wǒ bùtazer, xiōng dì!

11/17/2009: I’m not so sure I would want to be arrested by the Chinese police rather than the Eugene ones. But the fact that the question has to be asked seriously should be about as shocking to any American as the 30K volts from a Tazer. From the Tuesday RG letters:

Eugene failed Chinese students

I have a comment about the incident involving our police and a student from China. I have visited China more than once and have always been warmly welcomed. I do not speak Chinese, but if there are any communication difficulties, the Chinese that I have met have tried to make things work. If the Chinese police were to break into my bedroom, I expect that I would be terrified and I am not sure how I would react. I would hope that the Chinese police would, by their soft voices and calm demeanor, reassure me that they did not intend to hurt me. My lack of language abilities would be quickly apparent, but I would hope that the Chinese police would find a way to translate. Cell phones are used in China. In the United States, hospitals have translation services for almost any language available by phone. I would hope that the Chinese police would have such a service and use it. If not, I am sure that they could find someone who could translate in person. Certainly, I would not expect to be harmed by the Chinese police. Under the circumstances here in Eugene, I can simply offer my deepest apologies to the student who was tasered by our police. The student is a guest in Eugene and we have failed in our duties as host. I expect that almost everyone in Eugene joins me in offering our friendship and our regrets.

Dave Soper, Professor of Physics, University of Oregon

So far as I can tell, there has as yet been no public statement on this ugly incident by Diversity Vice President Charles Martinez. But apparently he is using it to try and expand his Office, arguing he needs to hire an Asian as an AVP. That’s your qualification test Charles – be Asian? Talk about adding insult to injury.

Bean on Union

11/17/2009: Provost Bean comments on the proposed Union. Emphasis added:

This e-mail has been sent on behalf of Provost Jim Bean.

Many of you are aware that organizers from the “United Academics of the University of Oregon” (a union co-sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers and the AAUP) are working on the UO campus with the objective of unionizing Officers of Administration, Officers of Research and Officers of Instruction into a single union. The UO administration is part of a state agency and as such is necessarily neutral on this activity. It is up to the unclassified employees of the University to determine if they want to be represented or to continue to work directly with the administration. We will periodically communicate information about this issue to help employees be as informed as possible when making this important decision.

Oregon is a “card-check” state. That means that a union may be certified to represent unclassified employees without a secret ballot vote taking place. If the organizers can obtain signatures on cards or petitions from over half of the employees in the group stating that they want the union to represent them, the Oregon State Employees Relations Board may certify the union based on that fact so that everyone within the group becomes union-represented. Therefore, please read carefully anything you are asked to sign before making that decision, as you may be giving up your right to vote and committing yourself to inclusion in the union.

If you have any questions on the “card-check” law, please contact Linda King (346-2966 or llking@uoregon.edu) or Randy Wardlow (346-2965 or rwardlow@uoregon.edu), both of Human Resources.

Regards, Jim

AAEO fails to update Affirmative Action plan in time for hiring season

11/16/2009: This is a long post, but it’s got everything from firings to fraud to the feds. UO’s Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity (AAEO) is in trouble. AAEO has a few straightforward responsibilities. Their web page says:

As a federal contractor, the University of Oregon is committed to affirmative action in employment as a means of ensuring equality of opportunity. The Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity is responsible for working with all members of the University of Oregon community to ensure that the university is meeting the letter and spirit of its legal obligations related to affirmative action, equal opportunity and nondiscrimination, and to support the university’s commitment to diversity.

In practice this means they prepare annual updates to UO’s Affirmative Action plan, advise hiring committees about how to follow the law, and prepare letters justifying exceptions to the normal AA hiring rules. Those rules are pretty simple in their intent: an open search with a widely disseminated job announcement and a competitive selection process that is neutral with respect to race, ethnicity, and gender. They are spelled out in Affirmative Action Plans, which also contain data on gender and minority status of UO employees, and are supposed to be updated annually:

“The plan is supposed to be updated annually; it is a 12-month plan,” said Harold Busch, the former OFCCP Director of Program Operations. “That means (the contractor) needs to have a new plan in effect at that date. You can choose the date … but you must be consistent.”

10 weeks after we asked her why UO’s Affirmative Action plan was 9 months late, we got the following reply from AAEO Director Penny Daugherty:

Dear Mr. X,


I am responding to your inquiry regarding the University of Oregon Affirmative Action Plan. I appreciate your interest in the University’s affirmative action plan and efforts.


