OSU-Cascades running into trouble with Bend neighbors

Apparently not everyone wants to live near a college campus. Steve Duin has the report in the Oregonian here:

BEND – In Oregon college circles, we all know which valley school trademarked the take-no-prisoners, make-no-apologies, our-way-or-the-highway approach to civic engagement.

But, shazam! Oregon State University is catching on, based on its aggressive approach to the siting of a west-side Bend campus.

UO lost millions on its various Bend efforts, propped up by Jim Bean and John Moseley, until Lariviere finally pulled the plug in 2010.

Does UO have a strategic plan for Portland yet?

5/24/2015 update: I don’t have anything new on this. Does anyone?

7/8/2013: The Lane County DA’s office has finally prodded UO into releasing the 269 page Canoe Group report on Portland. UO sent me a very low quality pdf, I’ve asked for something better and here it is, thanks! Full pdf here.

UO decided to completely redact the 2012 PWG report. If anyone has a copy of that pass it on and I’ll post it.

Continue reading

ODE on Bend and Moseley

7/28/2010: Ryan Buckley had a story on the end of Bend a few days back, that I missed. He managed to get both current Provost Jim Bean and former Provost John Moseley to speak on the record:

“The statements that some faculty have made that the program was ‘costing UO $1 million a year’ are nonsense,” Moseley said, “The total cost of UO’s program has been approximately $1 million a year for the past few years (and was even less in previous years), with these costs covered by revenue from the program.”

In the summer of 2009, Moseley’s contract with the University was the subject of a review by the state’s Internal Audit Division (IAD) following a complaint to the Oregon University System’s hotline.

According to a June 31, 2009, memorandum sent to University President Richard Lariviere from IAD Executive Director Patricia Snopkowski, the investigation concluded Bean had failed to update the responsibilities outlined in Moseley’s original contract to reflect a reduction in workload enacted in July 2008. Moseley’s original post-retirement contract from June 2006 had included work with the Oregon Bach Festival and the University’s Portland campus.

However, at the time of the audit, the agreement continued to state Moseley was being paid for these duties he had been relieved of almost a year earlier, and the IAD instructed the University to amend the contract to more accurately reflect Moseley’s performance.

I haven’t seen any documents supporting Moseley’s claim that Bend broke even. Provost Bean will only release them in exchange for a cash payment, and I haven’t sold enough mugs yet. The people I know who have seen them say they do not include all the relevant costs – most hilariously, Moseley’s own salary, OPE, and travel expenses, or about $200,000 per year.

Regardless, this story is finally over – except for 2 more years of payments to Moseley, and a bit more erosion in what little trust there is between the administration and the faculty. Here’s a simple proposal that might help us move forward with the trust issues: If a UO administrator publicly asserts that something is true, they should be willing to provide the public records that address their claim.

And they shouldn’t charge the faculty to see those documents!

More on the End of Bend:

7/19/2010: From Greg Bolt in the RG, on the end of Bend:

… Some faculty members who reviewed the budget concluded that the program was costing the university more than $1 million a year beyond what it brought in, draining revenue from the Eugene campus as it struggles with steep cuts in state funding.
But Bean maintains that at least in the program’s most recent years the UO’s Bend efforts were breaking even. “We have gone to minute detail and passed the spreadsheets around, and some people believe them and some people don’t,” he said.
The Bend program also is tied up with another sore spot among some faculty: the post­retirement contract the UO made with former provost John Moseley. After retiring from his full-time provost position at the UO in Eugene, Moseley since 2007 has been working half time as a special assistant to the provost, acting as the liaison for the Bend program on a contract that pays him $124,000 a year.
The large paycheck for part-time work has drawn the ire of many professors. Moseley will continue in his post through next year, which also is when the UO expects to wind down the undergraduate program in Bend.
This program was established by Frohnmayer to provide a retirement job for Moseley. We probably dropped between $5 and $10 million on it. I asked Provost Bean for the spreadsheets mentioned above last year, and I was told I would have to pay to see them. The people who have seen the presentation said they omitted Moseley’s salary and expenses, videoconferencing centers, many of the inducements paid to departments to get them to send people to Bend, and so on. There’s no reason not to be transparent about these costs – is there? Hell, Moseley posts the rates for his fishing lodge right here.

