UO colleges lay off fundraisers as Pres Schill centralizes development

It was a disappointing year for UO fundraising, although you’d never know that from the misinformation Kyle Henley’s PR flacks put out on Around the O:

The University of Oregon posted another successful year of contributions during the fiscal year ending June 30 for a total of $131.03 million.

More than half of this total comes from Oregonians, and the lion’s share — 67 percent — is for academic support. In all, the university received 52,972 gifts, an increase of nearly 7 percent from fiscal 2017. …

For a more fact-based analysis, read RG reporter Saul Hubbard here:

The University of Oregon’s private fundraising slowed in the last fiscal year, following the mammoth $500 million donation pledge from Phil and Penny Knight for a new science campus.

The UO reported receiving $131 million in gifts and other contributions, its lowest total since the 2013-14 fiscal year. It’s only the second time since the state agreed in 2013 to give the UO more independence with its own board of trustees that the university has failed to raise at least $200 million in donations in a year. …

Unfortunately, Saul Hubbard left the RG earlier this month, and GC Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office is using fees and delays to limit access to public records, so now we’ll have to go with rumors.

The rumor is that President Schill is taking control of the fundraisers that have worked for UO’s colleges for years, courting and building relationships with academic donors. Some of these college fundraisers have apparently been laid off, and the others will be moved under the control of Johnson Hall, which will now attempt to direct the generosity of UO’s donors to those causes that our central administration cares about.

Perhaps this centralization is a good idea. Or perhaps not. The only thing for sure is that Johnson Hall doesn’t care what you think, and that Around the O is not going to bother to try and explain it or even tell you that it’s been done.

Ducks to pay Bowling Green players $28K a point for 9/1 body-bag game

Just kidding, this is the NCAA. The Toledo Blade reports that Rob Mullens is paying Bowling Green $900K to give the Ducks a season opener win, and Vegas has the Ducks by 32 points. The $28K per point will come out of UO’s academic budget, one way or another, and it will go to pay the salaries of Bowling Green coaches. The student-athletes will get nothing but concussions, while thanks to Duck AD Rob Mullens’s new Autzen alcohol policies Duck fans will get even drunker. This sporting contest ends ~8PM Saturday, so drive defensively.


UO Prof Elliot Berkman on “The Self-Defeat of Academia”

Thanks to a helpful reader for the link. A snippet:

These last few years have been tough for higher education. Enrollment is down year after year, state funding increases have stalled even as costs skyrocket, and most people don’t have much confidence overall in American colleges and universities.

The standard explanation within academia for these trends is that the relentless drumbeat of criticism of universities from right-wing media have combined with increasing anti-intellectualism in the US to erode public perceptions of the value of higher education. Attacks from conservative media have increased, focused in particular on the well-established liberal bias in higher ed, so the partisan divide in perceptions of universities is not surprising.

But right-wing attacks on the academy and its denizens are only part of the story. A closer look at the data shows that a sizeable number of liberals are dissatisfied with higher education. Besides, focusing only on partisan media places the responsibility for recent downward trends in enrolment, funding, and public opinion outside of academia. We – professors and administrators in higher education – need to accept our role in these trends. Only by confronting how we contribute to our deteriorating public image can we reverse it.

If the right-wing media attacks on universities amount to a public relations battle, then we are clearly on the losing side. We’re barely even putting up a fight. The reluctance to make the case for our value to society goes back to a very different time, when we could take public support for granted. But things have changed. …

Knight Campus?

A helpful reader notes this opinion piece from PNAS, asking if Knight Campus is a potential example of it:

Opinion: Expansion fever and soft money plague the biomedical research enterprise, Henry R. Bourne

Academic biomedical science has had both a long boom in its funding and a subsequent scary bust. From 1970 to 1999, NIH budgets increased 9% per year (1); from 2000 to 2004, they doubled (23). In 2005 came the unmistakable bust: flat-lined NIH budgets converted the doubling into a paltry 14% increase in inflation-corrected (4) dollars over 16 years (1999–2015; Fig. 1A). But during the bust, two stealthier dangers escaped notice, their quantitative details and significance masked or denied. Universities recklessly overbuilt laboratories to fill with more scientists, just when the bust removed funding increases they needed to do science. As diminished NIH dollars made research riskier, universities required principal investigators (PIs) to earn high proportions of salary from grants, transferring much of the risk to PIs: Universities in the 1970s paid PIs about 75% “hard” salary from their own coffers; those coffers in the 21st century pay PIs much less, forcing them to corral most salary as “soft” grant money.

