Provost and Trustees kick back in glee as faculty fight it out over who gets the smallest merit pay cut.

Do the math. Faculty are getting 10% in raises over 3 years, during which the cost of living will have increased by roughly 20%. (Ignore former Interim President Phillip’s claim to the Senate that temporary inflation does not cause permanent increases in the cost of living, he’s no more of a macroeconomist than I am.)

To add an obsession with control to the insult and injury, Interim Provost Janet Woodruff-Borden is requiring departments to adopt new and tortured rules before they can allocate the 3% (nominal) merit portion of this pay cut.

From what I can tell the deans, including CAS’s Chris Poulsen, are doing the best they can to deal with this – given their loyalty oath to Johnson Hall. Poulsen’s attempt to explain the new rules to department heads is below. (Thanks to several anonymous dept heads for passing this along – keep these coming.)

The faculty union is also working on this. In the past the union has fought hard for more merit pay than the administration has been willing to give out, but I expect that part of the fallout from the fights over allocating this negative merit raise will be a preference for first getting across the board raises that match the cost of living – as calculated by the BLS, not by a guy who doesn’t understand the diff between stocks and flows.

Poulsen’s Presentation:

UO Administration loses their “strategic thought partner”, will replace her with ChatGPT

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to let you know that Richie Hunter, vice president for university communications, will be leaving the University of Oregon to take the role of vice president for communications at the University of Michigan. While Richie finalized this decision over the last few weeks, she deferred announcing her transition until now in consideration of our presidential search.

Richie came to the UO in August 2021 and has had a wonderful, positive impact on the University of Oregon community during her time here. Thanks to her strategic communications expertise, we effectively rolled out groundbreaking university initiatives such as the Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health; the acquisition of the northeast UO Portland campusLaunch Oregon, the new venture capital partnership between the UO and the UO Foundation; and the Home Flight Scholars Program, a first-of-its-kind scholarship and support program for Native American/Alaska Native students of Oregon. She was also a critical partner in successfully positioning the University of Oregon into the spotlight during the Oregon22 World Athletics Championships.

In a very short time, Richie skillfully reset the university’s communications landscape by establishing an organizational structure and team culture that maximizes our ability to tell the UO’s greatest stories. Richie has also served the University of Oregon as a sincere, enthusiastic, and visionary leader and thought partner. Her trademark joy and deep care for students, faculty, and staff were greatly valued by all. 

Richie’s last day at the University of Oregon will be May 5. A national search will begin immediately for a new vice president, and we will work expediently to name an interim leadership structure for University Communications.

Please join me in thanking Richie for her contributions to the University of Oregon and congratulating her on her new role at the University of Michigan.


Jamie Moffitt
Interim President

Fortunately VP Hunter (who presumably wrote this for Moffitt), can be cheaply replaced with ChatGPT, which writes in actual English rather than Administrativese:

Chat GPT:

Write a letter from the interim university president announcing that their VP for Strategic Communications will be leaving for a better job.

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

It is with mixed emotions that I write to inform you that our Vice President for Strategic Communications, Ms. Jane Smith, will be leaving our university to pursue a new opportunity elsewhere. While we are sad to see her go, we are also proud of her achievements during her time here and grateful for the impact she has had on our community.

During her tenure, Ms. Smith led the development and implementation of our university’s strategic communication initiatives, elevating our brand and enhancing our reputation both locally and nationally. Her hard work and dedication have helped to position us as a leader in higher education, and her contributions will be greatly missed.

Ms. Smith has decided to pursue a new opportunity that she believes will further her professional growth and provide her with new challenges. While we are sorry to see her leave, we are also excited for her and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

As we move forward, we will begin a search for a new Vice President for Strategic Communications. During this time, Ms. Smith will work closely with us to ensure a smooth transition and to help us identify and recruit a qualified replacement. We will keep you updated on our progress in this important search.

On behalf of the university, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Ms. Smith for her dedication, commitment, and contributions to our community. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors and look forward to the continued success of our university under her leadership during this transition period.


[Your Name] Interim University President

Senate to Vote this Wed on fixing graduation

Update: This motion passed, I think unanimously.

