Senate calls for drug testing postponement

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.

But now the relevant UO Senate officers are calling for a postponement. Great. I do not understand why they are not also explicitly saying that this policy will require Senate approval. Scared of Randy Geller? Come on, Geller’s too chicken to even show his face. Yup, UO’s $200,000 a year general counsel has foisted responsibility for his latest off on his $45,000 a year executive assistant – there’s courage for you.

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.

To: Amanda Hatch, Rules Coordinator
re: Rulemaking Announcement – OAR 571-004 

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)

Jocks’ secret spending hurts new partnership

7/18/2012: There have been a few editorials in Oregon papers dealing with the Penn State Paterno/Spanier/Sandusky football scandal. The Daily Astorian editors are the first I’ve seen to explicitly compare the lack of institutional control that led to Penn State with UO’s lack of institutional control of its own athletic programs:

The corrupting influence of too much money is just as apparent in big time football as it is in America’s wars of occupation.
In a decade when so many Americans are struggling for financial survival, it is startling to observe sectors that are awash in money – and notice that they are the worse for it.
The pedophilia scandal at the Pennsylvania State University is an example of how big money corrupts institutions by creating immunity for one class of people – football coaches – to the point where a sickening pattern of crime was tolerated and enabled.
Writing to The New York Times, Thomas Heiden of Stratford, Conn., commented that, “As long as there is so much money in college football, and as long as there are separate dorms, dining facilities and disciplinary procedures for players and coaching staffs, there will continue to be scandals.”
With Nike money, the University of Oregon has grandly segregated athletes. Moreover, the UO’s deal with football coach and athletic director Mike Bellotti was eye-catching, even in this era of excess. Bellotti is Oregon’s biggest beneficiary in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). His monthly PERS payment is in excess of $40,000. In any decade, that is out of whack; in ours it is obscene.
UO football lives in a universe quite separate from the rest of Oregon higher education, and that’s not healthy.

There is such a thing as having too much money. That is especially apparent in our foreign wars of occupation – Iraq and Afghanistan – where billions have been wasted or stolen. It is especially galling that the profligate waste was money America really didn’t have, because these wars were waged on credit. A president and a Congress didn’t have the intelligence or courage to raise taxes to pay for the wars.
Historians note similarities among nations that decline. The warped American values apparent in last week’s news qualify.

Soon UO is going to go to the legislature to argue for more independence from the state. Phil Knight is a big supporter of that effort. I’m guessing that many more people are going to be asking questions like those above. One reply would be to show evidence of real faculty oversight of athletics and real transparency. But Bob Berdahl has weakened both these efforts at UO. I hope Mike Gottfredson understands that he needs to do a 180 on them if he wants to be able to present a credible argument for more independence.

Berdahl and Spanier both worked to restrict public records access

UO’s Bob Berdahl, from UO Matters 5/22/2012:

Last September, after a long series of meetings and after input from the faculty, students, and the press, President Lariviere instituted a simple $200 fee waiver system for public records requests. It worked pretty well. Maybe too well. Yesterday, with no warning or discussion with the Senate Transparency Committee, Interim President Berdahl imposed some significant restrictions on fee-waivers. (Actually, he made Dave Hubin do it – there’s courage for you.) I wonder what Berdahl is afraid to see disclosed? Email and new policy here.

Penn State’s Graham Spanier, from Poynter.org 7/13/2012:

In 2007, Penn State University President Graham Spanier testified before the Pennsylvania legislature, years after the e-mails flew between top school officials about sexual abuse allegations involving Sandusky.

Spanier pleaded in 2007 with state lawmakers to exempt schools from open records laws. “Subjecting Penn State to Right to Know does far more than feed the prurient interests of newspaper editors who are looking for a headline about how much Coach [Joe] Paterno makes,” testified Spanier, one of the school leaders most sharply rebuked in the Freeh report.

Spanier warned lawmakers at the time that if his school had to disclose its files to the public it could lose “lucrative partnerships” with vendors like Nike and Pepsi, which require non-disclosure. Spanier said revenue from intellectual property would fall because bidders would know too much. He said donors to the school want to remain anonymous and that the disclosures would lead to an erosion of privacy rights for people who work at the school or are mentioned in the files.

To add a little irony, Spanier later had to sue Penn State to get access to his own email. Presumably so he could see exactly how much incriminating evidence Freeh was going to get on him.

