Donate to help a dying colleague’s family

Posted on request of XDH, a regular commenter:

How about this blog finally promoting something truly important and impactful to the UO community: the sad struggles of one of our junior biology colleagues with terminal lymphoma: https://twitter.com/McKnightLab_UO

Give if you can: https://www.gofundme.com/f/helping-laura-and-katherine-get-through-my-death?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=m_pd+share-sheet

OSU’s F. King Alexander and UO’s Schill hope football will boost your morale

From their joint Oregonian op-ed, here:

“… We hope our decision to resume athletic competition will boost morale for all students, faculty and staff at our universities and among Oregonians and alumni and fans beyond our state. During this incredibly challenging period, we want our fans and supporters to have a few hours on Saturdays when perhaps they can forget about COVID-19, wildfires and other challenges and root for their favorite teams.

The Pac-12 decision to resume football, basketball and winter sports is a small step toward restoring some order among the chaos. Regardless of whether you’re a Duck or a Beaver, it will provide hope, a respite and something to cheer for.”

Of course it’s part of their job to write crap like this, and our trustees pay them a lot of money to hire the PR flacks who do it for them.

In related commentary about the morale effects of big-time college sports, the gung-ho Ohio State Ed School prof who co-authored this pro football op-ed for InsideHigherEd last week, and who was even more over the top than King and Schill, has now written a complete and utter retraction:

From the original op-ed, Why America Needs College Football

“Although many people have been outspoken about the financial and health ramifications of allowing — or requiring — players to gear up, few, if any, have addressed the essential role that college football may play toward healing a democracy made more fragile by disease, racial unrest and a contested presidential election cycle.

Essentializing college football might help get us through these uncharacteristically difficult times of great isolation, division and uncertainty. Indeed, college football holds a special bipartisan place in the American heart.

At a time when colleges and universities have been placed under extreme scrutiny, many people are questioning the very value and purpose of higher education. College football reminds many Americans of the community values that underscore higher education and by extension America itself.”

I’m pretty sure he got that last line from the courtroom scene in Animal House. But regardless he’s now woke, and yesterday InsideHigherEd posted his retraction:

Why America Needs College Football — Part 2:

Matthew J. Mayhew September 29, 2020

It doesn’t. I was wrong. And even worse, I was uninformed, ignorant and harm inducing.

I recently led a piece in Inside Higher Ed titled “Why America Needs College Football.” I am sorry for the hurt, sadness, frustration, fatigue, exhaustion and pain this article has caused anyone, but specifically Black students in the higher education community and beyond.

I am struggling to find the words to communicate the deep ache for the damage I have done. I don’t want to write anything that further deepens the pain experienced by my ignorance related to Black male athletes and the Black community at any time, but especially in light of the national racial unrest. I also don’t want to write anything that suggests that antiracist learning is quick or easy. This is the beginning of a very long process, one that started with learning about the empirical work related to Black college football athletes.

Rather than make excuses, I should talk about which facets of the article that I have recently learned are harmful — through my students, wider social media community and distinguished academics like Donna FordJoy Gaston Gayles and Gilman Whiting.

I learned that I could have titled the piece “Why America Needs Black Athletes.” I learned that Black men putting their bodies on the line for my enjoyment is inspired and maintained by my uninformed and disconnected whiteness and, as written in my previous article, positions student athletes as white property. I have learned that I placed the onus of responsibility for democratic healing on Black communities whose very lives are in danger every single day and that this notion of “democratic healing” is especially problematic since the Black community can’t benefit from ideals they can’t access. I have learned that words like “distraction” and “cheer” erase the present painful moments within the nation and especially the Black community.

Upon such beginnings of reflection, I have also learned that my love for Black athletes on the field doesn’t translate into love within the larger community — that I have been dismissive of Black lives in moments not athletically celebrated.  … “

FWIW, Robby Soave, writing in Reason (a libertarian magazine on “free minds and free markets” which not all my readers may check regularly) wonders if this apology is entirely voluntary, or perhaps is tongue in cheek. Personally I believe in the power of redemption, and I hope Alexander and Schill find it someday too.

