Univ uses big-time football to recruit students, then complains when they act like drunken football fans

Interim President Phillips does not seem to be proposing any actual discipline – because of free-speech rights, or just because “what happens at Autzen stays at Autzen”? Quite the contrast with how Pres Schill dealt with the students who interrupted his state of the university address.

Dear University of Oregon community members,

During Saturday’s football game against Brigham Young University, a small group of fans started a chant that targeted and denigrated members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Meanwhile on the field, both teams were engaged in an exciting game, which itself was preceded by the BYU players graciously honoring the memory of UO football player Spencer Webb. What a shame that the hard work and earnest effort of so many might be overshadowed by the egregious behavior of so few.

Directly harassing someone based on their religious beliefs violates our core value of full inclusion as a university. I am grateful that the Oregon Pit Crew, our student fan organization, immediately issued an apology about the incident. It is worth considering how corrosive this kind of behavior can truly be to each of us. While some might see these chants as being directed against an opponent from another school, they are also an attack on all members of our community. There are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on our own football team, and we know there were members of that faith wearing green and yellow sitting right next to those chanting on Saturday. How did they feel in that moment? I hope that everyone will reflect on the reality that, what may seem like a lark to some, tells someone else in our community that they are not welcome, and that they should be afraid based on who they are and what they believe. Our path toward true inclusion starts with empathy for how others might be experiencing a given incident or interaction.

These actions remind us that discrimination can affect each of us along some dimension of our lives—faith, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, physical or cognitive ability, socioeconomic background—but for some, it is part and parcel of their daily experience, and it can weigh heavily. We have students from all backgrounds at the UO. Without question, some have been more vulnerable to discrimination than others, as are many of the groups of faculty and staff who have spoken to me over the last few years with true distress in their voices.

I condemn the behavior of these fans on Saturday. It angers me. It disgusts me. It also provides a moment to remind ourselves that these actions, as well as any other actions of a similar flavor, are anathema to who we are as a community. These types of incidents call upon us to stand up against such behavior when we witness it—a task made easier when we stand together. This is who we seek to be as a university, and the standard to which we hold ourselves. We will continue to educate our community about our values and how to live them in words and actions.

Patrick Phillips
President and Professor of Biology

New Pres and Provost to raise faculty salaries to AAU average as their “Job #1”

Unfortunately this would be our old new president and provost:

From: Provost
Sent: Sunday, June 07, 2009 12:26 PM
To: Deans Working Group
Subject: Faculty Salaries
The Missouri article stating that UO has the lowest salaries in the AAU has caused quite a stir (we have since verified that they were correct). Low salaries were always thought of as just Oregonian. But 34 out of 34 is a whole other thing. We cannot have this. Richard’s reaction was “this is job #1.” Richard will likely have an announcement on how we are attacking this when politically feasible (after last gavel). Please communicate to your faculty that the Missouri article really got our attention. This may require disruptive solutions.
Thanks, Jim
James C. Bean
Senior Vice President and Provost

Five days later, the Register Guard’s Editors essentially endorsed Lariviere’s plan to get UO faculty to the AAU medians:

The market for academic talent is national, even global. From a salary standpoint, Oregon has dropped out of the competition. The state is fortunate in having universities that continue to meet high standards, but Oregon’s advantages — a relatively low cost of living and a high quality of life — can only be relied upon to make up part of the salary deficit.

Richard Lariviere, who will become president of the UO in July, comes to Eugene from the University of Kansas, an AAU university with an average faculty salary of $91,400 — 25 percent higher than at the UO. He’s no doubt aware that higher education claimed 15.1 percent of Oregon’s general fund budget in 1987-89, but received only 6.4 percent in 2007-09. One of Lariviere’s continuing challenges will be to persuade Oregon’s governor and Legislature that underfunding higher education has consequences.

In March 2011 Scott Coltrane, at the time CAS Dean, announced his plans to implement this for CAS faculty:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 3.38.22 PM

Russ Tomlin, then VP for Academic Affairs, released a detailed spreadsheet showing the plan for the entire UO, designed to get salaries to the AAU comparator averages by no later than 2014:

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 3.43.29 PM

I don’t have the data to show if UO salaries are still at the absolute bottom – for a while there the union was doing pretty well with the raises – but they are really, really bad. Unless of course you’re in the Knight Campus.

Int Prov Janet Woodruff-Borden to help deans activate their priorities

Dear colleagues,

It is an honor to serve as the University of Oregon’s acting provost and executive vice president. I am excited to lead the university’s academic enterprise at such an important time in the institution’s history—a time of opportunity and progress.

I was inspired to join the UO in 2018 because this is a university that dreams big and indeed achieves big. Together, we work and succeed in ways much greater than our scale. For the last three years as the executive vice provost for academic affairs, and before that as the dean of the Graduate School (now Division of Graduate Studies), I focused on several priorities. These are: promoting inclusive academic excellence, building a community where everyone feels they belong and can thrive, and fostering a culture devoted to mentorship. I am also a professor of psychology and study the developmental psychopathology of anxiety. I continue to be inspired by my research and over the course of my career I have mentored 35 doctoral and hundreds of undergraduate students. Their success is core to my identity as a faculty member. All of these experiences will continue to inform my work as provost.

My focus this year will be on continuing the momentum of our academic priorities. This includes further institutionalizing the academic initiatives through program development, faculty engagement, and integration of diversity and innovation across all these efforts. These initiatives are particularly exciting to me because they are helping us to think differently and boldly about how we are going to educate our students and impact our research.

In addition, I will also work with the deans, new and veteran alike, to establish and activate their priorities and visions aligned with the university mission. Another focus will be working toward inclusive excellence through our student success efforts and by enhancing our faculty and student recruitment and retention efforts.

Finally, I am committed to ensuring the provost’s office continues to provide efficient and effective support to faculty and to the leadership of our schools and colleges. I am extremely grateful to my colleagues in the Office of the Provost who are stepping up to help fill many of the responsibilities of executive vice provost, so this important academic support and service continues.

As we prepare for the start of another academic year, I want to acknowledge the truly amazing efforts of our entire campus to preserve the educational experience of our students. The challenges of the last few years have brought out the best of who we are as a community. It is wonderful to be coming back together, with renewed energy and sense of purpose. I hope you join me in looking forward to a new academic year with optimism and confidence in the direction UO is heading.

I believe in this institution, and I believe firmly that if you are willing, you can make a difference. I look forward to working with you to ensure we continue to provide the highest quality of scholarly activities and student educational programs.

The Office of the Provost will share additional information about the start of fall term in the coming days and weeks. As always, please feel free to reach out to me or any member of my leadership team with questions or ideas about how to make this academic year the best that it can be.


Janet Woodruff-Borden
Acting Provost and Executive Vice President

Int Pres Phillips committed to an ethos of stability and positive engagement

Dear University of Oregon community,

It is with tremendous excitement that I write to you today as interim president of the University of Oregon. I am very honored by the appointment and humbled by the responsibility to our entire community that this opportunity entails. I am grateful for all the well wishes and expressions of support I received after last week’s announcement.

I could not be more firmly committed to this role as interim president. I have served in a variety of roles during my 22 years at the UO, most recently as provost, during one of the more challenging periods of our history, and so have been fortunate to have had a front row seat to observe and support the amazing passion and creative energy that our faculty, staff, and students bring to their work. But I have also been here through disruptive changes in leadership and damaging cuts to our budget, which is why I am particularly committed to an ethos of stability and positive engagement as a central feature of my time as interim president. And I feel particularly fortunate that we have been able to institutionally maintain such a strong path forward in a manner that allows stability—in vision, in finances, and in operations—to be a foundation that we can rely upon at this particular moment in time. I know I speak for so many of us in extending thanks and gratitude to my friend and colleague Michael H. Schill for helping lead us to this position.

