Let me be the first to congratulate former Interim UO President Bob Berdahl (left) on his courageous support for Better Oregon’s Measure 28 ballot initiative, which is the only proposal on the table that would increase tax revenues by enough to allow the sorts of increases in higher education funding that he calls for in his Oregonian Op-Ed here.
Although, on a closer read, Berdahl doesn’t actually come out in support of Measure 28, which does have some issues. So his op-ed has a better substantive proposal for raising the money, and a plan to put it on the November ballot? Nope. Instead he starts with a bit of self-congratulation:
He then cites some well known numbers on how little support Oregon provides higher education, and makes this radical proposal:
Perhaps it is time we started asking candidates for the Legislature about their priorities.
Yes, perhaps it is. What a powerful idea. Perhaps. I do like Berdahl’s conclusion though:
Why do we cheer when one of our university athletic teams is ranked in the top 10 or contending for a national championship, but seem satisfied that “record” funding for higher education leaves us in 41st place?
10/22/2015: Just got back from this. It was the usual, with a large helping of self-congratulation on the side. I wonder how much the event cost, who paid for it, and how intelligent people can sit through this pablum. Oh, right, free lunch and an all-expense paid trip to Oregon. As my PhD advisor told me, “never go to a talk without a good paper to read”.
From what I can tell the American Academy is part of the retirement plan for a lot of overpaid academic administrators, with a dusting of faculty and a few rich patrons. Speaking of retirement plans, here’s a little more on how Berdahl is topping off his $146K PERS payments:
This is from the IRS 990 for American College Testing, the “non-profit” that runs the ACT. It’s quite unusual for a non-profit to pay its directors. Bloomberg News has a report on ACT’s high payments here, and the Des Moines Register has an investigative report here, which notes the potential for conflict of interest inherent in paying board members who also have jobs where they can influence efforts to require testing of the sort ACT sells. This, presumably, is exactly why the ACT wants them on their board:
How ACT’s new board members are plugged in to standardized testing
Since revamping its board of directors in 2002, ACT now has several board members who have led influential national organizations and furthered the push for more standardized testing: Mark D. Musick, who has been paid at least $44,250 annually from ACT since 2003, served while he was also president of the Atlanta-based Southern Regional Education Board, a compact of 16 states that has embraced both the ACT and SAT.
Musick chaired the governing board of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which directs the program known as the Nation’s Report Card. In the 1980s, he directed a project that, for the first time, produced student achievement information that could be compared from one state to another. The project served as a model for the nationwide program that now is the key education accountability provision for the No Child Left Behind Act.
Board members Karen Holbrook and Charles Reed both served on the board of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, a group the federal government wants to develop new means of measuring student performance and hold American colleges and universities more accountable.
Both ACT and the U.S. Department of Education have been pushing for more standardized testing at colleges and universities, a move widely resisted by many college deans and faculty. …
The Iowa DOJ started an investigation, but it apparently went nowhere.
9/15/2015: Scandal ridden AAAS invites Bob Berdahl to speak at UO library
The AAAS pays their new president, Jonathan Fanton, $490K plus benefits. Not bad for running a non-profit with a mere $11M budget, $2.7M of which went for legal expenses last year. In October Fanton will travel from Boston to Eugene for lunch and a discussion on “The Role of Public Institutions in Higher Education”. Presumably Berdahl’s remarks will focus on the role of higher education presidents in wasting public money on perks and buyouts for top administrators:
You can get a preview of the upcoming insipidity from this 2012 video of Berlowitz and Berdahl, here:
What economist could refuse a chance to live-blog a free lunch? Not me:
10/16/2015: No, of course I’m not talking about Chuck Lillis and his statement to Oregonian reporter Rich Read that he hoped the UO Senate could survive my election as president. Lillis will come around.
I’m talking about UBC board chair John Montalbano, who resigned today, 7 weeks after he called up UBC professor Jennifer Berdahl to complain about her blog post, which called his board’s decision to fire the UBC president racist and sexist. Berdahl’s chair was funded by a $2M donation from Montalbano.
The CBC has a report about the subsequent investigation and Montalbano’s resignation here, and Professor Berdahl is gleefully blogging about it here:
The Smith Report notes that “The protections of academic freedom extend to the dissemination of scholarly research and opinion through these new electronic media” (p. 5) as well as to “commentary (whether positive or negative) by members of UBC on the extent to which the central functions of the University are being advanced or hindered by decisions or initiatives affecting the University” (p. 6). Some people did not understand that an academic blog, and comments about one’s university and its leadership, are protected by academic freedom. So is scholarly opinion and speculation; asking questions and proposing theories are crucial to the advancement of inquiry and knowledge.
