UO Board committee meetings, Mar 4, some live-blog

3/4/2014: It appears the Chair of the Finance and Facilities Committee has called in two Conflict Resolution Center “Neutral Observers” to monitor the part of the meeting on proposed tuition increases. Seems a bit excessive?

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I’m adding a little live-blogging to the annotated agendas for the BOT’s spring meetings below. Committee meetings today, full BOT meetings Th and Friday. Don’t forget the Senate meets at 3PM today.

Usual disclaimer: My impression of what people said, meant to say, or should have said. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes. The stuff below is very unorganized, sorry.


8:30AM, Pres Factors Subcommittee:

Mercer consultant Stephen Pollack shows UO’s current presidential compensation is on the high side for similar universities. Not what the committee wants to hear! Very shallow presentation, no regression controls, Pollack seems to know little about higher ed issues. Rerun of what the committee already knew last meeting.

Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms leaks an “Attorney-Client Privileged” document. Will Doug Park pursue disciplinary action against her? Astonishingly, the draft presidential evaluation process does not include a plan to collect survey information from faculty and the campus community on presidential leadership. Just from the Board and the UO “leadership”.

10:00AM, Academic and Student Affairs Committee Meeting

Coltrane leads with an explanation of UO’s efforts to deal with sexual assault problem. Pitches his Campus Conversation as a big success. We have 124 different recommendations from various committees. Some have already been implemented. [Sorry, I’ve heard this too many times, no live-blog. Nothing new anyways. Incredibly, he doesn’t even get into the counterclaim. He’s going to spend $500K but not fire Penny Daugherty or Robin Holmes. Bad leadership.]

Schlegel asks Robin Holmes about external FSL audit. How are you going to do this in the summer when the houses are closed? Schlegel asks if there will be any new prevention programs during IntroDucktion. Holmes says Counseling Psych will have a report on programs for fall by end of March.

Ginevra Ralph bravely brings up the overt sexual dancing of the Duck Cheerleaders. Seen it make people very uncomfortable, leave basketball games. It’s one thing for people to do it on their own, another thing entirely for it to be part of the UO’s public brand. Is this really a good idea? Who is in charge? Uncle Phil.

Ken Doxsee on classroom availability. Students are getting larger, need wider seats. Too many large football players. Proposes charging tuition on a per-pound basis. [Sorry, you had to be there.] In any case, classrooms are way over-scheduled compared to other universities.

Director Susan Lesyk on the Teaching and Learning Center:

UO spends $2.2M on tutoring for its ~500 athletes, and $2.3 M on tutoring for the ~20,000 regular students. The academic budget pays for both.

Some special programs for low SES PathwayOregon programs, but nothing compared to what the athletes get, even the ones from rich families.

PathwayOregon students have many special needs, high probability of leaving. Only 33% were staying past two years. This is a huge problem for many reasons, not the least being these students then have student debts but no degree. So TLC added extra support, specific academic plans as a “partnership agreement” with the students. Big turnaround, these students now have the same graduation rates as regular UO students. More research driven intervention: Turns out Financial Aid is necessary but not sufficient. TLC adds accountability agreements, goal of getting them graduated on time. Communicates constantly with students to keep them on track. Uses text messages – come in now, work on your schedule for next quarter. Appointment next week. Great program, Lesyk gives quantifiable results.

Kurt Wilcox brings up problem of TLC underfunding and depressing location in the PLC basement. [Rather in a shiny new Jock Box.]

Lesyk: When they built the Jock Box, I hoped some of that would trickle down. It hasn’t. Lillis: Yes, there was a lot of talk about that, wasn’t there. [Connie Ballmer just donated $25M to support Pathways, good for her.]

If only someone proposed a plan to take money from the bloated Athletics budget and spend it on things like TLC. Like this one, coming up in the Senate at 3PM today.

TLC staff is about 30 for 20K students. Last I looked the Jock Box had 65 for 500.

Roger Thompson, Vice President for Enrollment Management:

Roger’s a smooth talker, the Board loves him, I’m waiting for the data. He shows a little, but less than at previous board meetings, not sure why. He predicts a GPA increase for 2015, maybe. Shrinking number of Oregon HS students, harder to compete with OSU, so money is not only driver of decreasing number of in-state students.

Lillis asks if we allocate all available student Aid. Thompson says yes. Actually, I’ve heard that there are many scholarship accounts held by the Foundation that are seldom given out, often because the gift restrictions are too specific.

Executive and Audit Committee Meeting

Muirhead is very confidence inspiring, has just hired a former UNC external auditor, who presumably knows what to look for when it comes to athletics.

Not many people using the fraud reporting hotline yet, except of course UO Matters, who is still trying to get someone to do something about AVP for Collaboration Chuck Triplett, hired at $130K without an affirmative action compliant search. Or even a job opening announcement.