Dear Senators – 

Last week I added a section to the motion (new 2.3) requiring that the new Graduation Task Force called for in the motion make its meetings and materials public, in response to concerns that the secret process used so far had led us to the current bad result. The amended text etc. is at

Also, I googled around and found that many (most? All but us?) university/faculty senate’s have to vote to approve the Academic Calendar. To cite one now rather relevant example, here’s UW-Madison: and Note that the calendar their Senate votes on includes the date for Commencement.

Last, I still have not received the contracts for the conflicting track meets that I asked AD Rob Mullens for on Feb 22nd. He has forwarded my request to our General Counsel Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office, which is sitting on it. These contracts should show how much the Athletics Department is earning from these conflicting events and what constraints they might place on scheduling graduation. If I get them in time I’ll pass them on.

I look forward to the discussion and vote on this motion tomorrow. Let me know if you have any questions.

Bill Harbaugh

Econ Prof, UO

Senate Legislation: Concerning the Timing and Manner of Graduation Ceremonies

Section I

1.1 WHEREAS the University of Oregon’s graduation ceremonies are held for the recognition and honoring of our students’ academic experience’s at our University; and

1.2 WHEREAS; For many years UO’s graduation ceremonies were held on the weekend immediately following finals week, as is academically appropriate, but in 2010 the University Administration moved graduation to the Monday after the completion of finals week to avoid conflict with the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships; and

1.3 WHEREAS this year a conflict with another sporting event, the Nike Outdoor Nationals, and then the Juneteenth Holiday have pushed graduation until Tuesday of the week after finals; and

1.4 WHEREAS; the weekend immediately after finals finish on Friday is a convenient time for our students and their celebrating families, particularly those with inflexible work schedules, to travel to Eugene; and

1.5 WHEREAS; for many years UO has emphasized its department, school, or college level graduation ceremonies, where students can graduate with friends from their majors, and where families can meet department faculty and staff, while this year the University is shifting the emphasis of graduation to a University-wide ceremony held in the football stadium, which will reduce opportunities for such interactions.

Section II

2.1 THEREFORE BE IT MOVED that it is the sense of the Senate that graduation should be held on the weekend immediately following finals week, and that the University should prioritize department, school, and college level ceremonies; and 

2.2 THEREFORE BE IT FURTHERMORE MOVED that the Senate leadership shall work with the university administration to form a Graduation Task Force with the participation of faculty, students, staff, and OAs, to work to improve graduation ceremonies, and that the Senate President shall appoint those members of this Task Force from Senate constituencies; and

2.3 THEREFORE BE IT FURTHERMORE MOVED that the work of this Graduation Task Force shall be public, with meeting times and Zoom links as well as agendas and documents posted on the Senate website; and

2.4 THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY MOVED that the Graduation Task Force shall bring its recommendations to the Senate for a vote, before the end of the 2022-23 Academic Year.

UO Board appoints competent outsider as new President – John Karl Scholz from UW-Madison

That would be John Karl Scholz, most recently Provost at UW-Madison. [Full disclosure: Scholz was one of my professors when I got my PhD there in 1995, where he was also Director of the Institute for Poverty Research. I liked him a lot, despite the fact I barely passed the field exam.]

I think he has the potential to be a great President for UO. Congratulations to the Trustees and their search committee and yes, I’ll say it – the search firm.

This is exactly what UO needs – a competent outsider with abundant academic and administrative experience, from a university with an international reputation.

Despite SVB, former UO Board Chair Chuck Lillis still holds record for largest US bank failure

I’m no macroeconomist, but all signs are that the FDIC will quickly arrange a sale of Silicon Valley Bank and contain the contagion, in no small part due to the lessons learned from the 2008 collapse of Washington Mutual, which was one of the precursors to the Great Recession.

UO donor and former Board of Trustees Chair Chuck Lillis was a WaMu board member and was sued for trying to move money beyond the reach of creditors before the bankruptcy, among other things. (His official UO bio doesn’t mention WaMu. Odd.)

WaMu’s D&O insurance company paid out, and then sued the WaMu directors, including Lillis, arguing that they’d failed to exercise their due diligence and that they should be personally liable. The lawsuits finally ended with a $37M payout. There was another $49M for ERISA violations – meaning raiding employee retirement accounts, which Lillis had been accused of at two other former companies.

