Pres Schill: Looking ahead to fall term on campus

Some extracts from President Schill’s plans to address the financial fallout from the coronavirus. Everything in ” ” is a direct quote from his email to the university today. The translations are from google translate’s new “no bullshit” mode:

Pres Schill: “For a variety of reasons (low state support, high-cost mandatory benefits programs, and a recent drop in international enrollment) our reserves are lower than other peer institutions across the country.”

Translation: Our reserves are low because of other people’s decisions, not because I spent $2.15M wiring up The Phildo or $?M building our new Athletic Village.

Pres Schill: “We also do not think we can look to tuition increases to address major shortfalls the way we did following the last recession. Our nonresident students already pay market tuition, and the incomes of Oregon residents make paying more in tuition very difficult, particularly in a period of mass unemployment.”

Translation: We can’t increase tuition because we just started a very poorly timed tuition guarantee program which means 9% increases for freshmen and locks in low increases for current continuing students. We were told we’d need a substantial reserve to implement this, but we went ahead anyway.

Pres Schill: “A third revenue source would be our endowment, but those accounts are almost all restricted and their value has fallen as a result of the stock market decline.”

Translation: We can’t use our endowment because those are restricted funds, and we only break gift agreements when the money comes from a professor giving it to the academic bucket. Athletic donations are sacred, particularly the $12M Jumbotron.

Pres Schill:  “A fourth option would be to cut personnel costs, since almost 80 percent of our Education and General (E&G) budget is composed of salaries and benefits. This would be quite difficult since we operate at staffing ratios that are much lower than our peer schools and most salaries are set by collective bargaining agreements. … Last week Provost Phillips and Vice President Jamie Moffitt circulated a proposal for a progressive pay reduction (PPR) program that I realize may have surprised some of you.”

Translation: I threw Provost Banavar under the bus for last year’s budget crisis cuts. This time it’s worse, so I’m going to throw a Provost *and* a VP.

Pres Schill: “The reality is that we will need to do something to adjust expenses if enrollment declines significantly and/or we receive state budget cuts. Again, we are open to suggestions and collaborative approaches designed to solve the problem.”

Translation: Your opinions are not worth a damn thing, and whatever we do it will come from the secret meetings I’m now having with my Financial Continuity Team, just as the pay cut plan did.

Full letter below:

Dear University of Oregon community,

The COVID-19 crisis strikes at the heart of the University of Oregon’s mission. As a great residential university, we are grounded in the foundational notion that, by bringing people together in this amazing and special campus setting, we provide a world-class, transformative educational experience. That education takes place in our classrooms, labs, libraries, and studios. But it also takes place in serendipitous encounters in dining facilities, on our beautiful lawns, in our residence halls, and at our sporting events. In these various, unique settings our students learn what it means to be human in a society full of diverse people and perspectives. As we turn our attention to the fall and our long-term future we must always keep this mission in mind.

Let me begin by observing that our community’s immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis was inspiring. We placed community health and safety and student success at the forefront. We mobilized remote education and physical distancing strategies quickly and efficiently. I want to sincerely thank all of you—faculty, staff, administrators, GEs, and students—who are working tirelessly to keep our community strong and deliver on our mission of teaching, discovery, and service during this extraordinarily difficult time. It has truly been awe-inspiring and humbling.

Now we must turn our attention to the future, to think about the next school year and beyond. I want to let you all know that we fully intend and are currently planning to be open for in-person, on-campus instruction this fall. Given the realities of the COVID-19 crisis and the fact that there are numerous variables outside of our control, it is unlikely that our fall quarter will look just like last fall. But I am committed to doing everything in my power to enable us to return to the type of residential university that is so special for all of us.

Our fall plans will comply with Governor Kate Brown’s emerging strategy to reopen Oregon and will be informed by guidance from the Oregon Health Authority and Lane County Public Health. Our planning will also continue to put student, faculty, and staff health and safety at the forefront. I have asked André Le Duc, AVP and chief resilience officer, to engage our Incident Management Team—more than 150 staff, faculty, and administrators working across disciplines—to help plan and facilitate the actions that must happen across campus to prepare for fall operations. André and his team will continue to coordinate with local, state, and national leaders as well as his counterparts at other West Coast public universities. We will explore a variety of methods to safeguard our community, including reducing density in offices, residence halls, and dining facilities; intensive cleaning of all facilities; and testing and contact tracing for students and employees.

