Board to slap down Ginevra Ralph over cheerleader comments, Don Kahle proposes spinning off Ducks as taxable LLC

RG columnist Don Kahle is no economist, so he usually makes sense. Here’s his modest proposal on what to do about UO’s Duck problem – spin them off as an entertainment LLC.

We trust unfettered economics to produce outcomes that are optimized. We want nothing more for our Ducks than optimized outcomes.

We’re not uncomfortable with the market’s invisible hand controlling our football team’s fate. We only ask the invisible hand to stop shielding our eyes.

Here’s Kahle in the RG on Trustee Ginevra Ralph’s March 2015 comments on the Duck’s cheerleaders:

Suggestive moves are by definition not declarative. And so, University of Oregon Trustee Ginevra Ralph should be commended for asking what certain cheerleading moves are meant to convey. As one of the new leaders of Oregon’s flagship university, she demonstrated educational excellence on multiple levels.

Universities across the country have been embroiled in a constellation of issues that point toward sexual predation. This is a nettlesome issue everywhere but it’s more complicated on campuses, where all sorts of expression and freedom are being explored. Creating a single “student body” monolith doesn’t help.

There can be no single standard for student body behavior when half its population is striving to become young adults and the other half is choosing to act like children. …

This “teachable moment” is a new one. Never in the UO’s history has its leadership been both local and collective. Ralph spoke as one-of-many, not as one-of-one. She led with a question, carefully posed — not a dictate.

Most important decisions that most of us will make in life are products of just the sort of give-and-take that Ralph invited her colleagues to undertake. … Intelligence is good, but it cannot match the power of open dialogue, shared intent, and community values. Again, Ralph has shown the way. Asking hard questions is where it all begins, and the university should be the best place for that beginning to occur.

As it turns out it appears that some members of the UO Board of Trustees were not happy about Ginevra Ralph saying something that diverged from their “rah-rah big-time sports are great” party line. Next week’s board agenda includes a proposal to change their own code of conduct:

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Yes, we wouldn’t want to confuse the public with differing views on how to implement the mission of a public university.

It’s hard to read this as anything other than a slap at Ginevra Ralph, and a sign that at least some Trustees should read Kahle, and try to understand what it really means to “advance the mission of the UO”.

Here’s Diane Dietz’s March 2015 report on Ralph’s cheerleader questions, and the interesting public discussion they started:

Ginevra Ralph hesitated when she brought up the subject to fellow members of the University of Oregon Board of Trustees recently.

She could imagine the reaction before she spoke: She’s a prude. She’s an enemy of free speech. Or she is the type of person who would blame the victim in a sexual assault.

But Ralph, who besides being a trustee is a prominent Eugene arts administrator, plunged ahead:

“I have watched people be incredibly uncomfortable with the U of O cheerleaders,” she told the trustees, “and they actually leave the basketball (arena) during intermission because of the overt sexual dancing, or whatever you want to call it.”

UO cheerleaders perform traditional straight-arm leaps and cheers with pom pom shaking, but they also shimmy their shoulders and chests, roll their hips and pop out their bottoms.

The cheerleaders perform to overtly sexual lyrics, such as Jessie J’s “Bang Bang,” which goes:

“Back, back seat of my car — I’ll let ya have it.

Wait a minute lemme take you there — ah

Wait a minute till ya — ah.”

Cheerleaders serve as “official ambassadors for the University of Oregon,” according to the UO athletic department’s Web page.

“It’s one thing if someone is doing any of that on their own,” Ralph told the trustees, “but we are making a public statement. … I’d like to see us analyze it a little bit.”

No other trustee commented on the topic. …

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6 Responses to Board to slap down Ginevra Ralph over cheerleader comments, Don Kahle proposes spinning off Ducks as taxable LLC

  1. Boon says:

    Good for Ginevra Ralph. Where is Ann Curry? I would have hoped more for her involvement in this issue.

    Spinning off the football program for what it is makes sense. But change will be hard at Nike U.

  2. New Year Cat says:

    What a shameful proposal.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We badly need more of Ginevra Ralph’s honesty.

    • just different says:

      And less of Chuck Lillis’ autocratic bullying. I hope the board recognizes this for the intimidation that it is and defeats it. “Confuse” indeed.

  4. Really says:

    All ill say is spinning off OHSU worked out great for us…

  5. Hippo says:

    Regarding Kahle, I might offer the adage that even a broken clock is correct twice a day, except Kahle has never once said something not idiotic. But yeah, Duck sports is an expensive distraction.