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UO’s finances

2/17/2012: I wish that UO’s CFO would give the faculty a honest talk about UO’s current spending and that our Provost would give a consult with the faculty about UO’s future budgeting priorities. But Jim Bean and Frances Dyke have never given us a clear data-based presentation of where they are spending our money, and what they think UO’s future spending priorities should be. It’s almost like they’ve got something to hide.

Information abhors a vacuum. So yesterday Howard Bunsis of the AAUP came and did our administration’s job for them. His slides are here. Here’s one particularly damning one.

I assume the faculty union organizers will post a video of this presentation soon. Howard Bunsis’s talk is the best argument I’ve seen for signing the union card, aside from the pandering nonsense Jim Bean delivers, here.

Update: A commenter posts a link to the 2008 Senate Budget Committee report on faculty salaries, here, with this figure:


  1. Financial Duck 02/17/2012

    Our ace senate budget committee and our ace faculty advisory committee could do all of this if they wanted to — don’t blame the administration for the sloth and dopiness of the faculty.

    The actual report posted is pretty good. I believe it is somewhat dishonest, or at least misleading, about the meaning of “public service,” “academic support,” and “institutional support.” The first two are NOT primarily administrative in the sense most people use that term. The last IS, but it also lumps in buildings and grounds and other items.

    It is striking from the graphs that the administrative growth relative to instruction was abruptly reversed in the years 2009-10. i.e. when Frohnmayer had been succeeded by Lariviere. This is something for which Lariv deserves great credit, but which is hardly known.

    UO didn’t collapse when the administrative bloat was suspended! This deserves to be widely publicized and heralded.

    • Anonymous 02/17/2012

      Maybe Financial Duck aims to inspire the Faculty to take leadership in matters of budget. However, what (s)he has written sounds more like a scolding. Old Man has seen the Budget Committee try to bring sanity to UO. They made a terrific report and were then ignored by the Frohnmayer/Moseley Mafia. Who can blame the Committee for any “sloth and dopiness” that then may have followed. (Of the FAC, who knows what efforts they may have made — they are sworn to everlasting secrecy.)
      With the new UO Constitution as a powerful vehicle for pushing the Faculty agenda, perhaps Financial Duck will step up. For starters, (S)he could bring a motion to the Senate to direct the Budget Committee to fashion a budget model that allows the UO to break free of Moseley’s straight jacket.

  2. Financial Duck 02/17/2012

    Yup, a scolding. I think you refer to the “White Paper” of ~ year 2000? Yes, it was terrific! It was NOT ignored the first few years, but then the administration dropped the ball. And the “faculty leadership” allowed this to happen. Plus, the budget committee went into decreptitude — they had about a dozen years to make a report like the excellent one posted here, plus publicize it. But for some reason, the right people — the committee? the “faculty leadership”? — didn’t do it. I call that slothful and dopey. But don’t think I’m letting the administration off the hook — see my remarks about administrative bloat. The mirror of what I say about Lariviere is scathing when applied to Frohnmayer. He was bloating the non-instruction side of things, especially administrators (but also various “student services”) like crazy, as the numbers show. Did he even know what was happening? I haven’t a clue. But the “faculty leadership” sure as hell was letting them get away with it. And same faculty leadership didn’t even have a clue that Lariv was reversing said bloat — without the sky falling. They could have publicized it — which might have made it harder for OUS to can Lariv — hard to go too hard on a guy who is curtailing administrative bloat — even with those big raises taken into account!

    • pro-union 02/18/2012

      I suppose it goes without saying that if the “White Paper” had been part of a collective bargaining agreement, negotiated between the faculty and the administration as equal partners to the transaction, the admin would not have been in a position to “drop the ball” without risking binding arbitration over a contractual violation.

