University pays $650K to end lawsuit over blog

The Chicago Tribune has the story here:

A bitter lawsuit between Chicago State University and two professors who published a blog rebuking school leadership is coming to an end after more than four years.

Chicago State has agreed to pay $650,000 in damages and attorneys fees to professors Robert Bionaz and Phillip Beverly, concluding yet another costly litigation involving the Far South Side institution in recent years. The professors alleged that the university violated their free speech rights in repeatedly attempting to shut down their blog, CSU Faculty Voice, which they billed as “the faculty’s uncensored voice.”

Launched in 2009, the blog has criticized university administrators, …

Here at UO Matters I’ve had many lawsuit threats, from the UO Foundation, from former President Frohnmayer (who made similar threats against the Daily Emerald and at least one other newspaper) and from various UO general counsels. Most recently I was warned of one critical comment, that “It is not likely to lead to a place you would want to go.” Or perhaps he just meant North Dakota?

President Schill finds safe space for State of the University speech

You may recall that there was a bit of trouble in the EMU last time. This year the Eugene City Club is holding it, off campus. UO gave the city club a $5K donation to become a sponsor, contract here. I’ve been told by one City Club member that the club made assurances that it would make efforts to limit protests and disparaging statements, but the contract has no such clause.

Undergrads shifting demands for knowledge

UO physicist Raghu Parthasarathy’s Eighteenth Elephant blog has a fascinating post about changes in what students are majoring in, here. It was motivated by this report about the decline in history majors, which included this remarkable figure:

Obviously there have been huge shifts in what sorts of knowledge undergraduates demand. Raghu takes the next step, comparing the changes at UO to comparators:

Read the rest of his post for interpretation and methodology.

Was Duck sports crap made in a Chinese forced labor camp?

Seems quite possible. The AP, here:

HOTAN, China (AP) — Barbed wire and hundreds of cameras ring a massive compound of more than 30 dormitories, schools, warehouses and workshops in China’s far west. Dozens of armed officers and a growling Doberman stand guard outside.

Behind locked gates, men and women are sewing sportswear that can end up on U.S. college campuses and sports teams.

This is one of a growing number of internment camps in the Xinjiang region, where by some estimates 1 million Muslims are detained, forced to give up their language and their religion and subject to political indoctrination. Now, the Chinese government is also forcing some detainees to work in manufacturing and food industries. Some of them are within the internment camps; others are privately owned, state-subsidized factories where detainees are sent once they are released.

The Associated Press has tracked recent, ongoing shipments from one such factory inside an internment camp to Badger Sportswear, a leading supplier in Statesville, North Carolina. …

And from

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the links.

Meanwhile Josh Hunt’s “University of Nike” book gets a positive review in the National Review here. When The Nation and the National Review are on the same page, you have to wonder if Hunt might be onto something.

How long will it take Kevin Reed’s PRO to find Trustee evals?

Or at least make an inflated estimate of the cost of finding them? Given that Reed is also the Board’s attorney, you’d think this would be a pretty easy public records request.

UO’s federal accreditors require the Board of Trustees to conduct a self-study evaluation every two years:

2.A.8 The board regularly evaluates its performance to ensure its duties and responsibilities are fulfilled in an effective and efficient manner.

OSU’s board posts their evaluations on the internet. Four weeks ago I filed a public records request for the UO Board’s evaluations. Still no response:

Faculty union releases CAS reorg survey results

Committee Chair Karen Ford says they aim to make a public report in April. That will presumably kick off a campus wide discussion on whether or not to – and if so how to – divide up CAS. Ford has said that she believes the Senate should vote on any reorganization. President Schill and Provost Banavar have said that the final decision will be up to them.

The faculty union ran a quick “what do you think” survey on this a few weeks ago. The full letter from union Pres Chris Sinclair is here. A snippet:

The results of our recent survey on the potential division of CAS into multiple schools are in. There were 93 responses and you can see numeric responses and a tally of repeated themes in narrative responses here.

The central theme in the narrative responses was of deep concern for the future of the humanities at the University of Oregon. While some respondents were cautiously optimistic, most of the respondents were humanists and, for the most part, they were the most concerned. People worry that splitting CAS may weaken our liberal arts educational mission and hinder interdisciplinary work. Some respondents believe that such a change will result in the proliferation of administrators, though the counter point is that these dedicated administrators may improve advocacy to Johnson Hall on behalf of their units.

There were fewer concerns about the process, except the prevalent question of “why?” or “why now?” Some see the process as opaque or don’t feel they have enough information to comment.

Some members in the professional schools held their newly organized schools up as cautionary examples.

Again, some members are hopeful, and many are cautiously optimistic that the process will be thorough and come to the right conclusion. Many, however, worry that the conclusion is foregone.  …

And here’s a screenshot from the report:


New faculty tracking software will implement Provost’s metrics scheme

A letter from Provost Banavar, here:

The project, called Faculty Insights, will result in a sophisticated online system that enhances our ability to capture the wide range of research and creative activities that our faculty do. The primary purpose of the system will be to manage the faculty review process university-wide – including promotion, tenure, and post-tenure review – more efficiently and effectively. Introducing a Faculty Insights system at UO will enhance our ability to streamline faculty personnel processes and make the achievements and instructional activities of faculty in all the schools and colleges more visible, within the campus community and to the broader public. The system will also support the local metrics process and the production of annual unit-level research reports.


General Counsel Kevin Reed threatens to sue reporter after DA orders Reed to give up public records

Oregon’s new Public Records Advisory Council sent its first report to the Governor a few weeks ago. The report notes many problems with Oregon’s Public Records law and with the lack of compliance of public agencies. For example,

The report then goes on to note that UO has recently made just such an intimidating lawsuit threat, apparently to a reporter. So I made this public records request to Kevin Reed last week for the docs. Still no response:

From: Bill Harbaugh <>
Subject: public records request for GCO’s lawsuit threat
Date: December 4, 2018 at 2:17:05 PM PST
To: Lisa Thornton <>
Cc: Kevin Reed <>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for the General Counsel Office’s public records related to this records request, appeal and the threatened lawsuit from the GCO that are mentioned in this clip from the report of Oregon’s Public records Advocate:

The full report is here:

I ask for a fee waiver as demonstrated by the public interest in the use of these sorts of threats for “chilling public records requests and accountability”, as discussed in pages 9 and 10 of the report.

I’m ccing Mr. Reed, as he should have this file at hand and be able to provide it without fees or delays, and perhaps even without the threat of a lawsuit or other retaliation.

Thanks, Bill Harbaugh

CAS Structure Task Force to meet


Task force meeting schedule

The first meeting of the task force will be on December 13 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. This meeting will be organizational in nature and is the time for task force members to meet each other, review the goals, and plan. It will be held in Friendly Hall 109.

The following dates and times for future task force meetings are set. Agendas and locations have yet to be determined but will be added once space is confirmed.

January 22: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
February 12: 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
February 26: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
March 12: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
March 19: 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The meetings are open to the public and the task force will seek input from the campus community in connection with its deliberations. We have already scheduled a meeting with the Senate and the task force chair on February 13, 2019. Input will also be solicited through an online survey and through open task force meetings, and individuals can provide feedback or ask questions via

To see the information under consideration by the task force, click on the links below.

CAS Task Force information packet – December 10, 2018



    Task force charge and outline distributed


    Consultation with stakeholders and Senate President and Vice President regarding task force membership


    President and Provost visit CAS Department Heads meeting on November 2


    Leadership announces CAS task force members


    First meeting of the task force. This is an organizational gathering where members meet each other for the first time to discuss the work.

    Friendly Hall 109 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.


    Research and information gathering as desired by task force completed by staff and shared with committee


    The following dates and times are for task force meetings.