Lillis asks when we’ll do an audit of compliance on federal research grants. Did we pick that up in an audit?

Jamie Moffitt: We found out about that via a new hire (Espy?) who reported it to internal audit.

Muirhead: Research has staff who do grant management and monitor compliance. I haven’t dug into it yet.

Moffitt: Brad Shelton has recently put a lot of effort into training PI’s on compliance.

Lillis introduces Kurt Wilcox’s resolution on labor disputes: He doesn’t like it, wants it to be the President’s problem, end of story.

Lillis says board *did* receive info about the GTF strike. Not clear how much.

Wilcox: I understand there’s no support for this in the committee, but this is basic good management, as is true with other public boards, e.g. school boards. Delegate, but keep aware, engage with the President when it’s crunch time. Resolution just requires President keep the Board informed, and a meeting if there’s an impasse.

[My opinion is that the GTF strike and how Coltrane handled it was a disaster for UO, and it’s strange that the BOT wouldn’t want to be more involved.]

Members are saying this is already part of the BOT’s job, resolution is redundant, board members can already “call up Chuck” if they’ve got questions. Yikes.

Will Susan Gary back up Kurt Wilcox? Nope. UO Student Trustee Helena Schlegel has more guts though.

Lillis sets it up as philosophical issue, BOT doesn’t want to manage the university, that’s the President’s job.

Except when it comes to pet projects like the track championships, or sports product design programs, of course. Then Lillis and the Board’s are all over it.

Motion fails. Ralph then says that the board does want to be better informed.

Next Lillis gets to an amendment of the delegation of authority to allow the Exec committee to approve new programs, without going to the full board. He uses the difficulty getting his pal’s sports design program approved as motivation. Come on Mr. Lillis, Diane Dietz destroyed this argument 3 months ago in the RG.

Lillis, however, wasn’t prepared to let the subject of efficiency drop. His friend, retired UO business professor Roger Best, worked at General Electric when Lillis was an executive there, he said.

“He was a world class business school professor,” Lillis said. “In the ’80s he routinely turned down $10,000-a-day as a consultant. He was the executive of a big British firm when he lived in Eugene and he commuted on the Concorde. He has started two businesses and sold them both — and is a very large donor to the university,” Lillis said.

If the university is not going to trust someone like that, Lillis said, who will it trust. “We have this, like, superstar. …

 Committee then adopts a “consent calendar” approach to moving on non-controversial items. Seems smart, the Senate ought to do this.

Next up at 2:30PM: Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting

I’ll miss this for the Senate meeting at 3, in the Alumni Center Ballroom, looks like there will be plenty of other coverage in the RG etc though.


Stuff below was posted yesterday:

Presidential Factors Committee Meeting
March 4, 2015
Notice  |  Agenda  |  Minutes

8:30 AM – Public Meeting – Ford Alumni Center, Room 403 Convene – Call to Order – Roll Call and Verification of Quorum 1. Approval of January 2015 meeting minutes (Action)

2. Presidential Compensation – Research Update (Stephen Pollack and Rick Yarger, Mercer)

Here’s hoping that Connie Ballmer,  chair of the presidential search committee, didn’t pay Pollack and Yarger more than an few grand to tell her what is obvious from checking Bing [it’s like Google, but slower] and browsing through the Chronicle of Higher Education’s presidential salary database:

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The $540K plus perks that UO paid Gottfredson, and is now paying Coltrane, is on the high side for a university without a medical or engineering school. Particularly when Brad Shelton and Jaime Moffitt are saying UO can’t match these comparators’ faculty salaries.

Live: I got here a little late, but they flew in one of the Mercer consultants, Stephen Pollack, to presenting the table above. His research consisted of looking at the Chronicle data and some IRS 990’s. A casual attempt to adjust for size and medical schools, but not even a regression. Failing work for an econ undergrad, though he is better dressed.

Trustees are searching for some legit reason that UO can pay more. Lillis raises the point that some of their comparators are presidents w/in a system, don’t lobby legislators. Jamie Moffitt raises question of what other universities are hiding as deferred compensation, retirement buyouts. Pollack gives her that one. Lillis and Gary ask about deferred compensation as retention tool. (UO’s $100K is not tied to this, as I recall). And of course there’s UO’s promise of $940K if you leave quietly after you screw up and drag the university through the muck.)

Lillis asks about large cash payments for retention. Pollack can’t find an example (really, there are plenty in the Chronicle reports) but agrees it could be done. Is his up on how to get around the IRS limits though.

Ginevra Ralph asks about incentives other than one for just showing up. Pollack doesn’t understand she understands the basics. Or he hasn’t done his homework and can’t give specific examples.

Giving a potential hint about the short list, Lillis asks about general practices for outside work. Can Presidents also serve on corporate board? Pollack has no info on this. Wow. Read the Chronicle, dude. He offers to get some info.

