Full UO Board meetings, March 5-6

Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms has managed to arrange the room to keep the board and the UO community even farther apart than last time. Portable barriers are ready, in case the crowd gets restless:

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The live-blog of Wednesday’s committee meetings is here.

News reports: Scott Greenstone in the Emerald on Kurt Wilcox’s resolution to have the board discuss potential union strikes before everything goes to hell as with the GTFF, here. Diane Dietz in the RG on pay for the next UO president, here. She goes easy on clueless Mercer consultant Stephen Pollack. UCLA gave him an MBA and he can’t run a regression? Shame on them. Meanwhile Tobin Klinger has distortionary post on this on “Around the 0”. Why does UO pay Klinger $115K in student tuition money to do a bad imitation of Diane Dietz?

The Agenda/Docket for the full Thursday/Friday meetings is here.

I’ll live-blog what I can below, but best to show up yourself. Highlights should include Jamie Moffitt explaining why UO had plenty of money 6 months ago, but now that the board has to vote on tuition increases, and the faculty union wants Coltrane to follow through on getting pay to AAU peers, she’s been able to rearrange the estimates to make it look like the well is dry. I’m guessing Susan Gary (Law) won’t ask Jamie Moffitt about the extra $1.5M she just gave Michael Moffitt’s law school:

On Friday, Athletic Director Rob Mullens and AAD Eric Roedl will explain how they just spent all the Duck athletics surplus on their own raises, and still can’t pay anything to support the academic side so too bad, Senate. As for the ungrateful students that just voted to hold the line against Roedl’s attempt to extract another 10% for “free” tickets? The Ducks will cave.

Thursday March 5th, 8:00 am (other times approximate) – Convene Public Meeting – Call to order and roll call/verification of quorum

1. Approval of Minutes from December 2014 Meeting

2.   Invited Academic Presentations

2.1 School of Law – Michael Moffitt, Dean

Michael Moffitt has a lot of explaining to do. While times are tough for all law schools, UO has been in a rankings slide, falling from #77 when he started as Dean, to a 3 way tie for 100th place last year. The new USNews rankings come out March 10, and one more slip and the law school will be in the dread 3rd tier. Moffitt seems to have only the dimmest understanding of how the rankings work, as revealed in his letter to the law school alumni and students, here.

His wife, UO VPFA Jamie Moffitt, has been throwing scholarship money at law from the general fund, trying to entice students with decent LSATs to enroll and keep up the rankings. It’s been a losing battle so far, not helped by law professor Rob Illig’s “I”m worth $1M” viral rant, right in the middle of last year’s enrollment and hiring period:

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(Turns out Illig got a pay cut this year.)

We’ll see if Moffitt has a turnaround plan other than bitch about the rankings, pretend UO isn’t doing worse than other schools, and ask the wife for more money.

Live-blog: Yup, Moffitt puffs up envi law and CDR, then goes into national decline of law schools. He’s scrupulously avoiding responsibility for UO’s relative decline:

That said, Moffitt is actually cutting bloat. He’s cut 1 in 6 non-faculty positions (not clear if that’s staff or Assistant Dean types), spent the money on scholarships. And opening a satellite campus in Portland, trying to get his cut of the White-Stag pork. Clever strategy for law, but it will bleed still more money from UO’s general fund and undergrad tuition.

Then goes off on pitch for expanding undergrad law into business law. Seems reasonable, but he badly botched this last time, with the sports-conflict classes. The Portland project looks like a risky money-sink. Our money of course, not his. Should the trustees trust Moffitt to manage this? From what I hear his faculty don’t. He’s not doing a convincing job with some softball questions from the trustees.

2.2 College of Arts and Sciences – Dr. Andrew Marcus, Dean; Dr. Ian McNeely, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education; Dr. Bruce Blonigen, Associate Dean for Social Sciences

Marcus starts off with a strong defense of the humanities and the liberal arts as the foundation of higher education. Go Marcus!

