UO undergrad calls for more diversity of ideas

Mateo Sundberg’s Op-Ed is on the Daily Emerald website here:

Over one year ago, the Black Student Task Force released a list of twelve demands for the University of Oregon administration to address campus issues surrounding diversity and tolerance. One of the demands, demand number six, was a request for the University of Oregon to commit to hiring more African-American professors, specifically in areas outside of the humanities and the social sciences, to encourage diversity in our university’s faculty.

However, this demand, and many other similar demands for diversity by means of race and ethnicity in higher education, fails to reach its goal of creating a space of intellectual rigor, debate and ideological diversity.

Commentators on both the political left and right have highlighted how academic departments value diversity in the form of race and ethnicity over diversity in thought. Few people would try to argue that having an entire faculty of white, middle-aged, straight and upper-middle class professors would create a campus climate that was diverse and inclusive. Sadly, this line of thought does not ring true when applied to faculty having diverse political ideologies.

The University of Oregon should continue to pursue faculty candidates of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds because the life experiences and worldviews of minorities are important and valuable for intellectual debate.

However, if the universities do not diagnose and fix their ideological bias problem, they will become an echo chamber of only liberal ideas and thought, which would result in the failure of our universities duty to be a space of intellectual rigor that is full of debate. Universities do not have a monopoly on knowledge and intellect; they need to hire more faculty members of diverse ideological and political thought before universities render themselves obsolete.

Please consider commenting on the ODE site. Also see this post on Nick Kristof’s recent NYT Op-Ed on the same theme.

Nick Kristof on “The Dangers of Echo Chambers on the UO Campus*”

Nicholas Kristof is the son of two PSU professors and grew up on a farm in Oregon. A few years ago we got him to come to campus and talk to our SAIL students. He is arguably the most liberal of the NY Times’s columnists, although it’s tough to top Krugman. Here’s his latest column:

After Donald Trump’s election, some universities echoed with primal howls. Faculty members canceled classes for weeping, terrified students who asked: How could this possibly be happening?

I share apprehensions about President-elect Trump, but I also fear the reaction was evidence of how insular universities have become. When students inhabit liberal bubbles, they’re not learning much about their own country. To be fully educated, students should encounter not only Plato, but also Republicans.

We liberals are adept at pointing out the hypocrisies of Trump, but we should also address our own hypocrisy in terrain we govern, such as most universities: Too often, we embrace diversity of all kinds except for ideological. Repeated studies have found that about 10 percent of professors in the social sciences or the humanities are Republicans.

We champion tolerance, except for conservatives and evangelical Christians. We want to be inclusive of people who don’t look like us — so long as they think like us. …

UO’s first Diversity Plan, adopted by the Senate in 2006 after a long debate, explicitly noted the importance of those people who don’t think like us:

For purposes of this Diversity Plan, the term diversity is given a broad meaning and includes, but is not limited to, differences based on race, ethnicity, national origin or citizenship, gender, religious affiliation or background, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic class or status, political affiliation or belief, and ability or disability.

Here’s the data on political affiliation for the University of Oregon faculty in 2006:


But the 2016 diversity evaluation posted on the VPEI website is all about race and ethnicity:

Over the last three years, the University of Oregon (UO) Office of the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion (VPEI) has worked diligently to institutionalize the process of collecting and analyzing data on the ethnic, racial, and gender diversity of our faculty, staff, and students. This report on racial, ethnic and gender diversity among faculty and academic leadership ranks is the product of collaborative work with the Office of Institutional Research, the Center for Assessment, Statistics and Evaluation (CASE), Affirmative Action, the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs.

And that is where UO has been spending its diversity money – currently about $5M a year, if you count the VPEI budget and the UMRP money which is now running about $1M a year.


President Schill has now called for UO’s colleges to develop new diversity plans within 90 days. I wonder where they will focus our efforts and our spending?

*OK, so it’s not just about the UO campus.

UO’s latest AA Plan shows UO faculty are about as diverse as the available PhDs

Longtime readers may remember that my public records obsession started back in 2006, after former UO General Counsel Melinda Grier and AAEO Penny Daugherty (still) tried to hide UO’s affirmative action plans, and the fact that Daugherty had failed to do them for several years. Grier stonewalled my PR requests for months, and then tried to charge me hundreds of dollars to see the ones they could find. Say what you will about Mike Gottfredson, but he refused to follow Frohnmayer in backdating Daugherty’s work. Here is the March 1 2016-17 Plan – which she finished with 22 minutes to spare.

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As has been true for years, UO’s faculty (but not academic leadership) are generally representative with respect to race and ethnicity, and a bit less so with respect to gender.

