President Putin steps forth to the rescue of Gabon’s Ali Bongo

7/17/2018: Of course. After Lariviere and Galvan failed, where else could he turn?

No word on whether UO fundraiser John Manotti helped set up this meeting too. Meanwhile, former Ambassador Plenipotentiary Eric Benjaminson has moved on from UO to Chicago.

9/3/2016: Lariviere’s deal with Ali Bongo and Eric Benjaminson collapses in violence

The history of this bizarre UO foray into foreign affairs has yet to be written, but so far it involves the US ambassador to Gabon seeing a chance for a retirement gig at UO, the State Department’s sophomoric remix of Kissinger’s real-politic, Richard Lariviere’s desperate effort to get some money for something other than Duck sports, and a lot of oil money stolen from some very poor Africans. Like so many corrupt Oregon deals, some otherwise smart people gave it a pass because it was carefully packaged as “green” and “sustainable”. Oregon and Gabon: Twin Edens.

Here’s UO President Richard Lariviere at the White House with President Bongo and US Ambassador Eric Benjamin – now a UO employee – in happier times in 2010:

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 8.32.38 PM

The Guardian reports on kleptomaniacal President for Life Bongo’s current re-election dispute. Many have died:

… However, Bongo scored lower than his father, who famously won 100% of the national vote in the 1986 election, with a 99.9% turnout, when Gabon was still a one-party state.

[Opposition candidate Jean Ping], a half-Chinese diplomat who was previously one of the Bongo family’s most trusted cronies, rejected the result and demanded a recount in Haut Ogooué.

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And the NYT gives Ping a platform:

On Saturday, Aug. 27, presidential elections were held in my country,Gabon, in West Africa, and I was the candidate who won by a substantial vote margin. Nearly a week later, I would have expected to be addressing the world as Gabon’s president-elect, ready and willing to work with the United States and all our international partners to fight terrorism, build our economies and improve the lives of our citizens through increased development and cooperation.

Sure. That and deliver a share of the spoils to his partners.

1/18/2016: UO Foundation must write off Bongo’s $15M endowment promise

Under the Foundation’s rules they had until the end of 2016 to get the money from Gabon or take it off the books. Maybe I’m missing the nuance in this Le Monde article, but obviously it’s not coming by 2016. The truth is there is no money: Ali Bongo blew it on luxury real estate, fast cars, soccer players, and wives, while leaving his country mired in poverty. The collapsing price of oil made it impossible for his government to continue to keep up the pretense.

And so ends one of Richard Lariviere’s crazier ideas. One of the RG’s several critical editorials on it is here, and other UOM posts are here. Thanks to Bongo’s political opponents for forwarding the link, and best of luck in the elections and after:

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12/27/2015: Gabon’s kleptomaniacal President for Life Ali Bongo stiffs UO on $15M gift

Rumor down at Dennis Galvan’s Office of International Affairs is that there are a lot of nuances here, and we may get the money “soon”.

Sure. With oil below $40 and an election coming up amidst the ongoing French investigations of corruption, and family infighting over the loot accumulated by Bongo’s father Omar, I’m thinking the UO Foundation is going to have to write off the $15M endowment gift that Bongo promised UO back in 2011 pretty soon.

But apparently former US Ambassador to Gabon Eric Benjaminson, whom we hired to run the “Twin Edens” project shortly after he convinced Bongo to give the money, still has a couple million left from the original $5M, and is funding a variety of research projects.

For more on this story, including the suitcases of cash Bongo has been sending his American wife, and some spectacular real estate purchases, check out the Gabon tab below.

Vin Lananna keeps job as UO Associate Athletic Director

He has, however, resigned as TrackTown President, right in the middle of planning for the 2021 IAAF Championships, and a federal investigation. Ken Goe has the scoop here:

Lananna led the successful bid for the 2021 World Outdoor Championships, which are scheduled to be at Hayward Field. The bid is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, although no charges have been made. Lananna has insisted the bid was above board.