Provost Patrick Phillips has already begun actively working to plan how we will deliver educational programs. He will be collaborating with deans and other academic leaders to ensure the university continues to deliver the high-quality educational experience our students expect. This group may consider alterations to class schedules, reducing the size of some larger classes, changing room assignments to allow for social distancing, and an expansion of high-quality online classes, among other adaptations. As you can understand, there are a lot of factors to consider, and it will take time to iron out details. We appreciate your patience and we will provide the community with additional information as soon as we are able.

From the outset I indicated that maintaining our economic viability was going to be a strong consideration in our planning. Our university has been a leading research and teaching institution for nearly 150 years. I am committed to doing everything I can to set us up for another 150 years of even greater achievement. I also take very seriously that we are a primary source of economic sustenance for more than 5,000 employees and their families and one of the principal drivers of the Eugene-Springfield economy. We can only do this if we make sure we are on a firm economic footing.

The UO is tuition-dependent; this is no secret. For us to be successful over the next few years, we need to get as close to our admissions targets for the class of 2024 and retain as many existing students as possible. Some media reports estimate that universities nationwide will experience a 15 percent decline in enrollment as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. If that were to happen to us it would be very challenging. Prior to the spread of COVID-19, we were way ahead of last year in our enrollment projections. That advantage has diminished despite the heroic efforts of Roger Thompson and his enrollment management staff. We will not know for sure where we stand until the fall quarter begins, although we will get better information as the spring and summer progress. I am asking each of you to do what you can and rally around the objective of attracting next year’s class and retaining our current undergraduate and graduate population.

Our second biggest source of economic concern is the state budget. While I wish we received more assistance from the state during normal times, even that amount is at risk as a result of what is very likely to be a recession tied to COVID-19. As all of you know, Oregon’s revenue system is tremendously volatile, and the unprecedented economic shutdown from COVID-19 will have a negative impact on the state budget. During the last recession, we received cuts that amounted to 45 percent of our state support. This year we finally got our state allocation back to the nominal level of 2008, but it appears that will be a fleeting achievement. The question is not whether we will be cut, it is when and by how much. Indeed, we have just been instructed by the HECC to start planning for the possibility of an initial 17 percent cut to our state appropriation next year. While we will not know with certainty the exact size of next year’s cut until the legislature meets, this direction gives us some sense of the likely magnitude.

As we look at the potential challenges posed by enrollment and state funding, the UO is starting from a position where, certainly compared to our peer public universities, the levers we can pull to manage hits to our budget are limited. For a variety of reasons (low state support, high-cost mandatory benefits programs, and a recent drop in international enrollment) our reserves are lower than other peer institutions across the country. We also do not think we can look to tuition increases to address major shortfalls the way we did following the last recession. Our nonresident students already pay market tuition, and the incomes of Oregon residents make paying more in tuition very difficult, particularly in a period of mass unemployment. A third revenue source would be our endowment, but those accounts are almost all restricted and their value has fallen as a result of the stock market decline. A fourth option would be to cut personnel costs, since almost 80 percent of our Education and General (E&G) budget is composed of salaries and benefits. This would be quite difficult since we operate at staffing ratios that are much lower than our peer schools and most salaries are set by collective bargaining agreements.

There are no easy solutions.
All of this points to the fact that we need to develop more operational and financial flexibility to deal with shocks to our budget. Last week Provost Phillips and Vice President Jamie Moffitt circulated a proposal for a progressive pay reduction (PPR) program that I realize may have surprised some of you. For that, I apologize. The proposed pay reductions would be temporary and only triggered by a financial crisis tied to enrollment drops and/or state budget cuts, and only made after appropriate consultation and negotiations with our employee groups. I want to emphasize that the PPR is intended to begin a conversation with our employees and representative employees groups—and we made it very clear to our unions and the OA Council that we are open to suggestions, modifications, and alternatives that would achieve the same goal of providing time for the campus to develop a long-term strategy in response to significant revenue losses. The reality is that we will need to do something to adjust expenses if enrollment declines significantly and/or we receive state budget cuts. Again, we are open to suggestions and collaborative approaches designed to solve the problem.

