Update, 4/27/2011: One week after my post below, Barack Obama finally released his long form birth certificate. Coincidence? Every other sentient being on the planet may think so, but not me and this other guy with a website. With the help of Donald Trump and Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, UO Matters is going to win the public records fight, one president at a time.

4/20/2011: I’ve had my doubts for years, but I kept quiet to avoid the smirks of my liberal college professor colleagues down at the faculty club. But this NYT photo nails it: Barack Obama is not a US citizen. He is in fact the son of a Barbary pirate, conceived, born and raised at sea off Tripoli. He comes ashore only to wreak havoc on the infidels. Zoom in and you can see the blood on his scimitar – the blood of Christians. The eye-patch is the clincher. As for the ear-ring, don’t ask.

Attorney General rules University Foundation must release records

4/27/2014: That would be in North Dakota. The SPLC has the story here.

5/26/2011: University foundations to follow open records law

In California, that is.

The UO Foundation is no fan of transparency. Last year they actually went to Attorney General Kroger and procured a special ruling exempting them from Oregon’s public records law. Here’s the letter from their lawyer, Frederick Batson, requesting the ruling.

They release the absolute minimum of financial information. Try finding out how much they are paying CEO R. Paul Weinhold, or CIO Jay Namyet, or for that matter their former CEO Karen Kreft, who received hefty raises, benefits, and then what looks like 18 months of severance, at $300K a year. The only data is from the mandatory IRS reports, and their compliance director Erika Funk delays release of those to the last possible minute. Try finding out how they spend the donations they receive. They release only rudimentary info, refusing to break down much of their spending into academic/athletic categories – which other university foundations do as a matter of course. They collect far more from Duck Athletic Fund donations – solicited as help for athlete’s college expenses – than they spend on tuition, fees, and books. They won’t say where they spend the rest of that donor money.

The UC and CSU Foundations have done these sorts of things themselves – but they have now agreed to clean up their act. From the Chronicle of Higher Ed:

California Universities Drop Opposition to Donor-Transparency Bill

May 25, 2011, 2:38 pm

The University of California and California State University systems will no longer oppose a bill that would make their nonprofit foundations subject to the state’s open-records law, the bill’s author, Sen. Leland Yee, announced on Wednesday. The universities aggressively fought similar legislation in past years, and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it twice over concerns that it would violate the privacy of university donors who wished to remain anonymous. But Mr. Yee reached an agreement on a compromise bill, which is very likely to be enacted, that he said would protect the anonymity of any donor who did not receive certain monetary rewards or attempt to “influence curriculum or university operations.”

Sociology majors beat business majors on the GMAT

4/18/2011: I sprung for the NYT 99 cent trial:

Business majors spend less time preparing for class than do students in any other broad field, according to the most recent National Survey of Student Engagement: nearly half of seniors majoring in business say they spend fewer than 11 hours a week studying outside class. In their new book “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” the sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa report that business majors had the weakest gains during the first two years of college on a national test of writing and reasoning skills. And when business students take the GMAT, the entry examination for M.B.A. programs, they score lower than students in every other major. …

At the beginning of freshman year and end of sophomore year, students in the study took the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a national essay test that assesses students’ writing and reasoning skills. During those first two years of college, business students’ scores improved less than any other group’s. Communication, education and social-work majors had slightly better gains; humanities, social science, and science and engineering students saw much stronger improvement. 

In case you were skeptical of a liberal arts education.

Off topic: Rajneeshees in Oregon and 4J School Board

4/17/2011: Les Zaitz of the Oregonian has just wrapped up a great 5 part retrospective on the Rajneeshee movement in Oregon. The Oregonian is a consistently interesting newspaper with an excellent website.

Meanwhile the 4J school board has stabbed the 4J teachers and the supporters of a Eugene income tax in the back, by first giving a fat compensation package to the incoming Superintendent, and then arguing that they had to give the same to the outgoing one, out of fairness. From the RG editorial:

Berman starts off making significantly more than retiring Superintendent George Russell is being paid after 12 years on the job. Russell topped out last year at just less than $150,000, a figure that was reduced this year by 10 days of unpaid furlough. The implication is that either Berman will be paid too much, or that Russell has been paid too little. To address the imbalance, the school board will make a one-time contribution to Russell’s tax-sheltered annuity equal to the two superintendents’ difference in base pay — $35,838, under Berman’s tentative contract terms.

Fairness to whom – not the teachers, students, or taxpayers. Whose interests does the board represent?

42 years since death of UO President Charles Johnson

4/16/2011: Steve Duin of the Oregonian gives the background, stirred by the memory of UO journalism professor Ken Metzler. You can read excerpts from Metzler’s book on Johnson here:

This is just one little incident – caused by the Daily Emerald printing the phrase “Mother Fuckers” on state owned equipment. And you think Lariviere has it hard?

financial impropriety

3/10/2011: Rachel Bachman of the Oregonian has a story on Ethics Point. They contract to state agencies, including OUS, to allow employees to make anonymous reports about financial improprieties. I’ve used this with mixed success. The reports are forwarded to OUS auditor Pat Snopkowski, but she often sits on them if they are embarrassing to her boss. They do provide you with anonymity, and some protection from retaliation, at least in theory. The link to make a report about UO is right on Frances Dyke’s page. Convenient!

Donor attacks President, praises Faculty Senate

3/6/2011: POCATELLO —One of Idaho State University’s major financial donors has some harsh words for both ISU President Arthur Vailas and the State Board of Education about the escalating turmoil on campus.

    “The president is not there to be supported entirely by students and by faculty,” said James E. Rogers, the owner of Intermountain West Communications, which operates KPVI-Channel 6 in Pocatello. “The president is there to support the faculty and support the students because, as we all know, your end product is not great presidents, your (end) product is great graduates.”    …

    In giving his opinion on Wednesday, Rogers praised the importance of the Faculty Senate, taking Vailas to task for an ugly climate at the university that has included an overwhelming vote of no confidence by the faculty against the university president last month. ISU students will hold their own confidence vote on Vailas March 30-31. …

    Rogers also spoke about the important role a faculty senate can play in university governance, saying all the faculty senates he has seen in years’ past have typically been held in high regard by their respective university presidents.

UO featured in NY Times

3/5/2011: The academic side pays $2 million for the Jock Box tutoring, and millions more for other athletic subsidies. Including the $250,000 for our suddenly very busy Public Records Officer, Liz Denecke. But hey – look what the Ducks do for our national reputation! Two mentions in the NY Times today. One in an article on the general cesspool that is college sports, one on the new 7-on-7 football camps that we are currently recruiting HS players from. Where they play without helmets.

Go Ducks.

only obscenities are worse than Duck Athletic Fund donors

2/25/2011: Experiences of a student, soliciting donations for UO academics:

My biggest pet peeves are three-fold: getting hung up on in the middle of a call, being told that you only support the Duck Athletic Fund so you can get access to better football tickets, or worse, being sworn at.

Seriously, this is why Lariviere needs to tell Rob Mullens that donors to academic causes will also get seating priority. Imagine how that would change these fundraising calls!