1/2 Price Provost calls bullshit on Senate’s diversity resolution & real Provost’s unreal plan

In the Daily Emerald here:

UO has a long history of expensive and ineffective diversity and inclusion efforts, mostly coming out of the bloated offices of our Provost and VPEI Yvette Alex-Assensoh. Five year “Diversity Action Plans” with no follow through, an under-represented faculty cluster hire that brought 5 new minority faculty to campus – all of whom left within a few years – and of course those $40K “Jeffersonian Dinners” and her I.D.E.A.L ™ and L.A.C.E (c) things – which don’t even rise to the standard of plans.

Last Spring the Senate joined in with a “Resolution Against Racism and Systemic Oppression” – it’s a resolution to ask committees to think about developing plans!

Now Provost Phillips – without input from the Senate or relevant departments – has joined in with a new cluster hire plan – while the VPEI hasn’t even done the exit interviews to figure out why the last one failed.

So here are some quotes from today’s Emerald article by reporter Joanna Mann about taking action, not coming up with lists or yet another plan, or redoing something we know will fail just so someone can pad their resume with it:

Diversity and inclusion efforts are not just now emerging with the passing of this resolution. Fifteen years ago, the university launched the Summer Academy to Inspire Learning to get low income and underrepresented high school students to attend college. UO Economics Professor Bill Harbaugh said he helped start the program in 2005 when the Senate passed a different resolution regarding diversity. 

“It was all talk with no action,” Harbaugh said. “We thought, ‘This is bullshit. We’re going to actually do something.’” 

SAIL brings local high school students to campus for a week-long summer camp run by faculty volunteers. This summer, the camp was conducted online, which Harbaugh said allowed them to reach students from all over the state. During the school year, SAIL staff members go to local high school classes and give presentations about what college is like and why it’s important. 

“The statistical analysis that we have been able to do suggests that students who come and stay in the program are about twice as likely to go on to college as the control group,” Harbaugh said. 

UO Foundation retroactively changes endowment benchmarks to make Weinhold and Namyet look less bad

10/27/2020 update: This is very strange and troubling. (Full disclosure: I’m just an economist, not a finance professor or auditor, nor am I a UO Board of Trustees member charged by state law with a fiduciary responsibility to UO.)

A month ago I put up the post below, centered around the UO Foundation endowment’s poor recent investment returns. Part of the post was the figure on the top, comparing the Foundation’s returns on its endowment with its own benchmarks. I got this from the Foundation’s website. The Foundation has now changed the information on its website, substituting the figure on the bottom:

Yes, you’re reading the numbers on those dark green bars correctly – don’t let the sneaky change in the y-axis scale fool you. The UO Foundation has retroactively lowered the 1-5 year benchmarks they use to compare their returns with.

The UO Board of Trustees – which includes many people with finance expertise, including Chair Chuck Lillis, who’s lost lawsuits about his past due diligence failures – meets on Thursday to hear from UO Foundation President Paul Weinhold.

The questions should be interesting. An obvious one would be “you including dividends in that gray bar?” Here’s hoping they don’t stop there.

9/23/2020: UO Foundation CIO Jay Namyet’s bad investment streak costs UO ~$50M

But it’s been good for him of course. From 2015 to 2018 – the last year they’ve released pay data – the Foundation trustees have seen fit to increase Namyet’s total compensation from $417K to $572K. Taking logs that works out to a 34% increase over 3 years:

Unfortunately for UO, his investment metrics have not matched these pay increases:

That’s down roughly $50M over 3 years, relative to the benchmarks. And, in an unusual exhibition of transparency from Foundation CEO Paul Weinhold that can’t bode well for Namyet, the Foundation itself is now admitting this:

The Foundation’s benchmarks are also low, and poorly defined:

“Because the Foundation’s investment mission is to prudently maintain the purchasing power of the endowment over long periods of time, its benchmark is goal rather than index oriented.”

Compare this with, say UC-Boulder’s Foundation, which has explicit, higher benchmarks, and much better performance. For example, over 10 years CU’s benchmark index funds returned 8.9%, while the UO Foundation’s benchmark was 6.8%. 

What went wrong at UO? I don’t know, but a guess would be that Namyet’s large investments in offshore private equity – including a long-term play in Alberta tar sands – finally started getting marked to actual market prices.