No word on whether of not Lananna will continue working for Tracktown’s “Oregon 21” subsidiary, or how this will affect the $10M Travel Oregon grant, which the Oregon DOJ has still not approved. More on Lananna’s complicated business arrangements from Diane Dietz in the RG, in 2015.

CAS wants building inscriptions for Tykeson Hall

Dear CAS faculty and Staff,

As you’re aware if you’ve walked down 13th Street between Chapman and Johnson, Tykeson Hall, the new home for CAS and a building that will offer integrated academic and career advising to UO students, is quickly rising.  We expect Tykeson to open for classes in Winter 2019, and we’re now working on the details of the building: interiors, furniture, finishing details, artwork, etc.

We will soon be choosing quotations to be incorporated into Tykeson’s design and become part of the building’s message to students, faculty, and staff.  We invite you to submit ideas for building inscriptions, and we are seeking passages from a diverse array of cultures, regions, and time periods.  We will have to choose only two or three in the end, and we hope you will help make it a difficult choice by sending us words of wisdom, illumination, guidance, and good sense from your favorite authors.

We’ve been guided thus far in our planning by a stanza of a Robert Frost poem, “Two Tramps in Mud Time” (, a poem that weighs the need to work with the love of work and concludes that we should choose work that speaks to both the necessity and pleasure of the jobs we do, that is, to both vocation and avocation. Three years ago we took Frost’s stanza for our working motto:

My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.

We welcome your suggestions for quotations that might become inscriptions about education and careers in Tykeson Hall.  Our teaching and advising in Tykeson will emphasize

  1. The importance of advising and mentoring
  2. The interconnection between academics and professional pursuits
  3. The value of a liberal arts education.

To read about the Tykeson vision and see the building plans, please go to the Tykeson Hall website (

Please submit brief quotations with attributions to Jules Jones ( by Friday, July 27, 2018.

Thank you for your ideas.

CAS Dean’s Office

Andrew, Bruce, Carol, Hal, Karen, and Philip

Temperature and High-Stakes Cognitive Performance

Temperature and High-Stakes Cognitive Performance: Evidence from the National College Entrance Examination in China

Joshua S. Graff Zivin, Yingquan Song, Qu Tang, Peng Zhang
NBER Working Paper No. 24821. Issued in July 2018
NBER Program(s):Children, Development Economics, Environment and Energy Economics, Health Economics, Public Economics

We provide the first nation-wide estimates on temperature effects on high-stakes cognitive performance in a developing country using data from the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE) in China. The NCEE is one of the most important institutions in China and affects hundreds of millions of families. We find that a one-standard-deviation increase in temperature (3.29° C) decreases the total test score by 1.12% (9.62% of a standard deviation) and decreases the probability of getting into first-tier universities by 1.97% (4.38% of a standard deviation). This suggests that temperature plays an important role in high-stakes cognitive performance and has potentially far-reaching impacts for the careers and lifetime earnings of students.


What’s under the foreskin of the Tower O’ Excellence’s “heroic wood”?

While our General Counsel’s Public Records Office is still stonewalling requests for the Hayward Field lease agreement between UO and Phit LLC, today Duck spokesperson Tobin Klinger told the RG that UO is no longer in control:

… The privately funded rebuild of the stadium is being led by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, with the UO transferring the land to a private Knight-controlled LLC for the duration of construction. As a result, Klinger acknowledged that UO officials didn’t have input on the latest round of design changes. …

The Hayward website notes “Its perforated metal skin and steel form flare upward and outward to resemble a …”

Well, you get the idea. And what will be under the foreskin of this “heroic wood” egofice? A living room. Really?


Access to free speech guidelines is Forbidden

Fortunately we’ve got the Internet Archive:

Free Speech Guidelines

Rights, rules, responsibilities, and resources

At the University of Oregon, established guidelines protect the right to free speech, while ensuring that opposing views may also be expressed. The basic guideline says that whenever one person’s or one group’s activities prevent another’s sanctioned activity from taking place, rights are being violated. The university has the responsibility and authority to protect those rights. The university strives to balance the right to dissent with the right to be heard, the right to speak one’s mind with the right to listen.

