Parking

4/20/2010: Dave Martinez and Alex Tomchak Scott have an excellent article in the Daily Emerald today about parking. Takeaway is that UO raised the student parking fee from $125 to $300 and the quantity demanded fell from 4000 to 1000. I’m no economist, but I think they call that elastic, meaning that total revenue a) rose or b) fell?

It’s the first in a 3 part series. In the next story they will address how UO will pay for the parking garage we had to build for the new arena. My guess is that the athletic side will not be paying for it. But of course athletics breaks even, right?

Oregonian story on Lariviere

4/20/2010: Bill Graves of the Oregonian has a long story on President Lariviere:

The State Board of Higher Education expects him to “get things under control” and put athletics “in proper perspective,” said Paul Kelly,  board president. “The indications are, he is going to be a good leader,” Kelly said, “assuming he meets the leadership test on this Bellotti matter.” 

That’s pretty outrageous, Mr. Kelly. You and the rest of the OUS board winked at Frohnmayer for years while he set up the Bellotti deal and many even sleazier other ones. Then you gave him a sweetheart retirement contract – $245,700 from UO, while he took a second job at Harrang, Long, etc. “Leadership test” you say?

With state support declining, Lariviere and presidents of the other state universities want more autonomy from the state Board of Education and the Legislature. They’ve discussed seeking authority to define their missions, set tuition and faculty salaries, manage their costs and revenues, sell bonds, borrow against assets and possibly levy taxes.

Lariviere’s plan is politically risky given that both the state board and the Legislature may be reluctant to relinquish power. But the president said the quality of the university is at stake. He said he must find a way to raise faculty salaries, now at about 80 percent of their peers in comparable institutions.

“The quality of a university is determined by its faculty.”

In my experience, good students don’t hurt either.

Good rumors

4/19/2010: Rumor control reports that Brad Shelton’s new budget model has already translated into new money for some academic departments for next year, and that Pres Lariviere has developed a 5 year plan to raise UO faculty salaries to the average of UO’s “peer” institutions, with the first round of raises starting in Sept.

Union Survey from Senate

4/18/2010:  If you got an email from the Senate Executive Committee last week on the union poll, please fill it out. (The link is specific to your email address, so I can’t post it here.) I have no association with this poll but I think it is important to understand the extent of faculty support for a union and whether the faculty think their bargaining unit should include OA’s.

Also, I’m happy to run more completely unscientific polls on the RHS of the blog. Post a comment if you have an idea for one.

Senate Meeting

4/18/2010: I missed the Wed Senate meeting but have heard a few reports:

First, Pres Lariviere appeared and made a brief statement about transparency. Leaving Melinda Grier and her lackey Doug Park in charge of public records has been a disaster for UO. Now that it has led to embarrassment for Larviere over the Bellotti contract he is pushing for more transparency. Apparently RG reporter Greg Bolt made 3 public records requests to Grier and Park for the Bellotti contract. They ignored these, and never told Lariviere that people were asking to see a written contract and it did not exist. The result was pretty bad for the credibility of President Lariviere and therefore bad for UO. When he goes to the legislature or the OUS board to argue for UO, this is what everyone is going to remember: $2.3 million on a vague promise from a booster, and his staff hid it from him for a year. Does he know what’s going on this time?

So Lariviere is now planning a revision to UO’s policies and practices. We are trying to get the details – which should be a public record!

Second, Brad Shelton announced the new budget model is moving ahead and will be implemented starting in July. It seems from this and other signs that Frances Dyke is no longer pulling the strings.

Contracts for UO’s senior administrators are up for renewal July 1 and discussions are already underway. So we will know soon if Lariviere is going to make substantive changes at UO, or take the easy way out and keep Frohnmayer’s team on until they slowly fade away. At this point he can hardly argue that he’s surprised by how they run the place.

Ken De Bevoise

4/17/2010: Steve Duin of the Oregonian has a column about Poli-Sci firing instructor Ken De Bevoise. I’d honestly never heard of this guy until his students started a movement to reinstate him. From the interview with VP for Academic Affairs Russ Tomlin, it appears possible that UO will in fact do that:

“They framed their arguments,” Tomlin said, “in ways that require thoughtful engagement. Clearly, a review is ongoing. We heard the students, and the students are giving us pause to reconsider.”

Maybe Lariviere should start searching through Grier’s trash?

4/14/2010: From Insidehighered.com

Controversy is growing over an invitation by the foundation of California State University at Stanislaus to Sarah Palin. Jerry Brown, the attorney general of California, is starting an investigation into the foundation and whether it is appropriate for it to use funds to bring the former vice presidential candidate to campus, the Los Angeles Times reported. Meanwhile, students say they have found in a trash bin shredded documents — which the university failed to turn over to legislative committees — about the visit. Brown said his inquiry would include the issue of the documents’ authenticity and — if they are real — how they ended up in the trash.

More on what athletics costs UO

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

Sweatshop labor?

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?

Letters to Lariviere

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.

DAVE DOCKHAM
Hood River

*****

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?

BARRY CADISH
Lake Oswego 

*****

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.

LAUREN SCHULTE
Tigard 

*****

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.

BURT HARWOOD
Longview, Wash. 

*****

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.

DEANE BLAIR
Tigard 

Union

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

MEMORANDUM

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

Hmm

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.

Whose head will roll before UO regroups in wake of Bellotti payout?

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.