Finally, we are beginning discussions about how this crisis will reshape the university in the coming years. One possibility, shared by other universities throughout the nation, is that we may have to operate on a permanently reduced budget. Another is that the era of pandemics will continue to threaten the way in which we operate. We are now gathering data and ideas to help us think about these and other “what ifs.” Everything will be on the table.

I wrote this to convey the seriousness of our challenge, not to scare anyone. We are in an unprecedented period—both at the UO and at all universities—where we cannot adhere to an attitude of business as usual. People are dying, businesses are going bankrupt, and workers have lost their jobs. The UO is not immune from the challenges that are coming, and to bury our heads in the sand is irresponsible. We must come together to solve near-term problems associated with delivering an on-campus experience this fall and to think innovatively and creatively about ways to ensure the university’s continued success now and in the future.

I believe with all of my heart that we have the capacity to make the changes necessary for the University of Oregon to flourish. The vast majority of our community—faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni, and trustees—love our institution and recognize what a special place it is. Provost Phillips and I appreciate your patience, understanding, hard work, and wisdom. Together, we will get through this and come out the other side stronger and more resilient.

Sincerely,
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

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41 Responses to Pres Schill: Looking ahead to fall term on campus

  1. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Here’s something to think about. The plan taking shape nationwide for universities seems to be to separate the young, mostly students, from the old, mostly faculty and staff. See the posts here about what Mitch Daniels is working on at Purdue. It is very likely to be similar across the country.

    Here’s something I worry about. Quite a few people are now talking about letting the supposedly non-endangered young develop “herd immunity” while isolating the old, and then bringing everyone together after herd immunity has rendered the virus pretty innoucuous (we hope).

    The trouble is, herd immunity will take probably 50% – 80% of the population being infected by the virus. At present, indications are that maybe only 4% of the population has been infected (as identified by antibody “serological” tests).

    To get to herd immunity would require (1) massive infection among the young, which will kill quite a lot of them, probably in the tens of thousands; and then (2) massive infection among the old, to reach that 50 – 80% (because there aren’t enough truly young people). The massive infection of the old will kill truly massive numbers of them.

    So, there is no panacea path to “herd immunity.” I hope the reopening of the universities (and other parts of the economy) doesn’t lead to a disastrous backdoor attempt.

    Probably there are enough people who are aware of these prospects to ward it off. Still, there is a lot of dreamworld thinking going on. People should watch out.

    • OK Boomer says:

      Sounds like a perfect time for all you fat-cat Tier I PERS boomers to retire. No worries, you’ll make more in retirement than I do working full time. I’ll never be able to retire — I’m in Tier III ORP.

      • OK Uncle Bernie's Puppy says:

        Actually, I’m Tier 1 but ORP. So as much as the state might like to snatch away my retirement savings, they in all likelihood can’t. I did have time in PERS and they might try to go after that.

        It’s ineresting that your response to a potentially very dangerous medical situation that I pointed out — dangerous to all age groups if it happened — is snide remarks about boomers, Tier 1, PERS, retirement. Plus whining about being Tier III. A lot of ordinary people would be thrilled to be in your situation, with a pretty good reitrement plan, 6% pickup, a probably decent job.

  2. Anonymous says:

    another take:

    This morning I attended the ‘meeting’ with the provost and upper leadership. As usual there were many facts and I’ll summarize some of the most relevant ones.

    In terms of budget, this term is still going better than anticipated. Enrollment drops have been far less than they could have been and the university is looking at a loss of about $2M (it could have been $10-15M). The bigger loss is still the parts of the university budget associated with facilities such as housing, dining etc. For this term, there is a $25M hit. Some of this is occurring because the university is not asking students to pay for facilities that they are not using.

    The university is preparing for a 17% cut in state contributions. The earliest indication of what the state cuts might be will be mid May (although this is unlikely because the May state forecast will be unreliable due to the delayed tax submission dates this year). The likely announcement will be in November. The big news for me is that this cut will be retroactive. We are half way through the two year budget and any cuts will apply across the whole of the two years.