In light of the date by which workforce data is available and has been confirmed, we typically are not able to have a new affirmative action plan generated before fall each year. As a result, the plan more accurately is an academic year plan. I am changing the designated dates for the plans to reflect that fact, beginning with the 2009-2010 plan. I am working on finalizing the 2009-2010 plan and expect to have it finalized by the end of the month.


With the 2009-2010 plan has been finalized, it will be posted on the Office of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity webpage.


Penny


Penelope Daugherty, Director
Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity
University of Oregon

So far as we can tell, in the past 6 years AAEO has been able to complete the AA Plan updates within the federally required 12 months only one time. This has nothing to do with delays in getting data – the current plan was prepared 11 months after the data was available. In 2005 Penny just bagged it, and failed to make any update at all. In the past Frohnmayer would simply backdate the plans to make it look like UO was in compliance – most recently with the 2008 plan, which was actually not even prepared until October 2008. But Dave Frohnmayer says it had his complete authorization and commitment on Jan 1:


Of course some people – like the federal agent who investigated this – call backdating an official document fraud, and it looks like Lariviere is not going to go along with it. At this point the AAEO office seems to be in total disarray. Tomas Baiza, clearly the most competent person in the office, left in frustration over the summer, and earlier this month Penny apparently fired Susan Plummer for telling unpleasant truths – Susan has even been replaced as a Staff representative to the UO Senate. Penny has had a job opening posted for many months now:

Salary: $48,000 – $58,000


The Office of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity (OAAEO) of the University of Oregon seeks a dynamic and committed professional for the position of Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity (AA/EO) Specialist to complement its current staff. The successful candidate will support and monitor the search and hiring process for officers of instruction, research and administration; assist with the development and communication of the university’s affirmative action plan; provide training related to affirmative action; and serve as a resource and provide sound consultation and advice to all members of the University community with respect to affirmative action and equal opportunity issues.

No takers. The good news – and everyone who has every sat through one knows how good – is that someone has finally told Penny to stop making her officious presentations to hiring committees. The bad news is she won’t tell faculty if they are liable if there is trouble over a hire because her AA Plan is out of date. At least not in writing. Our understanding is that her non-compliance makes it much easier for a complainant to prevail in a dispute.

It’s not like we’re not giving Penny enough money. Most universities have many fewer AAEO staff per employer than UO does. UT – Austin has 4 staff in its AA office. Michigan has 7 staff. Wisconsin has 6. UVA has 8. These universities have 3-4 times as many employees as UO. Oregon State has 4 staff, not Penny’s 7, and they manage to get their AA plans done on time, too. UO has thrown plenty of money at this – Penny’s budget went up by 71% from 2006 to 2009 – in part due to the big raises Linda Brady gave her (and 100K of that is our ICC research money!)


No results. No accountability. Your money at work. So what is in these AA plans anyway?
The AA plan details UO’s programs and policies for avoiding discriminatory hiring practices and outcomes, and show how UO’s employment of minorities and women compares to the available hiring pools. For example:




This means that 50.34% of the available pool of tenure-track humanities faculty (defined as all recent US PhD’s in those fields) are women. Since there is no under-representation of women at UO by the 80% rule, the table means that UO’s tenure-track humanities faculty is within 80% of matching the 50.34% of the available pool of tenure-track hires that are women. (The one whole person columns account for the fact that you cannot slice humans into fractions without some side effects.) Yes, you are reading this right. No CAS divisions have minority under-representation, by either of the standard federal definitions. Women do have some under-representation. The AAEO gets the “available percentage” data from the feds every fall. AAEO keeps track of every new hire’s race, ethnicity, and sex, on this form.


UO’s AAEO office has not complied with advice from the feds that they switch to new forms that allow people to declare that they are more than one race. Director Penny Daughtery will not explain why she hasn’t done this.
UO will apparently not dispute an employees self-reported claim of ethnicity, race, or gender. In contrast, most employers – and after Ward Churchill, any university with a General Counsel who knows anything about labor law – will not allow an employee to claim they are “American Indian or Alaska Native” unless they can show that the are an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe. We have heard about UO professors exploiting this loophole to get the $90,000 Under-represented Minority Recruitment Plan funds. OK, the Irish are a tribe, but are they really Native Americans? – but that’s another story.

Hispanic enrollment – where’s UO?

11/16/2009: Good story in the Oregonian today by Suzanne Pardington, about low college enrollment of hispanics:

In 2007, Latinos made up nearly 12 percent of the 12th-grade class and less than 6 percent of freshmen in the university system. About 20 percent of first-graders that year were Latino.

Lots of talk about how other Oregon universities are trying to address this problem. No mention of UO or our VP for Diversity Charles Martinez.