Unknown vandals deface insipid, racist UO mission statement

8/24/2018 update: Dean of Libraries Adriene Lim has issued a thoughtful statement here. Worth reading it all, here’s a snippet:

… On a personal note, I share this recollection of my days as a new librarian at Wayne State University in Detroit. I was involved in producing a major exhibit on “Lesbian Pulp Fiction” in one of our libraries. The year was 1997, when being lesbian or gay was still viewed as deviant and perverted in mainstream culture (and still is by some in our society). The exhibit included panels that I had borrowed from the Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA). After the opening of the exhibit, someone vandalized the works; they painted the word “dyke” over an artifact and damaged a few of the LHA panels.

My point for sharing this story is to illustrate why I am convinced that condoning acts of vandalism like this or censoring or removing works with which we are offended will ultimately and more deeply affect those of us in the minority. This experience and many other incidents I can relate, including demands from individuals to remove what they deem to be offensive books and materials from the library, inform my own reactions to this incident of vandalism now. …


8/23/2018: I’m shocked and appalled that these vandals couldn’t find a ladder tall enough to fix the gibberish at the top too. I know the stairs make for a tricky set-up, but this $139.99 Harbor Freight 17 footer adjusts nicely. I’ve put a loaner out by the carport. This post is not in any way meant to express UO Senate endorsement of this sensible act of free-speech.

Thanks to Prof Sanjay Srivastava’s excellent twitter feed for the breaking news and photo.

From an earlier post:

12/7/2017: Students want to remove insipid, racist UO Mission Statement from library wall

The Daily Emerald has the story here:

The change.org petition is here. It focuses on the part about “… conservation and betterment … of our racial heritage…”, which at the time was the language of eugenics, racist immigration policies, and forced sterilization –  the death camps came soon after. Personally, I’m in favor of leaving the thing up as a warning to our students and the future, but only after giving UO’s History and English faculty a crack at it with a ladder and a fat red marker. Here’s my attempt:



Video captures UNC students in sensible act of vandalism

InsideHigherEd report here.

… The move came after years of debate. As many other colleges and universities removed Confederate statues and symbols, UNC officials said that they lacked the power to remove the statue, with the campus deferring to the system, and the system board last month saying that any decision needed to come from a state agency, and that the system had no plans to ask that agency to act. …

Video here:

This post is not in any way meant to encourage UO students to drag the Pioneer Mother and Father statues over to the graveyard, nor am I being paid to endorse this Harbor Freight winch with a series-wound motor to endure long pulls, and discrete remote control:

No, for maximum safety we need a committee.

UO late again with Affirmative Action Plan

The most recently available plan is here. The data is from 2016. Under federal regulations UO must prepare these annually. The new plan, explaining how UO is complying with federal AA law and giving the latest slice and dice of UO’s employees by gender and race, was supposed to be signed by President Schill by March 1, 2018. But instead, there’s just this announcement from AAEO:

On an annual basis, as required by federal regulations, UO produces Affirmative Action Plans (AAPs).  As of the 2018-19 AAP Year, UO has engaged Biddle Consulting Group to assist in the preparation of our plans.  Biddle has recommended some process changes to better align our reporting dates and incorporate the most current, complete and accurate set of data (snapshot date) with which to generate the AAPs. The effective date of the plans will remain March 1 with a new snapshot date of February 28, resulting in a later release of plan information on the AAEO website.

