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Moffitt reveals UO debt and bonding info to Trustees

5/6/2014 UO Board finance meeting, a little live blogging below:

2014-05-06 09.34.35

No Shelton or Gottfredson, but Geller showed up. Connie Balmer on the phone, asking good questions. VPFA Jamie Moffitt and new UO Treasurer Karen Levear are giving a very clear presentation.

UO will take on about $600M in existing debt from OUS. $178M paid by state – we hope. $190M left on the goddamn Knight Arena, $345M in other UO paid debt (includes things like housing, paid out of student rent.)

UO’s debt to operating revenue is 0.7, the highest of our comparators, which average about 0.5. Arena debt is a millstone, somewhat offset by legacy fund. UO obligations are about $45M a year, including about $15M for the Arena, state pays another $11M for various projects.

On to the new UO Bank. Sensible sounding boiler-plate. Board member Kurt Wilcox asks about the administration’s bond advisory group. The sole faculty member is John Chalmers (Business).

Moving on to the new capital requests to the HECC. Moffitt explains that the process has been underway since January. Deans submitted requests. Space advisory group looked at infrastructure needs – classroom seats, faculty offices and office furniture (including seating options similar to this lumbar support office chair), lab space, and deferred maintenance. Vetted by the ELT, ALT, and according to the docket at least, the Faculty Advisory Committee. All closed meetings with vows of secrecy, to prioritize a request for $116M in public money.

Moffitt runs through the list:

1) Deferred maintenance: Request is for $20M over two years. Don’t know how HECC will handle this, OUS pooled the requests and allocated across campuses based on square footage.

2) College and Careers building: Classrooms, office space for new TTF’s, career center. CAS interim dean Andrew Marcus on how College Scholars fits in this. Will help with retention, graduation, careers, 40/40/20. Terry Hunt (Honors College): We want to grow program. Chris Ramey (UO Architect): Building will be fit in between Chapman and Art Museum, 3-4 stories. Gonyea asks about career counseling for alumni – a weak spot for UO.

3) Learning and Innovation hub for AAA. Classrooms, offices, research. $50M. We’ve put this out to the legislature before, keeps getting shot down. The buzzwords fly. Frances Bohnet (AAA Dean): AAA graduation rate is 15% higher than the university because it is so interactive. School is currently spread over 16-18 old buildings. Want to move to center of campus, product design program is growing quickly. Site is “in the Mac Court neighborhood”. Connie Ballmer: why do these projects keep getting rejected, and what do you you when they are? Resubmit the same thing? [They get rejected because OUS and the legislature hate the Ducks, and they figure since Phil Knight can pay for these things, why should they?] Ballmer follows up with prioritization Q for UO fundraising fund drive. Moffitt: That’s still underway … Trustee Andrew Colas asks an interesting Q about involving students in design. [Part of UO’s history back to Eillis Lawrence.]

4) Chapman Hall: Terry Hunt makes his pitch. Already has $1.6M out of $2.5M in gifts. Gonyea asks about fundraising for other projects. Moffitt: Not much, need state authorization to encourage donors.

5) Chemistry labs: Current labs are from 60’s, need floor by floor renovations. Need this for AAU research. Moffitt: Where’s Espy? Don’t see her. Moving on…

6) Library: Get those damn books out of the library into off campus storage, and use the building for student learning activities and undergraduate studies services. [Get TLC out of the dank PLC basement? Maybe if we tell Phil his athletes can use it, he’ll contribute a little?]

7) Research Lab Building. $90M for lab space for new research faculty. This will be full of high-quality research equipment from providers like SciQuip to ensure that all facilities are state of the art. Northside of Franklin across from LISB with skybridge.

Final prioritization to HECC is due May 15, before the next Trustees meeting.

10:53, meeting adjourns.

5/5/2014: There are two open shared governance meetings tomorrow. At 9AM in room 403, Ford Alumni Center, the UO Board of Trustees finance committee will meet for 2 hours, to discuss procedures for selling UO backed bonds, and the just released proposal for $238M in UO capital construction projects. Pretty serious stuff, background here and documents here:

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 5.02.19 PM

Then at 2PM, Provost Coltrane will host an open meeting at which people can spend an hour arguing over how many times UO’s new mission statement should include the words “sustainable”, diversity”, “public”, “AAU”, “excellence”, and “Go Ducks”. More here.


  1. chuck 05/05/2014

    There you go, as many of us were saying, the drive to make UO private had nothing to do with academics, it had to do with making UO chattel for Wall Street bond administrators and huge construction outfits. Tuition is going to explode in order to create the collateral for all that debt, all ultimately backed by taxpayers, who cannot afford to attend their former uni. What was it that Goya said, something about the sleep of reason creating monsters? What can be expected from people more interested in signing vagina in braille than to fight the collapse of the flagship?

    • That's not braille, bro 05/05/2014

      Braille is the tactile writing system used by the unsighted; ASL is the predominant language in the deaf community in the US.

    • chuck 05/05/2014


  2. Recall 05/05/2014

    I see nothing about demolishing PLC and replacing it with some non-embarassing buildings.

    • chuck 05/05/2014

      The Matt Knight is pretty embarrassing, for a lot of reasons….

  3. To our man on the ground 05/06/2014

    Any discussion about how (deservedly) bad publicity is likely to affect fund raising efforts?

    • uomatters Post author | 05/06/2014

      Every potential UO donor built in the expectation of a few gang rapes, back when Frohnmayer decided to bet the whole university on big-time sports. Gottfredson’s unexpected diddling, on the other hand, might well move the market.

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