5/4/2010: Lots of OSU visitors lately. Sorry, we got nothing for you, just UO stuff. Get your own blog! Wait, here’s a copy of the OSU Affirmative Action plan. Your Associate General Counsel Charles E. Fletcher tried to sell this to us, and said he didn’t want it posted online. We got it free, and here it is. Sorry Mr. Fletcher, you just don’t understand our business model. FWIW, it’s a much more professional job than the UO AA Plan and from what I can tell your AA budget is about half what Penny Daugherty charges UO. Let’s not even mention UO’s Vice President for Diversity Charles Martinez and his budget – it’s a crime. You should be proud. Go Beavers.

Conversion to semesters might happen

5/4/2010: The PSU student newspaper, the “Daily Vanguard”, reports on the OUS system’s consideration of a conversion to semesters. 89% of public universities are on semesters. There is extensive information about this on the OUS website, looks like it is under serious consideration. A reader pointed me to this survey on the issue, closes June 15th. http://www.ous.edu/qapp/sb442surveys/

Oregon DOJ orders UO to release public records

5/3/2010: To my knowledge this is the first time the Oregon DOJ has actually ordered UO public records officer Doug Park to produce public records. Often they will pressure UO, and you will get the records the day before the DOJ has to make a ruling (7 days from your petition.) Making a public ruling is a statement – either the DOJ is fed up with UO, or AG John Kroger thinks other people are and is trying to get some press.

A Union is not going to happen

5/3/2010: The results of the Senate survey on unionization are here. The comments on the survey are also posted and are worth reading. The response rate is higher than the previous UO Matters survey, and the results are very clear:

The tenure track faculty are opposed more than 2 to 1.
The OA’s are opposed more than 3 to 1.
The NTTIF (Instructors) are in favor more than 2 to 1. (but low response)

I’ll make a bold prediction: The AFT/AAUP organizers will leave campus soon. The Union idea is dead, except perhaps among the NTTIF’s. I would argue they are getting the shaft and probably should have a Union. But realistically are unlikely to benefit much because they have low bargaining power even as a group. So what happened? The union organization was not too good and there was some internal dissension. But mainly I think people decided Lariviere was not just all hat.

That said I think the union scared the shit out of the administration and has reduced the level of arrogance and contempt we’ve been getting from them. The faculty who worked long and hard on this had an effect, and they should be praised for getting involved and trying to improve UO.

Dave Frohnmayer shoves Melinda Grier under the bus:

5/1/2010: Greg Bolt of the RG finally gets Frohnmayer to talk about the Bellotti contract. Frohnmayer was waiting to see exactly how much the AG’s report unearthed before he went on the record with his version. And the report has just one mention of Frohnmayer – he delegated signing authority to Grier – and none of the $440,000 in donations from Pat Kilkenny, before and after Frohnmayer appointed Kilkenny AD and let him negotiate the Bellotti deal. This is a professional courtesy from the new AG to the old one. Neither wants anything in the papers that makes the office of Attorney General look bad.

So, now that the Oregon DOJ and the investigator David Leith have let Dave Frohnmayer off the hook, he shoves Melinda Grier under the bus:

“I assumed the contracts would be handled in due course,” he said.

“I think I reasonably relied on the usual course of business being followed by the general counsel’s office.”

“I wasn’t always happy with how the relationship worked,” he said.

“Even with direct reporting, I felt I wasn’t always getting direct reports.”

The attorney general’s report also was critical of Grier, saying she gave the university “deficient legal representation” and failed to report problems with Bellotti contract issues to the justice department.

Frohnmayer declined to comment on those issues but defended Grier’s dedication to the university.

“Melinda is a very hard-working person,” he said.

“I don’t know anyone whose car was in the parking lot on weekends and holidays more than Melinda Grier’s. There was no lacking of energy and devotion to her job.”

Nice job reference, Dave: “Ms Grier served as my loyal General Counsel for 12 years, covering my ass even when this led the Oregon Bar to start an ethics investigation of her. But in the end it turned out she was incompetent, made me look like a fool in the press, provided deficient legal representation and had to put in a lot of hours to accomplish even that. However, I did find her to be an excellent scapegoat.”

