Pacifica

2/3/2010: Adam Kissell of The Foundation for Individual Rights has a good piece on Pacifica and free speech at UO:

The “safety” rationale fails in the absence of truly proscribed speech, such as true threats (and even then, it would be unclear whether an individual threat would be enough to discipline the entire group). …  In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, the Supreme Court determined that, even in high schools, “undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression.” (Emphasis added.) Tinker is binding on public colleges like University of Oregon as a minimum requirement—colleges must tolerate much more freedom of speech than must high schools.

Thanks to Dane at the Commentator for the link – they have a lot of sensible posts on this, like this, by Evan Patrick Thomas. Nice work Mr. Thomas, whoever you are.

Lariviere, UO and 66 and 67

1/27/2010: Now that 66 and 67 have passed, UO’s budget seems pretty safe. Rumors are that there is plenty of cash about. We can expect a big announcement from new UO President Richard Lariviere soon about how he plans to spend it – sometime after he deals with his first priorities, Masoli and Kelly.

The administrators have already jumped the queue. The Provost’s budget has grown from $1.4 million to $3.7 million in 4 years, and now Lariviere is letting Jim Bean make even more VP hires – the UO jobs website currently lists 3 of them.So if you go by what he does rather than what he says, Lariviere thinks UO’s number one problem is too few VPs.

The academic side can expect some promises and some trickle down, but Lariviere has been in charge for 7 months now and shows no signs of wanting to rock the boat, much less change course.

Sorry, but that’s how it looks from here and I’m hardly the only one saying it. If you’ve got another interpretation, post it.

Students protest Frohnmayer Plan

1/30/2010:

Update: Also see the InterInstitutional Faculty Senate resolution on this, which boils down to “not so fast, buddy.”

From Bill Graves in the Oregonian:

A small group of Portland State University students gathered on campus today to denounce proposals to reorganize Oregon universities into public corporations. Students warned that such restructuring could lead to higher tuition, bigger classes and more corporate control over academics.

The State Board of Higher Education is studying ways to restructure the state’s seven public universities following recommendations from former University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer last November. Frohnmayer proposed converting the three largest universities, including PSU, into public corporations similar to Oregon Health & Science University so that they have more freedom and flexibility.

The success of this proposal depends on effective oversight. A look at the composition of the OUS board and their past history of complaisance doesn’t give a lot of confidence. So maybe the governor will appoint some new people to clean it up? Let’s see, last summer Governor Kulongoski gave state legislator Larry Galizio a fat OUS staff job as payoff for changing his vote on some pet bill. Before that he tried to appoint Goldschmidt as chair. We’re toast.

What it takes to get UO to follow the Affirmative Action law?

1/29/2010: Also see here. AAEO Director Penny Daugherty only started working on this draft because of pressure from the OFCCP and, perhaps, the Oregon DOJ. What is going on?

Dear Attorney General Kroger:

As the email below indicates, the UO General Counsel’s office has denied my request for a fee waiver for a copy of the current working draft of UO’s 2009-2010 Affirmative Action Plan. As a federal contractor, federal regulations require UO to prepare AA plans, update them annually, and make copies available “for inspection and copying”. The relevant regulations, which derive from several different federal laws and which are available at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/index.htm repeatedly say:

The affirmative action program shall be reviewed and updated annually.

and

The full affirmative action program shall be available to any employee or applicant for employment for inspection upon request. The location and hours during which the program may be obtained shall be posted at each establishment.

As your office knows, UO has not updated its affirmative action plans since sometime in October, 2008, though that plan was apparently then backdated and signed by UO President Frohnmayer to read “effective Jan 1 2008.”

Given that this working draft is therefore the closest thing UO has to a valid Affirmative Action Plan, I think it is clearly in the public interest to make it available for inspection without a fee, as these federal regulations rather clearly envision would be the case, had UO complied with them.

Indeed it would seem odd for the Oregon DOJ to hold UO to a lesser standard of disclosure, given that they haven’t complied with these regulations, than the federal government would hold them to if they had followed the rules.

Therefore this is a petition that you order UO General Counsel, and Oregon Special Assistant Attorney General Melinda Grier to waive this proposed fee and make this document available for inspection without further delay or charge.

Sincerely,

Professor X

UO Foundation loses $84 million

1/29/2010: From the Chronicle:

From June 30 2008 – June 30 2009:  $470,515,000 to $386,509,000  -17.9%
From June 30 2007 – June 30 2008:  $455,583,000 to $470,515,000     3.3%
From June 30 2006 – June 30 2007:  $365,859,000 to $455,583,000   24.5%

These lump together investment gains/losses and spending/new gifts. Really bad news but hardly unique to UO. Still, you’d think Lariviere might take it as a chance to cut back on the administrative bloat. But apparently you’d be thinking wrong.

