Will UO Board vote Friday to give Mario Cristobal a $2M raise?

11/30/2020 update: Still no agenda posted.

I don’t know. $205K UO Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms is late again posting the agenda for the meeting, and now she wants me to pay $348.52 for the emails she sends the trustees:

From: pubrec@uoregon.edu
Subject: University of Oregon Office of Public Records 2021-PRR-133
Date: November 17, 2020 at 1:32:31 PM PST
To: wtharbaugh@gmail.com

11/17/2020

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon, Office of Public Records has received your public records request for “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… general emails sent to the entire board or to an entire committee(s), not emails to or from individual trustees”, made 10/20/2020.

On 11/12/2020, the office received your email agreeing to exclude logistical emails (i.e. scheduling) or simple forwards of UO announcements. Please be aware that, even with these restrictions, the volume of responsive records is still quite high. The Board Secretary’s office sends email to the Board every two to three weeks, with multiple attachments. The Board is also provided with any communication from the public, as well as any audits that have been completed. While the office expects the majority of the records to be non-exempt, the materials will need to be reviewed for personal privacy (192.355(2)), security measures (192.345(23)), or other such exemptions. 

The university has received your request for a fee waiver for these records. The decision to waive or reduce fees is discretionary with the public body. After considering your request, the office does not consider that the totality of the circumstances you presented meets the standard for a fee waiver. 

Given the above, the office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $348.52. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon in that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207. Please note that if the cost of preparing the documents for you is less than the estimate, we will refund the difference. If the cost of preparing the records for you exceeds the estimate, however, you may be charged for the difference. Following is an outline of how costs are determined. The office charges a copy fee of 25 cents per page. The office also charges for the actual cost of making public records available. The charge includes, but is not limited to, staff costs for locating, gathering, summarizing, compiling, reviewing, tailoring or redacting the public records to respond to a request. The charge may also include the cost of time spent by an attorney in reviewing the public records, redacting material from the public records, or segregating the public records into exempt and nonexempt records. The cost of time for each employee is calculated by multiplying the employee’s hourly wage calculation (including benefits expenses) by the hours or portions thereof necessary to locate, gather, summarize, compile, tailor, review, redact, segregate, certify or attend the inspection of the public records requested. Thank you for contacting us with your request.

Sincerely,

cid:4B9B6C3F-95CC-44A6-9B03-D592F3AE51E2

Office of Public Records6207 University of Oregon | Eugene, OR 97403-6207(541) 346-6823 | pubrec@uoregon.edupublicrecords.uoregon.edu

Religious diversity among professors

While it’s hard pretty hard to find a UO professor who’s a registered Republican (back in 2006 I could only find 25, out of 506 matches to the Lane County voter file) there’s more religious diversity than you might expect, along with some interesting differences by field. From a 2006 national survey here, 63% of Accounting profs “know God really exists”, while only 13% of Psychology profs claim the same. Economics is among the fields with the largest diversity of religious beliefs with 23% total unbelievers and, on the other hand, 44% who are sure god exists (just one god?):

UO’s 2006 diversity plan included political and religious diversity:

For purposes of this Diversity Plan, the term diversity is given a broad meaning and includes, but is not limited to, differences based on race, ethnicity, national origin or citizenship, gender, religious affiliation or background, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic class or status, political affiliation or belief, and ability or disability.

And after Trump’s election in 2016, the NYT’s Nicholas Kristof, the son of two PSU professors, wrote this:

After Donald Trump’s election, some universities echoed with primal howls. Faculty members canceled classes for weeping, terrified students who asked: How could this possibly be happening?

I share apprehensions about President-elect Trump, but I also fear the reaction was evidence of how insular universities have become. When students inhabit liberal bubbles, they’re not learning much about their own country. To be fully educated, students should encounter not only Plato, but also Republicans.

We liberals are adept at pointing out the hypocrisies of Trump, but we should also address our own hypocrisy in terrain we govern, such as most universities: Too often, we embrace diversity of all kinds except for ideological. Repeated studies have found that about 10 percent of professors in the social sciences or the humanities are Republicans.

We champion tolerance, except for conservatives and evangelical Christians. We want to be inclusive of people who don’t look like us — so long as they think like us. …

Does anyone know what UO’s latest diversity plan says about diversity of thought?

PAC-12 to require basketball players to wear tracking devices

There’s no mystery to why a coach like Dana Altman wants to make sure “his” players are not doing the wrong thing at the wrong time and place.

Any restrictions on their un-paid athletes are acceptable to the coaches, so long as they keep getting their millions in pay and bonuses: From John Wilner in the Mercury:

“SafeZone uses ultra-wideband technology to accurately calculate the proximity between individuals by distance and length of time in order to perform quick and accurate contact tracing when someone is symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19.

“The contact data is logged in a secure system and can be accessed to contact trace in the event of an infection.

“The SafeTags can also be used to enforce physical distancing regulations by flashing a red warning light when people are within six feet of each other.”

12/10/2014: Coach Dana Altman thinks National Anthem is the wrong time to protest racism

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 11.03.11 PM

Our fool of a basketball coach thinks he owns those players. They shouldn’t protest when he’s trying to collect his $2M paycheck, off their free labor.

Fortunately we’ve still got people who can hear someone sing “O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave” and actually understand what it means.

Want to ask the players what they think? No. Duck AD Rob Mullens and his PR flack Craig Pintens have a rule about players talking to reporters without permission, and “Benjamin and Bell have not been made available to comment.”

Retirement buyout updates

11/23/2020 update: The second email from HR is below. No, JH hasn’t raised their offer yet.