NY Times on UO Athletic Scandals

5/1/2010: Billy Witz of the NY Times has a long story on the recent troubles. No citation, but they do pick up the “Jock Box” phrase coined by UO Matters:

A new learning center — dubbed the Jock Box for its glass cube design — has been built for athletes only. If athletes at Oregon want a top-of-the-line laptop, all they have to do is ask — Knight donated 550 specially engraved Apple notebooks for their use. That twist, in the wake of Masoli’s arrest, has not been lost on many around campus. When guard Mark Asper, a sociology and Spanish major, has pulled his laptop out in class, he has had classmates admire it and then ask the inevitable question. “Is that one Jeremiah could have gotten?” Asper said. “And I say, yes. They want to know: What was he thinking? I just have to humbly apologize. People say, ‘Oh, you guys are a bunch of hooligans,’ and it’s tough because you don’t have any evidence to the contrary.”…

One person keeping a close eye will be Dr. Richard Lariviere, who last summer became the university’s president. One of his stated priorities was to figure out a way to raise professors’ salaries, which lag behind national standards, despite increasingly tight state funding. Lately, his focus has been on sports. Lariviere called the spate of off-the-field troubles “unacceptable” and acknowledged in a news conference that he pushed out Bellotti, who took a job last month with ESPN. Last week, after The Eugene Register-Guard reported that Kilkenny had also operated without a contract for more than a year, Lariviere reassigned the university counsel Melinda Grier to the campus law school and announced that her contract would not be renewed when it expired in 2011.

 The story also quotes Nathan Tublitz: “The athletic department is out of control here.” I’m guessing Nathan meant to say “was”. After recent events, it’s real clear Lariviere is cleaning this mess up.

More Bloat 2

4/29/2010: Diversity Vice President Charles Martinez is paid $146,537 by UO for his 0.75 FTE appointment at UO. (The stipend is really just extra salary, paid from a fund that was set up to compensate faculty for administrative work. The administration has been using these instead as a device to boost their own pay).

This would logically give Martinez 10 hours a week left over for outside work. But the IRS reports he actually works 25 hours off campus at OSLC:

The OSLC pay comes from federal grants, and if these were run through UO, Martinez would not be allowed to double dip like this. UO’s rules allow 1 day in 7 for outside work. Even adjusting for the 3/4 time appointment he’s way over. When he was hired by John Moseley in 2005, Moseley gave him a verbal promise the rule would not be enforced for him. Jim Bean apparently put that in writing last year. (Bean also put Martinez up for tenure, in a highly unusual last minute move, and then refused to show the faculty committee his letter explaining his decision.)

Given all this outside work – 25 hours a week – you might wonder how Martinez gets his job as UO Vice President done. He’s not on campus much. Try to set up a meeting, and he will want to meet at OSLC, or in a nearby coffee shop. He’s notorious for foisting all his duties off on his assistants.

Now Lariviere is letting him hire a new “Strategic Communications Specialist” to do more of his work for him. Amazing. Another $52,000-64,000 FTE, 0.5 time position.

At least they’re doing an affirmative action search. Now when are you going to do one for Martinez, President Lariviere? Are you sure the legal advice you got on his double-dipping and AA compliance – from Melinda Grier – was solid?

Have you found anyone on campus – other than Jim Bean and Charles Martinez – who thinks Charles Martinez is the best we can do as Vice President for Diversity? Regardless of what they think, shouldn’t we have an open, national, affirmative action compliant search for this position? Or at least a job description? Apparently Doug Park and Melinda Grier couldn’t find a written contract for Charles Martinez either:

From: “General Counsel”
Date: Sep 28, 2009 2:49:22 PDT
To: Professor X
Subject: RE: public records request, Martinez exemption letter

Dear Professor X:

The only public records we have been able to locate that are responsive to your request for documents “describing OIED VP Charles Martinez’s current job responsibilities” may be found at http://oied.uoregon.edu/staff/dr-charles-martinez-jr.  The University is waiving the costs associated with responding to this public records request.


University of Oregon
Office of the General Counsel

Kroger makes it official: Grier is the scapegoat for Frohnmayer and Kilkenny

4/30/2010 update: Greg Bolt has a story about this in the RG. Not much new except this:

Some attention also focused on former UO President Dave Frohnmayer, who in 2005 had assigned responsibility for personnel issues in the athletic department to Grier’s office. Frohnmayer was winding down his presidency when Bellotti announced that he would take over as athletic director. Frohnmayer couldn’t be immediately reached for comment Thursday. But in earlier comments he said that although he had asked Kilkenny to negotiate a contract with Bellotti he had no direct role in those talks. But without mentioning Frohnmayer, Lariviere made clear he wouldn’t have handled the situation that way. “No one negotiates the contract of his or her successor,” Lariviere said. “That’s just part of the culture. Everyone understands that.”