PERS underwater

1/29/2010: PERS currently has assets to pay only 75% of liabilities. This Ted Sickinger story reports that the board votes today to  raise the pay in rates from 12% to 18% next year all at once or do so so gradually (most likely scenario). Either case will mean a big increase in UO’s payroll costs. Not clear if OUS will raise TIAA contributions as well.

Frohnmayer leaves UO for real?

1/29/2010: Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week reports:

Former University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer is rejoining his old law firm, Harrang Long Gary Rudnick, and opening a Salem office. Prior to leading the U of O from 1994 through 2009, Frohnmayer served as Oregon’s Attorney General from 1981 through 1991 and he ran for governor in 1990, losing to Democrat Barbara Roberts. Joining Frohnmayer, 69, at Harrang Long will be Pete Shepherd, the long-time top deputy to former AG Hardy Myers and former Oregon School Boards Association lobbyist Jim Green.

I’m not sure if this is really news or if Nigel is confused – Frohnmayer has been triple dipping at the Eugene office of Harrang Long since September, but a move to Salem would presumably be the end of his UO connection and save us about $400,000 in salaries and perks. Downside, we’d have to find someone to teach the 23 students in his PS 199 course, though from what the students say co-teacher Barbara West does most of the work anyway.

Theories of Leadership. This seminar investigates how theoretical concepts about interaction of personality, training, character, and environment help explain the principled or unprincipled exercise of power and influence. We’ll examine definitions of leadership and test insights of theorists.

Nah, Dave will never give it up – unless he’s figured out how to get a big PERS payoff at the same time. Hmm.

Ouch

1/28/2010: Given all the recent pepper spray abuses in Eugene, I’m tempted to say something sarcastic about this Oregonian story:

A Portland police officer accidentally used pepper spray instead of a fire extinguisher on a man who lit himself on fire downtown near a fur store Wednesday.

But actually it just reminds me of how the cops are mostly just trying to do the right thing in a crazy world. Tough job. Glad my mistakes don’t play out like that. The guy died.

Next Friday: Senate and FAC union info town hall

Note: The Union organizing committee will be represented on the panel by Prof Gordon Sayre, English.

The University Senate, in consultation with the Faculty Advisory Council, is sponsoring a non-partisan, informational town hall meeting on unionization on Friday February 5th at 3-5pm in PLC180. The goal of this meeting is to provide information on the unionization process. The meeting will consist of short presentations by 3 speakers: Doug Park, Assistant University General Counsel; Linda King, Associate Vice President for Human Resources; and, Michael Tedesco, adjunct professor of law and private lawyer. Following their presentations, there will be a question and answer period from the audience.  All campus community members are warmly encouraged to attend.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any of us.

Sincerely,

Nathan Tublitz
University Senate President

Barbara Altmann
Chair, Faculty Advisory Council

UO salaries, and Frohnmayer makes top 5 most overpaid list

1/26/2010: Curious about who is getting UO’s cash? Salary info is now online, at http://ir.uoregon.edu/alpha. Scroll down, or just click here for the fall 2009 quarter. (Big pdf). This is the “Salary Book” that is also in the reserve room.

Top 10? Obviously these numbers leave out a lot: Millions for Kelly, ?? for Bean, and at least $300,000 for Lariviere. Why the hell is John Moseley still on the payroll?

Kelly, Charles E 450,000 Head Football Coach
Dunlap, Michael G 400,000 Assoc Head Men’s Basketball C
Bellotti, R M 350,000 Dir Intercollegiate Athletics
Bean, James C 306,800 Senior VP and Provost
Bullis, Michael D 257,140 Dean
Moseley, John T 248,941 Special Asst to the Provost
Frohnmayer, Dave 245,700 President Emeritus
Lariviere, Richard W 245,700 President
Paris, Margaret L 232,904 Dean
Kaplan, Paul 230,951  University Physician

Today Dave Frohnmayer was singled out by a Wall Street investors report as one of the top 5 most overpaid university presidents, adjusting for endowment, enrollment, and staff numbers: 

David B. Frohnmayer:  President of University of Oregon made $636,445 last year.  That represented 0.13% of the $497 (million) endowment.  He was paid $31 per student and $382 per staff member, both above average.

Lariviere would also be substantially overpaid by these criteria, not clear if he’d make the top 5 though.

I wonder what’s next ?

1/25/2010: From the Oregonian:

EUGENE – The Eugene Police Department confirmed this morning that its officers are investigating an alleged theft, and the student who filed the report has told The Oregonian that the men he accuses in it are University of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and wide receiver Garrett Embry.

Fraternity member Max Wolfard filed a police report alleging that the players took two MacBook Pro computers – one valued at $2,000, the other at $1,500 – and a $900 guitar from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house at 812 E. 14th Ave. in Eugene early Sunday.

… Wolfard said the two players then ran out the back door. Wolfard said Masoli fled north and Embry went east up Agate Street as Wolford chased him. Blocks later, Wolfard says, Embry stopped running, gave him back his projector screen and said, “You’ve got it back, now you better get out of here.”