Why Bob Berdahl hates public records access

Not sure why this took me so long to find. The San Francisco Chronicle, 2005:

UC’S PAID LEAVES CALLED ‘BETRAYAL’ – REGENTS’ EDICT IGNORED – 3 top managers were given lucrative furloughs in violation of university policy:

Former UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl received a 13 1/2-month leave at $315,600 a year. … UC granted the leaves despite a policy approved by the university’s governing Board of Regents in 1994 limiting paid administrative leaves for senior managers to a maximum of three months. The regents reaffirmed the limit in September.

“It’s a betrayal,” said former state Sen. Quentin Kopp, who helped push UC to declare an end to the paid leaves in 1994. “You can’t depend on the probity of university leaders.” … Both the state Assembly and Senate have scheduled hearings in the wake of stories in The Chronicle reporting that UC quietly paid hundreds of millions of dollars to employees in bonuses, relocation allowances, administrative stipends and other compensation.

The revelations come at a time when the university has said budget constraints have forced it to boost student fees, cut services, increase class sizes and freeze pay for thousands of lower-paid workers.

Sounds familiar. Another headline on Berdahl from 2006:

Ex-chancellor to leave UC, pocket cash – He won’t need to return salary he was paid during year’s leave:

At the time, UC said all three executives were faculty members who otherwise would have qualified for yearlong academic sabbaticals to do research in their fields of expertise. But because of their administrative service, UC said it decided instead to grant them “administrative leaves in lieu of sabbaticals” at their full executive salaries. Berdahl, for instance, received his chancellor’s salary of $315,600 a year, instead of his faculty salary of $130,900, while on leave. 

Sounds remarkably similar to the sabbatical deal Pernsteiner gave Frohnmayer, or what Lariviere gave Bean.

In reaction to these and other similar scandals the CA legislature appointed a “Task Force on UC Compensation, Accountability, and Transparency”. Their report here calls for an end to these sweetheart deals for administrators, controls on income from corporate boards, and for improved transparency and public records access. UC-Irvine seems to have implemented a pretty reasonable process to do this – and UO had one, until Berdahl took it away. 6/12/2012.

Bob Berdahl and George III on Public Records

7/4/2012. Jefferson only had a page to work with. He must have thought this was important:

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. … He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. …

Taylor Branch proposes transparency on athletics

The famed Pulitzer prize winning historian of the civil rights movement has turned his attention to college sports and the NCAA hiring cartel. His 3 point program for reform is here – it starts with transparency:

1 . TRANSPARENCY
At any college or university that hosts an intercollegiate sports program, the principal stakeholders must be assured candid, complete, and verifiable records for athletic revenues and obligations as well as for academic standards and performance. These records should be open for public inspection and accountability, subject only to appropriate privacy protections for the identity of individual students.
The body of sports stakeholders should include representatives of the school’s trustees and administrative leadership, its athletic department, its faculty, and students both on and off its sports teams.

Transparency regarding Duck athletics is exactly what Bob Berdahl tried to destroy – first when he insisted that all requests from the Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Office for information from athletics be vetted by his office, and second when he rescinded President Lariviere’s fee waivers for public records requests, and third when he allowed the General Counsel’s office to take charge – despite their obvious conflict of interest.

Check the many fees and long delays for simple recent requests like contracts and invoices in the UO public records log, here. I’m not saying Lariviere was perfect, but his public records policies and practice were far, far better than what Berdahl has done. The fight to restore some level of transparency at UO will start again when Gottfredson takes office Aug 1.

James Madison, 1822: "The Tuition is Too Damn High"

I don’t think I know any of them, but congratulations to the “The Tuition is Too Damn High” students. The ODE story on their meeting with Bob Berdahl and Jamie Moffitt here. The RG story is here. It sounds like they asked some informed, tough questions – some of which came from this blog. The statement at the top of this blog is from a letter by James Madison to a Kentucky legislator, congratulating him on that state’s subsidies of higher education:

The liberal appropriations made by the Legislature of Kentucky for a general system of Education cannot be too much applauded. A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty & dangerous encroachments on the public liberty. …

Without such Institutions, the more costly of which can scarcely be provided by individual means, none but the few whose wealth enables them to support their sons abroad can give them the fullest education; and in proportion as this is done, the influence is monopolized which superior information every where possesses….

 A system comprizing the Learned Institutions may be still further recommended to the more indigent class of Citizens by such an arrangement as was reported to the General Assembly of Virginia, in the year 1779, by a Committee appointed to revise laws in order to adapt them to the genius of Republican Government. It made part of a “Bill for the more general diffusion of knowledge” that wherever a youth was ascertained to possess talents meriting an education which his parents could not afford, he should be carried forward at the public expence, from seminary to seminary, to the completion of his studies at the highest.

