statutory faculty assembly meeting Wednesday, May 19th

4:00-5:30pm, 150 Columbia

The purpose of the meeting is to consider a motion to approve the revised internal governance document necessitated by a Department of Justice opinion dated 11/7/08 concerning the structure of shared governance at the University of Oregon. The agenda for the meeting and the text of the motion under consideration are now posted at http://int-gov.uoregon.edu/.

UO Athlete fights NCAA for his rights

5/18/2010: Here’s an interesting article by Duck tight end and UO business school student David Paulson, on CNBC. He writes about a lawsuit arguing that the NCAA should not be able to use a player’s likeness after graduation without permission and compensation. 

The current situation is essentially indentured servitude: the NCAA has set it up so no player earns anything beyond subsistence, the universities are lucky to break even, and the coaches get all the profits. Those coaches know how to work a scam! But the NCAA is pushing it with the argument that they forever own the rights to the players’ likenesses. Mr. Paulson writes a good article, with many surprising facts and arguments:

Ed O’Bannon decided it was time for someone to stand up to the NCAA when his friend showed him a video game that featured him and his UCLA team. “My friend said, ‘The funny thing about this is you didn’t get paid,’ ” O’Bannon recalls. “He laughed pretty good and I just sat there thinking, ‘Wow, that’s true.’ My reaction was a little bit of embarrassment, but I was also disappointed that no one told me that they were going to be using my likeness to make this video game. They never sent me any paperwork. I didn’t release my face or my likeness.”

It seems like the NCAA doesn’t want anyone using a players’ name to make money besides them. For instance a college athlete cannot even use his name to run a football camp to make some extra money. It doesn’t seem fair that the NCAA is the only one with rights to make money off of college athletes. I think some changes need to be made to give some of the rights back to the players. 

This will be a long fight, once this principle is established there will be a large increase in the income of college football players and an offsetting fall in the coaches’ take. I’d love to hear Howard Slusher on it!

The full Bellotti:

5/17/2010: President Larivere fired Melinda Grier almost 4 weeks ago. He didn’t let her resign or give her a golden parachute. He fired her and immediately took away her job responsibilities. This is almost unheard of. She had been Dave Frohnmayer’s General Counsel for 12 years, and Lariviere’s for 10 months. From Greg Bolt’s RG article:

Lariviere said the move is being made “without cause.” He declined to comment on whether the change is related to the dust-up surrounding former athletic director Mike Bellotti or complaints about the university’s handling of public records.

Two weeks ago, Oregon Attorney General John Kroger released this 5 page report on Associate AG David Leith’s investigation of the Mike Bellotti payoff. It concludes Grier provided “deficient legal representation” to UO regarding the Bellotti contract, and raised other issues as well.

As the cover letter below notes, this summary was released publicly at the request of Lariviere. We have asked Kroger to also release the details of the report, and the documents collected during the DOJ investigation. We’ve been told is that the investigation took 321.8 hours and cost the DOJ $44,086.60, not counting the time for David Leith and Keith Dubanevich, the DOJ attorneys in charge. Obviously there was a lot of work that is not reflected in the 5 page summary. This should be public.

There are a lot of weird rumors flying around campus about why Grier was fired. Maybe the DOJ’s full report will give a definitive answer, maybe not. And maybe Kroger and Lariviere will decide we are just not worthy to know what really happened.

Who needs college?

5/15/2010: The NY Times points out that many students would be better served with something less than a traditional 4 year degree.

“Roast Duck” responds in our comments:

The NYT article about alternatives to college is a bit misleading. Forget that some of the principals — Richard Vedder, Charles Murray — are skeptical (Murray) to bitterly hateful (Vedder, who discovered his hatred of higher education after decades at Ohio U. as an econ prof) about higher ed.

The Obama proposals to increase the number of US “college grads” to the level of Canada include community college associate degrees and even 1-year certifications in vocational fields (which e.g. LCC offers in many areas). It would require raising the minority completion rate to the white level. A tall order, to be sure, but if we can’t do it, what is the future of the country?

