Meet the Pres

3/16/2010: If anyone learns anything interesting from these sessions, please post a comment or send an email to I can’t make them. I remember Frohnmayer used to hold these regularly, until the questions got too pointed.

Good morning,

This is a reminder that today President Lariviere is holding two sessions to meet with faculty and staff.  The first is at 10 a.m. in Gerlinger Lounge and the second is at noon in the EMU Fir Room.  There is no formal agenda, this is simply an opportunity to sit down and talk with the president, to ask questions and express your views.  We will schedule a third session after spring break, specifics to be determined.  At any time you can contact the president at

Office of the President

Home prices in college towns


Eugene housing prices are 140% of the median college town.  The 98th highest out of 117.
UO pays senior faculty 83% of the national median salary.  The lowest of all AAU schools, by a big margin.

One of Lariviere’s first statements to the OUS board after he was hired was that raising UO faculty salaries to the AAU public median was his job number one. It will cost ~ $10 million per year to get us out of last place and another ~$10 million to get us to median.

Since that statement he and Bean have piled on a lot of new administrative hiring, while faculty pay is frozen. Why? Some people think it’s because Brad Shelton’s long-delayed budget model will reduce administrative growth, and they are trying to grandfather in everything they can first.

We hear rumors that a program to raise faculty salaries is now in the works. It would be more credible if we didn’t see the money going out the door for so many new administrators.

From ColdwellBanker:

… an apples-to-apples comparison of similarly sized 2,200 square foot, four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom homes in college markets

The following is a complete list of all of the 120 schools ranked:

My apologies

3/14/2010: My apologies for all the sports stuff lately. Here’s a little more, on what it takes to win at college football. Looks like it’s mostly a willingness to recruit players who are not going to graduate. From

The graduation rates in The Bootleg’s analysis are the NCAA’s “Graduation Success Rates” (GSRs), which were introduced four years ago. The Graduation Success Rate reflects the percentage of athletes who graduated within six years after starting college. The GSR doesn’t count outgoing transfer students, so long as they were in good academic standing. So, losing players due to transfer generally does not hurt a school’s graduation rate. Incoming transfers are included in the GSR calculation.
The graduation rates in this analysis are “four class” graduation rates – that is, combined graduation rates for the four most recent classes for which information has been reported. The classes covered by this year’s analysis are the classes that would have graduated in the years 2004 through 2007, assuming a five-year track to graduation.

Football Graduation Rates: Pac-10
Stanford 89%
Washington 69%
Cal 64%
Washington St. 62%
Arizona St. 58%
USC 58%
Oregon St. 57%
UCLA 51%
Oregon 49%
Arizona 41%
Bottom 10 Football Grad Rates: Division I-A
San Jose St. 33%
Arizona 41%
Oklahoma 45%
Fresno St. 46%
Hawaii 47%
Florida International 47%
San Diego St. 48%
UAB 48%
Texas 49%
Oregon 49%
Georgia Tech 49%
Eastern Michigan 49%

Oregon has joined Arizona, Oklahoma, and Texas in the race for the bottom. As the Ducks’ football fortunes take wing, their graduation rates are flying south.

Grad Rates for African American Football Players: Selected Schools
African American Caucasian Difference
North Carolina St. 43% 94% -51%
Auburn 48% 94% -46%
Arkansas 40% 78% -38%
UCLA 31% 68% -37%
Georgia 48% 83% -35%
Miami 65% 100% -35%
Mississippi 60% 94% -34%
Utah 48% 82% -34%
Texas 37% 69% -32%
Georgia Tech 41% 73% -32%
Oregon 39% 70% -31%
Biggest Difference in Grad Rates Between Football Players and All Students
Major Programs
(Difference of 15% or more)
Football Players All Students Difference
UCLA 51% 89% -38%
Texas 49% 77% -28%
Georgia Tech 49% 77% -28%
USC 58% 85% -27%
Virginia 68% 93% -25%
Cal 64% 88% -24%
Texas A&M 55% 77% -22%
Georgia 57% 76% -19%
Maryland 60% 79% -19%
Michigan St. 56% 74% -18%
Arizona 41% 57% -16%
Oregon 49% 65% -16%
Michigan 71% 87% -16%
Oklahoma 45% 60% -15%
BYU 61% 76% -15%
For an explanation of the calculation of these “graduation rate gaps,”
see the note at the end of the analysis.

