Will Ginevra Ralph be the sole Pres decider, and lie to the press about it like Chuck Lillis did?

Page down for the email from BoT Chair Ginevra Ralph today. Here’s an excerpt from an old post on the dictatorial secret search that led to the hiring of Mike Schill. I think the board got lucky with that hire, but they probably attribute it to their awesome skill and expertise, and the secretive process which excluded all but a few special faculty from any input.

9/15/2014: Lillis disputes RG report that he is the decider for presidential hire

Ry Rivard of Inside Higher Ed has an interview (link fixed) in which new UO Board Chair Chuck Lillis disputes the RG report that he now has the sole secret power to decide who will be UO’s next president. The story has just been updated with this:

Inside Higher Ed last week requested all documents that outlined the search plan but was not provided with the actual plan, which has was brought to the site’s attention on Monday by UO Matters, a blog that carefully follows the university. The plan clearly contradicts the chairman’s characterization of his powers in the Friday interview. A spokeswoman for the university, Julie Brown, said Monday the omission was “not intentional.”

Decide for yourself. According to the motion that the board passed after no public review (Board Secretary Angela Wilhelm left if out of the public docket materials) and apparently without even much notice to the board, UO’s next president will be appointed according to these rules:

The Committee will ultimately recommend qualified finalists to the Board Chair. The recommendations should be accompanied by a detailed report of the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, especially in terms of the desired qualifications for the position. The Board Chair will interview the Committee’s finalists and forward finalists to the full Board. The Chair is authorized to narrow the field of candidates after consultation with the Committee, and is also authorized to rank the candidates. The Board will interview the finalists forwarded by the Chair in executive session. Any final decision by the Board will be made in a public meeting, and all of the Board’s deliberations and discussions leading to that decision will be in accordance with Oregon’s public meeting laws.

Which sounds to me like Lillis can pick the finalists and if he wants to, that could be one finalist. He’d have to consult with the committee, but he could ignore their advice, and they would be sworn to secrecy about what had happened.

This procedure, and the unusual two search committees with only token student and faculty representation (all of them also picked by Lillis) that were reported by Diane Dietz in the RG are odd enough to have already attracted a highly critical editorial in the Salem Statesman Journal.

Today’s Ralph email:

Dear University of Oregon community members, 

The Board of Trustees met today and voted to appoint Patrick Phillips, current provost and senior vice president, to serve as interim president of the University of Oregon. The university is very fortunate to have such a strong, visionary leader who can maintain the upward trajectory of this institution. We are grateful to Patrick for agreeing to serve in this critical role as we begin the process of selecting the university’s next president.

Patrick has served as provost since July 1, 2019. As chief academic officer, he has been the steward of the university’s academic mission and has worked with faculty, staff, students, and other members of our community to maintain the highest possible quality of scholarly activity and educational programs. Patrick has been a leader in conceptualizing and launching many of the university’s academic and research initiatives, even as we navigated the many challenges of the past several years. He is also a top faculty member and award-winning scientist, with more than $8 million in active funding from the National Institutes of Health. Patrick joined the university as a faculty member in 2000 and has served as the director of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, head of the Department of Biology, associate vice president for research, special advisor to President Michael H. Schill, and inaugural executive director of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. 

The board unanimously agreed that Patrick is the right leader for this interim role. He brings decades of experience and leadership as well as deep connections to the university and our community. We are confident he, along with the vice presidents and deans of the schools and colleges, will allow the university to not lose any of its momentum building upon our academic and research impact and our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and student success. Patrick Phillips will start as interim president on Thursday, August 18. 

Patrick has appointed Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Janet Woodruff-Borden to serve as interim provost and senior vice president. Janet has served as executive vice provost for nearly three years, leading academic and faculty affairs efforts for the Office of the Provost. Prior to serving as executive vice provost, Janet was the vice provost and dean of the University of Oregon Graduate School, now titled the Division of Graduate Studies. Janet will begin serving as interim provost on August 18 as well.

Although this is a time of change, it is also a time of great excitement for our university. This year, the University of Oregon will continue to bring to life our academic and research initiatives, further the success and support of our students, and cement our place as one of the top research universities in the country. We are excited for our entire university community to be part of these efforts and the incredible opportunities that will come from them. 

