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CnC update: Michael Moffitt to resign as law school dean?

Update 2/21/13: Latest rumor from the law profs down in the faculty club’s basement grow room is that Adell Amos is the top candidate to replace Moffitt. Apparently he still has 3 or so years on his dean’s contract, and is holding out for the full amount in severance.

Info request: If anyone knows what Moffitt and Gordon are telling the instructors and students in this program, please forward the emails to uomatters at, or post in comments. And check out this well informed reaction, presumably from a law alumnus.

Update 2/20/2013: From the CNC website:

Here’s hoping Law School Dean Michael Moffitt, a leading expert on “Appropriate Dispute Resolution”, and the person responsible for the unsupervised and now failed expansion of this sports and conflict program, makes sure that the adjuncts he hired to teach in it now get fair severance packages. If they were Johnson Hall administrators they’d get a year at full pay with benefits, no questions asked. Fortunately it looks like Moffitt has plenty of money.

2/19/2013. Michael Moffitt to resign as law school dean? Over failure to properly supervise the CnC program. That’s the latest rumor, overheard this afternoon down at the faculty club skeet range.

The post on the Competition not Conflict courses is here, the financial incentives for Dean Moffitt are here, and more on the history is here.


  1. Anonymous 02/20/2013

    Has he received an offer to live a business school case study elsewhere?

  2. Anonymous 02/20/2013

    Lets trade – Moffitt for de Kluyver. Couldn’t be any worse and he doesn’t wear suspenders.

    And de Kluyver could shine up that CNC program like a brand new Mercedes.

    • Anonymous 02/20/2013

      Not quite. … like a brand new Volkswagen but charge you the price of a Mercedes.

  3. Anonymous 02/20/2013

    Fat chance!

    If Moffitt really steps down, you know who’s coming back…

    … he’s tanned
    … he’s rested
    … he’s ready


    Frohnmayer takes over as Interim Dean, then gets a direct appointment to the become the new Knight Dean of Law.

    • Anonymous 02/20/2013

      I assure you that you’re wrong.

    • Anonymous 02/20/2013

      I’m sure you can, Dave. Your are extracting rents like never before. You’d be crazy to slow that down by becoming dean?

    • Anas clypeata 02/26/2013

      I don’t know. I just saw Dave in the Denver airport on Sunday, and he looked burdened, unshaven, and definitely not rested. He can probably get to T+R+R in a couple of weeks, but he’s not ready today.

      P.S. I am not making this up.

  4. Anonymous 02/20/2013

    Stepping down over a silly curriculum choice? If so, then line up all the deans, especially in the Humanities.

  5. Publius 02/20/2013

    Old timers will remember that, in the 1980’s, there were calls for closing the Honors College because it gave a course called “Plato in the Wilderness”, consisting mainly of a back-packing trip. The Emerald ran a relentless campaign, titled “Close It!”, against the Honors College, ridiculing the entire college and its faculty for the course. The issue is whether sports and conflict is a legitimate academic concern. Programs on the topic are offered at US universities, like Georgetown, and UK universities, like Oxford-Brooks. I would ask that we keep the CNC issue in perspective.

    • Anonymous 02/20/2013

      I agree, this line of attack by the UO Matters seems just mean spirited, pointless, and lacking in perspective.

    • Anonymous 02/20/2013

      Not at all. The topic has been brought into question, and shouldn’t be. As usual around here, it is the rent extraction associated with the move, the administration of it, the lack of faculty input into it, etc.

  6. Anonymous 02/20/2013

    At the half: Faculty 1, Kilkenny $230,000,000.

    • UO Matters 02/20/2013

      I’ve learned a lot from my cousins, and the videos on Chip Kelly’s no-huddle offense. The second half of this will be thrilling, trust me.

  7. Anonymous 02/20/2013

    Attacking over-qualified faculty administrators. Priceless.

    • Anonymous 02/20/2013

      Blood in the water, sharks gathering.