UO students think UO has fired the wrong Coach

3/12/2010: The Daily Emerald editors on Bellotti’s decision to fire Kent, and keep Kelly:

Kent is clearly not a loser but one of the most successful men’s basketball coaches to grace McArthur Court, and yet his greatest achievement is found off the court. The basketball team, according to the NCAA, has a non-federal graduation rate above the national average (73 percent compared to 64 percent) and the second-highest rate in the Pac-10.

Compare that to the football team, which has a non-federal graduation rate well below the national average (49 percent compared to 67 percent) and the second-lowest rate in the Pac-10 conference but came in first in wins in the Pac-10.

Meanwhile, the Oregonian is reporting that Bellotti has decided that running the athletic department is not for him, and he is looking around for sportscaster jobs.

The usual

3/11/2010: I’d hope this leads to some housecleaning at the athletic department – but I doubt it. Two stories from the RG website:

LaMichael James to plead guilty to something – presumably something that doesn’t sound as bad as attempted strangulation.

And, quoting:
University of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is being charged with second-degree burglary in connection with an alleged theft from a campus-area fraternity house, according to court records. Masoli and former UO wide receiver Garrett Embry will both be arraigned on the charges Friday afternoon in Lane County Circuit Court, records show.

Looks like KVAL scooped them on that, by quite a bit.

Lariviere talks:

3/10/2010: And as an antidote to the post below, our new President talks to the Washington Post. Not a word about athletics – I am starting to like this guy.

Coffee with U. of Oregon President Lariviere

I had coffee recently with Richard Lariviere, president of the University of Oregon.

One of 60 members of the elite Association of American Universities, UO has one of the nation’s premiere education schools, a cartoon character as its mascot and the glorious — or perhaps dubious — distinction of having loaned its campus to the makers of Animal House.

“My office is Dean Wormer’s office,” Lariviere said.

For the president’s 60th birthday in January, his wife smuggled a life-size fiberglass horse into the office,

“This is actually a really optimistic and hopeful moment for the University of Oregon,” Lariviere said. The university is “hiring aggressively” — How many state universities are doing that? — and working with state government toward a new, more predictable funding model than annual appropriations from the state.

State funding has dipped from $80 million to $67 million in the downturn, and now represents 8 to 9 percent of total university funding, he said.

“We just learned two days ago, three days ago, the amount of funding we will receive for this academic year,” he said, in a meeting last week.

How to make it more predictable? The proposal, if I understood it correctly, is to convert state funding from annual outlays to a bond fund, which “would be managed as if it were an endowment,” with consistent revenue going to the school each year. Attempting this “would probably result in trying to change the constitution of the state of Oregon,” he said.

UO has weathered the recession well because its state funding was small to begin with, Lariviere said. The university’s situation is similar to that of the University of Virginia, whose state support has dwindled from 26 percent to 7 percent of the school’s budget over the past 20 years.

In its state of relative health, the university is “aggressively pursuing” the thousands of students who will not get in to the University of California system this year because of grevious cuts in the neighboring state.

Like Virginia, Oregon has increased tuition to replace lost student funds. Tuition is up 14 percent this year, to $7,428 for residents; students absorbed a $150 midyear increase last year.

“No one is happy about it,” Lariviere said. “We simply sat down with students and showed them why it was necessary.”

Through its Pathway Oregon program, in its second year, the university helps students from low-income families by picking up the difference between a federal Pell Grant and total tuition and fees.

UO relies heavily on nonresident tuition. Nonresidents pay $16,107, and they make up 43 percent of the student population, significantly higher than the nonresident ratio in any Maryland or Virginia school. Local politics dictate that U-Va. and the University of Maryland reserve at least two-thirds of their seats for locals, who don’t like to compete with out-of-state students for admission.

Unlike U-Va. and U-Md., UO is able to admit all qualified applicants, who must bring a 3.0 grade-point average and a competitive SAT score. But in another two years, Lariviere fears the school will run out of space and start turning students away. Then, one supposes, local attitudes about out-of-state and foreign students may shift.

UO accepts ever-larger numbers of students from India and China, as well as California, Washington and Colorado.