But given that his checks to UO haven’t bounced, there seems little chance we’ll need to dename the LCB’s Lillis Hall, as President Frohnmayer had to do with Grayson Hall. [Full disclosure: While I have the fake brass “A” that the guys from facilities maintenance hacksawed off what is now McKenzie, I do *not* know who has the Pioneer Father’s nose.]

Don’t cry for Lillis, he came out of this just fine, as those of his ilk generally do. He’s now Chairman of the Board of Somalogic, whose shares have fallen 83% in the past two years, and where his bio also doesn’t mention WaMu.

CAS Dean Chris Poulsen asks you not to forward his commencement email to your students

Dear CAS Leadership, 

The CAS Commencement Advisory Group, UO Student Life and CAS Leadership have come together to determine how best to develop our commencement programs in the absence of individual department ceremonies. We have now confirmed many of the details of our June commencement events and we’d like to share them with you. Please forward this information to your faculty and staff. We also will be communicating directly with students tomorrow, so please don’t forward this email to students. [emp added]

In order to balance our time and venue constraints with length of ceremony concerns, CAS will hold separate ceremonies for undergraduate students by division: Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and the School of Global Studies and Languages (GSL). In addition, a separate CAS graduate ceremony will be held with hooding offered to PhDs.   

Our CAS Commencement website lists locations and times for each of the five ceremonies on Tuesday, June 20, 2023. Here are the details in brief: 

Natural Sciences majors June 20th at 11:30 am Autzen Stadium 
Humanities majors June 20th at 1:00 pm East Campus Green 
Social Sciences majors June 20th at 3:00 pm Autzen Stadium 
School of Global Studies & Languages majors June 20th at 4:00 pm Memorial Quad  
All CAS Master’s and PhD students June 20th at 4:00 pm East Campus Green 

At each ceremony, students will cross a stage, have their name called and receive a diploma cover. There also will be a reception for all CAS graduates and their families. More information on this reception will be shared soon.  

We know faculty, staff, students, and families may have additional questions in the coming days and weeks, and we are working on finalizing program details now. As plans become final, we will update the CAS commencement website and we will soon be sharing RSVP information and an FAQ document to answer the most commonly asked questions.  

Best regards, 


Chris J. Poulsen
Tykeson Dean of Arts and Sciences
Professor of Earth Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences | University of Oregon
1030 E. 13th Avenue | Eugene, OR | 97403
Pronouns: he/his​

UO Board meets to name new President

Just kidding, we all know it’s Uncle Phil’s call, and he’s gonna go with the guy who’s not going to let graduation interfere with Nike’s track meets down at The Phildo.

Good morning,

The Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon will meet in executive session on March 8, 2023. The board will meet pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes (“ORS”) 192.660(2)(a) to consider the employment of a public officer or employee and ORS 192.660(2)(f) to consider information or records that are exempt. Pursuant to ORS 192.660(4), representatives of the institutionalized news media are allowed to attend, but the board requires that the discussions and any reports received in the executive session be undisclosed. Pursuant to ORS 192.660(6), no final action will be taken, or final decision made in the executive session.

The meeting will occur as follows:

Wednesday March 8 at 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time

University of Oregon Portland Campus, Library and Learning Center,

2700 NE Liberty St,  Portland, OR 97211.

Thank you,

Office of the University Secretary
[email protected]

University of Oregon | Board of Trustees

Admin now using Concur to keep tabs on your teaching

From this morning’s email:

Just a friendly reminder: When filling out a travel request in Concur, if you’re traveling anytime between Sept 16 – June 15, the answer to the question “Will you be absent any term other than summer?” is YES.

When you answer yes to this, you must provide information in the “Coverage Plan” field. Examples include:

  • Missing one class and office hours. Both being covered by XXXXX. Will be available by Zoom/Teams if needed.
  • Not missing any classes. Will be available by email and phone if needed for other duties.

The good news is you only need to fill this out if you’ve opted out of the microchip implant program.

Public Records Lawsuit Against University Foundation goes to Supreme Court

That would be muckraking journalist Daniel Libit’s lawsuit against the University of New Mexico Foundation:

Provost Woodruff-Borden et al. deliver ultimatum to exploitative Elsevier

Dear University of Oregon community,

I write with an important update on the status of our institutional negotiations with Elsevier, a major provider of scholarly content through UO Libraries. This follows earlier campus updates about collecting input and entering contract negotiations, and many months of engagement from our researchers across campus through town halls, meetings, our faculty senate library subcommittee, and online open feedback forms.