I don’t know what kind of run-around our students got from Berdahl and Moffitt, but if it’s anything like the one Moffitt gave the IAC last year, I suggest they keep digging. And for the sake of UO, I hope Moffitt stops – that athletics hole is deep enough already. 6/8/2012.

Bagwhan Bean returns to UO

6/1/2012: Rejoice, faculty! It’s the first day of our glorious Provost Jim Bean’s return to Johnson Hall. I’d make a public records request for a copy of his contract, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay Bob Berdahl and Randy Geller a dime for it. (Though an anonymous reader provides incontrovertible photographic proof that Bean now drives something a bit more prestigious than a beamer.) We don’t have any say – might as well drink the kool-aid, upgrade them both to a Rolls, and hope that some day they bring you into the inner circle of acolytes with a special assistant VP job. Meanwhile, watch out for Ma Sheela.

Senate election results, if it matters

5/19/2012: Bob Berdahl’s threats to veto faculty votes on who will chair our committees are getting more strident. And the administration has been setting up its own committees on important issues like policing, without even consulting the senate. But FWIW the senate and committee election results are now posted here.

Update: A comment posted by Pres Berdahl:

Once again, Bill Harbaugh tries to stir dissent with misinformation. I have NEVER threatened to veto Senate committee chairs. All I have ever said is that we could not bring to the Senate Transparency Committee a discussion of public records fee policy so long as the chair of that committee, Bill Harbaugh, has a conflict of interest about fee policy. This is not threatening to veto committee chair selections.

This comment raises still more questions – Berdahl is going to ignore the charge of a senate committee, purely on his own judgement about what constitutes a conflict of interest? Right.

On the veto issue, here’s an email from him to the IAC a few days ago, emphasis added. Berdahl is correct about his veto threat point, in that this is not an explicit threat to veto the faculty’s vote on who should be IAC chair.

On Fri, 18 May 2012 17:25:21 +0000, Bob Berdahl wrote:
Nathan,

This will be my last word on this matter.  I am not going to waste
any more time on it.  You asked that I publicly acknowledge that the
athletic department is not self- supporting, based on the USA piece. I
did so.  Although the USA data included revenue that may be
challenged, as I pointed out, I accepted the 2.8% as the number to be
compared to other universities.  By that number,  which is the only
apples to apples number we have, UO’s subsidy is lower than 212 out of
227 universities.

Now you seem to be rejecting the USA report because you think the
number is higher.  And you cite the other subsidies the university
provides.  My response is simply that everywhere i have been, the
universities provide similar services.  The UO is not unique in this
no matter what you may think.  And many of those services — general
counsel, public records, public safety, senior management,
parking–are provided all auxiliaries.

You reject the notion that athletic scholarships paid to the
university are a source of revenue for the university. Tuition is not
counted by USA, so it is not a part of that calculation.  However,
because non-resident tuition  subsidizes the education of residents —
non-residents pay more than the actual cost of education, the
difference between the cost of educating students and what the
athletic department pays is revenue to the university.

None of these calculations, of course, count the intangible benefits
— the visibility via television exposure, the enthusiasm of alumni,
the benefit to the city and local businesses that come from the
athletic program.  These intangible benefits can’t be measured, but
they are real.

Thus, I conclude that the only analysis of the institutional support
for athletics, the one you asked me to respond to, shows the UO to
look very good  compared with other Division  1 schools.

I do not think that an uncritical booster should be chair of the IAC, but neither do I believe a relentless and unfair critic should chair it either.

Please share this email with the entire committee.

Bob Berdahl 

Earlier correspondence between Berdahl and the IAC is here. There’s been a lot more lately, I’ll post when I get a chance in a day or two. For now I’ll just point out that Berdahl’s comments on athlete tuition (which originate with Jim Bean) would make sense, except for the fact that we don’t have a shortage of non-athlete out-of-staters willing to come to UO and pay the tuition.

And most of those are better students than the out-of-state athletes that the AD recruits. Many of those players (though certainly not all!) have academic records that require special dispensation from the admissions office. And they then require the $2 million in special jock box tutoring, subsidized by tuition money from the regular students.

It quacks like a subsidy, and it is a subsidy. I hope our next president will recognize that fact, and then move on to helping us reduce it, instead of trying to subvert the work of the IAC.

Berdahl limits public records access

5/2/2012: Last September, after a long series of meetings and after input from the faculty, students, and the press, President Lariviere instituted a simple $200 fee waiver system for public records requests. It worked pretty well. Maybe too well. Yesterday, with no warning or discussion with the Senate Transparency Committee, Interim President Berdahl imposed some significant restrictions on fee-waivers. (Actually, he made Dave Hubin do it – there’s courage for you.) I wonder what Berdahl is afraid to see disclosed? Email and new policy here.

