Duck coach Dana Altman finally decides on the right time and place to talk about #BlackLivesMatter

Dana in the Oregonian in 2014, after the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner:

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

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.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 11.03.11 PM

Dana yesterday, on Twitter:


Provost Phillips tells career faculty he will cut their FTE if they go for promotion

No, I’m not making this up.

The Faculty Union’s email about it is here. Some snippets:

The Price of Excellence

Faculty who achieve promotion, whether they be tenure-track or Career, are supposed to earn job security and an increase in salary. By achieving promotion, these faculty have demonstrated their excellence and commitment to the university. Unfortunately, several of our Career colleagues who are mid-contract learned this last week that their reward for achieving promotion would be a new contract with a 0.55 FTE, instead of the 1.0 FTE they would have received if they had not gone up for promotion. We protested this administrative decision, pointing out that the administration could incorporate the final year of their previous contract into their new contract at absolutely no loss to the university, but they refused. Faculty who were days away from promotion learned that they could either withdraw their case and keep their 1.0 FTE contract next year, or they could go ahead and achieve promotion and have a 0.55 FTE contract next year. This is unconscionable.

Our collective bargaining agreement does not stop this administration from treating Career faculty like bargaining chips because the whole notion of their doing such a thing was so alien to our collective thinking. If our bargaining team would have suggested that the administration could take advantage of loopholes in the CBA–which is designed to reward excellence, not offer “nimbleness” and “flexibility”–to wipe out the careers of hundreds of faculty, we would have been accused of being cynical and arguing in bad faith. And, indeed, we would have negotiated differently, resulting in a different contract, designed to protect against bad-faith interpretations. It did not, however, occur to us that an administration would betray what we worked together to build like this current administration has.

… In the coming weeks, we will begin negotiations with the administration over the restoration of Career FTE, a new job security system that does not allow the administration to decimate Career faculty whenever they want, and a wage cut plan. We very much hope to find common ground with them and arrive at a reasonable solution to the crises we face.

What can you do to help?
We anticipate that these negotiations will be very difficult, and we will need everyone to help if we are going to protect our colleagues. The easiest way to do that is to complete this Google Form so we can add you to our summer bargaining communications list. Doing so indicates your support for your fellow colleagues and will keep you in the loop as we head back to the table.

You can join the faculty union here.

Pres Schill’s Track & Field Championship construction boom adds $15M a year to UO costs, UO credit rating goes negative

In June 2015 UO projected that debt expense payments for 2021 would be about $43M a year:

Now in June 2020 they are projecting debt expense payments for 2021 will be about $58M a year – a $15M increase:

Why the increase? Mostly for 30 year bonds sold to build new dorms, part of the “Athlete’s Village” that Phil Knight needed for the IAAF Track and Field Championships bids. We’ll be paying them off for a long time.

For perspective, the average student brings in about $20K a year in tuition, so it would take about 750 new students to cover this $15M in new debt.

Enrollment increases are unlikely, so the current plan from President Schill and Provost Phillips is to cut wages for faculty and staff to cover this debt expense increase and any revenue declines from cuts in state contributions and enrollment.

In any case the party is over. In March – before the impact of the coronavirus – Moody’s had already revised UO’s credit outlook to negative, citing the increased debt, spending, resistance to tuition increases, low reserves, etc. (Thanks to a helpful reader for sharing this public record, which took Kevin Reed’s office 3 weeks to provide. Full report here. So far as I can tell Angela Wilhelms and Chuck Lillis never showed it to the Trustees, nor was if discussed in their public meetings. Not exactly due diligence.)

The tables are from the back pages of the Trustees agenda materials. June 2015 here, 2020 here. It seems unlikely that the Trustees will do their due diligence on this at their June 4th meeting, given that they are the people who approved all the decisions that got us here.

Trustees to lease Romania lot for Duck branded “Flagship UO Hotel”, etc.

UO will be in the red on this deal until at least 2025.

It’s all preliminary, as follow up to this RFP, but it’s on the Board of Trustee’s agenda for June 4.

