Why is the Ross fund unlike any other Foundation fund?

Short version:

The UO administration has been telling people that the Ross Fund modification was a routine part of the UO and UO Foundation’s normal processes. I don’t think that’s true. It was exceptional on many dimensions, as I document below. First, at ~$2.5M, it was by far the largest fund modified since 2009, as far back as my records go. I think the next highest was $175K (although numbers are not there for all modifications). Second, it was the only modification that was opposed by anyone. Third, it was one of only three modifications I could find that explicitly took control of spending from the faculty and gave it to a Dean. Fourth, it was the most significant change from the donor’s original intent of any of the modifications since 2009.

Most of these modifications consisted of converting “old and small” Foundation controlled endowments (more than 2o years and less than $25K) and converting them to immediately expendable cash – with no or small changes to the purpose of the gift.

In addition, it now seems clear that the AH&H faculty never voted in support of the language in the fund modification. They did vote to approve broadening the scope of the spending to include support for PhD students. However the fund agreement modification proposed by the UO Foundation, supported by GC Kevin Reed, and adopted by the court went far beyond that:

Where annual distributions from the fund are in excess of reasonable, practicable, and/or prudent use for the aforementioned purpose, excess distributions may be used to provide for broader research endeavors of the Department of Art History. Such expenditures may include Ph.D. fellowship support, faculty research stipends, research related travel, or other similar types of research related expenditures. Appropriate amounts and usages are at the discretion of the Dean. In accordance with the original intent of the fund, where funds are utilized in this manner, they will be supplemental to expenditures made from the regular budget and not in lieu thereof.

None of the modifications considered and voted on by the faculty considered anything like this language.

Caveat: As you will see there are a lot of pages of legalese here. I may have missed a few things.

Previous posts on this with links to the Court and Oregon DOJ Charitable Activities documents are at:

1/29/2018: http://uomatters.com/2018/01/uo-foundation-ceo-paul-weinhold-breaks-professors-bequest-transfers-control-of-2-4m-from-faculty-to-cod-dean-lindner.html

2/11/2018: http://uomatters.com/2018/02/uo-foundation-took-535k-from-professor-ross-fund-for-expenses-then-sent-his-trustee-a-nastygram-and-ignored-him.html

The department minutes and motions are at

Minutes: http://uomatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/HAA-faculty-meeting.pdf

Motions: http://uomatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Ross-proposals.pdf

Long version:

After learning about the Ross Fund modifications from a CoD professor, I asked the Oregon DOJ for copies of their records on all endowment fund modifications submitted by the UO Foundation since 2009. I got back about 1,000 pages of docs (no charge, because of the obvious public interest):

Document I – covers modifications from ~2013-present: http://uomatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Harbaugh-PRR-2.2.18.pdf

Document II: – covers modifications from ~2009-2012: http://uomatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Harbaugh-PRR-2.2.18-part-II.pdf

Since 2009 the Foundation has requested permission to modify about 62 funds. 35 of these were done under the UMPFI’s “old and small” rule, which allows an endowment to be converted into immediately  expendable funds if it’s older than 20 years and smaller than $25K. The money has to be spent for substantially the same purpose as specified in the original gift.  The typical situation involves a donation of $10K or so back in 1980 or so, to endow a scholarship for undergraduates in a specific department. The UO Foundation writes to the Oregon DOJ Office of Charitable Activities, explains the fund is old and small (and therefore relatively expensive to administer and spend) and the DOJ responds with a letter saying they can end the endowment and spend the money on things related to the intent of the giver. This is a little sad, in that the donors clearly thought they were endowing a permanent memorial to a loved one or themselves, but too bad – the law clearly allows the Foundation to break these contracts in the interest of efficiency, although it doesn’t require that they do so.

I found two or three funds where the Foundation asked for a modification because the bequest included restrictions that are now illegal – e.g.:

I am enclosing for your review a proposed Agreement Modifying Institutional
Fund in the Antoinette S. Stanton Memorial Scholarship Fund. The Fund was
established with $5,000 in 1969. The donor required that preference be given to unmarried students, which is no longer possible under current law. Additionally, the Fund was for the benefit of students of home economics. That department no longer exists at the University. Therefore, the Foundation proposes to modify the Fund- to provide scholarship support for undergraduates majoring in family and human services with consideration of academic merit and financial need. 

Seems like a good idea, though I would have argued the home economics money should have gone to the economics department, since the Greek root of economics means “household management”.

There were also nineteen fund modifications that involved the consent of the donors or heirs/trustees. Many of these were gifts in the hundreds of thousands range. My favorite is the “Rock’n J Chair in History Endowment Fund”. The donors originally named it after their ranch, but later thought better of it and renamed it and broadened the scope to:

Whereas the parties entered into a prior Agreement in December 2004; and Whereas the scope of the chair was too narrowly defined to be effectively used by the department; Therefore it is the parties’ intent and agreement that the Foundation shall modify the purpose to become as follows: The purpose of the Fund is to support an endowed chair in the Department of History to focus on the history of the U.S. American West.

Here’s the full list, categorized as Unopposed, Illegal, and Old & Small. No promises that I haven’t missed something. (Notation: II p141 means document II, page 141.)


Thomas C. Stewart Business Professorship. 2010 II p141. 

The parties have agreed to modify the purpose of the fund to more strategically award faculty excellence within the Lundquist College of Business. Awards will be made on an annual basis with a set stipend and potential additional award for professional development costs. Additionally, the name of the fund will be change to the Thomas C. Stewart Distinguished Faculty Fund, See Exhibit B, attached hereto and incorporated herein.

Dynamic Measurement Group Research Award for Literacy Study. 2010 II p162. 

The original purpose was to support research by doctoral
students in early literacy and related areas. Sufficient funds are now available so that the parties wish to broaden the purpose to support other graduate students in addition to doctoral students when no or limited doctoral dissertation projects qualify for the award. All original donors have signed the Modification Agreement

Division of Bernard Charitable Remainder Trust. 2010 II p175.

Max Risinger Memorial Fund. 2010 II p216. 