Of course, 4-year college is not for everyone. I would be the first to say raise admissions standards, and especially, raise performance standards once students are enrolled. Get rid of the bottom 20% at UO, the complete goofballs, and it would be a much better place.

But without some kind of post-secondary higher education — 4-year college, CC, or vocational — most kids are going to be screwed. Meaning all of us!

Lariviere’s plan

5/15/2010: Two news reports about Pres Lariviere’s reform plan. Ted Sickinger of the Oregonian’s story could not be much more negative, ending on this note:

But neither sitting state Treasurer Ted Wheeler nor his Democratic opponent in Tuesday’s election, Sen. Rick Metsger, D-Welches, appear supportive of using the state’s borrowing capacity to fund stock market speculation.

“I am interested in ideas to create stable funding for higher education, but I am skeptical of using long-term debt to cover operating expenses,” Wheeler said Friday. “Debt is more appropriate for funding capital projects.”

Some call it speculation, some call it investment:

“It’s a trade-off of risk,” said John Chalmers, a UO finance professor who worked on the plan. “We’re trading political risk for investment risk, and we can plan for investment risk. That’s what endowments do.”

Greg Bolt in the RG focuses on the political aspects:

And, as challenging as the financing side of the proposal is, it is the governance issues that could prove the hardest sell in Salem. The plan takes away both the Legislature’s ability to control the university by holding the purse strings and its direct authority over tuition and most other aspects of university management, giving that instead to an appointed board of trustees.

Legislators have never shown much appetite for surrendering those powers. For at least the past five legislative sessions, the Oregon University System has proposed major changes in its relationship with the state that were less comprehensive than what is in the UO’s current proposal, and few ever were approved.

Well this has certainly succeeded in making everyone’s agenda clear – we’ll see what happens next.  The white paper is at the official UO website here, there are a few comments there already.

Give this man more UO money to waste:

5/13/2010: As you can imagine, Charles Martinez’s 0.65 time job off campus at OSLC doesn’t leave him a lot of time to do his 0.75 time job as UO’s Vice President for Diversity. This is why UO has never produced a written job description or had a public AA search – might raise too many questions about what we’re getting for the $140,000 we pay to top off his $82,000 from OSLC, or whether this arrangement is legal.

But that’s old news. Now apparently Martinez has been complaining to President Lariviere about being overworked. So UO has agreed to hire him yet another helper – I think this makes 5? What is your budget now Charles? What do you actually do? When?

From UO’s jobs website:

Strategic Communications Specialist, Institutional Equity and Diversity

The Strategic Communications Specialist has major responsibility in planning and implementing strategic communications for the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, providing specialized knowledge in methods of communication to diverse audiences. In order to strategically tell the story of diversity on campus on behalf of OIED, this position works in cooperation with the Office of Communications and with leaders in OIED to shape and implement strategic messaging priorities for the university, specifically for OIED. This position requires the exercise of independent judgment and the ability to support and provide expertise to the office as well as receive general supervision from the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity and his designated staff.

This position is the lead marketing and communication strategist for the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and is responsible for providing resources and materials that aid in facilitating community relations and corporate and private giving as related to the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity.

This position obtains cost estimates and advises on expenses for suggested projects and commitments related to communications efforts. There is no budgeting authority. The position reports directly to the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity.

Level of Appointment: .5 F.T.E.

Term of Contract: This position is funded for one year with renewal contingent upon availability of funds.

Salary Range: $26-32K Commensurate with relevant experience and education. ($52-64K full time annual equivalent)

Starting Date: May 24, 2010

Senate union survey (w/ update from Senate)

5/14/2010: The union organizers are saying that it was possible to make multiple responses to the Senate Exec Committee poll via the email link that was sent, so long as you used computers with different IP addresses, and that this is one reason they discount the results. (My own faculty poll did not allow this.)

In response the Senate folks tell us:

“it is true that multiple responses could have been submitted by the same person if different computers with different IP addresses were used. This caveat was included in the cover letter sent out with the survey results. We trusted the honesty and good will of our colleagues not to subvert the survey by submitting multiple responses, and we have no evidence that this occurred or that the survey results were skewed as a result.”

We now have results from two polls on the union. Both have their faults but both find clear overall opposition from the faculty. The union claims they have their own polls, finding lots of support. But they will not show us the results. Presumably they wouldn’t be funding this expensive campaign without some hope, but I don’t see what it is.

Reimagining the public university

5/12/2010: President Lariviere sends this to the faculty yesterday: “I am writing to share the University of Oregon’s white paper, “Preserving Our Public Mission Through a New Partnership with the State.” Bill Graves of the Oregonian has a good story on the proposal and reactions to the proposal. I took a quick peek, the plan is for a constitutional amendment that would:

a) Ask the state to underwrite an $800 million bond sale to add to the UO endowment (matched by private donations.) The state pays off the bonds from tax revenue, UO gets the investment earnings instead of the tax revenue as currently. This is a bet that in the future the state legislature will be even less supportive of UO than currently (or even more broke.) Not big stakes though, the earnings will be a small portion of the UO budget.

b) Take UO oversight authority away from the OUS system wide Board, replacing it with a UO Board of Directors. One non-voting faculty representative. Not clear how much of our theoretical faculty governance role we will lose, or how much of the theoretical protection we get via state laws and regulations. This is a bet that future governors will occasionally appoint wise and honest people to this powerful board, and not just use it as a political payoff. Huge stakes. It could be pretty good, it could destroy UO. Kulongoski’s record on this is horrible. In other states it has been mixed to bad.

Michael Redding put this proposal together. It is very detailed. This is a serious and innovative proposal. It is clear there is a lot of skepticism in the legislature. Chancellor Pernsteiner and OUS Board President Paul Kelly have the predictable reactions. This is round one in a long fight.

Any chance it will work? Well, see this link on what those ignorant, anti-science, anti-tax Texans did in response to a referendum proposal to raise taxes to support those pointy headed liberal professors in Austin. Too lazy to click? OK, I’ll tell you – they voted for it. The catch was the professors had to say what they would do in return for the money.

Personally, given how much tax and tuition money UO is currently wasting on people like Frohnmayer, Moseley, Martinez, Dyke, Daugherty and their ilk, I’d like more reform before this goes much further. $245,700 to Frohnmayer for teaching 47 students, 1/2 time? $220,000 to Martinez for pushing paper? $125,000 to Moseley for fishing in Bend? $120,000 to Davis for proctoring exams in Hawaii? This is bullshit and it makes us all look bad for putting up with it.

Obviously there will be a long debate about this proposal over the coming months, my hope is that Lariviere continues to sweep out Johnson hall in the meantime. It would make this proposal much more credible.

Faculty pay

5/10/2010: The local AAUP (American Association of University Professors) chapter sent along these recent data on faculty salaries at UO relative to our “comparator” schools. Obviously we are not comparable. Compensation is 90%, 97%, 93%, and 85%, for instructors, assistants, associates, and fulls, respectively. It’s worse if you look at pay – arguably a better measure: 77%, 91%, 85, 79%.

UO’s scheme has been to hire assistants at the market rate, and then screw them on raises. But isn’t this because our cost of living is low? No, Eugene housing prices are 140% of the median college town. It’s because administrators like VP Frances Dyke spent the tuition money on their own perks. We hear that may change. A commenter gives one explanation for why: “… The unionization effort is alive and well. Why would they leave when just the threat of a union has caused Admin to suggest raises this fall?”

Another commenter asks about how med school salaries figure in to these comparisons: Here’s a link to the insanely long UO Matters comparison from last year, during the furlough debacle. Briefly, we posted this:

UO senior administrators are paid 120% of their peers. More, if you adjust for size and complexity.

UO full professors are paid 81% of their peers.

Comparison institutions are all public and private PhD granting institutions from the Chronicle of Higher Ed. This is the comparison group UO uses when setting administrator salaries: no senior UO administrators are paid less than 100% of the median in this peer group. Frohnmayer, Bean and Martinez (even without his second job) account for most of the excess above 100%. Go here for the Chronicle faculty data, here for administrators.