Printed Material

Most building walls and campus fixtures, as well as most bulletin boards, are regulated. Building or department operators may determine what content may be approved (i.e., material related to a particular program, or published by university groups for a university audience). Unapproved or unrelated material may be removed.

Material may not contain “true” threats of violence.


May not interfere with scheduled university activities (such as classes or events)

May not block doors, hallways, stairways, fire exits, fire lanes, or public rights of way including streets, sidewalks, etc.

May not pose a threat to health and safety

May not result in damage, loss, theft or vandalism of property

May not exceed safe occupancy capacity in a room (Oregon Fire Code, Sections 104.1, 107.5, 107.6)

May not interfere with scheduled speakers’ presentations or response to questions


No amplified sound on campus between 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; no amplified sound indoors (megaphones and other sound-amplifying devices are not allowed inside)

Sound amplified by event schedulers is allowed in athletics and entertainment venues

Requests for amplified sound at the EMU Amphitheater must be submitted to Scheduling and Event Services

Please be considerate of classes and other events when demonstrating outdoors


May not have attached sticks inside buildings (safety hazard)

May not make direct, “true” threats of violence

May be removed if posted or left in an area that does not allow unregulated postings


Any marking, including chalking, left on campus buildings or surfaces (including sidewalks and streets) may be removed, consistent with campus maintenance standards and practices.


To enable the free sharing of ideas on campus, the UO has rules and procedures for reserving space or other facilities.

The person or group reserving the facility is entitled to determine how, within university guidelines, that facility is used.

When campus activities conflict with one another, university officials have the authority to request those involved in one activity to stop, move, or change their behavior, so that the other activity can continue.

Violations of the standards above may result in university action to stop the behavior, as well as disciplinary consequences for students or employees, and possible legal action.

Visitors to the University of Oregon campus have the responsibility to obey federal and state laws, as well as University of Oregon rules and policies, and may be cited for trespass or subject to prosecution for any illegal behavior committed on campus. Faculty and staff members and students may face disciplinary sanctions imposed by the university if they ignore these standards of behavior. Students are subject to the requirements of the Student Conduct Code, and members of the faculty and staff are subjects to UO policies governing Proscribed Conduct, as well as the university’s policies on progressive discipline.

Dean fired for lying to faculty about how much money university has for raises

I’m kidding, that’s just bargaining. But when a professor lies to his dean about an outside offer, that’s a felony:

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – A former professor at Colorado State University is facing a felony charge for fabricating an outside job offer to improve his status at CSU.

Professor Brian McNaughton, 40, ran the McNaughton Lab, a biochemistry research group at CSU.

He is now charged with attempt to influence a public official, for presenting his employers with a fictitious offer letter from the University of Minnesota in order to get more money from CSU.

…  McNaughton resigned his position at CSU. In a letter to the Dean, McNaughton apologized for an “enormous mistake.” He wrote that he got the idea to fake the outside offer from colleagues.

“It was openly stated that multiple former CSU faculty (now either dead or no longer affiliated with CSU) lied about an outside offer as a mechanism to improve their salary,” McNaughton wrote. “I’m not excusing it, and I’m not excusing my own actions, but these factors are real.”

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the link.

Senate Pres talks to Trustees about UO Foundation, IAAF, academic freedom, internal audit

From June 8, just getting around to posting. Video here:

I’m posting this in part because of today’s Op-Ed in the Oregonian from Oregon Association of Scholars President (and PSU PoliSci prof) Bruce Gilley, which inaccurately characterizes the UO Senate’s resolution in support of the free-speech rights of our students as endorsing the “heckler’s veto”. Gilley:

… The protection of intellectual freedom on campus used to be the preserve of faculty. Yet the radicalization of faculty — conservative or registered Republicans have virtually disappeared from Oregon college faculties today — means that faculty today are more often the main threat to intellectual freedom. The disgraceful endorsement by the University of Oregon’s faculty senate of student mobs who disrupted the president’s annual address last October is the latest example. …

The UO Senate’s resolution is here. I can only assume Prof. Gilley has not read it. Among other things, it states:

2.1 BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the UO Senate supports the rights of students to peacefully protest during university events, even disruptively, so long as those protests do not prevent speakers from being heard and the audience from hearing what they have to say; [Emphasis added.]

