RG editorial board: Cuts to public services will trim your mortgage 25%!

Worse schools for your kids, but more fees for Wall Street brokers and consultants who want PERS to fund its pension obligations with stock market investments, so they can get their cut. The RG editorial board regurgitates the latest PERS hysteria here, straight from the WSJ editorial page:

For a taxpayer, the obligation to fund Oregon’s public employee pension shortfall — the gap between what governments are paying into the pension system and the system’s projected needs — can seem abstract. The Public Employee Retirement System’s so-called unfunded liability is $22 billion, a staggering figure that is hard to grasp on a personal level.

But what if you calculated that liability as a mortgage that each property owner owes on her or his house, and cannot escape paying off? And what if you compared Oregon’s so-called “public pension stealth mortgage” to those of other states?

That’s what a New York City researcher and a Claremont McKenna College finance professor have done, for all 50 states, providing a unique and frightening set of data that, not surprisingly, highlights the severity of Oregon’s problem.

The PERS unfunded liability amounts to a mortgage of $106,952 on every Oregon home, found researcher Rob Arnott and professor Lisa Meulbroek. That’s the 9th highest per-home amount among all the states.

I’m no free-market economist, but when you buy a house the price tends to reflects both the cost and the benefits of the state’s public services. And Oregon’s housing market seems to think the benefits are worth the costs. Here’s Portland, where the “pension stealth mortgage” is even higher, since its police and firemen’s pensions are entirely funded by tax obligations, with no Wall Street invested reserve:

Ducks rehire failed Fresno State AD Jim Bartko – or did Mike Andreasen?

8/8/2018 update:

The Oregonian’s John Canzano has a weepy puff piece about the Bartko hire here. Apparently this is all about doing a solid for Phil and Penny Knight. They can’t get Nike to hire him?

More on how much Bartko cost Fresno State’s academic side here:

Fresno State president Joseph Castro is funneling another $1.6 million in university support to the Bulldogs’ athletic department so that new athletic director Terry Tumey will have a balanced budget to work with in his first year.

But that commitment only highlights a daunting task for Tumey and the university, which must cover a $2 million shortfall in 2017-’18 in a department that has struggled to keep pace with the escalating costs of college athletics.

With that additional $1.6 million, university support in the 2018-19 budget that will go to the Athletics Corporation for approval this week is up to $19.1 million.

In 2013-14, the year Castro was appointed, it was $9.6 million.

Meanwhile, Duck Communicator Klinger is not interested in helping me get a copy of Bartko’s  contract, but Bartko’s new boss, VP for development Mike Andreasen, did forward this:

From: Mike Andreasen
Sent: Thursday, August 2, 2018 2:07 PM
To: Advancement – All Staff <adv.all.staff.email.group@uoregon.edu>; Dev Officers and Staff <ADV.DevOfficers&Staff.Group@uoregon.edu>
Subject: Jim Bartko

Advancement Colleagues:

I am pleased to share with you that Jim Bartko will be joining the Advancement team for a six-month assignment beginning this month. Many of you know Jim from his more than 25 years of service to UO Athletics. In this special assignment, Jim will be working remotely from central California where he will be assisting us in Development activities for that region. During this assignment, Jim will be reporting to Greg Jones and will be working with many of our school and college fundraisers to assess and build a portfolio of prospects/donors. To be clear, though Jim has a deeply rooted base and experience in athletics, this is a targeted effort to grow the number of donors and volunteers who are passionately supportive of our academic goals both at an institutional and unit level. Jim brings a unique background and knowledge base to jump-start this effort in a previously underexplored region of California.

Jim can be reached at:
jimb@uoregon.edu
Cell: [redacted, because nobody deserves more robo-calls]

Please join me in welcoming Jim back to UO for this temporary assignment.