How can this be true, when you look around campus and see almost no minority faculty? It’s because the number of minorities, and for that matter all first generation low-SES people getting PhD’s, is unacceptably low. For faculty, UO is compared to the hiring pool of all minority or female PhD’s or recent PhDs in that field. Given this, UO’s efforts to increase minority hiring amount to robbing Peter to pay Paul – they do nothing to increase the supply. Increasing the supply, starting at HS, was the impetus for UO’s “fill the pipeline” SAIL program.

I’ve put table 3 below showing statistically significant under-representation. Table 2 in the pdf shows the details comparing percentages at UO to the hiring pool. Keep in mind that all these data are based on self-reports to Daugherty’s AAEO. Given UO’s UMRP there is a $90,000 incentive for faculty to say that they are members of a federally protected minority group so the AA Plan may over-estimate the true number of minority faculty at UO. (Strangely, UO’s UMRP pays the $90K for hiring a minority even if the department does not have minority under-representation, but it won’t pay for hiring a woman even if women are underrepresented.)


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Board of Trustees ASAC to meet Wed by phone to approve CoE diversity plan

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 2:30 pm HEDCO Education Building, Room 240. It’s a telephonic meeting, but apparently there will be a phone there to listen in. The full draft of the proposal is here.

From what I can tell this is the first specific reference to the administration’s use of the confidential Academic Analytics data to rank departments.

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Professor Zack neither thrilled nor honored to get UO’s MLK award

UO Professor Naomi Zack (Philosophy) is talking today at 12:00 at the ceremony in the Ford Alumni Center. She asked me to post this Eric Kelderman report on her thoughts about the award, in the Chronicle here:

…  Ms. Zack said she was skeptical of some of the measures underway at the university because they rely too much on decisions at the department level, where people are too inclined to hire those like themselves. To prevent that, she said, the hiring process needs to be directed more from the administration.

“It’s human nature to hire people who are the students of your friends,” Ms. Zack said in an interview. That’s not necessarily racist, she said, but “the problem is that it works against excellence.”

“These hires need to be conducted by people who are required to look at the good of the institution as a whole,” she said. “We need something top-down here.”

Non affirmative action compliant Triplett hire

11/4/2014 update: UO Auditor to investigate Affirmative Action waiver for Triplett hire

The UO administration spends millions on promoting student and faculty diversity. But will it follow the law when it comes to hiring Johnson Hall administrators? UO’s new Auditor is going to look into it:

From: Brenda Muirhead <brendam@uoregon.edu>
To: William Harbaugh <harbaugh@uoregon.edu>
Subject: RE: PR request, AAEO documents
Date: November 4, 2014 at 3:47:51 PM PST


Thank you for the email yesterday. I will review this case and determine if a request to waive a search was appropriately approved for this position. If you have any questions about the fraud and ethics reporting process, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 541-346-6541.

Brenda Muirhead
UO Office of Internal Audit

11/3/2014: UO violated Title VII in Asst VP of Collaboration hire, according to Public Records Office:

Title VII is the section of the 1964 Civil Rights Act involving hiring, generally known as “affirmative action”. UO’s affirmative action policies require basic good hiring practices such as an open search and public job announcement, or an explanation for the exception. I’m no detective, but I think this evidence that UO violated its policies in hiring its new Assistant VP for University Initiatives and Collaboration is called “the dog that didn’t bark”:

From: “Thornton, Lisa” <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Date: October 16, 2014 at 12:14:09 PM PDT
Subject: Public Records Request 2015-PRR-076


Dear Mr. Harbaugh-

The University does not possess records responsive to your request made 10/06/2014 for “documents related to the job search for the new UO Assistant VP for University Initiatives and Collaborations… [s]pecifically I am requesting any documents showing exemptions or exceptions to the UO job search procedures”. [The full request is below].

The office considers this to be fully responsive to your request, and will now close your matter. Thank you for contacting the office with your request.


Lisa Thornton
Office of Public Records
University of Oregon
Office of the President

Presumably Ms Thornton and Dave Hubin have already brought this potential non-compliance with state and federal affirmative action law to the attention of Interim General Counsel Doug Park, for swift investigation and appropriate remedial efforts. But just in case, I have cced Park on the notification – at the risk of another set of retaliatory emails from him, accusing me of harassment.