 

UO Senate retreat agenda, today at 3

Senate Retreat – September 30, 2020

  • Intro Remarks: Senate President Elliot Berkman, Senate VP & President-Elect Spike Gildea
  • 2020 – 2021 Senate Agenda
  • Break-out groups
  • Robert’s Rules for Senate; Parliamentarian Sandy Weintraub
  • Administrator Updates
  •  Patrick Phillips, University Provost: Announcements. Q&A.
  • Janet Woodruff-Borden, Executive Vice Provost: Remote Delivery, teaching/peer evaluations. Q&A.

Please note: we would like senators to prepare some questions in advance so as to take full advantage of the Q&A section with our invited guests.

  • Break-out groups
  • Senator Handbook

Zoom login info:

Topic: Senate Orientation – Fall 2020
Time: Sep 30, 2020 03:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://uoregon.zoom.us/j/96516277789

UO Law sinks to #88 in USNWR rankings, despite ~$10M in subsidies from undergrad tuition

As Brad Shelton would say, the metrics are not good, and they’re falling:

And just 412 students.

But former dean Michael Moffitt, who made the 2014 MOU agreement for “temporary” Law School subsidies with UO VPFA Jamie Moffitt, his spouse, and then lost his job a few years later after an unfortunate series of events that started with him bragging to a NY Times reporter, is still getting $290K a year:

Not bad – his replacement gets just $102K more, and she’s actually doing the job of dean:

What is all this costing UO’s undergrads? Back of the envelope, about $10M a year in higher tuition, or alternatively 1/7 of UO’s entire annual operating subsidy from the state.

There is no sign UO President and Professor of Law Michael Schill has any plans to fix this. And why would he, given the sweet retirement gig he negotiated with our Board of Trustees in 2019, which will pay him $450K plus help and bennies, for teaching 2 law classes a year?

State Epidemiologist and Lane County Health more transparent than UO admin, on new Covid cases linked to athletes and frats

The Oregonian reported Saturday that student gatherings involving athletes and frats are responsible for the recent increases in Covid cases at UO and OSU. Whether that should lead to more restrictions depends on which public health official you prefer:

“State epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said Friday that officials have identified “outbreaks” linked to three Greek life parties, one other off-campus party and social gatherings involving three athletic teams at the University of Oregon or Oregon State University. In all that’s 22 cases linked to UO and 13 cases to OSU, an official later confirmed.”

Or, if you’d rather,

“Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, did not explicitly discourage social gatherings but advised people to think about how to best do them safely.”

On the other hand,

“But Jason Davis, a spokesman for Lane County Public Health, urged all residents of Lane County to refrain from social gatherings with anyone outside their households because of soaring cases in the area. That includes University of Oregon students. “Until we can responsibly gather, I think the best course of action is, ‘Don’t do it,’” Davis said. … Davis said his department has identified seven outbreaks linked to University of Oregon students, college-aged students from other schools or people who are ages 18 to 28 but not enrolled in school who got together indoors and without masks.”

Don’t look to UO to report anything this specific. UO’s Covid reporting transparency, at https://coronavirus.uoregon.edu/cases, is still confusing. and omits most of the above details. It displays weekly positive results, apparently updated daily, broken out by off-campus students, on-campus students, and staff. Nothing as of yet about frat parties, or the rapid antigen tests for Ducks.

There’s a button above that which shows the daily tests and positive results for on-campus students, which takes you to what seems to be an only occasionally updated page, which shows very positive results about the small number of positive tests for on-campus students, here:

Then there’s another link that takes you to all this information, plus the daily info, which seems to be updated in the evening, here. They don’t report on those days there are zero positive tests:

NY Times reports President Schill lied to us about the money

Gosh, I wonder if this means Schill’s claims that big-time college football is about hope and fighting institutionalized racism also aren’t true? Shocking news from reporter Billy Witz in the Times sports pages today, who also seems unimpressed with the idea that Duck sports help UO’s national reputation, and gives a shout-out to the Jock Box:

“It was hard to remember as Michael Schill spoke on Thursday night that the school he runs as president, Nike U. (more formally known as the University of Oregon), has an athletic program that is all flash and sizzle: a glitzy basketball palace, slick mix-and-match football uniforms, and a glass study hall for athletes that is nicknamed the Jock Box.