UO is spending millions on the VPEI’s office, thousands of hours of faculty time on “Diversity Action Plans”, is requiring search committee members to take questionable Implicit Bias training, is being sued for gender discrimination, and is spending millions more on the Under-represented Minority Recruitment Plan – but we can’t even file a basic federally required breakdown of employee race and gender on time without hiring a consultant.

FWIW here’s the sort of data the plans show:




Equity and Inclusion Office in crisis mode as intellectual diversity falls to new lows

Just kidding, they don’t care about that kind of diversity. The Office of Equity and Inclusion has spent millions encouraging UO to hire faculty who look different but think the same. Apparently they’ve been very effective.

Back in 2006 I matched the list of UO tenure track faculty with the Lane County voter rolls, and was able to find 25 registered Republicans. Daily Emerald reporter Braedon Kwiecien has an analysis out today that suggests UO’s political diversity is, if anything, narrowing:

… Of the 27 faculty members in [Political Science], 14 are registered Democrats, two are registered with the Pacific Green Party, two are unaffiliated, one is independent and one is a registered Republican. Seven couldn’t be identified as being registered to vote in Oregon. At a minimum, over 50 percent of faculty in the department are registered Democrats, and a greater percent register with liberal-leaning parties.

At the law school, political diversity is even more skewed. Of the 44 law faculty, 30 are registered Democrats, meaning at least 68 percent of the law faculty are Democrats. Three are non-affiliated, one is independent, one is a registered Republican and nine couldn’t be accounted for in the registration data. …

CAS Dean Andrew Marcus to step down at end of year

August 17, 2018

Dear University of Oregon community members,

I write today to let you know that W. Andrew Marcus, Tykeson Dean of Arts and Sciences, has notified me that he intends to step down as dean at the end of the calendar year.

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is in many ways the heart and soul of the University of Oregon, serving as the academic home to more than 60 percent of the student body and offering more than 40 fields of study in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Andrew has led this vast and complex college with incredible distinction and honor for more than five years, stepping in as acting dean in 2012 and ultimately being named dean in 2016.

President Schill and I are deeply grateful to Andrew for his exceptional leadership of the university’s largest and most academically diverse college through a period of great transformation and challenge within both CAS and the broader university. Andrew has been a principled and visionary leader, a voice of reason, and a tireless advocate for the faculty and students of CAS. With more than 15 years of experience at the UO as a faculty member, University Senate president, department head, associate dean, and dean, Andrew’s wealth of institutional knowledge will be greatly missed from the academic leadership ranks.

Even as Andrew steps away from his leadership role, his legacy as dean will last far into the future. The most enduring symbol of that legacy is Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall, a new college and careers building that is under construction in the heart of campus and set to open in the fall of 2019. Andrew’s vision is to create a place where students can navigate their academic experience at the UO in a holistic and innovative space that combines academic advising, career guidance, and portfolio-building opportunities in one location. More than just a beautiful building, Tykeson Hall will be a place where generations of UO students will set themselves on a path to a more meaningful future. It couldn’t have happened without Andrew’s leadership, vision, and tenacious fundraising efforts.

During his time as dean, Andrew has deftly realigned the college’s budget with transparency and fairness. He has helped recruit and hire amazing new faculty members as well as retain standout professors and researchers, efforts that have helped the UO solidify and strengthen its academic foundation in a wide range of disciplines. Andrew also launched new degrees and programs to serve the evolving demands and needs of students, including the Center for Environmental Futures and the new Black Studies initiative. In addition, he has made significant contributions to the broader UO community, serving on the president’s Senior Leadership Team, the Academic Leadership Team, the Space Advisory Group, and the Budget Advisory Group.

In the coming weeks, President Schill and I will consult with the college’s leadership team and members of the CAS faculty about how best to move forward when Andrew steps down at the end of the year. Having strong, capable leadership within the College of Arts and Sciences is a top priority, and we will develop and share a search plan in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition in CAS.

In the meantime, please join me in thanking Andrew for his wonderful service as dean to the College of Arts and Sciences and the entire University of Oregon.