Mike

8/7/2018 update: 

Just 24 hours later, and UO’s directory still lists Bartko, but not as an Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director, or anything else. He does have a UO email address though:

I wonder how well that pays. Lets find out:

Subject: Bartko hire
Date: August 7, 2018 at 10:55:46 PM PDT
To: tklinger@uoregon.edu

Hi Tobin,

I’m writing as the editor of UO Matters to ask about the re-hiring of Jim Bartko. You’re quoted in the Fresno State student newspaper as saying that

And according to spokeswoman Tobin Klinger, “actually, he has been hired by advancement to develop prospects in California and work with school and college fundraisers to assess and build a portfolio of prospects/donors.”

Klinger further added: “While Jim has a deeply-rooted base and experience in athletics, this is a targeted effort to grow the number of donors and volunteers who are passionately supportive of our academic goals both at an institutional and unit level.”

However, until sometime today, UO’s directory info said that his new job was “Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director”. And, as of tonight, the directory just gives his name and email, with no job title.

I’d appreciate it if you could let me know if you have anything to add to your comments above, and if you’d also pass on a copy of the job description and contract for Mr. Bartko.

Thanks,

Bill Harbaugh
http:/uomatters.com

8/6/2018:

Bartko was one of the many of Rob Mullens’ blustery Executive Associate AD’s who used to show up at Senate IAC meetings to blow smoke. Bartko was earning $212K from UO when he left in 2014 to become AD at Fresno State. Matthew Kish in the Portland Business Journal, at the time:

Longtime Nike and Phil Knight liaison Jim Bartko is leaving the University of Oregon athletic department. Fresno State University on Nov. 21 named Bartko as the school’s new athletic director.

“I have known and worked with Jim Bartko for 20 years,” Knight said in a statement provided to Fresno State. “He has played a significant role in the growth and improvement of the University of Oregon athletic department. As an Oregon alum and contributor, I hate to see him go, but Fresno State has made a great hire.”

Or maybe not so great.

Bartko added wrestling and water polo, both money losing NCAA sports, failed to deliver the donors to pay for a football stadium renovation, and left Fresno State’s academic side holding his budget bag. President Joseph Castro was not happy with the economics. From the Fresno Bee:

Q: At the time, it was an interesting decision. On one hand, you’re now trying to support 21 sports programs, so more space and facilities improvements would be a necessity. On the other, you’re now trying to support 21 sports programs, so you need to generate more revenue and that could be done through a renovated stadium. Can you take me through the decision to move in this new direction?

A: Well, the vision that we had earlier … had a lot of potential. It was a bigger vision. But when we looked at the economics around it, we just couldn’t make it work. It would have required significant private dollars, more than we had committed at the time, and more financing by the university, and we just couldn’t make the economics of that vision work.

Economics was not Bartko’s only problem, and in November 2017 Castro paid him $75K to leave (just 0.08 Gottfredsons). Bartko cashed the check, but then had second thoughts and now is threatening to sue. The Fresno Bee:

In one version of what occurred last November, Jim Bartko walked into the office of Fresno State President Joseph Castro and abruptly resigned for personal reasons.

In another, Castro was a manipulative, unsupportive boss who praised his subordinate in public while he and other administrators engaged in a “whisper campaign” meant to label Bartko as an “incompetent alcoholic” in the days leading up to his forced resignation.

Which version will hold sway in a courtroom? That’s up to a judge and jury to decide, provided the two parties don’t settle.

In a 13-page claim filed with the Cal State University chancellor’s office, Bartko is asking for $3 million in damages for wrongful termination, retaliation, defamation, discrimination on the basis of mental disability/mental condition and a bunch of other mean things that paint an ugly picture of how Fresno State handled his departure. …

And now the Ducks have rehired him. Dan Waterhouse of the Fresno State Collegian gets some priceless Klingerisms:

The news was confirmed by Oregon State [sic] spokesman Jimmy Stanton, who said Bartko is working in the university’s advancement office.

And according to spokeswoman Tobin Klinger, “actually, he has been hired by advancement to develop prospects in California and work with school and college fundraisers to assess and build a portfolio of prospects/donors.”