Ralph gets back to incentives – would they trickle down to VPs, AVP’s like Chuck Triplett? Pollack knows about corporate world, not higher ed.

Meanwhile, a little data on admin bloat.

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3. Presidential Evaluation Process

Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms leaks an “Attorney-Client Privileged” document on confidentiality of evaluations. Will Doug Park pursue disciplinary action against her?:

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Ralph: Wants qualitative data to set goals and then evaluate president. Lillis point out that many goals are long-term, hard to evaluate. Good discussion about how board can help the president to be effective. Is the board committed to doing a good job on this, getting broad input from across campus?

The draft document is not promising. There will be surveys to collect info – a first for UO administrators, but from the “campus leadership”. Faculty, students just get a chance to make open comments that can then be ignored by the board because of its haphazard collection. See page 14 of agenda.

Kurt Wilcox asks who will get the details fleshed out, and when, to meet the June 15th deadline on review of Coltrane. Ralph and Wilhelms will lead it.

Ralph says she’s not open to anonymous comments on pres performance. Board will keep it confidential, but people will need to own up to their opinions.

Academic and Student Affairs Committee Meeting
March 4, 2015
Notice  |  Agenda  |  Minutes

10:00 am – Public Meeting – Ford Alumni Center, Room 403    Convene – Call to order – Roll call   – Introductory comments and agenda review 1. Approval of December 2015 ASAC meeting minutes (Action)

2. Public comment

3. Update on addressing sexual assault (President Coltrane)

Gottfredson and now Coltrane have botched this badly, every step of the way. Maybe he’ll redeem himself at the “Campus Conversation”, Monday at 4PM at the Alumni Center.

4. Overview of academic scheduling and classroom utilization (Sue Eveland, University Registrar; Doug Blandy, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs; Ken Doxsee, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs)

Doxsee’s big chance to show the board what he does.

5. Overview of the Teaching and Learning Center (Lisa Freinkel, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies; Susan Lesyk, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center)

UO spends $2.2M on tutoring for ~500 athletes, and $2.3 M on tutoring for ~20,000 regular students. This should be interesting.

6. Overview of Enrollment Management (Roger Thompson, Vice President for Enrollment Management)

At the March 2014 meeting Thompson hinted that undergraduate enrollment and GPA would both increase this year. Actually, both fell. Rumor has it that this year’s numbers are not looking good either. What if … UO’s big-time sports scandals, and those bowl game recruiting junkets, aren’t working out? You’ll have to show up to hear plan B:

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Executive and Audit Committee Meeting
March 4, 2015
Notice  |  Agenda  |  Minutes

1:00 pm – Public Meeting – Ford Alumni Center, Room 403 Convene – Call to Order   – Roll Call / Verification of a Quorum1. Approval of December 2014 and February 2015 Minutes

2. Quarterly Audit Report (Brenda Muirhead, Chief Auditor)

Nothing posted. Wouldn’t want Trustees to read it before the meeting and interrupt the show with informed questions. Presumably there will be some discussion of UO’s decision to hire Pernsteiner’s $72K Board Secretary Chuck Triplett, and give him a $130K job as UO’s AVP for Collaboration. All without an Affirmative Action compliant job search.

3. Resolution with respect to the Board’s role in potential strike situations (Kurt Willcox, Trustee) (Action)

Apparently Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms didn’t bother to tell the board that UO’s GTFF’s were going to strike over sick leave, leading to a pretty embarrassing December Board meeting, filled with clueless Trustees.

UO Staff Trustee Kurt Wilcox has a plan to keep the board in the loop in case SEIU and/or the faculty strike in the fall:

Now, therefore, the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon hereby directs the President to, in a manner consistent with applicable law and Board Bylaws, Article IX, Section 2:

1)  Update Board members periodically about the progress of negotiations with all employee groups well before they reach an impasse; and

2)  Once any contract negotiations reaches formal impasse, provide Board members with a copy of both parties’ Final Offers and a written report explaining the issues in dispute and the university’s plans for maintaining operations during a strike; and

3)  Once the university receives a formalstrike notice, request an emergency meeting of the Board for the purpose of reviewing the situation and considering all available options. The Board Chair shall convene such meeting as quickly as possible.

4. Committee approval of significant program changes (Action)

At the last meeting Chair Chuck Lillis told the board that the UO Senate was holding up approval of his buddy’s Sports Product Design program. It turns out he was misinformed, as RG reporter Diane Dietz reported:

Lillis, however, wasn’t prepared to let the subject of efficiency drop. His friend, retired UO business professor Roger Best, worked at General Electric when Lillis was an executive there, he said.

“He was a world class business school professor,” Lillis said. “In the ’80s he routinely turned down $10,000-a-day as a consultant. He was the executive of a big British firm when he lived in Eugene and he commuted on the Concorde. He has started two businesses and sold them both — and is a very large donor to the university,” Lillis said.