Jayanth Banavar
Provost and Senior Vice President

HECC sends Gov proposal for 25% increase for universities, 73% for tuition aid

Nothing on Kyle Henley’s expensive Around the O, and if you check Libby Batlan and Hans Bernard’s UO’Government Relations website you just get a bunch of Duck pictures. But OSU’s Jock Mills’s very transparent Government Relations Office at Oregon State has the information on their excellent blog here. On the capital side, UO would get $54M to redo Huestis Hall, or just 15% of the total proposal for the seven publics:

Apparently Knight Campus vacuumed up UO’s share of state bonding last biennium – $70 million of it. But remember, the Knight Campus is going to benefit all of UO.

More on the HECC proposal, from the OSU blog:

HECC recommends capital and operating budgets for the 2019-21 biennium

On Thursday, August 2, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) approved recommendations for capital and operating budgets for community colleges and universities, as well as for financial aid programs for the 2019-21 biennium. The next play is in the Governor’s hands as she develops a comprehensive budget proposal due in late November/early December.

PUSF:   The HECC approved a base budget for the Public University Support Fund (PUSF) that does not reflect the Current Service Level (CSL) identified by universities but includes policy option packages (POPs) that would increase state spending for higher education from $737 million for the current biennium to $923 million, a 25% increase. University presidents have indicated that at least $867 million is needed to keep tuition increases below 5% for each of the next two years. The HECC proposal would enable much-needed investments in student success and retention at all seven universities.

Oregon Opportunity Grants:   The HECC also recommended a whopping $107 million (73%) increase in funding for the Oregon Opportunity Grant program — the primary source of state-funded financial aid for university students administered by the Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion (OSAC). While still focused on providing aid to those students with the highest need, the increase will open the program to serve an estimated 16,150 Pell-eligible students currently attending universities and community colleges. Under this funding level, OSAC will be able to maintain a grant amount that is approximately equal to 15% of the average cost of attendance at a 2- or 4- year public college or university.

If the state doesn’t come through with the PUSF increases, there will be another round of high tuition increases. On the other hand the proposal to expand the OOG program would offset these for low-income Oregonians. Like.

Will UO’s insurers make Kevin Reed settle Prof Freyd’s gender disc lawsuit?

My post on the filing of this lawsuit back in March 2017 is at “Nevertheless she persisted“, with a link to this RegisterGuard report from Jack Moran:

Psychology professor sues University of Oregon, says she’s paid ‘substantially less’ than male colleagues

The University of Oregon is being sued by a longtime psychology professor who alleges that she’s being paid substantially less than several less-experienced male colleagues, in violation of the federal Equal Pay Act.

Jennifer Freyd’s suit, filed Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court in Eugene, also includes claims alleging disparate treatment and impact, sex-based discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX violations.

“For years, I have tried to work within my department and the college to help the UO live up to its own policies of non-discrimination,” Freyd said in a statement issued by her attorneys. “Women all over the country and in all kinds of jobs earn less than their male counterparts. It’s past time for the UO to recognize and address this problem in its own salary practices.” …

The post describing the innovative “blame it on the union” defense from UO’s lawyers Paula Barran and Shayda Le of Portland’s Barran Liebman is here:

Bullshit. The CBA sets floors, not ceilings. UO General Counsel Kevin Reed knows this. Where does he find these lawyers? Can they read a contract? Does Reed read what they write before they send it to the judge?

In any case, UO’s liability insurance policy with United Educators has a $500K deductible, and given Barran Liebman’s hourly rate and the likely damages if this goes to a jury, United Educators must be getting nervous right about now.

And while I’m no lawyer, UO’s objections to discovery have had a mixed reception from Judge McShane, and his “Joint Status Report” language in the docket suggests that some sort of settlement is in the works:

Scheduling Order by Judge Michael J. McShane. The Status Conference set for 7/19/2018 and all case deadlines are vacated. The parties are to file a Joint Status Report is due by 9/18/2018. Ordered by Judge Michael J. McShane. (cp) (Entered: 07/18/2018)

9/18/2018 was the original date for the jury trial to start. And here’s a news story about an insurer suing a university’s law firm for a botched defense attempt.

