UO General Counsel to discipline Mario Cristobal for releasing HIPAA protected health info

Just kidding. Kevin Reed saves those sorts of threats for faculty, and Coach Cristobal’s about to get a big raise. The Oregonian’s James Crepea has the disclosure from Cristobal that 5 of the 32 positive Covid tests in Lane County today (yesterday?) were “associated with the program” and that the unpaid athletes and their well-paid coaches etc are now under lockdown while contact tracing is underway.

Meanwhile, UO’s official testing reports still do not report any information about frat parties etc, and rumor has it they do not include faculty and staff who are working remotely in the counts.

New CAS faculty

Does anyone know if there is a similar university-wide listing?

Dear Colleagues,

As one way to welcome new faculty to our College and University each year, we provide a short profile for each of them. These profiles are easily one of the most visited pages on our CAS website each year. Our first installment of profiles [https://cas.uoregon.edu/new-faculty-2020-2021/] for this year feature Mattie Burkert (English), Cristi Carman (Psychology), Lauren Ponisio (Biology), and Jerell Rosales (Cinema Studies). Welcome, new faculty!

Best regards,
Bruce

Tykeson Dean
Philip H. Knight Professor of Social Science
College of Arts and Sciences

Duck Football Coach Mario Cristobal to get a big raise

John Canzano in the Oregonian, here:

“A high-ranking UO athletic department source told me in February that the sides were involved in a serious discussions. Cristobal’s agent was in regular contact with Oregon AD Rob Mullens. I expected a long-term deal to be announced in March or April at the latest, but then a pandemic hit.

Oregon instead announced a hiring freeze in April. University president Michael Schill took a 12% reduction in his pay. Mullens and Cristobal voluntarily cut their own pay by 10% in a show of solidarity and fiscal responsibility.

Cristobal’s current contract would pay him $2.7 million this season. It makes him the No. 57 highest-paid coach in the country. He ranks 11th among the Pac-12′s dozen head football coaches, ahead of only Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith ($2.4 million). The Ducks coach needs a raise and extension. I’m told by insiders that the plan is to get him one in the coming months.”

Phil Knight gives UO another $300 large

Thanks to regular commenter “Townie” for the link to the Oct 9th Chronicle of Philanthropy report. I don’t know why Around the O hasn’t yet posted anything about what UO programs this generous donation will fund:

“In addition, Knight quietly gave $300 million to the University of Oregon, his alma mater, on September 30, for ongoing support for many of the university’s programs to which he has donated in recent years. Paul Weinhold, president of the University of Oregon Foundation, confirmed the donation.”

CORRECTION to “Around the O’s PR flacks try to hide 22% freshman enrollment drop”

Update and Correction:

I have to eat a little crow on this post. A well informed expert at another university asked me if I was sure that I wasn’t confusing “First time entering Freshmen” with “Fall enrollment” of freshman. These can be different because continuing students who enrolled in past years and have <45 credits are still classified as Freshmen for fall enrollment purposes, while First time Freshmen entering with 45 or more credits (say from APs) are classified as sophomores in Fall enrollment. I searched, and found this page on the Registrar’s site giving the “First time entering Freshmen” numbers for UO. It hasn’t been updated since 2017, but it suggests that the First time numbers are typically about 900 students lower than the Fall enrollment numbers.

This means that Around the O’s post was not deceptive, and that the overall enrollment drop in “First time entering Freshmen” is probably much less than 22% – which explains why their prediction of an overall enrollment drop of 3% may well hold up. In any case we’ll find out when IR gets around to updating the 4th week figures, presumably next week.

I apologize for the accusation that Around the O and $285K VP Kyle Henley intentionally tried to mislead anyone with their post. I’ve left my original post below, in case anyone wants to sue me.

10/20/2020: The good news is that total enrollment will only be down 3%. Given this year’s tuition increase, revenue will be pretty flat this year, even assuming most of the freshman we’ve lost are out-of-state.

But the rest of the news from Around the O story today is bad, despite the spin from our $278K VP for Strategic Mis-Communications Kyle Henley:

“The incoming class is expected to be the 11th largest class in university history”

Let’s do the math. Freshman enrollment has been pretty steady at ~5000 a year since 2009. Last year it was 5066. Apparently it will be a bit less than 4000 this year. Let’s call it 3950, and a 22% drop. The average drop for public universities for this year, from the NSCRE, is 13.7%.

Around the O then claims this:

“Both the UO’s freshman and total enrollment percentage decreases are expected to be less than the national average.”

Yeah, if you include community colleges, that might be true. Is that really the right comparison group? Why do you all ways try to deceive us, Kyle? And how can you be so bad at it and still have a $278K job?