10/16/2014: Administration kicks off diversity plan by hiring new AVP without an affirmative action search

“Around the 0” has the latest window dressing, here:

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Sounds great. So, did they do an affirmative action compliant search for their latest Assistant VP hire? Doesn’t seem likely:

Subject: Re: PR request, AAEO documents
Date: October 15, 2014 at 11:04:18 AM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu> Cc: doug park <dougpark@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton

It’s been more than a week since I made this PR request. I would appreciate it if you could let me know when you expect to be able to provide the documents.

On MondayOct 6, 2014, at 3:19 PM:

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for documents related to the job search for the new UO Assistant VP for University Initiatives and Collaborations, announced here: http://around.uoregon.edu/content/uo-gains-statewide-education-system-expertise-latest-hire

Specifically I am requesting any documents showing exemptions or exceptions to the UO job search procedures explained at http://ups.uoregon.edu/content/new-appointments and http://ups.uoregon.edu/content/interim-recruitment-guidelines-unclassified-personnel

I believe that this search and hire may have violated UO policies and procedures, and Oregon and Federal affirmative action hiring laws, and therefore I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

10/1/2014: Chuck Triplett, who helped Pernsteiner fire Lariviere, now works in JH Continue reading

Scott Greenstone in the ODE on UO’s freshman class

Excellent reporting. Read it all, here:

… Targeting low-income students helps diversity because minority students are statistically more likely to fall into the low-income bracket, according to Grant Schoonover, an adviser for Pathway Oregon.

“There’s a greater number of first generation and historically underrepresented students in that cross-section,” Schoonover said.

Students who qualify for Pathway Oregon get a promise from the university that any tuition and fees the federal Pell grant and state grants don’t cover, the UO will absorb.

… But much of this change in diversity could simply be because high schools are getting more diverse, says Peace Bransberger, a research analyst for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

“If you look at the simple view, you’ll see that even from 2005… entering classes of students are more diverse,” Bransberger said.

Hiring? Don’t forget the $90,000 minority faculty UMRP scam

Update: With the faculty hiring season well under way, I thought I’d repost this classic.

7/4/2013 AA Plan update: For the first time in living memory, Penny Daugherty’s Affirmative Action Office has managed to complete the federally required annual update to UO’s AA Plan on schedule. Last time she and Randy Geller got President Gottfredson to backdate it just as Frohnmayer regularly did, making it look like UO was in compliance when it wasn’t. The updates are here, the “Executive Order” report deals with race and gender.

Take a look at Table 3 on page 41. Using the federally specified methodology and the latest NCES data, UO’s tenure track faculty is representative of the available pool of Phd’s with respect to race/ethnicity in every single job group. For women, there is under-representation in Music, Education, CAS Humanities, and CAS Sciences:

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How can this be, when a quick glance around UO reveals so few minorities? It’s because the available pool of minority PhD’s is very small. Logically, you’d think we should focus our efforts on increasing the number of minorities who get PhD’s. (Which the recent SCOTUS decision leaves some scope for.)

Nope. Instead we’ve developed a “beggar thy other universities” Under-represented Minority Recruitment Plan, paying departments $90K for every existing racial or ethnic minority TTF PhD we are able to keep another university from hiring. UO spends about $1M a year on this. And to add to the absurdity, there’s nothing in the UMRP for hiring women, and it doesn’t apply to NTTFs. And don’t get me started on SES, political, or religious diversity. UO wants faculty who look different, not faculty who think different.

When it comes to UO’s central administration , they mostly care about hiring their cronies for “special assistant” jobs without open affirmative-action compliant searches. Former Journalism Dean Tim Gleason is the latest case.

Back in 2006 I filed a complaint with the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights about the UMRP, which at the time was giving the money directly to the minority faculty, who often took it as summer salary. Unequal pay for equal work. It took a lot of public records requests, a bar ethics complaint against Melinda Grier, and a long talk with Associate AG David Leith at the Oregon DOJ, but eventually UO changed the plan to give the money to departments, and require them to ensure the funding was not distributed solely on the basis of race.

So while the UMRP may now be mostly legal (though see below for some of the stunts Russ Tomlin pulled) it’s still stupid, and there’s no sign that new VPAA Doug Blandy is going to try and fix it.
Continue reading

Breakfast for Diversity Champions


The UO Breakfast for Diversity Champions on October 31, 2013, will feature UO President Michael Gottfredson and Expert-in-Residence Dr. A.T. Miller, Associate Vice Provost, Cornell University. President Gottfredson will charge the university community in preparation for the next strategic planning process, …

In the past UO has spent its diversity money on things like the double dipping salary for former Director Charles Martinez (Education) and the Under-represented Minority Recruitment Plan, which gives $90K to departments if their hires pass a probably illegal racial and ethnic diversity test set up by Russ Tomlin. New OEI VP Yvette Alex-Assensoh seems to have a more thoughtful data driven approach – helping to fund SAIL, for example.

