Not enough state money – or too many expensive administrators?

12/7/2009: Interesting op-ed from insidehighered.com on the UC systems troubles. The claim is that the universities are exaggerating the extent of the problem:

Even with the revelation that many of the top earners are administrators and that there are now more administrators in the UC system than faculty members, many tenured professors have sided with the administration because it is much easier to attack the state for all of the UC’s problems. By blaming the state and the anti-tax Republicans, there is a clear enemy and an easy narrative. Moreover, by placing the onus of responsibility on the state, the university does not have to look at its own internal problems.

Sound familiar? It’s worth a read. The author is a UC faculty member and union leader.

OPB interview with Oregon Attorney General Kroger and UO Professor

12/5/2009: The OPB show “Think Out Loud” is doing a show Monday on the subject of access to public records. This is about AG Kroger’s new “Government Transparency” Initiative. Among other important reforms Kroger has appointed DOJ lawyer Michael Kron as “Government Transparency Counsel”. Kron’s job responsibilities include ensuring that UO Counsel Melinda Grier obeys the public records law. He will be a busy guy. The show will feature a discussion with Attorney General John Kroger and a UO Professor with considerable experience extracting public records from UO, and I am pretty sure it airs at 9 AM, or at least that’s when they told me to be in the studio.

Bonine v. Grier

12/4/2009: This brief from UO law professor John Bonine to President Lariviere takes on UO General Counsel Melinda Grier and her claim that the faculty’s role in university governance is limited to student discipline and the curriculum. Quoting,

It is important that the University Senate, members of the ad hoc Internal Governance Committee, and individual faculty members understand the legal basis for and extent of the faculty’s role in university governance. The letter from the university president’s General Counsel mischaracterizes both. In this memorandum I shall explain its errors. …

Of even greater importance, the letter completely fails to cite the statutory grant of authority to the faculty that is contained in ORS 352.010. Following that failure, the letter asserts that the faculty’s authority “is not stated in detail” and “is not well-defined.” Combined, the letter gives an impression of the faculty’s role in governance that is quite misleading, as will be explained in the next sections of this memorandum. …

To an incorrect premise—that the statutory basis for the faculty’s authority is undefined while the president’s is plenary—the letter adds another premise without explanation or support. It asserts that “historically the faculty’s authority has been over the curriculum and the discipline of the students.”3 This limited view is also in error, as will be explained below. …

President Lariviere, it’s time to get a new General Counsel, and John Bonine should be on the hiring committee.

Questions for President Lariviere?

12/3/2009: The Oregon Public Broadcasting show “Think Out Loud” did an interview with President Lariviere today. You can listen to the interview and see questions here. (Click on the > arrow to start.)

Also, CJ Ciaramella has this story in the ODE, about UO accountability to the state. “I would like this faculty to come up with a set of metrics that will be meaningful to the average person and help them see how we’re doing,” Lariviere said. See our previous post “WTF? Ignorant anti-tax Texans vote to increase funding for research universities” for an example of how this actually has worked in Texas.

AG John Kroger announces "Government Transparency" initiative

12/2/2009: Oregonian, RG, Jack Bog. This is – potentially – a very significant step towards the reform of Oregon’s public records process, and a nightmare for UO General Counsel Melinda Grier and her efforts to limit access to UO’s public records. From the ODOJ press release:

Attorney General John Kroger today announced a broad plan to improve government transparency in Oregon. “A democracy cannot properly function without strong open government laws,” said Attorney General Kroger. “We’ve implemented some immediate reforms that will improve transparency in state government. But I’m also committed to far greater changes.” Immediate changes include: Putting the 2008 Attorney General’s Manual on Public Records and Public Meetings online. Until now, the manual has been exclusively available in a hard copy at a cost of $25. Free online access will significantly increase its usefulness. … Attorney General Kroger also has created the Government Transparency Counsel, a new position in the Department of Justice designed to ensure that state government properly complies with state transparency laws.

The online PR manual appears to be the direct consequence of pressure from a UO Professor who “illegally” posted the manual online, and from Carl Malamud at Public Resource. Kroger has abandoned his efforts to claim copyright to this manual. The new “Government Transparency Counsel” (Michael Kron) has a great title and we hope will have the authority to overrule Melinda Grier’s efforts to keep public records from the public. We certainly intend to find out!

Union Survey Results

Complete results from the recent survey of UO tenure track and tenured faculty about the proposed AAUP/AFT faculty/instructor/administrator union are posted here. Of 681 faculty surveyed 221 made some response. What does it all mean? Here are some basic tabs, more later. Out of 218 responses:

and out of 170 responses, multiple categories OK:

You can comment here.