I thought the HR staff’s video presentation was pretty helpful, although Director Mark Schmelz’s attempt to explain why UO wouldn’t split the payments over two tax years made no sense given that UO’s FY runs from July to June. Maybe it has something to do with our General Counsel’s demand that employees taking this offer first sign away their rights to everything?

g. Return of University property.  Employee agrees to return to the University any and all University property in Employee’s possession on or before the Resignation Date. [In the past Emeritii faculty have kept their computers, since they’e still writing letters for students, doing research, etc. Hard to do if UO has all your files.]

Age Discrimination Release:  Because Employee is over forty (40) years old, Employee has certain rights under federal law, including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), and state law, including ORS 659A.030, all of which prohibit discrimination based on age. Employee acknowledges:

The release in this Agreement includes, but is not limited to any claims based upon age; …

Tenure Release:In exchange for the consideration of the mutual covenants set forth in this Agreement, Employee relinquishes tenure as of June 30, 2021. By participating in this 2021 Retirement Incentive, Employee agrees they are ineligible to participate in, and waive all rights related to participation in, the University’s Tenure Reduction Program (TRP).  TRP agreements executed after September 16, 2020 are null and void upon execution of this Agreement. 

Severability: This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the Parties, and there are no other understandings, oral or written, other than those stated herein. If any portion of this Agreement is determined to be unenforceable as a matter of law, the remaining portions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.

[You had an agreement with your chair and dean? Forget about it.]

Jurisdiction and Amendment: Oregon law applies to any and all claims or disputes arising out of or relating to this Agreement and those disputes or claims shall be exclusively brought in courts located in Lane County Oregon (“Oregon Courts”).  The parties explicitly consent to the personal jurisdiction of the Oregon Courts. This Agreement can only be amended or modified by a writing signed by both Parties.

[Really? You give up your rights under Federal law? Is that enforceable?]

Attorney Fees: If either Party is required to enforce this Agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to reimbursement of attorney fees by the other Party.

[Huh? UO’s lawyers have already demanded that employees who take this deal give up all their rights. This suggests they’re worried that won’t hold up in court. So why all the pretense?]

The HR email:

From: Retirement Incentive <retirementincentive@uoregon.edu>
Subject: UO 2021 Retirement Incentive Update — Info session recording, retirement planning webinars, and election deadline reminder
Date: November 23, 2020 at 5:22:05 PM PST

UO Information Session recording now available.
Human Resources held a virtual information session on Thursday, November 19. Topics included an overview of the Retirement Incentive Offer, process, and action steps, tools and resources available, as well as a Q&A session. 

A recording of the session is available on the HR website: View recorded session.

Retirement planning webinars scheduled for December.
As part of reviewing and evaluating the 2021 Retirement Incentive Offer, attend a retirement planning webinar or counseling session with a trusted advisor. A credentialed Financial Advisor can provide advice and insight to assist you as you estimate your retirement income and make retirement decisions. 

Refer to the HR website to view the webinar schedule and for information on consulting a financial advisor.

2021 Retirement Incentive election deadline is 5:00 p.m. on February 5, 2021.
After you review and evaluate the 2021 Retirement Incentive offer, your retirement income benefits, and healthcare coverage options, complete theretirement incentive election form if you wish to participate in the program. Election forms received after the deadline will not be accepted.

Support and Assistance
Please check the web resources often for the latest information and before reaching out to the HR project team. Many of your questions will be answered in these resources:Ø  2021 Retirement Incentive Offer guide

Ø  Frequently Asked Questions

HR is regularly making updates and changes as more information becomes available. If you are unable to find an answer in the web resources to your question, please email your question or concern to the HR project team at retirementincentive@uoregon.edu. Please note that we are experiencing a high volume of emails currently and that we will respond to your inquiry as quickly as we can.

11/18/2020: UO offering retirement buyouts to faculty and OAs – if they sign away all rights

Apparently the email below went out to all eligible TT and Career faculty as well as OAs, on Monday. The email explains whose is eligible – basically age 62 by June 30 2021 and at least 15 years at UO. Keep in mind that I’m just an economist, not an accountant or financial planner or lawyer, and you would be wise not to use my thoughts below to make any decisions.

The employer’s goal with plans like this is to target highly paid employees who would otherwise keep working for many years, thereby cutting their costs by more than the buyout amount. The employer’s worry is that the people taking up the offer will tend to be those who would have retired anyway – meaning that the employer is giving them money for doing what they would have done anyway. (The economic term for them is inframarginal, as opposed to the marginal employees who retire earlier because of the incentive). This is why universities typically offer buyouts only to tenured faculty, who are giving up secure jobs and therefore need more compensation to persuade them to do so. It’s very unusual to see a university make the same proposal to career faculty and administrators.

My guess is that this plan will not encourage many people to retire earlier than they otherwise would have, and that most people taking this offer would have retired even without it, meaning that the net benefit to UO may well be negative, even when considering UO’s savings on PERS/ORP which they do not plan on passing on to the participants. This plan would have been more effective with faculty if it had been offered before the summer, before we’d paid the sunk costs of investing in converting our classes to online. I mean remote.

The buyout gives participants a year of salary plus $880 for each month between now and age 65 to help pay for their own health care, all as a lump-sum. ($880 is the current cost to UO of PEBB health insurance for a single person). I believe that this is all taxable (though perhaps you can shelter some in an IRA). The one-year income spike will mean the after-tax amount will be reduced by roughly 33% to 42% of the buyout.

This buyout payment will not increase people’s PERS salary or basic PERS benefit. For those faculty on the ORP, UO will not make any contributions to your ORP account from this buyout, which are currently about 33% of pay. UO plans to keep those savings – but of course by doing so they they make it less likely marginal faculty and staff will take the buyout offer.

Here are some more specific thoughts:

For Careers and OA’s, who are not eligible for the TRP, this plan is a gift to those already planning on retiring outright next year or staying on less than one additional year. Is it enough to persuade many of those planning to retire in say 3 years to retire now? I sort of doubt it, but those most worried about their job security may decide differently.