Modification of Purpose. Whereas the parties entered into a prior Agreement in 1976; and Whereas the fund current generates $1,000 per year, so limiting the annual award to $200 is wasteful;
Therefore it is the parties’ intent and agreement that the Foundation shall modify the purpose to become as follows:
• The scholarship[s] may be used for all standard educational expenses including tuition, fees, books, miscellaneous supplies, room and board.
• The purpose of this fund is to grant scholarship[s] to upper- division or graduate students enrolled at the University of Oregon in choral music education who show promise of outstanding success in the field.
• The recipient of the award is to be selected by a committee of the music education faculty, including the Dean of the School of Music, on the basis of observed talent and performance in music education.
• If for any reason the award is not made for a given academic year, then it shall be added to the endowment principal.

John A. and Patricia L. Gertson Scholarship Fund. 2010. II p 233.

The original language of the endowment fund agreement provides that the scholarship shall be awarded “to an undergraduate student at the Lundquist College of Business (“LCB”) whose grade point average is not high enough to qualify for scholarships based on academic achievement. The student must not have been awarded other privately funded scholarships for the same academic period.” This language is overly restrictive and difficult to administer.

Harold E. Lannom and Adrienne D. Lannom Charitable Remainder Unitrust. 2011 II p251. 

The original purpose of the fund was to benefit the Bach Festival here in
Eugene. However, while the Bach Festival remains a program of the University, the Settlors believe the Festival has come to emphasize performance rather than education, conducts many of its event off campus, and in general has become more independent from the School of Music (although it is still a program of the School of Music). For these and other reasons, the Settlors no longer feel that the charitable purpose provided for one-half the remainder interest in the CRUT will be served as originally intended, and the Settlors have requested a change, to which the School of Music has agreed. The new purpose of the one-half remainder gift to the University of Oregon Foundation would be to support the University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History, The specific fund that would receive the remainder interest is the Museum of Natural History Director’s Endowed Fund. This Fund supports educational and scholarly endeavors at the Museum and would be a valuable asset in recruitment and retention of Museum directors.

Frank X. Wegmann Scholarship for Chinese Studies. 2011. II p 290. 

The original purpose was to provide study-abroad scholarships for junior Chinese language majors. Now the parties wish to remove the restriction requiring the student to have completed sophomore year, and to provide for a preference rather than a requirement that the student be a Chinese major.

Tzedek Lectureship Endowment Fund Modification. 2011. II p294. 

The Tzedek Lectureship brings distinguished thinkers and teachers in the study of moral, ethical and righteous behavior to Eugene and Portland for lectures and other formal and informal gatherings with students, faculty, and others. The endowment fund agreement called for the Tzedek Lecturer to spend approximately a week engaged in these activities, However, over time this has become impractical, and the Foundation proposes to modify the agreement to provide for a schedule of one to three days. The lectures would continue to be published. David B. Stern and Nancy E. Guitteau, the donors, consent to the modification and have signed the Agreement.

Kritikos Professorship Endowment Fund Modification. 2011. II p295. 

The Kritikos Professorship brings distinguished scholars, critics and leaders to Eugene and Portland for lectures and other formal and informal gatherings with students, faculty, and others. The endowment fund agreement called for the Kritikos Professor to spend approximately a week to ten days engaged
in these activities. However, over time this has become impractical, and the Foundation proposes to modify the agreement to provide for a schedule of one to three days. The lectures would continue to be published. David B. Stern, the donor, consents to the modification and has signed the Agreement. 

Pat Lynch Charitable Remainder Unitrust (LCB) 2011. II p428. 1996

The first $150,000 received shall be segregated and set aside to perpetually endow a scholarship for the women’s golf program and shall be know as the Pat Lynch Endowed Scholarship for Women’s Golf. 2. Assets received in excess of the initial $150,000 shall be used to create a separate endowment for the benefit of the Charles H. Lundquist College of Business. Income from said endowment shall be used at the discretion of the Dean of the College. This endowment shall be known as the Pat Lynch Endowed Fund for Business.

Dr. John Miller Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund. 2012 II p459.

The original Fund Agreement contemplated support for scholarships for students in the University of Oregon (“UO”) wrestling program. Since the wrestling program has been disbanded, the goal is to expand the use to also include UO students in the baseball program. This allows for the possible future return of wrestling to UO, with scholarships once again available to those students.

Donald C. Walker and Norman J. Wiener Research Endowment Fund Agreement. 2012 II p465.

There were three original purposes of the Fund, only one of which is at issue in this modification. Specifically, the original gift instrument mandated that the student research scholarships be awarded to graduates from two specific Portland schools only. This restriction has meant that the scholarship cannot always be awarded. Now the parties wish to broaden the purpose under the student research scholarship section to maintain a preference for graduates of Roosevelt or Jefferson High Schools in Portland, but allow the scholarship to be awarded in the event no Roosevelt or Jefferson graduate applies.

Dennis H. and Christine N. Hill Charitable Remainder Unitrust. (Biology) I p1.

Janice E. Rianda Charitable Remainder Unitrust modification. I p356. We understand that you have requested a modification to the charitable purpose
of the David N. and Janice E. Rianda Charitable Remainder Unitrust (the “CRUT”). Modification, in coordination with the more recent Gift Agreement, is intended to convert the CRUT’s purpose from support of a visiting journalism professional to scholarship support for certain journalism majors, as described in the Gift Agreement, and to support the Janice E. Rianda award.
Oregon law requires this modification of a charitable trust to be approved by the Lane County Circuit Court. Therefore, we have filed on behalf of the University of Oregon Foundation the enclosed Petition for Modification of Charitable Remainder Unitrust.

Robert W. and Bernice Ingalls Staton Scholarship Endowment Fund and the Staton Family Quasi Endowment Fund (rename). II p6. 

Rock’n J Chair in History Endowment Fund. II 38. 

Modification of Purpose. Whereas the parties entered into a prior Agreement in December 2004; and Whereas the scope of the chair was too narrowly defined to be effectively used by the department; Therefore it is the parties’ intent and agreement that the Foundation shall modify the purpose to become as follows:
The purpose of the Fund is to support an endowed chair in the Department of History to focus on the history of the U.S. American West.

Oliver and Robin Collins Presidential Scholarship Endowment Fund. II p44. 

Scholarships shall be provided for athletes who qualify’ as Presidential
Scholars based on academic merit, extra-curricular activity, community
leadership and a written essay:k The University Scholarship Selection
Committee,’ comprised of faculty and students, will award the scholarships
each year with oversight from the Student Financial Aid Office based on,
recommendations .from the Athletic Department.  

