UO pays equity consultant ~$120,000 to give 12 faculty $4,700

The blame for this debacle should be shared between the UO administration and the UAUO faculty union. The faculty union, however, has learned from it never to get involved in something that involves 50 hours of meetings with administrators and a consultant who makes a living telling administrators what they want to hear. Looking at the new Faculty Tracking Software scheme, it seems the administration took away a different lesson.

Long story short, 2 years ago then UAUO President Michael Dreiling signed an MOU with the administration for a 1.5% ATB raise for TTF in Jan 2019, with another 0.75% sent aside for “equity raises” – meaning raises directed at underpaid women and minorities, as identified by a standard regression model with department, rank, and time in rank as dependent variables. Any remaining funds were to got to ATB raises. It took UO about a year to hire a consultant. It took the consultant about a year to run a regression and interpret the outliers.

So, in fall, 12 TTF faculty will get equity raises averaging $4,700 each. The rest of the TTF will get ~0.5% retroactive, all with interest. UO has paid the consultant ~$120K, and burned through maybe 500 hours of OA and faculty time let’s call it $250K altogether, to transfer ~50K to 12 people. It may or may not be equitable, but it sure isn’t efficient.

More interestingly, at the same time UO was paying consultants to go through this process, which was almost entirely based on the premise that professors in the same departments with the same rank should be paid similarly, it was paying lawyers to argue, in the Jennifer Freyd case, that professors in the same department with the same rank do such different jobs that their work and salary cannot be compared.

It will be interested to see how the courts reconcile any lawsuits that might come out these equity raises with the Freyd lawsuit, which has been appealed to the 9th circuit.

Meanwhile Missy Matella, who ran the Gender Equity Project, won’t give me the regression results unless I pay her ~$400, but they’ve posted a lot of descriptive stuff here.

Judge McShane dismisses Professor Freyd’s pay discrimination lawsuit

5/3/2019 update: The EW’s Camilla Mortenson has a brief report on the case here. The full opinion is at http://uomatters.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/093-19-05-02-Opinion-Order.pdf. The full docket is here.

4/11/2019 update. Arguments about to start. More later.

4/8/2019 update: UO’s attempts to dismiss Freyd lawsuit include redefining “Professor”

Full disclosure: I am not a lawyer.

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Gender and minority equity raises: GC Kevin Reed and HR’s Missy Matella using fees and delays to hide analysis

Back in Sept 2017 the faculty union and the administration signed this MOU here, by which the administration would hold back 0.75% of a 2.0% across-the-board raise for TTF to address “unexplained equity differences potentially related to race, gender, or ethnicity” to be paid starting in Jan 2019.

0.75% works out to a pool of about $450K recurring. These will be permanent increases, if they are ever awarded. Instead of determining these raises transparently, the administration wasted time and money searching for a consultant to do the work. (About $120K near as I can tell. The work is at least a year behind, and still not finished.)

The consultant ran the usual regressions, replicating work I and others had already done, which showed no evidence of a gender gap in pay once the standard controls for rank and department were included. (Except, apparently, for Asian assistant professors.) The committee was skeptical of the results, so they had JP Monroe in IR rerun them. Came out the same, again.

From what I’ve been able to figure out from some leaks and the consulting contract, the administration then decided to proceed anyway, and made a dataset of all the TTF faculty whose salaries were more than ~1.5 standard deviations below and/or 80% or less than their predicted salaries based on rank, time in rank, and department. They then dropped all men who were not racial or ethnic minorities. I think this leaves about 80 people. They then sent departments a request for specific information on the hiring and outside offers of the remaining faculty that might justify their low salaries, or not. The rumor is that productivity was not considered.

This Friday the committee met and went through those faculty, one by one, using this information to decide whether or not they should get a permanent raise, and if so how much. I’ll guess 30 faculty survived this process, with an average raise of about $10K, leaving about $150K or $200 for the remaining faculty. Just a guess, this is all secret stuff.

This seems like an interesting way to attempt to address gender inequities. So back on Feb 28th I asked interim Chief HRO Missy Matella for a copy of the regression coefficients and other aggregate info that would be used to determine who got raises. No individual info, just aggregate results:

Hi Missy,

I’m writing as UO Senate President to request a copy of the regression results provided to UO by Berkeley Consulting Group, and currently being used by the Faculty Salary Equity Study group, as explained on the website at https://provost.uoregon.edu/faculty-salary-equity-study-overview#next-steps:

The Faculty Salary Equity Study work group is in the process of reviewing the regression analysis results and setting the threshold that identifies “negative outliers,” namely those faculty members earning lower-than-expected salaries for the purpose of this study. Identifying “negative outliers” is critically important to fulfilling the requirements of this study. Therefore, the threshold the work group establishes will be more inclusive than the common convention of 1.96 standard deviations below expected salary and 80% of expected salary.