    • Peter Keyes 02/18/2012

      I’m glad Financial Duck has been tracking the financial status of the university so assiduously for the past decade, too bad this expertise was not channeled into the SBC – could always have used a little more help, instead of Monday morning quarterbacking. I’m also excited to see that you were so closely tracking what the “faculty leadership” was doing or not doing all those years. Indeed, it usually felt like a small group of faculty were tilting at windmills alone, dutifully raising issues that were then ignored by the administration and disregarded by the majority of the faculty, who had more important things to be doing. (Arena financing comes to mind.) But perhaps I could bring your attention to things you might have missed – most specifically, the White Paper update of 2008,

      which did indeed lay out the big picture of where university investments were going, and which set off a small media dust-up, again ignored by the faculty at large. But frankly, who can blame them? When the same issues are raised year after year, and the administration continues on as if nothing has happened, the faculty cynicism rises and they retreat to their offices and labs, where they know that their efforts will show some results.

      As for the Lariviere era raises, I do agree with you on the significance of the change they represented. I might also note how closely the protocol followed in the administration proposal mirrored the recommendations in the White Paper Update, and indeed, the SBC was closely involved in developing that protocol in the period prior to the first phase implementation last spring. It’s too bad that the distribution of those raises in some units did not follow the priorities set up by the plan, it’s too bad that the subsequent phases of the salary plan couldn’t be implemented, and it’s really too bad that the only administrator who ever tried to do something significant in this area got fired for his actions.

    • Financial Duck 02/21/2012

      As I said, the original White Paper was terrific. From what I hear, Larviere was very impressed by it and also the followup reports on faculty salaries. I also have to say that the budget committee probably was distracted late in the last decade by deflating the athletic department/administration’s absurd claims about future arena financing. (I’m told that Lariviere belatedly recognized the budget committee’s fine work on that.)

      But I’m afraid the chart in the 2008 report doesn’t come close to making the kind of analysis and case that the chart posted by UO Matters does. The case about administrative growth/bloat. (The “Base Budget” curve comes closest, but it is not even identified what that means, as far as I can tell, and it certainly isn’t broken down into the categories that would allow it to be interpreted.) From what I can tell, the faculty leadership had no interest in pursuing that issue, and no gumption for confronting the administration on it, circa 2008.

      This continued into Lariviere’s time, so that, until very recently (with the postings above, actually), there was no widespread awareness of what Lariviere had apparently done with respect to reversing the admin bloat trend.

      You’re right, it’s easy to be critical, and it’s water under the bridge. If the kind of analysis posted above becomes routine among the faculty leadership, wonderful.

    • Peter Keyes 02/21/2012

      I think Financial Duck has just made an excellent argument for unionization. Rather than depending upon the efforts of dopy, slothful and amateur members of the Senate Budget Committee, a union could hire a forensic accountant with a PhD who does this for a living. Howard Bunsis was able to quickly make sense (or nonsense) of the university’s budget reporting in a way that the overworked and uncompensated Senate Budget Committee simply can’t. And a legally-recognized bargaining unit has the right of access to financial information reported in a clear manner, something the SBC doesn’t.

      “Base Budget” is explained in the footnote to the chart. Always pays to read the footnotes, I’ve learned.

      And the way to make sure good analysis becomes routine among the faculty leadership is to join in.

    • Financial Duck 02/21/2012

      As I noted in my first post, the Bunsis reporting has some very good aspects, but it also has some very tendentious and misleading language and claims, e.g. labeling certain expenditure categories as administrative when they clearly are not. This is what a union is going to get us? And if the faculty really does need to hire a “forensic accountant” — even one from Eastern Michigan U if we don’t have any decent accounting faculty at UO! — to help out with shared governance — does this really require a percent — or half or two — of total salaries to do this? We’re talking a million or so, give or take.

      Base budget was defined in a footnote to the figure in the original document — not in the figure as posted above. But it appears to be the total UO “operating budget” — including athletics, research, dorms — not the right thing to compare faculty salaries or compensation to — and certainly not disaggregated, as the Bunsis data are.

      Really, for the former head of the UO senate to be blaming the past fecklessness of faculty governance on the lack of a union — years after the fact — is a little much. If he really felt that way, did he say as much back then, when he had everyone’s attention?