Klinger further added: “While Jim has a deeply-rooted base and experience in athletics, this is a targeted effort to grow the number of donors and volunteers who are passionately supportive of our academic goals both at an institutional and unit level.”

A targeted effort. Yeah sure Tobin.

FWIW, as of tonight the UO’s directory thinks Klinger is wrong, and lists Bartko as back working for Rob Mullens:

So was he really hired by UO VP for Advancement Mike Andreasen on the academic side’s dime, without a job posting or open search?

Tykeson Hall will not just be new offices for admins

There will of course be fancy new offices for the CAS deans and the VPEI, but it appears the plan for using the building to bring some sense to UO’s advising efforts is finally taking shape:

Director for College and Career Advising

Apply now

Job no: 522707
Work type: Officer of Administration
Location: Eugene, OR
Categories: Academic Advising/Support, Executive/Management/Director, Student Life/Services

Department: Undergraduate Studies Admin
Appointment Type and Duration: Regular, Ongoing
Salary: Salary commensurate with experience
Compensation Band: OS-OA09-Fiscal Year 2018-2019
FTE: 1.0

Application Review Begins
September 14, 2018; position open until filled

Special Instructions to Applicants
Complete applications must include the following:

  • Cover letter demonstrating how you meet the qualifications and addressing your interest in the position
  • Resume/CV
  • Name, email and phone number for at least three professional references. Candidate will be notified prior to references being contacted.

Department Summary
The Division of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) promotes academic excellence, universal access, engagement and achievement for the student scholar. UGS programs focus on the educational trajectory of the student by providing opportunities and services essential for progress toward scholastic objectives and intellectual development. UGS departments and programs serve the entire population of UO undergraduate students and partner closely with other campus units to support student success and engagement.

The College of Arts and Sciences has nearly 50 departments and programs, spanning the Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences, and comprises about two-thirds of all faculty, graduate students and undergraduate majors on campus.

Position Summary
The Director for College and Career Advising (DCCA) will help the University of Oregon lead the nation in ensuring students’ success as scholars and as people pursuing meaningful post-graduate careers. To achieve this goal, the DCCA will lead and manage a staff of approximately 30 professional advisors (six direct reports) in Tykeson Hall. These advisors will: a) counsel students on academic pathways suited to students’ passions (whether those lie in the arts, sciences, or professional schools and, b) provide guidance on careers to which those academic pathways may lead. This innovative advising center is central to the University of Oregon’s commitment to student success, a commitment that is so crucial that a 56,000 SF building is being constructed to support it. Tykeson Hall will open in fall, 2019 and the President has funded an additional 23 advising positions to help staff it.

About half of the advising staff in the building will serve all students at the University, including wrap-around advising to first-year and exploring students, while the other half will serve as the main staff of professional advisors for majors and minors in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). The entire team will be cross-trained in each others’ duties, and in pre-career advising. The DCCA will work in conjunction with Undergraduate Studies (UGS) and College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) leadership to hire, train and manage an advising staff that will provide students with integrated, wrap-around academic and career advising.

The DCCA reports directly to the UGS Assistant Vice Provost for Advising and is a member of the UGS’s leadership group where they will participate in student success working groups led by the Associate Vice Provost for Student Success (e.g. First Year Experience, Degree Progress, Wrap-around Advising). The DCCA will work collaboratively with advising leaders on campus, including the CAS Dean and senior leadership team, to implement and assess new framework for integrated academic and career advising in Tykeson Hall. The CAS Dean will have input in the DCCA performance evaluations.

The DCCA and the advising staff will also work closely with the UO Career Center, which will also be housed in Tykeson, ensuring that the advising team’s pre-career advising systems mesh well with the Career Center’s career development and employer relations services to the campus.

The DCCA will work collaboratively and creatively with directors of various advising units across administrative and academic departments, including the other colleges and schools on campus, and is a key person in promoting UGS’s goals for student success. The DCCA must exhibit a high level of cross-cultural competency and will develop a team that can support a variety of students with diverse academic interests, abilities, and cultural, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds.

