Senate remains opposed to the proposed Riverfront expansion

1/14/2010: CJ Ciaramella has an ODE story on the ORI’s efforts to build in the UO Riverfront Research Center. The Senate voted against the current proposal. It seems the issue boils down to siting near the river, and a 250 200 car parking lot in a prime spot. I am totally uninformed on this but have to wonder why the building can’t go downtown instead, where something like this seems to be desperately needed. On the other hand if this opposition just drives them out to the burbs, whoops. More info is on the Senate web page here and in this Alan Pittman story in the EW, here. The AAA students and faculty opposed to the current proposal have an informative website here while ORI explains their support for this project here.

Frank Stahl’s Senate motions for Today

Update: The Senate passed a revised version of motion 12a on a unanimous voice vote today. Frank diplomatically withdrew motion 12b, allowing the admin to maintain the cherished fiction that their efforts to hide tenure decisions had nothing to do with VP Martinez.

1/13/2010: Frank’s Senate motions are needed to codify what was once a collegial procedure where the faculty in the form of the FPC gave advice to the Provost on who should get tenure and why, and the Provost in turn explained his final decisions to the faculty who had advised him. As near as we can tell – and some of this is speculation – this process worked fine until last year, when Provost James (Jim) Bean decided he wanted to give tenure to OIED Vice Provost Charles Martinez for shady administrative reasons. We’ve tried to find out details on this – like when Charles was actually put on a tenure track – but Melinda is trying to charge us to see the paperwork.

Jim really, really didn’t want to have to tell the FPC what he was doing. So he put Charles up for tenure at the last minute and then changed the rules on the FPC, and that’s why we are all wasting our time on this. Thanks Jim – and thanks to Frank for working to fix this nonsense!

Dear Senators,

             In the interest of expediting discussion of motions 12A 
and B at the 13 January meeting, here is a brief description of the 
need for the Motions.

     Our University enjoys a generally good procedure for deciding 
matters of promotion and tenure. Committees at Department and College 
levels collect and evaluate documentation of each Candidate’s record 
of research, teaching, and service, and forward recommendations to the 
Chair or the Dean, respectively. These materials, along with the 
recommendations of the Chair and Dean are forwarded to the FPC, whose 
job is to evaluate the materials and make recommendations to the 
Provost.

    The Provost reaches decisions based on his/her evaluation of the 
documents and the recommendations of the FPC, and then composes 
decision letters for delivery to the Candidates. For decades, until 
this past year, these letters were shared with the FPC Chair. This 
sharing provided assurance that the Provost was making decisions in 
the best interests of the University’s academic program.

    Decisions that compromise those interests could arise under several 
conditions. For instance, a Provost could grant tenure on the grounds 
that a candidate fills certain University needs that are unrelated to 
the academic program. Or a Provost could deny tenure on the grounds 
that the candidate, although bright and productive, might project an 
unfavorable image to the public. Or simple budgetary problems could 
lead a Provost to cut the work force by denying tenure.

            The sharing of letters with the FPC Chair provides the 
historically sanctified route for protecting the University from such 
problematic actions. It also recognizes the hard work and sacrifice 
made by members of the FPC, one of the most demanding of the 
University Committees.

Respectfully,

Franklin W. Stahl

Molecular Biology

Diplomacy

1/11/2010: Frohnmayer’s special Poli Sci course on “Theoretical Leadership” appears to be the first UO course to use the new Jaqua Athletes Only Study Center. No word on whether Poli Sci is paying the athletic department for use of the space, as regular academic users must, or if free access was part of Dave’s deal with Phil. Apparently retired UO administrator Barbara West is being paid about $12,000 to help Dave teach the 23 students in this class and his 25 student Honors College class on the same basic stuff. Dave gets $245,000. Supposedly there’s a GTF too, and a full time secretary for Dave, and offices in the Law School and Honor’s College, and a large expense account.

Dave’s leadership course seems to involve having the students play Diplomacy. (Man, does that takes me back to Junior High School. Mr. Black, you were such a cool social studies teacher.)

No word on whether or not Dave also gives lectures on how to sell out to boosters for big salary supplements and contributions to your foundation (Kilkenny gave  $240,000, just before Dave hired him as AD, see page 6, and $100,000 the next), get a fat retirement deal from PERS before it goes bankrupt, and then go to the state legislature and deliver self-righteous testimony on how they aren’t doing enough to fund higher education. But maybe some things just can’t be taught.