Here’s the info on the OUS auditor’s investigation of Moseley’s expense account abuse. UO also refuses to release further documentation on the expense account payments, unless you pay them. Everything is on the up and up here, right?

What will Moseley do now?

7/12/2010: Here’s more on the end of Bend, from Sheila Miller in the Bend Bulletin:

HEAT, a committee composed of 22 people, including representatives from Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties, was asked to come up with the recommendations in line with the goals of increasing education offerings and opportunities for students in the region, and increasing enrollment at Oregon State University-Cascades Campus.

…. Third, the plan calls for OSU-Cascades to take over all University of Oregon programs currently offered at the campus to simplify the operation and make it run more efficiently. Currently, both OSU and University of Oregon operate degree programs on the campus. Under the recommended plan, OSU would become the only entity on campus.
Students currently enrolled in UO programs would be allowed to finish them, but within two years the university’s role would be phased out. OSU-Cascades would continue offering the four programs the UO currently operates on the campus.
UO programs

“When this campus started, it was important that we use everything at our disposal to try to get the campus up and running,” Johnson said. That included the UO’s programs. But as the campus has grown, having both universities on the same site has been a challenge, with different policies and procedures, faculty promotions and other work force issues. Students can’t currently major in one school’s program and minor in the other school’s program; administrators must know both colleges’ policies, and marketing OSU-Cascades is bogged down with two brands.

“We feel it’s more efficient” to offer the programs through one university, Johnson said. “And if there’s a specialty program or a niche that another school could offer better than OSU-Cascades, they should be invited in to do that.”

Jim Bean, the University of Oregon provost, said it was a difficult decision, but ultimately would be the right one. “At the beginning, it was the issue that no one wanted to talk about,” he said. “This was not a turf war at all. It was an examination of a number of options.” Bean said to help make the transfer process between COCC and OSU-Cascades seamless, the University of Oregon had to step out of the way. “To have the UO there would not make it twice as hard, it would make it three times as hard,” he said. Under the recommended plan, University of Oregon faculty would be offered the opportunity to transition into positions with OSU.

Provost Bean has claimed that UO was making money on the Bend operations, but nobody really believes that, the understadning is that we have been subsidizing this program because former Provost John Moseley wanted us to and nobody had the guts to call him on it. My understanding is that the OUS Board still needs to decide whether to act on these recommendations. It doesn’t seem like John Moseley had any substantial role in the HEAT working group – despite the fact that we pay him $124K to be UO’s “Central Oregon Liason”.

7/9/2010: A reader passed along this Oregonian story by Bill Graves. The OUS board has finally pulled the plug on UO Bend.

The University of Oregon also offers a degree program in Bend, but it will turn its courses over to Oregon State to give students a more efficient and less confusing path to a four-year degree. 

The reader wants to know what we think this will do to former UO Provost Moseley, who is still getting paid 1/2 time at a $248,941 FTE, to – supposedly – act as UO’s “Central Oregon Liason”. In reality, he does jack – from his fishing retreat on the Deschutes. I’m not kidding, you can rent one of his lodges here, for $4300 a week during the high season. Most people think the only reason we ever started this program – on which UO loses about $1 million per year – was to provide a retirement sinecure for Moseley, who’d been buying property over there for years, and hiding that from the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. Apparently this was the running joke at his retirement party.

I think I’ve seen that rug before:

UO pays the dude until the summer of 2012. For the curious, the contract between Moseley and then President Frohnmayer is here. It’s such a blatant attempt to subvert the PERS rules I assume that UO could break it easily. BTW, the OUS Auditor’s anonymous tipline is

OUS Hotline: 1.888.304.7810
Or at www.ous.edu/financialconcerns

we recommend it.