Still no explanation from Frohnmayer of his role, still no defense of Melinda Grier, who worked for him for 12 years. He has been waiting to see the AG’s report, so he’ll know exactly how much of the truth they unearthed, before he goes on the record with his version. “No criminal wrongdoing” is a big relief for Dave!

What’s Frohnmayer going to tell the first reporter who asks him about decision to give control of athletics to Kilkenny the year after Kilkenny started his $440,000 series of donations to Frohnmayer’s Fanconi Foundation?

4/29/2010: Ok, I was part wrong. The Oregon DOJ investigation report rips into Melinda Grier. This won’t get her disbarred – believe me, I’ve tried that – but it is a reasonably well-documented hatchet job and I can’t imagine anyone who reads it hiring her as an attorney. Ever. But of course Frohnmayer walks. For starters:

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger today announced that a Department of Justice review found deficient legal representation, but no criminal wrongdoing in the handling of former University of Oregon Athletic Director Mike Bellotti’s contract.

Here’s the report. It is public because Lariviere insisted that Kroger make it public. Thanks. A key date in the events was April 20, 2009, when Grier was first asked about a written contract and when Frohnmayer was still President. Lariviere was obviously blindsided and had no responsibility for the lack of a contract. The report makes clear he did the best he could with a disaster.

The report does not mention the previous Oregon DOJ ethics investigation of Melinda Grier. That investigation was of false statements Grier made to the US DOJ Civil Rights Division, during their investigation of UO’s minority faculty recruiting procedures. Associate AG David Leith was in charge of that investigation (on which he spent well over $20,000), as well as of the report released today.

I’m surprised at the depth of this new investigation and the vehement tone of this report from Kroger. Somebody is pissed. My guess? David Leith and John Kroger went out on a limb for Melinda Grier, covering up the civil rights investigation and a raft of previous issues. Jean Stockard’s case would be another exmple – cost the state $500,000 plus fees. When this came up, they decided it was the last time she would make trouble for them.

UO’s Public Records Officer, Doug Park, gets off without a mention in the report. Oregon law gave Park responsibility for responding to the repeated public records requests for Bellotti’s contract. Presumably he passed them on the Grier, instead of doing his job. Lariviere has already announced he will take this responsibility away from Park. Good enough. We’ll see if the new GC will keep Park and the other longtime Grier assistant, Randy Geller.

There is not a word about Kilkenny. Dave Frohnmayer, of course, gets off untouched. Still no public word from Frohnmayer on his role in the Bellotti contract, on the firing of the woman who served as his principal legal advisor for 12 years, or on the AG’s judgment that she was incompetent.

Meanwhile Frohnmayer is still collecting his $245,700 in UO pay, still collecting a second paycheck at Harrang, Long, et al., and a third paycheck from Umpqua Bank. His former Provost, John Moseley, is still getting paid by UO on a questionable PERS retirement buyout deal, set up by Frohnmayer, while he runs a fishing retreat on the Deschutes. No kidding, you can rent a lodge from him here. The Oregon Government Ethics Board investigator wanted to pursue this, the board voted him down. The guy Frohnmayer appointed VP for Diversity 5 years ago, Charles Martinez, is still working for UO without any kind of affirmative action compliant search, and he’s still double dipping at another job off campus. Sleaze.

How many of these deals did Melinda Grier also have her fingers in? How much more is there? It’s going to be a while before the shit gets cleaned up, but this is a start.

Audit and DOJ reports on Frohnmayer/Belotti deal

At 11AM tomorrow the OUS Board meets and will hear a report from their auditor, Pat Snopkowski, on the Frohnmayer / Bellotti oral contract scandal – or as they call it in their docket, “A UO Athletics Matter.”

I’m expecting a coverup, based on how the OUS Audit Division handled former UO Provost John Moseley’s golden parachute contract and expense account abuse. But things have changed around here recently, and maybe I’ll be surprised.

In related news, Oregon DOJ spokesperson Tony Green assures me there will be a public report from the DOJ’s investigation of the situation. Though he’d really prefer that I don’t use that word “investigation”. Sorry Tony.

Associate AG David Leith is in charge of this non-investigation. My wild guess is the DOJ will not find much from their non-investigation. A real investigation would likely implicate former UO General Counsel Melinda Grier (wife of Oregon Solicitor General Jerry Lidz), UO Assistant GC Doug Park (officially, UO Public Records Officer, in reality just following orders) and of course Dave Frohnmayer (Saint, former Oregon Attorney General, and currently working at Lidz’s law firm, Harrang, Long et al, while collecting his $245,700 UO sabbatical pay on the side.) Better not to turn over that rock. And Leith has a history of deflecting ethics investigations of Melinda Grier, like this one from last May.