Berdahl to IAC: stop asking hard questions

3/19/2012: Interim President Bob Berdahl thinks the UO Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee is asking too many hard questions about athletics, and he is going to rewrite the committee’s charge to make it easier for the athletic department to have their way with UO.

From what I can tell this is the first time in UO history a president has gone after a Senate committee like this. In addition, the administration now appears to be attempting to repudiate the 2004 Athletics Task force report, a 3 year joint effort of the UO administration, the athletic department and Senate that produced this 12 point blueprint for athletics reform at UO. This was commissioned by then President Dave Frohnmayer and signed off on by everyone from Jim Earl to Dan Williams to Bill Moos.

There is a series of recent emails between IAC chair Tublitz and Berdahl posted on the UO Senate website, here. Read them all to get the context. Here is an excerpt from Tublitz’s report to the IAC on his meeting with Interim President Berdahl last week.

He [Berdahl] gave several examples where this year’s IAC had improperly strayed into oversight:

a) Requesting information about NCAA violations;
b) Asking for financial information such as donations that had nothing to do with academic issues;
c) Making too many requests to the Athletic Director.

I [Tublitz] pointed out that these items are in our current charge to which the Interim President replied that he would not have approved the current charge if he was president at the time the current charge was adopted.

The Interim President also stated that other items in the current charge such as being involved in appointments of head coaches were also well outside the proper consultative role of the IAC.

We discussed the fact that the current charge and several issues discussed in the IAC this year came directly from the 2004 Athletic Task Force (ATF) report. I noted that the report had been submitted to the Senate by the entire ATF committee, including Mr O’Fallon as FAR, then Athletic Director Bill Moos and then VP for Administration Dan Williams speaking on behalf of then President Frohnmayer and the central administration. Jim O’Fallon strenuously objected to the commonly held notion that he, AD Bill Moos and the administration had approved the Task Force report even though their names were on the final report and the Senate adopted it. The Interim President said that he had consulted with former President Frohnmayer who said he did not “sign off” or approve the 2004 Task Force report.

The Interim President was adamant that the IAC should:

a) Not change its charge;
b) Not change its membership (refer to footnote 1 below);
c) Send all requests to his office; and,
d) Adhere to a more consultative approach.

He also said that he did not trust the committee to follow its charge, that he had full authority to regulate the charge and membership of the committee, and implied that he had considered dissolving the committee.

Current charge here. The IAC has indeed been asking a lot of questions, and it has dug up a lot of previously hidden information – including info on subsidies and secret agreements between Frohnmayer and former AD Kilkenny, now posted for all to see on the athletics department website here. The IAC’s most recent accomplishment has been to make the AD post a copy of UO’s 2006 NCAA certification review – or at least part of it – here. Interesting reading. And you can bet there will be more to come.

Jim will be back

1/28/2012: Berdahl should have announced he was giving Bean an interim appointment ending June 2013. This would satisfy the immediate need for a body to fill out the provost’s suit. It would also leave the deck clear for the next president to do an open search. But no:

Colleagues:

The time line for transitions in the Provost office has been determined.  Jim Bean will return as Senior Vice President and Provost beginning July 1, 2012.  He will continue his sabbatical through May 31, 2012, and then serve in a transitional capacity during the month of June.  This will permit appropriate planning and coordination with me, the Executive Leadership Team, and Bob Berdahl as well as an overlap period with the current and soon-to-be-appointed Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.

As the presidential search gets underway, it will be helpful to know who will serve as Provost on an ongoing basis.  I look forward to continuing in my current acting leadership role through the end of this academic and fiscal year.  I appreciate the continuing support and assistance I have experienced.

Lorraine

We’re all on a first name basis here, so who needs a job announcement, search, or a performance review? That sort of stuff is just for those faculty schlubs – the ones that Jim gets to evaluate and sign off on tenure and promotions, as provost. The month long overlap with Lorraine is so Jim can recover from his research efforts with old friends and get back up to speed on administrative matters.

FWIW, Pat, the OUS internal auditor, sent out this earlier this week, on her investigation of Jim’s sabbatical terms:

FYI.. update
We hope to complete the review this week.

Oregon University System
Internal Audit Division

     Patricia A. Snopkowski, Chief Auditor
     P.O. Box 488
     Corvallis, OR 97339
     Ph (541) 737-0505 Fax (541)737-9133
     Web- http://www.ous.edu/dept/intaudit
     Email- patricia_snopkowski@ous.edu

Nothing yet.