For TTF already planning to retire outright at the end of this academic year, this is again a great offer. If you were planning to retire this AY and then go on the TRP, which you could do for 5 years at 1/3 salary, keep in mind that, JUST like the buyout money, TRP pay does not count for PERS or produce ORP contributions, and most people on the TRP really only stay on it for about 3 years. They do get free PEBB insurance while teaching 0.5 FTE (and potentially summer). So net, ignoring your personal utility or disutility of teaching part time, the buyout is probably a modest financial loss relative to the TRP.

For those TT faculty currently planning on retiring outright but not until after another year or two or three of full time work after June 2021, the buyout makes less and less sense, and even less so for those planning on going on the TRP after a few more years full-time. This of course assumes that the faculty union will be able to keep the TRP in the upcoming contract negotiations.

For those on PERS Tier 1/2: Keep in mind that the buyout will not count to boost your highest 3 years pay or benefits. Additionally, under the Full Formula, your retirement income goes up by 1.67% (roughly) for every year you work and 1.67% of any increase in your highest three years salary. Additionally, you get about 4.5% of regular pay put into your IAP. This gives PERS faculty a modest additional incentive to take TRP over the buyout.

Corrections and other thoughts welcome. Maybe I should put all this into a spreadsheet?

Oh yeah, one more twist, from the FAQ:

Why do I have to sign a Participation Agreement and Release? Isn’t my election form sufficient?

UO has designed a formal Participation Agreement and Release, which details the terms of the participant’s voluntary retirement. Since part of UO’s overall objective this program is to manage financial liability, we have included in the Participation Agreement a waiver and release of any [emphasis added] possible claims against UO. We want this agreement to represent the full understanding between UO and the participant. A legally binding document is the best way to accomplish this.”

I’m a bit unclear on why a “full understanding” requires “a waiver and release of any possible claims” by the employee.

From: Retirement Incentive <retirementincentive@uoregon.edu>
Subject: Your UO 2021 Retirement Incentive Offer- Action required by February 5, 2021
Date: November 16, 2020 at 2:52:57 PM PST

Dear []

The University of Oregon has packaged a voluntary retirement incentive offer to provide eligible employees an opportunity to retire sooner than they may have planned. You have been determined to meet the eligibility requirements, and I am pleased to extend to you a 2021 retirement incentive offer. This retirement incentive package offers a benefit to eligible employees while also providing opportunities for the university as we continue to navigate and respond to financial uncertainty. This offer is available to tenure-related faculty, career faculty, and officers of administration who are age 62 and older, have worked at the UO for 15 years or more, and meet all other eligibility requirements.

Through this one-time offer, you would elect to retire on June 30, 2021 and receive a lump sum incentive payment representing one year of compensation. A lump sum payment intended to provide funds for health insurance as a bridge to Medicare eligibility at age 65 will also be issued to participants under the age of 65. Total gross payments are capped at $250,000.

Your 2021 retirement incentive offer is: 

Ø  Estimated lump sum gross compensation-based payment: [one year salary]

Ø  Estimated lump sum gross healthcare bridge payment: [~$880 for each month you are from age 65]

Ø  Estimated lump sum total gross payment:  [redacted]

To receive this retirement incentive, you will need to:

Ø  Submit the Retirement Incentive Election Form no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 5, 2021. This election form is non-binding and sets in motion action steps to finalize the agreement.

Ø  Sign a formal Participant Agreement and Release with the university and relinquish your tenure, if applicable. Refer to the HR website for a complete overview of the terms included in the Participant Agreement and Release.

Ø  Retire from the UO effective June 30, 2021.

You are also invited to attend an information session this Thursday, November 19, from noon to 1:00 p.m. HR will provide an overview of the offer, process and action steps, and be available to answer your questions. Please use this Zoom link to join the meeting.

Action steps are detailed on the HR website with explanations, step-by-step guidance, and resources you will need to consider this offer. Please refer to the HR website for a complete overview of the offerprocess, timeline, and important dates, and frequently asked questions to help you better understand and evaluate the 2021 Retirement Incentive offer.

Please note:

Ø  Your retirement plan: ORP with TIAA, Tier 1
PERS members should request a retirement estimate immediately, if you are at all interested in the 2021 retirement incentive, as it can take 60 days or more to receive.

Ø  Submission of the Retirement Incentive Election Form is an important step that notifies HR that you are interested in pursuing this offer; signing of the formal Participant Agreement and Release will occur in winter 2021. There will be opportunities for you to withdraw your decision after submitting the election form, if you change your mind. Election forms will not be accepted after 5:00 p.m. on February 5, 2021.

I would like to add that this is your individual decision and does not require approval from a dean, department head, or supervisor. Please reach out to a member of my team by emailing retirementincentive@uoregon.edu should you have any questions or need further assistance.

I appreciate you taking the time to seriously consider the 2021 retirement incentive offer, and I am hopeful that this unique opportunity could provide a path to retirement that may appeal to you. Thank you again for your time and consideration.

Best regards,

Mark Schmelz
Chief Human Resources Officer and Associate Vice President

Thanksgiving message from President Schill

Dear University of Oregon colleagues,

As I think about Thanksgiving this year, I am flooded with conflicting emotions. Like many of you, my plans to visit family and friends have been canceled, one more unfortunate change in a difficult year. Since many, if not most, of our students will leave Eugene to return home, our campus and much of our university neighborhood will have an empty feeling that will carry through the winter break. I worry about our community and our nation and pray that the hopeful vaccine experimental results reported in the news over the past couple weeks will mean a safe and effective way for us to curb the pandemic and allow us to get back to some approximation of normalcy.