Scott Jaschik from Inside Higher Ed reports on the latest empirical evidence supporting “fill the pipeline” programs that, like SAIL, target low income students:

A theme of several studies in the last year has been that there are plenty of academically talented low-income students who for some combination of reasons are not applying to competitive colleges to which they would probably be admitted.
A new study along those lines — this time documenting the impact of intense college counseling — was released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

The study (abstract available here) found that a nonprofit group that focuses on college counseling in Minneapolis-St. Paul had a significant impact in increasing the rate at which low-income students enrolled in four-year colleges, including competitive institutions. …

UO’s first black athletes

7/13/2013: From the wonderful fan based Fishduck.com blog:

In 1926 two Portland, OR residents came to Eugene for their academic and athletic pursuits, Robert “Bobby” Robinson and Charles Williams. They were recruited by new Oregon head coach John J. McEwan, an All-American in 1914 at Army, the school where he later coached 1923-25. … 

It was not without its difficulties though, as both Robinson and Williams were initially barred from living in campus dorms, having to find housing in off-campus apartments during their freshman year. Their white teammates signed a petition and submitted it to the school under protest demanding that their fellow players be allowed to live on campus in the dormitories alongside their peers.

I wonder if the UO archives have a copy of that petition.

Live Blog: Senate Agenda and Bean review for Wed 1/16/2013

Executive Summary:

  • Bean still confused by numbers. 
  • Alex-Assensoh makes friends. 
  • Tublitz’s motion on a performance review of Bean put off until Feb meeting, giving Bean a little more time to find a new job, maybe Rose-Hulman will bite. 
  • Motion requiring Gottfredson to tell Holmes and Eveland to stop stalling and give the IAC data on students and student-athletes, and showing Geller doesn’t know squat about FERPA passes unanimously. 
  • Kyr promised he will, as President of the Senate, formally request that the administration provide documents to the Senate in advance of February’s meeting and vote on the AD’s golf course. In addition, he will request that an informed administrator – presumably Rob Mullens – be present at the meeting to answer questions.
  • Hubin promises to deliver heavily redacted version of Gottfredson’s calendar “soon”.

Live, more or less. Usual disclaimer applies. My impression of what people said, meant to say, or what I wished they’d said. Nothing a quote unless in ” “.

Kyr: Friendly welcome, with strong voice.  Good stuff.
Approval of minutes?  Arrived too late… do it next time.
State of the U: Gottfredson sends regards.  Unable to attend, writes to comment on resolutions (letter available online)
1) prioritization of classrooms in any future expansion: accepts resolution, classrooms a priority
other priorities  
2) increased study space for students: accepts recommendation, looks forward to working on it
3) neighborhood 4J schools: university will not take position on issue
Remarks of James Bean, Provost:
Voice not so strong.  Original academic plan, improve quality of metrics re AAU.  Pres is committed to improving metrics.  Research primary goal.  To compete will require significant progress “of all types.”  Organizational changes coming, to improve competitiveness?
Organizational changes have complicated communication.  The fix?  More organizational changes.

Better support for Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies (CLLAS)… 
Head counts: data from last month was “correct but wrong.”  Statistical anomalies?  Just used a percent change… not sure if we should believe it.  Librarians/OA classifications, timing off, replacements vs growth… most honest way to count is looking at five years… a “compounded percentage growth”

Student growth 4.2 percent growth in students?
Faculty increase of 3.9 percent per year (2.9 in TT, 4.7 in nonTT)?
Librarians 2.2 percent
OAs come back to this one.
Classified staff… 2.5percent
grad assist 4.?
work study 6.1 percent
OAs… 4.8 percent growth? (4.3 central, higher in schools and colleges)
(Only had this data for 24 hours)

Plans to ask lots of questions about why OA increases are necessary.  (Says that they now all go through his office… so he’s should be accountable for future increases, right?)
Kyr: We need someone to step up… Senate President Elect, anyone?  Anyone?  Please make recommendations.

Yvette A-A:

Broad definition of diversity. Need to be rigorous, attend to methods, success. Need to be iterative, keep trying new things. Big change will be that EI activities will be spread out so as to provide resources to all doing this work. Very relaxed, confident, can’t discuss personnel but does want to involve people in programs and policies.
Q Dellabough: In future how will you improve transparency? Good answer, clear that she will consult on future policies.
Q Bonine: You have made structural changes, is there a way to involve faculty in these in the future? A: Yes, will use faculty on boards.
Q Psaki: Need more than boards, need wide representation.