    • Peter Keyes 02/22/2012

      Pardon my presumption, I just thought that if you were loudly and repeatedly defaming your colleagues work, you would at least have read their reports, and not have depended upon the post on an aggregator website (no matter how helpful a website.) And I’m not convinced that it’s “not the right thing” to compare salaries too. One can also compare it to budget exclusive of auxiliaries, which is useful too. We were just trying to point out that there’s always been money for everything on this campus except salaries.

      I don’t think hiring a forensic accountant takes a million or so – obviously many other expenditures would be covered. Maybe a lawyer, since the faculty is now prohibited from even accepting pro bono legal advice without Randy Geller’s approval?

      As for your last paragraph, I don’t even know where to begin, and I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. This dialogue is starting to resemble those you have with your Fox News-watching former friends from high school who have found you on Facebook. We’re not going to get anywhere, and I think we should simultaneously push the Unfriend button. Cheers.

    • Financial Duck 02/24/2012

      So it’s come to denouncing Fox News (which isn’t exactly a personal favorite) and my old pals on my non-existent Facebook account.

      Yes, I spend my time re-reading senate reports from years past. That graph really tells the tale about the UO budget and priorities, it sure does. I’m glad it helped you guys put up such a good fight back in the day. Good luck with your union. Cheerio then!

  3. UO Matters 02/17/2012

    My impression is that the bloat continued to balloon under Lariviere. Not surprising – Lariviere’s leadership team was Jim Bean and Frances Dyke.

    Financial Duck, do you have any data beyond what Bunsis presented showing a slowdown? Remember that Lariviere gave out higher raises to administrators than to faculty.

  4. Financial Duck 02/17/2012

    No other info, but look especially at pp. 10 and 11 in the Bunsis report. Especially p. 11. The mismatch between instruction/institutional reversed in the last year — the switcheroo couldn’t haven’t been on a dime — I tend to credit Lariv with this — I had heard that Shelton was talking about this (not to me) — I think it must have been a directive from on high.

    Re those raises: only 30% of admin people got raises — compared to 80% of TT faculty — some of the admin raises were outsized — but I think on the whole, faculty came out much better in the process — on average — it was actually another example of Lariviere putting the emphasis on the right things.

    • Anonymous 02/18/2012

      dog barks

      1) yes page 11 is important, had the plot above stopped in 2009 the Growth in PT would have been lower

      2) In and ideal world, the growth rates of all of those items plotted would
      scale pretty close to the enrollment growth (number of customers) – so we are increasing the admin/customer ratio significantly faster than the TTF/customer ratio – that’s bad in all ways

      3) The low increase in Graduate Assistant ships connects with previous rantings
      , actually barkings, on this issue – this just makes it clear that the Grad/UG ratio is strongly shrinking; again, not Good for a University.

      4) I agree with the point made on the TTF raises – there has been a lot of bitching on this subject, but overall, I think it was a decent process.

  5. Anonymous 02/18/2012

    After 36 years as a scholar of collective bargaining, i know of no industry where collective bargaining has succeeded in reducing administrative ‘bloat’ Quite to the contrary. All those contract provisions and negotiations take ever more dirctors, VPs, assistant associates, and deputy assistant associates to such! Just look at our closest analog, k12! and k12 unions are much more powerful than highered unions will ever be.

    • Financial Duck 02/21/2012

      I suspect you’re right, and I’m not suggesting that a union is the cure for administrative bloat, or anything else. K-12 is a great example. So was the old GM.

  6. Anonymous 02/20/2012

    What the chart means to me is that there is an increase in administration, both part and full time, that is at a higher rate than all of the other categories. We have 14% more students, and I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say that the administrators don’t have the same contact with student that faculty, instructors, and Classified Staff do. So, we, Classified Staff, faculty, and instructors are taking care of the increase in students, while we are spending a great deal of $$$$ on administration that don’t have student contact. I see it in the open jobs pages…Way more administrators vs. Classified Staff open postitions

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