5/12/2014 Update: By an accident of history, President Gottfredson’s Q&A about the latest athletic scandal at the upcoming Wednesday May 14 Senate meeting will come on the anniversary of his first sustained interaction with the UO faculty, the infamous 2013 “asked and answered” debacle. (Yes, he managed to wait almost 10 months after taking office to meet the UO faculty.)
Since then, it’s been all downhill. I know there are those counseling we wait for the UO Board to deal with this disastrous president, and maybe they’re right. (Although I doubt that’s the message the alumni and parents are sending.) But here’s a little history to support the argument that enough is enough, and that if we don’t get answers from Gottfredson on Wednesday, we should hold an immediate vote of no-confidence:
5/14/2013: President Gottfredson’s first talk with UO faculty goes very badly.
Update on the shared governance “conversation” with President Gottfredson:
Our president’s most common response to the faculty is now a curt “read my written remarks” or “asked and answered”, a phrase lawyers use to semi-politely insult each other, when objecting to a question in court.
For the white-bread, comment free take on the meeting, check out “Around the 0”:
During an informal meeting in Gerlinger Alumni Lounge, the president provided an update and answered questions regarding two bills in the Oregon Legislature that would reorganize higher education governance and create boards for the UO and other public universities in Oregon that request them.
After Gottfredson unloaded on the staff representative who asked a direct question in the Senate last week, Dave Hubin made a special effort to seek him out and apologize. Sounds like Dave has his work cut out for him. Thanks to five UO Matters stringers for their notes, which I’ve combined below:
3:56: Twenty folks present.
3:57: Hubin and President Gottfredson arrive.
4:09. Now up to about 120 people.
4:13: Welcome from Hubin.
4:14: Gottfredson takes the stage and introduces his team, which includes Geller, Moffitt, Bean and ?.
Pres expounds on the history of the UO and the State system, saying UO is a Land-Grant College. Nope, that would be OSU, Mr. President. “Watershed moment, momentous.” Repeat 3x and click your heels. Then tells of reduced State support (projected to be 5% next year). This, unlike the Land Grant origin of the UO, was probably not news to anyone there.
Then some REAL news: UO is one of the world’s great public research universities! However, I think that was believed about as much as the land grant origin of UO. (Too bad, because the UO showed some real promise for a while.)
Leads us through his 2-page hand out on the Local Board. Emphasized that, in every respect, The University would gain from the change. Of course Gottfredson’s definition of The University is a little narrower than what the philosophes had in mind.
4:52: Gottfredson finally closes his canned remarks, and invites questions from the floor.
First off was a Q from Jane Cramer (PoliSci). MG interrupted her polite lead-in and didn’t even allow her to frame her question (which was clearly about the CBA, but he cut her off before she should mention the CBA). He then refused to go back to her for a follow up, calling on Frank Stahl (DNA) instead.
That was a mistake:
“Mike, we are cheered by your avowed support for shared governance. As you must be aware, shared governance works only when there is a document defining the procedures by which agreements can be reached and disagreements settled. The UO Constitution is such a document. It currently enjoys the protection of State Board policy requiring that any changes in it be ratified by the relevant parties (i.e., the President and the Statutory Faculty). What steps will you take to ensure that the same protection of our existing Constitution be provided by a local Board, should the University get one?”
MG’s response?: Go home Frank.
Stahl then descended to our President’s level and a shouting match ensued. Bottom line: the UO Constitution is dead if Gottfredson has his way. Frank was of course out of line. That’s why we pay him the big emeritus bucks. But MG managed to be worse. Stupid.
Michael Dreiling then raised the Constitution issue in the context of the Union/Administration CBA.
Gottfredson’s response: Issues of governance have no place in the CBA, period. Ignoring the CBAs of several other universities.
Margie Paris asked a softball question, but MG didn’t do much with that gift.
From the floor, apparently an SEIU member: Why no classified staff member on the Board? In response, MG didn’t even make eye contact with the questioner, but pointed looked the exact opposite direction in the room while he dissed his question. MG then droned on about how important it was to have faculty and student representation. Since this was not an answer to the question, the guy pressed: and got anodyne stuff (yeah, me too, google it) about how it’s important not to have “designated membership” or some such jargony phrase; this was presumed to mean that we don’t want to stipulate one of X, one of Y, one of Z all the way across (Best to leave it to the Guv.)
But the result there too was to totally ignore the actual question about classified staff representation. And the SEIU guy was very clearly asking for Gottfredson’s rationale for not having one, which these non-answers did even gesture toward. The result was so insulting that there was a little mutiny of hands up and murmuring from across the room among those who were clearly classified staff. (My father’s advice when I got hired at UO: Always respect the staff, never teach in the summer, and don’t trust those bastards in the central administration. Three out of three, Dad.)
All in all, with both classified staff and faculty, MG clearly had no notion that his audience was people who work here, know one or two things about our “land-grant” status and the Morrill Act, state funding levels and the like. And he was both unprepared to answer questions and too thin-skinned to try being honest on the fly.
5:20: Most of the faculty has fled. Maybe 10% of the original crowd stays for the traditional post conversation brown-nosing with the man who can double your salary. Mike “The University” Gottfredson, Jim “Big Five” Bean, and Dave Hubin, plus two or three faculty, or maybe food-service. BTW, the food was a bust too. No disrespect to UO food service staff, but I imagine the Football Operations Sous Chef puts out a better and significantly more expensive spread whenever Gottfredson shows up there.
5:22: Your Reporters split.
My question to President Gottfredson: [5/12/2014 update: In retrospect, I was wrong with this below. I give the new Board full credit for transparency. There were some rough spots because of Randy Geller, but the board fixed them, and the also probably get credit for encouraging
Gottfredson to fire Geller Geller to find gainful employment somewhere else.]
From: Bill Harbaugh
Subject: Question about UO Board legislation
Dear President Gottfredson:
I have a question regarding the proposed independent board legislation, which I hope you will answer by email – I’ll be unable to attend the governance meeting in Gerlingher tomorrow.
What I think is the latest draft of the legislation, at https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/19825, says:
“SECTION 2a. A university with a governing board is a governmental entity performing governmental functions and exercising governmental powers. A university with a governing board is not
considered a unit of local or municipal government or a state agency,
board, commission or institution for purposes of state statutes or
constitutional provisions. …
I am wondering if this legislation will affect UO’s obligations under the public records and meetings law, if the UO Board will also be subject to these laws, and if the responsibility for handling appeals of Public Records denials from UO or the board will shift from the Lane County DA to the State DOJ or to another office.
UO Prof. of Economics
No response yet. Call me naive, but I’m finally beginning to get a little suspicious abut President Gottfredson’s intentions.
5/13/2013: Gottfredson’s compensation is ~10% above comparators:
We all know UO faculty salaries are bad. Check here to see how far you are behind your peers. But the UO salary news isn’t grim for everyone. The Chronicle just reported salaries for 212 presidents and chancellors at public research universities, for 2011. The median total compensation (includes deferred) is $400,000. President Gottfredson’s contract is here. His starting pay was $440K, plus $100K deferred, plus ORP at about $63K, plus $14.4K for a car, plus use of McMorran house or Treetops, worth say $36K – below market, but he’s gotta use it for entertaining too. So, including ORP his total comp is about $653K. Leaving out the house and car, it’s $603K.
Average compensation at our AAU comparators is $612K. Of course that includes many presidents with years on the job. If you leave out IU and Michigan, where the presidents run entire systems, the average is $553K.
The problem in a nutshell? It’s all about who you look up too: