Salary equity adjustments update, Freyd lawsuit, UO lawyers “blame it on the union” again

Two interesting processes are coming to a head soon.

First is the lawsuit by Prof Jennifer Freyd alleging UO underpaid her for years, despite the pleas of her department head to the CAS associate dean, and the conclusions of an external review committee. See my “Nevertheless she persisted” post here. UO has a team of lawyers and Pres Schill has another team from a different law firm, plus of course GC Kevin Reed, thought it’s often hard to figure out exactly whose interests he represents.

Discovery is finally complete, and Freyd’s lawyers have filed their revised complaint, here. A snippet:

The full docket is here, now with responses from UO and Pres Schill’s lawyers. And yes, of course they’re still trying to “blame it on the union:”

This is bullshit and the administration and their lawyers know it. The CBA raises are floors, not ceilings, and the union has repeatedly told the administration that they are free to give additional raises, subject only to the requirement that they tell the union about such raises annually.


Then there is the joint administration/union effort to analyze TTF salaries and identify gender and racial disparities and correct them. Having been part of the committee that selected the contractor, I have to say that I was not impressed by their description of the statistical methods they would use to do this or the more touchy-feely methods they’d then use to determine any adjustments. But in any case they’ve finally ran some regressions, and there’s some process to take some action:

Dear Colleagues,

Earlier this year and in response to a memorandum of understanding with United Academics, the Office of the Provost launched a tenure-track faculty equity study. The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether salary inequities exist for tenure-track and tenured faculty that are related to gender, race, or ethnicity.

To provide advice and counsel to the external consultants running the study and ensure faculty input, the provost formed a work group that includes five tenure-track faculty members, including two nominated by United Academics, the executive vice provost, the vice president for finance and administration and CFO, the senior director for employee and labor relations, and the director of institutional research. As the group continues its work, I want to provide you with more information about this important initiative and share next steps with the project.

Our consultant, Berkley Research Group, LLC, is working with the project work group to run faculty salary regression analyses that include factors such as academic rank, work experience, education level, tenure status, department, and demographics to determine whether any significant patterns of salary discrepancy appear to exist related to gender or race. The analyses also identify individuals whose salaries are significantly lower than the regression factors would predict. Further investigation will be done on an individual basis for identified faculty members to determine whether other non-discriminatory factors not in the regression analyses (e.g. performance reviews, level of grant activity, years of prior service) explain the variance, or whether salary adjustments should be recommended.

This salary equity project is expected to extend into 2019 as we continue the data review and assessment. Periodic updates will be provided as progress is made. We will share more information about the results of the study as they become available, including recommendations made to the provost. The provost is ultimately charged with making final determinations with respect to the equity study.

Tenure-track and tenured faculty members with salary differences that are not explained by other factors may receive an equity adjustment from the negotiated 2019 0.75% equity fund pool. Salary increases provided from that pool will be retroactive to January 1, 2019. If there are funds remaining in the equity pool after equity decisions are made, those funds will be applied as an additional across-the-board increase to all TTF.

The Office of the Provost will continue to provide periodic updates on the progress of the project, as well as a final report. You can learn more about the salary equity study and monitor our progress on the Office of the Provost website, including an overview of the methods applied in the study.

It is important to note that a faculty member with concerns about their individual salary can always contact the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance (OICRC), formerly the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, to discuss their concerns. That option is available now and will continue to be available after the equity study is completed. We encourage employees who believe their pay has been impacted by prohibited discrimination to contact OICRC.

Your patience as we conduct a thorough and thoughtful study is greatly appreciated. The university is committed to attracting and retaining talented faculty through fair compensation practices. This equity study is critical to fulfilling that commitment. If you have questions, please contact the Office of the Provost at

Best regards,

Scott Pratt
Executive Vice Provost

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17 Responses to Salary equity adjustments update, Freyd lawsuit, UO lawyers “blame it on the union” again

  1. Anonymous says:

    “This is bullshit and the administration and their lawyers know it. The CBA raises are floors, not ceilings, and the union has repeatedly told the administration that they are free to give additional raises, subject only to the requirement that they tell the union about such raises annually.”

    HR has been lying to classified for years about this very same thing – blaming the union for their own deeds.

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    • thedude says:

      I’m pretty sure if you give unilateral raises here and there to individuals without considering everyone you could give raises to, that’s how we get discrimination lawsuits or grievances.

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  2. Deplorable Duck says:

    Difficult to imagine why anyone with salable skills would choose to be involved in a lawsuit, versus simply moving on.

    If there’s a problem, lawsuits may or may not move the needle. An epidemic of quits definitely will.

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    • uomatters says:

      I’m with you, Deplorable. General Counsel Kevin Reed’s unwillingness to settle with Prof Freyd and move on is very curious.

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      • Deplorable Duck says:

        Ha. Seriously, though, presumably everyone at UO feels that (all things considered), they’re being compensated at their market value. If they didn’t, they’d move on.

        Is the thinking that UO is deciding to compensate the male professors in this case above their market value because they’re male? Possible, but seems a bit hard to believe. I’ve never taken an Economics course, though–maybe I’m missing something.

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        • CSN says:

          What you are missing is the concept of a monopsony labor market. There is not direct competition for academic labor in Eugene, so, anyone who wants to look for a market-based solution has to be willing to move. Men tend to be more mobile than women, if only because they are less likely to have children.

