UO Senate to meet 3-5PM Wed at Ford Alumni Center

UO Senate Onboarding-Orientation Retreat October 2, 2019 3:00 to 5:00 PM Ford Alumni Center


  • Welcome new and returning UO Senators.
  • Discuss leadership in shared governance and the roles and function of university senate service.
  • Gain familiarity with the UO Senate Constitution, By-Laws, and Robert’s Rules of Order—preparing for effective meetings, governance, communication, etc.
  • Identify key topics for discussion at future Senate meetings based on identified short and long-term goals.
  • Meet UO Administrators – Shop Talk and Q&A


2:45 p.m. Check-In, Light Refreshments, & Mingling

Tea, coffee, other

3:00 p.m. Welcome & Overview

Elizabeth Skowron, Senate President

3:05 p.m. Leadership in Shared Governance/Discussion


Sierra Dawson, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs

3:30 pm UO Senate Nuts & Bolts (Constitution, By-Laws, & Roberts Rules)


Elizabeth Skowron, Senate President

Elliot Berkman, Senate Vice President

Melanie Muenzer, Associate Vice President & Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives

4:10 p.m. Who’s Who in UO Administration?

Doneka Scott, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education & Student Success

Janet Woodruff-Borden, Dean & Vice Provost, Graduate School

Kevin Reed, Vice President & General Counsel

Jaime Moffitt, Vice President for Finance & Administration/Chief Financial Officer

4:45 p.m. Remarks & Q&A

Patrick Phillips, Provost

5:00 p.m. Adjournment

Freyd lawsuit: Admin witness recants, AAUP, ERA & Dolly Parton support appeal

Update: UO’s response to Prof Allen’s letter is here.

Update: At some point a rational university president with UO’s best interests in mind would tell General Counsel Kevin Reed to swallow his ego, stop trying to overcompensate for his Bowl of Dicks mistakes by blowing tuition money on Barran Liebman’s billable hours, and just settle. Ideally before Dolly Parton joins an amicus brief for the plaintiff:


And many more. To quote from Ms Parton’s well-cited work on this subject:

They just use your mind and they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it
9 to 5, for service and devotion
You would think that I would deserve a fat promotion
Want to move ahead but the boss won’t seem to let me
I swear sometimes that man is out to get me!

10/1/2019: My most recent post on this lawsuit was back in May: Nevertheless she persisted – Freyd to appeal gender discrimination case.

That appeal has been going pretty well. Last month the UO administration’s star witness, Psychology Prof Nick Allen, wrote to the court, essentially saying that UO’s lawyers had misused his sworn declaration and that he was now supporting her appeal:

Having been at the oral arguments in Judge McShane’s courtroom back in April, I can confirm that UO’s hired attorney Paula Barran‘s use of Allen’s original declaration was indeed polemical, and I’m surprised the judge let her go on and on with so little skepticism. The transcript won’t be public for another two weeks, but it was hard not to snicker when Barran explained the higher importance of research that uses “bodily fluids” and “sophisticated brain-imaging” instead of mere surveys. [Full disclosure: I’ve used all three, sometimes in the same paper. It’s fun persuading grad students to collect spit, but inherently more important?] It seems Prof. Allen also found Barran’s arguments hard to take.

Today the AAUP and Equal Rights Advocates filed amicus briefs in support of Freyd’s appeal. The AAUP brief is here. ERA’s brief is here, it is more interesting, and I’m guessing will be more of a problem for the UO administration:

As a pretty free-market economist, it’s really tiring to hear lawyers trot out “market forces” as an argument. Market forces do all kinds of shitty things – like overproduce negative externalities like pollution and underproduce public goods like education. And no respectable labor economist would argue that the market for professors is anything close to a free market. I thank the ERA for pointing out to the court that this is why we have governments, laws, and courts.

The UO administration’s lawyers have already filed for an extension of time to respond to these arguments, as should be expected given that Barran is billing the university by the hour.



Doping agency faults Nike for testing bodily fluids on campus

From Matthew Kish in the PBJ: (Paywalled, and worth a subscription if you are interested in good reporting about Oregon).

Panel faults Nike for allowing testosterone test at the company’s headquarters

By Matthew Kish / The panel said there was no “actual justification” for the experiment, which also “could have been conducted as part of a nefarious attempt to ‘beat’ the testing system.”

Paul Weinhold and Kate Brown Brown want $40M in tax money for this?

And to think this only cost the Duck boosters $400K, or 1 cent in their money to get a  dollar from the public:

Angela Wilhelms, secretary to the UO board, said on behalf of the four trustees: “There is absolutely no correlation between personal political contributions by trustees and any decisions by Gov. Kitzhaber.

“Any insinuation of quid pro quo or any other connection is just flat wrong,” the statement said.

The Manchester Guardian has the latest report:

When Adam Gemili walked towards his blocks in lane seven for his heat of the men’s 200m at the IAAF world championships in Doha on Sunday night, he looked up and waved to friends and family in the grandstand. They would not have been hard to spot among a crowd estimated at around 1,000 scattered around a stadium built for 40,000.