Thanks to the excellent https://free.law/recap/ for doing what the federal courts won’t, and making all these documents freely available.

Cross laminated timbers proposed for Hayward Field fail at OSU Forestry School

You’ll be shocked to hear that politics were involved. Jeff Manning has the story on OSU’s new School of Forestry building in the Oregonian here:

… The Peavy problem comes after years of efforts by state officials to promote a technology they view as an economic engine for rural Oregon. The state’s timber employment has fallen 62 percent since its 1980s heyday, from about 80,000 to 30,000.  In 2015, the state deemed the development of cross-laminated timber buildings “essential” to the state’s economic interests.

The panels were made by DR Johnson, a venerable Douglas County timber company and newly minted CLT manufacturer, whose president, Valerie Johnson, sits on the forestry school’s board of visitors.

OSU officials initially said they knew few details of the DR Johnson contract. It was actually a British Columbia-based subcontractor, StructureCraft, that signed that contract, they noted.

But documents obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive show that StructureCraft had no choice but to hire DR Johnson. Buried deep in a 1,300-page “spec book,” OSU included a requirement that the CLT panels used in Peavy Hall be manufactured within 300 miles of the job site. Only DR Johnson met that requirement. …

Of course Historified Hayward Field is being built by Phil Knight with no state or university oversight and isn’t subject to the Governor’s buy local obsession, so presumably Shlusher’s Schlong will use enough glue to keep the wood up.

UO settles tortuous, incomprehensible COI/C case over Ed School profs DIBELS

The docket is here. It started August 2014, with this:

DYNAMIC MEASUREMENT GROUP, INC., an Oregon corporation, PLAINTIFF, v. UNIVERSITY OF OREGON, a special governmental body as defined by ORS 174.117(1)(i); MIA TUAN, individually and in her official capacity; EDWARD J. KAME’ENUI, individually and in his official capacity; FRANCIS J. FIEN IV, a/k/a Hank Fein, individually and in his official capacity; BRAD SHELTON, individually and in his official capacity; and HOP SKIP TECHNOLOGIES INC., an Oregon corporation, DEFENDANTS.

Plaintiff Dynamic Measurement Group, Inc. by this action seeks injunctive relief to prevent continuing trademark infringement and unfair competition by the University of Oregon, and by a private corporation acting in concert with the University of Oregon, in connection with DMG’s registered marks DIBELS, DIBELS Next, and IDEL. It also seeks injunctive relief and statutory damages with respect to copyright infringement and misuse of copyright management information by those same parties in connection with an “app” containing the DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency assessment measures.

Actually it started before that, as Diane Dietz explained in the RG in 2014, here:

In a legal set-to, the University of Oregon, a UO associate professor and a former employee are fighting over who owns — and can profit from — a reading test used at 15,000 schools with 4 million students nationwide.

All sides agree that the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills — or DIBELS — had its origins at the university and has been used and tinkered on by many UO professors, graduate students and researchers.

The question is: Who does DIBELS (rhymes with dribbles) belong to now?

Associate Professor Roland Good and former graduate student and one-time UO employee Ruth Kaminski formed a company and took out a trademark and copyright on DIBELS in 2003.

One decade later, the UO asked the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel Good and Kaminski’s trademark.

“The university will defend its intellectual property rights, which are public property, to the fullest extent of the law,” UO spokeswoman Julie Brown said in a prepared statement.

At one point another group of Ed school professors sued the first group. Or maybe the university. Or maybe vice versa. Eventually the cases were combined. Or maybe dismissed. Lawyers came, lawyers left. Subpoenas were issued. Motions to suppress things were made. It all ended two days ago, after 4 years and 221 docket entries, with this:

221 Aug 8, 2018

60-DAY ORDER OF DISMISSAL: The Court having been informed by counsel for the parties that this action has been settled, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to LR 41-1, this action is dismissed with prejudice and without costs and with leave, upon good cause shown within sixty (60) days, to have this order of dismissal set aside and the action reinstated if the settlement is not consummated. Pending motions, if any, are denied as moot. All pretrial deadlines and any trial date are stricken. By Clerk of Court Mary L. Moran. (mja) (Entered: 08/08/2018)

If anyone can provide a cogent summary of this mess please post it. The UO administration is now working with the Senate to rewrite UO’s relevant COI/COC policies, after first claiming that they were “not an academic matter”.