UNC System Limits Golden Parachutes

1/11/2010: From Insidehighered.com – Nice to see that some University boards have guts. The abuses at UO, with Frohnmayer and Moseley have been much more serious than what happened in NC, but this is Oregon and the newspapers and the OUS board pretend everything is fine.

The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors has adopted new limits on “retreat rights,” payments to departing campus chancellors to help them adjust to a return to teaching, The Charlotte Observer reported. Some political leaders in the state have been outraged by reports that some officials have received these payments — based on their senior administrative salaries — and then retired rather than returning to teaching. The new rule limits payments to six months at the salary of a faculty member in the department where the former administrator is returning. Until now, the payments were at the level of the administrative salary and could extend up to a year. In addition, a department chancellor who takes the money but doesn’t return to teaching will need to repay it. Similar policies are now being considered for provosts and vice presidents.

UO students on facebook protesting Athletes Only Study Center

1/10/2009: UO students have started a facebook group with about 550 600 650 members so far, to protest (or at least discuss) the Jaqua Athletes Only Study Center. We’ve been getting a lot of hits from there, welcome. Our main post on this, with a link to the contract between former UO President Frohnmayer and Phil Knight, is here. Other posts are here.

66 and 67

1/10/2009: OSU Economist Bill Jaeger has an Op-Ed in the RG today about the economic arguments, and Eugene pollster Rick Lindholm has released results on polls on 66 and 67. These are straight from his website (which has a lot of other interesting Oregon political info as well.)

Survey: Measures 66 and 67 Gain But Election Outcome Up for Grabs

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Jaqua Athletes Only Study Center

1/9/2009: Steve Duin of the Oregonian, on the history leading up to Knight’s Athletes Only Study Center:

Similarly conscientious, Frohnmayer broke land-speed records in quitting the WRC, then using a convenient higher-ed board opinion to announce Oregon would quit all monitoring groups. “This is not about money; it’s about relationships and trust,” Frohnmayer said, paving the way for Phil to return in free-spending glory.

Lesson in Vanity

1/8/2010: Jim Harper from Art History has a interesting Op-Ed in the ODE today – interesting as in you’ll learn something – on Taj Mahals and despots, petty and otherwise:

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, built in the mid-17th century by the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan was a “vanity building.” It was not built for the public good, but rather at the whim of an emperor, as a grandiose and costly mausoleum for his favorite wife. As is now the case on East 13th Avenue, where access to the Jaqua Center will be restricted to a privileged caste of student-athletes, only a rarified elite got to fully enjoy Shah Jahan’s original complex.

The historical Shah Jehan was deposed in 1658 and spent the last eight years of his life under house arrest, declared incompetent to rule. And the Shah Jehan of our story is already deposed, though more gently: Dave Frohnmayer, under whose rule the Jaqua Center was conceived, has now retired. We can only hope that, with his replacement, the demoralizing inequities and unwise appropriation of resources that characterized his reign might come to a stop.

The reference to the “public good” is interesting. Knight got about $7.5 million in federal tax deductions for giving us this building, about $2 million from the state, and the value of the land UO provided was in the $5 – $10 million range. In short, he paid about $10.5 million, and taxpayers and UO paid about $17 million. Clever guy!

parking

1/7/2010: I’m not sure of the accuracy of these numbers, comments welcome:

The construction of the Jaqua center took away about 150 parking spots, and shifted about 150 more from general use to athletes only. These will eventually need to be replaced with a parking garage. Current construction costs for garages are about $25,000 per slot. State rules require that parking be fully funded by fees. This means that UO students and faculty will pay about $7.5 million in present value, plus maintenance, as a consequence of the construction of this building – in the form of higher parking fees.

Update: A helpful email pointed me to these numbers which suggest that the annualized cost will be $2000 for each new parking slot or $600,000 per year. The athletic department thanks you for your contribution.

More sports

1/6/2010: If you’re tired of the relentless RG boosterism about the new Jaqua Athletes Only Study Center, (not just in the editorial, but also in Greg Bolt’s news article) you can read a more balanced report from Todd Milbourn of KVAL, here.

There is a pretty comprehensive discussion about UO’s athletic department’s financial situation from Rachel Bachman of the Oregonian, here. Quoting,

Oregon sports lost $1.2 million the fiscal year before Bellotti took over the athletic director’s job from Pat Kilkenny, according to a report every school files annually with the NCAA, released to The Oregonian this week in response to a public records request. The gap is significant because for the past six years Oregon athletics officials have touted their economic self sufficiency.

