“El Jefe” Coltrane imposes student conduct changes

Colleagues,

The University of Oregon has made preventing and responding to sexual assault a top priority. We are reviewing our practices, have added resources, and are hiring staff to strengthen our prevention efforts.

Universities everywhere are struggling to educate students about how to stay safe, what to do if they are sexually assaulted, and how to demonstrate respect for each other.

The University of Oregon is committed to becoming a model campus for preventing and educating students about sexual misconduct. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, too many students are being assaulted. One of the university’s best tools to keep students safe and deal with offenders is the student code of conduct.

Later today, I will ask the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon to strengthen our conduct code with several important modifications. Some of these updates were approved by the University Senate at the close of spring term, and others are temporary measures to bring our code in line with recent best practices endorsed by the White House Sexual Assault Task Force.

The permanent senate-endorsed changes include expanding the jurisdiction of the conduct code, changing the definition of “sexual misconduct” to require explicit consent, and changing the standard of proof in all cases to a preponderance of evidence.

The temporary changes I am asking the board to consider include deleting language in the code that stalls the conduct process during breaks between terms or when a student is not registered, requiring all cases be resolved through administrative conference rather than a panel, allowing the right to an appeal in all cases, and reducing the number of days an accused student has to respond to conduct charges from 14 days to 7 days.

Again, these measures are designed to align our policies with federal laws and regulations for this year, but are temporary in order to protect our students while still allowing for thorough consultation before permanent changes to the code are made.

It is important to take these issues to the board now, before students return to campus. Our overarching goal is to create a safe campus climate for all UO students, where all feel welcome and respected. I welcome input from the entire campus community as we consider permanent changes to the conduct code and to our educational efforts surrounding this larger societal issue. We are committed to ending sexual assault and I invite you to help us eradicate unwanted sexual behavior on our campus.

Sincerely,

Scott Coltrane
Interim President

UO students start Quackd.com blog

10/20/13: A good piece on the Duck’s alcohol promoting billboards. And an Open letter to the class of 2017 passes on some hard-won advice to our incoming freshman. I’ll add it to my syllabus for next fall. Then there’s an interesting cost-benefit analysis of a fake ID.

You might also enjoy this piece on the DSM-V from The New Inquiry, written as if it were a review of a novel by Kafka or Orwell:

… It’s also not exactly a conventional novel. Its full title is an unwieldy mouthful: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. The author (or authors) writes under the ungainly nom de plume of The American Psychiatric Association – although a list of enjoyably silly pseudonyms is provided inside (including Maritza Rubio-Stipec, Dan Blazer, and the superbly alliterative Susan Swedo). The thing itself is on the cumbersome side. Over two inches thick and with a thousand pages, it’s unlikely to find its way to many beaches. …

Flunk those rich undergraduates

9/30/2013: Richard Reeves explains how to increase economic mobility, in the NY Times:

It is well known that in the United States, income distribution has a “sticky floor.” Two-fifths of children born into the poorest fifth of households remain there as adults. 

But it is sticky at the top, too: the same odds apply to those born into the richest fifth. 

It is a stubborn mathematical fact that the top fifth of the income distribution can accommodate only 20 percent of the population. If we want more poor kids climbing the ladder of relative mobility, we need more rich kids sliding down the chutes.

ASUO Pres Sam Dotters-Katz calls for student walkout if SEIU strikes

9/12/2013: Troy Brynelson has the scoop in the ODE:

In solidarity for the protest, ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz, with the support of student presidents from Oregon State and Portland State universities, has also called for students across the state walkout.

“These folks work some of the lowest paying and often least appreciated jobs on campus,” Dotters-Katz said in a statement Thursday morning. “They deserve a contract that treats them with dignity, respect and most importantly fairness.”

The fact that the UO student government is calling for students to walk out in sympathy for the underpaid UO staff certainly puts a new spin on VPAA Altmann’s call for the faculty union to stop negotiating and:

“Shift Focus Back To Educating Our Students”

Contract negotiations between the University and the faculty union, United Academics, ended Friday without a union response to the salary proposal the University put on the table earlier in the week. That’s disappointing, … The leadership of United Academics has repeatedly said it wants to do what’s best for the UO and its students and faculty. Now is the time for the union to demonstrate that commitment.

Barbara Altmann, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of French. Questions? If you have any questions about the contract negotiations, please contact me at baltmann@uoregon.edu or (541) 346-2172.