Minimum Requirements
• Master’s degree from an accredited institution (preferably an undergraduate degree or graduate level coursework in an Arts and Science discipline).
• Three years of experience in higher education academic, career advising, or counseling, working with a range of undergraduate students from first-year students, exploring students, and students with declared majors.
• Leadership experience in an advising or academic support unit (or comparable setting) including hiring, supervising and training.

Professional Competencies
• Demonstrated experience with and/or commitment to working effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds, in support of an inclusive and welcoming environment.
• Exceptional interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills.
• Experience working collaboratively with faculty, including consideration of curricular design and academic policies and procedures.

Preferred Qualifications
• Significant experience with models of integrated academic and career advising.
• Significant experience in advising liberal arts students.
• Ability to work collaboratively and creatively to solve problems.
• Facility with independent work and priority-setting in a fast-paced office environment.
• Strong teaching, coaching, and presentation skills.
• Familiarity with the use of current technology in advising.

FLSA Exempt: Yes

Sunshine is the best disinfectant

OPB’s Anna Griffin has the story here:

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has accused state legislative leaders of creating a hostile work environment in which reports of sexual harassment were ignored, underplayed or buried.

In a complaint filed Wednesday with his own Bureau of Labor and Industries, Avakian says Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek, two Democratic leaders of the Oregon Legislature, repeatedly ignored complaints of sexual harassment and unwanted touching by now former-Sen. Jeff Kruse until they became public last year. …

Why is Eugene paying artists to glorify Tracktown’s 2021 championships?

When the 2012 Olympics came to London, the town’s graffiti artists took to the city’s walls to mock the corporate pomposity of it all. As the Guardian reported, London’s government did its best to eradicate these troubling works of artistic sarcasm, which was not hard to do in a country that has no right to free speech:

I think the Banksy did stay up though:

Here in Eugene, our city has decided to pre-empt any artistic expression that might criticize the event by paying artists to put up pro-IAAF art. The Daily Emerald has a puff piece here:

In the upcoming week, Eugene will be transformed with a colorful array of new murals, street art installations and gallery walks during 20x21EUG Mural Project’s Eugene Walls, which is part of the Downtown Visual Arts Festival.

From July 27 to Aug. 3, artists from around the world will be creating murals and street art as part of 20x21EUG’s initiative to add 20 murals by international artists to Eugene by the year 2021. The goal of the 20x21EUG Mural Project is to showcase art from around the world when athletes converge on Eugene for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in 2021.

Millions for corporate shills, not a cent for critical art. OK, maybe not millions, but lets find out how much:

This is a public records request to you in your capacity as Lane Arts Council Executive Director, regarding the 20x21Eug project (https://www.20x21eug.com/about/).

I am asking for documents showing:

1) The project’s overall budget.

2) The source of funds expended or budgeted. (I.e. city general funds, state or federal grants, donations, etc.)

3) The five largest contracts with artists (as measured by including fees, honoraria and expenses) that have been signed so far.

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest, given the apparent expenditure of public funds. Please send these documents as pdfs to this email address.

I wonder what MLK Jr would have thought of using tax money to promote an event like this, which is earning big bucks for a few “non-profit” promoters. Because they’re now paying artists to use his image to advertise it. From the Daily Emerald story:

Historified Hayward Field to host 2020 Olympic track trials

That’s the word from one of Ken Goe’s many anonymous sources, in the Oregonian here. So Howard Slusher and Jim Petsche have less than two years to get their thing erected. Thanks to an anonymous reader for the tip.

PS – can someone tell me the dates for this extravaganza, so we can get our house up on AirBnB before all the deans do?

University gives scholarships for sports that don’t require Nike sneakers

That would be Northwest Christian University. The RG’s Austin Meeks has the esports story here:

Talking to Jacob Gates is like talking to any other student-athlete preparing to enter college on a sports scholarship.

Gates, a 2018 Sheldon High graduate, wanted to attend Northwest Christian but wasn’t sure he could afford tuition at the private school. Fortunately, the school’s athletic department was offering scholarships to play a game Gates knew and loved.