Modified: Student-athletes with a high school GPA of at least 3.50, who have participated for at least one year in a high-school extracurricular activity other than athletics and who maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 while enrolled at the University of Oregon. The student-athletes should be from Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, or Washington. If there are no student-athlete candidates from the states mentioned above, then consideration should be given to student-athletes from other states who meet the GPA and extracurricular requirements.

Charles A. and Jackie Swenson Endowment Fund Modification. II p66. 

The parties now wish to expand eligibility for the scholarship and provide that students from Singapore will be given preference, followed by students from Hong Kong, followed by students from any other ASEAN country. We have the consent of donor Richard Scow and do not plan to seek court approval for this modification. 

Stine Graduate Teaching Fellowship Fund Modification. 2009, II p73.

Libraries. Expand to undergrads. 

Tee A. Corinne Institutional Fund Ip5- & IP164

$175K. Modified to “To benefit the Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Oregon Libraries, for the purpose of acquiring, processing, preserving and making available the papers and records of feminists and/or lesbians, including the Lesbian Community of Southern Oregon.”

Dow-Kerns Oriental Art Institutional Fund.  I p309. 

Therefore it is the Parties’ intent and agreement that the Foundation shall modify the fund: To be fully expendable, not endowed; and for the purpose to become as follows: To support the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, with preference for supporting Asian art.

G. S. Douglas Endowed Scholarship. I p398. 

The original Fund Agreement, a copy of which is attached hereto, contemplated use for a women’s soccer scholarship. The spendable cash available as of June 30, 2017 is $368.11. The Fund’s endowment as of June 30, 2017 is $18,973.20. The endowment restriction has caused the fund purpose language to become wasteful. The Trustee will remove the endowment restriction and the fund shall be a currently spendable, not endowed fund. The original purpose of the fund may be best achieved by allowing for full spending of the balance of the monies.

The Robert J. Koch Endowed Fund Agreement. I p408. 

The original Fund Agreement, a copy of which is attached hereto, contemplated use to foster and promote the education and development of the skills of students and the professional development of faculty members in the School of Architecture and allied Arts by establishing an endowed fund which provides unrestricted support to the Dean of the school for those needs he or she deems of highest priority. The spendable cash available as of June 30, 2017 is $1,083.44. The Fund’s endowment as of June 30, 2017 is $19,974.65. The endowment restriction has caused the fund purpose language to become wasteful. The Trustee will remove the endowment restriction and the fund shall be a currently spendable, not endowed fund. The original purpose of the fund may be best achieved by allowing for full spending of the balance of the monies. (Gift language allows Dean to do this any way.)


Miriam McFall Starlin Poetry Fund.

2010 II p 121. 3. Historical Background of Fund. In 1995, Miriam M. Starlin and Glenn Starlin established the Miriam McFall Starlin Poetry Prize with the University of Oregon Foundation. The terms of the Agreement required the prize to be awarded to female University of Oregon • graduate students in creative writing, with a concentration in poetry. See Exhibit A, attached
hereto and incorporated herein. 4. Reason for Modification. The University of Oregon wishes to remove the gender-based restriction on candidate selection, as set forth in Exhibit B, attached hereto and incorporated herein. Donor Miriam M. Starlin consents to this modification. In addition, Ms. Starlin requests that the award be renamed The Miriam McFall Starlin Poetry Award. Donor Glenn Starlin has passed away. 
The Fund will provide an pnual source of income to be used to award the Miriam McFall Starlin Poetry Prii8to graduate students in Creative Writing whose concentration is in poetry. Recipients will be selected by the Director of the Creative Writing Program from among candidates who have shown a significant talent for poetry, and who evidence promise of additional outstanding achievement.

Antoinette S. Stanton Institutional Fund Modification. II p1. 

I am enclosing for your review a proposed Agreement Modifying Institutional
Fund in the Antoinette S. Stanton Memorial Scholarship Fund. The Fund was
established with $5,000 in 1969. The donor required that preference be given to unmarried students, which is no longer possible under current law. Additionally, the Fund was for the benefit of students of home economics. That department no longer exists at the University. Therefore, the Foundation proposes to modify the Fund- to provide scholarship support for undergraduates majoring in family and human services with consideration of academic merit and financial need. 


Annual Program Music School Support Institutional Fund Modification. 2009 II p79. 

Walter R. Moberly Memorial Award Endowment Fund. 2009 II p84. 

FailingBeekman Oration Prize Fund. I:p44.

Created in 1889. $20K. Transferred to Humanities Scholarship Fund.

McCool Memorial Scholarship Fund: Ip56. 1985. 

Dollars ($10,000.00), in memory of Eve H. McCool.” EQ35/26-7580
The spendable cash available as of October 1, 2014 is $0. The Fund’s endowment as of October 1, 2014 is $23,937.83. The Trustee will terminate the Fund and transfer the remaining assets to: “The General University Scholarship Endowment Fund: To be used by the Office of Student Financial Aid for general University of Oregon scholarships.”

Newel H. Cornish Scholarship Award. I p68.

Transferred to “The Koert S. Kelman Fund: An award for a student pursuing a career in sales and marketing. Student to have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher and preference shall be made for financial need. Recipient is to be determined by committee within the Lundquist College of Business.” 

Wallace B. Caufield, Jr. Memorial Fund. Ip78.

Class of 1902 Scholarship Fund. Ip87.

John Lee-Rick Bullis Memorial Fund Ip96. Architecture. 

Kathryn S. Riddle Scholarship Fund. Ip105. 

“The beneficiary of each of the three (3) bequests herein mentioned shall hold
the principal thereof in trust by it and the income therefrom shall be used to
establish and provide a scholarship for an outstanding upper-class woman
student in the Women’s Physical Education Department at the mentioned
Universities, each to be known as the Kathryn S. Riddle Scholarship. The
recipient of the annual scholarship shall be a student selected by the Chairman
of the Department of Women’s Physical Education at such University with the
advice of the Department Faculty.” 

Frances P. Courteau Scholarship Fund. Ip117. 1963. 

T. Neil Taylor Scholarship in Editing. Ip127. 1940-1954. Journalism.

Edith Kerns Chambers Scholarship Endowment Fund. Ip137. “A scholarship shall be granted to an undergraduate student or students of high scholastic promise who need financial assistance while attending the University

Class of 1903 Scholarship Fund. I p147.

Van Schaack Music Scholarship Fund. Ip156. 