As I mentioned in the announcement last week, the Board of Trustees will discuss the launch of and process for an international search for the University of Oregon’s permanent president at its regular board meeting scheduled for September 15-16. As the process is determined, more information will be provided to the university community with opportunities to engage in the process and a webpage will be published on the Board of Trustees’ website.

Please join me and the other members of the board in thanking Patrick and Janet for their service as interim president and interim provost of the University of Oregon. 


Ginevra Ralph 
Chair, Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon 

UO Trustees to meet Tu at 8AM to appoint Patrick Phillips as Interim Pres & give Rob Mullens and Dana Altman a shit-ton of money

Docs here. It appears Chair Ginevra Ralph has decided not to have a public discussion about how to hold what will almost certainly be a private, closed search for the next permanent president. That has been removed from the agenda announced previously and the trustees will presumably hash it out with phone calls, in violation of the spirit and perhaps the letter of Oregon’s Public Meetings Law.



Phillips: There is no contract in the materials for Phillips, since it’s presumably for less than $5M the Trustees can do it in secret. The last time they had to appoint an interim (after Gottfredson, you know, that Scott what’s his name guy) they forgot about money until someone asked. Lillis just looked blank then said something like “same terms as previous?” and it was done.

Why is new UO Board Chair Ginevra Ralph hiding contract details for Rob Mullens and Dana Altman?

Surely these contracts have been finalized, 3 days before the Trustees meet to approve them, and the Trustees told what they will be rubber-stamping. So why is Ralph hiding the details from the university and the public? Normally the meeting docket includes the contracts. Not this time:

And then there is the less important matter of the search for a new UO president. Given the lack of information here, I’m guessing this is going to be run along the same lines as the OSU search that dredged up F. King Alexander.

Professor sues UO for making him read DEI tweets

Wait, I got that wrong – he’s suing because they *blocked him* from reading DEI tweets. Which is weird, because he seems like just the sort of guy that DEI would want to reach out to. Betsy Hammond has the report in the Oregonian here:

Portland State University political science professor Bruce Gilley, with backing from a national free speech group, has sued the person who ran the Twitter account of the University of Oregon’s Division of Equity and Inclusion to unblock him from seeing or responding to the account’s posts.

The public university cannot, under the First Amendment, create a public online forum and prevent him from having equal access to it based on his point of view, the suit says.

Gilley, who champions race blindness and is highly critical of typical university diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, found himself blocked from @UOEquity in June after he retweeted one of its Tweets about racism with his comment “all men are created equal.” …

The complaint is here. Thanks to an anonymous reader from OSU for the alert. Sorry I cannot verify the rumor Oregon State will be suing Professor Gilley for disparagingly referring to UO as Oregon’s flagship university:

Pres Schill moves on to regional college in NW Illinois

Dear University of Oregon community members,

It is with mixed emotions of pride and sadness that I announce that President Michael H. Schill will be leaving the University of Oregon to become president of Northwestern University. During his seven-year tenure at the UO, President Schill has significantly propelled the university forward, and so it is no surprise that he would be recruited by one of the most prestigious academic research institutions in the world.

As president, Michael Schill transformed our academic enterprise by increasing the size of the faculty, growing externally funded research to $172 million, and launching groundbreaking academic endeavors including the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, the Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health, and partnerships such as Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance. During his tenure, the UO completed a $3.2 billion fundraising campaign and grew the endowment to $1.3 billion. Under President Schill’s Oregon Commitment initiative to improve student success, the university improved the four-year graduation rate by more than ten percentage points, increased total student financial aid to $43 million, and opened Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall dedicated to academic and career advising and the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center. The incoming undergraduate classes consistently increased in size, academic quality, and diversity, with the most recent class of 2025 breaking numerous university records.

I and the other members of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon are immensely grateful for President Schill’s service and leadership to this university, and its faculty, staff, and students. We are also extremely excited and optimistic about the future of the university. From this place of strength and success, with exceptional leadership, outstanding faculty, world-class students, and the impactful work of our schools, colleges, Knight Campus, Ballmer Institute, academic initiatives, and more—the University of Oregon heads into the future with great optimism and momentum. We are prepared for a new era of excellence, impact, and service to our students, community, and world as one of the country’s leading public research universities.