When I first came to the UO two decades ago, I was struck by the sense of shared purpose and community that I experienced: that we could seek to expand the bounds of human awareness through cutting edge research and creative practice while still being caring and transformative teachers and mentors to our students. A variety of largely external and societal forces have frayed at those edges a bit over the years, but there is still something uniquely Oregon about this university, and the steadfast commitment to growth and learning demonstrated by members of our university community. This is something that we need to continue to embrace and celebrate. Just last week I was able to hear a research presentation by an undergraduate summer research fellow working in my lab. He spoke about the excitement of sitting for hours looking at a glowing red worm that he had just created to help us track changes in gene expression over time as a tool for improving healthy aging. It was exactly the feeling that I had when I accomplished the same feat for the first time as a young scientist. It reminded me yet again why we do what we do. Each of us, regardless of field, know that sense of joy and awe when everything is just right. We believe in the transformative potential of being immersed in an environment that seeks the cutting edge of knowledge and insight about ourselves and the world around us. And we believe in using that work—that commitment—with a goal of maximizing the human potential of every member of our community.

In my administrative roles as provost, in the Office of Research and Innovation, and in helping to establish the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact and the Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health, I have had an opportunity to travel extensively around Oregon and across major economic and cultural centers of the United States. Meeting with people in government, business, research centers, and other universities during these trips has made it clear to me that the UO has a critical role to play in the world that transcends the classroom, research lab, library, or concert hall. I think that we all feel that we are in a moment of intensifying change. Higher education itself is at a crossroads, but more importantly, society as a whole is in flux. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that the world needs what the UO has to give. I also have to tell you that the world does yet not seem to recognize this as clearly as I would hope. And so this is a path whose initial steps will largely need to be built upon our efforts, but we will take them, because it is what we are called to do as a public research university. This is why I am particularly grateful to the many alumni and friends of the university who also see this potential for broader impact and generously support the work that we do.

Over the last few years we have worked with hundreds of members of faculty and staff to build a strategic vision for what these impacts can be in a few initial key areas. I am committed to advancing this vision during my time as interim president. This will be a year of accelerating momentum, not of placeholding. That we are now in such a position of strength is a testament to heroic work of our faculty and staff over the last few years, as well as the continued commitment and flexibility of our students. It has been exhausting, and nearly everyone feels drained. I hope that this can be a year in which we can take a bit of a breath and return more and more to the core activities and values that brought us to the UO in the first place. My primary motto is: We are better together. And frankly, that is our only path toward greatness. And we seek that greatness so that we can do great things. It is why we are here.

I feel very fortunate that I have an outstanding leadership team and, together, I know we will continue to build the momentum behind our academic and research impact; our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and our relentless focus on student success. As Board of Trustees Chair Ginevra Ralph said in her message last week—it is an exciting time to be a part of the University of Oregon. I have no doubt this year will bring tremendous opportunities for our university community to further our knowledge and research, prepare our students for successful and engaging careers, and help our world grapple with some of the most pressing issues of our time.

You will hear more from me in the coming weeks and months. I look forward to working with you, and hearing more from you, as we continue our service to the University of Oregon.  


Patrick Phillips
Interim President and Professor of Biology

Will Ginevra Ralph be the sole Pres decider, and lie to the press about it like Chuck Lillis did?

Page down for the email from BoT Chair Ginevra Ralph today. Here’s an excerpt from an old post on the dictatorial secret search that led to the hiring of Mike Schill. I think the board got lucky with that hire, but they probably attribute it to their awesome skill and expertise, and the secretive process which excluded all but a few special faculty from any input.

9/15/2014: Lillis disputes RG report that he is the decider for presidential hire

Ry Rivard of Inside Higher Ed has an interview (link fixed) in which new UO Board Chair Chuck Lillis disputes the RG report that he now has the sole secret power to decide who will be UO’s next president. The story has just been updated with this:

Inside Higher Ed last week requested all documents that outlined the search plan but was not provided with the actual plan, which has was brought to the site’s attention on Monday by UO Matters, a blog that carefully follows the university. The plan clearly contradicts the chairman’s characterization of his powers in the Friday interview. A spokeswoman for the university, Julie Brown, said Monday the omission was “not intentional.”