Academic freedom is to a university what love is to a family….
8/26/2015: UBC Board’s John Montalbano defends self against blogger Berdahl
He comes off very well. I particularly liked the part where he explains that the UBC faculty *elects* several board members. Don’t tell that to UO Law Professor Susan Gary, who was first appointed on recommendation of UO Law Professor Margie Paris without faculty consultation, and then kept her position on the board last year without an election, despite UO Senate legislation to hold one for nominees.
At Berkeley. Full report from the UC-Berkeley faculty investigators, here.
Along with these challenges, Kasser had two more important issues to deal with: the completion of Haas Pavilion and reducing the athletic budget. When Tien stepped down in 1997, the cumulative deficit for the combined programs was over $8 million. By 1999, his replacement, Chancellor Robert Berdahl, forgave the total accumulated debt, which had reached more than $18 million. Increasing tuition as a result of the economic downturn during Tien’s term added substantial cost to the several hundred athletic scholarships. The department also needed to address Title IX compliance by adding three new women’s sports and improving facilities. Finally a central campus “tax” on all auxiliary programs called “full costing” and myriad problems associated with the completion of the Haas Pavilion all played some role in the generation of these deficits.
Then Berdahl tried to hide what he’d done from the Berkeley faculty:
The Coley report was such an eye-opener for the administration that Berdahl’s head of public affairs, Matt Lyon, insisted the report remain confidential for fear of a negative faculty reaction.
At UO, we’re probably close to $50M by now. What will Coltrane do?
We all know Mike’s $940K richer, and that he’s technically on the books at UC-Irvine as a Criminology professor for $240K a year. But what’s he really doing?
My guess is that he’s topping off that $240K with some serious AAU money – in the spirit of his mentor Bob Berdahl – to help develop the AAU’s new “Campus Climate” survey on sexual assault. This apparently became an AAU priority at their meeting in April, a month or so after Gottfredson (and Berdahl?) learned of the UO basketball rape allegations.
Frankly, it’s hard to imagine anything that would do more to destroy the AAU’s credibility on this issue than getting Gottfredson and Berdahl involved. But here’s the report from AAU President Hunter Rawlings, apparently posted by mistake on Gottfredson’s website, here: (Yes, the yellow hilites are in the original.)
The scandal about Bob Berdahl’s 2005 UC-Berkeley retirement payoff led to substantial UC-system reforms. Berdahl moved on to the Association of American Universities, at a healthy salary. He retired in June 2011 as AAU president, and in October 2011 The Chronicle of Higher Ed reported that UO President Lariviere had hired Berdahl as a “special advisor” for two days a week, for $96K a year. Boy did that work out badly.
Meanwhile, according to the AAU’s IRS 990 form, Berdahl was working 47 hours a week as the “Past President”, for $463,410 a year. Sweet gig.
47 hours was the average, for the calendar year ending Dec 2011. I suppose it’s possible he front loaded his hours, and cut back on the AAU money when he started working for UO. Doesn’t look likely though:
6/9/2014: President, hired with Berdahl support, demands $2M buyout to resign
Like Mike Gottfredson, the (now former) President of the University of Hawaii M.R.C Greenwood seemed like a bad fit from day one:
Under Greenwood’s tenure, student tuition increased at a record pace – more than 100 percent in 5 years – and is set to rise another 29 percent, but lawmakers said the money appeared to be going to a bloated administration, not students and classrooms…. Rep. K. Mark Takai, another graduate of the University, was critical of Greenwood’s unwillingness to appear before lawmakers at hearings involving the University. He also introduced resolutions and bills to reduce excess spending at the University.
Relations between Greenwood, the regents and the Senate were so stressed in the fall of 2012, Greenwood sent the regents a letter demanding $2 million to leave the University ahead of her contract expiring. …
Tanoue added, “The committee spoke with numerous academic leaders who described Dr. Greenwood as an exceptional administrator and leader, with a strong record of working with federal, state and local officials and diverse communities. We note, for example, that individuals such as Dr. Robert Berdahl, president of the American Association of Universities, and Dr. Martha Kanter, President Obama‘s nominee to become undersecretary of education, provided compelling testimony about their high regard for Dr. Greenwood as one of the most talented, creative and effective leaders in higher education today.”
Apparently the search committee didn’t dig very hard into the connections between Berdahl and Greenwood, or they would have found a long series of San Francisco Chronicle stories on various scandals, like this:
As for Mike Gottfredson, the OUS board held a secret review of him in spring 2013, and renewed his contract through July 2016, without input from the UO faculty (excepting apparently, a few token insiders).
