Daily Emerald on new policy on faculty/employee relationships w/ students

Hannah Kanik, here:

Sonja Boos, co-chair of the committee on sexual and gender based violence, said the policy aims to protect students from authority figures abusing power.

…  Going forward, the committee will begin a push to inform students of the policy so they are aware of their rights, Boos said.

“The emphasis is not on policing the sexual behaviors of people. The emphasis is to change the culture where people with power can abuse that,” Boos said.

Duck Football brings more great publicity and legal bills to UO

1/13/2019 update:  

UO football player Sam Poutasi suing UO, Taggart 1 day after Doug Brenner files similar lawsuit

Jack Butler and Shawn Medow had the scoop on the second lawsuit in the Daily Emerald on Friday. There are many national news stories on this now, including Austin Meek in the RG here:

… Brenner, who is seeking $11.5 million in damages, said he decided to move forward with a lawsuit after recent tests revealed long-term kidney damage that could shorten his life by 10 years or more.

“Because of those results, and because my life will be shorter because of those results, I decided that I needed to take action, partially for me but mainly to make sure this doesn’t happen to any other kids along the line,” Brenner said Thursday, speaking from the office of his Portland-based attorney.

Lawsuits from Brenner and Poutasi have brought renewed scrutiny to the workout incident and the university’s response. The players say they were forced to perform hundreds of push-ups and another rigorous strength training exercise without rest and with no water readily available on the first day of winter workouts, causing some players to vomit and at least one to pass out.

Kicker Aidan Schneider was in the same workout group with Brenner and Poutasi and confirmed Brenner’s account of the incident.

“Doug’s description is very accurate as far as I remember,” said Schneider, who graduated after the 2017 season. “I think what a lot of people were thinking is, ‘This is ridiculous.’”

According to the players’ accounts, the group was forced to perform a series of exercises in unison. If any player faltered or had imperfect form, the entire group was forced to repeat the exercise. …

The players need a union, but lawsuits seem like a reasonable second best.

1/9/2019: Mr. Brenner seems like a stand-up guy:

And he’s represented by Jason Kafoury, who has run circles around UO’s General Counsel Kevin Reed and his deputy Doug Park before.

The Oregonian’s James Crepea has the latest fallout from Rob Mullen’s decision to fire what’s his name and hire Willie Taggart:

Former Oregon Ducks football player Doug Brenner is suing the University of Oregon, former football coach Willie Taggart, former strength coach Irele Oderinde and the NCAA for negligence stemming from his January 2017 hospitalization following strenuous offseason workouts that resulted in rhabdomyolysis and subsequent injuries.

Brenner is seeking $11.5 million in damages.

In an 18-page suit filed in Multnomah County circuit court on Wednesday, Brenner’s attorneys allege the University of Oregon was negligent for failing to prohibit, regulate or supervise the workouts, which they describe as “physical punishment regimens.” The lawsuit also alleges that Taggart and Oderinde, both now at Florida State, were negligent in imposing and carrying out the workouts, and that the NCAA has failed to regulate such practices.

According to the lawsuit, shortly after Taggart was hired in December 2016, he told the team that he and his coaching staff “were going to focus on discipline in strength and conditioning and that they were ‘going to find the snakes in the grass and cut their heads off.’”

Brenner was one of three Oregon players, along with fellow offensive lineman Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick, hospitalized following the workouts in early January 2017. They each were diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a syndrome in which muscles break down with “leakage into the blood stream of muscle contents,” according to the NCAA sports medicine handbook. Neither Poutasi nor McCormick, who are still members of Oregon’s football team, are parties in the lawsuit. …

“Faculty” Athletics Representative Tim Gleason’s report on the Rhabdo Incident is here. Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office tried to hide Oderinde’s resume from CBS by claiming he was faculty. And the Duck’s Director of Athletic Medicine, Greg Skaggs, was not board certified in Sports Medicine. Discovery should be interesting.

Portland State IRB goes after philosopher for critical studies hoax

Wow is this a dumb move. Here’s hoping their Senate takes action to defend his academic freedom. From InsideHigherEd:

Peter Boghossian

A hoax revealing that academic journals had accepted fake papers on topics from canine “rape culture” in dog parks to “fat bodybuilding” to an adaption of Mein Kampf met with applause and scorn in the fall. Fans of the project tended to agree with the hoaxers that critical studies scholars will validate anything aligned with their politics. Critics said that the researchers acted in bad faith, wasting editors’ and reviewers’ time and very publicly besmirching academe in the process: the story was covered by nearly every major news outlet.