Decide for yourself. According to the motion that the board passed after no public review (Board Secretary Angela Wilhelm left if out of the public docket materials) and apparently without even much notice to the board, UO’s next president will be appointed according to these rules:

The Committee will ultimately recommend qualified finalists to the Board Chair. The recommendations should be accompanied by a detailed report of the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, especially in terms of the desired qualifications for the position. The Board Chair will interview the Committee’s finalists and forward finalists to the full Board. The Chair is authorized to narrow the field of candidates after consultation with the Committee, and is also authorized to rank the candidates. The Board will interview the finalists forwarded by the Chair in executive session. Any final decision by the Board will be made in a public meeting, and all of the Board’s deliberations and discussions leading to that decision will be in accordance with Oregon’s public meeting laws.

Which sounds to me like Lillis can pick the finalists and if he wants to, that could be one finalist. He’d have to consult with the committee, but he could ignore their advice, and they would be sworn to secrecy about what had happened.

This procedure, and the unusual two search committees with only token student and faculty representation (all of them also picked by Lillis) that were reported by Diane Dietz in the RG are odd enough to have already attracted a highly critical editorial in the Salem Statesman Journal.

Today’s Ralph email:

Dear University of Oregon community members, 

The Board of Trustees met today and voted to appoint Patrick Phillips, current provost and senior vice president, to serve as interim president of the University of Oregon. The university is very fortunate to have such a strong, visionary leader who can maintain the upward trajectory of this institution. We are grateful to Patrick for agreeing to serve in this critical role as we begin the process of selecting the university’s next president.

Patrick has served as provost since July 1, 2019. As chief academic officer, he has been the steward of the university’s academic mission and has worked with faculty, staff, students, and other members of our community to maintain the highest possible quality of scholarly activity and educational programs. Patrick has been a leader in conceptualizing and launching many of the university’s academic and research initiatives, even as we navigated the many challenges of the past several years. He is also a top faculty member and award-winning scientist, with more than $8 million in active funding from the National Institutes of Health. Patrick joined the university as a faculty member in 2000 and has served as the director of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, head of the Department of Biology, associate vice president for research, special advisor to President Michael H. Schill, and inaugural executive director of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. 

The board unanimously agreed that Patrick is the right leader for this interim role. He brings decades of experience and leadership as well as deep connections to the university and our community. We are confident he, along with the vice presidents and deans of the schools and colleges, will allow the university to not lose any of its momentum building upon our academic and research impact and our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and student success. Patrick Phillips will start as interim president on Thursday, August 18. 

Patrick has appointed Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Janet Woodruff-Borden to serve as interim provost and senior vice president. Janet has served as executive vice provost for nearly three years, leading academic and faculty affairs efforts for the Office of the Provost. Prior to serving as executive vice provost, Janet was the vice provost and dean of the University of Oregon Graduate School, now titled the Division of Graduate Studies. Janet will begin serving as interim provost on August 18 as well.

Although this is a time of change, it is also a time of great excitement for our university. This year, the University of Oregon will continue to bring to life our academic and research initiatives, further the success and support of our students, and cement our place as one of the top research universities in the country. We are excited for our entire university community to be part of these efforts and the incredible opportunities that will come from them. 

As I mentioned in the announcement last week, the Board of Trustees will discuss the launch of and process for an international search for the University of Oregon’s permanent president at its regular board meeting scheduled for September 15-16. As the process is determined, more information will be provided to the university community with opportunities to engage in the process and a webpage will be published on the Board of Trustees’ website.

Please join me and the other members of the board in thanking Patrick and Janet for their service as interim president and interim provost of the University of Oregon. 


Ginevra Ralph 
Chair, Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon 

UO Trustees to meet Tu at 8AM to appoint Patrick Phillips as Interim Pres & give Rob Mullens and Dana Altman a shit-ton of money

Docs here. It appears Chair Ginevra Ralph has decided not to have a public discussion about how to hold what will almost certainly be a private, closed search for the next permanent president. That has been removed from the agenda announced previously and the trustees will presumably hash it out with phone calls, in violation of the spirit and perhaps the letter of Oregon’s Public Meetings Law.



Phillips: There is no contract in the materials for Phillips, since it’s presumably for less than $5M the Trustees can do it in secret. The last time they had to appoint an interim (after Gottfredson, you know, that Scott what’s his name guy) they forgot about money until someone asked. Lillis just looked blank then said something like “same terms as previous?” and it was done.