At 6 PM, the Mike Bellotti tribute dinner begins. Still 6 tables left. All proceeds net of costs benefit the Athletic Director’s discretionary fund. Lorraine Davis needs more money?

Is UO Matters a news organization?

4/28/2010: Many bloggers are wondering about their legal status in the wake of the seizure of the computers of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, the guy who blogged about the iphone HD. Is a blog a news organization? Was he a journalist? If so, apparently CA’s “shield law” says the gov’t needs a subpoena, not just a warrant, to search his computer.  FWIW, at least according to one US Government agency, UO Matters is a news organization and as such is entitled to expedited FOIA requests and a higher threshold before fees will be charged.

Parking 2

4/27/2010: Parking pdate:

The ODE follows up their excellent reporting on parking with an angry editorial:

… What’s more, more than a third of the 377 spots in the arena parking structure are reserved for users of the Jaqua Academic Center for Student-Athletes. DPS paying for the arena structure bond in this way is a disservice to those who spent and continue to spend years paying parking fines, buying parking passes and feeding the ever-hungry meters, as little will improve for them. Instead of 514 new parking spaces, the campus community has been relegated to only 242 spaces, which won’t be enough as enrollment continues to increase.

The only thing missing is the info on who approved the decision to put DPS in debt to help fund the arena. Dave Frohnmayer and OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner.

4/21/2010: Part 2 of Dave Martinez and Alex Tomchak Scott’s Daily Emerald series about parking. Basically, UO students and faculty will be paying about $5 million in higher parking fees and fines to provide convenient underground parking for the athletes at their Jaqua Jock Box, and another $10 million to pay for part dedicated to the arena. But UO athletics is self supporting, right?

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. Or maybe it was the $150,000 bonus he got from anonymous UO boosters?

If you pay a parking ticket doled out on the University campus, chances are you’ll be helping to pay off debts accrued on the parking structure under construction beneath the Matthew Knight Arena. University officials estimate the 377-spot underground garage will cost about $15 million by the time it is finished, although some have estimated it will cost as much as $18 million. … To repay that bond, the University placed the financial burden on its Department of Public Safety, which administers parking on campus. …

“A lot of people don’t understand why our prices went up as much as they did,” Horner said. “And, well, it’s because we have to balance our budget, and it’s really difficult to do that when you have that kind of financial responsibility.” The price of student parking passes has already been doubled from last year to this year, and Horner said it’s unlikely they will increase again soon. However, the price of faculty parking is set to increase from $300 to $400. ..

DPS had been in the process of fomenting plans for different structures. …
Instead, the University went ahead with plans to build the Knight Arena garage. Because it is underground, Horner said, it will cost three times as much as an above-ground structure would have cost. Of the 377 spots in the new structure, 135 — more than a third — will be reserved for the Jaqua Academic Center for Student-Athletes, meaning they will likely be used exclusively by student-athletes. …

“Dear God, I think I hate it,” said (student) Sen. Demic Tipitino, often a proponent of the University administration, later adding, “I have a problem with me getting a ticket when I’m studying in the library to bail out the athletic department. That’s some shit.

Here is Knight’s contract on this with Frohnmayer:

Goodbye Kilkenny

4/27/2010: Lariviere leaves no doubt who is in charge. From Ron Bellamy in the RG:

Lariviere said that at times he re-directed Kilkenny when he felt that the search was heading in a direction with which he wasn’t comfortable. “Not that Pat was promoting a particular person, but a name or two would come up,” Lariviere said. “I think at last count, we had five coaches who have won national championships who were interested in this job. … There were at least two of them that I would not have allowed to be the coach at the University of Oregon, because they didn’t share the values we were looking for here (in) looking after student-athletes’ academic and personal success.”

30 minutes after the ceremony Kilkenny was in his jet, leaving Eugene.

But Bellamy’s article goes on to show that Kent’s teams had better academic performances than Altman’s. And of course his contract gives him bonuses for wins and ticket sales that are about 5 times the $120,000 bonus for academic success. That reveals UO’s preferences – we’ve got a $16.5 million nut to make on those bonds, every year starting now. Kilkenny and Frohnmayer may not be in charge, but their past decisions don’t leave Lariviere much of a choice.