UO Provost Jim Bean challenged this conclusion in the UO Senate. He claimed that the comparison faculty salaries we posted included salaries for (very well paid) medical school faculty. They do not. We are making a fair comparison between like groups of non-med school faculty. Bean is comparing UO administrators with no med school to supervise with those with responsibility for medical schools, adding to the bias in his results.

Additionally, in Provost Bean’s data and analysis of administrator salaries he compares UO administrators to those at AAU schools which have on average 160% of the students, 370% of the faculty, and 440% of the budget of UO. Provost Bean is a case in point, even using the comparator group he selected himself. As an internal hire – with no experience and in his first year on the job – he is paid 96% of the salary of the average AAU public university provost, who is dealing with an institution that is 4 times as large as UO. 

Union survey

5/10/2010: Greg Bolt of the RG has a story on the Senate census of opinions on a union. Some people say this was “unscientific”. In this context this typically means a sample that is biased towards one group, therefore with results that are problematic for making unbiased estimates of population responses. But this poll was of the whole population of interest, not a sample, and therefore it is not unscientific in the sense used in the story. Responses, of course, could still be from a biased sample. With about a 50% response (higher for the faculty) this problem may be present but is much less severe than in most polls, many of which have 20% response rates or lower. Given the high response rate and how strong the results are against the union, the organizers have to take the results seriously. The union is not even close to having the level of support among faculty and OA’s needed to win an election and they will not try.

Sentiment on campus has changed. I think the faculty that brought this union effort to campus and worked very hard on it deserve a lot of credit for that change. I’m guessing Provost Bean is not going to credit it as “university service” when it comes time for raises, but he should! The administration realized that this was a serious organizing effort, and in response they cut down a bit on the lies and arrogance – we haven’t heard Bean’s 38% claim for a while – and they finally committed to a plan that will redirect some of our new tuition money away from themselves and back towards the faculty. Here’s hoping they don’t go right back to business as usual, now that this threat is removed.

University Foundations

5/10/2010: Pablo Eisenberg of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute writes about problems with university foundations. The UO Foundation suffers from many of the issues he raises, particularly excessive secrecy. Their IRS 990 form is due next week – we’ll be sure and post a copy. Here’s last year’s. The first time I asked the foundation for one of these, they “accidentally” left off the appendix showing a one time $152,536 bonus payment to their president.

Athletic antitrust

5/10/2010: David Moltz and Doug Lederman of Insidehighered.com write on the US DOJ anti-trust investigation of the NCAA and what it might mean for college athletes. Also see Libby Sanders in the Chronicle, here. Currently the NCAA acts as a hiring cartel to prevent athletes bargaining for a better deal – like, say, their coaches do. Did you know that UO’s scholarship offers are year by year, and that they can revoke a scholarship for a student who is doing well academically, but is injured and unable to perform athletically? Does anyone know if this has happened here? No 4 year guarantees for the players – not even on tuition – but the coach gets 7 years at $2 million per.

Ken DeBevoise

5/7/2010: Kaitlin Flanigan of the ODE has a story on Ken DeBevoise. FWIW, the rumor we hear is that most people agree it was a mistake to fire him, that the decision will be overturned, and that his students should get credit for a well run campaign. A recent shift in the supply of UO administrative leadership has also had an effect. Of course, Ken DeBevoise is paid $54,000 for a full load, while Dave Frohnmayer gets $245,7000 for co-teaching a course here and there – and is allowed to moonlight at Harrang Long et al and Umpqua Bank too. So leadership is still a rather scarce good.

OSU

5/4/2010: Lots of OSU visitors lately. Sorry, we got nothing for you, just UO stuff. Get your own blog! Wait, here’s a copy of the OSU Affirmative Action plan. Your Associate General Counsel Charles E. Fletcher tried to sell this to us, and said he didn’t want it posted online. We got it free, and here it is. Sorry Mr. Fletcher, you just don’t understand our business model. FWIW, it’s a much more professional job than the UO AA Plan and from what I can tell your AA budget is about half what Penny Daugherty charges UO. Let’s not even mention UO’s Vice President for Diversity Charles Martinez and his budget – it’s a crime. You should be proud. Go Beavers.