“for the benefit of blind persons studying music.” In the last twelve years only one student has met these criteria. Therefore, it has been impractical to achieve the donor’s original intent and wasteful to hold the fund for such a narrow purpose, as is. For these reasons, we ask that the Fund be modified as follows: “To support scholarship(s) for music students at the University of Oregon, with a strong preference for those who are blind.”

Bennett Prize Fund. Ip167.

Give and bequeath to William J. Bryan, of Lincoln, Nebraska, the sum of Ten Thousand ($10,000) Dollars in trust, however, to pay to twenty-five colleges or universities to be selected by him, the sum of Four Hundred
Dollars ($400) each. Said sum of Four Hundred Dollars ($400) to be
invested by each college receiving the same and the annual proceeds
used for a prize for the best essay discussing the principles of free

George Rebec Essay Prize in Philosophy Endowment Fund. I p174.

Pennell Memorial Library Fund. I p182.  

In the purchase of inspirational books for said University library, preferably books of biography, as are selected by such librarian and his assistants, the sum of FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($500.00).” Also a house with iffy plumbing. 

Leach Library Book Endowment. I p204. 

“Income from endowment to be used for the purchase of art library books.” The Trustee will terminate the Fund and transfer the remaining assets to:
“The Architecture Library Fund: for the benefit of the Architecture and Allied Arts Library at the University of Oregon. Funds may be used to purchase books,
visual materials, supplies, equipment, travel, student wages or stipends,
furnishings and any other purposes for the general operations of the A&AA
Library. Use of funds is determined by the dean or his/her designee, in consultation with A&AA Librarian, A&AA faculty members and department

Flora (Campbell) McDonald and Alexander Campbell Fund. I p215. 

“The bond will be inscribed simply, “The University of Oregon” for we wish to make this gift without any limitations whatsoever. The bond may be used in any way and at any time the officers of the University may desire is best. However, in so far as it may be feasible and reasonable, we would like to see the income applied to the purchase of books and /or journals for the University of Oregon Library. In recent correspondence on this matter I have had with Dean Unthank, he mentioned that it is customary for the library to place in items so purchased, a plate indicating the source. If the library cares to do this in the present instance, I would request “Mrs. Flora (Campbell) MacDonald and Alexander Campbell.”

Marie Flodberg Fund. I p224. 

“I give, devise and bequeath all of my property and estate to the University of Oregon, and suggest to said beneficiary that the moneys and/or other property distributed to it from my estate be used by its Department of Ophthalmology for research on diseases of the eye.

Roland Bradley Scholarship Fund I p235. 

Albert Lee and Amelia De Ferris Fund. I p247. 

Warner Law School Endowment Fund. I p261.

“It is understood with the donors that these bonds, both principal and interest,
shall be held, used and disposed of subject to the special. orders of the Dean of the Law School.

John Watson Vogan Spanish Essay Fund. I p271.

Victor H. Todd Scholarship Fund. I p281. 

The Harry J. Allen Memorial Scholarship Fund. I p389. 

The Mrs. George Higinbotham Endowed Fund. I p417. 

The James G. Manczazk Memorial Endowed Fund I p425. 

The Merit Tuition Scholarship Endowment. I p433.

The Joni Paulsen Memorial Scholarship I p447. 

The Oregon Music Teachers Association Scholarship Fund. I p452. 

The Charles Frederick Goettling, Jr. Scholarship Fund. I p 462. 

The Class of 1938 Library Acquisition Fund. I p472.

The Wesley C. Ballaine Fund. I p481. 

Koyl Endowment. I p491. 

The original Fund Agreement, a copy of which is attached hereto, contemplated use for an award each year to a student or students taking courses in literature, public speaking and economics. The spendable cash available as of June 30, 2017 is $3.32. The Fund’s endowment as of June 30, 2017 is $19,051.82. The endowment restriction has caused the fund purpose language to become wasteful.

The Shelton Zack Memorial Scholarship Fund. I p507.  

Faculty Club to host CoE Dean Randy Kamphaus, this Wed 5PM

Dear Colleagues,

The Faculty Club will be meeting this week, during the usual hours (Wednesdays and Thursdays 5:00-8:00 pm).

On Wednesday we continue with our Senate-sponsored “Talk to Your Dean Night” series, with Dean Randy Kamphaus of the College of Education making himself available to chat about whatever’s on your mind.  The Six-o-Clock toast should be quite “educational.”

Thursday is Mad Libs Night at the Faculty Club — the Six-o-Clock toast is missing some key nouns, verbs, adverbs, and exclamations.  We will discreetly approach attendees, solicit words from them, and then read the resulting text at six.   Mad Libs will, of course, never be as funny as it was when we were ten, but I know we can count on the academic set to nominate some piquant words!

Hope to see you either night, or both nights.

Yours, James Harper
Chair of the Faculty Club Board

SPICE Science Fair this Sat in Willamette Hall

I’m no engineer, but it was the UVa Engineering School’s annual open house that made me want to be one. UO’s version is this Saturday:

Kids from across Lane County will fill Willamette Hall with homemade rockets, lasers and futuristic machines on Saturday, March 10, for the 2018 Science and Invention Fair.

The UO’s Science Program to Inspire Creativity and Excellence, also known as SPICE, is staging the event, which will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The participating young scientists are students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

The fair is open to the public, who can enjoy free popcorn and try out the science activity tables. It typically draws around 200 visitors and 45-70 projects.

Some CoD faculty not happy with new Dean, reorganization

Michael Tobin has the report in the Emerald here:

Six months after the launch of the College of Design, some faculty members are complaining about a new level of bureaucracy and the fate of some of the old programs.

Also, some faculty members are unhappy over a controversial court decision that allows dean Christoph Lindner to control extra funds from a donor’s will that were intended only for books and photographs for the art history department.

Lindner, who became the dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts in 2016, proposed that the school undergo a massive restructure and become what is now known as the College of Design.

Established in fall 2017, the college is home to these schools: Architecture and Environment; Art and Design and Planning, Public Policy, and Management, as well as one department: the History of Art and Architecture.

The rest of the story goes into the details, including a faculty / union meeting.

There is no case for the humanities

Justin Crover has a long polemic in the Chronicle. This is just a brief part of his argument:

The humanities have both left and right defenders and left and right critics. The left defenders of the humanities are notoriously bad at coming up with a coherent, effective defense, but they have been far more consistent in defending the “useless” disciplines against politically and economically charged attacks. The right defenders of the humanities have sometimes put forward a strong and cogent defense of their value, but they have had little sway when it comes to confronting actual attacks on the humanities by conservative politicians. The sad truth is that instead of forging a transideological apology for humanistic pursuits, this ambiguity has led to the disciplines’ being squeezed on both sides.