I am not asking for any individual level data. I’m just asking for the regression results as commonly presented by consultants and researchers in this field, e.g.: http://www.utsa.edu/today/2018/images/GenderEquity-2018-08-29.pdf.

Specifically, you should have a table such as this from Berkeley:

And a few figures such as this:

Thanks,

Bill Harbaugh
UO Senate Pres, Econ Prof

Her response was:

Hi Bill – In follow up to our conversation on Friday, I would like to sit down with you, Chris and Melanie to talk about this request and the different interests involved. I talked to Chris and he thinks this makes sense as well. In particular, I think it makes sense to talk about the work of the TTF equity committee and its discussions about how and when to release a report explaining the results and the committee’s work. Chris and I can also discuss the conversations we’ve had about how and when information will be released to UA. Thanks and please let me know some times this week when you’re available.

Always best to read the documents before the meeting, so I followed Matella’s advice and made a public records request for them:

From: Bill Harbaugh <wtharbaugh@gmail.com>
Subject: Public Records request, Re: salary equity regression results
Date: March 8, 2019 at 4:31:13 PM PST
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Missy Matella <mmatella@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms. Thornton –

This is a public records request for the public records described in the email below.

Please note that the email below to HR Director Missy Matella comes from me as Senate President. She has declined to provide these to me as Senate President. Therefore I’m making this public records request as the editor of the uomatters.com blog.

Ms. Matella has these public records and can easily provide them without fees or delays, however if she proposes to charge a fee, I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest and my ability to widely distribute these public records to the public and reporters through UO Matters.

Thanks,

Bill Harbaugh
http://harbaugh.org

(Despite what Kevin Reed believed when he made a public records request for my emails about academic freedom, a UO employee can’t use the PR law to request docs from UO as an employee, because the state assumes agencies will of course share all information with themselves. Sure. So after Matella stonewalled my question as Senate Pres, I had to make the public records request as a private citizen.)

After some back and forth we scheduled a meeting, and the morning of it I got this response:

From: Missy Matella <mmatella@uoregon.edu>
Subject: Re: salary equity regression results
Date: March 26, 2019 at 7:17:30 AM PDT
To: Bill Harbaugh <wtharbaugh@gmail.com>, Melanie Muenzer <muenzer@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Chris Sinclair <sinclair@uauoregon.org>, Elizabeth Skowron <eskowron@uoregon.edu>

Thanks Bill. I’m looking forward to talking about the TTF equity committee’s work, the underlying interests and next steps. I’m also interested in discussing the various roles of campus stakeholders relating to this project, which is being implemented under an MOU between United Academics and UO administration.

Bill, with respect to your individual public records request, I’m happy to pass along your thoughts regarding timing to that office again. I previously sent the office your thoughts regarding when the documents should be produced.

Then, 30 minutes before the meeting started I got this from Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office:

03/26/2019

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “…regression results provided to UO by Berkeley Consulting Group, and currently being used by the Faculty Salary Equity Study group…” on 03/11/2019, attached. With this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $435.69. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

Please note that if the cost of preparing the documents for you is less than the estimate, we will refund the difference. If the cost of preparing the records for you exceeds the estimate, however, you may be charged for the difference. Following is an outline of how costs are determined.

The office will provide the documents electronically to avoid a copy fee of 25 cents per page.  The office also charges for the actual cost of making public records available.  The charge includes, but is not limited to, staff costs for locating, gathering, summarizing, compiling, reviewing, tailoring or redacting the public records to respond to a request.  The charge may also include the cost of time spent by an attorney in reviewing the public records, redacting material from the public records, or segregating the public records into exempt and nonexempt records.

The cost of time for each employee is calculated by multiplying the employee’s hourly wage calculation (including benefits expenses) by the hours or portions thereof necessary to locate, gather, summarize, compile, tailor, review, redact, segregate, certify or attend the inspection of the public records requested.

Thank you for contacting us with your request.

Sincerely,  Office of Public Records

6207 University of Oregon | Eugene, OR 97403-6207, (541) 346-6823 | pubrec@uoregon.edu

When I talked to Ms Matella at the meeting about charging me $435 for a document she had on hand, her response was to deny that she had the consultant’s report, then say she had to follow Kevin Reed’s (purposively dilatory) procedures, and then to say that she did not want to release anything until the process was over, the equity raises had been determined along with the remaining amount to be paid out ATB if any, and (to paraphrase) the administration and its PR flacks had decided how to spin the results. Needless to say these are not justifiable reasons for delaying release of a public record under Oregon’s public records law.

My guess is that faculty – female, minority, or generic – will be lucky to see any money by the end of spring, at which point the complaints and lawsuits from those who feel that this secretive process has harmed them, or not benefitted them enough, or that it has violated Oregon’s new Equal Pay Act will begin.