Gambling

11/15/2009: From Brent Walth in the Oregonian:

More than half the money the lottery collects from video gambling — about $375 million last year — comes from a small number of Oregonians, many with big gambling problems. These gamblers tell the lottery they lose more than $500 a month, every month. They represent only 10 percent of Oregon’s video gamblers but account for 53 percent of the money lost, according an analysis of three years’ worth of the lottery’s data obtained by The Oregonian under the state’s public records law.

Don’t build it and they will leave

11/13/2009: There is a certain theme to these 2 stories in the ODE today:

Alex Zielinski on the Research Park expansion:

A group of University students and faculty is attempting to interrupt the University’s plan to add 4.2 acres of new buildings to the south bank of the Willamette River. The proposed buildings would be part of the University’s Riverfront Research Park, housing numerous scientific research facilities independent from the University. Those against the construction of these buildings say it poses problems for the riverside environment and general connectivity of the area.

CJ Ciaramella on the new dorm:

A chorus of complaints from Native American community members and Fairmount neighborhood residents has temporarily stalled the planning process of a new residence hall on the east side of campus. … The dispute is now moving to the nine federated Native American tribes of Oregon and the University president’s office to be resolved. … “We have to have confidence that the president will work with all due diligence,” Gregg Lobisser, chairman of the committee, said. However, Bettles and many of the other committee members disagreed. “If you approve the motion, you subordinate the nine tribes,” Bettles said. He said even conditionally approving it would be a back-door way to get the project done without addressing the concerns.

Welcome to Eugene, Mr. President. One commenter writes:

Ah, the joys of diversity! I sympathize with the desire to preserve the view. But then, where will the dorm go? Somewhere else, I presume. But that is sprawl! Unsustainable! The greatest academic minds in the world will not be able to solve this. Better call in the Eugene City Council!

On the other hand, this new project has no opposition. 3 to 1 this ends with some student getting tazed. paypal uomatters@gmail.com to give me your money.

PERS disaster

11/12/2009: Jack Bogdanski, a tax lawyer at Lewis and Clark, has somehow obtained a copy of a draft report by former Secretary of State Phil Keisling on PERS. It’s a disaster. Employers are going to have to double, perhaps triple their contributions to the fund. Taxpayers may be hit up for additional revenue beyond that. UO’s cost per employee will soar:

By 2013-15, what one observers calls Oregon’s pending “PERS Tsunami” could literally “wash away” more than $2 billion in taxpayer funds that today are being used to provide actual government services – e.g. K-12 teachers and college professors, health care and early childhood education, building roads and repairing aging infrastructure, etc.

It’s not a good read.

"Sparks fly at University Senate meeting"

11/12/2009: From CJ Ciaramella in the Daily Emerald on yesterday’s Senate meeting. Melinda Grier tries another end run around faculty governance. She and law professor John Bonine last tangled over the COC/COI issue. She lost. In fact, she loses every time she is challenged on something. Why hasn’t Lariviere fired her yet? Either he doesn’t realize how incompetent she is, or he supports her efforts to destroy any trust between the faculty and his new administration. The man has been on campus since April. There’s no good way to read this.

Questions arise over power struggle among senators, faculty and administration: CJ Ciaramella.

A legal opinion delivered by University General Counsel Melinda Grier to the University Senate led one incensed senator to consider arming the Senate with its own legal counsel at yesterday’s meeting.
The memo, delivered to the Senate the day before the meeting, suggests that Oregon Public Meetings Law may not apply to the body.
“In certain circumstances, the Oregon Public Meetings Law may by operation of law apply to the University Senate,” Grier said in the memo, “but in all others, it applies only to the extent the University Senate Charter self-imposes those requirements.”
However, the hullabaloo was not so much over the OPML as a perceived slighting of the Senate’s power. University Sen. and law professor John Bonine said the memo failed to cite the University’s charter, which he called the “key governing document of this University,” and misrepresented the Senate’s relationship with the administration.
“The fact is that power is split between the president and the Senate,” Bonine said.
However, Grier’s memo states that “the faculty, by statute, also has authority. While that grant is not stated in detail and its relationship with the president’s authority is not well-defined, historically the faculty’s authority has been over the curriculum and the discipline of the students.”
Grier went on to say, “it appears the University Senate’s authority is not express and is that authorized by the president subject to veto by the president.”
Bonine contends that the University Charter, which Grier never mentions by name, conflicts with her opinion.
The charter, found in ORS 352.010, reads, “the president and professors constitute the faculty of each of the state institutions of higher education and as such have the immediate government and discipline of it and the students therein.”
“To obtain a legal opinion that contains about as big of a legal error as I can imagine astounds me,” Bonine said.
Bonine verbally announced a motion at the meeting to provide the Senate with its own legal counsel and said he would officially produce a written motion sometime in the near future.