Board of Trustees posts work plan and self-assessment

That would, of course, be the OSU Board. Here at UO, it took a public records request to Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms to get a copy of their self-assessment (they think they’re doing a heck of a job) and I’ve never heard of them having a work plan.

Full document here. So what about the UO Trustees? Let’s find out:

From: Bill Harbaugh <wtharbaugh@gmail.com>
Subject: UO Board work plan and emails
Date: October 20, 2020
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Angela Wilhelms <wilhelms@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton:

This is a public records request for 

1) An electronic copy of the UO Board of Trustees current and most recent preceding work plans, or other similar documents. Specifically, I’m looking for documents similar to this, for the OSU Board: https://leadership.oregonstate.edu/sites/leadership.oregonstate.edu/files/bot_6d_2021_bot_work_plan.pdf

2) Copies of emails and attachments sent from the Board Secretary’s office to the Trustees giving updates on UO and on Board business, from Jan 1 2019 to the present. Specifically, I’m looking for general emails sent to the entire board or to an entire committee(s), not emails to or from individual trustees.

I ask for a fee waiver on the grounds of public interest in the function of the board of a public university. 

I’m ccing Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms, as she should have these at hand and be able to provide them without your office’s usual fees and delays. 

Thanks, 

Bill Harbaugh 

UO Covid cases fall, admin still refuses to release basic summary data – but Lane County does

Update – As Thomas Hager helpfully notes in the comments, Lane County Public Health is considerably more transparent than UO. For example, as of 8 days ago, 14 outbreaks in the UO Greek System, with 95 cases, or 22% of all of Lane County’s cases in the preceding week:

From UO, still no useful information about where the new cases are coming from. Bats? Frats? Athletes? Clusters in specific housing complexes? Big parties? A few here and a few there? Not even a link to the Lane County data above:

UO’s highest paid employee explains our mission statement

University of Oregon Mission Statement

Serving the state, nation and world since 1876

The University of Oregon is a comprehensive public research university committed to exceptional teaching, discovery, and service. We work at a human scale to generate big ideas. As a community of scholars, we help individuals question critically, think logically, reason effectively, communicate clearly, act creatively, and live ethically.

Purpose
We strive for excellence in teaching, research, artistic expression, and the generation, dissemination, preservation, and application of knowledge. We are devoted to educating the whole person, and to fostering the next generation of transformational leaders and informed participants in the global community. Through these pursuits, we enhance the social, cultural, physical, and economic wellbeing of our students, Oregon, the nation, and the world.

Vision
We aspire to be a preeminent and innovative public research university encompassing the humanities and arts, the natural and social sciences, and the professions. We seek to enrich the human condition through collaboration, teaching, mentoring, scholarship, experiential learning, creative inquiry, scientific discovery, outreach, and public service.

Values
We value the passions, aspirations, individuality, and success of the students, faculty, and staff who work and learn here.
We value academic freedom, creative expression, and intellectual discourse.
We value our diversity and seek to foster equity and inclusion in a welcoming, safe, and respectful community.
We value the unique geography, history and culture of Oregon that shapes our identity and spirit.
We value our shared charge to steward resources sustainably and responsibly.

Promising news on COVID testing from Pres Schill

Dear University of Oregon community,

In the coming days, the University of Oregon will expand COVID-19 surveillance testing conducted by our in-house Monitoring and Assessment Program (MAP). Our first phase of MAP testing was primarily focused on students living in residence halls. Having that capability in-house was vital to our efforts to operate campus safely and responsibly this fall.Regular mandatory testing will continue in our residence halls, and we are pleased that we are now in a position to expand MAP’s work to accommodate additional voluntary testing for some groups of employees and students, including students living off campus (with a focus on those in large apartment complexes or other congregate housing, such as fraternities and sororities), faculty and employees whose work requires them to be on campus, underserved communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and in some cases, the community at large. The MAP team is ramping up testing capacity to about 4,000 tests per week—beginning next week and expanding throughout the fall and into the winter.There is nothing for you to do now. If you are in one of the groups that is being offered a voluntary testing opportunity, you will be contacted directly with detailed information about how to participate in testing events. During the fall, the testing efforts conducted by MAP will be free and will not require any insurance billing. Additionally, most testing events will continue to be at Matthew Knight Arena, but we are looking at another location in the west campus and the possibility of adding drive-up testing.It’s important to note that, if you are a student or employee who believes you have been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should seek medical help immediately. Symptomatic individuals should not go to a MAP testing event. Employees or students who have tested positive or think they have been exposed to COVID-19 are encouraged to review the COVID-19 exposure scenarios and guidance and contact the Corona Corps Care Team via this web form.MAP’s current form of testing is through a self-collected anterior nasal swab (front of nose), analyzed using qPCR methods on machines in campus labs. The MAP team is working to implement saliva testing later this year, which will allow for an even higher volume of weekly tests and for the ability to further expand testing within Eugene and Lane County. Test results have a 48- to 96-hour turnaround time, though the vast majority have returned in less than 48 hours.COVID-19 testing capacity continues to be limited at the county and state level, so we are very fortunate to have these capabilities in-house, and we are both tremendously grateful to the MAP team members who have worked so hard to build this program from scratch. It is truly a fantastic example of how a great research university can quickly pivot and leverage faculty and staff expertise to serve a vital societal need. The MAP initiative and concurrent contact-tracing efforts—which are all conducted in collaboration with Lane County Public Health Authority—are critical to the continued successful operation of the university and the broader health and safety of the community.Thank you. Please stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President