… Nike, the running shoe company who gave Sebastian Coe the contract that he was so loth to forfeit when he became president of the IAAF four years ago in succession to the man he once described as the sport’s “spiritual leader”, the disgraced Lamine Diack. Nike, the company whose negotiations with Felix over a new contract when she became pregnant started a battle over fair payment for sportswomen during the maternity period. The award of the championships to Eugene was made without transparency in any respect …

The IAAF seems to have taken down their video of the 2019 bidding process, but I’ve got a back-up. Here’s former Secretary of State, now Governor Kate Brown, promising the $40M:


University to issue earplugs, tranquilizers to dorm residents

Just kidding. UO’s not even notifying the students that they can file public comments objecting to the plan  – to do concrete drilling outside their dorm rooms for the Hayward Field renovations, from 7PM to midnight through Jan 31. The Daily Emerald has the story here. Public notice was mailed only to residents and students living in private housing. UO plans to notify students *after* the city approves the noise variance.

CA Gov signs law to limit indentured servitude

In the NYT here. Similar legislation has already been introduced in a few other states:

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California signed into law a plan to allow college athletes to strike endorsement deals, intensifying the legal and political clashes that could ultimately transform the economics of college sports.

The governor’s signature opened a new front of legal pressure against the amateurism model that has been foundational to college sports but has restricted generations of students from earning money while on athletic rosters.

If the law survives any court challenges, the business of sports would change within a few years for public and private universities in California, including some of the most celebrated brands in American sports. So, too, would the financial opportunities for thousands of student-athletes, who have long been forbidden from trading on their renown to promote products and companies.

“Every single student in the university can market their name, image and likeness; they can go and get a YouTube channel, and they can monetize that,” Newsom said in an interview with The New York Times. “The only group that can’t are athletes. Why is that?

“O” brand indoctrination starts for new students as $256,138 VP Kyle Henley’s metrics fall

Despite all this “O” crap, internet interest in UO has fallen to the point were it’s now barely distinguishable from Oregon’s sister flagships:

But hey – the brand is great for athletics and Nike. Here’s our $256,138 VP for Communications with some anecdotes about the O brand, on the Duck Athletic department’s GoDucks.Com website:

KYLE HENLEY, UO vice president for university communications: As the O began to take root, it became something more than a symbol for athletics. It’s a perfect symbol, because it can represent athletics but also an O can encompass lifelong learning. It can instill a sense of community, which is something that we hear from people – that they can find their place here. There’s so many elements of what our brand is and what we stand for that the O encompasses.

This is one of the most powerful brands within higher education, and we’re incredibly fortunate that we have this symbol that really does represent one thing in the athletics realm, but which has come to represent our excellence and everything the institution stands for academically and from a research perspective. You walk around other countries and see people with an O on their hat, and immediately have this connection, a shared experience and a shared identity, and a shared appreciation for the institution.

We’re in an incredibly enviable position.

Sure. If by “we” you mean VPs hoping a little brown-nosing will get them a job at Nike.

No SEIU strike Monday, as univ admins show potential for rational thought

Updated as information develops:

9/28/2019: Tentative agreement signed, strike is off:

The universities caved. Presumably Gov. Brown phoned in last night to explain that she didn’t want a strike back home spoiling her 2019 IAAF Doha junket.

Details on the UO HR website here.

  • 3.0% COLA, effective July 1, 2019;
  • 2.10% COLA, effective July 1, 2020;
  • A Longevity Premium of 2.5% given yearly to classified employees who have been at the University at least five (5) years and have been at the top of their salary range for at least a year from their salary eligibility date;
  • Commitment to keeping entry level-wages at all universities above Portland-metro area universities’ minimum wage by eliminating steps of the salary schedule that are below that rate;
  • Provided employees with 48 hours of paid time over the course of the 2-year agreement to be used in the event of campus closures and delays due to inclement weather or hazardous conditions;
  • Healthcare, pension, holidays, vacations, sick leave, personal leave, bereavement, and other benefits remain the same as the previous contract.

9/27/2019: Negotiations continue, as does planning by SEIU and their allies for a strike starting Monday at 7AM.  Jordyn Brown has a story in the RG here, It includes a link to what appears to be an official UO form to report strike issues/concerns. Meanwhile SEIU has a place for allies to sign-up for picket lines below. There will be a rally at Johnson Hall at noon Monday. Continue reading

How did *you* pick your courses and major?

Please post your recollections in the comments. Here are mine:

It took me 3 tries to get an undergrad degree – 1983 or so – and I remember the process as being pretty much the same from Columbia to Montana State. The university mailed you a thick catalog that outlined some basic gen-ed requirements.  Every department had a section with a paragraph describing each course and the pre-reqs. At Columbia the student government sold a book with edited student comments on the faculty – it was hilarious and treated as gospel. I met with an advisor once. He was old and his eyes were full of tears. I told him I was sorry.

Then there was a day when we all went to the gym to enroll. It was an all day event, scheduled by seniority and last name. You got a card at the entrance. Every department had a table, staffed with a few faculty to answer questions. They had to sign off on your courses.

When you filled your card, you took it to the Registrar’s table. They kept a running tally and would tell you on the spot: “Astronomy is full. He shouldn’t have signed this. Go find another course. I don’t see anyone in the Economics line.”