If there is a school in the Pac-12 Conference — and really the nation — that best personifies the runaway commercial enterprise that college sports have become over the last quarter century, it would be an otherwise unremarkable university that, thanks to the munificence of Nike founder Phil Knight, has emerged from a remote, rainy college town to become a national brand.

But as Schill explained why the Pac-12 was making a hard pivot back toward football this fall, 45 days after saying in a 12-page document it was not safe to do so, he veered away from the science of the coronavirus pandemic to make an unprompted point.

“This has nothing to do with money,” Schill said, scolding anyone who would suggest otherwise. …”

In totally unrelated news, at their Sept 10 meeting President Schill and the UO Board of Trustees discussed the money:

Party on! Ducks to play football this year, adding Covid threat to usual harms

Update: President Trumps offers us his congratulations, and wants our thanks for making the Pac-12 do this:

9/24/2020: That’s the rumor from the staff who have already started cleaning the ash out of Autzen, and who were told sorry those antigen tests are not for you. The Pac-12 announcement will be at 5 tonight. Presumably they’ve got enough sense not to allow fans into the stadium or the parking lots, so all the good parties will be at the frats.

If the Pac-12 schools will release that testing data, this should lead to an easy new pub for UO economist Glen Waddell and a few grad students, following up on Glen’s earlier work on how home football games hurt academic performance:

Are Big-Time Sports a Threat to Student Achievement?

Jason M. Lindo Isaac D. Swensen, Glen R. Waddell

We consider the relationship between collegiate football success and non-athlete student performance. We find that the team’s success significantly reduces male grades relative to female grades, and only in fall quarters, which coincides with the football season. Using survey data, we find that males are more likely than females to increase alcohol consumption, decrease studying, and increase partying in response to the success of the team. Yet, females also report that their behavior is affected by athletic success, suggesting that their performance is likely impaired but that this effect is masked by the practice of grade curving. (JEL I21, L83)

Or maybe Lindo (now at Texas A&M) will beat him to it with a follow up to this:

College Party Culture and Sexual Assault

By Jason M. Lindo, Peter Siminski, and Isaac D. Swensen*

This paper considers the degree to which events that intensify partying increase sexual assault. Estimates are based on panel data from campus and local law enforcement agencies and an identification strategy that exploits plausibly random variation in the timing of Division 1 football games. The estimates indicate that these events increase daily reports of rape with 17–24-year-old victims by 28 percent. The effects are driven largely by 17–24-year-old offenders and by offenders unknown to the victim, but we also find significant effects on incidents involving offenders of other ages and on incidents involving offenders known to the victim.

And here’s Pres Schill’s announcement, which he hopes you will construe as good news despite all the evidence that it’s not:

Dear University of Oregon community,

I am writing with what I hope is some good news during these challenging times. Earlier today, I and the other presidents of the Pac-12 universities voted to resume some collegiate athletic programs — specifically football, men’s and women’s basketball, and other winter sports. Practice can commence immediately, and the seasons will get started in November. Fans will not be permitted at games initially, but the conference will revisit that issue in early 2021.

I and the other presidents have insisted throughout the process that the health and safety of our student-athletes must be our top priority. [sic] That was the primary reason we voted unanimously to pause the season earlier this summer. At that time, our medical experts expressed a good deal of doubt about whether we could sufficiently protect student-athletes from both the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19. In the ensuing weeks, however, the conference has bolstered its testing capabilities so that all conference members can institute daily testing of student-athletes, paid for and provided by the Pac-12. That enhanced ability to test has shifted the balance and led medical experts to advise us that our programs can move forward with practice and competition consistent with our commitment to health and safety.

In addition, we have recently received new information [We heavily lobbied Gov. Brown who is term-limited and needs more of Uncle Phil’s money to advance her political career] from state officials in Oregon and California that opened the door for a return to competition under strict health and safety guidelines. I am grateful to Gov. Kate Brown, the Oregon Health Authority, and Lane County Public Health for looking closely at the issue, examining the rigorous health and safety plans that have been put in place, and clearing the way for the University of Oregon and Oregon State University to resume some collegiate sports.

