… Our public university was built by Oregonians, and for more than 135 years it has carried out its mission to serve the students and the state of Oregon.
In recent decades, inadequate investment in the activities, resources and personnel that constitute and define a world-class research university have not matched the demands of a growing student body.
Layers of highly-paid administrators, in a quest to secure private funding, have too often sought the easy money, often failing to use their authority and discretion to prioritize and promote the value of investing in our core educational and research strengths. …
Michael Dreiling, an associate professor of sociology, and Karen McPherson, an associate professor of romance languages, are members of the United Academics of UO Organizing Committee. Also contributing to this essay were organizing committee members Jack Boss (music), Jane Cramer (political science), Karen Creighton (physical education and recreation), Joseph Lowndes (political science) and Dan Hosang (political science).
Then there’s this from sportswriter Ken Goe in the Oregonian, with some priceless quotes from “University of Nike” spokesperson Jeff “The Hawk” Hawkins:
Oregon’s luxurious Hatfield-Dowlin Complex distorts the academic-athletic balance
The comment jumped out at UO ethnic studies professor Daniel HoSang as he read a story about the Ducks’ swank, new football operations center, the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex.
UO director of football operations Jeff Hawkins was explaining the need for facility improvements for athletics. “The academic center was 8,000 square feet,” Hawkins said.
“It was dilapidated; it was rodent infested. And it was filled with asbestos. Take the pictures of before and realize what we didn’t have.”
Shortly after the 2010 completion of the 40,000-square-foot Jaqua Academic Center UO athletes and the athletic academic advisers moved out of the Esslinger Annex and the Department of Ethnic Studies moved in.
One of the former conference rooms used to tutor athletes became HoSang’s office.
“The athletic department seems tone deaf sometimes,” HoSang said.
UO spokesman Julie Brown said the Esslinger Annex underwent a small renovation after the athletic department decamped that included work on the heating and air conditioning system, new flooring and fresh paint.
She said there is no record of asbestos or rodents. It’s now home to the school’s American English Institute.
… Well, it’s the Knight’s money and his right to spend it as he chooses, right?
Sure, if we’re talking about his house, or his company, or his professional franchise, should he choose to buy one.
But the University of Oregon is a public institution of higher education, and, in theory, should not be for sale.
“This is serving more the advertising purposes of Nike and less the academic mission of the university,” UO sociology professor Michael Dreiling said. “This is about the leadership of the university and setting boundaries.”
That line was crossed in 2010 when Richard Lariviere, then UO president, warned the State Board of Higher Education of dire consequences if board members failed to give Knight approval to do as he pleased without administrative oversight while constructing Hatfield-Dowlin.
The board acquiesced. Three years later the deed is done. The university now will deal with a different set of consequences, among them staffing, and maintenance for the new edifice, and an underswell of faculty discontent.
There is nothing wrong with having a nationally-ranked football team. But it should be the product a campus-wide pursuit of excellence.
When the most impressive building on campus is a football complex nearly as large and tricked out as a Hapsburg palace, something clearly is out of whack.
And this in the Eugene Weekly, by Shannon Finnell, on bargaining progress:
“We’re not that far apart in actual dollars,” Bramhall says. UAUO is proposing a faculty salary increase of $20 million, or 15 percent, while the administration is proposing a faculty salary increase of $14 million, or 10.5 percent. According to the OUS June 2013 supplemental budget for 2012-13, the UO’s total operating budget was $865,513,412. The blog UO Matters reports that full professors at UO make about 82 percent of the average salary at other AAU public universities, associate professors 90 percent and assistant professors 89 percent.
Bramhall says that the budget reflects the administration’s priorities and decisions. “We decided we would have our own police force and that we would arm that police force,” he says. “The budget now reflects that decision.” In addition, UO’s general fund is paying $2 million for tutoring student athletes, an average of $4,000 per student athlete, a fraction of what’s available for the average student.
Taking a portion of all athletic donations and using it for the academic side is one solution. Even 10% would be a start. Meanwhile President Gottfredson still hasn’t even offered a substantive response to the UO Senate’s resolution calling for an end to the millions in subsidies for the athletic side, that come out of UO student tuition money.
8/29/2013: Craig Garcia has a story about UO Foundation fundraising in the ODE today. I’ve heard that to be invited to join the UO Foundation Board you need to promise a “major gift”, which currently means $100K over 5 years. But rumor is that the entire donation can be to the athletic department. Does anyone know if this is true?