The payments are back-loaded – the earnest money deposit is only $150K net – so it’s not going to help with the budget crisis du jour:

FWIW, $535K is a bit more than the ~$470K UO’s academic side has to pay the Duck Athletic Department every year, as our contribution for the land that the Matt Knight arena is built on, thanks to this once secret MOU between Dave Frohnmayer and Pat Kilkenny.

But meanwhile we’re already in the hole for this too:

No worries, I’m sure the faculty and staff will be happy to take pay-cuts to cover these expenditures. And unlike Knight arena, maybe this thing will pay off someday:

If it does, Brian Obie is not going to be happy with this competition to his $75M 5th Street Market expansion:

I wonder what sort of tax incentives the city is going to give out.



UO Administrators “Speaking out against hatred, racism, and violence”

They’re going to hold a workshop, some forums, and “potentially a course dedicated to examining structural barriers to racial equity in the COVID-19 era”. Some bragging about what they’ve done over the past 5 years. Maybe some more implicit bias training? No mention of holding more Jeffersonian Dinners with our VPEI at expensive restaurants – with a budget larger than a full-ride out of state scholarship – to help with “removing vestiges of oppression”.

Dear University of Oregon community,
George Floyd’s tragic and senseless killing by a white police officer on a street in Minneapolis shocks, saddens, and outrages all of us. Coming in close succession to the apparent murder of Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged in Georgia, six years after Eric Garner met a similar fate on the streets of Staten Island, and after so many others who have lost their lives, we mourn not just for the families of the victims but the ideals of our nation.
As leaders of this university it is important to speak out against these and other less publicized atrocities inflicted against people of color in our nation. We call on our entire university community and nation to recognize that these are not isolated events, but instead reflect a society deeply in need of transformation and healing. Now is the time to raise our voices and send the message that hatred and violence toward people of color and other marginalized groups must stop. In the words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
If we were together in Eugene at this moment, we might collectively mourn Floyd’s death with a march on Johnson Hall or a vigil outside the EMU. But COVID-19 has made coming together as a community in solidarity difficult. Indeed, COVID-19 itself has laid bare, as if we needed more proof, the racial and socio-economic divisions that continue to plague our nation and society. Black, brown, Native Americans, and the poor are getting sick and dying at far greater rates due to deplorable inequities in our health system and the fact that they disproportionately find themselves in frontline jobs that put them at risk. That is unacceptable.
The question is what do we do with our feelings of rage? As leaders of one of America’s great research universities, the answer lies in our own backyard—education, research, and leadership. We must continue to reach out and enroll a diverse student body and make sure that ALL students succeed, regardless of race, religion, ethnic origin, socio-economic background, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We must provide students with the tools to dismantle racism, to lead with empathy, and to be animated by the truth that Black lives—like all other lives—not only matter but are sacred. As we move through the months of COVID-19, we understand that many of our Black, Native, Latinx, and Asian students are most vulnerable. We must work hard to retain all of our students, see them through to graduation, and launch them into successful lives. Equity means that different groups will need different tools to succeed, and we will provide that help.
We will also continue the work that we began five years ago on inclusion, which included adding to our multicultural curricula, celebrating different heritages on campus, removing vestiges of oppression, and building a new Black cultural center. And, we fully recognize that we have much, much more to do here. We claim no victories, only an ever-increasing commitment to engage in the work, to persist in lifting the arc so that it continues to bend toward justice.
Finally, our university also has an important role to play in furthering the debate about racial equity through research, teaching, and outreach. This year’s African American Speaker and Workshop Series will focus on disproportionality and resilience of the African American community in the face of COVID-19. Additionally, over the summer and early fall, we will reach out to interested faculty, staff, and students about putting together a series of forums and potentially a course dedicated to examining structural barriers to racial equity in the COVID-19 era. In our own way, we will make sure that these senseless and outrageous deaths do not go unanswered.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law
Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President
Yvette Alex-Assensoh
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
Kevin Marbury
Vice President for Student Life

Update: How to get the Student Experience Survey into Canvas

Important Note: Canvas “anonymous” surveys aren’t really anonymous — apparently it’s possible for faculty to identify submissions, though it takes a few steps of deliberate action! It’s therefore a good idea to do one of the following: (i) if using Canvas, be transparent about this flaw, but tell your students that you won’t de-anonymize their submissions. (ii) use something other than Canvas. TEP has already made a Qualtrics version of the survey, again providing a file and instructions on its use to make life easy! This is at the same site.