A previous post on Namyet’s nasty emails to the UO student CO2 divestment group is here. Given how much this has cost us, it seems trivial to cite The Three Amigos, but is it possible that Namyet was really angry about something else?

9/12/2016: The Emerald has the story here, and it’s on the UO Divest facebook page here. Back in April, Foundation CFO Jay Namyet was writing nastygrams like this to our students about their efforts to get the secretive UO Foundation to join the CO2 divestment movement:

Subject: RE: follow up meeting
Date: 2016/03/30 14:14
From: Jay Namyet <jnamyet@uofoundation.org>
To: [UO Divest undergraduate student]

[UO Divest undergraduate student],
No, indeed we did not. As I told you, based on your conduct, our dialogue was over. I hope in years to come you will appreciate a life’s lesson in this affair. That is what a university experience is all about.
Regards,
Jay

From: [UO Divest undergraduate student]
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 2:11 PM
To: Jay Namyet <jnamyet@uofoundation.org>
Subject: RE: follow up meeting

Hi Jay,
I know we didn’t end our last meeting on the best note, but we’d be happy to try and get a fresh start and meet again to discuss divestment sometime this term if you’re willing. Let me know.
Sincerely,
[UO Divest undergraduate student]

On 2015/04/09 18:30, Jay Namyet wrote:
Great, we are in agreement then, no more dialogue.
Sent from Outlook [1]

 

UO Trustees post agenda for Th meeting: Covid, what’s up with the UO Foundation, & IT

10/27/2020 Update:

1) Still no response to my public records request.

2) meeting to be 11AM to about 1 by zoom. Link at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_IPdpPUCNI&feature=youtu.be

3) AGENDA AND MATERIALS now posted:

Public Comment
Individuals wishing to provide public comment to the Board of Trustees may do so in writing via trustees@uoregon.edu. All comments will be shared with members of the board, but to ensure comments are provided to trustees in advance of the meeting, they must be received by 5:00 a.m. [sic] Pacific Time on October 28, 2020.

  1. Fall Term Operations and COVID-19 Health and Safety Update: Michael Schill, President; Patrick Phillips, Provost and Senior Vice President; and Andre LeDuc, Associate Vice President and Chief Resilience Officer.

Don’t expect any tough questions from our Trustees about this report:

2. University of Oregon Foundation Overview: Paul Weinhold, President, University of Oregon Foundation.

It’s generous of Mr. Weinhold, whom the Foundation paid ~$580K a year last time they released the data, to take a break from his second job as Chairman of the Board of Summit Bank to present to the UO Board.

Back in the day the Foundation broke out what it sent to UO for Academics, Athletics, etc in their annual reports. Weinhold has put an end to that, but it appears he will do some explaining about poor investment returns and expenses (most of which come from a fee he charges small donors, while giving a break to the big ones who want to, say, give the Ducks a $12M Jumbotron.

3. Information Services Report: Jessie Minton, Chief Information Officer.

All seems to be going according to plan.

10/26/2020: Trustee’s Chair Chuck Lillis and Angela Wilhelms still haven’t disclosed time & agenda for Th Board meeting

Nor have they responded to this public records request, which might give some clues:

Continue reading

MESSAGE FROM UO SENATE LEADERSHIP – NATIONAL ELECTION 2020

On behalf of Senate President Elliot Berkman and Senate Vice President and President-Elect Spike Gildea:

Dear University of Oregon Community,  

We are writing in our roles as faculty members serving as the University Senate President and Vice President. We are writing as individuals and not speaking on behalf of the Senate. But we have spoken with many members of the Senate and believe that the spirit of this message reflects a general feeling among faculty and staff leaders on campus.  The Senate governs academic matters on behalf of the faculty. Strictly speaking, the upcoming elections are not an academic matter, but the elections and the social and political events surrounding them are hugely consequential and the outcome will have a great effect on the lives of the students, faculty, and staff in our community. These are also particularly divisive elections, especially at the national level, and for many, there seems to be no middle ground between victory and disaster. This has led to substantial anxiety for many of us and a feeling that we are not safe. In this context, we acknowledge that there are members of our community who have never felt particularly safe in our current society, and for whom there is no outcome to the elections that will make them feel safe. Nonetheless, the outcome of these elections will affect us all.  We write with messages to both our students and our faculty and staff colleagues.  To our students: vote if you can. We recognize that many of you are deeply affected by these elections. They have placed one more heavy weight on your shoulders, at a time when you are already working hard to manage classes, work, close relationships, health, safety, and what it means to have a college experience in 2020, among many other challenges. Regardless of the outcome, Black lives matter. Regardless of the outcome, we will continue our work toward dismantling racism and bias in our university, and in creating a safe and inclusive environment in our classrooms and research. We are committed to teaching all of you and engaging all of you in academic life. If you need some extra support, please reach out to your instructors or the University Counseling Center for resources. To our colleagues: vote if you can. We recognize you in the same way we recognize students.

