Linton and Dyke: Shit happens

4/26/2010:  Read it all. Full text here.

This is an astoundingly revealing letter to the UO research community, from VP for Research Rich Linton and VP for Finance and Administration Frances Dyke. Both senior administrators are now leaving their jobs. Linton was fired did not have his contract renewed by Lariviere last year and has been replaced by Kim Espy, after a national search – she was the committee’s favorite. The search to replace Frances Dyke started last month. (A search which includes some faculty representation only after protests to Provost Bean, who had stacked the original committee.)

Strip out the self-serving soul-destroying bureaucratic double-speak in their letter (whom do you two think you are fooling at this point, besides yourselves?) and it verifies the basic story we’ve been posting for the past 2 years:

Ms Dyke and former President Frohnmayer spent too much UO research money on their own pet administrative projects, and too little on research support. Linton didn’t stand up to them, so the feds cut our ICC rate to 42% – the lowest I’ve ever heard of.

Linton then made a very unfortunate hire for head of ORSA and failed to supervise her, even after repeated warnings from the UO research community. After the collapse of the office, Linton and Dyke hired the Huron Consulting firm – at a cost of nearly $2 million, paid out of the shrunken ICC research funds that are supposed to support science – to bail the UO administration out of that hole, and help keep it all covered up. (Huron was already on site, working on a small consulting contract.)

UO Matters had to make a petition to the Oregon Attorney General and then pay UO’s public records officer Liz Denecke to get the documentation on this. Ms Denecke is trying to charge us still more money to see the Huron reports – and Linton and Dyke have ignored our request that they give these up. In their letter they say they will release the final report, already delayed by months – but don’t mention the interim reports. Not exactly transparent.

But the real question is this: Why did Linton and Dyke write this letter? It’s far more revealing than anything we’ve heard from the UO administration in years, and at the same time it is astonishingly self-serving and incomplete.

Did President Lariviere make them do it before he signed their retirement contracts – as he made Mike Bellotti sit there at that press conference and take it, in order to get his $2.3 million payoff? Or did UO’s new VP for Research, Kim Espy, insist that they clean up their own mess before they bail? Or did the Huron consulting firm get tired of looking like the bad guys, and make UO write it?

Why does it matter? Because the only hope for UO is that President Richard Lariviere is getting really, really pissed, and that he kicks some administrative ass. Now. Fire them for cause. Have Doug Tripp stand there with his Tazer while they clean out their offices. Search their pockets for the uttermost farthing. No more golden parachutes. And then start digging around for what else is buried under Johnson Hall and the Jock Box.

Thanks, I feel much better now. What? Of course I’m a team player. Sure – let’s all pull together and go in for the big win. OK, I’ll get with the program, and drop the PR requests and the FOIA too.

But where is our research money?

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13 Responses to Linton and Dyke: Shit happens

  1. Anonymous says:

    UOMatters should be commended for its doggedness on this issue.

    Although Linton and Dyke don’t admit to all their sins, the document they signed is damning.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dog remarks

    Indeed the UO appears to be singular among Research Universities in that they
    have managed to out source their
    entire Grants and Contracts operation.

    Go Ducks

    If I were incoming VPR I would have demanded to have this situation rectified before I started and would also wonder how the hell a University can let this happen ….

    Dr. Espy must really like rain …

  3. Anonymous says:

    The hope that ANYONE in this university would be let go for cause is a pipe dream. Go ask HR. They simply do not do this. Instead they try to dump the failed employee in some other corner of the university. UOMatters ought to take up the problems that we have with HR next. It would probably fix ALL the other problems we have at this university.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What was the turn around time during the time of the former Director. I believe in July 2010 the Director was already reassigned. Give real facts Linton and Dyke. Let us compare apples to apples. What was happening while ORSA director was there and what is happening now. Or even a better gage would be what happened while ORSA had a Director, what happened after she was reassigned and what is happening now. Lets see how that data stands up. I wish to hazard a guess that it was in a much better position while the former Director was in place and what Huron is doing is returning it to that previous position. Let the new VPR note. Linton I hope Dyke can subsidize your retirment since you went like a lamb to this slaughter.

  5. Anonymous says:

    42% down from 48%. Does anyone have documentation about the 2010-11 federal F&A overhead rates of our AAU peers?

  6. Anonymous says:

    UW is 54%.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dog Reminds

    the discussion about 48% to 42% went
    on last year for a while in this forum – those archives might still exist.

    Many erroneous theories were advanced.

    The reason for all of this was a clerical/competence error. The federal forms that need to be filled out were done quickly by ORSA personnel, never checked by Linton, and consequently underestimated/under counted our total square footage of research space. Hence the reduction.

    The next time the UO has to file the paper work it can claim the Lokey labs and the Integrated Sciences building and our ICC rate will go back up – this is good for the UO but bad for punk PIs like this dog.

  8. UO Matters says:

    Dog: I wouldn’t mind including a 54% F&A in my grants – if UO actually used the money to support research. GTF’s, computers, stats, lab space, etc. As it is, support is a joke. Ans since Rich couldn’t show he was spending the money on research support, the Feds cut the rate.

    If you’ve got evidence in favor of the clerical error story, pass it on or let me know what public record to request. Because we are obviously never going to get a straight report from the UO administration.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Dog to UOMatters dudes:


    like you already reported all of this

    part ii in the italicized document
    refers to the space undercounting

  10. Anonymous says:

    Dog on 54%

    Yes, I agree in principle because its the effective rate that matters (if you were an economist you would know that)

    I have raised about 3.6M in grant money over the last several years and in only one case of explicit required cost share did I ever get any of my overhead returned to me directly and my department got very little. This is because Linton favored other departments and research institutes as opposed to trying to help individual PIs stretch their meager dollars.

    At my previous University, I enjoyed a much healthier relation with the office of research – most of my colleagues elsewhere simply can’t believe my stories …

    I really hope the new VPR will be sensible and more traditional and support the whole campus research community in a real way.

    We will see …

  11. Anonymous says:

    Actually, the rate dropped to 42% when BAO did the F&A negotiations. ORSA did not participate in that round, as they are not participating in this one either.Furthermore ICC is not for research, it is to provide for the administrative needs of having a research program (ie ORSA, departmental grant administrators, office space, etc.). Do I think the ICC has been spent frivolously? Yes, especially on the Huron team. No one is giving them a reason to leave!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Exactly – why should Huron leave when they have people to train and no competent job applicants! Their team needs experience and why not use Oregon to pay for it. Apparently Oregon is willing to pay $140,000 a month for the honor. Why not ask ORSA staff what they are getting for the money?

  13. Anonymous says:

    You’re right, Anonymous! Huron employees fresh out of college are getting experience on the backs of ORSA people. Pretty pathetic, but the UO Leadership is in agreement with it. What can be done? From what I’ve heard, ORSA staff are not getting anything but an extra dose of anxiety from the deal!