Secret slide update on Senate IAC expels student-journalists from meeting

6/6/2013 update: AAD for finance Eric Roedl’s secret athletic slides, with redactions, here. Oregon Commentator Nick Ekblad got them via a public records request, after the IAC voted to kick him out of their meeting on budgets and athletic subsidies. More below. Why in the world would the blacked out part be exempt from disclosure? No reason, most of the redacted numbers were simple 4% growth projections with a few blips to pay off their operating debt to the Foundation, and Kilkenny’s PK park balloon loan. Net income is always zero, because the AD spends any surplus on increasing their own salaries. Roedl’s just went from $170K to $190K.




5/28/2013: From UO student-journalist Nick Ekblad, of The Oregon Commentator:

Last Wednesday, the UO Senate’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (IAC) held a meeting at which AAD for Finance Eric Roedl was scheduled to give the IAC information about the athletic department’s budget and some projections about the next 6 years.
The UO Senate voted last week to require the Athletic Department to start paying back some of its subsidies, like that of the Matthew Knight Arena property, so this meeting had attracted myself from the Oregon Commentator, and two Daily Emerald reporters.
Right away there was tension in the air. This was the last IAC meeting of the school year and the AD still hadn’t released minutes from the previous meeting. Glen Waddell was met with an awkward silence when he asked about the delay in preparing the minutes.

“I’ve been really busy and haven’t gotten around to it,” the stenographer said.

Bill Harbaugh then asked IAC co-chair Andy Karduna if he had followed up on the request to the AD for the syllabus for the College of Education FHS 110 class that the athletics department requires all new players to take.
Karduna replied that he hadn’t, and had no plans to ever do so.
I had been under the impression that the IAC meeting was open to the public, as it was – until AAD Roedl realized that the media was present. And so began the discussion of whether or not to allow the media to stay during the presentation of revenue projections.
Some members of the IAC referred to the projections as “confidential… sensitive information”. When asked why projections would be “sensitive information”, those believing it to be sensitive did not want to discuss specifics because the reporters were still in the room.
Maybe the UO has patents pending on “long-term strategy and business plan” and Roedl doesn’t want competing universities to know the secret. I pointed out that “the information shouldn’t be sensitive as long as they are presented as ‘projections’ and not ‘promises’.”
Harbaugh backed me up, asking, “without going into specifics, why would projections be sensitive?”
“We’re dealing with projected ticket sales. This is sensitive information that should be kept confidential,” Roedl said.
Harbaugh then pointed out that that all five appointed student representatives were missing from the meeting, and argued that we student-reporters had a right to attend the meeting as we are indeed students and could tell the rest of the students where their money is going. Glen Waddell backed him up.
But the rest of the IAC was hostile. Someone was concerned that, with the media present, “the Athletic Department is not going to speak honestly.” That is a direct quote. After a moment, she corrected herself, saying, “I mean they might not speak fully”. Craig Pintens, the AD director of communication, kept his head low, buried in his iPad throughout the entire discussion.
There was then a debate regarding whether or not the meeting was technically public. Apparently this came up last year as well, the result being the IAC deciding that it was not a governing body and not subject to Public Meetings Law.
Harbaugh made a motion to allow the media to stay for the entirety of the meeting anyway, and Glen Waddell seconded it. However, most of the members of the committee present either voted “No” or abstained, keeping their heads down in shame. Members present included Karduna (Human Phys), Rob Illig (Law), David Koranda (Journalism), Donna Laue (English), Kurt Krueger (Printing), Dev Sinha (Math), and Jim O’Fallon (Law).
The Daily Emerald reporters and I begrudgingly left the meeting, but we were invited back at the very end. There were only a few slides left of the presentation and I learned that the Athletics Department’s total expenditure last year was $93.9 million. 34% of that went into Operations, 35% into Salaries and Benefits, 20% into Debt and 11% into Scholarships – athletic scholarships.
Student money has essentially been stolen but the majority of the IAC doesn’t think that students should be informed of specifics. In addition to the Matt Knight subsidization having been forced on ordinary students, $2 million of students’ money is spent per year in the Jaqua Center on personal tutors for student-athletes. 
Because the IAC kicked out student-reporters, it is obvious that the Athletic Department is afraid that students will not be blindly faithful to their Ducks, knowing that we pay to have their grades raised to a passing level.
 – Nick Ekblad

UO Matters:

Having been present for most of the financial presentation, I can say that I didn’t hear anything remotely confidential from Mr. Roedl. If The President’s Council of Economic Advisors can make their revenue and spending projections public why can’t the Ducks? The Daily Emerald has now filed a public records request for Roedl’s powerpoint, so I guess we’ll know after a few months of the usual delays – unless Dave Hubin charges another exorbitant fee.