Gates spent hours training by himself, practicing his aim and honing his skills in hopes of landing a spot on the team. This fall, he’ll reap the rewards as one of NCU’s newest scholarship student-athletes.

Here’s the twist: Gates’ sport is a video game.

Naturally the NCAA cartel is trying to figure out how to get their cut:

Overwatch, the game NCU will introduce in the fall, has more than 30 million players worldwide, according to the website Esports Charts. Looking at the exponential growth of online gaming, it’s easy to see why some experts are saying it’s only a matter of time before esports are sanctioned by the NCAA.

A federal Title IX investigation of Dana Altman’s basketball player rape allegations would have helped UO enrollment

That’s the surprising implication of an event study by former UO economics professor Jason Lindo (now at Texas A&M), et al:

Since 2011, when the landmark “Dear Colleague” letter declared that the Department of Education (DoE) would use equal-access requirements of federal law to remediate sexual assault on college campuses, 458 investigations have been opened. This letter was withdrawn in 2017 and it remains uncertain how the DoE will handle the issue in the future. We examine the effects of the investigations arising from the 2011 policy change on university outcomes. We find that applications and enrollment increase in response to Title IX investigations, for both males and females. We find little evidence of effects on degree completion or donations.

The estimated application increases are large:

Specifically, our estimates indicate that female FYFT enrollment is increased by 3.6 percent one year after enrollment could plausibly be affected (significant at the ten percent level) and 4.7 percent two years after enrollment could plausibly be affected (significant at the five percent level).

… In Table 3, we present the results of our analysis of the effects on undergraduate male enrollment. These results indicate that male enrollment is also increased by OCR Title IX investigations, again driven by FTFY students. Moreover, they suggest that the effects are larger and more immediate for males than females. Specifically, our estimates indicate that male FYFT enrollment is increased by 4.2 percent in the first-year enrollment could plausibly be affected, 5.6 percent the following year, and 7.4 percent the following year. All of these estimates are significant at the five percent level.

Why? Read the paper for some speculation.

Implications?

We find no evidence that federal Title IX investigations negatively affect students’ interest in a school. Indeed, we find that they increase applications for admission from both males and females. Moreover, they increase freshman enrollment for both males and females, though this increase is immediate for males and only shows up one to two years later for females. This pattern of results is consistent with the idea that salience effects generated by Title IX investigations dominate the effects of the negative publicity associated with the investigations. An important implication of our results is that federal investigations and campus reviews of how sexual assault allegations are handled do not affect university applications and enrollments. We can neither offer assessment of the procedural improvements these reviews might elicit, nor any recourse they provide to petitioners. However, our findings should reassure college administrators that efforts to improve processes for reviewing accusations of sexual assault and providing remedy to victims does not come at the expense of broader university goals.

Despite the best efforts of Mike Gottfredson and Rob Mullens, the Altman allegations became public in April 2014, and despite the best efforts of UO faculty such as Jennifer Freyd and Carol Stabile, the Department of Education never investigated them. UO’s Freshman enrollment numbers:

Oregon State denames 3 buildings, but not Gill Coliseum

The AP report is here. The exhaustive report on basketball coach Amory T. “Slats” Gill, by OSU history professor Marisa Chappell and sociology prof Dwaine Plaza is here. While Gill was obviously a petty tyrant who thought he owned his players, there is no evidence that he ever did anything as despicable as current Duck basketball coach Dana Altman’s successful efforts to keep his Black players from protesting for #BlackLivesMatter during the national anthem, and so OSU will keep his name on their coliseum.

Apparently OSU President Ed Ray did not ask the committee to investigate the propriety of using “coliseum” in a campus building name, despite that term’s long association with Christian executions:

 

Damnatio ad bestias (Latin for “condemnation to beasts”) was a form of Roman capital punishment in which the condemned person was killed by wild animals. This form of execution, which first came to ancient Rome around the 2nd century BC, was part of the wider class of blood sports called Bestiarii.