5/28/2020: As you may know UO is not conducting the Student Experience Survey this term. Raghu Parthasarathy (Physics) explains how you can do it yourself in Canvas, for feedback. I’m including Raghu’s editorial comments on why we should have collected the survey, which I mostly agree with. While our administration loves to “blame it on the union” – regardless of the truth – cancelling this survey really was the union’s fault, with help from the administration.

For summer UO will run the survey through the usual software, but results will be just for instructor use – not shared with departments etc. (If you want you will be able to opt out even from that.) I expect that this will be the procedure for fall as well.

From Raghu Parthasarathy (Physics):

As you might know, UO is not asking students to fill out an end-of-term survey about their courses this quarter. Faculty are, however, free to ask students how things have gone and get feedback on the on-line experience. There’s an easy way to do this: TEP has made the “End of Course Student Experience Survey” available, and upload-able into Canvas! (Note that one can run an anonymous survey through Canvas.) To get it, go here.

Click the “End-of-Course Student Experience Survey” box; you’ll get to this site, which has in the tabs at the top a “Download” button that downloads everything as a zip file. The page has instructions for importing this into Canvas. (I haven’t tried importing yet.)

Many in my own department (Physics) are happy about this, and we hope to gain insights into the Spring student experience either using the above survey or our own questions.

Editorial comments: I find it appalling that UO is not asking students to fill in an end-of-term survey, even a survey that isn’t used for faculty evaluation. Such a survey should (perhaps) not be used to evaluate faculty, but it should definitely be used to get a sense of what students experience have been, and to get feedback that will be *extremely* valuable if we end up teaching remotely again. My sources (more than one) report that not officially having a survey is the will of the office of the provost and the union, likely to shield faculty from the possibility of being evaluated. First of all, I think faculty should be able to handle the stress of evaluation — we do, in fact, get paid for this. (And yes, it can be unpleasant.) Second, we could gather information and have the restraint not to use it to evaluate people. Third, we could limit surveys to courses taught by TTF (or even tenured) faculty, shielding the more vulnerable instructors. Fourth, we should want, more than anything, to actually assess how the term has gone from the perspective of students, to shape what we might do in the future! From conversations, there’s widespread agreement about the fourth point, and it amazes me that we don’t have a coordinated plan for this.

Feel free to forward to your departments, random other people, etc., with or without the commentary.

best wishes,


Board of Trustees to consider unwinding Law school

5/28/2020: Actually the agenda for their June 4th meeting isn’t posted yet,  so it’s unclear if this will be among the cost-savings measures to be considered. Maybe they’ll cut baseball instead.

5/15/2020: UO Law School needs $250M to avoid financial exigency

It now costs UO’s law school about $170K to produce a law school graduate who can pass the bar exam. Over their three years they pay only about $60K in tuition – 50% off the list price. 75% of their students are from out of state.

The Law School started 2015 with a $3.3M positive carry-forward. As of March 2020 they were $5.7M in the red, on a heavily subsidized budget of $16M a year – they bring in only about $8M in tuition.

Our E&G bucket is on the hook for the $9M debt and pays for the continuing $8M deficit – including $390K for new Dean Marcilynn Burke and $290K for former Dean Michael Moffitt, who apparently knows something about contracts.

Closure can’t be far off without significant donor support. Back of the envelope it would take a $250M endowment gift, which would yield $9.5M a year after Paul Weinhold’s UO Foundation takes their cut.

Here are the numbers, from painfully drilling down into the docs on UO’s new transparency website, here.

UO joins state Workshare program 2 months late.