If the university is not going to trust someone like that, Lillis said, who will it trust. “We have this, like, superstar. …

Board member Kurt Willcox, however, examined the timetable and found “the clog appeared to be right at the beginning within the department,” he said. That phase lasted almost two years.

The rest of the approvals took only seven months. “When you’re looking to develop a brand new program, April to December doesn’t look like a huge time line,” Willcox said.

Barbara Altmann, vice provost for academic affairs, said the various committees gauge the soundness and coherence of proposed programs and ensure that the proposers have a stable line up of courses to guarantee quality for students who pay a lot, especially for business graduate degrees.

“It sounds like I was just incorrect,” Lillis said, adding “I still think (efficiency is) a noteworthy objective.”

I’m not sure how this motion will prevent future embarrassment from trustees who don’t do their homework, but apparently they’re going to try passing this job off to a subcommittee:

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5. Creation of a Consent Calendar (Action)

Housekeeping, I think.

Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting
March 4, 2015
Notice  |  Agenda  |  Minutes

2:30 pm – Public Meeting – Ford Alumni Center, Room 403 Convene – Call to Order – Roll Call and Verification of Quorum 1. Approval of December 2014 FFC meeting minutes (Action)

2. Public comment

3. Quarterly treasury report (Karen Levear, Director of Treasury Operations)  

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4. Quarterly financial report (Jamie Moffitt, CFO/Vice President for Finance and Administration)

Page 5-20 here. Moffitt’s short version: We’ve budgeted for everything, including millions in raises for athletics, and more administrative bloat, and whatever you want to pay your new president. Nothing left over for the staff, or raises to get faculty to AAU peers though. Sorry.

5. Receipt of a Gift of Real Property (Brad Shelton, Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation) (Action)

I didn’t read this. I’m sure Shelton will earn his $320K explaining it though.

6. Deferred Maintenance Overview (Chris Ramey, AVP for Campus Planning and Real Estate; Darin Dehle, Director of Capital Construction; and Jamie Moffitt, CFO/Vice President for Finance and Administration)

Short version: We spent $2.5M renovating Johnson Hall, and are borrowing money for a new building to house fancy offices for the CAS Deans. PLC will collapse and bury most of the faculty, but we can replace them with adjuncts, so it’s all good:

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7. Tuition and Fees for Academic Year 15‐16 (Jamie Moffitt, CFO/Vice President for Finance and Administration; Brad Shelton, Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation, Vice Provost for Budget and Planning) (Actions)

UO’s Public Records Officer Dave Hubin really didn’t want people to see the financial data that led to the recommended tuition increases:

Subject: public records request, Tuition and Fee Advisory Board
Date: October 31, 2014 at 4:50:19 PM PDT
Cc: [email protected], Brad Shelton <[email protected]>
To: Lisa Thornton <[email protected]>

Dear Ms Thornton:

This is a public records request for any documents provided to the Tuition and Feed (sic) Advisory Board, from 7/1/2013 to the present. I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

I’m ccing the co-chairs of the board, as they should have this material easily at hand.


Bill Harbaugh
UO Prof of Economics

But no response from VPFA Moffitt or VPR Brad Shelton. A week later, President Coltrane’s Public Records sends me this:


Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any documents provided to the Tuition and Feed Advisory Board, from 7/1/2013 to the present”, on 11/04/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $474.28. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

The university has received your request for a fee waiver for these records. The decision to waive or reduce fees is discretionary with the public body. After considering your request, the office does not consider that the totality of the circumstances you presented meets the standard for a fee waiver.

… Thank you for contacting us with your request.


Lisa Thornton
Office of Public Records
University of Oregon
Office of the President

Diane Dietz has the basics on the ~3.7% increases here.

Meeting of the Board
March 5-6, 2015
Notice  |  Agenda  |  Minutes

[I’ll add these as I work through the agenda materials. Monday, I hope.]

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4 Responses to UO Board committee meetings, Mar 4, some live-blog

  1. Karen Levear says:

    Hi Bill –

    Do you want to receive a copy of the slides that I am planning to show the Finance Committee on Wednesday earlier than I show them? Time is tight and I need others to review them but if you feel that it is in the public interest, I am happy to make an effort to get them to you in advance. I’m sure you can appreciate that I prefer to give the Committee the most recent information available rather than something a couple of weeks old. We are colleagues so please feel free to shoot me an email if you think I am not being sufficiently transparent with regard to the university’s cash position or debt issuances.


  2. Karen Levear says:

    We expect to finalize them on Monday. I’ll shoot you a copy when they are final.


  3. that effing Dog again says:

    Ah, large students. There you have it.

    The single biggest reason we should ramp up ON line classes …