See below for more. Back up the video to hear the remarks from incoming ASUO President Maria Alejandra Gallegos-Chacon, which end with a call for a reform of UO’s student discipline rules to ensure free speech cases are treated with the care they deserve.

My report to the Board of Trustees as written:

The report in the meeting materials is from outgoing Senate President Chris Sinclair. He is giving a presentation at a national meeting on the Senate’s Core Education reform program, so I’m his surrogate.
I was Senate VP this year, and will be Senate President for the coming academic year. Last week the Senate voted Elizabeth Skowron (Education) in as Senate VP this year, and so she’ll become President the year following this one.
Elizabeth has broad support from the faculty and other Senate constituents, and from Chris and myself. Her election was unanimous.
I’ll be happy to answer questions about Chris’s report, which explains some of the Senate’s work this year, i.e. including the plans we have put in place to improve core ed, teaching and teaching evaluation but first I want to add a few comments.
First, I want to report on a conversation that Chris and I had with UO’s internal auditor Trisha Burnett, this March, as part of her annual check-ins. We explained that we were particularly concerned about
1) UO’s diversity efforts: While you will hear a lot about the IDEAL diversity plan today, meanwhile UO is dropping the ball on basic practices like exit interviews for departing minority and female faculty and open hiring processes for administrators. Burnett agreed that these were problems. I hope you have got the same message from her office and will help address it.
2) The athletic department. As you know the NCAA is investigating UO over an incomplete grade  for a student-athlete. This is a side-show.
One real concern is about the  extent to which the “ Support for Student Athletes” operation is providing good academic support to revenue-sport athletes, and help for those that aren’t going to make it to the pros or graduate. I assume you’ve seen the graduation rates for the revenue sport-athletes. Burnett is worried about the potential for an UNC type scandal, or an Michigan State type one. The faculty knows little about how the AD and SSA operate, and our past oversight efforts have not been successful. The Senate’s IAC committee has been replaced by an advisory committee to the President. You should be aware of Burnett’s concerns about the risk, which she expressed clearly to us, although apparently not in her written reports to you.
3) The UO Foundation. The Foundation is heavily involved in the 2021 IAAF championships award, which is now under federal investigation. Your board was involved in this as well. We made our concerns clear, to Burnett, she made clear that the Foundation was not cooperating with her efforts to learn more. This is not a good situation, we hope you are keeping your eye on it.
Second, I want to explain the Senate’s resolution “In Support of the UO Student Collective”. This is the group of students that disrupted President Schill’s “State of the University”speech in October.
A personal note: One of the first courses I taught when I came to UO was on environmental economics. One of my students was an environmental activist, and frequently and loudly spoke up during lectures to object to the economic approach.
President Schill has said that with this resolution the Senate endorsed the sorts of disruption of classes by students who might object to something about the course content, as has occurred at other universities, such as Reed and Evergreen, where students have essentially shut down courses on particular subjects.
This is not at all what our Senate has endorsed. The resolution states clearly:
2.1 BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the UO Senate supports the rights of students to peacefully protest during university events, even disruptively, so long as those protests do not prevent speakers from being heard and the audience from hearing what they have to say; 
I’m not a lawyer, but this language is consistent with everything I understand about the First Amendment, everything I believe about academic freedom, and everything that UO’s other policies on these matters state. People have a right to speak, and those who object to that speech have the right to have their objections heard even if that disrupts and causes inconvenience for the speaker and the audience.
What those who object cannot do, and again I quote from our resolution, is prevent speakers from being heard and the audience from hearing what they have to say. 
Our resolution does not endorse the sorts of disruptions that prevent faculty, or our President, from teaching what they want to teach or saying what they want to say. It specifically speaks against that, only allowing “disruption” so long as that disruption doesn’t prevent the professor’s lecture, or for that matter the President’s talk, from continuing.
Our resolution does not endorse allowing the actions of the Students Collective taking the podium and shutting down President Schill’s address – although it does call for some leniency in their subsequent discipline, and some reforms to make sure free speech discipline cases are handled with special care. These were students, after all.
If this is not clear, please see the UO policy on Academic Freedom, which the Senate passed in 2014 and which the UO President signed, which states:
The University’s responsibility to help students to think critically and independently requires that members of the university community have the right to investigate and discuss matters, including those that are controversial, inside and outside of class, without fear of institutional restraint. It is the responsibility of speakers, listeners and all members of our community to respect others and to promote a culture of mutual inquiry throughout the University community.
Or see the UO Policy on Freedom of Inquiry and Free Speech, which we passed in 2010, which states:
The University supports free speech with vigor, including the right of presenters to offer opinion, the right of the audience to hear what is presented, and the right of protesters to engage with speakers in order to challenge ideas, so long as the protest does not disrupt or stifle the free exchange of ideas. 
I don’t see how the Senate and the faculty could be any more clear about our position, and I’m tired of hearing people misrepresent it. Though of course I’m open to any arguments, even disruptive ones.
Thank you. Questions?