This program has been around for years as a way for employers to reduce hours for a group of employees, rather than layoff a few of them.  Normally it’s a mixed bag – employees have their hours and pay reduced by 20-40%, and then get back about 2/3rds of the pay reduction from the state’s Unemployment Insurance fund. But the CARES act $600 a week UI add on makes it a great deal. An employee earning say $1000 a week could take a 20% furlough. They’d lose $200 in pay, but get back ~$130 in UI, plus $600 from the CARES act supplement. Net, their gross pay increases from $1000 to $1530.

Of course it takes a while to enroll, and the CARES act funding runs out July 25th. Benefits will be retroactive to the time of application, but UO could have done this at the beginning of April. UO would have saved money and their employees would have made money. In this example, the employee lost about $4K because UO started the program 2 months late.

That said, better late than never. Details here:

Update on School of Languages and Global Studies proposal

I”m posting this with a new tag, “financial exigency”, as there will surely be a series of proposals of this sort coming. Rumor has it that the Law School and CoD are the next candidates, with Law being the biggest money pit by far.

These sorts of changes are core academic matters to be approved by the UO Senate, which goes unmentioned in tonight’s email from CAS Dean Blonigen, below.

Here are some numbers, from Brad Shelton’s “Operational Metrics”, followed by the letter from Dean Blonigen. As you can see, Romance Languages (the largest of the departments involved in this potential reorganization) has costs per student credit hour that are far lower than, say, Law and Cod.

Law School: $637 per Student Credit Hour – a number which apparently ignores the ~$6M subsidy regular UO undergrads contribute to fee remissions for law school students:

College of Design: $307 per SCH:

Romance Languages: $202 per SCH:


From: Bruce Blonigen <>

Date: Monday, May 25, 2020 at 5:30 PM
To: [lots of faculty]
Cc: Karen Ford <>, CAS DD Social Sciences <>, DD Humanities <>, Lisa Mick Shimizu <>

Subject: Update on the Proposal Development for a School of Languages and Global Studies

Dear faculty and staff in our language and literature departments and the Department of Global Studies,

In the past couple weeks, I have introduced a preliminary proposal for a School of Languages and Global Studies (attached) to you and visited many of the departments that would be affected by the creation of such a school.  Many of the ideas in this draft proposal came out of conversations we have had over the past couple years with department heads and program directors in these areas, as well as our initial conversations with a steering committee we began this past January.

Such a reorganization would have significant effects for all of you and understandably causes anxiety. We are also pursuing a short timeline which is not ideal and can further heighten that anxiety.  Initially, this short timeline was because we wanted to provide a compelling proposal that would convince the Provost to allow us to renovate Friendly Hall for the new School, rather than allocate the space to others.  More recently, I believe that we must move expeditiously because I am very concerned about the financial uncertainties we face and the hard decisions that may lie ahead in the near future.

A recent letter signed by many of you indicates that the process has been too top-down and has not allowed the faculty to lead the development of the proposal.  I have been leading the initiative because of the short timeline and the need to move it forward after years of conversation.  But input from faculty has also been a focus. The steering committee was formed to have representative faculty be the key drivers of the proposal development.  We also had a town hall in February and had another planned for March until the COVID crisis hit to get all of your feedback.  The short timeline has been for the reasons I indicate above, not because we wanted to quickly expedite a fait accompli.

However, in response to your letter, I am now turning over leadership of the proposal development to the steering committee.  In doing so, I have given a charge to the committee that outlines principles that the School will need to have in order to receive my approval and that of the President and Provost.  The overriding principle is that the School has to imagine and (ultimately) build curriculum that will be centered on undergraduate students who pay our bills and who increasingly pursue only those academic programs that provide clear career/professional pathways. The School also has to have a governance structure that allows its leadership to make nimble, flexible, and coordinated decisions. It cannot be a mere confederation of separate departments.

I’m posting the current membership of the steering committee below.  Some have suggested that it doesn’t have appropriate representation. I am open to suggestions for a few other members to address these concerns.  Please send those to me in the coming days at bruceb@uoregon.eduwith not only a name or two, but an explanation for how you think your nominees would help the steering committee be more representative of our faculty.