Blonigen goes through the social science stats, strengths of the departments, explains the disciplines. Go Blonigen!

Sorry, I missed McNeely.

3.   Marketing and Branding Initiative Update – Tim Clevenger, Associate Vice President for Marketing, Communications & Brand Management

Once upon a time Oregonians knew how to brand things themselves:

Now we pay PR flacks like Tim Clevenger $209K to manage $20M campaigns by 160over90 to try and offset the damage big-time Duck sports have done to this place. Sorry, I don’t have the stomach to live-blog this crap.

I’ve got to go, I’ll resume live blogging at 1:30.

4. Reports and Public Comment

– Public Comment. My live blogging is light, try the UO student twitter hash tag, #UOCSPAN.

– Strategic Planning Report

Frances Bronet: Whole lot of planning going on. Will any of it matter to UO’s budgeting decisions, or will they continue to be driven by the preferences of UO’s Executive Leadership Team and UO’s donors? Does anyone know how we ended up with the current budget plan? Me neither.

– ASUO President’s Report

ASUO working on lobbying state legislature for more funds, cultural competency and campus change.

– Senate President’s Report

Rob Kyr: Senate has had a series of productive meetings dealing with:

1) Revising UO Policy on Policies. Done.
2) Approving, revising or appealing old OUS policies. Done with 30% of them. Senate and particularly Bonine has put together spreadsheet. Far more productive than Triplett
3) Fossil fuel divestment
4) Transparency award [Say, anyone got an administrator to nominate for this?]
5) Gender neutral bathrooms
6) “Not in our Name” response to Doug Park’s continued insults against Jane Doe
7) Legislation putting the Senate in charge of electing the FAR
8) Legislation requiring AD to pay some money to help out the academic budget

Senate committed to working with the Board.

Lillis: Congratulations on this work. Wants the Senate to work on the issues that are most critical to UO. [Which issues, who decides?]

– President’s Report

Jason Younker, UO Tribal Liaison, delivers a good talk about UO’s efforts to connect with the First Nations, along with Wendy Coltrane. Scott gets a Pendleton blanket.

12:00 pm – Recess for Small Group Lunches with Students

1:30 pm – Reconvene Public Meeting – Verification of quorum

Coltrane reports on sexual violence prevention. He’s got no credibility on this issue anymore. The buzzwords fly. Bronet talking about Gottfredson’s Review Panel: “the gravitas is extraordinary”.

Yes, gravitas would be one word for it.

5.   Committee Reports / Resolutions

VPFA Jamie Moffitt gets into the UO financial situation and proposed tuition and fee increases.

About 100 UO students file in, lining the sides of the room, holding signs, standing quietly.

Things are getting tense. Administrators tell students to move back. The students are busy texting, and ignore them. Triplett puts away his laptop and prepares for action, shushes student. Bad move Chuck, but Dana Rognlie smooths it over. Thanks Dana.

The signs call out the administrators and coaches for their bloated salaries:

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I’m looking for the economics student with a poster showing how UO should increase tuition and price discrimination, and use the revenue to subsidize low SES students.

Moffitt goes on. Lillis asks her a scripted question about health insurance costs. On cue she replies with data showing university employees cross-subsidize rates for other state employees. [$10-20M by UO per year, if I remember right.]

No mention from Moffitt of the extra cost the university now has to pay to make up things like Mike Bellotti’s $550K, mostly unfunded, pension.

Moffitt: Can’t get into labor negotiations, but I’m sure you can understand we’re looking at very significant issues for the budget.

Moffitt is much more subtle about trying to blame the unions for tuition increases than Rudnick was.

Meanwhile, more and more students file in. All very quiet, orderly, respectful.

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Student trustee Helena Schlegel. Some students can cover these increases, perhaps with more debt. But, on the margin, this will lead to some students dropping out. Schlegel proposes amendment to cut the proposed increases by a modest 0.2 percentage points.

