Note: We’ve been asked how much Lariviere’s consulting contract paid. Looks like $70,000 a month. (Maybe only $35,000 a month.) It’s funny how it’s never the right time politically for faculty and staff raises, but politics never seems to be a problem when it comes to pay for administrators. Ha Ha.
4/12/2010: President Larivere took office July 1 2009. But he was actually getting paid on a consulting contract starting around April. In March, he started an official blog, here. From the topics you can get a taste of how athletics has dominated his first year. Ignoring the inevitable fluff, almost all of the substantive posts are about various crises in the athletic department – and this is without anything on Bellotti’s payoff. I’m guessing that’s fairly close to how he has had to divide his time. I know the academic side gets many hard-to-measure benefits from athletics. This is just one of the many hard-to-measure costs
4/10/2010: A reader asks what I think of this story:
MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Madison canceled its licensing agreement with Nike Inc. on Friday, becoming the first university to take that step over concerns about the company’s treatment of workers in Honduras.
Chancellor Biddy Martin said Nike hasn’t done enough to help workers at two factories that abruptly closed last year to collect severance payments they are owed.
I don’t know the details. In general, I think that by contracting with producers in developing countries Phil Knight has increased the wages, working conditions, and future opportunities of hundreds of thousands of the poorest people in the world. And that Dave Frohnmayer was an idiot for having UO join the WRC – or have I mentioned my feelings about Frohnmayer before?
4/10/2010: The Oregonian’s readers are skeptical:
Just how long does a new college president get to bear no responsibility for the continuance of bad oral contracts, an interim athletic director to mislead the public as to the amount involved and a general counsel to commit an oral agreement to written form? Suggestion: Something less than the time to send University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere, the “new kid on the block,” to Asia on university business, leaving no highly paid administrator able to answer any questions other than the time of day.
On the other hand, we should probably allow a little more than the few minutes it will take the taxpayers to realize that asking for more donations now for this bad cover-up will mean less in donations later and, ultimately, less educational services or more fees and/or taxes.
Between the coach owing apologies for his players’ poor behavior and the administration now owing millions for its poor business decisions, shouldn’t the school be renamed University of Oweregon?
As an employee of a public institution, Mike Bellotti is eligible for generous retirement benefits through PERS. Thank goodness he has this pension to make up for all the years his salary was less than he would have received had he worked in the private sector.
University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere says he wanted Mike Bellotti out as athletic director because of Bellotti’s lack of business experience and acumen. There isn’t a written employment contract anywhere stating that Bellotti should ever get a dime in case he resigns. Thus, he deserves nothing. I think the university president is the one short of business experience and acumen.
Contributions to University of Oregon athletics are tax-deductible. So even if donors finance Mike Bellotti’s $2.3 million payout, the taxpayers will still be stuck with a significant portion of the bill.
I just glanced at the administration’s updated info site, at http://hr.uoregon.edu/er/unionization/index.html It’s a hodgepodge – different info about their take on the dues in different places. Does anyone know why the union organizers are so quiet? I heard they are busy hitting up the OAs?
The Union site is here, the Faculty survey on unionization here.
Still no action from Lariviere on salary issues, and I’m guessing after the Bellotti fiasco that’s going to be a real hard sell to the state.
April 9, 2010
TO: University Community
FROM: Linda King, Associate Vice President for Human Resources
SUBJECT: MORE INFORMATION ON UNION ORGANIZING WEBSITE
We have updated and revised the website on union organizing for faculty, researchers and officers of administration. I hope that you will take the time to visit the site and review the information: http://hr.uoregon.edu/er/unionization/index.html
4/9/2010: From KVAL:
A new study found Oregon State University women are paid more for their eggs than women at the University of Oregon.
To find intelligent young women, fertility clinics often advertise in college newspapers. Georgia Tech studied those ads at 306 schools and found that Oregon State University women were offered $5,000 for their eggs while women at the University of Oregon were offered a thousand dollars less. …
But some questioned the ethics. “It’s an undue inducement for a poor student and it begins to really commodify the process,” said Dr. Susan Tolle who heads the Center for Ethics in Health Care at Oregon Health and Science University. …
So, it’s more ethical to pay poor students less. Very interesting.
4/8/2010: That headline on Steve Duin’s column in the Oregonian does not say it all. There’s plenty more in the article about Melinda Grier’s role in recent events:
Let me see if I can get my arms around the challenge facing University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere if he is serious about confronting business as usual in the Ducks’ athletic program: Pat Kilkenny is still charged with dredging up a new basketball coach. Melinda Grier, the university’s general counsel, continues to orchestrate UO’s culture of secrecy.
The rest is well worth reading. Meanwhile the UO Matter’s poll has 40 out of 55 people saying Grier will leave UO before Lariviere. Given how popular (OK, maybe that’s not the most precise usage) this blog is over in Johnson Hall, that’s a pretty informed opinion.
You’ve got to wonder what sort of buyout deal she’ll get. She’s not tenured, so she can’t get the usual sweetheart TRP package for people like Moseley. Maybe Larivere should start a fund over at the UO Foundation and ask for tax deductible donations? Just a thought. Actually, as Duin mentions, she’s already got a courtesy appointment as an Oregon “Special Assistant Attorney General.” Maybe the DOJ has to take her back? Yet another good reason not to be too tough when they interview her for their investigation of the Bellotti buyout.
4/8/2010: 2 years ago, when Frohnmayer and Kilkenny were selling the Legislature on the arena bonds and they didn’t believe the ridiculous revenue predictions, Frohnmayer said UO would create a special reserve fund to cover shortfalls by adding a $1 surcharge to all athletic tickets. So what’s the balance up to on that by now?
From Melinda Grier’s office:
The University of Oregon has received your public records request for an accounting statement showing payments and disbursements involving the Arena Bond Reserve Fund from its establishment to the present. Deposits to the fund will be applicable to all tickets sold starting July 1, 2010. Accordingly, the University does not yet possess documents responsive to your request.
It’s zero. They decided not to start building a reserve until they were also repaying the bonds! But the restrictions on how they can spend this – they can’t until all of Knight’s money is gone – will knock another $600,000 or so out of the Athletic budget next year.
problem with Lariviere’s plan to use new donations to the athletic department to fund Bellotti’s payoff, from Lewis and Clark Tax Law Professor Jack Bogdanski. The IRS says “You cannot deduct contributions to specific individuals, … “. That rule will approximately double the cost to the donors of the buyout. Plus they may have to pay a 10% gift tax. Of course, Bellotti won’t have to treat it as earned income – so it will be worth twice that to him. Or maybe Melinda Grier can figure out a way to scam the IRS on this too?
4/7/2010: From Rachel Bachman in the Oregonian:
“This institution did not follow acceptable business practices in the past,” Lariviere said. “That will not be repeated under my administration.”
and Greg Bolt in the RG:
The university’s legal department late last month said it didn’t realize that there was no contract for Bellotti until last winter, after Bellotti told Lariviere of the ESPN job possibility. However, The Register-Guard had been asking the legal department since the previous summer for the document but received no reply. The newspaper submitted requests for the contract on June 25 and Nov. 11, and again on Jan. 14.
Asked about the UO’s failure to respond to those requests and the difficulty of getting public records in the past, Lariviere acknowledged the university has not lived up to the spirit of the open records law and pledged changes.
“As a result of our discoveries in this, we are going to change a lot of the university’s practices,” Lariviere said. “At this point I can’t tell you exactly what the response will be to any individual request, but I can tell you we will be as responsive, open and transparent as we possibly can be.”
4/6/2010: There will be a lot of attention paid today to the unusual verbal contract which, apparently, Frohnmayer and Kilkenny negotiated with Bellotti with the help of UO General Counsel Melinda Grier – leaving President Lariviere holding the bag.
Here’s another case of the sort of sweetheart deals that have become common among UO administrators:
Former President Frohnmayer’s unusual contract with former Provost John Moseley is here. It seems to be a blatant attempt to subvert the PERS rules. OUS auditor Pat Snopkowski looked into this, and her report forced UO to write this contract amendment, signed by Moseley and UO Provost Jim Bean.
Moseley’s new contract gives him responsibility for only one of the 4 job duties laid out in his original contract. He’s now “Liason with Central Oregon”. He does this from his fishing retreat on the Deschutes – you can rent one of his lodges here, for $4300 a week during the high season. Meanwhile UO pays Moseley 1/2 time at a $248,941 FTE, until 2012.