Indeed, both sides enable the humanities’ adversaries. Conservatives who seek to use the coercive and financial power of the state to correct what they see as ideological abuses within the professoriate are complicit in the destruction of the old-fashioned and timeless scholarship they supposedly are defending. It is self-defeating to make common cause with corporate interests just to punish the political sins of liberal professors. Progressives who want to turn the humanities into a laboratory for social change, a catalyst for cultural revolution, a training camp for activists, are guilty of the same instrumentalization. When they impose de facto ideological litmus tests for scholars working in every field, they betray their conviction that the humanities exist only to serve contemporary political and social ends.

Board of Trustees approves modest tuition increase, higher for Business College, big cut for Honors College

Hannah Karik has the report from last week in the Emerald here. A few students – presumably not from the Honors College – responded with brief chants of “fuck the Oregon Legislature” as they walked out. Or that’s what I think I heard.

Meanwhile the Law School is still offering tuition discounts of 50% for law students. No discussion from the trustees of that.

Meanwhile up at PSU, they’ve matched UO’s PathwayOregon with “Four Years Free” and now extended it to low SES transfers:

Low-income Oregonian college students transferring to Portland State University will no longer have to pay tuition beginning Fall 2018 if they are eligible for the federal Pell Grant and enroll full-time upon transferring.

PSU’s new Transfers Finish Free program will cover base tuition and mandatory fees for up to 15 credits per term to eligible transfer students from any 4-year college or community college.

1000 Oregon State faculty sign to support union

From their union website at http://www.uaosu.org/ Presumably this means they believe they can win a card-check election, and will start soon. Long-time readers may remember that I started out opposed to the UO faculty union, but signed the card once I realized they were going to win, and I’m now the union treasurer. Even the UO administration now agrees -with a few exceptions – that the union has been a good thing for UO.

There is, of course, an anti-union blog, with 35 members, at https://www.osuexcellence.org/new-page/

  • No premier research-intensive university in the U.S.—no true aspirational peer of OSU—has a unionized tenure-track faculty. Recently, both the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota worked to successfully defeat unionization of their faculty, for reasons similar to those listed below.

I guess we’re not premier research-intensive aspirational peer for OSU. Most of their anti-union language is cut-pasted from other anti-union blogs. Berdahl and Gottfredson spent $1M or so, mostly tuition money, on anti-union consultants and lawyers to fight the UO union, including this defamatory open letter to the faculty, accusing me of being “anti-university”:

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 12.05.13 AM

From what I can tell from the emails, the letter came from UO General Counsel Randy Geller, Associate GC Doug Park, Faculty Athletics Representative Tim Gleason, VPAA Barbara Altmann, VPAA Doug Blandy, Consultant Marla Rae, HLGR’s Sharon Rudnick, William F. Gary and Kate Grado, and Michelle Cole of Gallatin Public Affairs – or at least they were in the loop.

I don’t know what OSU is doing in this regard.

Trustees to meet for a few hours Friday March 2

Board of Trustees
Meeting Agenda | March 2, 2018
Ford Alumni Center Giustina Ballroom
FRIDAY, MARCH 2 – 8:30 a.m.


1. Standing Reports
-University Senate President Chris Sinclair
– Public comment
-ASUO President Amy Schenk
-Provost Jayanth Banavar
-President Michael Schill

2. FY19 Tuition and Fees: Mike Schill, President; Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO

The proposal from Pres Schill and VPFA Moffitt includes two “differential tuition” components.

One is a $20 per credit add-on for business school classes. This was brought to the “Tuition and Fee Advisory Board” by the B-school dean, and their report here includes extensive discussion (page 4 and 5) of the pros and cons. The increase will reduce the need for increases in tuition for other UO students. The business school commits to use 20% of the new fees to reduce tuition for their low income students.

The second proposal is for a cut to tuition for Honors College students. This proposal will increase the need for tuition increases for other students. This  cut is not tied to income, or merit. The cut was not brought to the TFAB. Instead it was approved on the side, at a meeting of the Budget Advisory Group after a brief presentation by VP Brad Shelton. Not exactly transparent.

At UO discounts (scholarships) for low income and high ability students average 10% of the listed tuition. Our comparators average discounts of about 20%. This difference is part of the reason why UO’s enrollment is falling and why we are doing such a bad job enrolling low income students relative to our peers. The Honors College tuition cuts will make this problem worse.

3. Academic Area in Focus – Global Health: Josh Snodgrass, Professor of Anthropology; Kristin Yarris, Professor of International Studies, Director of the Global Health Minor

Board of Trustees holds snoozer of a meeting March 1, 2

I’ll try to live-blog some of this, and I’ll be there for the public comments Friday, but there are limits on how much of this stuff I can take.

Their website makes it as hard as possible to figure out what is going on, so here are the agendas for the committees and the BOT, with links to the meeting materials. Looks like a snoozer to me, but if you see something, say something.

As usual Jamie Moffitt does not show the Trustees any substantive data on UO’s budgetary decisions such as how much goes to athletics, the various colleges, etc. No mention of the centralization of resources which is causing College of Ed dissension. No discussion of the increasing proportion of resources going to the central administration at the cost of the College of Arts and Sciences. No discussion of the continuing subsidies for the law school and (rumor has it) the College of Design.

The Executive and Audit Committee materials do not include Internal Auditor Trisha Burnett’s report, and when the Trustees do get to see the report, at the meeting, it will avoid any specifics that might alert them to problems or lead them to ask tough questions or allow them to do their due diligence.

There are, however, shiny powerpoints from the Chief Resilience Officer and the Chief of Police, complete with photos of the new dog.

Board of Trustees | Academic and Student Affairs Committee
Public Meeting | March 1, 2018, 9:00 a.m.
All meetings in Ford Alumni Center | Giustina Ballroom


1. Accreditation – March Report to NWCCU

Banavar: No worries, all is well. No questions from the board.

2. Educator Equity in Teacher Preparation Plan – Submission to HECC (Action): Randy Kamphaus, Dean, College of Education; Krista Chronister, Associate Dean, College of Education

Chronister: No worries, all is well. No questions from the BOT. Endorsed unanimously.