  8. Anonymous 02/20/2013

    One more example of UOM making a real difference in what happens around here. It ain’t always pretty, but if it forces admin to take a hard, more public look at their decisions (Moffitt,Holmes are two recent examples) then it’s better than the alternative.

    • Bluto 02/21/2013

      What did UOM do besides kick up dirt? The CnC program had already been evaluated by the relevant university committees.

    • Anonymous 02/21/2013

      You’re wanting to compete over “who done it?” Grow up.

    • Bluto 02/21/2013

      I’m not in the competition, but UOM didn’t make a difference in this instance – except to call an administrator a “bitch” (and you’re asking me to grow up?).

    • Anonymous 02/21/2013

      And I suppose you will say the same on Jim Bean’s “request” to return to the faculty. (We all know that Jim is the bitch around here… or was.)

    • Anonymous 02/21/2013

      Yes, the program had already been evaluated by the relevant committees. It does not follow that the evaluation would have necessarily led to the suspension of the courses. As we have seen around here far too many times, poor evaluations don’t always lead to the appropriate response.

      It is also true that it does not necessarily follow that UOM shedding light on this caused the suspension of courses. But we should allow for the possibility that the public airing on UOM had some effect.

      As for Bean returning to the LCB faculty, well…I think we can toss a little credit UOM’s way.

    • Anonymous 02/21/2013

      We can allow for a lot of possibilities, but if the discussions on this blog are driving university decisions… we’re doomed.

    • Anonymous 02/21/2013

      Driving? Probably not. Constraining administrator decisions to those that can hold up to public scrutiny? I’d say, appreciatively, yes.

  9. Anonymous 02/21/2013

    If this blog is considered public scrutiny, then may God have mercy on ALL of our souls. Given how many highly-educated individuals post here, I am saddened by the straw man arguments, the speculation passed as fact, and frankly, the whining.

    • Anonymous 02/21/2013

      Even with the opinion, you can’t ignore it, though. You keep coming back. You can’t help but somment. Isn’t that awesome?

      Long live the public square!!!

    • Anonymous 02/21/2013

      OH… and didn’t you hear the news on Bean? God had mercy on our souls. You should be out celebrating.

  10. Anonymous 02/21/2013

    You can take it down, but Google Cache provides a treasure trove on CnC.

  11. Anonymous 02/22/2013

    Let’s recap what we’ve heard…

    Moffitt was fast-tracked for dean and the pathway cleared for him. This included moving his spouse out of law school administration and out of the law school entirely prior to the dean search.

    He let it be known that he wanted to be dean and would leave if he wasn’t made dean.

    At least one other UO Law faculty member was discouraged in the context of the search. That faculty member was more senior, more widely published, had held greater legal professional leadership responsibilities, and had deeper ties to the university, the law school, and the state.

    He was coached on answers to the questions he would face during the search process; no one else was provided this courtesy.

    The national search produced a notably weak pool of finalists.

    He leaped from associate professor to dean.

    He received a longer-than-usual initial contract – 6 years – at a higher-than-usual salary – a salary higher than that of an equity partner at most of Oregon’s mid-sized private firms.

    Upon becoming dean, he spoke to the media about the possibility of staying on as dean even longer than his initial term.

    He was involved in starting both CRES and CNC, and as dean has been responsible for providing senior supervisory leadership over them.

    As recently as two weeks ago he gloated to The Paper of Record about feeling as though we was “living a business school case study,” thanks to the revenues the law school derived from “selling more than one kind of product” – namely, high-profitability undergraduate education, about which most of the law faculty new very little.

    When one of these undergraduate programs came under scrutiny, he authorized the cancellation of all its classes and its total shutdown for further review.

    Anything missing?

    It’s not pretty.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      Missing something? He is an overpaid prick. He touts the cres program as the future, but cres graduates have an abysmal employment prospects.

      I agree the dean search was pathetic. He was also the last candidate to interview.

      The position of UO law school dean has been far too incestuous over the past decade.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      None of these points is substantive besides leadership over the CRES and CNC.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      By the way, this has to be Harbaugh-posting-as-Anonymous. Nobody else would spend so much time recapping so many points that are ultimately utterly irrelevant to Moffitt’s actual performance.


