Senate is hosting three Provost’s Forums  to give the entire university community an opportunity to have an  open dialogue with Interim Provost Davis. The first Provost’s Forum  will be given on Wednesday, October 19 at 4:00-6:00 pm at Beall  Concert Hall, University of Oregon School of Music & Dance. (Please  see the map attached.)

This Wednesday’s Forum will begin with a brief presentation by Interim Provost Davis followed by an “open mike,” during which attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions in open  dialogue with the Interim Provost. As President of the Senate, I will be serving as the moderator for the forum.

We look forward to seeing you at this important event which is  being offered in the spirit of shared governance, one of the core  principles of our university. I strongly encourage you to participate.

Robert Kyr
President, University Senate

Libel suit against blogger dismissed

10/13/2011: From Kara Hansen Murphey in the Lake Oswego Review. The blogger posted some information about a doctor’s disciplinary records and her opinion. He sued her for $1 million in damages. She went to the Electronic Freedom Foundation, got some advice and an attorney and filed an “anti-SLAPP” suit against the doctor.

On Sept. 30, Multnomah County Judge Jerome LaBarre concluded Craig was not only speaking about a matter of public interest but within a public forum when she tweeted about Darm’s disciplinary record. That could make it easier for lawyers to defend Oregon bloggers and tweeters facing libel charges in the future.

They’ve settled out of court. Presumably the doctor paid the blogger’s legal fees. The blog post is still up.

UO not the only state agency to get raises

10/10/2011: So did the DOJ. Bojack.org has the story. Meanwhile Bill Graves tries to dig up some quotes complaining about the UO raises, from PSU and other OUS professors. He can’t find much, but the online comments are interesting – many support the UO raises. The Croissant Chancellor’s lowest common denominator approach does not seem to get a lot of support. Harry Esteve has more on the DOJ raises (about the same as UO’s) here:

Over the summer, state worker unions settled new contracts that included a 1.5 percent cost of living increase in the first year and 1.45 percent in the second year. Employees not at the top scale also will get partial step increases. The agreements include furlough days and a new cost-sharing agreement in which state workers will begin paying 5 percent of their health insurance premiums.

Managers and non-represented employees got the same deal. Kroger got a special waiver from the state Department of Administrative Services, however, to give bigger raises to managers already at the top of the pay scale. Starting Oct. 1, “Assistant attorneys in charge” got 9 percent raises, while “attorneys in charge,” division administrators and special counselors got 7 percent raises.

Kroger got a waiver. Interesting.