7/2/2014 update: The old post below now seems a bit more relevant, given that President Gottfredson apparently assumed he could keep the March 8-9 basketball rape allegations secret while the players potentially transferred to other schools. (The comment from Berdahl and replies are also interesting.)
“When Rutgers learned of allegations against Professor Ludlow at Northwestern, the university requested relevant information from Professor Ludlow and his attorney,” Greg Trevor, a Rutgers spokesman, said in a statement cited by the newspaper. “This information was not provided. As a result, Professor Ludlow will not be coming to Rutgers University.”
8/2/2012: When UO hired Lariviere this blog started a policy of giving new UO Presidents a mostly free pass for their first year. That was before I found out about this $350K ($355K, see comments) Beanesque scam by Bob Berdahl, 6 months after I’d been assured that he was without a hint of scandal, and a fighter for transparency and shared governance. Right.
So when Pernsteiner hired Gottfredson I spent hours combing through google news archives, PACER, EDGAR, California court records, and parking tickets, looking for the dirt. Finally a helpful tipster sent in this:
Alors qu’il n’y a eu aucune contrainte ou violence exercée à son encontre, ni d’atteinte (si improbable au demeurant!) à l’“innocence” présumée d’une femme de 27 ou 28 ans, où trouve-t-elle la ressource, comment peut-elle prétendre avoir le droit d’entamer une procédure aussi grave et de mettre en marche une bureaucratie juridico-académique aussi lourde contre un professeur respectable et respecté de tous?
If you take Derrida’s view Gottfredson viciously hounded Kujundzić out of a job, over trumped up charges that prove Americans’ sexual naiveté. Or maybe Gottfredson compassionately settled a difficult situation by promising to keep the allegations confidential if Kujundzić left UCI, and then like a true idiot Derrida posted them on the internet. Anyway, Florida hired Kujundzić without knowing about his past. His alleged harassment past, that is, I assume his vampire work was on his vitae.
So, other than his arguably ambiguous position on vampire professors, I got nothing on Gottfredson. I even tried Microsoft BING, for christ’s sake. He’s clean. 8/1/2012.
6/8/2014: Rumor down at the faculty club is that Gottfredson and Berdahl are closeted in McMorran House, working on a strategy to convince the Trustees to give Gottfredson another chance. From the meeting packet here:
June 12, 12:00 pm: Trustees roundtable discussion with Bob Berdahl Ford Alumni Center, Room 403
Presumably Berdahl will be introduced to the board as former UC-Berkeley president, AAU, etc. A legendary leader in higher education. Then he will explain to the awestruck trustees that any more turnover in the UO presidency would be so disruptive, and the search for a replacement so difficult, that it’s better for the new Board to suffer an obvious incompetent, the last bit of baggage from OUS and Pernsteiner, rather than to do what most everyone hopes they will do: Replace Gottfredson with Scott Coltrane as interim, and get UO off to a fresh start.
Legislation in Illinois would bar public universities from using state funds, tuition revenue or student fees for search firms, The News-Gazette reported. The University of Illinois has spent almost $6 million on search firms over the last nine years, including funds on some searches that did not work out well. Critics question whether the spending is necessary, while board members say that search firms have recruited top talent.
The News-Gazette story is very balanced. We could ask our interim President Berdahl what he thinks about the costs and benefits of presidential search firms, but he seems to have a conflict of interest:
He didn’t report this on his Oregon Government Ethics Commission Verified Statement of Economic Interest – must not have made the 10% income threshold, which I’m guessing would be about $100,000.
After I posted to above, interim President Berdahl emailed me asking that I add the following response from him:
The following is a comment that I tried to submit to UOMatters in response to your suggestion that I have conflicts of interest. Since the comments are limited to 4,000 characters, UOMatters would not accept it.
Despite your campaign of innuendo, I have nothing to hide.
At last week’s Senate meeting, I suggested that Professor Harbaugh had a conflict of interest because, as the largest single requester of public records, he also served as the chair of the Senate Transparency Committee, which has advised the administration on the university’s public records fee policy. It is a straight-forward conflict of interest: the largest single user of a public service should not be in a position to try to influence the policy on fees for the provision of that public service.
Now, obviously irritated by the suggestion of his conflict of interest, Professor Harbaugh is responding by trying to suggest that I somehow have a conflict of interest. So, let me set out the facts for those readers of UOMatters who may be interested in facts.