OUS board makes some decisions

7/10/2010: The OUS Board met Friday. They haven’t followed the state rules about posting minutes of their meetings since December 2005, but a summary is here, and a Bill Graves report in the Oregonian here. Some excerpts from the summary:

Biennial Budget Request… The General Fund request for the CSL is an increase from the current budget of $820.8 million to $916.7 million, plus an additional $48.5 million in POPs for: … $20.7 million for faculty salaries funded by the campuses (not state funds) to the extent possible; as well as the 10 and 25 percent reduction options required by state law; for a total request of $144.2 million (with $48.5 million of this state General Fund request and the remainder “Other Funds” from campuses). …

Does this mean we will see the long promised 4% raises? 

Capital Construction Request
… Simonton summarized campus priorities which include: … UO, $10.7 million in deferred maintenance on Chapman Hall, $100 million for expansion of Architecture and Allied Arts building, and $13.4 million in deferred maintenance on Condon Hall(For more details go to: http://www.ous.edu/state_board/meeting/index.php.)

(There’s $4 million in there for Straub as well.)

Governance Proposal
After some discussion, the Board approved a legislative concept that changes the legal status of the OUS from that of a state agency to that of a public university system and provides the Board with the authority outlined in the legislative concepts; and that staff, working with the Governance and Policy Committee, develop and negotiate a compact with the state government with measurable outcomes for the level of appropriations that constitute state investment in 2011; and that the Board authorize an ongoing, participative public process with citizens, state officials and groups throughout Oregon regarding the education, research, and service activities and programs of the OUS and its institutions in order to ensure that the OUS is meeting state needs and can help ensure that Oregonians understand the value of its public university system. … All current powers and responsibilities of the Board would be retained, including tuition setting authority with a participatory campus process, as well as establishing need-based financial aid standards.

(Not clear how this interacts with Lariviere’s restructuring proposal. Is it a first step, or an alternative that leaves control in the hands of OUS? That last sentences suggests the latter.)

Central Oregon Report
(3) enhance the “2+2” collaboration between COCC and OSU-Cascades and create a student-focused, administratively efficient structure which provides seamless transitions for students, and develops shared services such as admissions, registration, etc; and to simplify program offerings by having OSU-Cascades be the lead entity on campus, assuming UO’s current program offerings and faculty; 

So that’s it for UO-Bend. In 2000 or so, after the OUS system awarded administration of the original program to OSU, Frohnmayer and Moseley insisted on setting up an alternative program there, run by UO. The OUS board could never say no to Frohnmayer, so they went along with it. Moseley poured millions in UO money into it. Now nothing will be left – except for Frohnmayer’s and Moseley’s vacation homes and Moseley’s UO contract, which pays him $124K a year until mid 2012 to “liason”with central Oregon, from his fishing retreat on the Deschutes.

10/1/09: The Daily Emerald explains that President Lariviere decided not to spend another dime of UO money on Frohnmayer’s “Old Town” sign craziness. The rumor is that Lariviere is also going to dump Moseley’s UO-Bend programs as soon as feasible. Lots of other good rumors. Early days, but it’s hard to avoid a strange and unfamiliar feeling of optimism about UO.

Bend

9/11/2009: The Bend Bulletin editorial board writes:

Although it’s difficult to be gleeful in light of the big picture, supporters of the Oregon State University-Cascades Campus must be at least hopeful today. Alone among public higher education institutions in Oregon, it may well see its finances improve in the coming year. That, at least, is what the State Board of Higher Education’s finance and administration committee will recommend to the full board when it meets early next month in Klamath Falls.

Overall, the picture is bleak. … Thus, that OSU-Cascades may get any increase at all is something of a miracle. It could see its state funding rise to a total of $9.3 million a biennium, a 2.4 percent increase from 2007-09. The added money will make a big difference, according to Becky Johnson, OSU vice president for the Central Oregon campus. …

Assuming the board accepts its finance committee’s recommendation, Central Oregonians can expect to see a stronger branch campus, one less likely to become the target of lawmakers as it was earlier this year.

Rumor has it that UO President Lariviere will soon make the call on whether or not UO will continue its own programs in Bend, which graduate 50 students per year at a loss of $20,000 per student. UO set this up as a sweet retirement and expense account scam for former UO Provost John Moseley, just appointed by current Provost Jim Bean to the new position of “liaison UO to Central Oregon” (sic).