Kyr and Simonds explain how to do motions. Very helpful.

Kyr: Data Access policy. Snoozer? Yes, admin sent it to us, exec committee said OK as is.

Tublitz: Performance review of Bean. Bean stays in room – good for him. Or is it intimidation? Nathan explains motion, very clear: symbolic, provost needs review. Substantial, Bean has not been reviewed. Precedent is Tomlin, etc.
Q Elliot: Why no reviews? A: just never happened.
Q Martinez: Has …
Pres wants reviews, committee for the previous motion on reviews still has not met.
Sullivan admits he was a messy kid, says so’s this administration, time to grab them by the collar and say now’s the time.
Student rep: Yes, put it in the rules.
Bonine – Can we put this off til next time? Moved, seconded, and approved. Surprise reprieve for Bean.

Harbaugh: Motion to let faculty see student records, even those of student-athletes. Passed unanimously.

Dellabough: IFS Senator reforms. Seems good. Passes unanimously.

Stahl: Faculty and OA’s etc excused from assignments including class for Senate meetings. Need to reschedule work. This is dragging on and on, seems reasonable as it.

Sayre: Fac Union report: Bargaining is happening, union has put up 30 proposals. Admins have put up 5 counters. Read them people! Union has been trying to incorporate existing policies, admins have been fighting this.

Students want more study space and classrooms. Working on how to use what we have for now – Carson Hall? PE and Rec?
Drugs: McWhorter asked for extension.
Service: Reform is underway, starting w/ survey.

From the floor:
Harbaugh: In Feb I will be sponsoring Bob Doppelt’s motion on the Athletic Department’s new golf course. Will admin’s be present Feb to discuss golf, and will the AD provide documents?
Kyr: Yes. Provide me with a written request for the documents you need and who you want from the admin side and I will formally request the documents and their body, as President of the Senate.

Agenda 1/15/2013: The highlight will be Nathan Tublitz’s call for a long overdue performance review of Interim Provost Jim Bean. Bean was given the interim job by Frohnmayer without faculty input, promoted by Lariviere without faculty input, given a “health sabbatical”, then given a 2 year contract renewal by Berdahl without faculty input. And now it looks like President Gottfredson will be gone for this meeting, and will miss the faculty discussion on Bean.

I’ll try and live blog this but will miss first part.

Check for revisions here.

Knight Library Room 101, 3:00‐5:00 pm

3:00 pm 1. Call to Order
       1.1 Approval of the Minutes of the November 7 & December 5, 2012 Senate Meetings
3:05 pm 2. State of the University
2.1 Remarks by Provost James C. Bean
2.2 Questions and Comments with Response
2.3 Remarks by Senate President Robert Kyr
2.3.1 Election of Senate President-Elect
2.3.2 Search for Senate Executive Coordinator
3:25 pm 3. Open Discussion
3.1 Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
3.2 Questions and Comments with Response
3:45 pm 4. New Business
4.1 Decision regarding Policy for Review: Data Access
Robert Kyr, Senate President
4.2 Motion (Legislation):Performance Review of Provost James C. Bean;
Nathan Tublitz, Professor (Biology)
4.3 Motion (Legislation): Data and Documents for the IAC and Clarifying FERPA;
Bill Harbaugh, Professor (Economics) [See updated motion here]
4.4 Motion (Legislation): UO Representation on the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate (IFS);
UO Senate Executive Committee, Kassia Dellabough (PODS), SEC member
4.5 Motion (Legislation Resubmitted): Release Time to Enhance Senate Effectiveness;
Frank Stahl, Professor Emeritus (Biology)
4.6 Motion (Legislation Resubmitted): Modification of Fiscal Impact Statement;
Frank Stahl, Professor Emeritus (Biology)
4:40 pm 5. Reports
5.1 ASUO Report; Laura Hinman, ASUO President
5.2 UA Senate Liaison Committee; Gordon Sayre, Professor (English)
5.3 Updates on Motions; Robert Kyr, Senate President
5.3.1  Motion on Faculty Input into Hiring Executive Administrators
5.3.2  Motion on Review of Executive Administrators
5.3.3  Motion on Study Space Prioritization
5.3.4  Motion on Classroom Space Prioritization
5.3.5  Report from IAC (Student Athlete Academic Status re: OAR on
Random Drug Testing)
5.4 Ten-Year Review of University Standing Committees;
Robert Kyr, Senate President
5.5 Report from UO Police Department at February Senate Meeting
4:55 pm 6. Announcements and Communications from the Floor
5:00 pm 7. Adjournment