The steering committee will be working through the summer in order to get a completed proposal by the fall. Obviously, all details for such a School cannot be hammered out during this short time period – nor would that even be ideal.  The proposal will have to provide the key principles that the School will have, measurable goals and benchmarks for the School, the proposed actions/changes that will be implemented, and a timeline for the changes.  I will certainly encourage the steering committee to continue to seek input from all faculty, staff,  and other constituents as they develop the proposal further.

I know this is a difficult task during stressful times.  But the coming years are going to challenge institutions of higher education to transform quickly like no other time we have seen in our lifetime.  We will best survive, and ultimately thrive, by working quickly to turn our challenges into opportunities.  And I think the opportunities in front of us are exciting and promising, from reimagining and building curriculum together in an interdisciplinary fashion to fostering new research partnerships to aggressively seeking external support from donors.


Tykeson Dean, CAS

Current steering committee members

Mokaya Bosire (LING)
Robert Davis (RL)
Rachel DiNitto (EALL)
Ian McNeely (GER/SCAN)
Jennifer O’Neal (IRES)
Eileen Otis (SOC)
Craig Parsons (PS)
Melissa Redford (LING)
Lynn Stephen (ANTH)
David Wacks (RL)
Kristin Yarris (GLBL)
Philip Scher (CAS – ex officio, non-voting)
Harry Wonham (CAS – ex officio, non-voting)

Committee formerly known as the Senate IAC to meet today at 3

Post-live blog:

I zoomed in for most of this. The most real part was Rob Mullens talking about possible NCAA cost-cutting measures. Cutting student-athlete scholarships was on the list, reducing the number of assistant coaches was not.

5/23/2020: The Senate turned this committee over to the President’s office back in 2016 or so, because Rob Mullens refused to work with it and as Senate Pres I was concerned that faculty might get in legal trouble for failing to regulate athletics, as happened at UNC.

Now it’s another toothless administrative group. Tune in to watch:

Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Committee

Zoom login info:
Meeting ID: 921 8771 0415

1. Update PAC12 work groups, fall planning — Rob Mullens

2. Academic successes/challenges in remote learning for student-athletes — Steve Stolp

3. Update on PAC12 Presidents Meeting/NIL & soliciting committee feedback/priorities —President Schill

Senate de-names covid financial planning task force over shared governance theater concerns

The decisions about UO’s financial and academic response to the coronavirus and its long term consequences are being made by Pres Mike Schill, Provost Patrick Phillips, BoT Secretary Angela Wilhems, VPBP Brad Shelton, CAS Dean Bruce Blonigen, and VPFA Jamie Moffitt in secret.

The idea that they would use this joint Senate Admin task force and its confidential meetings as anything more than a vehicle to claim Senate buy-in for whatever changes are coming was a sham, and Senate Pres Elizabeth Skowron and VP Elliot Berkman should have known that and refused to play along. Now, after the threat of a motion from former senate Pres Chris Sinclair and others to require that the meetings be open, and the charge and membership determined by the Senate, they’ve backed down and removed the Senate stamp of approval.

Dear University Senators,

Last week, we announced the formation of a joint task force that will advise the UO president on potential long-term institutional responses presented by the COVID-19 crisis. This task force was formed in response to our recent call for collaborative long-term planning that would bring together the knowledge and experience of UO faculty, staff, and administrators to find new, creative ways to accomplish our mission in the face of significant cuts to our operating budget in the coming months/years. I am writing you today in response to questions raised about how task force members were chosen and attempt to address any confusion about the relationship between the task force and the university senate.

Our goal in proposing this task force is to engage proactively with the administration to advocate for significant representation from the university’s senate and diverse constituencies in this important long-term planning effort. We view the task force as an outstanding opportunity to promote an elusive goal:  academic shared governance in the long-term financial planning of the institution. We are proud of the level of representation on the task force, which is comprised of many individuals who serve in elected, representative positions on campus, including current and former senators, and members of university academic and advisory committees. Further, the task force is comprised of a majority faculty.  Of 15 members, 9 are women.  Three members are senior academic administrators, one is a member of the classified staff, one is an officer of administration, and there will be one student member as well.