3. Teaching Excellence: Scott Pratt, Executive Vice Provost; Sierra Dawson, Associate Vice Provost; Lee Rumbarger, Teaching Engagement Program Director

Starts with photo of a recent intermediate microeconomics class:

Pratt: No worries, all is excellent and we’re making it more excellent.

Rumbarger: Teaches courses on the fictional representation of teachers. (I didn’t know that, cool.)

Dawson: Fact based research on how to do more excellent teaching. Starts by asking the BOT to recall some excellent teaching they were exposed to.

Trustees seem to be enjoying this.

Rumbarger advocates for using specifics to talk about teaching excellence. Read the packet, I can’t type that fast. Many specific examples of how the TEP is promoting simple practices that improve teaching.

Dawson explains more about how AAU is now emphasizing teaching improvements, need for better student feedback and teaching evaluation procedures.

Pratt explains need for better evaluation, more emphasis on using the Teaching Excellence Program to improve faculty teaching.

Some good questions from the trustees.

4. Mental Health – Student Services and Support: Doneka Scott, Assoc. Vice Provost for Student Success; Shelly Kerr, Director of the Counseling and Testing Center; Kris Winter, Dean of Students

The Trustees are asking some excellent and skeptical questions of Kerr, regarding the survey and what it means.

5. Clark Honors College – Structural Changes and Updates: Karen Ford, Interim Dean, Clark Honors College

Sorry, I’ve got to leave. Ford did a good job presenting this to the Senate yesterday.


Board of Trustees | Finance and Facilities Committee
Public Meeting | March 1, 2018, 1:15 p.m.


1. Quarterly Financial Reports: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO

2. Capital Project Proposal – University Health Center / University Counseling and Testing Center: Michael Griffel, Director, University Housing

Sorry, I missed this meeting. I’m sure it was a thorough 45 minutes.


Board of Trustees | Executive and Audit Committee
Public Meeting | March 1, 2018, 2:00 p.m.


1. Quarterly Audit Report: Trisha Burnett, Chief Auditor

There’s no there here:

And here it is, shown to the Trustees just before the meeting: http://uomatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Q3-EAC-Quarterly-Report.pdf Three pages. How can the Executive and Audit Committee do its due diligence like this?

Chuck Lillis: Trisha is doing a great job telling me things in closed meetings.

Ross Kari: Some evidence of improvements in past deficiencies.

Peter Bragdon: How have you tried to market the hotline? A little.

No mention of departure of Auditor Stephanie McGee, for a better job at another university. Lots of turnover – never a good sign in an internal audit department.

2. Enterprise Risk Management: Andre Le Duc, Associate Vice President and Chief Resiliency Officer

Not clear where the Bach Festival fits into this. UO’s spending on risk management has grown enormously – here are the employee counts, from IR. Not clear why the Board doesn’t require this sort of information in reports:

Connie Ballmer: Why is your office dealing with things like enrollment and academic quality?

Le Duc: It’s all about protecting the brand. My office needs to monitor and proactively manage everything.

3. University of Oregon Police Department – Overview and Updates: Matt Carmichael, Chief of Police

By all accounts Carmichael is doing a great job rebuilding the UOPD. And his budget is flat:

That said, I can’t help but think that somewhere far, far away there’s a poor village surrounded by landmines from some forgotten war. They could really use this dog:

Carmichael and his three students have many other good things to report, including more student shuttle services (started by ASUO, now managed by UOPD at their request) and bringing the UOPD back on campus, by putting a substation in Onyx Bridge.

Adjourn til Tomorrow.

Draft Multicultural Requirements revision proposal

The Senate wasn’t shown a copy of this for the discussion today, but here’s the draft that has been circulating on the listservs for the Town Hall meetings that have been going on, and which are scheduled for Th and Fri.

This draft will be used to focus conversations about possible changes to UO’s multicultural requirement. It is written in the language of a motion that could eventually go to the UO Senate for a vote. Ideally it will give readers something concrete to consider and revise.

Please be in touch (vpugs@uoregon.edu) if you would like to offer individual feedback. We look forward to working together on this important part of UO’s curriculum.

UO Multicultural Requirement: A Possible Revision

Section I

1.1 WHEREAS the University of Oregon has, since 1994, required two “multicultural” courses for a baccalaureate degree selected in two of three categories, American Cultures, International Cultures, and Identity, Pluralism and Tolerance.

1.2 WHEREAS the Black Student Task Force drew the campus’s attention to the degree to which our curriculum raised as a central thematic focus the study of unequal power distribution; allowed for attention to U.S. histories and communities; and emphasized resistance and resilience – rejecting a deficit model of identity.

1.3 WHEREAS the University’s response to the Black Student Task Force included the formation of a faculty-student Ethnic Studies 101 Working Group in January 2016, which ultimately recommended a shared, across-the-disciplines approach to teaching about “inequality and injustice” and developing students’ “skills to navigate a diversifying world” (BSTF memo).

1.4 WHEREAS a parallel joint committee of the Undergraduate Council and the University Committee on Courses expressed “dissatisfaction with the current categories and structure” of the multicultural requirement and identified a “diluting of the purpose and coherence of the requirement.”

1.5 WHEREAS the joint committee recommended updating the multicultural requirement category titles and descriptions to reflect “current scholarship in the field of critical multicultural education” and addressing an “imbalance in the categories” that means most UO students do not take American Cultures (AC) courses and, thus, “are not exposed to the critical conversations occurring in AC courses addressing a critical analysis of students’ cultural context and assumptions.”

1.6 WHEREAS a faculty group reporting to Undergraduate Council, the active, 12-member Working Group on Intercultural and Inclusive Teaching met across the 2016-17 academic year to consider the learning outcomes, teaching strategies, and curricular and support structures it determined best suited for building faculty and student capacities related to critical multicultural education.

1.7 WHEREAS on November 11, 2016 the UO Senate resolved to “strengthen our curricula to reflect the diversity of peoples and cultures that have contributed to human knowledge and society, in the United States and throughout the world.”

1.8 WHEREAS a broad effort to update the general education requirements, which have not been significantly changed since at least the 1990’s, is beginning this year with the formation of a Senate Core Education Task Force, the multicultural requirement is in obvious need of updating and can serve as an important first step and model for future changes in this broad effort.