5/30/2014 update: Rumors prove false. The Trustees have now posted the June 12-13 meeting material, here. The delegation revisions start at page 55. At first glance this new draft seems to have addressed at least some of the Senate’s problems with Geller’s initial secret policy, but expect further review by the Senate’s ad hoc committee, chaired by President Rob Kyr (Music).
In other news, the board will host a public roundtable lunch discussion with former Interim UO President Bob Berdahl on Thursday, June 12. Berdahl’s brief presidency (and the hiring of Sharon Rudnick) was instrumental in persuading the UO faculty, including me, that a faculty union was needed to counterbalance the bat-shit craziness in Johnson Hall. As it has proved to be.
Highlights of his earlier career as UC-Berkeley President include committing the university to an unaffordable football stadium, quickly followed by a lucrative golden parachute buyout. Given the current situation with Mike Gottfredson and our Trustees, it is clear Berdahl’s expertise on buyouts will be invaluable.
5/30/2014 update: Gottfredson hiding new draft of “Delegation of Board Authority” policy from faculty? Continue reading →
7/14/2013 update: The $140M UC-Berkeley stadium upgrade that Bob Berdahl approved as Berkeley’s chancellor back in 2004 has now ballooned to $321M, and it’s looking like it will be a long term drain on the academic budget. The SF Chronicle has the story:
Taking a grimmer view is Roger Noll, an emeritus professor (of economics) at Stanford and an expert in stadium financing. He pointed to less ambitious efforts to finance new stadiums in Michigan and Texas, which aren’t going well. “If Texas can’t raise the money, how the hell do you think Cal can?” Noll said with a rueful laugh. “I hope they succeed, but the chances are not very high,” he said. “My guess is the incremental revenue from the stadium is not going to be even close to paying off the structural deficit.”
BERKELEY, CALIF.- University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl announced today that he will endorse an ambitious plan to renovate Memorial Stadium, the campus’ 81-year-old football venue. The project, which could cost as much as 140 million dollars, will be funded entirely by private donations.
As state legislators shrink its appropriations, it’s hard enough for the University of California-Berkeley to maintain the nation’s highest academic ranking among public colleges. But there now looms a financial threat from another, somewhat unlikely quarter: the university’s football program.
Until now, the years-old effort to renovate the school’s football stadium, which sits on an earthquake fault line, never raised many alarms. Although its $321 million price tag would make it one of the most expensive renovations in college sports history, the university said the project would be funded privately, largely through long-term seat sales and naming rights.
But three years into the fund-raising effort, a projected $270 million from the sale of seats has failed to materialize. At the end of December, the school had collected only $31 million in the first three years of the sale. Now it has become clear that the university will have to borrow the vast majority of the money.
In recent interviews, university officials acknowledge that if revenue projections fall short and won’t cover the bond payments, the shortfall “would have to come from campus.”
So, are you wondering if Bob Berdahl, now interim UO president, is playing along with AD Rob Mullens’s plans to expand Autzen? Do you think maybe the UO Senate and its Inter-collegiate Athletic Committee should be kept in the loop on something like this?
2/17/2013: Time to get real. Gottfredson’s not going to fire Bean. He’s not even going to fire Geller. It’s up to us faculty. Sure, we could fight with conventional weapons, like Tublitz’s senate resolution. But that would take years. No, this requires a really stupid and futile gesture. And
So get to work. Post your list of our Provost’s fivetwogreatest accomplishments, and suggested wording in the comments. I’ll add some fluff and a signature,
and send the letter off to academic headhunter firms. Surely there’s a Dental Hygienics College somewhere in Dubai that needs a leader.
2/16/2013: I thought I’d repost this classic, since it bears on both the never-ending Bean and public records issues. Note the part at the end, explaining Berdahl’s revocation of the fee-waiver policy which had been instituted by Lariviere after a year of hard work and perseverance (some have called it intimidation) by the Senate Transparency Committee.
5/4/2012: When Richard Lariviere found out about the secret Frohnmayer/Bellotti deal he wrote:
“This institution did not follow acceptable business practices in the past. That will not be repeated by my administration.”