Members of the task force were identified and chosen jointly by the Senate President (myself), Senate President-Elect Elliot Berkman, University President Mike Schill, and Provost Patrick Phillips.  Together the Senate President and President-Elect generated a list of prospective members for the Task Force and the President and Provost made some edits and suggestions as well.  Together we finalized a list of candidates. All who were approached recognized the importance of this opportunity and agreed to serve. We sought broad representation from the ranks of TTF and Career Faculty, Classified Staff, and Officers of Administration across campus, with a student representative to be named in the coming weeks.  We sought individuals who would bring diverse expertise and a deep commitment to the institution-as-a-whole, while also keeping the committee manageable in size.

Though the task force members were appointed jointly by the senate leaders and administrators noted above, we want to be clear that the task force cannot speak for the senate nor substitute for consultation with the senate or any senate committees. Further, in no way does the task force replace the important work that will continue in the senate’s various committees in the coming year. On the contrary, the work ahead will intersect with many parts of the academic mission of the university, making it important to engage with these committees throughout the coming year where their expertise is relevant.

In light of concerns that have been raised, we are changing the name of the task force to the “University Task Force on Long-Term Financial Responses to COVID-19”, so as not to confuse matters and make it clear that the members of the task force have not been chosen by the senate, nor have they been formally endorsed by the senate. This name reflects the reality that the whole university will need to be part of our long-term response to the changes brought forth by the pandemic.

In closing, Elliot and I would like to express our gratitude to those of you who have worked with us to clarify the role this task force will play in the coming months. We view this conversation as yet another example of the positive outcomes that result from direct communication, constructive engagement, and shared governance and cooperation between the senate and administration.


Elizabeth A. Skowron, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychology
Center for Translational Neuroscience
UO Senate President
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403

Gov Brown appoints former aide Connie Seeley to watch over Angela Wilhelms & troubled UO Board of Trustees

Our Trustees will meet again on June 4th by Zoom, presumably to approve another $12M Jumbotron for Uncle Phil.

Meanwhile, The Daily Emerald has the story on Governor Kate Brown’s nomination of current OHSU VP for Administration and Board Secretary Connie Seeley as the latest UO Trustee, here:

Seeley graduated from UO with a degree in political science in 1992 and currently serves as Oregon Health & Science University’s chief of staff, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, according to the application she submitted to the governor’s office.

… Seeley worked for Brown previously as her legislative director when Brown was the senate democratic leader, according to Seeley’s resume. For seven years she was also the chief of staff to Senate President Peter Courtney, who’s been the leader of the senate — which will confirm Seeley’s appointment — since 2003.

This will make Seeley the first UO Trustee with any significant higher ed administrative experience, unless you count Chuck Lillis who was a b-school dean back in the day.

Interestingly, Seeley also serves as the Board Secretary for OHSU’s Trustees. At UO that role is filled by Angela Wilhelms, where the BOT Secretary is a full time job with separate staff, controlled by Board Chair Lillis, with the job of making sure the UO President toes the line. Wilhelms had previously been Chief of Staff to the Republican side of the Legislature.

The full board applications from Seeley and the four other applicants are available on Gov. Brown’s admirably transparent public records website, here. Wilhelms and Lillis endorsed 3 of these candidates as explained by Zach Demars in an earlier story, here.

Presumably runner-up candidate Steve Holwerda, a private wealth investment advisor known for his love of Ayn Rand,  lifelong desire to be Duck Athletics Director, and fabulous Lake Oswego mansion, will get his chance to serve on the board of Oregon’s flagship public university soon, and perhaps recruit a few new rich clients for his firm.

I requested these docs from Gov Brown’s office last month:

4/25/2020 William Harbaugh UOM Under Review n/a

​I am requesting electronic copies of any communications sent between the Governor’s office and UO President Michael Schill or his office, UO Provost Patrick Phillips or his office, Duck Athletic Director Rob Mullens or his office, UO Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms or her office, and UO Board of Trustees Chuck Lillis. This request is for the dates Jan 1 2019 til the date the request is filled.

And will post a link when they are  available.