University releases subpoena & coach records in bball wage theft case

That would be the University of Maryland. The WaPo:

A federal grand jury in New York investigating corruption in college basketball has requested records from Maryland regarding one unnamed former player, assistant coach Orlando “Bino” Ranson, and Silvio De Sousa, a recruit who ultimately attended Kansas.

Maryland released copies of the subpoenas Friday, along with a statement asserting the university had already sent back all relevant records, and had found no evidence of any violations of NCAA rules or federal laws by any Maryland coaches, employees or players….

Presumably the feds were investigating Bino and Silvio on charges that they failed to compensate their players for their work hours, i.e. wage theft. Good to hear that UMD has provided the grand jury with evidence that their “student-athletes” were in fact paid.

I wonder when UO will release its subpoena? UO GC Kevin Reed’s public records office charged Daily Emerald reporter Michael Tobin $113.64 for copies of any federal subpoenas UO had received (there’s presumably one for the IAAF 2021 Championship bid docs too) and then refused to hand them over, and then refused to give him a refund. Max Thornberry had the story in the EW:

General counsel for the university Kevin Reed, a member of the transparency committee, refused to attend Thursday’s meeting and resigned from the committee before the meeting, telling Harbaugh that his office’s participation in the committee would “present a conflict of interest.”

[In an obvious self-contradiction, Reed then appointed Bryan Derringer, an AGC from Reed’s office as his designee.]

… In addition to stepping down from the committee, Reed expressed concern that Harbaugh’s participation presented a conflict of interest as well. Transcripts of emails between Reed and Harbaugh were posted to the University Senate blog.

“You have been assessed over $45,000 in fees on your public records requests over the course of the last five or so years,” Reed wrote to Harbaugh in an email. “You have paid a few hundred dollars for documents, but mostly you have protested the fees and argued for a change in fee policy that would reduce or eliminate fees. A private citizen is, of course, free to engage in such advocacy, but when a public official does so in his official capacity, he does so at his own risk. I have told you this before, and you have ignored my advice thus far. And, as I said the risk is on you, not the university, so I can’t tell you what to do.”

Following Reed’s prompting to consult with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, Harbaugh says, an investigator from OGEC — via a phone conversation — determined Harbaugh’s interest in public records makes him part of a class or group of people with shared interests, saying, “Your participation would not even be a potential conflict of interest.”

[UOM: ORS 244.020(1), (13) actually says:

(13)“Potential conflict of interest” means any action or any decision or recommendation by a person acting in a capacity as a public official, the effect of which could be to the private pecuniary benefit or detriment of the person or the person’s relative, or a business with which the person or the person’s relative is associated, unless the pecuniary benefit or detriment arises out of the following:

(a)An interest or membership in a particular business, industry, occupation or other class required by law as a prerequisite to the holding by the person of the office or position.

(b)Any action in the person’s official capacity which would affect to the same degree a class consisting of all inhabitants of the state, or a smaller class consisting of an industry, occupation or other group including one of which or in which the person, or the person’s relative or business with which the person or the person’s relative is associated, is a member or is engaged.