    • ANaiveQuestion says:

      Thanks: this is interesting information. Could you please provide more practical details on the consequences of having retroactive cuts? Are they going to ask me money back for this year when my pay cut will be decided? BTW, a colleague of mine thought that the salary cut were going to be permanent.

      • Dog says:

        I don’t think the practical details exist yet on the consequence of reactive cuts.

        Pay cuts, I am hoping, will still be in the form of FTE reduction, because that’s similar – I seriously doubt that they will ask for
        money back – but failing to do this might result in larger FTE reductions.

        The State of Oregon has no clue yet of its near term financial situation.

        I don’t see anything as permanent. If I were in charge of this suck-ass situation I would start with FTE and gradually increase that as conditions warrant.

        But, I am not in charge of JackShit …

    • Dog says:

      My dept seems to be planning that only classes smaller than 50 will be physical classes; oddly, this seems to be independent of the size of the room, so this is a garbage policy.

      On the other hand, I will say that I am failing completely at “remote” teaching (for me totally ON line would be better) – of course when pressed for term end evaluation I will say it was excellent, because that is what I am supposed to do – so I fully plan to “game” the scheduling system for fall by not having any class or teaching a totally asynchronous class of say 100-120 –
      no more of this remote shit that we all pretend is actually working.
      with more than N=40 in it.

  3. uomatters says:

    Provost Phillips has posted his own response to President Schill’s email, here: https://t.e2ma.net/message/klhf6c/sjhc1g

  4. Worried Otter says:

    A letter posted by the President of Purdue University (a former Governor of Indiana) is the first assessment of the university/pandemic dilemma that seems to me to really identify the root of the problem.

    He wrote: “Our campus community, a “city” of 50,000+ people, is highly unusual in its makeup. At least 80% of our population is made up of young people, say, 35 and under. All data to date tell us that the COVID-19 virus, while it transmits rapidly in this age group, poses close to zero lethal threat to them. Meanwhile, the virus has proven to be a serious danger to other, older demographic groups, especially those with underlying health problems. The roughly 20% of our Purdue community who are over 35 years old contains a significant number of people with diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and other ailments which together comprise a very high percentage of the fatal and most severe COVID-19 cases. We will consider new policies and practices that keep these groups separate, or minimize contact between them. Literally, our students pose a far greater danger to others than the virus poses to them.”

    One can quibble with the age 35+ cut-off and fully recognize that some members of the younger group could be medically vulnerable or live with others who are older. But his main point is spot on and should be the basic building block of any policies moving forward.

    https://www.purdue.edu/president/messages/campus-community/2020/2004-fall-message.php

    • Anon2341 says:

      The fact that the virus ‘poses close to zero lethal threat’ to young people means that they are very unlikely to die, but they can become sick, even seriously sick, and they can end up in confinement in the dorms, or in a ICU at the same time. Which are not good situations for our students no matter how we look at this.

  5. Anon2341 says:

    The world is going in the direction of testing and tracking. Before we open the campus, we need to be able to test if one is infected and we need to be able to test if someone has been previously infected and has developed antibodies (so that that person can be possibly immune and can safely circulate). We also need to use apps that track our movements so that when new people become sick we know with whom these people were in touch in the previous days (when they were infected but asymptomatic). We also need to use as much as possible remote teaching, and schedule large rooms for social distancing (have large classes in the arena, and every possible location on campus with large space).

    • thedude says:

      If only we had an applied sciences campus with a bunch of labs, and money to hire undergrad RA’s etc…..

  6. JHater says:

    We don’t have lectures recorded if we didn’t teach the course this term. Plus I don’t want to die because Schill wants butts in seats.

  7. Dog says:

    Raiding endowment funds to secure a better future for your university, while that actually should be the proper use of said endowment funds, is generally sacrilegious and so never happens.

    It will be interesting to see if some Universities over the summer choose and make public that they are using Endowment funds as short term relief against potential enrollment declines for fall term.

    If any of our “peers” make that decision this summer, I suspect that will influence what the UO does.

    An important issue, which I know nothing about, is how much of our endowment funds really are liquid, compared to those funds that only exist on paper or are digitally lockedup and can’t easily be released.