… More in the article, on voting for Senate VP.

Who has Tenure?

11/11/2009: We reported earlier on Provost Bean’s refusal to tell the FPC committee chair who had been given tenure or see the letters he wrote justifying his decisions. We assumed that Bean’s unprecedented attempt to keep information on who had been given tenure from falling into the hands of UO’s tenured faculty was due to his desire to hide the fact that he had given tenure to Diversity VP Charles Martinez, despite the FPC’s recommendation. (An assumption. We know nothing about their recommendation.)

It now turns out that Bean has procured a memo from Academic Affairs VP Russ Tomlin, saying that it is illegal for Bean to share the tenure and promotion letters with the committee. I’m no lawyer (really!) but this is nonsense – and as such has Melinda Grier’s fingerprints all over it. Right Russ?

Obviously the FPC is authorized to view confidential personnel information – that’s their job. So why the attempt at secrecy? We suspect it is because Bean plans to put Martinez up for promotion to full professor this year. That’s right, a year after giving him tenure. Martinez hasn’t taught a course in 5 years and works 3/4 time at a private group off campus (OSLC) but is technically still on the books in the Ed School. Why promote him to full professor? Why promote him to vice president without an affirmative action search? The guy has done nothing of substance in 5 years. Oh, wait, I’m beginning to understand why Bean thinks “He is the best Diversity VP I have ever seen…”

Actually, we’re not really sure that he will go up for full. Melinda Grier has the information, but she will not share it with faculty – unless we pay her:

Dear Professor X:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for a copy of any “email, memo, etc.” stating if or when Vice President Charles Martinez will be put up for promotion to full professor. The University is now providing an estimate of the cost to respond to your request.

The University estimates the actual cost of providing the information responsive to your request to be Eighty-Three Dollars and Eighty-Three Cents ($83.83). Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon in the amount of $83.83 the University will proceed to locate and provide the information you have requested that is not exempt from disclosure.

I like the way Melinda feels the need to spell out the “Eighty-Three Dollars and Eighty-Three Cents ($83.83)”. That will learn them damn faculty.

Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #033: It never hurts to suck up to the boss

11/9/2009: From KEZI News 9: An old oak tree gets a new lease on life after it fell last spring, totalling the car owned by the University of Oregon Provost. The UO Director of Sustainability, Steve Mital, proposed that a UO furniture making class do something with the wood. So next summer, the UO will hold a studio class to design and build furniture for the Provost’s office out of the tree that smashed his car.

Tublitz’s Transparency Resolution

11/9/2009: In May Nathan Tublitz’s motion to increase financial transparency by providing access to UO accounting records passed the UO Senate. The new administration seems to be taking this seriously, and the Senate website now includes this memo: (Note that due to a new state law, in January UO will start posting all employee salary numbers online.)

Transparency of University Financial Transactions (this report is made jointly by Don Harris and Frances Dyke)

The UO Senate passed the following motion:

The University Senate respectfully requests the University of Oregon Administration to establish a publicly accessible, on-line budget reporting system at the University of Oregon by 15 November 2009 that will allow users to track current and retroactive individual university expenditures as is currently done at our sister institution Oregon State University on their budget reporting website ( https://bfpsystems.oregonstate.edu/webreporting/).

Frances Dyke comments:

The CIO, Don Harris is here to answer any of the more technical questions you may with regard to the financial reporting tool that will be available on November 16 (the first workday after November 15). As discussed at the May University Senate meeting work began on developing this tool after a major enterprise software upgrade project was completed in September.

The tool you will be able to access starting next Monday is the initial roll out of a financial reporting tool for compliance with the university Senate motion on financial transparency. In the course of discussions related to development the work group has identified impediments to our ability to provide transactional level detail in a publicly available financial reporting tool. There are issues of both security and legally binding confidentiality that must be balanced against the desire for full transparency. As mentioned at the October Senate meeting I am now asking the Senate President to appoint an advisory group to help analyze these problems and find solutions that can be legally and operationally implemented. In making this request I also recommend that the Senate President consider creating this advisory group by drawing on membership of the Senate Budget Committee and other members of the Senate or university community who have a particular interest or expertise in financial management reporting.