How much will Gov Brown’s Doha trip cost Oregon and UO?

Jeff Manning has the story in the Oregonian here. No word if the UO Foundation’s Paul Weinhold will be there too, to reiterate his promise to use the UO Foundation’s endowment money to guarantee this sporting event. A few snippets:

It appears that Brown is getting into the spirit even before the Doha competition begins. She has reassured officials of the sport’s international governing body that she will find an additional $20 million in state support for the Eugene World Championships. The state has already pledged $20 million, raised by an increase in hotel room taxes and grants from the state’s tourism agency.

The International Athletic Associations Federation unexpectedly awarded its biggest event to Eugene in 2015. It was a stunning achievement for Eugene, the first U.S. city and likely the smallest ever to host the event. The city’s reputation as one of the nation’s hotbeds of track and field resonated with IAAF officials, they said later.

But organizers said they need another $20 million from the state, on top of the $20 million already pledged, to make the event happen. To fill that $20 million gap, Brown vowed in an April 25, 2019 letter to the IAAF to come up with the money.

And people wonder why the legislature is getting tired of supporting UO’s academic side?

GTFF union declares impasse, on schedule for Oct/Nov strike

That’s the rumor, now confirmed. Impasse begins the ~30 day cooling-off period before they can strike. From what I can tell the administration’s intransigence on this is driven by a paternalistic belief that they know what’s best for the grad students – less health care – and a refusal to compensate them for that loss with sufficient pay increases. I’m no behavioral economist, but I think UO’s most cited professor had some advice about this scheme, along the lines of losses looming larger than gains.


Magnanimous UO administration backs off SEIU shift meal demand

Seems a bit late. I wonder what genius thought this up in the first place. Our administration had been trying to increase the cost food-service workers pay for a meal during their shift from $1 to $3. In the face of a strike Monday they’ve now given up that bit of nastiness and increased their COLA raise offer from annual 1.1% real pay cuts to 0.85% cuts. UO staff are signing up for picket line shifts now. If anyone has a link to the SEIU response please post it.


Senator Dembrow promises to revisit Univ Trustee appointment procedures in wake of Hornecker appointment

9/18/2019 update: 

UO Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms has still not responded to my public records request for her documents involving this latest in a long line of trustee appointments made in back-room deals, without campus input.

On Friday UAUO President Chris Sinclair, UO Senate Immediate Past President Bill Harbaugh (me), and UAUO Politics Chair Avinnash Tiwari sent the Senate Rules Committee this letter asking that they hold off on confirming Elisa Hornecker until the university community had a chance to give input. The letter is posted on the committee’s website here:

Chair Burdick, Vice-Chair Baertshiger, Jr., and members of the committee:

We are writing regarding Monday’s confirmation vote of a new member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon. At no point during this nomination process have faculty, staff, students, and most administrators had an opportunity to learn about this candidate, much less offer input on who would best serve the University of Oregon and the State of Oregon. We ask you to hold off on voting for this particular candidate until the campus community has had a chance to learn more about the candidate, their qualifications, and their knowledge of important matters that are sure to impact our campus in the next few years.

We understand that providing public comments regarding the appointment of a Trustee for the University of Oregon’s Board is highly unusual. Our comments are not about the candidate, as we know nothing about them. There was no notice of a vacancy on the UO Trustees website of a vacancy, nor was a call for nominations made to the campus community.

As mentioned above, Angela Wilhelms has not produced any public records on this yet, however Governor Brown’s office gave us what Wilhems wouldn’t: Elisa Hornecker’s application letter, here. It is minimalist. If she has any higher education policy knowledge or experience beyond her ’82 UO undergrad degree, and a stint on the secretive UO Foundation board she doesn’t she doesn’t mention it:

For comparison, there were four PSU Board nominees up for consideration as well. Here are the far more impressive qualifications of just one of them:


And here’s a link to the video of the hearing, with Senator Dembrow’s response. Back up to see the prepared statement from Ms Hornecker and the comments from myself and Tiwari. To quote Dembrow:

“I do think that we should look at the process by which candidates are nominated and vetted on our campuses. I think it was within the spirit of those of us who helped create this new system that there would be more participation on the campuses, and if that’s not happening then I’ll commit to doing that.”

Today the Oregon Senate voted to confirm this appointment, as we expected. I’d hoped that under the circumstances Hornecker would have done the right thing, withdrawn her name from consideration, and allowed for a more open appointment process, but no.

For more comparison, see the presentation from another of PSU’s eminently qualified nominees here:


9/9/2019: Who is Elisa Hornecker & who is she replacing on the Board?

I have no idea. The BOT’s webpage says nothing about a vacancy. The August 26 generic press release from Governor Brown is here. The list of appointments is here, and includes this:

The Senate Rules committee is supposed to vote on these next week, but their webpage has nothing yet. Thanks to an anonymous correspondent for catching this. The most recent previous appointee to UO’s problematic Board of Trustees was Marcia Aaron, appointed by Gov Brown after she and Pres Schill sat together at a basketball game:

If you see something say something.