Why is new UO Board Chair Ginevra Ralph hiding contract details for Rob Mullens and Dana Altman?

Surely these contracts have been finalized, 3 days before the Trustees meet to approve them, and the Trustees told what they will be rubber-stamping. So why is Ralph hiding the details from the university and the public? Normally the meeting docket includes the contracts. Not this time:

And then there is the less important matter of the search for a new UO president. Given the lack of information here, I’m guessing this is going to be run along the same lines as the OSU search that dredged up F. King Alexander.

Professor sues UO for making him read DEI tweets

Wait, I got that wrong – he’s suing because they *blocked him* from reading DEI tweets. Which is weird, because he seems like just the sort of guy that DEI would want to reach out to. Betsy Hammond has the report in the Oregonian here:

Portland State University political science professor Bruce Gilley, with backing from a national free speech group, has sued the person who ran the Twitter account of the University of Oregon’s Division of Equity and Inclusion to unblock him from seeing or responding to the account’s posts.

The public university cannot, under the First Amendment, create a public online forum and prevent him from having equal access to it based on his point of view, the suit says.

Gilley, who champions race blindness and is highly critical of typical university diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, found himself blocked from @UOEquity in June after he retweeted one of its Tweets about racism with his comment “all men are created equal.” …

The complaint is here. Thanks to an anonymous reader from OSU for the alert. Sorry I cannot verify the rumor Oregon State will be suing Professor Gilley for disparagingly referring to UO as Oregon’s flagship university:

Pres Schill moves on to regional college in NW Illinois

Dear University of Oregon community members,

It is with mixed emotions of pride and sadness that I announce that President Michael H. Schill will be leaving the University of Oregon to become president of Northwestern University. During his seven-year tenure at the UO, President Schill has significantly propelled the university forward, and so it is no surprise that he would be recruited by one of the most prestigious academic research institutions in the world.

As president, Michael Schill transformed our academic enterprise by increasing the size of the faculty, growing externally funded research to $172 million, and launching groundbreaking academic endeavors including the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, the Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health, and partnerships such as Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance. During his tenure, the UO completed a $3.2 billion fundraising campaign and grew the endowment to $1.3 billion. Under President Schill’s Oregon Commitment initiative to improve student success, the university improved the four-year graduation rate by more than ten percentage points, increased total student financial aid to $43 million, and opened Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall dedicated to academic and career advising and the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center. The incoming undergraduate classes consistently increased in size, academic quality, and diversity, with the most recent class of 2025 breaking numerous university records.

I and the other members of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon are immensely grateful for President Schill’s service and leadership to this university, and its faculty, staff, and students. We are also extremely excited and optimistic about the future of the university. From this place of strength and success, with exceptional leadership, outstanding faculty, world-class students, and the impactful work of our schools, colleges, Knight Campus, Ballmer Institute, academic initiatives, and more—the University of Oregon heads into the future with great optimism and momentum. We are prepared for a new era of excellence, impact, and service to our students, community, and world as one of the country’s leading public research universities.

The board will move expeditiously to appoint an interim president. The interim president is expected to begin their service prior to the start of the academic year. At the board’s regular board meeting on September 15-16, trustees will discuss the launch of and process for an international search for the university’s permanent president.President Schill leaves a lasting legacy of excellence at the University of Oregon. The board thanks him for his transformational leadership and looks forward to all he will accomplish at Northwestern.

Sincerely,Ginevra Ralph
Chair, Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon

Ethics questionnaire

I need some ethics advice. An overnight visitor leaves a iphone charger in the guest bedroom. I should:

A: Fed-Ex it them immediately

B: Email them that I found it and offer to mail it back

C: Pretend you didn’t see it and leave it for the next visitor

D: Put it in the kitchen drawer with the iphone chargers from past decades

E: ?

University Presidents and public statements

From Eric Kelderman in the Chronicle:

According to the survey, presidents most often expect criticism from lawmakers. When asked “which group of people is most likely to respond negatively if you were to publicly take a position,” presidents pointed to elected officials for all but one of eight possible topics — state and national politics, but also Covid-19 policy; diversity, equity, and inclusion; free speech; gender and sexual identity; and racial justice. Only academic freedom was deemed relatively safe.