    • Hart says:

      Yeah, keeping the endowments sacred for an institution that falls apart because the endowments were kept sacred seems like maybe not the ideal plan. Also, honestly, if one of the medium-term outcomes of all this is that the institution shrinks (this seems likely to me, but I don’t think we have anything that reasonably models how people will behave in this case so that’s mostly a wild-assed guess), then we will need less endowment principle, at least for a while.

      I never thought I would say that having a relatively high proportion of funding come from endowments and/or current donations rather than from appropriate state support would be a benefit, but maybe it… could… be?

  8. New Year Cat says:

    Oregon and Lane county stats look low because most people cannot get tested! We hear over and over that there is a problem with testing. If you have been sick as a dog at home with every covid symptom, but were not admitted to hospital, you could not get tested. We really have no idea what the picture is in our community or state, so we can’t even do proper tracing of most contacts. It is reckless to open up before there is an ACCURATE assessment of where we are. And we dont have that now and probably won’t in the fall unless testing has been really ramped up.

    • Dog says:

      I agree with this, the lack of a strong peak in the oregon data strongly suggests testing bias

      • thedude says:

        Early on yes. But hospitalizations are down. ICU usage is down.

        Deaths jump around but they’re very low in frequency and lag ICU admission.

        The best measure is positive tests holding constant fraction positive, and ICU admissions which are clearly trending down.

  9. Tree-lovr says:

    Well I’m even more terrified now at what might be coming in Fall, so thanks. His letter was too long, too rambling, layered with false optimism & financial desperation, like a Doomsday Casserole. Sprinkling of bullshit on top. How about just work behind the scenes for awhile, see how the summer goes?

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      Unless they make provisions for vulnerable faculty, I think a lot of them will wait until August to see what the virus landscape looks like, and bail at the last moment if they think it is too dangerous.

      Mitch Daniels pres of Purdue seems to have a serious plan cooking to protect the faculty. Maybe UO will come up with something similar.

  10. smh says:

    I guess dorm deposits must be due, because I can think of no other reason why he would say something five months before the start of fall term. I would love to see how often JH gets cleaned compared to some of the classrooms in my building.

  11. Diogenes says:

    Schill’s plan to resume in-person, on-campus instruction in the fall is either wildly optimistic or utterly reckless. He completely ignores the fact that the pandemic crisis is far from being under control and that a second wave is probable in the fall, as Fauci and others have warned. As it stands, Schill’s plan is completely lacking in specifics: How often would classrooms be sanitized? Once/twice/thrice per day? In-between every class? Will the university provide disposable masks to faculty and students at the entrance to each classroom? What accommodations will be made to faculty and students with underlying conditions?

    As a senior faculty member with underlying conditions, there is no way in hell that I would feel comfortable returning to the classroom during a pandemic before a vaccine is widely available. It’s way too risky. As the parent of a college-age student, I would not be excited to read Schill’s assertion that in-person classes will resume in the fall without a detailed plan for how to protect students, who are also increasingly counting among the casualties of COVID-19 (even those without underlying conditions).

    No thank you, President Schill!

    • Hopeful says:

      Good questions. I wouldn’t pretend to have satisfactory answers to them. I do hope the Upper Folks are doing some serious planning around this. I would say, however, that it seems necessary to publicize in-person, on campus instruction. Otherwise student attrition threatens. If I were you, I would want to hear one thing. If I were a student, I would want to hear another. I would not want to hear that I am going to school on screen again–at my parents’ house. Schill is right. This does not attract students to the University. The obvious solution is to give vulnerable faculty other assignments–research terms, online course assignments, something else. With luck or mercy, a vaccine will come before too much longer. And a second wave won’t overwhelm us all.

    • thedude says:

      I think we should plan to reopen in person in the fall.

      Then we’ll adapt as necessary. One simple change that could reduce exposure a lot is to flip classrooms. We pre-record our lectures (which most of us already have now) and then we gather in larger classrooms only once a week for interactive learning.

      The idea that we should shut down the world indefinitely is both reckless, and shows our own prilege in the world. If we keep shutting down everything indefinitely because 81 people with average age of 82 in Oregon have died while cases and deaths continue to fall in the state, then we probably over social distanced.