1.9 WHEREAS the charge of the Undergraduate Council includes: (1) Review and promote the objectives and purposes of undergraduate education and assure that all policies and procedures, curricula, personnel and teaching decisions that affect undergraduate education are consistent and defensible with the institution’s undergraduate education mission as defined in the University’s Mission Statement and Statement of Philosophy, Undergraduate Education; (3) Formulate, monitor, and respond to general academic policies, especially those which have impact on undergraduate programs across the University.

1.10 WHEREAS the Undergraduate Council passed (INSERT TITLE) on (INSERT DATE).

Section II

2.1 BE IT HEREBY MOVED that the current Multicultural requirement be reduced from the current 3 categories (American Cultures (AC),International Cultures (IC) and Identity, Pluralism and Tolerance (IP)) to 2 new categories, United States (US) and International (INTL).

US courses will draw primarily on illustrative material from the United States.

INTL courses will draw primarily on illustrative material from outside the United States.

Transnational experiences of difference, power and agency will appear in both categories.

Students will be required to take one course from each of these categories.

2.2 BE IT FURTHER MOVED that Multicultural courses in each category formed in 2.1 will explicitly address:

  1. Inequality, that is, the operation of political, economic and other forms of power to exclude, subjugate, marginalize by establishing classifications and hierarchies on the basis of social formations such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, nationality, sub-nationality, etc.
  2. Resistance, that is, practices of agency and solidarity in response to discrimination or inequality, especially as manifest in the histories, linguistic forms, cultural production, and scholarship of those subject to discrimination or inequality.
  3. Intersectionality, that is, the reality that human populations cannot be neatly classified into single and discrete identity categories, but instead express multiple and changing forms of identification depending on multiple and overlapping social formations, histories, legal frameworks, and cultural practices.
  4. Listening and reflection, offering tools for ethical dialogue across many perspectives, to expand students’ abilities to engage in respectful, civil conversation on deeply felt issues on campus, and in wider national and global contexts.

Today at 3PM: Senate on Honors College restart, romantic relationships, multicultural


Location: EMU 145 & 146 (Crater Lake Rooms)
3:00 – 5:00 P.M.

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

  • Introductory Remarks; Senate President Chris Sinclair
  • Update from Johnson Hall

3:20 P.M. Approval of Minutes, February 14, 2018 & Consent Calendar

3:25 P.M.   Business

  • Clark Honors College; Karen Ford, Divisional Dean for CAS Humanities
  • Discussion: Romantic Relationships; Sonja Boos
  • Motion Intro: Learning Outcomes; Chris Sinclair
  • Multicultual Requirement; Lee Rumbarger, Alison Gash, Avinnash Tiwari and Michael Hames-Garcia

4:50 P.M.   Open Discussion
4:50 P.M.   Reports
4:50 P.M.   Notice(s) of Motion

  • Department Honors

4:50 P.M.   Other Business
5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

And, after adjourning:

Faculty club provides opportunity to buttonhole Banavar, Blonigen, Scher

Last week’s Faculty club sessions with Sarah Nutter (Bus Dean) and Andrew Marcus (CAS Dean) were as close to capacity as I’ve seen the faculty club, although Hal Sadofsky (CAS-Science) blew it off to go skiing – which in my metrics counts as an excused absence.

This Wed we have Jayanth Banavar (Provost), followed Th by Bruce Blonigen (CAS), and Phil Scher (CAS):

Dear Colleagues,

The Faculty Club will be meeting this week, during the usual hours (Wednesdays and Thursdays 5:00-8:00 pm).

On Wednesday the tone will be more literary than ever, as the English Department will be gathering at the corner tables.  Also this week the UO Senate-sponsored “Talk to Your Dean Night” series continues, with key university leaders making themselves available to discuss any and all topics over drinks & hors-d’oeuvres.  Jayanth Banavar (Provost) will be holding forth on Wednesday, and Bruce Blonigen (Dean of Faculty for CAS) will be hosting on Thursday—come chat them up and see what “makes them tick.”

Hope to see you either night, or both nights!

Yours, James Harper
Chair of the Faculty Club Board


WHO: The UO Faculty Club is open to all UO statutory faculty—tenure-track faculty, career non-tenure-track faculty, and OAs tenured in an academic department, as well as people retired from positions in these categories.  Eligible people may bring anyone they like as guests.

WHAT: Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and coffee; cash bar with beer, wine, liquor and non-alcoholic beverages.

WHERE: The Faculty Club meets in a designated room on the ground floor of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.  Enter at the museum’s main entrance and turn right; the club room is right off the lobby.

WHEN: Wednesdays 5:00-8:00 pm; Thursdays 5:00-8:00 pm, from through the end of the Winter Term.

On the Work of the University, from Prof Ken Calhoon

It’s not just Nobel Prize winning economists and the UK Research Councils who think the administration’s research metrics plan is a mistake. Ken Calhoon, head of UO’s Dept of Comparative Literature, provides a less mathematical but no less thorough dissection:

February 27th, 2018

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Mozart wrote forty-one symphonies, Beethoven only nine. I have written none, but I offer these thoughts on metrics. I apologize in advance for the naiveté, as well as the pathos.

On September 14th, at the beginning of the current academic year, University Provost and Senior Vice President Jayanth Banavar hosted a retreat for “academic leaders” in the EMU Ballroom. The highpoint of the assembly, in my view, was Jayanth’s own (seemingly impromptu) description of the research of David Wineland, the Nobel Laureate who recently joined the UO’s Department of Physics as a Knight Professor. In a manner that suggested that he himself must have been a gifted teacher, Jayanth provided a vivid and accessible account of Wineland’s signature accomplishment—speculative work aimed at increasing the computational speed of computers by “untrapping” atoms, enabling them to exist at more than one energy level at a time. With a humorous gesture to his own person, Jayanth ventured that it might be hard to imagine his body being in two rooms at once, but Wineland had figured out how, in the case of very small particles, this is possible. My own knowledge of quantum physics is limited to the few dismissive quips for which Einstein was notorious, e. g. “God is subtle but not malicious.” In any event, Wineland’s work was made to sound original and impressive. Equally impressive was the personable, humane and effective fashion in which Jayanth, with recourse to imagery and physical self-reference, sought to convey the essence of his fellow physicist’s work across all the disciplines represented in the room—and at the University.

