Covid deaths, stock market recovery, and benefit cuts will end Oregon’s PERS retirement crisis even earlier than expected

UO administrators and Republican legislators love doom and gloom stories about the cost of PERS and its outrageous retirement benefits. But the truth is that they’re repeating fake news, and are now going to have to look for a new bogeyman. The truth is that the state could redirect a significant portion of the PERS money it’s now sending to Wall Street and use it for spending that would would help Oregon. This made sense before Covid and it makes even more sense now.

From PERS by the Numbers: While Mike Belotti and his ilk are still sucking on the what Huey Long called the government sugar-tit, past reforms have already reduced typical PERS payouts for new retirees from 100% to 50% of their top 3 years of salary:

And the right wing’s quest for a 100% fully funded plan that will raise the cost of government – and provide a gift from Oregon taxpayers to Wall Street, the private equity firms that get their fees from managing the reserves, and their lobbyists – is doing fine. The downward blip shown in the chart below does not include the market recovery after the Spring market drop. The S&P ended the year up 18%. PERS will be fully funded in 20 years, probably less:

And that’s before the latest good news (for PERS and Oregon taxpayers). Covid-19 will reduce life expectancy for 65-year-olds by an estimated 5%. (PNAS paper here.) This will of course reduce the unfunded liability even faster, as PERS annuity recipients die off without collecting the full value of their pre-Covid calculated annuities:

UO should see even larger reductions in its PERS contributions, due to a fluke in the formula for getting the system to 100%. As high-paid older Tier 1 faculty retire, not only does UO no longer have to pay into PERS for their salary, but the state reduces UO’s share of the cost of building up the cost of the systems unfunded liability for past retirees like Belotti. That cost – not the cost of providing retirement for new retirees – is about 66% of what UO now pays to PERS:

The part of this I don’t understand is how PERS continues to earn less than its benchmarks, year after year. Don’t get me wrong, they do way better than Paul Weinhold’s UO Foundation. But, given year after year of missing your benchmarks by 1%, wouldn’t you just fire your advisers, abandon active management, and put the money in the benchmarks?

From what I can see the poor performance and fees of active management is enough to account for almost all of the current unfunded liability. But I’m just an economist, so any explanation would be welcome:

Board of Trustees schedules another ad hoc meeting

No info on their agenda yet, though they’ve picked an auspicious date:

The Board of Trustees will hold an ad hoc meeting on February 2 at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time. This meeting will occur remotely given ongoing health guidance and operational practices. Livestream and telephone access will be available for members of the media and public. The meeting agenda and associated materials will be available at least 4 business days prior to the meeting at the “Upcoming Meetings” button, below.

Those wishing to provide public comment for this meeting should email trustees@uoregon.edu. To ensure your comments are provided to trustees prior to the meeting, they must be received by 5:00 p.m. on February 1.

Covid has cut costs of Oregon state employee health insurance by $75M, so far:

Compared to a pre-Covid predicted 3% annual increase, though presumably costs will rebound after elective tests and surgeries resume. I don’t know if PEBB will rebate the savings to UO, or add it to their reserves.

If it’s a rebate, it would be about $1,300 in costs per employee, or for UO very roughly $6.5M total.

https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PEBB/Pages/Board-Meeting-Minutes.aspx

Pres Schill shit-cans Pac-12’s Larry Scott. Will his replacement be Rob Mullens, or someone who supports academics?

CBS here:

“We appreciate Larry’s pioneering efforts in growing the conference by adding new competitive university programs and accelerating the Pac-12 to television network parity with the other conferences,” Oregon president Michael Schill said in a statement. “At one point, our television agreement was the most lucrative in the nation and the debut of the Pac-12 Network helped deliver our championship brand to US and global markets on traditional and digital platforms. That said, the intercollegiate athletics marketplace doesn’t remain static and now is a good time to bring in a new leader who will help us develop our go-forward strategy.”

UO Chemistry students caught paying to cheat on-line.

Daily Emerald reporter Claire Warner has the story here:

… Launched in 2014, Chegg Study provides students 37 million Q&A’s “to help students better understand their schoolwork,” according to its website. While many of its customers use the service to do just that, some students pay the $14.95-per-month subscription fee to get dependable answers during unproctored online exams.

“Students had been posting our questions from the very first exam,” Kelly said. “They were actually getting real-time answers from the Chegg tutors.”

Students can type or upload photos of questions and receive solutions from Chegg’s network of “experts” in an average of 46 minutes, according to the Chegg Study webpage. Senior instructor of chemistry Thomas Greenbowe told the Emerald that Chegg allegedly attempted to recruit UO graduate students to answer chemistry questions uploaded to Chegg in the spring. The students informed instructors that they declined the offer. 