Moffitt: We did look at this. Tries to do math in head, fails. [It’s abut $1M]. Board waits patiently for Jamie and Brad to do the arithmetic. Schlegel helps them out, says it’s $900K.

Board asks what UO would cut if the tuition increase was cut. Moffitt – lots of unknown unknowns.

More and more students file in, many from the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. Interesting. Room is packed. “International Students Are Not Your ATM”. “Provost $360,000”. “Football Coach $3.35M”.

Kurt Wilcox: PEBB board predicts modest health insurance increases, way below Moffitt’s predictions. University has a history of exaggerating health insurance increases. Let’s use that to cut this proposed increase, just a bit, send a signal to the students that we care about costs.

Susan Gary speaks: I am listening to students. I’ve heard your pain. But the responsible thing to do is increase revenue.

Shelton: Amendment is to cut increase to 3.3% for Res, 3.4% for Non Res.

Roll call on amendment, it fails.

Back to the original resolution:

Roll call: Wilcox and Schlegel vote no, others yes.

Students start “Mike Check” shout out. “Admin pay continues to rise!” “And You Want More?” “We want an affordable education”. This goes on for a long time. “Students over Sports!”

It goes on longer.

“When our administration is overpaid what do we do? Stand up fight back.” The trustees look pretty miserable, who can blame them? This is going on too long.

It goes on longer.

A few trustees start using the opportunity to squeeze in a bathroom break. Now they’ve all left. Congrats students, you’ve succeeded in shutting down the debate, by shouting really loudly.

It goes on longer.

Now it’s “Where’s Scott Coltrane!”. Uh, he left because you were yelling in his face?

3:06 PM: Students start leaving.

Triplett busies himself cleaning up their posters. He and Brad Shelton share a “we survived the student uprising” moment of camaraderie.

Sorry to be so negative about this protest. I agree Moffitt and Shelton are hiding a lot of data, and I agree about the admin bloat, sports subsidies, etc. And obviously the students got the board’s attention. But the in their face shouting was out of control.

Of course, out of control often happens when you cut people out of the real decision process.

3:13PM. Lillis and a few other trustees file back in, Wilhelms starts looking for the rest of them.

3:21PM: Lillis gets a quorum back, restarts meeting.

Ralph asks if it will be possible to revisit the tuition increases if the legislature comes through?

Lillis asks if the board needs to revisit the process for setting tuition, given student outrage. Brad Shelton misses the point of the question, tries to justify how he did it.

‐‐Resolution:  Acceptance of Gift of Real Property (pending March 4 committee approval)


5.1 Executive and Audit Committee Report and Referrals

‐‐ Resolution:  Policy on University Policies

Lillis gives a shout out to the Senate, Wilhelms, Gary. Happy to see agreement on this process.

Wilhelms notes that the Board is “endorsing” this. The Senate and the President have already agreed to this, and it’s their business, not the board’s. Exactly. This is a big improvement in shared governance from where we were last year, when Susan Gary was hiding the delegation of authority and the pres search process from the faculty. I give Rob Kyr credit.

Unanimous yes.

‐‐ Resolution:  Board’s Role in Strike Situations (pending March 4 committee approval

Kurt Wilcox makes another pitch for this, as a reaction to Coltrane’s botched handling of the GTFF strike. Process to keep the board on top of things as backup. Susan Gary supports this, wants to make sure board is kept informed. Which did not happen with the GTFF.

Long discussion. Lillis lets everyone talk this one to death.

Gary, Wilcox, and Schlegel vote yes, rest no, fails.

‐‐ Resolution:  Committee Approval of HECC Submissions (pending March 4 committee approval)

Unanimous yes.

‐‐ Resolution:  Consent Calendar (pending March 4 committee approval)

Unanimous yes.

4:03 Recess

Moved to tomorrow.