      • Observer says:

        As many epidemiologists and others have emphasized, if you shut down in time, it looks as if you didn’t need to shut down. That only 81 people have died in Oregon so far is precisely because we didn’t have people, like students, flying in from around the country, moving around all day, and coming into contact with hundreds of other people. Students are among the most active vectors, because most of them won’t get sick enough to self-isolate and stay home from classes for 2-3 weeks. They will be congregate on campus and the community as usual, and the virus will spread like wildfire. Oregon’s success rate so far is only *because* none of this has been happening.

        • thedude says:

          Yeah I get that. Anybody who thinks we can social distance the way we are currently are for 6-18 months is very overly optimistic about the stability of their own job/life. We won’t be talking about a 4-12 percent pay cut if this continues. THe point of flattening the curve is not to make it completely flat, because that goal is just unrealistic. Right now our hospitals are way under capacity. So we should start treating people again. We should start figuring out how much life we can have and keep R0 low. We should be trying to do everything because sooner or later the poverty side of things will dominate the loss of life both here and abroad.

          Luckily, we have some red states down south to test the boundaries of this for us. Also socially distancing is not a soft lock down. Right now we’re in a soft lockdown. But should everyone have a desire to reopen their college by the fall (which is 5 months away)….of course.

          If the economy stays shut down like this for another 5 months the spillover effects across developing countries will include way more starvation than anything covid can throw at the world. Not to mention all of us might discover a union won’t mean much of the university ceases to exist.

          • Hippo says:

            I agree with this. At this point we are not “flattening the curve”, as people love to say, at all — we are merely kicking the can down the road — a simple linear translation. Hospitals are empty. In Lane county the incidence is likely to be small thanks to an early lockdown, and transmission close to zero. (If otherwise, we would be seeing the hospitals fill up.) Of course we cannot know for sure without random sampling, which should have already happened yesterday. The point is to spread out the small fraction of extreme cases to just under our capacity. We aren’t doing that. If we could wait for a vaccine or improved treatment, that would be one thing; however we cannot afford to be shut down for 18 months. If so, we should just close the books on human civilization. It was a good run.

            • thedude says:

              Even at that height of other pandemics, they mainly shut down urban centers because they recognized density was key to spread. So figuring out how adapt and learn in this is key.

              But let’s admit a few things.

              1. Our R0 was never NYC’s and never will be.
              2. Cancelling big events like the Olympic Trials was a good call.
              3. Football season this fall might be terrible for spreading the virus. Probably worse than classes. But it depends on the spread indoors/vs outdoors, vs while drinking in loud places etc..

              I’m not saying burn down the state. But let’s not be all or nothing.

              But when 7,000 people day a month in our state, 80 additional deaths, of people who would have died in the next 6 months is not a reason to shut down the world. The counterfactual might be. We’re still figuring out how many deaths this shutdown prevented/delayed. I’m happy to let other states experiment for us a bit as they open up sooner. Trying to figure out contact tracing this summer is really important too.

              But we’re kidding ourselves if we think an indefinite shut down of everybody will every work or won’t end up killing more people of starvation as the effects ripple throughout the globe. And defined end dates, goals, etc will help motivate everybody to stay home in the short term. I’m even for abandoning some normal safety delays to develop a vaccine and signed up to be an early test subject

              An indefinite guilt litmus test is foolish. And to everyone who thinks the union will protect you if we propose to parents everywhere we’re going to pivot to become the university of phoenix (go online) until a vaccine is developed, I think we don’t know how bad this can all get. You listened to epis about how bad exponential growth can be. Because they were experts.

              Will you listen to others about how bad a 40 percent GDP will be if perpetuated with no end?

              Those are the costs the Imperial College London cite as “hard to quantify” and “unknown” in their own work. I’ll tell you the worst case scenario. A massive depression, a destruction of international trade and cooperation, increased nationalism, and eventual World War III. That’s another right tail risk we have to avoid too.

              We need to figure out what can we reopen and how to do so in as safe a way as possible.

              • charlie says:

                And exactly what are we reopening to? This is the third financial blowout since 1990, if we include this one. All of them were pretty much due to debt going bust. And all have gotten progressively worse. The virus is the catalyst, the economic inefficiencies are the cause.

                So, are you saying that we go back to accumulating more private, public, and corporate debt? What are we to do with the detivitaives that sprang from that debt creation? More of the same ain’t gonna work. Tell us how we resolve those issues so black swans no longer exist?