I was inspired by the experience of seeing one person so animated by the work of another. However, my enthusiasm is measured today against the discouragement and disaffection that I and so many of my colleagues feel at the University’s current push, without meaningful debate, to metricize excellence—to evaluate our research in terms quite alien to the values our work embodies. As a department head with a long history at this institution, I must say that I feel helpless before the task of breaking our work down into increments and assigning numerical values to them. It can be done, of course, but the resulting currency would be counterfeit.

Over the course of my thirty-one-year career at the University of Oregon, I have presided over quite a few tenure and promotion cases and have been party to many more, both as departmental participant and as a member, for a two-year stint, of the Dean’s Advisory Committee in the College of Arts and Sciences. I am also routinely asked to evaluate faculty for tenure and promotion at other colleges and universities, where the process is more or less identical to ours. In past years I have been asked to write for faculty at Cornell, Harvard (twice), Johns Hopkins (twice), Washington University, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, University of Minnesota (twice), Penn State, and Irvine, among others. I mention this not to boast—god forbid!—but to emphasize that institutions of the highest standing readily recruit faculty from the UO to assist in their internal decisions on professional merit and advancement.

For such decisions at the UO, department heads solicit evaluations from outside reviewers who are not only experts in the relevant field but are also well placed. They are asked to submit, along with their review, their own curriculum vitae and a biographical sketch. Reviewers are instructed to identify the most significant scholarly contributions which the individual under review has made, and to assess the impact of those contributions on the discipline. They are also asked to discuss the “appropriateness” of the publication venues, and also to “contextualize” their remarks with regard to common practices within the discipline or sub-field. They are asked to compare, “both qualitatively and quantitatively,” the work of the individual under review with that of other scholars in the field at comparable stages in their academic careers. Finally, the outside reviewers are asked to state whether the research record under consideration would meet the standards for tenure and promotion at their home institution. These instructions, which follow a template provided by Academic Affairs, differ little if at all from those I have received from other universities.

In response to these requests, we typically receive narratives, often three and four pages in length, in which reviewers—in accordance with the instructions but also with the conventions of professional service—not only discuss the candidate’s work in detail but also contextualize that work in relation, for example, to the evolving nature of the field, to others working on the same or similar material, not to mention the human content of that material. (I am usually asked to review the work of scholars working on the history of German literature and thought, as well as literary and film theory.) Looking back over the reports I have authored, I see that they contain phrases like “body of work,” “breadth of learning,” “intellectual energy,” “daunting command,” “surprising intervention,” “dazzling insight,” “staggering productivity,” etc. These formulations are subjective. As such, they are consistent with the process whereby one mind comes to grip with another. I am inclined to say that this process is particular to the humanities, but Jayanth Banavar’s lively and lucid presentation of David Wineland’s research would prove me wrong. It conveyed excitement.

What distinguishes the humanities from the sciences and many of the other, empirically oriented fields is that our disciplines are not consensus-based. We disagree among ourselves, often sharply, on questions of approach or method, on the validity and importance of the materials studied, on how arguments or interpretations should be structured or conceptualized. These disagreements may take place between departments at different universities, or within a single department. Disciplines within the humanities are in flux, and we suffer the additional burden of finding ourselves in a social and cultural world whose regard for humanistic work is markedly diminished. We often scramble to re-define our relevance while the ground shifts beneath our feet. To seek a stable set of ostensibly objective standards for measuring our work is to misrecognize the very essence of our work. These same standards risk becoming the instruments of this misrecognition.

In any case, the process of review for tenure and promotion, as formalized by Academic Affairs and by the more extensive guidelines which each unit has created, and for which each unit has secured approval both by its respective college and by Academic Affairs, already accounts for such factors as the stature of a press or journal, the rigor with which books and articles are reviewed, the quantity of publications balanced against their quality, and the impact which the faculty member’s research has had, or may be expected to have. But why the need to strip these judgments of their connective tissue? And for whom?

Curriculum vitae – “the course of [one’s] life.” When I was an undergraduate (at the University of Louisville, no less), I was greatly influenced by an historian of seventeenth-century Britain, Arthur J. Slavin. The dean of the college, he had been a friend of the mathematician Jacob Bronowski, recently deceased at the time, best known for his PBS series The Ascent of Man. One episode of the series begins with a blind woman carefully running her fingers over the face of an elderly, gaunt gentleman and speculating as to the hard course of his life. “The lines of his face could be lines of possible agony,” she says. The judgment is subjective, but accurate: The man, like Bronowski a Polish Jew, had survived Auschwitz, the remnants of which provide Bronowski with a physical backdrop for the dramatic and moving summation of an episode dedicated to the ramifications of the Principle of Uncertainty, which had been formulated by Werner Heisenberg just as all of Europe was about to fall victim to a despotic belief in absolute certainty. “It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false: tragically false. Look for yourself…. This is where people were turned into numbers.”

I don’t mean to overdramatize the analogy, or even really to suggest one. I am more interested in Bronowski’s general statement that “[all] knowledge, all information between human beings, can only be exchanged within a play of tolerance. And that is true whether the exchange is in science, or in literature, or in religion, or in politics, or in any form of thought that aspires to dogma.” The dogma we are faced with today is that of corporate thinking, which is despotic in the sense that it mystifies. We in this country are inclined to think that people who have amassed great wealth know something we don’t—that they have the magic touch. It is from them and their public advocates that we hear the constant calls for governments, universities, prisons, hospitals, museums, utilities, national forests and parks to be run more like businesses. Why? (And which businesses? IBM? TWA? Pan Am? Bear Stearns? Enron? Wells Fargo?) Why is the business model the presumed natural guarantor of good organization? Why not a symphony? an eco-system? a cooperative? a republic? a citizenry? Why is the university not a model for business? Businesses certainly benefit from the talent we cultivate and send their way, outfitted with the knowledge, the verbal agility, the conceptual power that make up our stock in trade.

Our current national political scene presents us with constant images of promiscuous, self-reproducing wealth. Within this context, which is an extreme one, it is urgent that we as a collective make our case, and in terms commensurate with our self-understanding as researchers, thinkers, writers, fine artists, and teachers, not in terms that conform so transparently to the prevailing model of worker productivity.

Those who maintain that inert numbers are the only means we have for communicating our value have already been proven wrong by our own provost. I call upon our president, our provost and our many deans to bring their considerable talents, their public stature, as well as their commitment to the University, to bear on our cause. Many of us, I’m sure, are ready to support you.

With respect and thanks,


Kenneth S. Calhoon, Head
Department of Comparative Literature
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-5242