    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      “The position of UO law school dean has been far too incestuous over the past decade.”

      Maybe so, but excellent administrators can come from the faculty ranks. Margie Paris was, by all accounts, an excellent dean. Several faculty members expressed the opinion to me that she was the finest and most capable head administrator that they had ever worked with.

      Unfortunately Margie only took on the role because the law school botched its previous dean search in a humiliating fashion. I don’t want to speak for her, but her obvious stopgap tenure was due to the fact that she had no interest in continuing on in the role. She loves teaching and a scholarly work, not university politics, fundraising, and placating alumni. Her Deanship was effectively taking one for the time when the school was in a tremendous bind.

      I see no reason why Adell Amos would not do an excellent job. She’s an environmental law expert, one of the school’s core strengths, and the rest of her resume – both scholarly and professional – speaks for itself. Students really enjoy her, and to my knowledge she has done very well filling Dean Moffitt’s old role as Dean of Academic Affairs. There are several other good candidates from within the law school, though I’m not sure how many of them would ever actually be interested in taking over. My guess is very few.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      I would hope that everyone outside the law school would take all of these posts with a massive grain of salt, as they would gossip/gripes in their own units. Opponents of Moffitt criticize his academic credentials, even though he held an endowed chair before becoming dean. They urge that Adell Amos be appointed dean, even though: [1] she is an associate professor, with [3] three academic publication–no other unit would have given her tenure; [3] she was IN CHARGE of the committee that forwarded the CNC courses to the university, with ringing endorsements (now she has taken it all back!). Any future dean of the law school should be appointed by national search, as Moffitt was.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      The “national search” for Moffitt was just a gesture to make it look legitimate.

      I agree Amos hasn’t published much, but I don’t think anyone sees her a long-term solution and it’s just a rumor at this point.

      So far as the committee issue, plenty of people knew about how weak those courses were and did nothing, because nothing ever happens in that situation. This is a university bureaucracy, don’t flip out when somebody doesn’t stand up and rock the boat. People have lives and careers to navigate. Not playing hero over a round of crappy jockbox courses doesn’t mean she can’t do the job or didn’t deserve tenure.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      If Moffitt resigns over the CNC course flap (my impression is that faculty outside the law school see this as massively blown out of proportion–I remind you: the English dept has a concentration in comic books)–if Moffitt resigns over this, he should be replaced by someone that had no connection with the CNC course issue – Amos did. She was in charge of the committee that forwarded these courses to the university. Raising questions about them would not have meant “playing hero”, it would have meant DOING HER JOB. Or maybe Amos felt that it took extraordinary heroism to stand up to a bunch of adjunct instructors.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      Pretending those committees are much more than a rubber stamp process is a mistake. Big headaches are created for all when someone objects and it almost never happens. Colleagues get pissed, professors of the courses get pissed, there is administrative pressure, and so on. You have to stand in their shoes before you simply say “do your job.” It takes a monstrously weak syllabus and proposed topic to get bounced, and the pitches for weak courses frequently look legitimate.

      It’s not like they were all winking and high-fiving across the table when they let the weak courses slip through. They didn’t push too hard on standards and rock the boat over what look questionable but seemed innocuous. This is what these committees have always done. Don’t slam Amos because she didn’t upend the bureaucracy and go her own way.

      Your point about getting away from someone who was involved with the CNC business is good, but it’s also a big production to search for a new dean. They’re talking about her as an interim, if anything.

      In this situation It makes much more sense to take someone from the current roster who knows everyone there and already has institutional knowledge and relationships vs. launching a national search.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      So a law school famous for Wayne Morse now says it’s asking too much by way of courage to question a syllabus in the course committee. I suspect that Amos, like Moffitt, like everyone else wasn’t paying enough attention. Why don’t we just leave it at that, which is just to say that no one should resign, be fired, whatever for something that happens all the time. No one cares about the English dept’s comic book courses because Phil Knight does not publish comic books. People do, and should, care about anything connected with sports at the U of O, but that is a reason for raising concerns, not drawing uninformed conclusions.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      Sorry, but you’re really just ranting here. Suggesting that the law school faculty needs to channel the firebrand outrage of Wayne Morse is pretty silly. Many silly courses go by the committees in every unit. As I said, it creates a lot of problems for a lot of people if you start taking a moral stand against every course you suspect isn’t going to be top notch. And once more, the course caps and pitches can make it difficult to tell exactly what you’re looking at.