    Jan. 22: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

    Feb. 12: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    Feb. 26: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

    March 12: 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    March 19: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

    *Locations for the meetings have yet to be determined but this will be updated when location information becomes available.


    Additional time for meetings as needed; window of time to draft analysis for submission / review by committee

  • APRIL 15

    Task force report due to President and Provost


    Target for decision by President and Provost about how to move forward

  • JUNE 3 OR 4

    Discussion at Board of Trustees meeting and likely announcement date

Duck players get headphones, Cristobal gets $100K and family trip

Here’s what the Duck student-athletes will get for playing in the Redbox Bowl on Dec 31, courtesy of the Sports Business Journal:

Yeah I didn’t know what a Roku is either, but it’s $34 at Walmart.

On the other hand their coach Mario Cristobal gets to top off his $2.5M base salary with a $100K bonus, and an all expense paid family trip. Contract here:

Betsy DeVos’s Title IX rules are better than the Obama admin’s

That’s the position taken by Lara Emily Barzelon in this NYT op-ed:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s proposed regulations overhauling how colleges handle sexual assault, which may become law in January, are far from perfect. But there is a big reason to support them: I’m a feminist and a Democrat, and as a lawyer I have seen the troubling racial dynamics at play under the current Title IX system and the lack of due process for the accused. Ms. DeVos’s proposals take important steps to fix these problems.

Consider this scenario: A young black man enrolls at a state university in California on an athletic scholarship. He’s the first person in his family to go to college. His teammate’s white ex-girlfriend matches with him on Tinder, comes to his apartment, has sex with him and, they both agree, returns three days later to have consensual sex.

Weeks later, the young woman, who has reconciled with her boyfriend, claims the Tinder match raped her during the first sexual encounter. The Tinder Match adamantly denies this. Her boyfriend, who is also black, says she is lying. There is no hearing, no chance for the accused to ask her questions.

But the Title IX investigator concludes that he committed sexual assault by finding her more credible than him under the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard, under which the accuser must prove there is a greater than 50 percent chance her claim is true. …

Duck athletes 6x more likely to be reported for sexual misconduct than all students

12/4/2018: One of the trustees asked me about this, so I’m reposting it.

11/5/2018: At other big-time sports factories, the rate for athletes is just 3x higher than that for all students, all adjusting for numbers.

While it’s pretty well established about 20% of college students are subject to sexual assaults (broadly defined), there is little research on the perpetrators. (But see below.) ESPN’s “Over The Line” has just made an effort to address this, by posting data on Title IX complaints at big-time sports schools, including UO:

Starting in March, Outside the Lines made official public records requests to all 53 public Power 5 schools for data on Title IX complaints against all students and student-athletes from 2012 to 2017. Outside the Lines also requested data from the 12 private Power 5 schools that are not subject to open records laws. The requested Title IX reports covered allegations of sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, sexual coercion, stalking or retaliation.

They note that Title IX complaints are far from a perfect measure of sexual assaults, and caution about cross school comparisons, as different schools provided different information:

Using the data to make school-to-school comparisons about which have the highest percentage of complaints or the highest number of complaints involving accused athletes should be done with caution because school officials did not always provide the exact data Outside the Lines requested. For example, one school might have insisted upon providing every complaint that had been filed with a Title IX office while another school might have insisted upon providing data only about cases that ended up in formal investigations. It is possible to determine an overall comparison of athletes to other students because, within each school, the data for athletes and students were subject to the same parameters. Outside the Lines consulted with two statisticians about its study methods.

UO only provided 3 of the requested 6 years of data:

The total of all students in Oregon’s data above represent the total for the past three years for which there is comparable athlete data. The total for complaints involving student respondents for all years is 213; that includes sex-based stalking, social media harassment, unwanted contact, unwanted touching, domestic/dating violence and sexual assault. Oregon officials noted that a respondent could be named in more than one complaint.