The act of damnatio ad bestias was considered entertainment for the lower classes of Rome. Killing by wild animals, such as lions, formed part of the inaugural games of the Flavian Amphitheatre in 80 AD. Between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, this penalty was also applied to the worst criminals, runaway slaves, and Christians.

$10M Travel Oregon grant to Tracktown for IAAF 2021 held up over FBI investigation, lack of budget. No supporting letter from UO

7/27/2018 update:  The RG’s Austin Meek reports today that Travel Oregon is claiming the federal investigations into the awarding of the 2021 IAAF championships to Tracktown will not prevent Travel Oregon from giving them $10M in state funds:

“It is Travel Oregon’s perspective, barring DOJ counsel to the contrary, that language included in future contracts referencing ‘pending investigations’ relates to any investigations in which the successful applicant/awardee is named as the subject or otherwise included as one of the subjects of that investigation,” [Travel Oregon spokesperson Linea Gagliano] said in a written response provided to The Register-Guard.

The Oregon DOJ declined to comment. Meanwhile there’s still no budget for how Tracktown/Oregon21 proposes to spend these state funds.

7/25/2018: Back in early 2016, after some serious log-rolling and arm-twisting, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill to raise the hotel tax and have the Oregon Tourism Commission, a.k.a Travel Oregon, run a grant process to give Vin Lananna’s Tracktown at least part of the $25M in public money that John Kitzhaber and Kate Brown had promised them. For a taste of the politics, here’s Saul Hubbard in the RG:

Cash trail leads to track subsidy

Posted Jan 5, 2016 at 10:01 PM

When Vin Lananna, president of TrackTown USA, and Paul Weinhold, president of the University of Oregon Foundation, first contacted then-Gov. John Kitzhaber in mid-2014 to request a $40 million state subsidy for TrackTown’s bid to hold the 2019 track world championships in Eugene, they were met with coolness and skepticism, newly released emails show.

After Lananna gave an in-person pitch to Kitzhaber on July 7, Kitzhaber economic policy adviser Vince Porter sent a scathing assessment of the request to the governor and his top advisers.

Talks should continue, Porter wrote, but “there are a lot of hurdles to get over before it becomes much more than a pipe dream.”

Nonprofit TrackTown’s request contained “probably as much as $20 million that we would never want to consider subsidizing,” he added. “I don’t think the state should be even considering something larger than $20 million” to help fund the event in Eugene, he wrote.

The subsidy request — which would require three-fifth votes in both chambers of the Legislature — also was met coolly by Salem’s two most powerful legislators, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek, both Democrats, Porter’s emails indicate.

Yet, only five months later, Kitzhaber publicly pledged to “use all the means at my disposal to deliver the financial support needed for the championships” in a video message he sent — along with then-Secretary of State Kate Brown — with TrackTown’s team to the International Association of Athletics Federations bid meeting in Monaco in late November.

For the first time in that video, Kitzhaber endorsed a specific amount: the full $40 million. Getting the governor to publicly state the $40 million was a priority for TrackTown, Porter’s emails show.

What happened between Kitzhaber’s initial resistance and his endorsement? His campaign coffers were swamped to overflowing with donations from people who want the track world championships held at the UO’s Hayward Field.

The emails show that Kitzhaber’s apparent reversal coincided with almost $400,000 in campaign contributions he received during a 42-day period in September and October 2014 from athletic apparel giant Nike, its co-founder Phil Knight and its CEO Mark Parker, as well as four members of the UO Board of Trustees. …

Continue reading

SAIL brings 450 low-SES HS students to campus to learn about college

Update: The students from Laura Bovilsky and Brian McWhorter’s Performing Arts camp will be putting on their show today at 2PM in the Daugherty Dance Theater (in the Gerlinger Annex). No tickets required.