Crippleware for UO accounting transparency

11/29/2009: We’ve written before about UO Senate efforts to increase transparency by providing a way for faculty to see how the UO spends money. These efforts were motivated by general tendency of the administration to hide spending info from the faculty, and more particularly by claims by Provost Bean that UO’s admin expenses were 38% of our peers, that we were making money on the Bend programs, and by a OUS audit that found former Provost Moseley was improperly using expense money for personal travel. The motion (which passed easily, after someone said “You are asking us to take furloughs. We deserve to know how you are spending our money.”) stated:

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.

Frances Dyke’s office has now put up a reporting system, which any faculty member can use from their Duckweb account, under the faculty menu. However, it is crippleware. You cannot track individual university expenditures, as the motion calls for and as the OSU system easily allows. The closest you can get is annual summaries of expenses and sources, at a very aggregated level. In addition to not being transparent, this is not very useful – for example you can’t use it to check your grant or ASA balances.

The FAC is meeting this week to discuss this issue. There’s no reason UO can’t do what OSU did more than a year ago now –  unless there is something to hide?

Frohnmayer’s new state funding model for UO?

11/18/2009: (11/19/2009 update at bottom: Lariviere shoots down Frohnmayer, says he wants to consult with faculty first)

This summer OUS paid Dave Frohnmayer $30K plus expenses to prepare his report, “The Coming Crisis in College Completion: Oregon’s Challenge and a Proposal for First Steps”. Dave’s contract called for a report about enrollment and retention, but it ended up being about a new funding model for OUS schools.

The first 33 pages are a formulaic rehash of ideas and analysis about enrollments, demographics, and educational productivity cribbed from the usual academic papers and reports. We’ve all seen this many times. Dave’s usual style is a combination of pomposity and vacuity that is hard to miss, but we did run it through UO’s plagiarism detection software just in case – only a few hits. He’s more than a bit confused about the upward bias in the investment return estimate caused by unobserved heterogeneity, omitted variables, and selection effects – not that I’m an econometrician – but it’s still a reasonable effort for an undergrad research paper, and solid B work.

The substance starts at page 34, where he proposes incorporating the OUS schools as public corporations, like OHSU. He says that the articles of incorporation should exempt the institution from having to comply with large parts of Oregon law. Yes, that Public Records law sure can be inconvenient when you are using state money to pay off your buddies. And check out footnote 2:

… I am deeply grateful for the legal insights of former Deputy Attorney General Peter Shepherd and his present colleagues at Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick, who have special expertise dealing with the legal status of independent public corporations. …

If the legislature goes along with this plan, what do you think the chances are that Harrang, Long, etc. and their new “of Counsel” Dave Frohnmayer will get the contract for legal services to establish the corporation? Boy does this state need some new blood. And if you think I’m a cynic, check out Lewis and Clark Law Professor Jack Bogdanski’s post. He apparently has some familiarity with the reality of OHSU’s administrative structure. Not entirely promising, it seems:

Frohnmayer’s Folly:

We interrupt the relentless flow of stories of the financial disaster at OHSU with a flash from Dave Frohnmayer: He thinks the murky, semi-autonomous, nonaccountable “governance” model on Pill Hill is so wonderful that it ought to be extended to the state’s other big universities.

Yes, let’s replicate the kind of boondoggles perpetrated by Peter Kohler and the rest of the Goldschmidt crew systemwide. Let’s make the U of O public when it wants to be, and secretive when it wants to be, just like OHSU. It’s working so well.

And of course, the Scone, a Goldschmidt man from way back, thinks it’s a wonderful idea.

Just think: Maybe the U of O will soon be opening a research campus in Florida.

And this just in from Greg Bolt in the RG, POTUO Lariviere shoots down Frohnmayer:

UO President Richard Lariviere echoed that concern. He called many of Frohnmayer’s proposals “music to my ears” but said the university community has to be given an opportunity to discuss and debate the plan before deciding whether to support it.

“Many of his suggestions are extremely insightful and helpful,” Lariviere said. “But we’re not ready here at the University of Oregon to engage the Legislature on these issues simply because we have a great deal more consulting on this campus that we have to engage in.”

We are starting to like this guy.

Job Announcement

11/18/2009: UO is running an open search for a new Vice Provost for International Affairs. So far as we can tell, this is the second time we have had an open public search for a senior administrator in about 4 years. First Brad Shelton, now this. Of the current crop, we believe that Provost Jim Bean, VP Michael Redding, AD Mike Bellotti, Football Coach Chip Kelly, and most notoriously Diversity VP Charles Martinez were all hired and or promoted without following the regular Affirmative Action compliant open search process. President Lariviere is not an exception. His hiring did follow AA rules – but he was hired by OUS, not UO.

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.