Lariviere in Bend (updated with OUS info)

9/1/2009: Rumor is that Lariviere will soon decide if UO is going to pull the plug on its Bend programs, which graduate about 15 students a year, and run at loss to the Eugene campus of $1 million or so per year. (Update: actually 50 students, or a loss of $20,000 each). The Bend Bulletin reports on Lariviere’s visit to Bend today, without going into the history of UO’s operation there, which was set to give former UO Provost a retirement sinecure. You can find more by following the links at the bottom of this post.

The University of Oregon’s new president, Richard Lariviere, met with the Bend City Council on Monday afternoon to discuss city officials’ visions for higher education in Bend. Councilors told him that in the future they hope to have a larger university presence in Bend and just how important higher education will be to the city’s growth. … Lariviere says, “We’re now trying to get a better sense of Bend,” he said. “I want to get a better sense of how the university fits in.”

OPB reports that while in Bend Lariviere also announced his support for former OUS Board member John von Schlegell’s reform call to the governor:

In Bend, Lariviere spoke to local business leaders and told OPB that he supports a critical letter that former state higher education board members sent to the Governor.

That letter proposed turning the state university system into a public corporation. Lariviere says even though that idea may make waves, it should be considered.

Richard Lariviere: “The regulatory involvement in the state in higher education is way out of whack. And any time you layer on some set of regulatory constraints you’re debilitating the university from fulfilling its obligation to the state of Oregon.”

Moseley gets audited

8/14/2009: The Oregonian has a story today about former Provost Moseley’s expense account abuse. The OUS audit report mentioned in the story is available here. In that audit report UO President Lariviere agrees to stop allowing Moseley to claim any more expenses – between Eugene and his vacation home in Bend or apparently anywhere at all – and to update Moseley’s original employment contract to reflect the fact that Moseley is now only fulfilling 1 of his 4 job responsibilities. The contract will be revised by Monday. Still unclear as to whether or not Moseley will be allowed to keep all of $124,000 0.5 FTE, and if so why in the hell he should. Either way, it looks likely that he will have to repay $9,000 or so in expenses to UO for last year, and given that there are 2 more years left on his contract, this should save UO about $27,000 total.

Our favorite part of the story:

Jim Bean, UO’s senior vice president and provost, said the audit identified a minor (sic) financial issue caused by a recent change in Moseley’s duties, which moved his main work location to Bend. “I’m glad someone pointed it out, and I’m glad we got it fixed,” Bean said.

No problem Jim, we at UO Matters are happy to help. Does this mean you are going to finally share the budget info for UO-Bend with your faculty?

The Oregonian has another, very pointed story about the OUS appointing State Rep. Larry Galizio as “Director of Strategery and Planning”. The story suggests this is a payoff for his vote in support of a pet Kulongoski bill.

Bend Profits?

7/6/2009: Provost Bean keeps changing his story on whether or not UO is losing money on Bend – most people say about $1million a year, he claims it’s in the black – so one of the UO Matters team filed a public records request for the data he used as background for his various statements. UO’s PR guy Doug Park has now replied, offering to sell the documents to us for $45.63. Should we pay, or petition the Attorney General for a fee-waiver on the grounds that it’s illegal to make false statements when asking for charitable donations – as was done during the furlough meeting? Suggestions welcome!

Bend Profits?

6/13/2009: We’re building a list of things to cut to get more money for the academic side. The $3 million Frances has spent remodeling Johnson Hall offices is sunk – but Bend is an ongoing expenditure. We are trying to find out how much. Please use the comments to nominate other programs or projects and we’ll try to get documentation on them.

Dear UO Counsel Doug Park:

At the 4/14 Furlough town hall meeting, Provost Bean stated that UO’s Bend programs “operate at a slight profit, very slight, but in the black.”