Even though we will not be able to cheer the Ducks in person at Autzen Stadium or Matthew Knight Arena — at least for now — I am excited about what the resumption of athletics means for the Pac-12 and the University of Oregon. It’s certainly not about money; all of the Pac-12 programs, including Oregon, will still face multi-million-dollar shortfalls under this resumption plan. [He either thinks we are idiots or doesn’t care what we think. Probably both.]

No, it is about something bigger — hope. [My god who writes this crap.] As we all face the challenges posed by COVID-19, continue to wrestle with the scourge of systemic racism in our society, and face an incredibly polarized national election, I believe sport can help unite our community, be a boost in morale, and give us something to cheer for during some pretty dark days.

Our student-athletes are begging us to let them play, [in fact they’ll do it for nothing, given hat the NCAA cartel has destroyed their other options] our fans miss the excitement of game day, and this resumption plan is at least a small step toward a return to normalcy.

Over the last week, I have consulted with our shared governance partners [I held a secret meeting of the IAAC, despite the Senate legislation that promised their meetings would be public] as well as a broad set of UO faculty members, staff, and students. [And of course Rob Mullens, who reminded me his coaches need the money for baby shoes] I would like to thank them for their advice and counsel on this issue. It certainly helped shape my views on this decision. [Which again was all about hope and safety and had nothing to do with the money.]

Thank you.Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

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]

 

State Economist shocked by un-dismal revenue forecast

From OPB:

Oregon’s current budget will be nearly untouched by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and future budgets won’t be as hampered as initially thought, state economists announced Wednesday.

Those conclusions, which state economist Mark McMullen told lawmakers were “somewhat shocking,” turn on their head assumptions about how deeply Oregon has been harmed by record job losses brought on by the coronavirus. But while the impacts of the COVID shutdown are slower and weaker than expected, economists warn that they will not insulate the state from necessary cuts in the future.

“How can it be that [the pandemic is] not a state revenue event?” McMullen told lawmakers. “Obviously it will be … but it sure looks like it’s not going to happen in the current biennium — at least not to a significant extent.”

McMullen now predicts that Oregon will bring in $2 billion more in the current budget than he was anticipating in June. Combined with cost-saving actions lawmakers took in an August special session and recent vetoes by Gov. Kate Brown, that could leave Oregon with $1.7 billion more than it currently plans to spend this budget. …

How the Ducks got rapid antigen testing and the rest of us didn’t.

Jon Wilner is the best reporter covering the Pac-12’s shenanigans. He’s on twitter here. Today he’s got a report in the San Jose Mercury on how the Pac-12 got rapid antigen testing for Covid for players – but not for faculty and staff:

“… The access to rapid-result Covid-19 antigen tests that could be administered before practice and games solved the first of two daunting challenges (keeping the players safe) and provided vital momentum to eventually clearing the second (convincing officials in California and Oregon to ease health restrictions).

That evening, I mentioned the deal to my wife.

“That’s great,” she said, “but why is the Pac-12 getting those tests? Why aren’t they going to teachers and other essential workers?”

“You’re right,” I responded. “I’ve been wondering the same thing. I need to ask Quidel.”

On Monday, I did just that. …”

Meanwhile, reported positive tests at UO are rising quickly, as more students move back to town and into the dorms. 21 for the week that started Monday:

Meanwhile UO release of case information, here, vacillates between the minimum and the minimum plus epsilon. They don’t report buildings, athletes, frats, departments, parties. Sometimes they report that the students are living on campus, or if the case is related to a cluster, other times they don’t:

University Presidents let Larry Scott loot Pac-12

This report from John Canzano in the Oregonian gives the latest on how much money the presidents and chancellors who control the Pac-12 have thrown at Scott over the years. It’s outrageous.

I expect that Pres Schill, the new Pac-12 leader, will soon crack down on this so that he can spend UO’s cut of the savings on bigger raises and bonuses for Rob Mullens, Mario Cristobal, Dana Altman and the others of their ilk:

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the link.

NYT asks if PAC-12 cares about heath and safety

We all know they’re going to restart their program to give their unpaid “student-athletes” brain damage so people like Rob Mullens and Mario Cristobal can continue to cash in. This is about whether or not they’ll do so soon enough to also infect their students, families, and thousands in their communities with a deadly virus. Apparently this is a tough call for their governing board, which is chaired by UO Pres Schill:

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the link.