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ODE editors call for more academic $

2/24/2011: and more transparency from the UO Foundation, here:

Donations to the University’s athletic department in the form of outright gifts has increased by more than 200 percent in the last 10 years, while outright gifts to academics have remained stagnant, according to a recent Emerald article (“Athletic hype draws alumni dollars,” ODE, Feb. 14). ….

A major issue with the University’s funding model is the lack of transparency for donors. The University fields its donations through the UO Foundation, a private nonprofit that allows people to donate to the school anonymously. …

Transparency of donations should be a higher priority for the University. What do the donors have to lose by their donations becoming public? The current ambiguity is just as damning as assuming that all the University’s donations go toward athletics because that is the current perception.

Instead, the UO Foundation hides its sources of income as best as it can. It even hired a lawyer last year to get itself an exemption to Oregon Public Records Law.

The data we have shows the school trading its academic prestige for athletic prestige, a troubling trend for a member of the Association of American Universities. Incidentally, the University pays the lowest average salary for professors of any member school in the AAU. The average $73,300 salary offered to University professors in 2009 was approximately $8,000 less than any other AAU school.

The University should do a better job of getting donations for academic programs. Obviously, certain donors choose specific programs to support for their own interests, but there shouldn’t be such a vast disparity between academic donations and athletic donations. After all, the University’s purpose is to educate students, not win football games.

Don’t get us wrong: We love our Ducks, but we also love our educations.

Meanwhile, the UO Foundation has just filed a *second* extension request with IRS for their 990 form. Searching through their previous reports to the IRS, you come across tidbits like that below. And people think PERS is a benefits scam. This is from 2005, salaries have risen considerably since, but this benefits windfall seems to be one time. What else is the Foundation up to? None of your business, they know what’s best for us. Move it along, you ungrateful punk.

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