Too bad. The simple takeaway from this should have been the very good news that, unlike most universities, UO has very little detectable pay discrimination. Instead it’s the same old news – our administration can’t handle transparency.

Check the provosts’s website here for the administration’s spin: https://provost.uoregon.edu/faculty-salary-equity-study

University releases regression results for gender equity raises

That would be the University of Texas at San Antonio, and they were released by their Provost, Kimberly Espy.

Here at UO, interim HR director Missy Matella spoke to the general membership meeting of the faculty union about UO’s pay equity study tonight. Several faculty asked about why the administration had not released the regression results from the consultant’s report, which they are now using to decide who gets how much in equity raises.

Matella’s response was that we could always make a request to Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office. I pointed out that this office does not have a good track record when it comes to transparency, and that this would hurt trust in the gender equity process. She then suggested that we talk more about this offline. I don’t like having conversations about transparency offline, so I’m posting this online.

Salary equity adjustments update, Freyd lawsuit, UO lawyers “blame it on the union” again

Two interesting processes are coming to a head soon.

First is the lawsuit by Prof Jennifer Freyd alleging UO underpaid her for years, despite the pleas of her department head to the CAS associate dean, and the conclusions of an external review committee. See my “Nevertheless she persisted” post here. UO has a team of lawyers and Pres Schill has another team from a different law firm, plus of course GC Kevin Reed, thought it’s often hard to figure out exactly whose interests he represents.

Discovery is finally complete, and Freyd’s lawyers have filed their revised complaint, here. A snippet:

The full docket is here, now with responses from UO and Pres Schill’s lawyers. And yes, of course they’re still trying to “blame it on the union:”

This is bullshit and the administration and their lawyers know it. The CBA raises are floors, not ceilings, and the union has repeatedly told the administration that they are free to give additional raises, subject only to the requirement that they tell the union about such raises annually.

 

Then there is the joint administration/union effort to analyze TTF salaries and identify gender and racial disparities and correct them. Having been part of the committee that selected the contractor, I have to say that I was not impressed by their description of the statistical methods they would use to do this or the more touchy-feely methods they’d then use to determine any adjustments. But in any case they’ve finally ran some regressions, and there’s some process to take some action:

Dear Colleagues,

Earlier this year and in response to a memorandum of understanding with United Academics, the Office of the Provost launched a tenure-track faculty equity study. The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether salary inequities exist for tenure-track and tenured faculty that are related to gender, race, or ethnicity.

To provide advice and counsel to the external consultants running the study and ensure faculty input, the provost formed a work group that includes five tenure-track faculty members, including two nominated by United Academics, the executive vice provost, the vice president for finance and administration and CFO, the senior director for employee and labor relations, and the director of institutional research. As the group continues its work, I want to provide you with more information about this important initiative and share next steps with the project.

Our consultant, Berkley Research Group, LLC, is working with the project work group to run faculty salary regression analyses that include factors such as academic rank, work experience, education level, tenure status, department, and demographics to determine whether any significant patterns of salary discrepancy appear to exist related to gender or race. The analyses also identify individuals whose salaries are significantly lower than the regression factors would predict. Further investigation will be done on an individual basis for identified faculty members to determine whether other non-discriminatory factors not in the regression analyses (e.g. performance reviews, level of grant activity, years of prior service) explain the variance, or whether salary adjustments should be recommended.

This salary equity project is expected to extend into 2019 as we continue the data review and assessment. Periodic updates will be provided as progress is made. We will share more information about the results of the study as they become available, including recommendations made to the provost. The provost is ultimately charged with making final determinations with respect to the equity study.

Tenure-track and tenured faculty members with salary differences that are not explained by other factors may receive an equity adjustment from the negotiated 2019 0.75% equity fund pool. Salary increases provided from that pool will be retroactive to January 1, 2019. If there are funds remaining in the equity pool after equity decisions are made, those funds will be applied as an additional across-the-board increase to all TTF.

The Office of the Provost will continue to provide periodic updates on the progress of the project, as well as a final report. You can learn more about the salary equity study and monitor our progress on the Office of the Provost website, including an overview of the methods applied in the study.

It is important to note that a faculty member with concerns about their individual salary can always contact the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance (OICRC), formerly the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, to discuss their concerns. That option is available now and will continue to be available after the equity study is completed. We encourage employees who believe their pay has been impacted by prohibited discrimination to contact OICRC.

Your patience as we conduct a thorough and thoughtful study is greatly appreciated. The university is committed to attracting and retaining talented faculty through fair compensation practices. This equity study is critical to fulfilling that commitment. If you have questions, please contact the Office of the Provost at OtP@uoregon.edu.

Best regards,

Scott Pratt
Executive Vice Provost