5.4 Presidential Factors Committee Report

5.5 Presidential Search Committee Report

[Rescheduled for another meeting] 6.   Overview of the University Counseling and Testing Center and the University Health Center – Dr. Robin Holmes, Vice President for Student Life; Michael Eyster, Director of Administration, Health Center; Dr. Shelly Kerr, Director of the Counseling and Testing Center

(Public Meeting Recessed)

7.   Site visit(s)
Trustees will visit the Counseling and Testing Center and the University Health Center (co‐located) and the Oregon Humanities Center.


8:00 – Board members meet with faculty. Faculty Trustee Susan Gary (Law) gives her talking points and etiquette tips here.

10:00 am (other times approximate) – Reconvene Public Meeting – Verification of quorum

Invited Presentations

8. University of Oregon Diversity Framework – Dr. Yvette Alex‐Assensoh, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion

9. Innovation, Tech Transfer and Economic Development – Dr. Brad Shelton, Interim Vice
President for Research and Innovation; Dr. Chuck Williams, Associate Vice President for Research

10.  Department of Intercollegiate Athletics – Rob Mullens, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics; Eric Roedl, Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director for Finance and Administration

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25 Responses to Full UO Board meetings, March 5-6

  1. Mark Alfano says:

    Dean Moffitt seems to think that the plural of anecdote is data.

  2. Working GTF says:

    If I was getting paid over $500K/yr + bennies, I’d feel obliged to sit a listen to the people who pay my egregious salary.

  3. Anonymous says:

    From the sounds of the chants that you’re reporting on, it’s the same group of people who protest EVERYTHING. Thanks for acknowledging that perhaps yelling in people’s faces isn’t the best way to come to an agreement.

    • uomatters says:

      It’s not, but it’s what happens when the people in power ignore those who aren’t. Sometimes it’s the only way to get a voice.

    • uomatters says:

      I’m pretty sure the CSSA does not “protest everything”.

    • charlie says:

      Uh, no, if anything, the anger is quite justified and needs to be manifested. I have listened to my former high school students tell me of what has been going on at U of Owe, and other unis. What you might not realize is that there is a profound divide between the admins and students, just as deep and resolute as the one between admins and faculty. Time to that it has been a poverty of leadership that is causing all of this fury….

  4. Working GTF says:

    It should also be noted that a lot of the outrage from the undergrads stems from the disastrous meeting a couple weeks ago with them and Shelton and Bronet. Shelton showed up confrontational and underprepared, said “the math” motivated the decision to sue Jane Doe, refused to give any solid information on raise to grad tuition, and told a student who had just relayed their account of being forced to drop out of school and become functionally homeless because of rising tuition and student debt, that times were tough and everyone had to tighten their belts.

    Hearing that from a $330K/yr admin, plus hearing Susan Gary call raising tuition on an already economically burdened student body “responsible” was bound to raise some ire.

    If the Trustees and admins are discomfited, they have only themselves to blame. They do not even seem aware of the fact that their whole tone here is basically that they consider the student body to be little more than an ATM from which to fund pet projects, admin largesse and whatever shortfalls Mullens can invent to siphon of money he can’t get from donors.

    • uomatters says:

      Actually, it sounds like the Board has Brad Shelton to blame for botching the process, which was meant to be transparent and inclusive. Two words you won’t often find used to describe Shelton. And they’ve already started doing that.

      • Working GTF says:

        That’s good to hear. His performance at the smaller tuition meeting was embarrassing and is, IMHO, in large part to blame for the student action of today.

        Work kept me from the BoT meeting today, thanks for the liveblog.

  5. Cat Lady says:

    As annoying as it is, this is what students need to do. The BOT needs to realize that this happens when you have incompetent administrators running amok. Welcome to academia: we talk back. I can’t wait until March 12 when the administration tells us that they have no money.

  6. Recent Alum says:

    Sorry Bill, but the students have this right. When’s the last time the Administration/Board/whoever has ever actually taken action on the reasonable and robustly debated resolutions that Senate has passed to make Athletic’s pay its fair share? The time for politeness and civility has passed. The students (and faculty, in my opinion) need to escalate if they actually want to take back any semblance of control over this University.

