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Hiring? Don’t forget the $90,000 minority faculty UMRP scam

Last updated on 01/12/2014

Update: With the faculty hiring season well under way, I thought I’d repost this classic.

7/4/2013 AA Plan update: For the first time in living memory, Penny Daugherty’s Affirmative Action Office has managed to complete the federally required annual update to UO’s AA Plan on schedule. Last time she and Randy Geller got President Gottfredson to backdate it just as Frohnmayer regularly did, making it look like UO was in compliance when it wasn’t. The updates are here, the “Executive Order” report deals with race and gender.

Take a look at Table 3 on page 41. Using the federally specified methodology and the latest NCES data, UO’s tenure track faculty is representative of the available pool of Phd’s with respect to race/ethnicity in every single job group. For women, there is under-representation in Music, Education, CAS Humanities, and CAS Sciences:

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 9.40.48 AM

How can this be, when a quick glance around UO reveals so few minorities? It’s because the available pool of minority PhD’s is very small. Logically, you’d think we should focus our efforts on increasing the number of minorities who get PhD’s. (Which the recent SCOTUS decision leaves some scope for.)

Nope. Instead we’ve developed a “beggar thy other universities” Under-represented Minority Recruitment Plan, paying departments $90K for every existing racial or ethnic minority TTF PhD we are able to keep another university from hiring. UO spends about $1M a year on this. And to add to the absurdity, there’s nothing in the UMRP for hiring women, and it doesn’t apply to NTTFs. And don’t get me started on SES, political, or religious diversity. UO wants faculty who look different, not faculty who think different.

When it comes to UO’s central administration , they mostly care about hiring their cronies for “special assistant” jobs without open affirmative-action compliant searches. Former Journalism Dean Tim Gleason is the latest case.

Back in 2006 I filed a complaint with the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights about the UMRP, which at the time was giving the money directly to the minority faculty, who often took it as summer salary. Unequal pay for equal work. It took a lot of public records requests, a bar ethics complaint against Melinda Grier, and a long talk with Associate AG David Leith at the Oregon DOJ, but eventually UO changed the plan to give the money to departments, and require them to ensure the funding was not distributed solely on the basis of race.

So while the UMRP may now be mostly legal (though see below for some of the stunts Russ Tomlin pulled) it’s still stupid, and there’s no sign that new VPAA Doug Blandy is going to try and fix it.

2/3/2012 Update: With the faculty hiring season well under way, I thought I’d repost some helpful info about UO’s “Under-Represented Minority Recruitment Plan”. You might also be interested in Russ Tomlin’s plan to put specially trained diversity search advocates on faculty hiring committees. I’m guessing a year or two of someone’s start-up money was wasted on those consultants. On the flip side, read this UO professor’s op-ed on discrimination against Asian students, more here.

11/10/2011: Is your department searching for a new faculty member this year? Good luck getting start-up money from our new VP for Research Kim Espy. Jim Bean and her predecessor Rich Linton blew it all on pet projects and the Huron consulting contracts.

But you can get some easy cash from VP for academic affairs Russ Tomlin and his “Under-represented Minority Recruitment Program”. Russ and interim VP for Diversity Robin Holmes – who seem to have a blank check from Pres Lariviere – will give your department $90,000 if you hire a racial or ethnic minority. (Women in science? Sorry, Tomlin’s decided women do not count.) The UMRP rules are here, the basics are simple:

  • During negotiations or up to one year after initial appointment of a qualified candidate
  • For a candidate self-identified as a member of one of the federally defined underrepresented protected classes
  • On determination of under-representation within the academic unit

Step one is that phrase “self-identified”. That’s right, a candidate can claim any race or ethnic identity they want, on this form from Penny Daugherty’s AAEO office. UO will do nothing to verify their claim. (Hint: don’t check that last box, unless you also check the first one):

For step two, the key phrase is “under-representation”. Go to Table 2 in UO’s Affirmative Action Plan to see if your academic unit has under-representation of tenure track minority faculty:

No luck? I didn’t think so. The truth is that UO’s tenure track faculty is representative of the available national hiring pool of minority PhDs, except for Music, which is one hire short. (Johnson Hall is three short on minority administrative execs, but that’s another story. Do as we say, not as we do.)

So, how do you get under-represented minority recruitment money when there’s no minority under-representation? Easy: VP Tomlin has made up his own special, illegal process for implementing his own personal vision of what he thinks federal affirmative action law should say.