That said, the data they have from UO shows 113 complaints against regular students and 13 against athletes over the past 3 years. After accounting for the different population counts this means complaints against UO athletes were 6 times more likely than complaints against regular students. Here’s the table for the PAC-12:

And thanks to a helpful reader for this link:

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 – 10:00 a.m. Board Meeting

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 – 10:00 a.m. Board Meeting.

1. ASUO and University Senate Reports

Food is good, teaching evals are bad.

2. President’s Report

Here’s the latest info on UO enrollment (week 4 headcount). Despite the increase in freshman admits shown yesterday, this is bad news:

3. Resolutions from Committee (pending December 3 committee action)

3.1 Seconded Motion from FFC: Licensing Agreement with Fanatics

3.2 Seconded Motion from FFC: Capital Improvement Project – Matthew Knight Arena

3.3 Seconded Motion from FFC: Gift of Real Property

4. Government Affairs – 2018 Recaps and 2019 Initiatives: Libby Batlan, Associate Vice President for State and Community Affairs; Hans Bernard, Assistant Vice President for State Affairs; Betsy Boyd, Associate Vice President for Federal Affairs

UO has managed to get $5M for this in the Governor’s budget. Why didn’t our lobbyists use their time and effort to lobby for more money for academics instead?

Batlan and Bernard have put up a post on their website about the Gov’s budget, here:

The Governor’s proposal is a tale of two budgets. One version is the required balanced “base budget” that divvies out funds based on current revenue projections. The second version is an “investment budget” that assumes the passage of cost containment and revenue reform next legislative session. …

In the Governor’s investment budget, additional academic and research funding that benefits the UO includes:

$15 million in campus public safety improvement through the creation of a statewide shared services training program for higher education institutions focusing on prevention, preparedness, incident response, continuity, and recovery;

$10 million to establish a Public University Innovation Fund at the Oregon Business Development Department (the state agency that oversees economic development activity) to support economic development partnerships with business and public universities. The Innovation Fund provides matching funds for university grant requests for applied research; and

$5 million in funding for the International Association of Athletics Federations World Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which will take place in 2021 in Eugene. This will be the first time the event has been held in the United States.

I’m not sure how giving $5M to the notoriously corrupt IAAF counts as “academic and research funding”. Allyn Ford asks why we’re not asking for the remaining $30M for the Knight Campus. Bernard: We have other priorities.

For more on the budget situation and tax increases, try Mr. Fearless’s persinfo blog:

Kate Brown has finally been elected to her OWN term as Governor, and the Ds now control both Legislative bodies with supermajorities.  That means that they can pass any revenue bills without support from a single R.   Whether this is a good thing or not remains to be seen.  On one hand, the fear of draconian anti-PERS legislation has diminished considerably, but that does not mean PERS is entirely out of the Legislative crosshairs.  The media, the employers, the Oregon Business Alliance, Nike, and others continue to agitate for PERS reform, while progressives continue to agitate for revenue reform, particularly an increase in the Corporate Income Tax.  This is going to set up a classic battle in the Legislature as business lobbyists square off against labor lobbyists, education lobbyists, School Boards to balance those conflicting interests.  There is nothing in Kate Brown’s proposed 2019-21 budget that suggests she grasps the magnitude of the issues that the Legislature will have to confront.  At first blush, it seems like the Legislature would be easy-peasy.  Pass tax increases without R support.  Governor signs bill.  Legislature distributes revenue to starving agencies.  Sine die.

But, and this is a big one that people sometimes forget.  Whatever the Legislature does can be undone with an initiative, referendum, or constitutional amendment.  And trust me, those groups are already starting to organize, and the Legislature is well-aware of their existence.  Any tax increase, except maybe on cigarettes or liquor or marijuana, WILL BE referred to the voters, and the likely outcome is defeat.  In the past, this has had some serious consequences.  The earliest any such measure could be on the ballot would be May 2020 or November 2020.  That is more than halfway through the next biennium.  Thus, any budget increases seen by agencies will disappear shortly after the vote, and this will be more havoc-producing than not having the money in the first place.  What all this means is that the Ds have complete control of the entire legislative and executive branches of State Government, but they will have to exercise that control with more caution than their progressive supporters would like.