The Rudnick/Gottfredson plan to drive a wedge

between the students and the faculty union on tuition increases seems to have failed.

6/3/2013 update: Here’s the mic check video, from a helpful commenter. The guy in the middle is Frog, or maybe Bean, after an administrative sabbatical paid for with student tuition increases. Say, what is Bean going to teach next year?

5/31/2013. The ODE reports from the investiture:

Another concern that [UO Student Jeremy Hedlund] mentioned was that UO faculty members are one of the lowest paid university members in the American Association of Universities, with some of the faculty not even getting a raise in pay since 2008. 

“The money that they’ve been charging us has clearly not been going to the faculty members,” Hedlund said. 

No shit. The total wage bill for bargaining unit faculty is about $96M. UO’s tuition revenue increased $29M last year. Average salaries for assistant and associate professors *fell*.

The RG reports on what seems to have been a remarkably respectful protest:

During Thursday’s ceremony, about 50 students gathered on the arena steps to protest tuition hikes for next school year. Fifteen went inside and briefly disrupted the ceremony, asking Gottfredson to freeze tuition; meet with students; and be a leader, “not a bureaucrat pushing Phil Knight’s agenda.” The students said Gottfredson had turned down their requests for face-to-face meetings three times. 

The students then apologized for disrupting the ceremony before a campus policeman walked along with them as they left the building.

I like that apology. “Sorry. But how did you expect us to react to being ignored?”

Excellent ODE reporting on parties and Pathways

6/3/2013: Troy Brynelson has a fascinating look at how the free-market and UO student party people have responded to Eugene’s new social host ordinance: the students hire professional bouncers to keep their parties under control. Better than trying to quiet down your wild friends, and yourself. And cheaper than the fines. Yes, there will be a question about this on my behavioral economics final:

Explain, using risk aversion and time-inconsistent preferences, why a forward-looking rational agent might hire a $100 bouncer, and give them the power to shut down their own party.

Savannah Wasserman has a great story on PathwaysOregon, an excellent program to give low SES students full scholarships (but not room and board) and academic support at UO. Unfortunately not yet fully funded, meaning many eligible students are turned away. The recent Senate resolution on athletic finances calls for President Gottfredson to start requiring the athletic department to start making a modest contribution from their bloated $95 million budget, starting in 2014. This would fund ~60 more students per year.

UO Commentators fire off 61 bullet points in the NYT

Most NYT stories about Republicans read like the editor sent the reporters off on a dangerous expedition as punishment for some newsroom etiquette faux-pas. But Robert Draper seems to have had fun with his interview with two UO Commentator alumni, Bret Jacobson and Ian Spencer (Econ  2006), who now run a media consulting firm that tells the party how irrelevant it has become. And current Commentator Nick Ekblad continues the Commentator tradition of “beery indifference to the law of defamation” as Dave Frohnmayer called it. 2/14/2013.

UO finances and student debt

9/25/2012: The RG’s Diane Dietz digs into the student debt situation, with a focus on UO. Some tidbits:

The prisons’ share is $1.36 billion in the current two-year budget, compared with the $691 million for the entire, seven-school Oregon University System. 

Not clear if that includes direct state aid to students, a common way of understating higher ed spending.

Eckstein, formerly the UO student body president, said it’s too easy for universities to turn to students and require them to make up the shortfall. “What is the university doing as an institution to shoulder the burden of some of the state funding cuts? There were no specific answers on how the university made an effort to reduce costs before turning to tuition increases,” he said.

Jock Box, Mac court payments, rigged overhead rates, UO Police, administrative bloat have all been problems, here PERS gets its share of the blame for costs:

Mike Bellotti, former UO football coach and athletic director, is the top PERS beneficiary, receiving $496,000 annually. Former UO President Dave Frohnmayer; Frank Anderson, a longtime UO mathematics professor; and Peter Von Hippel, a UO professor of biophysical chemistry and molecular biology for 36 years, rank among the state’s top 10 PERS beneficiaries, each receiving well over $200,000 a year. [Much of these payments are essentially paid by PERS out of current contributions from state agencies like UO.]