Suppose your department of 10 people has a person from every minority, except, say, an American Indian. Payday! (But if you’re in math or physics, no money for Asians. Russ Tomlin has decided there are just too many of those mathy Asians on campus already. And no money for Republicans or religious minorities. Tomlin and Holmes want faculty who look different, not faculty who think different.)

But wait. Surely you can’t just claim to be American Indian. Don’t you have to be an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe? Everywhere else misrepresenting yourself as American Indian would be a serious matter. But not at UO. Just check the box.

Obviously this is dishonest. The UMRP, I mean. Lying to exploit it is too. If it’s any comfort, you won’t be the first second third.


  1. Anonymous 11/10/2011

    Ugh. I am the whiniest whiny liberal you can imagine, but I hate stuff like this. HATE it. The solution for lack of minority faculty is encouraging opportunities for minority students to go into academia, not coming up with these bizarre check-boxes and poorly thought out incentive programs to scrape the bottom of the ocean for a potential hire who fits into some category. This is the kind of legitimate problem that makes conservative wackos lash out at academia.

  2. Anonymous 11/10/2011

    This is a classic Russ Tomlin program. He gets to play the big dick-wagger, deciding who’s in and who’s out and making petty calls on how departments can spend the money.

  3. Anonymous 11/11/2011

    Dog barks real loud

    UOmatters says:

    “Is your department searching for a new faculty member this year? Good luck getting start-up money from our new VP for Research Kim Espy. Jim Bean and her predecessor Rich Linton blew it all on pet projects and the Huron consulting contracts.”

    This is a big time problem and I hope UOmatters
    can dig up more information.

    For the sciences, these actions may have crippled the ability to hire good people over the next two years. The near term future has most definitely been robbed
    and I wouldn’t be surprised, given this, to hear
    Espy say “Fuck this …” and simply move on. I believe this act by Bean/Linton to be largely
    unconscionable but, alas, it does not surprise
    this dog.

  4. Anonymous 02/03/2012

    All this is very depressing and yet another example that the university is not managed on ayn rational or objective basis, but rather funds are distributed in a arbitrary and personalized way by administrators who think they know what is best. It the kind of ‘enlightened’ mentality that threatens standards everywhere. a very frustrated latino

  5. Anonymous 02/04/2012

    The ‘women in science’ statistics are appalling.

  6. UO Matters 02/04/2012

    yes, they are. additional data coming.

  7. Anonymous 02/07/2012

    “Wow, what an over representation of Minority Faculty on the UO Campus. Every where you walk or in the classrooms.” It is nice to default to the fact that there are not enough white women in science, because we know they just don’t hire women and there are so many qualified ones out there we don’t have to scrape the barrell. Affirmative Action is ok for the white woman.

    Come on UO Matters we have had this conversation, the normal route certainly isn’t attracting minorities. And minority is not akin to the bottom of the barrel as someone stated above. Don’t mix your alcohol brain with the stats please. Too much damn wine and barrels in your part of the world.

  8. Anonymous 07/04/2013

    This is what happens when you become obsessed with race and gender. What a bore, and a waste of time.

    • Anonymous 07/04/2013

      wow. what a shallow, uneducated, silly comment.

  9. Anonymous 07/05/2013

    “Last time she and Randy Geller got President Gottfredson to backdate it just as Frohnmayer regularly did, making it look like UO was in compliance when it wasn’t.”

    Complete bullshit. You mis-use the term backdate. UO did nothing wrong. Why do you have to lie and smear to make you feel good about yourself, Harbaugh?

    • UO Matters 07/05/2013

      So, Mr. Anonymous, what is the correct term for signing your name to an official document with a date that is 14 months before the document had even been prepared?

  10. Anonymous 07/06/2013

    Hey, Harbaugh, many of us commenting here actually go by Ms. Anonymous.

  11. Anonymous 01/11/2014

    You’re right. This is classic UOM.

    And, I just got an email from Yvette Alex-Assensoh, congratulating me on having “excellent racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the applicant pool.” I think I’m awesome, of course, in fine Gottfredson-UO tradition, among the best in the world. I did nothing to deserve this, also of course, but will go from here believing that all is well with all races, ethnicities, and genders.

    Has Yvette not caught on to SES being the fundamental factor here? About time to update UO’s “Equity and Inclusion” mindset, I think.

  12. Anonymous 01/12/2014

    EOAA and their lawyers are always making up things…..backdating is not a problem if it is SOP.

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