On Remember the Hat Day, should we be thankful to our Board of Trustees?

On November 21st 2011, 10 years ago, OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner and Board Chair Matt Donegan came down to UO with their ultimatum demanding Lariviere resign for trying to implement his plan to bring faculty pay to 100% of AAU averages and trying to set up an independent UO Board. Lariviere refused to leave so they fired him, on instructions from Governor Kitzhaber. Nigel Jaquiss broke the news on the 22nd. OK, so I’m a few days behind, sorry.

In the aftermath Phil Knight, Chuck Lillis, Pat Kilkenny, Tim Boyle and others set up a PAC that convinced the legislature to let them convert UO into their own semi-private university with themselves or their allies as trustees. The implied tit-for-tat was a $2B(?) donation from Knight to advance the universities public mission. The implied threat was to use the PAC’s $350K to elect different legislators.

So how is our Board of Trustees doing?

Their most visible achievements have been an ever-expanding set of athletic egofices – including one that probably should not be discussed on a family friendly holiday – and a new academic emphasis on bioengineering. Important, but literally peripheral to the rest of the university. There are also a lot of new dorms – paid for by students through increased housing costs.

Meanwhile, tuition costs for Oregonians have increased by about 18% (relative to 2012, CPI adjusted.) Out of state tuition is up by 11% (also real).

Since 2012 resident undergrad enrollment is down from 12,116 to 10,314. Non-resident undergrads are down from 8,713 to 8,290.

In 2011, before the raises that lead to Lariviere’s firing, faculty pay was at 85% of the average for AAU public universities. It peaked in fall 2014 at 94%, and has since fallen to 90% (as of last year). Data here.

So if you’re an Oregon resident with an interest in public higher education, I don’t see much to thank our Trustees for. If you’re faculty, we gained a little in the years after (with help from the union) but are far from Lariviere’s 100% of AAU goal, and have been falling recently.

On the other hand if you share our trustees love of big-time college sports these are happy times!

Phil Knight said it best:

“It deeply saddens me that some people in power in our state continue to drive Oregon into a death spiral with their embrace of mediocrity. It’s yet another application of Oregon’s Assisted Suicide law.”

A week later the UO faculty, alumni, boosters, and even a few JH administrators united in protest, hired buses, and went to the board meeting in Portland to protest, with no effect:

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13 Responses to On Remember the Hat Day, should we be thankful to our Board of Trustees?

  1. honest Uncle Gangsta says:

    Are you talking about that elegant structure that looks like a very sophisticated, cool air freshener design? What is not family friendly?

  2. thedude says:

    Our biggest raises still came under Michael Gottfredson.

    I wonder if Schill cares what we think about him. Mike Schill, you say you value us. Put your money where your mouth is.

    • oldtimer says:

      Largest percent increase in pay in my memory was 11 percent almost forty years ago under Prez Olum and Governor Attiyeh

      • thedude says:

        When inflation was 10 percent a year?

        • oldtimer says:

          Good instinct, dude. inflation was about 6 percent in 1982. of course a few years earlier it had been as high as 13 percent.

          • thedude says:

            Yep. This isn’t let Schill off easy.

            Give we’ve had 8-9 percent inflation since last raises, they should feel motivated to offset that with 9-10 percent raises.

            Even though recruiting is limited across campus, even endowed chairs they are looking to recruit right now will see whatever salary (presumably close to market) they are offered this year will be eroded by raises that don’t keep up with inflation.

            Raises are about retention, recruiting and keeping up morale, which matters a lot for actual student experiences, even if the admins only view as inputs into the student tuition extraction function.

  3. doa.h says:

    Happy times my a$$. Did you see what happened in Utah? Utah of all places. Quakin’ like a duck. See ya next year.

  4. Dogmatic Ratios says:

    Phil Knight and Chuck Lillis are exemplars of mediocrity, along with the executives and administrators who fight to be hired by them.

    • thedude says:

      I don’t think Phil is an example of mediocrity at all. You don’t get $61 billion being mediocre.

      I just wish the admins would just maybe try to convince them that the faculty were talent that merited support.

      Or that the quickest way to improve UOs standing was through a huge endowment that gave undergrads far cheaper tuition (effectively making us like Stanford, in that everyone could go tuition free if your parents made less than $125k a year).

  5. moss defender says:

    I will only watch the video if they write Sanskrit subtitles

    • uomatters says:

      Comment of the month. Lariviere did a lecture on Sanskrit for our SAIL camp, it was fascinating.