Bellotti said the deficit is due in part to the timing of the report, which doesn’t allow Oregon to include football ticket revenues collected for the next fall. He said those sales quickly filled the million-dollar gap. But he acknowledged that he wasn’t familiar with the reports from recent years, which showed small profits.

A sharp increase in compensation for coaches (up $1.4 million) and athletics administrators (up $2.7 million, or 31 percent) between 2008 and 2009 contributed to the operating deficit, records show. The increases came as the economy slumped and industries nationwide were cutting salaries and positions.

My take on this is that the athletic department is not going to become a burden on academics – they are in their own world over there, and have plenty of very rich and enthusiastic supporters. But the arena bond repayments are going to add another $15 million in costs to a $66 million a year budget – so that support will probably be staying with athletics, and not helping with academics much.

Sports and American Culture with Richard Lariviere, Mike Bellotti, and Barbara Altmann

1/6/2010: This might be an interesting event:
Sports and American Culture with the University of Oregon’s Richard Lariviere, Mike Bellotti, and Barbara Altmann in Eugene

Think & Drink, the popular Portland happy-hour series, will visit Eugene on Friday, February 12, 2010, at 5:30 at Cozmic Pizza, 199 West 8th Ave., Eugene. University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere, University of Oregon Athletic Director Mike Bellotti, and Oregon Humanities Center Director Barbara Altmann will discuss the economic and social influence of sports in American culture. This event is free and open to the public.

Parking for athletes only

1/1/2010: The rumors were true, Phil Knight was able to take general university parking and convert it to special reserved slots for athletes only. Lot 34F was originally student basketball courts, very popular for pickup games from the nearby dorms. It was converted to parking a few months ago, to replace slots taken by construction of Knight’s new Jacqua Athletes Only Study Center, and was used by professors at the law school. (And before you complain too much, remember Uncle Phil paid for that new law school too.) Obviously Herb is just following orders here, in this case from Dave Frohnmayer. Frohnmayer’s ties to Knight are complicated: Knight’s donations to the UO Foundation paid for some, and perhaps all, of his $349,360 salary supplement last year for example. Say, what are the chances he reported that conflict of interest? Go Ducks.

MEMORANDUM December 30, 2009
TO: University of Oregon Students, Faculty, and Staff
FROM: Captain Herb Horner, Department of Public Safety
RE: Parking Lots

The beginning of the winter term will bring changes to how several of our parking lots are used. With the opening of the new John E. Jaqua Academic Learning Center for Student Athletes at the corner of East 13th Ave. and Agate St., a new parking lot will open. The spaces in this lot, Lot 15 (located just east of the Learning Center off East 13th Ave.), will be reserved for users of the learning center only. There will also be 10 spaces with a 30-minute limit controlled by a multi-space meter for visitors to the coffee shop, which is housed inside the center.

Lot 34F, site of the old basketball courts on East 15th Ave. just east of the Museum of Cultural and Natural History, and Lot 45, the lot at the corner of Walnut St. and Franklin Blvd., will also be reserved for users of the Jaqua Learning Center. New lot entry signs will be put up on December 31, 2009, to be in effect beginning winter term 2010. The signs will read “Jaqua Center Permit Only, At All Times, 90 Minute Limit.” …

Here is Phil’s contract on this with UO. It’s pretty amazing stuff. Our Uncle drives a tough bargain – or perhaps Frohnmayer just drives a lousy one has his own reserved spot and doesn’t give a shit.

Update: I’ve had a few questions about how I got this contract. Let’s just say that someone with pretty good access to official documents is “… fed up with what has been happening here at UO and I have had it with Melinda Grier and her …” However, it is a public record and it is perfectly legal to redistribute it.

You can request public records by sending an email to UO Assistant Counsel Doug Park, at gcounsel@uoregon.edu and telling him what you are looking for. Under Oregon law Doug has a statutory obligation to help you. More info on getting public records is available at the excellent website OpenUpOregon.com.

What makes universities great? Freedom from government.

12/30/2009: This is a fascinating piece on the history of the ivy league, from the London Times:

Why are American universities on balance so much better than those of continental Europe? And why do the universities of the rest of the English-speaking world fall, on average, somewhere in the middle? The wealth of these industrialised countries is comparable, so the different qualities of their universities cannot be attributed to economic disparities. But a simple empirical overview confirms that university quality grows out of independence: the more independent a nation’s universities, the better they are likely to be. Ironically, though, the leading American universities never wanted to be as independent as they now are: their greatness was forced on them.