And, in addition, we ask that you empathize with the ways these elections affect our students, particularly Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students, students of color, LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and international students. We encourage you to consider the obligation of our position to lead in this moment and model for our students and each other the best habits of academia: thoughtful intellectual engagement, compassionate mentorship, and critical reflection on information. Many of us have the additional privilege to be able to turn our attention away from the election. We also encourage you to empathize with students and others in our community who do not share that privilege because, by virtue of their identity or skin color or national origin, are unable to safely disengage. Consider ways to accommodate students in your class around the election, for example by avoiding scheduling exams and other major assignments near the election. Have a plan to facilitate thoughtful, constructive discussions that help students process their emotions and concerns. This does not come easily for all of us, so we encourage you to use resources created by TEP and others to create space for the feelings that any outcome of this election is likely to generate.  The mission of our university is to teach our students, generate and disseminate new knowledge, and serve our communities. We should all remember that this mission unites everyone on campus regardless of this election or any other event that would pull us apart.  

Elliot Berkman Professor of Psychology Senate President Spike Gildea Professor of Linguistics 
Senate Vice-President 

Enrollment down, UO refuses to share financial info with RG

Reporter Jordyn Brown. Some snippets below, full report here:

UO’s overall enrollment is down about 3%, a drop of about 678 students, according to preliminary data shared with The Register-Guard. The majority comes from its freshmen class, which has 610 fewer students over last year’s class — a 13.3% drop. …

[UO’s $278K VP for Strategic Communications Kyle Henley and his flacks] did not respond to multiple calls for comment about its financial outlook in light of these preliminary numbers.

… UO has faced decreasing enrollment for the last decade, with just a couple of years showing slight bumps. Based off this year’s early estimate of 3% fewer students, it’s the largest drop in enrollment the university has seen since 2017’s 2.76% decline.

Unlike UO, Oregon State University has seen its enrollment increase over the last decade. Overall, its enrollment went up by about 1% this year between its Corvallis campus, OSU-Cascades in Bend and online school. Cascades’ enrollment went up more than 1% and its Ecampus went up 21%.  …

UO General Counsel to discipline Mario Cristobal for releasing HIPAA protected health info

Just kidding. Kevin Reed saves those sorts of threats for faculty, and Coach Cristobal’s about to get a big raise. The Oregonian’s James Crepea has the disclosure from Cristobal that 5 of the 32 positive Covid tests in Lane County today (yesterday?) were “associated with the program” and that the unpaid athletes and their well-paid coaches etc are now under lockdown while contact tracing is underway.

Meanwhile, UO’s official testing reports still do not report any information about frat parties etc, and rumor has it they do not include faculty and staff who are working remotely in the counts.

New CAS faculty

Does anyone know if there is a similar university-wide listing?

Dear Colleagues,

As one way to welcome new faculty to our College and University each year, we provide a short profile for each of them. These profiles are easily one of the most visited pages on our CAS website each year. Our first installment of profiles [https://cas.uoregon.edu/new-faculty-2020-2021/] for this year feature Mattie Burkert (English), Cristi Carman (Psychology), Lauren Ponisio (Biology), and Jerell Rosales (Cinema Studies). Welcome, new faculty!

Best regards,
Bruce

Tykeson Dean
Philip H. Knight Professor of Social Science
College of Arts and Sciences

Duck Football Coach Mario Cristobal to get a big raise

John Canzano in the Oregonian, here:

“A high-ranking UO athletic department source told me in February that the sides were involved in a serious discussions. Cristobal’s agent was in regular contact with Oregon AD Rob Mullens. I expected a long-term deal to be announced in March or April at the latest, but then a pandemic hit.