Now the controversy has flared up again, with news that one of the project’s authors faces disciplinary action at his home institution. Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University and the only one of three researchers on the project to hold a full-time academic position, was found by his institutional review board to have committed research misconduct. Specifically, he failed to secure its approval before proceeding with research on human subjects — in this case, the journal editors and reviewers he was tricking with his absurd but seemingly well-researched papers.

University pays $650K to end lawsuit over blog

The Chicago Tribune has the story here:

A bitter lawsuit between Chicago State University and two professors who published a blog rebuking school leadership is coming to an end after more than four years.

Chicago State has agreed to pay $650,000 in damages and attorneys fees to professors Robert Bionaz and Phillip Beverly, concluding yet another costly litigation involving the Far South Side institution in recent years. The professors alleged that the university violated their free speech rights in repeatedly attempting to shut down their blog, CSU Faculty Voice, which they billed as “the faculty’s uncensored voice.”

Launched in 2009, the blog has criticized university administrators, …

Here at UO Matters I’ve had many lawsuit threats, from the UO Foundation, from former President Frohnmayer (who made similar threats against the Daily Emerald and at least one other newspaper) and from various UO general counsels. Most recently I was warned of one critical comment, that “It is not likely to lead to a place you would want to go.” Or perhaps he just meant North Dakota?

President Schill finds safe space for State of the University speech

You may recall that there was a bit of trouble in the EMU last time. This year the Eugene City Club is holding it, off campus. UO gave the city club a $5K donation to become a sponsor, contract here. I’ve been told by one City Club member that the club made assurances that it would make efforts to limit protests and disparaging statements, but the contract has no such clause.

Undergrads shifting demands for knowledge

UO physicist Raghu Parthasarathy’s Eighteenth Elephant blog has a fascinating post about changes in what students are majoring in, here. It was motivated by this report about the decline in history majors, which included this remarkable figure:

Obviously there have been huge shifts in what sorts of knowledge undergraduates demand. Raghu takes the next step, comparing the changes at UO to comparators:

Read the rest of his post for interpretation and methodology.

GC Kevin Reed’s public records office finally admits they have DeVos deal docs

But what did Reed promise UO would do? It’s now almost 4 weeks six weeks since I asked for this agreement. Eventually they’ll run out of ways to hide it:


Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon, Office of Public Records has received your public records request for “The document I am looking for is called a “Facilitated Resolution Agreement” and it was signed by General Counsel Kevin Reed on or about August 21.” on 09/21/2018, attached.

The University is the custodian of at least some of the records you have requested. …

You don’t say.

9/21/2018 update: GC Kevin Reed cuts deal with Betsy DeVos & wants $378.49 to show the terms

Continue reading

Can the Dean of CoD order faculty to move from PDX to EUG?

Apparently Dean Lindner thinks he can, and Provost Banavar is backing him up. I’m wondering how we can recruit new faculty if they know that their job can be moved from, say, Eugene to Portland without their consent. This does not seem well thought out.

Fortunately for the sake of UO’s future excellence, our faculty union is using some of your union dues to take this to arbitration.

Provost Banavar explains delay in gender and racial equity raises

September 19, 2018
Dear University of Oregon faculty members,
I am pleased to share with you some important information regarding the fiscal year 2019 salary increases for both represented and non-represented tenure-track faculty (TTF) and career non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF) at the University of Oregon.
The fiscal year salary increases will be provided to faculty members who meet the eligibility criteria, which requires an appointment as of December 31, 2018.
Tenure-track faculty members will receive a 1.25 percent across-the-board increase on January 1, 2019. There’s an additional pool of 0.75 percent to address equity that will be distributed after an internal study currently underway is completed. Funds from this equity pool will be distributed as soon as they are available and consistent with the United Academics collective bargaining agreement and the related memorandum of understanding. For more information on the equity study, please refer to the Faculty Salary Equity Study.
If equity funds are distributed after January 1, 2019, all increases provided from that pool will be retroactive to January 1, 2019. If there are funds remaining in the equity pool after equity decisions are made, those funds will be applied as an additional across-the-board increase to TTF.
Under the agreement, career NTTF members will receive a 2.0 percent across-the-board increase on January 1, 2019.
For more information on faculty salary increases, please refer to the Annual Salary Increases webpage.
If you have any questions, please contact Human Resources by email at [email protected] or call 541-346-3159.
With warmest regards,
Jayanth Banavar
Provost and Senior Vice President

Kavanaugh’s accuser is a psychologist/statistician with an h-index of 42

I’m no slave to metrics, but who are you going to believe? Professor Christine Blasey, who’s most cited work is the very useful sounding Sage book on “Statistical Power Analysis in Research“, with 1343 citations since 2015:

With increased emphasis on helping readers understand the context in which power calculations are done, this Second Edition of How Many Subjects? by Helena Chmura Kraemer and Christine Blasey introduces a simple technique of statistical power analysis that allows researchers to compute approximate sample sizes and power for a wide range of research designs. Because the same technique is used with only slight modifications for different statistical tests, researchers can then easily compare the sample sizes required by different designs and tests to make cost-effective decisions in planning a study. These comparisons demonstrate important principles of design, measurement, and analysis that are rarely discussed in courses or textbooks, making this book a valuable instructional resource as well as a must-have guide for frequent reference.