I know how these guys feel, I also prefer the 15″ Mac Pro screen to the smaller 13″ on the regular Macs like the Jaqua center gives every UO athlete. I guess they are harder to run with though. Seriously, this Wolfard guy must have a very large pair, going public like this.

Scepticism on Frohnmayer’s privatisation proposal:

1/25/2010: From an Op-Ed in the Oregonian, from 2 higher ed union leaders:

To achieve these goals the university system will have to participate in an honest and open dialogue involving all committed and relevant participants to meet our commitment to the students of today and tomorrow.

What we don’t need is a quick fix in the form a permanent redesign of our universities that assigns administrators more authority and less responsibility and — even worse — offers no assurance of additional resources. Switching to a corporate funding model is no panacea and might actually prove counter-productive.

Lariviere has also voiced his scepticism about this move. My view is it certainly need some open debate and more credible info, both in scarce supply at UO after 15 years of Frohnmayer. Apparently Frances Dyke still hasn’t provided Lariviere with believable budget numbers – millions pop up here, millions disappear over there.

Income inequality

1/25/2010: This is old news nationally, I hadn’t seen the Oregon breakdown. From Jeff Manning in the Oregonian:

Oregonians earning at the 50th percentile saw their inflation-adjusted wages grow 4.5 percent from $31,866 in 1990 to peak of $33,318 in 2004.

The group’s income has fallen every year since then, finishing 2008 at $32,659, the lowest level since 2001.

In contrast, those at the top 98th percentile of earners saw their inflation-adjusted wages climb 31 percent in the same 18 years from $118,453 in 1990 to a peak of $155,496 in 2007.

Keep in mind that these numbers don’t tell you much about the standard of living – think how much you benefit from things that really matter, like cell phones, the internet, love, the environment, sex – relative to what you pay for them. I wish I knew enough about economics to understand how those benefits play out in terms of changes in the distribution of living standards over time.

Tax deductions for athletics

1/24/2010: A reader pointed me to this article questioning the tax-deduction for college athletics, noting that college coaches are the best paid non-profit executives in the country. “In order to remain untaxed, the money earned from a university’s businesses must be used “in furtherance of” the school’s educational mission, according to tax laws.”” The precedent is a 1950 case involving a for-profit macaroni company set up by NYU. Of course.

Howard Slusher v. Frances Dyke

1/24/2010: The Jaqua Athletes Only Study Center story just gets weirder. We’ve now managed to get a few more of the peculiar agreements between UO and Phil Knight’s “Phit LLC” from the UO lawyers.

  • License agreement, Dyke and Knight, 1/8/08 (UO “leases” land to Phit, to allow no-bid construction.)
  • Amendment 1, Frohnmayer and Knight, 1/8/08 (UO to pay for parking, computers, staff.)
  • Amendment 2, Dyke and Slusher, 7/31/2008 (UO can’t use extra space but must pay 2/3 cost of landscaping it)
  • Amendment 3, Dyke and Slusher, 4/1/2009 (UO to pay for SEED energy improvements)
  • Amendment 4. Dyke and Slusher, 4/1/2009 (The contractor for the Academic Center has contracted with UO for the Arena and Parking Garage. Weird, not sure what that’s about.)

The person who signed the amendments for Knight is Howard Slusher. Maybe that name doesn’t mean a lot to people now, but back in the day Slusher was the lawyer and sports agent who crushed the NFL owners association’s hiring cartel and made it possible for athletes to play for the team that offered them the most money. He was known as “Hold em out Howard” and “Agent Orange”.

Before Slusher, the owners didn’t just own the teams, they owned the players too. They set the salary and if a player didn’t like it he could always try selling used cars. The players loved Slusher, and the owners hated him for taking “their” money.  It was a long struggle and it made headlines for years. From one 1983 NYTimes story:

In the offices of some National Football League franchises, owners and general managers spit out Howard Slusher’s name from between clenched teeth … . ”I don’t have to be put through the wringer,” said Art Modell, the owner of the Cleveland Browns. ”My preference, given our experience, is not to do business with him.”

After this, taking a few hundred grand from UO’s VP for Finance Frances Dyke must barely budge Slusher’s pulse. So how did Slusher end up with Nike, and on the other side of the table from UO? No idea.

The irony of all this is that the money Slusher is asking UO to pay for the Jaqua Center is only there because the NCAA has been able to keep college athletes under an even stricter hiring cartel than the NFL one that Slusher broke up. We pay them nothing and make them redshirt for a year if they have the nerve to transfer to a team that will be better for their career.

The difference between the old NFL and college is that in college the coaches get the resulting profits, not the owners.  Someday there will be a Howard Slusher for the college athletes too – we saw a glimmer of that when LeGarette Blount’s lawyer got Coach Chip Kelly and UO President Richard Larviere to back down and reinstate him. When that happens – well, it won’t really matter much. There will be a little less money because the fans will be a little more cynical. The players will get what there is, instead of the coaches. Whatever.