Oregon instead announced a hiring freeze in April. University president Michael Schill took a 12% reduction in his pay. Mullens and Cristobal voluntarily cut their own pay by 10% in a show of solidarity and fiscal responsibility.

Cristobal’s current contract would pay him $2.7 million this season. It makes him the No. 57 highest-paid coach in the country. He ranks 11th among the Pac-12′s dozen head football coaches, ahead of only Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith ($2.4 million). The Ducks coach needs a raise and extension. I’m told by insiders that the plan is to get him one in the coming months.”

Phil Knight gives UO another $300 large

Thanks to regular commenter “Townie” for the link to the Oct 9th Chronicle of Philanthropy report. I don’t know why Around the O hasn’t yet posted anything about what UO programs this generous donation will fund:

“In addition, Knight quietly gave $300 million to the University of Oregon, his alma mater, on September 30, for ongoing support for many of the university’s programs to which he has donated in recent years. Paul Weinhold, president of the University of Oregon Foundation, confirmed the donation.”

CORRECTION to “Around the O’s PR flacks try to hide 22% freshman enrollment drop”

Update and Correction:

I have to eat a little crow on this post. A well informed expert at another university asked me if I was sure that I wasn’t confusing “First time entering Freshmen” with “Fall enrollment” of freshman. These can be different because continuing students who enrolled in past years and have <45 credits are still classified as Freshmen for fall enrollment purposes, while First time Freshmen entering with 45 or more credits (say from APs) are classified as sophomores in Fall enrollment. I searched, and found this page on the Registrar’s site giving the “First time entering Freshmen” numbers for UO. It hasn’t been updated since 2017, but it suggests that the First time numbers are typically about 900 students lower than the Fall enrollment numbers.

This means that Around the O’s post was not deceptive, and that the overall enrollment drop in “First time entering Freshmen” is probably much less than 22% – which explains why their prediction of an overall enrollment drop of 3% may well hold up. In any case we’ll find out when IR gets around to updating the 4th week figures, presumably next week.

I apologize for the accusation that Around the O and $285K VP Kyle Henley intentionally tried to mislead anyone with their post. I’ve left my original post below, in case anyone wants to sue me.

10/20/2020: The good news is that total enrollment will only be down 3%. Given this year’s tuition increase, revenue will be pretty flat this year, even assuming most of the freshman we’ve lost are out-of-state.

But the rest of the news from Around the O story today is bad, despite the spin from our $278K VP for Strategic Mis-Communications Kyle Henley:

“The incoming class is expected to be the 11th largest class in university history”

Let’s do the math. Freshman enrollment has been pretty steady at ~5000 a year since 2009. Last year it was 5066. Apparently it will be a bit less than 4000 this year. Let’s call it 3950, and a 22% drop. The average drop for public universities for this year, from the NSCRE, is 13.7%.

Around the O then claims this:

“Both the UO’s freshman and total enrollment percentage decreases are expected to be less than the national average.”

Yeah, if you include community colleges, that might be true. Is that really the right comparison group? Why do you all ways try to deceive us, Kyle? And how can you be so bad at it and still have a $278K job?

Board of Trustees posts work plan and self-assessment

That would, of course, be the OSU Board. Here at UO, it took a public records request to Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms to get a copy of their self-assessment (they think they’re doing a heck of a job) and I’ve never heard of them having a work plan.

Full document here. So what about the UO Trustees? Let’s find out:

From: Bill Harbaugh <wtharbaugh@gmail.com>
Subject: UO Board work plan and emails
Date: October 20, 2020
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Angela Wilhelms <wilhelms@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton:

This is a public records request for 

1) An electronic copy of the UO Board of Trustees current and most recent preceding work plans, or other similar documents. Specifically, I’m looking for documents similar to this, for the OSU Board: https://leadership.oregonstate.edu/sites/leadership.oregonstate.edu/files/bot_6d_2021_bot_work_plan.pdf

2) Copies of emails and attachments sent from the Board Secretary’s office to the Trustees giving updates on UO and on Board business, from Jan 1 2019 to the present. Specifically, I’m looking for general emails sent to the entire board or to an entire committee(s), not emails to or from individual trustees.

I ask for a fee waiver on the grounds of public interest in the function of the board of a public university. 

I’m ccing Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms, as she should have these at hand and be able to provide them without your office’s usual fees and delays. 