KLCC has a report on this year’s program, highlighting the World Cultures camp. SAIL is focused on high school students who “should go to college, but are not now on the college track”. They can come back every summer for another week-long day camp, and for those that do about 75% go on to college. This is a high rate, given their demographics. There’s more about SAIL here. This year’s schedule is/was:

FREE Summer College Programs

JULY 16 – 20: Biology, Business, Economics, Education, English/Journalism, German/Scandinavian, Product Design, Psychology,
JULY 23 – 27: Physics/Physiology, Geography, Performing Arts, Environmental Studies, Chemistry, Product Design, Speech & Persuasion, World Cultures, World Languages & Literature.
AUGUST 20 – 24: Orchestra

SAIL started 12 years ago with an Economics camp and 13 students. This year there were 18 camps and about 450 students. We also have a mentoring program where we send UO undergrads out to work with HS students in study halls and so on. Next year we plan to gradually start expanding statewide, with students from farther away staying in the dorms. All the camps are free – thanks to some very generous gifts, hundreds of UO faculty volunteers, and very helpful UO staff and administrators.

I ran the Economics camp, with the help of about 10 faculty and 2 excellent UO student assistants, trained by Director Lara Fernandez. We had 17 students from grades 9-11, I covered the basics of supply and demand, including monopoly. It takes me several lectures to cover monopoly in a regular undergraduate intro class. These students had the basics down pretty well after 20 minutes and were already asking questions about price discrimination. Sorry, I told them, but you’ll have to come to college to learn that. Other Econ faculty covered basic macro, income inequality, the returns to education, risk aversion, international trade, urban economics and rents, and an intro to game theory, focusing on the prisoner’s dilemma and a proof of why 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 is the unique mixed strategy equilibria for rock-paper-scissors. President Schill and Provost Banavar helped out by running english and dutch auctions for books in the Johnson Hall lobby. Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog did pretty well. We also had tours of the Art Museum and the EMU, talks about college admissions and financial aid, and lunches at Carson.

The first day of camp I asked the students how many had been to the UO campus before Only about half had. I don’t think any of them had ever met a professor. Based on past years I expect only a few had a parent with an undergraduate degree. By Friday, they’d spent a week with professors and undergraduates, had met the university president, and were walking around campus as if they owned the place. So while I do think they learned a little economics, I know for sure they are no longer intimidated by the idea of being a college student.

If you want to volunteer, please check out the SAIL website here or just send me an email. If you want to donate, the UO Foundation has an easy to use website here.

Government Accountability Office visits UO on tour of Confucius Institutes

The GAO is basically Congress’s audit division. Congress asked them to look into the Chinese government supported Confucius Institutes. About 100 US colleges, including UO, have these. The GAO asked to meet with CI administrators and a selection of faculty. They also scheduled a 30 minute meeting with me, as Senate Pres, to ask about the potential for interference in academic freedom, what procedures the Senate had in place to safeguard this, and any examples of violations I might know of at UO.

I explained what I knew – namely that UO’s CI was mostly under the control of UO faculty, that it did not teach regular classes or have any influence over faculty hiring, and that while it seemed clear that our faculty were not going to ask the CI to pay for research on things that the Chinese government might get angry about, such as the suppression of Falun Gong, ethnic cleansing in Tibet, or the general lack of civil rights in China, and that while Chinese students have told me they believe their government spies on them while they are in the US, I had no reason to believe that UO’s CI had attempted to suppress such research at UO, or had engaged in such spying at UO.

The only odd part of the meeting, in retrospect, was that the three GAO reps were accompanied throughout by UO VP for International Affairs Dennis Galvan and AVP for Federal Affairs Betsy Boyd. I’d have thought that the GAO would have insisted on meeting privately with faculty on something like this. While I didn’t have any punches to pull, I can imagine that some of the other faculty might have been reluctant to say some things under these circumstances.

UO frat closed after frat boys caught acting like frat boys

Ryan Nguyen and Michael Tobin have the story in the Emerald. While other university’s have been sued for closing frats and expelling students for exercising their first amendment rights to act like fucking morons, UO’s student conduct office cleverly nailed them on a hazing violation instead. Great idea. Read the story for the usual Klingerisms.