[Lunch Break in Room 403 – Estimated 12:15-12:45]

5. Tuition-Setting Preparatory Discussion: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration; Kevin Marbury, Vice President for Student Life (Co-Chairs of the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board)

Moffit and Marbury propose 10% tuition cut, as UO’s strategic investments in Duck athletics, coaching salaries, and 2021 IAAF championships will bring in millions in PAC-12 broadcast revenue, scholarship donations, state funding, and new out-of-state tuition money.

Whoops, turns out they’re going to propose an increase, not a cut. The PAC-12 network is an expensive disaster, football fans aren’t giving for academic scholarships, and out-of state parents aren’t that excited about sending their kids to a big-time football factory, particularly without some serious tuition discounting.

6. Academic Area in Focus – Institute for Health and the Built Environment: Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, Associate Professor of Architecture

7. Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact – Report: Bob Guldberg, Vice President and Executive Director of the Knight Campus

3:00 p.m. Finance and Facilities Committee

3:00 p.m. Finance and Facilities Committee

1. Audited Financial Statements: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO; Kelly Wolf, Associate Vice President and Controller; Scott Simpson, Partner, Moss Adams

Here’s one metric where UO is not at the bottom of the AAU – reserves:

2. Quarterly Financial Reports and Annual Treasury Report: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO; Karen Levear, Director, Treasury Operations

All these business people on the board, and the only trustee who found the error in the report is the UO staff trustee, Jimmy Murray, a librarian. Controller Kelly Wolf thanks him.

As usual these reports do not include any information on the athletics budget, or the various tax changes affecting it, or their subsidies, or their debt obligations. This is despite the fact that in the past trustees have specifically asked to see this.

Treasury report:

Karen Lavear knows her stuff: All is well. UO won an award last year for our internal bank procedures. Investments are outperforming benchmarks.Risk is low. “My job just gets easier and easier every year.”

Lavear is also the only person willing to break out athletics finances – the source of most of UO’s debt:

UO’s credit rating agencies continue to give us good ratings. And, in comparison to peers, we’re cash rich:

Debt to revenue ratio is however high.

3. Licensing Agreement (Action): Kyle Henley, Vice President for Communications

Under AD Rob Mullens the Duck brand has been losing value rapidly, so Henley wants to lock in a long-term contract before the next sports scandal. Seems prudent. Athletics’ 50% cut might even cover their likely future legal costs – except that the academic side will inevitably pay those for them:

This is for Duck crap, not crap with the O on it. That’s a different deal, with Nike.

Henley: Gen-z values experiences, not stuff. [Really? they don’t stay for Duck games either.]

Trustees are notably sceptical. This gets a bit off the rails. No one will say it, but the obvious concern is whether Fanatics will continue to provide the popular Go Ducks vodka and Jell-O jigglers:

KGW has an investigative report on the latest scandal, here:

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 10.33.58 PM

4. Capital Planning Annual Report: Michael Harwood, Associate Vice President for Campus Planning and Facilities Maintenance

If you work in PLC, you are going to die there. Harwood’s schedule goes out to 2031, and PLC isn’t on it:

5. Capital Project Lease and License Agreement (Action): Eric Roedl, Deputy Athletic Director; H.J. Cohn, Sr. Associate Athletic Director

Upgrade the graphics and “fun fan experience” at Matthew Knight Arena.

6. Capital Gift Acceptance (Action): David Conover, Vice President for Research and Innovation

A generous family wants to give UO $215K worth of beachfront land in Bandon for environmental and archaeological research. No access except hiking, but no plans to build anything.