            • Fishwrapper says:

              We have flattened the curve. Jeez. A family member started arguing with me that “flattening the curve” is a media term, that we are, in fact, “lengthening the curve” (his phrase.) Of course we’ve flattened the damn curve – look at Oregon’s curve compared to, say, New York City’s. Yes, there are going to be curve corrections due to availability of testing, which varies region by region, nation by nation, but the bottom line is that flattening the curve is entirely accurate – and desired. Kicking the can down the road? Sure, of course, that’s what happens when you flatten the curve. You don’t come upon a giant pile of rocks in the middle of the road…they are scattered, and the road is kept open. (The road, here, is the health-care system, and keeping it from being overwhelmed by all those rocks in one big pile is a critical part of managing this – any – pandemic.)

        • Oryx says:

          Observer: you’re arguing, then, for a shutdown to extend infinitely? What’s the criteria for opening? Denmark, a notoriously anarcho-libertarian dystopia, opened public schools two weeks ago. Most discussion has moved beyond the simplistic binary “full reopening” and “full shutdown,” neither of which are helpful anymore.

          • Fishwrapper says:

            I don’t think Observer is arguing for an indefinite shutdown, soft-lockdown, or whatever the term of art is this week for what we’re doing. Personally, I find that arguing for moving closer to “back to normal” from where we are today for as soon as this fall is, literally, dangerous. Based on what we appear to know today about the virus, we don’t have a.) a treatment, or b.) a preventative vaccine. The reason our hospitals in Oregon are currently underwhelmed is precisely the proof that these stern measures work. Colleges in particular, with a population that involves lots of travel and risky, non-socially-distancing behaviors (witnessed by a large beer-pong gathering in a nearby neighborhood this weekend on an evening stroll for my pooch) can easily be hotspots – unless you keep the heat off of them. So, to your specific question, my criteria for reopening a campus in Oregon would include 1.) available, and reliable, testing; 2.) a treatment regimen; and 3.) procedures to maximize the priority for doing things remotely that can be done remotely.

        • Dog says:

          Google on this

          corvid cases in Oregon

          Google will provide you a real time update graph and statistics for Oregon and any other state

          In my science policy class yesterday we compared Montana vs Oregon – the data clearly show what a “shut down curve” looks like in the Case of Montana; the waveform for Oregon looks much different.

          • thedude says:

            How many of the cases/deaths are in urban long term care facilities? Most of them last I checked in OR.

            How many of those urban long term care facilities are there in Montana?

      • Simplicius simplicissimus says:

        What? Huh? Who said anything about indefinitely?
        Do we even have effective testing?
        Do we have a vaccine or treatments?
        Is the University Health Center going to be able to handle a second or third wave? The Hospitals?
        Let’s just be cautious until we have a few more tools to accurately obtain information and maybe control this thing better. If we have to go another term (which will include flu season AND Covid both putting a strain on our healthcare capacity) that is not the end of the world – it will prevent or at least mitigate a second or third wave.

  12. uomatters says:

    University of Arizona faculty, students and staff have a petition here, calling for more transparency from their administration: https://www.change.org/p/ua-administration-ua-covid-19-response

  13. "Steve Bannon" says:

    Has Schill hired Tump’s speech writer?

  14. Anonymous says:

    And no where in here is anything about any cuts in athletics, ridiculous athletic associated perks UO administrators and athletics administrators, AND their family, receive. No where is giving up car $ by administrators. “The proposed pay reductions would be temporary and only triggered by a financial crisis tied to enrollment drops and/or state budget cuts, and only made after appropriate consultation and negotiations with our employee groups. I want to emphasize that the PPR is intended to begin a conversation with our employees and representative employees groups—and we made it very clear to our unions and the OA Council that we are open to suggestions, modifications, and alternatives that would achieve the same goal of providing time for the campus to develop a long-term strategy in response to significant revenue losses.”

  15. New Year Cat says:

    Right, because it’s been so easy for sick people to get tested so far. Not. What in the world would make us think we’d be able to test everyone on campus this fall? And you’d have to do it over and over, because people move around. I think schools across the nation will come to regret doing this. Especially once the covid-19 death related lawsuits roll in. But what do I know? I’m just a cat…

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