“Our prices are still, in terms of international value, a huge value,” he said.

Lariviere, a linguist by training with a doctorate in Sanskrit, came to UO last July. He had been provost at the University of Kansas and, before that, an administrator at the University of Texas in Austin.

I asked him whether he expects to see a decline in the great public flagship schools of California, whose deep budget cuts sparked a statewide student and faculty protest last week.

Yes, he said, but it will be “a longer-term phenomenon.” Berkeley, for example, houses “a dozen or so departments that are as good as you will find anywhere in the world.” Senior faculty aren’t likely to leave those departments because of the economy, Lariviere said. But younger faculty — the future leaders — may take their careers elsewhere.

“If you talk to any young faculty at Berkeley, all you will hear is endless complaints about the quality of life itself,” he said.

The university has hired about 50 new faculty this year, from California, the University of Michigan and other prestigious institutions.

“The department chairs and deans have big grins on their faces,” he said.

 That’s true.

Frohnmayer on accomodating athletics at any price

3/10/2010: UO Journalism student Bob Rodgers has posted an interview with our President Emeritus Dave Frohnmayer here, about the BCS cartel. He makes some pretty interesting points about the importance of the current system to fundraising. Frohnmayer’s term was marked by the extraordinarily high percentage of that fundraising that went to athletics, and his willingness to accept money from those donors for his own salary, laundered through the UO Foundation. Then there’s this great quote at the end:

The issue that Frohnmayer believes politicians and fans ignore, which trumps even the business side of collegiate athletics, is the strain on the academic calendar.  “They disrespect and ignore our academic calendars.”  According to Frohnmayer, having a playoff start in the first few weeks of December interferes with academics on all levels.  Even if you send a handful of student athletes, many playoff advocates do not take into account the band, cheer squads, along with the student and faculty interest in attending the game.  The amount of fervor and distraction entering dead week and finals is, “an academic disaster.”

This from the man who moved UO’s graduation to the week before final exams, to accommodate a track meet. One of Richard Lariviere’s first acts as President was to move it back. The ODE reported:

Critics enfiladed the University for the original date change, saying it was an inconvenience to students that would cut into the hours available to take exams. Biology professor Nathan Tublitz went as far as to write a commentary in the Register-Guard saying the move evinced what he called then-University President Dave Frohnmayer’s commitment to athletics at the expense of academics.

“This decision to prioritize athletics over academics, inconveniencing thousands of students and their parents, might have been excusable were it not the latest in a long line of similar decisions,” Tublitz wrote, going on to question Frohnmayer’s salary and, by implication, his integrity in accepting $265,000 in payment from an unnamed donor through the UO Foundation.

Frohnmayer responded with an angry commentary of his own, accusing Tublitz of factual inaccuracies. “This is not just any track meet,” he wrote, “but the NCAA National Championships – an event that will pump millions of dollars into the local economy and is part and parcel of the rich track and field heritage of the UO.”

I know it takes a certain amount of disregard for the truth to be a successful politician …

Where’s our money.

From UO newsclips:

Pac-10 schools face funding losses: States cut funding for Pac-10 schools as budget losses impact financial aid and tuition hikes. — The Daily Evergreen

(WSU does not stand alone in the face of higher education budget cuts.  Throughout the Pac-10, the challenges of a tight economy are weighing on education. … UO James C. Bean, provost and senior vice president for the University of Oregon, said UO is in a different situation than other Pac-10 schools. State funding for Oregon universities plummeted in 1991, he said, so UO underwent reorganization years ago. Although the university is facing a 16 percent cut in state support, only 8.5 percent of university funding comes from the state in the first place. Also, student enrollment has increased over the past couple years from about 20,300 to 22,000, most of them out-of-state students, he said.)

Let’s see, that’s $21 million in new revenue, (minus the state loss) most of which seems to have gone to fund UO’s ever increasing administrative budget. Still think that’s 38% of our peer average, Provost Bean?

And let me add a plug for UO Newsclips. They are the most honest PR people I’ve ever heard of. Every day they send out an email with every news story that mentions UO.  They make a point of including the negative. Even letters to the Editor from obviously crazy people on rants – you we know who you we are. The OUS PR person, Di Saunders, has a similar service but she just sends out the goody-goody stuff.