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          • thedude says:

            Partially right. Notwithstanding the 2-5 percent of the population that is homosexual, men are equally likely to have children biologically. Marriage rates are similar too. Men are less likely to have a working spouse, and less likely to have an academic spouse. Women are more likely to have an academic spouse (a lot more likely). This means that women benefit more from joint hiring programs when they begin at UO. Do men get sue to the university that their spouse isn’t given at 60k-180k job when they start at campus here? But then this switches later, which allows men to be more mobile because their spouse either doesn’t work at all, or doesn’t work at UO. The very policies that help women at the beginning make leaving harder. If you are going to allege bias in hiring policies, you should consider the net impact of all of them. If I consider it by gender, 100 percent of the females our department has hired brought spousal hires recently. Only 20 percent of the recent males hires have had a spousal hire. In a welfare sense, what matters the most to anybody is their household income. But discrimination lawsuits are on individual income as individuals focus on the policies that are unfair against them, completely ignoring those biased in their own favor.

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          • Deplorable Duck says:

            We’re (almost) all part of the national market. We could (almost) all draw higher net financial compensation elsewhere. Those willing to fish in the larger pond by moving will have higher market value (all other things being equal). We mostly stay because of the quality of life here, which is indeed quite good.

            Not sure about the claim of men being more mobile, but if so, that sounds like a difference in preferences, rather than something to be corrected by the legal system.

            Looked at from the “Veil of Ignorance” point of view, I’m not spotting much injustice here. If anything, probably better to be a female academic these days.

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  3. hardnosedduck says:

    If you want to know what’s really going on, watch what people do, not what they say. Does turnover differ significantly between genders? That could be a sign of a problem. More specifically, though, is UO losing people that they really didn’t want to lose? We should be losing at least a couple such, just to keep us honest.

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    • libertarianduck says:

      In my department we’ve lost half of our recent associates. Is enough to keep the admins honest?

      The key question is why are we spending probably 300 -500k to decide how to split a pretty small pool, from a consulting firm who does not follow the advice of their own experts? CYA is why. They are p-hacking to make sure some of the equity pool gets spent on equity, because a bunch of people would lose their crap if you adjust for differences in output and the most of the inequity differences disappeared or were in fact biased against men instead of women.

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  4. omission says:

    Performance is a glaring omission from the regression. Could at minimum add something like an h-index for most units. As a result, the “equity pool” is really “the pool to compensate under-performers.” It’s not explicitly indicated, but I suspect white male under-performers will not be eligible to receive funds from the pool.

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    • uomatters says:

      The administration’s put itself in a bit of a bind here. On the one hand, Brad Shelton just went through a year long push to try and convince the faculty that “metrics” like the h-index were good measures of faculty productivity. And they’d probably like to use them here too.

      On the other hand, Jennifer Freyd used these metrics and the h-index in particular in her lawsuit to argue that she was underpaid:

      There are six male Full Professors in the Department. All are junior to Prof. Freyd and none has a higher h-index than she has. H-index is a widely-used metric in academia to measure the impact of an individual’s publications in their academic field.

      To which Pres Schill responded:

      In answer to Paragraph 34 of Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint, Schill admits that Plaintiff is paid less than some of the male professors in the Psychology Department. But Schill denies that those male professors are similarly or less accomplished than Plaintiff, and further denies that they are proper comparators. Schill admits that h-index is one available type of metric used in academia, but alleges that it has limitations. Except as expressly admitted, Schill denies the remaining allegations in Paragraph 34.

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      • equity says:

        General comment on this: the criteria for the merits of Freyd’s case are not the same as the criteria for whether the approach to equity raises is a good idea. Freyd’s case should be evaluated based on whether there is explicit evidence of gender discrimination. The way equity raises are distributed should be evaluated based on the incentives they create as well as one subjective assessment of whether it is a “fair” way of distributing a limited pool of raise money. More specifically, it is possible that the h-index does indeed have limitations, therefore posing a challenge to Freyd’s case, yet that including it in the equity regressions would still be an improvement over not including it.

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  5. Thedude says:

    These jack ass consutlants are NOT inclduing publication history or citations as contols in their regressions baed on my email with Scott Pratt. What a joke analysis…..

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    • uomatters says:

      Yeah, you’d almost think the $100K a year Shelton is paying Academic Analytics for faculty productivity reports is just money down the drain.

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  6. Conservative duck says:

    What is the “strong evidence of gender bias both in the availability of outside offers and the ability to aggressively respond to suck offers”?
    Men get more outside offers? How is that U of O’s fault?
    How can women aggressively respond to non-existent offers?
    “Men at U of O more likely to be potentially poached than women”…why would that be?
    Frequency of retention negotiations may not be a strong indicator of overall productivity, but job offers sure seem to be. Unless the argument is that unproductive men are getting more outside offers than women because..?
    Also, in what reality is exact equity of salary outcome the preferred state of being? Should we pay top surgeons the same as the mediocre ones?

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    • libertarianduck says:

      The fact is that women are more likely to have a spouse working at UO. That’s just a descriptive fact. This almost by definition makes men more mobile. It also means the university often creates additional more indirect compensation for women by facilitating the spouses appointment. But that is never considered in these equity studies either…..

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