(c)Membership in or membership on the board of directors of a nonprofit corporation that is tax-exempt under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Why did the General Counsel’s office omit this important qualification?]

… “This is symptomatic of the university’s contempt for public records law and the principle that people should have access to the records of their government,” Harbaugh says. “This seems to me a case where the university is using its powers under that law not to promote transparency but to try to hide things.”

More here.

I don’t know what UMD charged for releasing these public records, but here’s their subpoena:


Harrang, Long, Gary, & Rudnick’s remaining lawyers now working from a shopping mall across the river

HLGR in 2013:

Back in the day the politically well-connected HLGR law firm had 30 attorneys and regular contracts with the state and localities and tobacco companies.  They won a $1M settlement from the Oregon Department of Justice for the son of partner Stan Long over the DOJ’s efforts to prosecute him in the first Kitzhaber/Hayes influence peddling scandal. The state hired partners Bill Gary and Sharon Rudnick as lead attorneys for the effort to reduce PERS benefits, and after a pitch to UO about their hiring of former President Frohnmayer, UO General Counsel Randy Geller gave them a lucrative contract for the university’s legal work.

Then things started to go south for the venerable firm. Gary and Rudnick lost most of the PERS case in the Oregon Supreme Court. The City of Eugene replaced their expensive HLGR contract with cheaper in-house lawyers. After collecting ~$12K in billable hours defending the Eugene school district from a Register Guard public records lawsuit, HLGR mistakenly emailed the personnel records they’d been hired to keep from the public to the reporter. Whoops. UO had hired HLGR partner Sharon Rudnick to negotiate the first contract between the UO administration and the newly created UO faculty union, but the faculty union’s negotiators – Mike Mauer, Esq and David Cecil, ABD and the faculty negotiating team ran circles around the feckless Rudnick. And who can forget the disastrous GTFF negotiations and strike, with UO’s bargaining team led by HLGR real estate lawyer Jeff Matthews?

Then HLGR attorney Andrea Coit, hired by UO to defend against the “Bowl of Dicks” lawsuit from former public safety officer James Cleavenger, accused Cleavenger of wearing a Free Mason’s pin in court to secretly signal his Masonic brothers on the jury. It turned out it was a Duck booster pin, to the amusement of the judge. The jury awarded Cleavenger $755K in damages, plus ~$500K for attorney fees. New UO GC Kevin Reed doubled down, hiring HLGR partner Bill Gary to appeal the fees award. Instead Judge Carter awarded Cleavenger’s attorney another $50K in fees for having to defend against the appeal – and of course UO had to pay Gary’s billable hours too. Ouch.

With the recent departure of Andrea Coit for Hutchinson Cox, HLGR is now down to 15 lawyers, including “of Counsel” Randy Geller, who as UO GC helped get HLGR the UO contract, and is now apparently bring in some hours for them, on a contract with Lane Community College:

And now they’ve moved out of their downtown offices, to a shopping mall across the river:

Bach is back

The Eugene Weekly has the report here:

After the most tumultuous year in its history, the Oregon Bach Festival returns — its internationally acclaimed artistic director fired, its reputation tarnished by his mysterious dismissal and its parent University of Oregon’s botched, secretive handling of the whole situation and its schedule diminished.

Yet the nearly half-century-old institution, one of Oregon’s artistic treasures, somehow endures despite the turmoil.

This year’s edition, which opens Friday, notably includes a pair of most-welcome contemporary works by major American composers. “Executive Director Janelle McCoy is responsible for bringing [Richard Danielpour’s] The Passion of Yeshua and Philip Glass’ Piano Concerto No.3 featuring Simone Dinnerstein to Eugene,” wrote festival director of Marketing and Communications Josh Gren in an email. “The rest of the Festival was programmed by an artistic advisory committee, led by UO School of Music and Dance Dean, Brad Foley” and including other UO faculty members and others. …

Last I recall UO was subsidizing the festival to the tune of $1M or so a year.