But most of all, I am grateful and full of optimism for our future. Our community has come together better than we could have hoped for back in March when the contours of the pandemic first became apparent. Our faculty members once again demonstrated their devotion to our students by turning on a dime to convert traditional in-person teaching into remote or online education. Our students rose to the challenge with resilience; the vast majority have stayed with us and those I have spoken with are making the best of a sometimes difficult situation. Our classified staff and officers of administration displayed flexibility, understanding, and courage as they kept our campus open and safe. Our administrators worked weeks and months without taking a day off to help us manage an ever-changing environment. And, our alumni and supporters gave generously to support our students, donating close to $1 million to our student hardship fund.

I am also optimistic for our nation. While the election results reflect a nation that remains very divided, I am buoyed by the early statements of President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris. While our university comprises people of all parties and ideological perspectives, we are united by our commitments to research and science, to equity and inclusion, and to honesty and the pursuit of knowledge. I am hopeful that our nation—and our university—will return to these ideals even as we may disagree about how to put them into practice. I am also incredibly optimistic about our university. Although I am biased, I believe that we have made tremendous progress over the past six to seven years and I believe that progress will only accelerate in the future. In the years before I came to Eugene, the UO successfully led the effort to disband the Oregon University System and establish our own institutional board, which effectively freed us to chart our own path toward excellence. Our faculty union and my predecessor negotiated our first collective bargaining agreement that gave our career faculty substantially greater job security and compensation. We launched an extraordinary and unprecedented fundraising campaign that, to date, has raised close to $2.5 billion to fund scholarships, academic initiatives, new buildings, endowed professorships, and much more. And most importantly, we reaffirmed our commitment to academic excellence by focusing our resources on research and student success, an effort that was recognized and praised last year by the Association of American Universities.

Next month, we will celebrate the opening of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, the biggest change to our academic and research program in decades. The Knight Campus is committed to the principle of science advancing society—transforming basic scientific knowledge into interventions, technologies, innovations, and cures to improve the human condition. The Knight’s $500 million gift remains the single largest donation ever to a public university and a wonderful vote of confidence in Phil’s beloved alma mater. I invite each of you to join us for the virtual opening on December 2.

Importantly, the Knight Campus didn’t just come out of the head of a donor or president. Instead, the concept was organically developed by and for our faculty, who had long viewed the absence of applied science as holding the university and our students back. Similarly, over the next year we will see groups of faculty work with Provost Patrick Phillips to develop ideas for other new academic initiatives that will propel us forward in spite of the pandemic and our uncertain budgetary climate. These initiatives will include broad interdisciplinary efforts on the environment, sports and human performance, racial disparities, and innovation. I anticipate that each will be fed by philanthropy. It is important to me that all parts of the university see themselves playing a role in these efforts.

I am also hopeful and confident that our progress in creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive campus will accelerate next year. We have already done a lot of work in this area in terms of increasing our representation of students of color and providing new and enhanced curricular and co-curricular opportunities. But we need to do more. We need to hire more faculty and staff of color, and we need to create an environment in which they can flourish. We need to continue to increase access to our university and we need to make sure that all groups of students—regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or other characteristic—feel a part of our university and succeed. This is the moment for us to make progress on all of these fronts: the nation is focused; our students demand it; our University Senate is committed to making progress; and so is our university administration and board of trustees. Shame on us if we don’t meet the challenge.

One thing I have learned from my time here at the University of Oregon is that we tend to be a skeptical bunch. I am sure some of you think I am blowing hot air. How can Mike talk about progress and new initiatives in the face of a pandemic that is sickening or killing our citizens, eviscerating our economy, and generating budgetary problems for the university that will take years for us to dig out of? The answer to that question is that we owe it to our students, to our state, and to posterity to continually strive to produce knowledge and transmit that knowledge to the next generation. That is why we are part of this community. That is why we work here. It isn’t just our job; it is our calling and mission. A university that stands still forsakes its mission, because knowledge doesn’t have a finite end and human progress knows no bounds.In closing, I want to wish each of you a good holiday. I am thankful that I am your president and that I am part of this community. While we might not engage with each other in the way I most like—face-to-face and arm-in-arm—I want each of you to know how grateful I am that you are part of our university family.

Sincerely, Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Big-time college sports corrupts everything and everyone

The latest example is from the Oregonian, regarding OSU’s new President F. King Alexander, who had apparently been hoping for a job in the Biden administration. The report:

Oregon State president F. King Alexander on Wednesday afternoon emailed a statement to the school’s staff, asking the campus to “contribute to a community free of sexual misconduct, harassment.”

The statement, later posted to the school’s website, comes two days after USA Today reported that Louisiana State ignored sexual assault complaints involving members of the football team during a period when Alexander was the school president.

The USA Today report’s lead author was Kenny Jacoby, who as a UO student reporter was the bête noire of UO General Counsel Kevin Reed and basketball coach Dana Altman, for his many reports on Duck athletic scandals. Some links here.

Duck booster Pat Kilkenny beats former UO trustee Connie Ballmer in CA bail bond referendum

This is an odd one.

Pat Kilkenny is well known for his friendship with Phil Knight and his brief tenure as Dave Frohnmayer’s Duck Athletic Director, during which he set up the peculiar financing scheme for the Knight Arena, which is still costing UO’s academic budget $450K a year.

Connie Ballmer was one of the original UO Board of Trustees members. She has donated many millions to UO and particularly Pathway Oregon, a UO program that ensures low-income Oregon residents can go to UO tuition free, and then provides academic support services. It’s led to graduation rates on par with those of kids from rich families. She unexpectedly resigned from the BoT in March.