      Empty rhetoric about Wayne Morse and Nike doesn’t have any bearing on the reality of the situation. Nor does empty outrage with no grip on feasible solutions. Amos is a good professor and capable administrator. It makes a lot more sense for keeping the law school in good order to have her step if (when) Moffitt leaves.

      This should be about protecting the interests of the law school and damage control with an eye toward improving. It won’t happen overnight. The current students get screwed if there isn’t a smooth and workable changeover in leadership. Your desire to punish the university system by scolding and punishing its agents should take a backseat to student interests.

    • Anonymous 02/23/2013

      Maybe others can make more sense of this last response than I can. The argument against Moffitt is that he let this mess happen. But the problem with Amos is that she MADE this mess happen. So it’s a ‘feasible solution’ to put her in charge?

      Student interests would be best served by raising the reputation of the law school. Here, as with any dept/unit, this is achieved by faculty pursuing their own work in ways that bring them distinction–not by spending their time arguing about bullshit like this.

      This holds for Amos, too. She should spend more time doing research (maybe she could increase her total publications from 3 to 4), and less time looking for adjuncts to tyrannize.

    • Anonymous 02/25/2013

      to the above, you seem to have an axe to grin with amos. there are a lot of tenured and respected faculty members who have sat on these committees over the years. are they all frauds too? the law school faculty and university oversight is better suited to select its leadership than your abstract sense of honor. also, consider what leadership actually means. you hold moffitt accountable because he’s in charge. you can’t burn the entire faculty for an institutional problem. you’re not living in the real world.

  12. Zach 02/22/2013

    If Michael leaves, I can’t imagine him wanting to stick around Eugene… wonder how much Jamie’s buyout will be?

  13. Anonymous 02/22/2013

    “He leaped from associate professor to dean.”

    This is incorrect. First, he held an endowed professorship and was one of the school’s prominent ‘face’ professors, and taught (very capably) one of the 1L doctrinal courses. He also served as the Assistance Dean of Academic Affairs for several years before becoming dean. The Dean of AA is effectively the #2 spot in the admin. He was not some minor figure around the law school prior to his selection for Dean.

    Further, it wouldn’t really be odd for any established faculty member to make the move to Dean. Most of the individuals who move to the admin side have a relatively quick rise to higher positions. That’s how it works. Moffitt’s credentials for the job aren’t really an issue. Scrutinize his performance and the fast-tracking all you like, but his resume is fine.

    There has always been some grumbling about the fact the fact that he’s never taken a bar exam or practiced conventional law of any sort, but it would be ludicrous to start suddenly demanding that our legal academics have real world legal practice histories.

    I think that Moffitt should step down due to nascent scandal, but please understand this is also bad for the law school. Administrative instability, specifically concerning the deanship, has been a major problem for the law school. Moffitt made some mistakes, and they’re now coming back at him. All the same, let’s not start burning his effigy on the front lawn. Please don’t start insinuating problems with his tenure that simply don’t exist, and continue to keep in mind that there is a big downside to sending your dean packing after just two years.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      Thank you. Harbaugh does this to literally every single administrator on campus. It’s sort of his “thing.” (Read: he’s mentally ill.)

  14. Anonymous 02/22/2013

    What UO-M is not is an accurate barometer of UO community opinion. Don’t go, Michael.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      UO community opinion likewise is not an accurate barometer of UO School of Law opinion. And since the beginning of Moffitt’s tenure, opinion there has been at best mixed.

  15. Anonymous 02/22/2013

    It’s not about community opinion. It’s about credibility and leadership, and he’s failing on both counts.