Provost Phillips’s new diversity efforts will be outsourced to the lowest bidder

You’ve on the email list, and if not you can always google the predictable “Around the O” posts about our administration’s latest commitment to looking like they are doing something about diversity. Of course you won’t find any mention of the fact that all 5 of President Schill’s diversity cluster of excellence hires have now left UO.

But it’s not just the usual window dressing – it’s a money-making opportunity for outside consultants. There’s a certain logic to this for anyone who has watched the many expensive failures from our VP for Equity and Inclusion’s bloated office. Now they can just supervise consultants! How I.D.E.A.L. ™.

So let’s see what the free-market can provide. From the Business Opportunities website of our Purchasing and Contracts Office. “Opportunity closes on: February 1, 2021 5PM”:

Chief Admin bargainer Missy Matella leaving for private practice

Rumor down at the faculty club has it that Johnson Hall’s $174K chief anti-union negotiator Missy Matella will be leaving UO in the next month or so for private practice at Watkinson Laird Rubenstein. This leaves Pres Schill with a few options for the next round of negotiations with the faculty union, which begin in January:

1: Logical and cheapish: Turn the job over to the $214K HR head, Mark Schmelz.

2: Logical and expensive: Hire Matella back on an hourly basis.

3: Very cheap if you ignore sunk costs as you should: Give the job to Doug Park, who became interim General Counsel after Pres Lariviere fired Randy Geller. Park was quickly replaced by Kevin Reed at $370K, but is apparently forever on the JH payroll for his old salary plus raises, now $222K.

4: Entertaining: Bring back Sharon Rudnick and Randy Geller, who are just itching for another chance to “represent management in labor relations matters”:

University asks students not to intentionally contract Covid-19 so they can sell their plasma for more cash

Say what you will about UO’s reckless undergrads spreading the virus to the Eugene community, and our silly PR messages about hand-washing. This one is new to me. Thanks to the Chronicle for the link:

2:21 p.m. Eastern, 10/13/020

BYU-Idaho Warns Students Not to Intentionally Contract Covid-19

Brigham Young University-Idaho on Monday urged students not to intentionally contract Covid-19 in order to sell their plasma for a higher price. Citing “accounts of individuals who have intentionally exposed themselves or others to Covid-19, with the hope of getting the disease and being paid for plasma that contains Covid-19 antibodies,” the university said it “condemns this behavior and is actively seeking evidence of any such conduct among our student body.” According to EastIdahoNews.coma spokeswoman for Eastern Idaho Public Health said she had heard rumors that people had intentionally contracted the coronavirus, but had not confirmed them. The news outlet previously reported that plasma centers in the area had paid more money to people whose plasma contained Covid-19 antibodies. —Andy Thomason

(For the record I lived in Rexburg for 3 months back in my oil field days, and can report that the students at what was then called Ricks College are wicked ping-pong players, and learn 8-ball pretty quick. Also there is plenty of oil under those potato fields, but not even close to worth drilling at $40 a barrel.)

Will faculty be Free to Choose in-person or on-line for Winter classes?

Update: It seems the deans of the colleges are willing to be much clearer on what will happen in Winter than our president and provost – or maybe their messages don’t get filtered by as many layers of PR flacks. A sample from the CHC: you’re going to be teaching on-line unless you want to opt out and have a damn good reason, in which case we will probably just cancel your class:

“First, we expect that the majority (if not all) of the course offerings in the CHC will be synchronous remote classes. You should plan to have live, remote engagement with your students during your scheduled class times. Asynchronous online teaching is not an option for Honors College courses. Please let us know if you anticipate any challenges in offering live engagement for your remote course.  

Second, if you would prefer to have your class scheduled as an in-person class (with the COVID-19 precautions outlined in today’s email from Schill and Phillips) please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your request. Please be aware that we do not yet have guidance on whether the CHC will be allowed to offer in person classes and that the status of Winter 2021 in-person offerings may change as the COVID-19 situation evolves. If your class REQUIRES in person engagement (i.e., would need to be cancelled rather than offered remotely), please let us know as soon as possible.”