Kilkenny is also one of the founders and owners of Aladdin Bail Bonds, dba as Two Jinn Inc, a CA based company that has made a lot of money under that state’s cash bail bonds laws. In 2018 the CA legislature outlawed the cash bail system, arguing that companies like his were using the system to exploit low-income families. Kilkenny and the other bail companies put up more than $10M to challenge this law with Proposition 25 in the 2020 election. They won, the reformers lost, cash bail remains, and Kilkenny is still in business.

Connie Ballmer and her husband Steve were the major donors opposing the cash bail system and the unsuccessful effort to defeat Kilkenny’s Prop 25, which spent $13M. The LA Times has the story here.

More on Kilkenny’s other sleazy business dealings civic-minded efforts to help PERS reduce its unfunded liability are in the Oregonian here, and copies of the email chain between Kilkenny, Gov Brown’s chief of staff Nik Blosser (now working for the Biden transition team), and John von Schlegell (his Endeavour Capital Fund is a big investor in Kilkenny’s bail bonds company) here.

Secretive university long-term planning task force seeks input – while requiring members sign NDAs

This is a strange way to conduct shared governance of a public university.

Back in May, Senate Pres Berkman told the Senate “Tangibly, we do plan to share our work plan, timeline, roster, attendees list, and narrative reports once we begin our work. I welcome additional ideas from everyone about how to facilitate bi-directional communication as we move forward.”

Six months later, the task-force has not shared any of this, with the exception of the email below. Meanwhile they have been requiring the members sign NDAs. This is starting to remind me of the sort of transparency we had with long-term planning under President Gottfredson:

Obviously I’ll be making some public records requests, starting with the NDA/confidentiality agreement. (Update: Elliot provided this immediately, without the UO Public Records Office’s usual fees or delays. Thanks Elliot! Document here.)

Meanwhile here’s the first news from the Task Force:

Dear University of Oregon community,

We are writing as the members of the University Task Force on Long-Term Responses to COVID-19 to update you on the activities and timeline of the task force.University Senate leadership together with the UO president and provost formed the task force in late spring 2020 to advise the president on how UO should respond to the financial challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. The task force is charged with considering operational and structural changes that protect the university’s core mission to be a “comprehensive public research university committed to exceptional teaching, discovery, and service.” We are tasked with reviewing a range of data and proposals and in thinking creatively about ways to achieve this goal. We will consider proposals through the lens of our values and priorities as an institution, which include equity, inclusion, and excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.

At the time the task force was created, there was considerable uncertainty about how the coronavirus pandemic would affect the university’s budget. Questions about enrollment and state support opened the possibility of exceptionally large shortfalls that might require substantial changes to the structure of the university. We are relieved to report that recent data on enrollment and state projections suggest that the shortfalls will be smaller than the most dire predictions. Nonetheless, we still face substantial shortfalls that need to be addressed. Also, considerable uncertainty remains about the budget regarding future cuts from the state and the long-term impact on enrollment from the pandemic and changes to course delivery. So, we will continue our work, focusing on the ways the university can sustain its mission during the pandemic and any changes it might bring, financial and otherwise.

Throughout the summer and into the fall, we have been learning about the history of major structural and budgetary changes at UO, educating ourselves about the university’s current budget and projected future scenarios, and discussing the values, principles, and priorities that should guide any recommendations that we will make to the president. We are still in the early stages of our work, which we expect will continue throughout this academic year and into the next. We will refine our values and priorities as we continue to gather input from campus stakeholders.

Going forward, during the fall and winter and into the spring, we will engage stakeholders across campus in discussions that will help illuminate how UO can emerge from the pandemic with the full capacity to serve its mission. Examples of the questions we are asking include:

  • What are the values, priorities, and principles that should guide decisions about UO’s future? How can we ensure that equity will be prioritized as part of all decisions?
  • How can UO become a stronger institution with respect to teaching, scholarship, and service with its current level or, very possibly, a reduced amount of resources?
  • Which academic areas that serve UO’s mission have the capacity for growth without additional investment in faculty/staff resources or infrastructure?
  • What are areas for strategic investments that will improve teaching, scholarship, and/or service to the state in ways that generate revenue or are revenue-neutral?
  • What are other feasible steps UO can take right now to better position itself to succeed in its teaching, scholarship, and service missions in the post-pandemic world?
  • What are ways UO could operate more efficiently while protecting its core academic mission of teaching, scholarship, and service?
  • Are there any degrees, programs, or departments that should be merged with others or ended as part of a reorganization—either because of quality or financial reasons?

With these questions in mind, we are planning on the following outreach:

  • Meetings with leaders of stakeholder groups, including but not limited to graduate and undergraduate students, represented and unrepresented faculty, officers of administration, and classified staff, to refine our understanding of the above questions and help us begin to answer them.
  • A survey of campus for individuals or groups to direct ideas to the task force. We might distribute subsequent surveys based on responses to the initial one.
  • A “suggestion box” that will be open continuously for additional ideas, suggestions, and comments.

Over the next several months, the task force will review the responses to our surveys and our conversations with stakeholder groups. Our work will conclude with a final report to the president in the 2021-2022 academic year that identifies the most promising ways for UO to serve its mission while remaining financially viable. We might also generate interim reports if we draw conclusions about specific areas of focus considered by the task force.We close by acknowledging that this is a challenging time for many in our community. The pandemic and wildfires unleashed a series of cascading effects that have touched all our lives in myriad ways. The Black Lives Matter movement and the national reckoning on race must inform our work going forward. At a time like this, we—faculty, staff, OAs, and students—must help guide the university. We are grateful for your thoughtful engagement in this work and very much look forward to hearing your input.

Sincerely, Elliot Berkman Task Force Co-Chair

Sabrina Madison-Cannon Task Force Co-Chair

And the members of the task force.