From their website: To subscribe to UO E-Clips: Send an email to “” FROM YOUR “” ADDRESS with “Subscribe E-clips” on the subject line.

Tell them UO Matters sent you.

Nike saves China from the idiocy of rural life

3/7/2010: Great story by Richard Read in the Oregonian about what all those exploited Nike sweatshop workers are doing: Saving their paychecks, sending the money home to build houses and finance new businesses.

It turns out that factory workers — not the activists labeled “preachy” by one expert, and not the Nike executives so wounded by criticism — get the last laugh. Villagers who “went out,” as Chinese say, for what critics described as dead-end manufacturing jobs are sending money back and returning with savings, building houses and starting businesses. …

The pay is minuscule by Western measures. But Mon Xijian, a 31-year-old who has worked at Ever Rich since 1996, has saved enough with his wife, who also works there, to buy a six-unit apartment building back home….

“They’re sleeping 12 in a dorm, and it looks like a pretty crappy life,” Chang said. “But you don’t hear workers say, ‘Oh, I have no hope, I’m a slave.’ They say, ‘I want to save some money. My dream is to be Bill Gates or to own a restaurant.'” 

Just like people did in the US and have all over the rest of the world ever since the industrial revolution started. If Frohnmayer had taken an economics class or two he could have explained this to those WRC kids, instead of caving in to some shouting and signs and pissing of Phil Knight to the point where he stopped what had been a very generous series of donations to UO academics.


3/7/2010: Coach Kelly is not saying what discipline there will be for the player who attacked the 19 year old girl. Meanwhile, another DUI. Actually just a minor in possession since he was trying to drive the wrong SUV, his keys didn’t work and the owner didn’t press charges.

Given this string of troubles, it’s hardly surprising that Bellotti has fired a coach. But not Kelly, it’s Ernie Kent:

Any discussions of Kent’s coaching accomplishments and value to the program have to include his players’ graduation rate. The Ducks have the Pac-10’s highest NCAA Academic Progress Rate (975), almost 50 points higher than the average Division I team.


3/5/2010: From Jack Moran in the RG
A Lane County Circuit Court judge this morning ordered University of Oregon placekicker Rob Beard to serve one year probation for his role in a Jan. 24 street brawl near the UO campus. Beard, who was originally charged with three misdemeanors including fourth-degree assault for pushing a 19-year-old woman to the ground during the fight, pleaded guilty this morning to a misdemeanor charge of physical harassment.

Unless I missed it, the RG still hasn’t published anything on the athletic department’s financial issues. The Oregonian has another story here. I imagine in the end Knight is going to bail them out, but he must like to see them squirm first.

The usual

3/4/2010: From KVAL. I’m having a hard time keeping the various assaults straight.

EUGENE, Ore. — A former University of Oregon football player arrested on misdemeanor assault charges in what police described as retaliation for an attack on another Oregon player pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was sentenced to community service.

Matt Simms faced misdemeanor assault charges in connection with an incident police described as retaliation for an attack of UO kicker Rob Beard. Police said the man Simms was accused of assaulting was not involved in the attack on Beard.

On Tuesday, Simms pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of harrassment and was ordered to perform 40 hours of community service.

Days after his arrest, Simms was released from the football team for violating unspecified team rules.

Beard was later charged with assaulting a 19-year-old woman during the same street fight that left Beard unconscious and in need of surgery. Those charges are still pending.

let’s lower the bar

3/4/2010: Betsy Hammond of the Oregonian reports:

Oregon is moving its 10th-grade tests in reading, writing, math and science to the 11th grade, saying many students need another year of high school to learn the skills covered on the tests. ….

When Oregon sophomores take the tests, a lot of them fail, particularly in math. Last year, 46 percent of 10th-graders flunked that test, 45 percent failed the writing test and 42 percent failed in science….

“It does seem unusual to move a 10th-grade proficiency set of tests to the 11th grade,” he (Jack Jennings, of some DC thinktank) said. “If you thought 10th-graders could do something, and then you shift the measurement of that skill to 11th grade, it at least raises the question of whether they have lowered the standard.”

Actually, it answers the question. And we are supposed to get these kids through college? Without lowering our standards?