University reins in athletic department fundraisers

That would be Vanderbilt University. Rick Seltzer in InsideHigherEd:

Long-running tensions between athletics and academics are on display once again at Vanderbilt University, with charges surfacing that the athletics side is being prevented from raising money from some donors courted by university fund-raisers.

Blocking certain donors is undercutting efforts to raise funds for a new football stadium project, The Tennessean reported last week. Citing multiple sources, the newspaper wrote that a lack of progress toward a new or renovated stadium “may be self-inflicted.”

In an accompanying piece, columnist Joe Rexrode recounted being told two years ago by a source that athletics fund-raisers have been “scolded away from top donors” and that coaches have been frustrated because they are unable to get money for “small things that would be considered essential” at other universities. …

“I think most people would say it’s not unusual to have some competition between athletics and academics, or even within academic units,” said David Bass, a senior director of research at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. …

Anecdotal evidence shows the divide between athletic and academic priorities surfaces frequently. Elizabeth King is the president and CEO of the Wichita State University Foundation. She isn’t familiar with the situation at Vanderbilt, but she recalled conversations she’s seen between fund-raising professionals on email distribution lists.

“This does seem to be problematic at a number of institutions,” she said. “It’s just the whole collaboration. Athletics has perks, many times, that the academic side can’t begin to provide.”

The story goes on to discuss crowding-out and crowding-in of academic donations by athletic fundraising.

Meanwhile, here at UO, our VP for Development has just hired Jim Bartko, a former Duck Associate Athletic Director who as AD at Fresno State doubled the subsidy that the academic side must pay athletics to $19M.

His new job? Ostensibly it’s to fundraise for UO’s academic side.

Meanwhile, the RG reports that UO’s fundraising results have been mixed:

UO fundraising attracts $131 million on heels of record gift — a 4-year low

…The UO reported receiving $131 million in gifts and other contributions, its lowest total since the 2013-14 fiscal year. It’s only the second time since the state agreed in 2013 to give the UO more independence with its own board of trustees that the university has failed to raise at least $200 million in donations in a year.

Still, the down year followed a blockbuster 2016-17 fiscal year, where the UO pulled in $695 million, thanks to the long-anticipated $500 million pledge from the Nike co-founder and his wife for the science campus, which is currently under construction.

1/3 of the $1.8B raised in this campaign has gone to the athletic department. Of the rest, most seems to be going to the Knight Campus:

The UO’s biggest donations over the last year were:

• $10 million from the Robert J. DeArmond Trust to provide permanent funding for the director of the under-construction Knight science campus through an endowment. Robert Guldberg, a biomedical engineer and college administrator from Georgia Tech, has been hired as the campus’s first executive director. His starting salary is $550,000 a year. Lumber executive Robert DeArmond and his wife Leona, now both deceased, were UO alumni and longtime donors to the school.

• $3.5 million from Dan and Peggy Neal to support entrepreneurship programs at the UO’s Lundquist College of Business. Dan Neal is a lawyer who has recently developed several student housing projects near the UO.

• $3 million from longtime UO donor Lorry Lokey for other endowed positions at the Knight campus. Lokey, who founded Business Wire, a leading international news release wire service, has been a big donor to higher education institutions throughout the state.

• $2 million anonymous gift for student advising support in the UO’s new Willie and Don Tykeson Hall and the school’s PathwayOregon scholarship program.

• $1 million from Timothy and Virginia Foo to endow a faculty position with the School of Music and Dance. Timothy Foo graduated from the UO’s music school and was a music professor at Drake University.