Membership

Elliot Berkman (co-chair), College of Arts and Sciences, Associate Professor of Psychology; University Senate President
Sabrina Madison-Cannon (co-chair), School of Music and Dance, Phyllis and Andrew Berwick Dean and Professor of Dance

Bruce Blonigen, College of Arts and Sciences, Dean and Professor of Economics
Liska Chan, College of Design, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture; Clark Honors College, Associate Dean for Faculty
Robin Clement, Lundquist College of Business, Director, Master of Accounting Program; Academic Director, Sports Product Management; Robert and Lois Braddock Distinguished Senior Instructor
Nicole Dahmen, School of Journalism and Communication, Associate Professor, Honors Program Coordinator
Anthony Dillard, College of Arts and Sciences, Political Science, Undergraduate Student
Judith Eisen, College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Biology
Larissa Ennis, University Advancement, Government and Community Relations, Associate Director of Sponsorships and Community Relations
Kimberly Johnson, Division of Undergraduate Education and Student Success, Office of Academic Advising, Assistant Vice Provost for Advising
Kent McIntosh, College of Education, Philip H. Knight Chair and Professor of Special Education and Clinical Sciences
Paul Peppis, College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of English; Director, Oregon Humanities Center
Michael Price, College of Arts and Sciences, Senior Instructor of Mathematics, Assistant Department Head
Jennifer (Jen) Reynolds, School of Law, Associate Professor; Faculty Director, Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Center
Gerardo Sandoval, College of Design, Planning, Public Policy and Management, Associate Professor
Doneka Scott, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Student Success
Ian Winbrock, School of Journalism and Communication, Center for Science Communication Research, Project Manager

UO General Counsel Kevin Reed still using fees and delays to subvert intent of Oregon’s Public Records law:

UO’s official log is here, with the last few months below. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s Public Records and Meetings manual is here, with this warning:

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance. And a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. 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.” James Madison (1822)

Request DateTitleRequesterStatus
11/11/2020ContractsLavigne, PaulaRecords Provided
11/10/2020DataLaPlaca, JakeRecords Provided
11/09/2020RFPTardif, PatrickAwaiting Payment from Requester
11/09/2020RFQLeinas, CharlesAwaiting Payment from Requester
11/04/2020Directory InformationDecker, TroyAwaiting Payment from Requester
11/04/2020Job DataStewart, TiffanyRequesting/Reviewing Records
10/29/2020ReportsYan, HanAwaiting Clarification from Requester
10/29/2020Student directory informationCarr, DonaldRecords Provided
10/28/2020CertificationMember, CommunityRequesting/Reviewing Records
10/28/2020Directory InformationNguyen, HoangRequesting/Reviewing Records
10/28/2020RFPStockman, MarcieRequesting/Reviewing Records
10/26/2020Student dataKolodner, MeredithRecords Provided
10/26/2020CorrespondenceWittry, AndyNo Responsive Records
10/22/2020RFPBrett, BethRecords Exempt From Disclosure
10/22/2020PoliciesLeroy, MichaelRecords Provided
10/21/2020Student dataKolodner, MeredithNo Responsive Records
10/21/2020RecordsCrolla, BrunoNo Responsive Records
10/20/2020Financial InformationKemble, SionedAwaiting Payment from Requester
10/20/2020ContractMember, CommunityRecords Provided
10/20/2020Meeting materialsHarbaugh, BillRecords Provided
10/20/2020CorrespondenceHarbaugh, BillAwaiting Clarification from Requester
10/19/2020RFQLeinas, CharlesRecords Exempt From Disclosure
10/16/2020RFPWinkler, PaulRecords Provided
10/14/2020WaiversWilson, WilliamRecords Provided
10/12/2020DataO’Leary, FrancisRecords Provided
10/12/2020CorrespondenceO’Leary, FrancisAwaiting Payment from Requester
10/12/2020CorrespondenceGarcia, DamasoAwaiting Payment from Requester
10/12/2020CorrespondenceGarcia, DamasoAwaiting Payment from Requester
10/12/2020CorrespondenceGarcia, DamasoAwaiting Payment from Requester
10/12/2020GrievanceSloan, SilasRecords Provided
10/09/2020Enrollment numbersMartz, AndrewRecords Provided
10/05/2020Directory InformationEvans, RyanAwaiting Payment from Requester
10/05/2020Financial InformationNovy-Williams, EbenNo Responsive Records
10/05/2020ContractCrolla, BrunoNo Responsive Records
10/02/2020Stale dated checksMinotti, AnthonyRecords Provided
09/28/2020CorrespondenceForrest, JackAwaiting Payment from Requester
09/28/2020CorrespondenceForrest, JackAwaiting Payment from Requester
09/28/2020ContractsMurray, ColinRecords Provided
09/28/2020Financial InformationEspi, VinceAwaiting Payment from Requester
09/25/2020CorrespondenceCrepea, JamesRequesting/Reviewing Records
09/25/2020CorrespondenceCrepea, JamesAwaiting Payment from Requester
09/24/2020CorrespondenceCrepea, JamesAwaiting Payment from Requester
09/24/2020RecordsLibit, DanielRecords Provided
09/24/2020CorrespondenceCrepea, JamesRecords Provided
09/23/2020RFPMcLean, BryanRecords Provided
09/23/2020CorrespondencePayton, AbrahamNo Responsive Records
09/22/2020Financial InformationLibit, DanielRecords Provided
09/21/2020ContractsBrown, MattRecords Provided
09/21/2020Financial InformationPorter, HayleyRecords Provided
09/21/2020CorrespondenceWasburn, LoganRequesting/Reviewing Records
09/21/2020CorrespondencePorter, HayleyAwaiting Payment from Requester
09/21/2020CorrespondenceWasburn, LoganRecords Provided
09/21/2020CorrespondenceBonagura, KyleAwaiting Payment from Requester
09/17/2020CorrespondenceWittry, AndyRequest Withdrawn
09/17/2020Student directory informationSchatz, AldenAwaiting Payment from Requester
09/15/2020Financial InformationUpton, KristiRecords Provided
09/14/2020Directory InformationTourigny, KarenRecords Provided
09/14/2020RFQGupta, AmbujRecords Provided
09/11/2020RFQCollins, JoeAwaiting Payment from Requester
09/11/2020RFQRio, MartinRecords Provided
09/08/2020RFPEarl, HowardRecords Provided
09/08/2020CorrespondenceWittry, AndyRecords Provided
09/04/2020ContractsShapard, KarissaRecords Provided
09/04/2020CorrespondenceCrepea, JamesRecords Provided
09/04/2020Athletics opt-out wavierCrepea, JamesRecords Provided
09/04/2020Financial InformationThorburn, RyanClosed
09/03/2020DocumentWittry, AndyRecords Provided
09/03/2020Contract, Invoices, ReportsRindlisbacher, ChristofClosed
09/01/2020Personnel recordsJacoby, KennyRecords Provided
09/01/2020CorrespondenceWittry, AndyRecords Provided
08/28/2020RFPPritchard, BobRecords Exempt From Disclosure
08/28/2020Financial InformationSettima, ChristinaRecords Provided
08/27/2020ContractDavis, DanielRecords Provided
08/27/2020ContractConnolly, DavidRecords Provided
08/26/2020Financial InformationPrentiss, StephanieClosed
08/26/2020Financial InformationBauman, DanRequesting/Reviewing Records
08/26/2020RFQOliver, KatiRecords Provided
08/26/2020ContractsJackson, PierceRecords Provided
08/25/2020RFPSampson, GingerRecords Provided
08/25/2020RFPVadakkan, DennyRecords Provided