As a side note the state will be implementing a web site to comply with HB 2500 on financial transparency at the state level. This website will be active in January 2010 and will contain salary information on all state employees including all employees in the Oregon University System. It will also include information summarizing payments from agencies to vendors. A copy of the House bill is attached.

Don Harris comments:

The application developed uses the WEB development portal tool kit and will be accessible via DuckWeb. This was done so that we could deploy a resource that could be supported by IS Enterprise Administrative Applications and several programmer/analysts who are trained in the use of this toolset. The application will be easy to use and incorporate pull down menus, drilldown capability within specified limits, the ability to compare several years of data, and the ability to download data into an Excel spreadsheet. We have developed this application to be responsive to the senate motion while seeking to balance the needs for transparency and the security and confidentiality issues that have become apparent. As the VPFA and I work with the advisory group appointed by the Senate president appropriate modifications will be made.

This is a big step forward. Just 6 months ago we were getting emails like this:

Professor X:

Thank you for your inquiry.

The Business Affairs Office is working on a complete redesign of our web presence. Part of that project is to review information currently accessible on our website to decide what to transition to the new portals. During this review period, we looked at the Chart of Accounts page you referenced below.

We discovered that certain information available through the Chart of Accounts is considered confidential pursuant to OAR 571-030-0025(1). As such, we removed the information from our publicly-accessible website and restricted access to personnel with a “demonstrably legitimate need for particular information in order to fulfill their official, professional responsibilities.” Those personnel include those who perform business and budget transactions within the BANNER enterprise accounting system (i.e. campus budget and business officers and core-office personnel.)

If you have any other questions related to Chart of Accounts data, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Kelly B. Wolf

Kelly B. Wolf
Director of Business Affairs and Controller
University of Oregon
Phone: (541) 346-3165
Fax: (541) 346-5820
kbwolf@uoregon.edu

UO is "Rogue of the Week"?

11/7/2009: When will we be rid of Frohnmayer’s inane plan for the White Stag sign? Not soon, unless Provost Bean pays $100,000. From the editors of Willamette Week:

The bizarre tale of the “Made in Oregon” sign’s fate just keeps getting weirder. Truth be told, the Rogue Desk would rather eat glass than revisit this topic. But time is not on our side. Only three weeks remain until the holiday season officially begins—when the sign’s owner traditionally turns on the red nose atop the leaping White Stag. This year would mark the 50th anniversary of Rudolph in Portland. But Ramsay Signs President Darryl Paulsen turned off the sign in October, and it now appears possible the sign may stay dark during the holiday season. Yet Paulsen isn’t the Rogue here. On behalf of all children and their kid-at-heart relatives, the Rogue Desk is singling out the University of Oregon for getting us into this mess. We’ll admit it’s difficult to ascribe blame in this situation. But it was the U of O that last winter took steps to put its moniker on the sign. Most everyone knows how this ended. By September, the university said it was walking away from the sign.

Meantime, Paulsen says the university now owes him about $100,000 for the design work and permitting fees his company generated during the two-year period it worked with the university to change the sign. (UO won’t acknowledge the amount of the bill, saying only that it’s negotiating.)… “We are actively working with Daryl Paulson [sic] and Ramsay sign to come to an arrangement,” Jim Bean, UO senior vice president and provost, wrote in an email to WW. Paulsen is more direct. “If they’re actively working on a solution, that’s good,” he says. “It will save them a lawsuit.”

Bean is on record (actually, video) as saying that the money for the sign would come from UO Foundation funds – presumably some anonymous donor will also pay for not changing the sign? Or will UO just use the student tuition surcharge for this?

11/7/2009: I’ll be brave, and post this from Ron Bellamy at the RG before kickoff, on Chip Kelly’s new contract.

Chip Kelly’s first contract as a head football coach will pay him an annual guaranteed salary of $1.25 million this season and next, plus a share of Oregon’s season ticket sales, and offer a myriad of bonuses for performance on the field and in the classroom.

The contract, signed by Kelly on Oct. 26 and by UO President Richard Lariviere on Thursday, was released to The Register-Guard on Friday in response to a public records request.

Kelly will receive a share of season ticket sales, two-tenths of a percent this season and moving to a sliding scale next season — 3.25 percent for gross sales of $13 million or less and 1.65 percent of sales exceeding $13 million.

I’m no economist, but you don’t have to understand collusion to understand why college coaches earn this much money and college players earn zero. The NCAA has a myriad of rules designed to make sure of this – they even require players who want to switch schools to redshirt for a year. Chip Kelly seems like a great guy, but the NCAA set this system up to make sure that every possible dollar of profits goes to the coaches, not the students, players, or universities. It smells rotten and it is rotten.