  16. Anonymous 02/22/2013

    UO-M is not an reliable evaluator of credibility and leadership. Don’t go, Michael.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      The law school community is a reliable of credibility and leadership. And while Moffitt is far from reviled, a large majority of the student body and, from what I can tell, at least a small majority of the faculty have issues with his credibility and leadership.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      I can say with certainty that the faculty is very divided over him. That’s frequently the case with a new dean, but Dean Moffitt has always been a polarizing figure among the old-timers. I don’t think many of them would challenge his value as a scholar and professor. The griping tends to revolve around his undisguised ambition in academia, which most correctly assume involves one day ascending to university president, somewhere. That, along with the heavy emphasis on ADR, convinced a number of the long-time tenure crowd that Moffitt isn’t entirely serious or focused on the fundamentals of legal education so much as building his own brand and pushing a quasi-legal focus for the law school.

    • Anonymous 02/22/2013

      High crimes and misdemeanors all, especially undisguised ambition in academia.

  17. Anonymous 02/22/2013

    Hold a referendum vote.

  18. Anonymous 02/23/2013

    It would be fantastic if Tom Lininger wasn’t too good for this role. He’d do an amazing job.

    But he is too good for it.

    • Anonymous 02/24/2013

      Lininger would take be a serious consideration but a long time ago he let it be known that he wasn’t interested in the dean track until his kids were mostly grown up.

    • Anonymous 02/25/2013

      I agree. I think Lininger would do an amazing job. His kids are in high school now, so hopefully it won’t be too long.

      I only hope he doesn’t know that he is “too good for it,” because the law school could really use him in a leadership position. He has something that I have not yet seen in Moffit or Amos- Lininger is down to earth. He actually cares about the law students, and their personal goals and ambitions.

      So far, all I have seen with Moffit and Amos is that they care about their image and they care about themselves.

    • Anonymous 02/25/2013

      I think that’s a pretty harsh assessment of Amos. She seems very well respected by faculty, students and alumni. In my interactions with her has a student and alumni she has seemed to care about law students and has indeed went out of her way to help them get jobs.

    • Anonymous 02/26/2013

      Amos is very smart, a great professor, and very capable. I have never gotten a careerist vibe from her.

      Lininger has the energy and ability for the job as well. The best part about Lininger is that he has a really high-quality resume, but he’s an Oregon native and very invested in Eugene and the law school, not a mercenary academic. He knows people all over the state and he’s all about getting students the best education possible and then out into the working world.

      I hope he puts his name in for the job when he’s ready. He’s the kind of guy that could hang onto the job for 8-10 years and really establish some stability at the law school.

  19. Anonymous 02/23/2013

    Omega says:
    Regarding UOM posting as anonymous.

    I do not think UOM would post as anonymous. Can we agree that a person who would put up a poll to see who is next would probably not want to ascribe a lot of hard work to anonymous?

    But what I really want to say is in this Law Dean and VPRI question, and subsequent conversation, I find hope here in UOM for the institution that some faculty and even the trolls are becoming engaged. Something I do not think I have seen since the ill-conceived student protests on the steps of JH during DF and JM. There are some really good conversations, and even the person posting daily calling a Bill ill, is at least engaged. True in a perfect academic, Socratic world we would be having this all out on the steps of the public forum (EMU), and in the faculty senate where everyone with concerns and standing faculty, students and admin (booster, donors, foundation, advancement) would come and argue the finer points of Public University as for profit first year business school case study venture or rigorous academic education and scientific research.

    Thank you UOM. Perhaps, someday (hopefully before the booster and foundation board controls the case study) we can do this in the Senate and other bodies with governing authority–with all faculty engaged in excellence and rigor for the long term benefit of the institution–in a reality where all students and academics are empowered to stop the descent into mediocrity. Even if UOM performs this service at times in a ham-handed way, he is the only one exposing his neck. It would be nice if UOM used the voice of enlightened elder instead of court jester at times, but it is all we have.

    • Anonymous 02/25/2013

      Well said: before the booster and foundation board controls…governing authority.

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