UO to offer “one-time” buyout scheme for OA’s and Career and TTF faculty

Update: Details on plan and release of rights here.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for forwarding this sketch of the plan, which looks like it was devised by VP Brad Shelton.

Word is that, in addition to one year salary, the university will also pay PEBB costs for single coverage for the number of years necessary to get the retiree to age 65 and medicare. All paid as a lump sum, all taxable.

Among other peculiarities, this scheme does not appear to offer any additional emoluments to the tenured faculty, who are normally the targets of these proposals – because of their job security, higher pay, and existing TRP options.

Board of Trustees post some materials for Friday’s ad hoc meeting

Here.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING
The Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon will hold the following public meeting:

Friday, November 13, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. PT

Due to current orders regarding campus operations and social distancing, the meeting will be held via video conference with a telephone conference option available for members of the media and the public.
The subjects of the meeting will be the Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact (annual report), University Advancement and fundraising campaign update, and fall enrollment and financial aid data. Members of the public can observe the proceedings via livestream or telephone:
• Livestream link: Available day of at https://trustees.uoregon.edu/meetings.
• Teleconference: (888) 337-0215, Code – 1885958

Public Comment

Individuals wishing to provide public comment to the Board of Trustees may do so in writing via trustees@uoregon.edu. All comments will be shared with members of the board, but to ensure comments are provided to trustees in advance of the meeting, they must be received by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on November 12, 2020.

Board of Trustees
November 13, 2020 | 11:00 a.m. PT

Call to order

1. Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact: Bob Guldberg, Vice President and Executive Director of the Knight Campus

Shiny happy stuff! Starts at page 5 here:

2. UO Advancement and Capital Campaign Update: Mike Andreasen, Vice President for University Advancement

Starts at page 27, Seems to be a bit short on the details:

But recent results are not good: this includes pledges, nothing is broken out by Jumbotron etc:

So what’s the plan?

3. Academic Year 2020 Enrollment and Financial Aid/Scholarships: Roger Thompson, Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management; Jim Brooks, Associate Vice President and Director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. Starts at page 47. Lots of interesting numbers:

Meeting Adjourned

AVP for State Affairs Libby Batlan leaves UO for retirement home industry lobbying group

The Lund Report has the OHCA press release and some examples of OHCA lobbying here. Batlan has apparently already been replaced in UO’s State Affairs office by her assistant VP, Hans Bernard, according to his linked in page. And UO is searching to fill the job of assistant for him, with the new title of “Director of State Affairs“:

“The Director of State Affairs (Director) serves a critical role in promoting the success of UO students, faculty, and staff. This position works with university leadership to promote the UO’s value and spur sustained and increased investments in public higher education. The Director works closely with the Associate Vice President for State Affairs in advancing the UO’s legislative agenda and increasing the level of knowledge and understanding that lawmakers and public officials have about the UO’s strengths. This includes stewarding relationships and communicating with other statewide elected offices, state agencies and commissions including the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, and political and public policy partner groups. The Director is also primarily responsible for working with existing staff to monitor and assess legislative concepts, bills and proposals and articulate their impact on the University.”

In past practice, this has included such things as lobbying the state legislature for money for Knight Arena, and $40M in subsidies for the Tracktown 2019 2021 2022 championships.

While the OHCA’s website says

“Founded in 1950, the Oregon Health Care Association (OHCA) improves the lives of seniors and people with disabilities by promoting quality long term care in Oregon.”

They are a little more honest with the IRS:

“Oregon Health Care Association is a voluntary association formed to promote the common business interests of its members, all of which are engaged in the business of providing long-term care and related services in the state of oregon.”

And they pay very well – these numbers are now 3 years old:

UO was paying Batlan $160K, and Bernard $147K. The new job is listed at starting at $75K.