Thanks, 

Bill Harbaugh 

UO Covid cases fall, admin still refuses to release basic summary data – but Lane County does

Update – As Thomas Hager helpfully notes in the comments, Lane County Public Health is considerably more transparent than UO. For example, as of 8 days ago, 14 outbreaks in the UO Greek System, with 95 cases, or 22% of all of Lane County’s cases in the preceding week:

From UO, still no useful information about where the new cases are coming from. Bats? Frats? Athletes? Clusters in specific housing complexes? Big parties? A few here and a few there? Not even a link to the Lane County data above:

UO’s highest paid employee explains our mission statement

University of Oregon Mission Statement

Serving the state, nation and world since 1876

The University of Oregon is a comprehensive public research university committed to exceptional teaching, discovery, and service. We work at a human scale to generate big ideas. As a community of scholars, we help individuals question critically, think logically, reason effectively, communicate clearly, act creatively, and live ethically.

Purpose
We strive for excellence in teaching, research, artistic expression, and the generation, dissemination, preservation, and application of knowledge. We are devoted to educating the whole person, and to fostering the next generation of transformational leaders and informed participants in the global community. Through these pursuits, we enhance the social, cultural, physical, and economic wellbeing of our students, Oregon, the nation, and the world.

Vision
We aspire to be a preeminent and innovative public research university encompassing the humanities and arts, the natural and social sciences, and the professions. We seek to enrich the human condition through collaboration, teaching, mentoring, scholarship, experiential learning, creative inquiry, scientific discovery, outreach, and public service.

Values
We value the passions, aspirations, individuality, and success of the students, faculty, and staff who work and learn here.
We value academic freedom, creative expression, and intellectual discourse.
We value our diversity and seek to foster equity and inclusion in a welcoming, safe, and respectful community.
We value the unique geography, history and culture of Oregon that shapes our identity and spirit.
We value our shared charge to steward resources sustainably and responsibly.

Promising news on COVID testing from Pres Schill

Dear University of Oregon community,

In the coming days, the University of Oregon will expand COVID-19 surveillance testing conducted by our in-house Monitoring and Assessment Program (MAP). Our first phase of MAP testing was primarily focused on students living in residence halls. Having that capability in-house was vital to our efforts to operate campus safely and responsibly this fall.Regular mandatory testing will continue in our residence halls, and we are pleased that we are now in a position to expand MAP’s work to accommodate additional voluntary testing for some groups of employees and students, including students living off campus (with a focus on those in large apartment complexes or other congregate housing, such as fraternities and sororities), faculty and employees whose work requires them to be on campus, underserved communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and in some cases, the community at large. The MAP team is ramping up testing capacity to about 4,000 tests per week—beginning next week and expanding throughout the fall and into the winter.There is nothing for you to do now. If you are in one of the groups that is being offered a voluntary testing opportunity, you will be contacted directly with detailed information about how to participate in testing events. During the fall, the testing efforts conducted by MAP will be free and will not require any insurance billing. Additionally, most testing events will continue to be at Matthew Knight Arena, but we are looking at another location in the west campus and the possibility of adding drive-up testing.It’s important to note that, if you are a student or employee who believes you have been exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should seek medical help immediately. Symptomatic individuals should not go to a MAP testing event. Employees or students who have tested positive or think they have been exposed to COVID-19 are encouraged to review the COVID-19 exposure scenarios and guidance and contact the Corona Corps Care Team via this web form.MAP’s current form of testing is through a self-collected anterior nasal swab (front of nose), analyzed using qPCR methods on machines in campus labs. The MAP team is working to implement saliva testing later this year, which will allow for an even higher volume of weekly tests and for the ability to further expand testing within Eugene and Lane County. Test results have a 48- to 96-hour turnaround time, though the vast majority have returned in less than 48 hours.COVID-19 testing capacity continues to be limited at the county and state level, so we are very fortunate to have these capabilities in-house, and we are both tremendously grateful to the MAP team members who have worked so hard to build this program from scratch. It is truly a fantastic example of how a great research university can quickly pivot and leverage faculty and staff expertise to serve a vital societal need. The MAP initiative and concurrent contact-tracing efforts—which are all conducted in collaboration with Lane County Public Health Authority—are critical to the continued successful operation of the university and the broader health and safety of the community.Thank you. Please stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President