4/6/2010: From reporter John Hunt in The Oregonian:
Are you a donor with money still burning a hole in your pocket? Do you feel those nine months went by so quickly that you haven’t adequately thanked Mike Bellotti for his work as athletic director?
Well, for $75 a plate, you can attend a Mike Bellotti tribute dinner.
There will even be a silent auction to raise more money. For what, you ask?
The funds will “be dedicated to covering the costs of the Tribute to Mike Bellotti event,” according to mikebellotti.com. Any overages, it said, will be deposited in the “Athletic Director’s Discretionary Fund.”
4/5/2010: College athletics produces millions in revenue, and all the profits go to the coaches and athletic directors. This happens because the NCAA acts as a hiring cartel, preventing the athletes from negotiating a better deal – even on such basics as living and medical expenses. The National College Player’s Association is attempting to fight this by organizing the players. That’s going to be a tough fight!
4/4/2010: From Bill Graves in the Oregonian:
SALEM – Higher education officials today reviewed options for dealing with a shortage of money for need-based state college scholarships next year, the results of miscalculations that led to too many grants this year. …
The commission expects to have about $32 million to $37 million for the grants next year, about half what it is awarding this year.
4/4/2010: Lots of hits and lots of comments on the payoff stories, some from people who sound like they know something. Lariviere will have a news conference Tuesday, and maybe he will tell the truth about what happened.
George Schroeder of the RG has a column calling for more transparency and criticizing UO treatment of public records issues.
“More important, though, I hope we’re going to hear that the new president is going to change the way the school conducts the public’s business.”
UO’s Assistant Counsel Doug Park
, (541) 346-3082) is nominally tasked with filibustering public records requests, but he gets his orders from General Counsel Melinda Grier. Larivierehas done his best to stay out of it. As it happens – and in reaction to the faculty’s own problems getting records from Melinda Grier, in May the UO Senate will be debating a resolution
putting in place procedures to improve public records access. Grier’s pissy response is here
James Day in the SG has a column on academic performance by PAC-10 players. I was surprised Ernie Kent’s players didn’t do better:
To be eligible for the all-academic teams a player must have at least a 3.0 grade-point average and be a starter or significant contributor (freshmen are not eligible because a full year is required to establish an academic record).The Pac-10 found just 11 men’s players who met this standard….
Why can’t men’s basketball players (or football players for that matter) do this? Because they are commodities. Their job is to fill seats, give students something to do on Saturdays, make boosters happy, win games, reel in shoe money for the program and the school and, above all, stay eligible.
So that coaches can eventually get $2.3 million golden parachutes.
4/3/2010: A reader points us to this devastating analysis of the Bellotti payoff, by Ted Sickinger of the Oregonian. I think it’s unfair to blame this on Lariviere, it’s got Frohnmayer’s fingerprints all over it.
The University of Oregon’s $2.3 million golden handshake for resigning athletic director and former football coach Mike Bellotti appears to be outside standard practice for public and private sector organizations, and raises serious questions about UO’s leadership and governance, according to legal and executive compensation experts….
“It’s easy to vilify Mike Bellotti,” he said, “but where we should be holding someone accountable is university president Richard Lariviere and the board of directors.”
Lariviere, who started as UO president on the same day Bellotti became athletic director — July 1, 2009 — inherited the contract issues from his predecessor (Ed: that would be he who cannot be named), though the negotiation of the controversial severance agreement was his responsibility.
UO leaders released an explanation of the payout Wednesday night, but have been silent since. Lariviere is in China, and did (not) respond to requests for comment. In his absence, not a single other university executive was available to answer questions on the subject, according to Phil Weiler, a university spokesman.
“These are questions for the president,” he said. …
This is hardly the only questionable employment contract at the UO. Frohnmayer hired OIED VP Charles Martinez without an affirmative action search and Provost Bean let him break the usual conflict of commitment rules and collect two salaries. Frohnmayer set up the UO-Bend program so that former Provost John Moseley could have a nice retirement gig – at the cost of millions to UO. UO General Counsel Melinda Grier knows all about these scams. She helped set them up. Lariviere has done his best to ignore both. The question is whether he can contain this particular scandal.
Given that UO General Counsel Melinda Grier is also an Assistant Oregon Attorney General, and that AG John Kroger appointed her husband Jerry Lidz as his Solicitor General last year, I’m thinking blaming these lapses on her is not necessarily the best strategy – for Lariviere.