The cost of access to Elsevier’s journals package is the UO Libraries’ single-largest annual expenditure, taking up approximately 10% of the entire collections budget, with annual price increases that have vastly outpaced inflation and squeezed other collections and services. These unsustainably high and escalating costs ignore modern realities, such as the increasing prevalence of open scholarship, and undermine our very purpose as a public research institution—to advance the creation and dissemination of new knowledge.

Working in partnership with Oregon State University and Portland State University, with whom our agreement is shared, our librarians have pushed hard to break the status quo, advocating for our scholarly community and making reasonable proposals to Elsevier throughout the spring and summer.

These proposals have offered a fair price for access to content and data for researchers, and sought to advance a more open, inclusive, and sustainable future for scholarly publishing, as outlined in the UO Libraries’ common negotiating goals this past March. The Oregon State University faculty senate endorsed these principles in May, and they reflect the values in UO’s Open Access Scholarship Policyadopted by our faculty senate in March 2021.

Elsevier’s response and counter proposals to date have failed to meaningfully address these goals or provide a clear rationale for pricing beyond profit-seeking at the three institutions’ expense. The pace of negotiation has further been delayed by Elsevier’s slow response times and repeated postponement and rescheduling of negotiation meetings.

As a result, no deal has been reached, and our libraries have little choice but to allow our current contract to lapse. We stand alongside institutions such as the University of Washington, which just weeks ago announced a similar failure to reach agreement with Elsevier and will also enter 2023 with no big deal package in place.

Our three institutional libraries agree that further negotiation with Elsevier this year will not be productive, and all three will pause further engagement with Elsevier until they can assess the impact of the contract lapse. We intend to reopen negotiations together in 2023. Our librarians will continue to gather feedback and input from our campus communities to inform proposals and to push for a fair and sustainable resolution.

What this means for you:

  • Our contract with Elsevier will end on December 31, 2022. At that time, and until any new agreement is reached, we will cease receiving access to new 2023 Elsevier-published subscription content.
  • We will retain access to the content of our 189 most-used subscribed journals, that were published up to and including December 31, 2022.
  • We will also retain access to 609 journal backfiles with pre-1994 content that we purchased several years ago.
  • We will have access to a growing share of open access articles published in Elsevier journals, which are free to read, and for some journal titles this includes more than 70% of newly published content.
  • Our Libraries are committed to minimizing any inconvenience to researchers and ensuring that researchers are able to access the content they need, through a raft of alternative access measures, including interlibrary loan.
  • You will still be able to publish your work in or review for Elsevier journals; these activities are unaffected.

Learn more with our alternative access quick guide. For questions regarding Elsevier negotiations and alternative access to content, use our feedback form or contact [email protected].


Janet Woodruff-Borden
Acting Provost and Executive Vice President

President Phillips to deliver State of UO address from a secure off-campus location

Why? Well, the First Amendment applies to government agencies, while the Eugene City Club is a private non-profit that can exclude those pesky student protestors that have occasionally embarrassed President Schill and our sensitive, elderly Trustees. Clever.

Of course UO has to make a donation to the City Club for this privilege, proving that limiting freedom of speech is never free:

The State of UO

Friday, Nov. 18,

Noon-1:15 pm 

How is the University of Oregon doing? What are its goals, and is it meeting them? Join interim UO president Patrick Phillips on Friday and hear how the UO is faring. Learn more!

Attend our program at the First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street, starting at noon, or watch via livestream..

Your question might be asked of the speaker; email it to us. Include your full name and tell us if you are a member of City Club.

After the program, you can hear it on KLCC on Monday, Nov. 21, at 7 pm; watch it on our YouTube channel; or listen later to our podcast.

Pres Phillips expects that yet more committee busy-work will improve campus culture?

The good news is that these working groups have almost no faculty participation, so the soul-destroying time-suck will mostly be borne by OA’s who at least will be paid for wasting their time. Meanwhile, GC Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office still has not provided the contract with Gallup or the analyses they did for UO – basic public records that the university should have made public months ago. 

Now that would be a concrete way to improve campus climate – start being transparent about our problems.