    • no one says:

      Since when have the students been in control of the university? “recent alum” you are young and innocent and have no idea how things work.

  7. ha! says:

    Of course, people say UOM is “out of control”!

    I totally support the students on this.

    • uomatters says:

      Uh, thanks. I am already feeling like a hypocrite for criticizing the students. Especially since I’d yelled in Coltrane’s face myself, during a UOCASS rally last spring. Plus, having stuck around for the last part of the meeting, I have to say the demonstration of out of control anger seemed to have had a positive effect on the board. They realized Shelton and Moffitt blew the tuition setting process, and next time I think they’ll get some closer supervision.

  8. Working GTF says:

    I wonder what Tobin Klinger was doing around, say, 3:30 p.m. today.

    Oh, I know. Fibbing: https://twitter.com/aroundO/status/573626676199952385

  9. Proponent for good decision making says:

    I am totally in agreement that tuition needs to be contained but I lack sympathy for people who say “I am from out of state and $20,000 in debt after two years.” We all need to choose the best education available to us at a PRICE WE CAN AFFORD. If you can’t afford it, pick another school. You are not in debt $20,000 after two years due to tuition increases. Your problem is that you couldn’t afford it in the first place. Maybe I should buy a Mercedes and then complain to Mercedes that I can’t afford the payments? I wish that the “best” education was valuable to all but that is not the reality in which we live. We can hope and lobby for change but until that time we need to adjust our expectations to our current reality rather than our idealized version of the way the world should be.

    • duckduckgo says:

      This is a tangential point, but keeping the number of out-of-state students high is essential for the budget of the university. So regardless of the decision-making process of particular students, the university needs as many as these students as possible to arrive at the decision to come here.

      • decision maker says:

        I am sorry but UO is more Yugo and less Mercedes. If I were an out of state student I would be pissed too after 2 years of parties an 0 years of learning. Too many programs at UO are obsolete or have minimal gate keeping to prevent the “party on” attitude. In this age of grade inflation, allowing students to meander through their early classes and end up with a 2.0 is reckless and unethical. Graduating with a 2.8 and hoping to go to a professional school where most everyone has a 3.5-4.0 then wondering why your adviser never told you this is a waste of money…..is a waste of money.

  10. Just a Grrl says:

    ‘Proponent for good decision making’: I get where you’re coming from, but that 1) ignores quite a bit about a student’s decision-making within their particular circumstance (e.g., trans* and gender-non-conforming students getting the fuck out of dodge so they don’t die, students with a particular career interest that can only be gained in the PNW, etc), and 2) cedes the debate to the oligarchs in power that $$ should determine all decision-making–it’s a problem that you don’t see the problem with the claim “Your problem is that you couldn’t afford it in the first place.” Education isn’t a commodity, like a Mercedes. Don’t give into the depraved reasoning of Phil, Chuck and the Moffitts! (new band name?)

    Also, xenophobia?

    See Alfano’s blog for student-protest video and witty commentary: http://www.alfanophilosophy.com/blog/2015/3/5/undergraduate-protesters-disrupt-fancypants-board-of-trustees-meeting

    • Proponent... says:

      Great points. I hope people who are in physical danger will leave those places and come here or somewhere else that is safer for them. But why UO? Why not Lane Community College for two years? Why not a less expensive state school like PSU?

  11. The videos of the student protest that I have seen circulating don’t seem that bad.

    It appears that it was respectful civil disobedience for a good and just cause. And, since the protest also generated media coverage, it appears that the protest was also (to some degree) effective.

    Unless anything went beyond what I have seen, all the students involved in the protest should be applauded.

  12. Michigan Duck says:

    USNWR Grad School Rankings for Law Schools are out! Five way tie for #82

    82 St. John’s University (NY)
    82 University of Cincinnati
    82 University of Hawaii–Manoa (Richardson)
    82 University of Oregon
    82 University of Tulsa (OK)