Apparently that message didn’t get through to John Moseley, Jim Bean, and Lorraine Davis. I wrote a little about their latest deal here. All in all this involves maybe $60,000 in UO money, plus a bunch more from OSU. In addition to the questionable UO contract addition, there are some expense issues. In a nutshell, after a 2009 audit investigation raised a few issues with Moseley’s contracts and expenses – he was charging UO for his travel between his homes in Eugene and Bend – UO promised the auditor that Moseley would not receive any more reimbursements … :
The auditor made it a point to cc James Bean on the report. Moseley and Bean broke that deal within 2 months:
The full document dump is here – many interesting expense charges and more info on the contract extension. It was obtained in response to this public records request:
Dear Ms Thornton –
In the documents you sent me last week in response to my 4/4/2012 request there was a letter from acting Provost Davis stating in part
The March 2011 interagency agreement between OSU and U0 clearly articulated the percent of FTE necessary for you to oversee the transfer of undergraduate academic programs at OUS-Cascades from UO to OSU. OSU agreed to reimburse UO for your time from July 1 to December 31, 2011 at 0.5FTE and January 1 to June 30, 2012 at 0.25FTE. It is my understanding the time necessary to oversee the program transfer was underestimated and resulted in an agreement between you and Jim Bean to increase your FTE to 0.5 FTE for the time period of January 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012.
This is a public records request for
a) a copy of that OSU/UO agreement
b) any letters, emails, notes, cocktail napkins, or other public records documenting the side agreement in which Jim Bean agreed to pay John Mosley an additional 0.25 FTE
c) any expense reports submitted by Moseley to UO or OSU or OUS from June 31 2009 to the present.
I ask for a fee waiver on the grounds of public interest. The golden parachute contracts between UO and Moseley involve the expenditure of a lot of UO and now apparently OSU money. They have been the subject of news stories in the Oregonian, Register Guard, and Bend Bulletin. In June 2009 OUS issued an audit report (attached) finding irregularities with Moseley’s previous contracts and travel expenses. The Oregon Politico database indicates that Moseley has been reimbursed for in-state travel since the agreement described in this audit report.
It turns out there is no written agreement between Moseley and Bean for the extra 0.25 FTE salary and benefits that Lorraine Davis is paying special assistant to the provost John Moseley – not even a cocktail napkin. (Davis did write out a contract to legitimize it, after Bean went on sabbatical.) These are acceptable business practices?
8/7/2012: That’s the latest rumor from Dave Hubin. Apparently the proposal comes from Bob Berdahl, with support from unnamed other Johnson Hall dwellers. My guess is this is a reaction to my posting of the letters describing Interim Provost Jim Bean’s Berdahlesque sabbatical online last December, during the fight over whether Pernsteiner would appoint him as interim President. Perhaps related to Berdahl’s attack on the credibility of my research claim that other unnamed faculty are attacking the credibility of my research. That’ll teach the faculty what happens when they meddle in the affairs of administrators.
FWIW you can get a list of my publications and citations here, and some pretty random student comments at ratemyprofessor.com. (The official UO course evaluations are now behind a firewall, anyone know why?) Anyone can do the same searches for any UO professor. But good luck trying to get any sort of information on our UO senior administrators, without using the public records law. They don’t even post their c.v.’s. Randy Geller wouldn’t give his up until I petitioned the Attorney General.
Two weeks back UO announced it was going to try and change the Oregon Administrative Rules which forbid random drug testing of Ducks. Bob Berdahl, Rob Mullens, and Randy Geller ignored both the intent of Oregon law (which requires public input) and the UO “Policy on Policies” (which requires Senate approval) to rush this through when school was out of session and there wouldn’t be an embarassing public debate.
Update: Frank Stahl has now emailed Ms Hatch, saying “This postponement will allow time for the University Senate to act upon this Policy as required by the University Policy on Policies and the UO Constitution.” Which is going to make it a little harder for Randy to pass the buck.
Pursuant to OAR 571-001-0020, and as President of the University Senate and Chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (IAC, a standing senate committee), we are writing to you to request a postponement of the public hearing that is currently scheduled for August 23rd, 2012 at 2:00 pm (Walnut Room of the EMU). The purpose of this public hearing is to receive public input regarding the proposed amendments to OAR 571-004-0020, 571-004-0025, 571-004-0050 and 571-004-0055, and the proposed adoption of OAR 571-004-0038. August 23rd does not fall during a time in our academic calendar when school is in full session. This makes it virtually impossible for our constituents to attend this important public hearing, and if it goes forward as planned, our constituencies will feel that they were cut out of the “public” process, which numerous individuals will assume was intentional.
We request a postponement that will set the date for the public hearing during the second week of the fall quarter (Monday, October 1st through Friday, October 5th) or later. This time frame will enable our constituents– especially members of the faculty and student populations–to participate fully in a truly public process that is synchronized with our standard academic calendar.
Robert Kyr Philip H. Knight Professor of Music President, University of Oregon Senate
Brian McWhorter Associate Professor of Music Chair, Intercollegiate Athletic Committee (IAC)
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