10/13/2020: Surprisingly, today’s email from our President and Provost is a bit unclear about that, just saying that we will be surveyed, but not explaining who has final say. Last spring the administration did 2 surveys for Fall teaching. The first asked about pre-existing conditions and preferences. The second, done after pushback from our faculty union, eliminated the bit about pre-existing conditions and just asked for choices, making clear these would be respected unless a class simply couldn’t be done on-line. I assume the survey for Winter will be of the second type – I don’t know why this email just doesn’t say that.

Also, shouldn’t this email be coming from Francis White, Prof of Anthropology and Chair of the UO Senate’s Academic Council, instead of just from UO’s president and provost?

Dear colleagues,

We are writing to announce that winter term courses at the University of Oregon will continue to be delivered much like they have been for fall term, with a mix of remote, online, and some in-person courses. In-person instruction will focus on some experiential courses, such as labs, studio or creative classes, physical education, and a handful of other courses. All in-person classes will follow strict COVID-19 precautions such as requiring face coverings, reduced density, increased air circulation, and physical distancing.

We made this decision based on our careful monitoring of COVID-19 indicators and prevalence in Lane County and across Oregon. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the health and safety of the entire UO community remains our top priority. We will continue to take precautions, evaluate the situation, and adapt as necessary in coordination and compliance with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority and appropriate local health authorities. As is the case now, many of our buildings, including residence halls, the Knight Library, the Student Rec Center, Erb Memorial Union, research facilities, and some classroom spaces will be open to the campus community. This map provides information about operational status of all campus buildings.

As with fall, instructors will be surveyed regarding whether their winter term course will be offered in person, remotely, or as a hybrid. We will send that survey to faculty and GEs later this month.

We anticipate the winter term class schedule will be released on November 16. We will continue to offer all-remote options for students. Employees not teaching winter term will continue to perform their work as they have during the fall term, with some faculty members, officers of administration, and classified employees working in person to support research activities and to provide necessary services to our students and the university community, and others working remotely to maintain appropriate density on campus. We encourage supervisors and employees to use this as an opportunity to check in on how the implementation of unit resumption plans, individual work schedules, and other arrangements are going.As we look ahead to spring term, we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 indicators. Our COVID-19 Monitoring and Assessment Program team will continue to ramp up capacity to allow for greater surveillance testing of students, faculty, and staff.

We hope to be able to expand the level of in-person courses and experiences, as it is safe to do so. This can only happen if we all work together to prevent the spread of the virus. This requires diligent adherence to prevention measures such as mask wearing, staying home when sick, physically distancing, and not gathering in groups. It is vitally important to take these precautions on campus and off to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our community. Thank you for your resilience, perseverance, and commitment to caring for each other and our University of Oregon community.

Sincerely,

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President

Faculty Senate Committee makes Dean reinstate faculty member he falsely accused of racism

The Committee is the UCLA Senate’s Committee on Academic Freedom, here. The Dean is the UCLA Anderson School of Management Dean Antonio Bernardo, here. The faculty member is UCLA lecturer in accounting Gordon Klein, here. The report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education about the events that led to his suspension and now his reinstatement, is here:

UCLA reinstated Gordon Klein. Who will reinstate his reputation?

by Alex Morey October 12, 2020

University of California, Los Angeles faculty member Gordon Klein never imagined a routine email exchange with a student this summer would land him at the center of an explosive national controversy. Accused of racism and abuse of power, and ejected from his classroom, Klein faced termination from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where he taught with a spotless record for almost 40 years.

“I was following university policy meticulously in refusing to discriminate,” Klein said of his email response to a white student who requested Klein loosen his grading policies to help black students during nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd.

Klein said he simply followed UCLA’s Faculty Code of Conduct, which prohibits the failure to hold exams as scheduled. It also prohibits evaluating students on criteria other than their course performance and engaging in race-based discrimination. 

But Klein’s message, which challenged the student to critically consider the implications of his request by suggesting a series of hypotheticals highlighting the problems with race-based grading criteria, was misunderstood. Soon, a screenshot of the email was all over social media. Klein’s dean swiftly denounced the message publicly as “outrageous” and an “abuse of power,” and UCLA put Klein on leave, indicating punishment would follow. A petition for the professor’s ouster garnered 20,000 signatures.

Soon however, a dueling petition for Klein’s reinstatement garnered more than 75,000 signatures. And after FIRE intervened — publicizing the case and reminding UCLA of its constitutional academic freedom obligations — the university dropped the case in July, admitting it did not even merit an investigation. …