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UO’s administrative expenses 38% of peers? Not true.

At the furlough meeting Provost Bean told us that UO’s administrative expense ratio was 38% of peers. See his reply to the question at 50:20 in the video. This number was repeated in Greg Bolt’s RG story about the meeting. This issue matters because the admin need to have some justification for asking the faculty and staff to take cuts when administrators are making such small sacrifices themselves. It turned out that Bean did not actually have a copy of the study from which he quoted, but simply remembered hearing the number somewhere. A group of curious faculty got on the question, and with the help of a local reporter tracked down the source, on page 38 of this document:

The data on the page does not even remotely support Provost Bean’s 38% claim – for example, it compares the total administration and *facilities* costs of schools. Further, each of the comparators has a med school, engineering school, etc. All have, for example, at least one nuclear reactor. The cost of operating those reactors – think fuel rods – is included in the number Bean was using to argue that UO’s costs for *administrators* are relatively low. Unless UO is now fielding nuclear powered Vice Provosts, (heads up guys: notify the UN inspectors first) we can dismiss this 38% number as a convenient fiction, designed to justify asking faculty to make sacrifices that administrators will not make themselves. I have asked Provost Bean to issue a formal retraction.

Next up, his claim that we are making money in Bend. He has promised to make a complete accounting report. Meaning that he made the Bend claim without actually understanding those numbers either. UPDATE: Those numbers were made up too.

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