On 4/16 an Associate Dean sent Provost Bean an email disputing this claim, saying:

“The costs on the books for running Bend as you know are around $1 million dollars. This is an underestimate, of course, because many costs of running the campus are borne directly by the Eugene campus. For example, the AV tech at the library who helps beam courses to Bend is not counted towards Bend and it looks like some of the TRP (tenure reduction program) monies for faculty is also not included as costs. The revenue generated by the campus is also hard to figure exactly. However, at its maximum, Bend enrolls 100 students and graduates 15 annually. A significant portion of those students are part-time, nearly all are in-state, and there is very little auxiliary income from these students. Even if they were full time, however, the revenue generated from those students would fall approximately $500,000 short of the known costs of operating the campus. Thus, unless there are significant sources of revenue that are not related to students, the Bend campus is significantly in the red.”

At the 5/13/09 Senate meeting Provost Bean’s claim of profitability morphed into “we have lost several million over the past 4 years but we are now in the black” or something to that effect.

Given these contradictory statements, this is a public records request for copies of the memos, budget statements, and or forecasts that Provost Bean used as background for his statements to the Furlough meeting and to the Senate, including any supporting material. I am particularly asking for the following supporting material, should it exist:

a) any information itemizing the details of the expenses and revenues for Bend that were included in these budgets or forecasts, including information on which OA’s, staff, and Faculty (including TRP) had time that was included in calculating the costs of Bend.

and

b) any information itemizing revenues, whether from tuition or from other sources such as OUS.

I am not asking that any new documents or BANNER reports be compiled, just for the documentation Provost Bean already has. I expect that these documents can be obtained with a quick email to Provost Bean, and I am ccing him on this request, in an effort to speed that along.

I ask for a fee waiver on the grounds of public interest: UO’s Bend programs have involved the expenditure of millions of dollars of public money, and Provost Bean’s 4/14 statements were made during a public meeting at which he also encouraged voluntary furloughs and solicited charitable contributions.

Thank you for your attention to this request.

UO’s Bend programs lose $1 million per year.

Update: 5/14/2009 : Provost Bean’s claims on Bend have morphed from “we are slightly in the black” when asking the faculty for furlough contributions to “we’ve lost millions but we will almost break even next year – if no one notices we are keeping everything possible including Moseley’s salary off the books.” Uh, but he’s the Director, Jim. And what about Leahy and Seitz? You are going to lose your last shreds of credibility over this. Everyone including the CAS Dean knows you haven’t been telling the truth and still aren’t. Sunk costs are sunk – as it don’t use them to justify digging a deeper hole. You are paid enough to do hard things, this one is easy.

At the 4/14 furlough meeting Provost Been told us that UO’s administrative expense ratio was 38% of peers. See his reply to the question at 50:20 in the video. The 38% number is simply a fiction as the post here demonstrates, and the administration apparently just has no idea what the actual ratio is.

So what about the claim Bend makes money? See 32:18 into the video above, where Provost Bean says “A slight profit, very slight, but in the black”. It turns out that this is not true either. I recently was forwarded the email below from a UO administrator to Provost Bean who was not happy that the true cost of Bend had not been presented accurately to the faculty. The gist is that Bend has only 15 graduates per year and the program is losing about $1 million a year. The subtext is the rumor that Frohnmayer is planning on retiring to Bend and administering the UO Program there, or perhaps the entire OSU – Cascades effort. He already owns a $1.05 million dollar home there.

So that’s two false statements so far. What’s left? The claims that Portland is not costing Eugene money and that athletics is self-supporting (48:50). Regarding the first, I’ve already heard from someone that the money for the White Stag sign was not an earmarked donation but will come out of general foundation funds – i.e. funds which could have instead be used to plug the budget gap. Thanks for that, but we really need the documentation, so keep those emails coming to uomatters@gmail.com!


Text of original email:

Jim,

I have been asked by a number of persons in xxx and elsewhere about the Bend campus. Since part of my job is xxx I thought I should look into the questions myself. Ultimately, this pointed me to the need to have a budget summit, which I will explain below.

The costs on the books for running Bend as you know are around $1 million dollars. This is an underestimate, of course, because many costs of running the campus are borne directly by the Eugene campus. For example, the AV tech at the library who helps beam courses to Bend is not counted towards Bend and it looks like some of the TRP (tenure reduction program) monies for faculty is also not included as costs. The revenue generated by the campus is also hard to figure exactly. However, at its maximum, Bend enrolls 100 students and graduates 15 annually. A significant portion of those students are part-time, nearly all are in-state, and there is very little auxiliary income from these students. Even if they were full time, however, the revenue generated from those students would fall approximately $500,000 short of the known costs of operating the campus. Thus, unless there are significant sources of revenue that are not related to students, the Bend campus is significantly in the red.