Or a brown-noser like Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who’s most cited work appears to be this hagiographic book review with 75 citations:



UO Prof Elliot Berkman on “The Self-Defeat of Academia”

Thanks to a helpful reader for the link. A snippet:

These last few years have been tough for higher education. Enrollment is down year after year, state funding increases have stalled even as costs skyrocket, and most people don’t have much confidence overall in American colleges and universities.

The standard explanation within academia for these trends is that the relentless drumbeat of criticism of universities from right-wing media have combined with increasing anti-intellectualism in the US to erode public perceptions of the value of higher education. Attacks from conservative media have increased, focused in particular on the well-established liberal bias in higher ed, so the partisan divide in perceptions of universities is not surprising.

But right-wing attacks on the academy and its denizens are only part of the story. A closer look at the data shows that a sizeable number of liberals are dissatisfied with higher education. Besides, focusing only on partisan media places the responsibility for recent downward trends in enrolment, funding, and public opinion outside of academia. We – professors and administrators in higher education – need to accept our role in these trends. Only by confronting how we contribute to our deteriorating public image can we reverse it.

If the right-wing media attacks on universities amount to a public relations battle, then we are clearly on the losing side. We’re barely even putting up a fight. The reluctance to make the case for our value to society goes back to a very different time, when we could take public support for granted. But things have changed. …

Knight Campus?

A helpful reader notes this opinion piece from PNAS, asking if Knight Campus is a potential example of it:

Opinion: Expansion fever and soft money plague the biomedical research enterprise, Henry R. Bourne

Academic biomedical science has had both a long boom in its funding and a subsequent scary bust. From 1970 to 1999, NIH budgets increased 9% per year (1); from 2000 to 2004, they doubled (23). In 2005 came the unmistakable bust: flat-lined NIH budgets converted the doubling into a paltry 14% increase in inflation-corrected (4) dollars over 16 years (1999–2015; Fig. 1A). But during the bust, two stealthier dangers escaped notice, their quantitative details and significance masked or denied. Universities recklessly overbuilt laboratories to fill with more scientists, just when the bust removed funding increases they needed to do science. As diminished NIH dollars made research riskier, universities required principal investigators (PIs) to earn high proportions of salary from grants, transferring much of the risk to PIs: Universities in the 1970s paid PIs about 75% “hard” salary from their own coffers; those coffers in the 21st century pay PIs much less, forcing them to corral most salary as “soft” grant money.

Equity and Inclusion Office in crisis mode as intellectual diversity falls to new lows

Just kidding, they don’t care about that kind of diversity. The Office of Equity and Inclusion has spent millions encouraging UO to hire faculty who look different but think the same. Apparently they’ve been very effective.

Back in 2006 I matched the list of UO tenure track faculty with the Lane County voter rolls, and was able to find 25 registered Republicans. Daily Emerald reporter Braedon Kwiecien has an analysis out today that suggests UO’s political diversity is, if anything, narrowing:

… Of the 27 faculty members in [Political Science], 14 are registered Democrats, two are registered with the Pacific Green Party, two are unaffiliated, one is independent and one is a registered Republican. Seven couldn’t be identified as being registered to vote in Oregon. At a minimum, over 50 percent of faculty in the department are registered Democrats, and a greater percent register with liberal-leaning parties.

At the law school, political diversity is even more skewed. Of the 44 law faculty, 30 are registered Democrats, meaning at least 68 percent of the law faculty are Democrats. Three are non-affiliated, one is independent, one is a registered Republican and nine couldn’t be accounted for in the registration data. …

Vin Lananna keeps job as UO Associate Athletic Director

He has, however, resigned as TrackTown President, right in the middle of planning for the 2021 IAAF Championships, and a federal investigation. Ken Goe has the scoop here:

Lananna led the successful bid for the 2021 World Outdoor Championships, which are scheduled to be at Hayward Field. The bid is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, although no charges have been made. Lananna has insisted the bid was above board.

No word on whether of not Lananna will continue working for Tracktown’s “Oregon 21” subsidiary, or how this will affect the $10M Travel Oregon grant, which the Oregon DOJ has still not approved. More on Lananna’s complicated business arrangements from Diane Dietz in the RG, in 2015.