Dear colleagues,
I am writing to provide an update on the University of Oregon’s work to improve our campus culture and foster a welcoming and respectful environment. In June, we shared the initial, high-level results of the IDEAL Climate Survey conducted by Gallup of our faculty, officers of administration, classified staff, and graduate employees.
The survey findings, which include university-wide results and other analyses by Gallup, are eye-opening, and frankly show we have much more work to do to ensure everyone feels valued and respected. We have come through a very difficult couple of years, and moving forward we must—and will—do better. We are each other’s most valuable resource, and our strong sense of community and shared purpose are among the things that I have most valued in my more than two decades at the UO. We cannot truly achieve greater success as a university unless everyone feels they have the opportunity to thrive.
The work to improve our campus culture is well underway. Over the last several months three committees further analyzed the survey results and worked on action planning. They identified several key areas for improvement. Four work groups are addressing these areas:
Employee engagement and onboarding
Response, reporting, and antidiscrimination
Faculty service, promotion, and tenure
Each work group is charged with identifying strategies, resources, tools, and activities in their area of focus to improve the campus climate. Each group will provide information directly to employees in the coming days and weeks about their work and the resulting strategies to address the climate survey findings.
In addition, the vice presidents and deans have now received access to the Gallup data specific to their units, schools, or colleges, and have begun their own assessments of unit level opportunities for improvement, which will ultimately include providing tools for unit heads to engage in this work.
Improving our campus climate is all of our responsibility. It requires reflection, commitment, and action at the university, unit, and individual levels. This work must also be continuous and systemic. Our ultimate goal is vital—to ensure every individual at the University of Oregon feels welcome, included, and able to achieve and contribute.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey and to the survey committee members and leaders who worked tirelessly over the last several months to move our work forward. I appreciate your support and commitment to improving the University of Oregon.
Patrick Phillips
Interim President and Professor of Biology

Response, Reporting and Anti-discrimination 

  • Nicole Commissiong, Associate Vice President, Chief Civil Rights Officer, & Title IX Coordinator, Office of the President, Co-lead
  • Brett Harris, Co-Lead, UO Ombudsperson 
  • Kersey Bars, Painter, Campus Planning and Facilities Management
  • Jeslyn Everitt, Associate General Counsel
  • Norma Kehdi, Senior Director, Accessible Education Center
  • Patrick Phillips, Interim President and Professor of Biology, Senior Leader

Faculty Service, Promotion and Tenure

  • Gabe Paquette, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Lead
  • Gerard Sandoval, Associate Professor, School of Planning, Public Policy and Management
  • Janet Woodruff-Borden, Acting Provost and Executive Vice President, Senior Leader


  • Elliot Berkman, Professor, Psychology Department, Co-Lead
  • Lesley-Anne Pittard, Assistant Vice President, Campus and Community Engagement, Division of Equity and Inclusion, Co-Lead
  • Lorraine Davis, Special Assistant to President and Provost, Office of the Provost
  • Karen Ford, Dean for Faculty, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Grey Pierce, Digital Accessibility Architect, Information Services
  • Norma Kehdi, Senior Director, Accessible Education Center
  • Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Professor of Political Science, Senior Leader

Engagement and Onboarding

  • Kaia Rogers, Senior Director, HR Programs, Services & Strategic Initiatives, Lead
  • Chelsey Megli, Chief of Staff, University Advancement 
  • Damien Pitts, Assistant Director, Student Organizations and Diversity Outreach, Lundquist College of Business
  • Krista Chronister, Vice Provost, Graduate Studies
  • Sierra Dawson, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty and Leadership Development
  • Mark Schmelz, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer,  Senior Leader

VP for enrollment emails faculty with great UO enrollment numbers

That would be Oregon State’s VP Jon Boeckenstedt. I don’t know why UO’s Roger Thompson treats these as a state secret, even the HECC has them:

Pres Phillips plans to hold graduation at football stadium, ban “rogue” department ceremonies

That’s the word from multiple sources at the department head Zoom meeting. Apparently the plan is to blame this on UESS and staff, but we all know the real reason is that our administrative overlords can’t stand the fact that our students want to take their parents to department ceremonies where they can meet their friends and teachers, instead of some Duck Crap thing where you listen to the President and Provost bloviate from the Autzen big screen.

You can bet the Senate will be taking this up, as what could be more of an “academic matter as commonly understood” than graduation.