However, this really does not express the full cost of the campus, because there are opportunity costs associated with running the campus in the sense that it directs resources away from Eugene that could be used more efficiently on the main campus. For example, the TRP faculty teaching in Bend could teach more students in Eugene than they could in Bend where the average class size in 9. In a time where student demand is exceedingly high and we short of instructional faculty, this cost is substantial. There are many other places you could make this type of opportunity cost argument that make Bend a really poor investment.

Finally, there is a lot about the Bend campus that just does not “feel right”. For example, while no one really wants to put find a point on it, the fact that John Mosley is collecting a six figure salary while being retired in Bend (even if it is legit) does not look right and perceptions are important – particularly in economic hard times when you are asking faculty to give back.

Thus, the resistance you are getting from the numerate persons on campus for Bend, etc. is not misplaced and ultimately I hope you are willing to listen to their very sound advice on Bend and other similar types of expenditures. While I understand that there were other (e.g., political) reasons why having a presence in Bend was important, the recession provides us the opportunity to allocate resources based on sounder economic principles and we should not waste this opportunity.

This exercise points more generally to a need for a deeper and broader consideration of “how we spend our money”. I am on board with the voluntary salary reduction plan this time because I do believe that we did not have sufficient time to respond to the ever changing financial picture. However, in the next biennium, we will have time to plan and we should begin now with a budget summit that includes all the leadership. The essential component to such a summit is the presence of detailed data for all the academic and central units on campus (and off – e.g., Bend and Portland). Before I would agree to take another voluntary cut in pay myself and before I would ever recommend that other faculty participate in such a pay reduction, I think we need to understand what the tradeoffs are and I believe we have an obligation to be more creative with our finances than we were able to be at the end of this biennium. In order for me to understand such tradeoffs and to be able “with a straight face” ask my faculty to pitch in, I am really going to need to understand where the money is going and not take it on faith that, for example, “Bend is breaking even” and “Portland is not costing the main campus anything”.

Thus, I think it is time to start considering some serious tradeoffs between a number of “sacred” elements on campus which include “salaries”. Let me give an example that does not involve Bend – library serials and OIED program grants are both things we value on campus even to the point of being “sacred”. However, we are letting one sacred cow be gored without possibly considering a reallocation of funds from other sacred cows being held harmless. I think we need to be prepared (not afraid) to ask this tough question “Are the current allocations appropriate and consistent with our “Academic Plan”. Careful consideration could involving taking funds from OIED program grants in order to help fund the library. Obviously, there are other places we can go to examine tradeoffs – I picked these two because they are something our campus has shown commitment to and represent choices that people would find hard.

In the end, I think we owe faculty, staff, and students more over the next biennium in terms of a careful consideration of how to address the economic crisis. xxx We are at a critical time where we have the opportunity to examine our priorities and the campus will be willing to listen because of the economic crisis. Thus, we do have an opportunity in this crisis.

I would love to talk more about this idea of a budget summit.

"Golden parachutes" for UO administrators

This March 2008 story in the Oregonian describes how UO administrators have been taking advantage of a tenure reduction program that was originally set up to ease older teaching faculty into voluntary retirement.

Several administrators have been able to use the program to take home annual payments in the $300,000 range, by getting half pay from UO, full PERS benefits, and annual raises to sweeten the deal. While President Frohnmayer claims that these administrators are doing substantial work, he provides no evidence of this. Here’s a clip from former Provost John Moseley’s contract – he is “Special Assistant” to current Provost Jim Bean until 2011. His main job seems to be running UO’s program in Bend, from his retirement home on the Deschutes. UO’s Bend programs graduate about 15 people – and lose about $1 million – each year.

Maybe we’re naive about this stuff, but we’re a little surprised at how explicitly President Frohnmayer and former Provost Moseley lay out their attempt to exploit PERS rules, as you can see from the complete contract here.