Pres Schill to cut back on armed UOPD

Worth reading this one, it’s not the usual pablum:

Dear University of Oregon community,

Recent incidents of police violence against people of color have led to a healthy debate across the country about police reform and how best to utilize law enforcement agencies to protect and serve ALL of the people in our communities. That is certainly true here at the University of Oregon, where we are fortunate to have a police chief—Matt Carmichael—who has unequivocally denounced police brutality and leaned into a dialogue about how the UO Police Department (UOPD) can continue to make progress toward being an even more inclusive and community-oriented campus law enforcement agency.Over the last few months, Chief Carmichael, I, and many other campus leaders have begun a wide-ranging dialogue with students, faculty, staff, and the broader community about the goals of the “disarm” movement and how to balance those demands against the UO’s legitimate need to prevent crime and protect campus. I would like to thank everyone involved for the respectful discussions and reasoned approach, because it has paved the way for the reforms that I am announcing today.

Before I discuss our plan for the future I want to be upfront about one thing: The university will neither disband the UOPD nor completely shift to an unarmed security force. The simple truth is that when crimes or suspected crimes occur on campus—and, unfortunately, they do occur—there will be an armed police response. The question is whether that response should be undertaken by our specially trained UOPD or by the Eugene Police Department. For me, the choice is clear—UOPD.

While the bucolic setting of our campus may lull us into a sense of security, crime and the threat of crime do affect us. Sadly, we are all too familiar with the type of violent events—including mass shootings—that have tragically impacted other campuses in Oregon and across the country in recent years. Additionally, we have seen criminal activity and violent incidents come uncomfortably close on a number of occasions to our usually safe campus here in Eugene. And, on a regular basis, our police officers confront criminals or face serious situations on or near campus that require them to have the full array of law enforcement tools at their disposal to protect the community.

Ultimately, our campus is best served by a dedicated and fully equipped law enforcement agency that is familiar with our campus, understands and embraces our shared values, is engaged in the day-to-day life of the institution, and has established relationships with students, affinity groups, our faculty, and staff. That said, I understand that to some members of our community—particularly people of color—an armed police force generates feelings of oppression and a lack of safety. It is important to me and to our entire community that all of us feel safe and included at the University of Oregon. Therefore, in the coming months, the University of Oregon will take the following steps: 

  1. We will reduce the number of armed UOPD officer positions by 26 percent and simultaneously substantially increase the number of unarmed community service officers (CSOs), as soon as we can hire and train appropriate personnel. As we hire our CSOs, we will do so with a goal of increasing diversity within UOPD and in accordance with our campus values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  2. Routine security patrols of many campus buildings—particularly those used by students, such as the Erb Memorial Union, Knight Library, residence halls, and more—will be conducted by unarmed CSOs rather than armed police officers. Armed police officers, however, will be available to quickly respond to incidents, if warranted.
  3. Unarmed CSOs will also take the lead in responding to non-emergency calls for service that do not require the presence of a police officer, such as taking reports of property theft after the fact or providing a proactive security presence on campus.
  4. CSOs will not wear police-style uniforms and instead will wear easily recognizable attire aimed at making them appear more approachable and non-threatening to the campus community.
  5. In the next few months, we will hire a consultant with expertise in policing and diverse communities to lead an inclusive process with our community to develop further proposals to make our public safety system one that inspires the confidence of all campus stakeholders. I am hopeful that we can engage all interested groups in this effort at transformation. Specifically, the consultant will help us develop:
    • A new police accountability process/review board structure
    • Options for improved mental health responses and/or community partnerships
    • Additional changes to the functions of armed police officers

The UO is a community that has been well-served by the UOPD. That said, the reforms I am announcing are rooted in the belief that UOPD can continue to evolve to meet the needs of all of our students, faculty, and staff. These are important steps toward ensuring that the University of Oregon campus is welcoming and inviting to all and continues to be a wonderful and safe place to live, work, study, or visit.

Thank you.

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Doneka Scott, VP for Student Success, to leave for NC State

Doneka was a big supporter of SAIL and worked with many Econ honors students on empirical research projects involving student retention and graduation. She’ll be missed!

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to let you know that Doneka Scott, vice provost for Undergraduate Education and Student Success, has accepted a position as vice chancellor and dean for the Division of Academic and Student Affairs at North Carolina State University. Her last day at University of Oregon will be February 12, 2021. I send this message with strongly mixed emotions, as Doneka has played a vital role in dramatically advancing our student success mission. Yet, I am happy that Doneka is able to move on to a top leadership position with a diverse and comprehensive portfolio at an important research university.Since joining UO in 2016 as associate vice provost for student success, Doneka has been the leader of these efforts on our campus. She built the requisite infrastructure needed to support students, eliminated institutional silos, and facilitated collaborations to ensure we fully stood behind our students’ academic pursuits.She has engaged faculty, staff, and students campus-wide to develop and implement dozens of initiatives to improve student performance. Under her leadership, we accomplished the goal President Schill set to increase four-year graduation rates by 10 percentage points, one year earlier than targeted.

Doneka has been a fierce advocate for student access and success, working tirelessly to remove institutional barriers that inhibit students from progression to their degrees. As the architect of the “Flight Paths” framework for first-year programs and academic and career advising, she was integral in helping UO launch Tykeson Hall and re-envisioning academic advising at the institution. Her work has always been student-centered and guided by principles that the young people in our charge can and will be successful, and graduate in a timely manner.

We are grateful for her commitment to our students’ success and the greater UO community over the past four years. No doubt, there will be questions about the process of how we replace Doneka, and I will provide more information soon once my office establishes a plan for a permanent search.

After consulting with my leadership team, I have asked Kimberly Johnson, assistant vice provost for advising, to serve as the interim vice provost for UESS. Her first day in the role will be on February 15, 2021. We are grateful for Kimberly’s willingness to serve in the interim capacity and help us as we seek out a permanent replacement.

Please join me in congratulating Doneka and sharing appreciation for the profound impact she has had on the university. As a trusted member of, an advocate for, and a mentor to many in the UO community, we will miss her greatly, and we wish her the very best.

Sincerely,

Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President