The board will move expeditiously to appoint an interim president. The interim president is expected to begin their service prior to the start of the academic year. At the board’s regular board meeting on September 15-16, trustees will discuss the launch of and process for an international search for the university’s permanent president.President Schill leaves a lasting legacy of excellence at the University of Oregon. The board thanks him for his transformational leadership and looks forward to all he will accomplish at Northwestern.

Sincerely,Ginevra Ralph
Chair, Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon

Ethics questionnaire

I need some ethics advice. An overnight visitor leaves a iphone charger in the guest bedroom. I should:

A: Fed-Ex it them immediately

B: Email them that I found it and offer to mail it back

C: Pretend you didn’t see it and leave it for the next visitor

D: Put it in the kitchen drawer with the iphone chargers from past decades

E: ?

University Presidents and public statements

From Eric Kelderman in the Chronicle:

According to the survey, presidents most often expect criticism from lawmakers. When asked “which group of people is most likely to respond negatively if you were to publicly take a position,” presidents pointed to elected officials for all but one of eight possible topics — state and national politics, but also Covid-19 policy; diversity, equity, and inclusion; free speech; gender and sexual identity; and racial justice. Only academic freedom was deemed relatively safe.

Alex Jones’s attorneys pull a Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick

Back in 2015, in the midst of a lawsuit by the RG to force the Eugene School District to release public records about a potentially illegal firing decision, the District’s law firm Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick mistakenly emailed the entire file of documents to the RG. This ended the case, but not in the way the Harrang et al were being paid to end it. Original post here:

4/29/2015: Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick way too transparent with potentially incriminating public records

Bill Gary, Sharon Rudnick, and Randy Geller of UO’s HLGR law firm must be shitting their pants. I’m no lawyer, but sending a dump of emails that potentially incriminate your clients to the local newspaper, by mistake, seems unlikely to bring in the billable hours.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 12.50.17 AM

Pres Schill finally finds reason to be proud of UO

… I appreciate you beyond words and am so proud of the University of Oregon you showed the world. Thank you again. And, Go Ducks!

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Full yada yada here.

Meanwhile for those interested in numbers instead of mindless sports boosterism, here’s the ECONorthwest economic impact doc. It looks like the reality may have been a bit shy of the numbers that were ginned up to justify the state subsidies:

Oregon 2022 was a bust

The NYT on the failure to expand the aging fan base:

… “The fans gave me almost chills.” The problem is, there have not been many of them compared to other championships. Hayward Field has a capacity of about 30,000. Once sponsors and delegations from every country were taken care of, it sold about 12,000 seats per session. It still sold 90 percent of available tickets, with some but not all night sessions selling out.

If you want to put on the best track meet in the United States, Eugene is an obvious choice. If you want to expand the reach of the sport in the United States, it is not the best choice. Only locals or fans willing to make a long pilgrimage could have attended. Both of those groups are composed of people track and field already has. …

“We knew there was a risk,” Coe said. “I do politely make the point there weren’t a lot of options available. There should have been, and we should have engaged earlier.” Coe wished more cities had engaged with USATF, but only Eugene pushed to host after World Athletics made clear it wanted to bring the event to the United States.

The Eugene Weekly on the shitty local economic impact:

… My Soul Hot Chicken’s business model is focused on locals, Wiley says, and doesn’t rely on tourists or students. But after hearing that Oregon22 would be good for restaurants, he says, he ordered a lot more chicken and bread than he normally would for a week. 

But business during Oregon22 has been so slow, he adds, that for this week he only ordered some cabbage. “I am 25 percent of what I projected to do,” he says. 

So far, Wiley estimates he’s lost thousands of dollars — a big number for a new business. “I was paying payroll and had barely enough to cover it,” he says. “It’s been shitty.” 

Losing so much money in a 10-day event that the state of Oregon poured $40 million into has been frustrating, he says. “You think they’d want to make sure local businesses would do well,” he says. “Everyone I’ve talked to has done poorly.”

When the actual data is out it will be interesting to revisit EcoNorthWest’s 2015 Economic Impact study, which was used as justification for the state subsidies.

Last day photo from https://twitter.com/dilanesper

Phil Knight consigliere Howard Slusher, a.k.a “Agent Orange” dies

In the Oregonian:

… While representing clients, mostly in professional football and basketball, he was fond of the “holdout,” a tactic where the represented player would sit out for an extended period of time during the season to put on pressure during contract negotiations. In a 1985 profile on Slusher, People magazine described his execution of the gambit as an “art form.” …