Faculty and administrators got raises, too:

Last year, Lariviere handed out $5 million in special raises to 1,100 faculty members and administrators. “It was an effort to close the gap between where we were and our comparator institutions. We are now at 88 percent of the average,” said Berdahl, who temporarily took over after the state fired Lariviere, in part, because the raises flew in the face of Gov. John Kitzhaber’s directive that state agencies curb personnel costs. Again, this July, the university spent $2.6 million in a 3.5 percent across-the-board salary increase for 900 administrators, mostly middle managers and professional staff.

This is a long article covering many contentious issues. It’s good to see the RG taking a skeptical look at UO’s decisions.

VP Holmes hires election consultant for EMU expansion

Full version of the RBI Strategies EMU campaign plan is here.

Update: Why was the RBI contract for $25,000? Because Oregon administrative rules require public notice for contracts of $25,000.01 or more. Sneaky.

Update: Diane Dietz has the story in the RG. AP version here. VP Holmes spent $25,000 of student union money for the consultants report below, and was apparently planning on blowing another $30,000 on swag and propaganda. Ian Campbell in the ODE has this quote:

“The EMU Renovation Task Force Team asked the EMU staff if there was any possibility for there to be some help as they looked at the ways to put out the educational messages and the facts about the project and the best way to address that. The EMU staff contracted with a marketing team, they did not use student fees for this fee, they used auxiliary funds out of the reserve account that they had. We are currently taking a look at that contract and are potentially rethinking if we will be using that service or not at this time,” Holmes said.

“Potentially rethinking”? “Educational messages”? “Not an effort to fool students”? Bullshit. Come on ODE – just email pubrec@uoregon.edu and make a public records request for the BANNER records, contracts, invoices, and emails between RBI and EMU task force members and UO employees. If you don’t make it clear that you will verify what administrators say when you interview them, they will keep lying to you.

Update: The EMU board – which presumably approved this use of funds – is supposed to have 3 faculty members, appointed by the UO president. The current board is listed here. 2 of the 3 “faculty” members are actually administrators – one for DPS, one for the Recreation Center.

Word in the comments is that OUS today passed the request for bonds, conditional on a positive election outcome, and that student union money was indeed used to pay the consultant and to hire at least ASUO student senator to work on the campaign.

8/17/2012: This is for $90 million in funding to renovate and expand the EMU student union building. The OUS finance subcommittee votes on the approval for bonds Friday 8/17, docket here. They are doing this in the summer to minimize student input – it almost worked, see below.

The UO students have voted against this several times, a fact which is conveniently not mentioned in the proposal to OUS. Costs have increased from $300 per student per year to $351 (note: part of this is for the associated rec center expansion, see the docket for details). Payment starts 2 years before construction finishes. Final OUS approval will be conditional on a positive vote from the students this fall, which new ASUO Pres Laura Hinman believes she can deliver. To put this in perspective, these fees will be about 4x what the students currently pay in subsidies for the athlete only Jock Box tutoring.

Now it turns out that VP for Student Affairs Robin Holmes (Update: and/or the EMU directors) are using $30K in student money to convince the students to vote to tax themselves for this project. I don’t see any other explanation for the documents below – unless the UO Foundation is footing the bill. Full report from the RBI election consulting firm is here, their estimated cost spreadsheet is here.

This is amazingly manipulative – and is it really legal to make people pay the costs of a campaign to convince them to vote yes on a bond initiative? My understanding is that a school board, for example, would be in serious trouble for something like this. Unfortunately UO general counsel Randy Geller’s new legal policy prevents student government from obtaining competent independent legal advice – they have to rely on UO’s general counsel Randy Geller.

The politically active and engaged Lamar Wise and other ASUO Senators are going to bring their objections to the project – and more importantly I think their evidence of manipulation – to the OUS meeting on 8/17/2012. Their full testimony is here. Excerpt:

OUS board meets to approve Student Union expansion

Page and pages of docket info here for a telephonic meeting on Friday. The UO students have voted against this several times, a fact which is conveniently not mentioned in the proposal. Costs have increased from $300 per student per year to $351 – payment starts before construction finishes – and approval will be conditional on a positive vote from the students this fall, which new ASUO Pres Laura Hinman believes she can deliver. To put this in perspective, these fees will be about 4x what the students currently pay in subsidies for the athlete only Jock Box tutoring.

One tidbit from the financial projections: OUS has no idea that our enrollment is supposed to hit 25,200 this fall – they think it’s going to level out at 24,000 next year. How much are we paying Dr. Pernsteiner? When did Matt Donegan say he was going to hold a board meeting at UO? 8/15/2012.