Services like Chegg have become more accessible to students during unproctored exams in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, causing what UO chemistry professor Shannon Boettcher believes is a “huge problem with academic dishonesty across the nation in the light of remote learning and COVID-19.” …

The Oregon Way: carjacker returns kid, keeps car

From Reason:

This incident unfolded in Beaverton, Oregon, on January 16, according to The Oregonian. It was about 9 a.m., and the mom needed milk and meat. She put her four-year-old in the back seat, buckled him into his booster seat, and headed to the grocery store. She made sure to park right near the door and ran inside, leaving the car running and unlocked.

She was never more than 15 feet from the car, according to police spokesman Matt Henderson. Nor did she dawdle. She was in the store very briefly, a clerk at the store attested.

But the carjacker saw her walk in, saw the car running, jumped in, and raced away. Realizing just moments later that there was a kid in the backseat, he did a U-turn in the parking lot next to the market and came straight back, whereupon he ordered the mom to remove her son.

The thief then drove off again, and if you happen to see a 2013 silver Honda Pilot—license plate 357 GLV—please call the Beaverton police to have him arrested.

Update: Pres Schill and GC Reed relent on Freyd, after bad publicity and pressure

1/19/2021 update, posted with permission:

Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2021 3:18 PM
Subject: Re: PsychList: Inside Higher Ed reports on Jennifer Freyd’s Open Letter to UO Board of Trustees (and the support she has received for this)

Dear Colleagues,

Today I learned that the University of Oregon (UO) has decided to alter the Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP) waiver requirement to exclude from any release any claims that are actively being litigated as of the time the ERIP program was initiated.  This means I can participate in the retirement program without having to drop my gender discrimination lawsuit.  I am appreciative of the UO for making this change and I am particularly grateful to my colleagues and supporters in this department and at the university and beyond.  Together we will pursue equity and justice.

With many thanks,

Jennifer

The language General Counsel Kevin Reed and President Schill had been insisting on:

Release:  In exchange for the above, Employee knowingly, willingly, and voluntarily releases the University, its agents, employees, officers, trustees, directors, and assignees from any and all claims, charges, obligations, duties, grievances or other complaints arising out of or relating to Employee’s employment with the University and/or resignation. This release includes but is not limited to internal grievances, claims for wages, monies, damages, attorneys’ fees, emotional distress, stress, discrimination, physical injuries, bodily injury, medical expenses, breach of contract, and reinstatement to employment.  This release also includes any claim under state, federal, or local law or authority, including but not limited to any claim for additional compensation in any form and any claim arising under any Oregon or federal statutes pertaining to wages, condition of employment, wrongful discharge, retaliation or discrimination in employment. This release includes but is not limited to claims arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Oregon’s Family Leave Act and Family and Medical Leave Act, the Equal Pay Act, Oregon Revised Chapters 652, 653, 654, and 659A, the Post Civil War Acts (42 USC §§ 1981-1988), the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) and Executive Order 11246, all as amended, all regulations under such authorities, and any contract (either expressed or implied, oral or written), tort, or other common law theory which might apply.  This release applies to any and all claims whether known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, including negligence, breach of contract, and strict liability.  Pursuant to the full settlement, satisfaction and release of any and all actual and potential claims provided in this Agreement, Employee agrees not to file a grievance or claim of any kind or nature whatsoever against the University for any reason related in any way to any dispute or to any other matters released herein. 

The new language is not yet posted on the HR website. More on the retirement incentive plan here.

1/18/2021 update: Nevertheless she persisted, so they threw her under the bus again

Inside Higher Ed has a report here. While UO has now agreed to modify the retirement incentive plan and allow retirees to cut their taxes by spreading out the payments, UO and General Counsel Kevin Reed continue to insist on this vindictive legal waiver clause in the retirement incentive plan, which affects only professor Jennifer Freyd. Other universities require retirees to waive the right to sue about the plan – not give up their right to pursue existing civil rights lawsuits:

Between a Lawsuit and Retirement
A longtime professor wants to retire. Her university says she has to drop her pay-based gender discrimination suit first.

.After 33 years at the University of Oregon, Jennifer Freyd, professor of psychology, would like to accept the retirement package she and some of her senior colleagues were recently offered.
Yet the university says she can’t accept the deal unless she drops her ongoing pay equity lawsuit.

The clock is ticking: the deadline for accepting the package is Feb. 5. Freyd asked the university to grant her an exception to the requirement that would-be retirees release the university from all legal claims, as she is, to her knowledge, the only eligible faculty member currently suing the university. In other words, she argued in a recent open letter to Oregon’s Board of Trustees, the release of liability requirement is uniquely injurious to her — and “a new form of discrimination for all those with a history of discrimination.” …

1/5/2021: UO Psychology Professor Jennifer Freyd (currently suing our administration for gender discrimination, and recently selected for the Association for Women in Psychology’s 2021 Christine Blasey Ford Woman of Courage Award) has written an open letter to the UO Board of Trustees about UO’s decision to require her to sign a statement releasing *all claims* against the university, in order to be eligible for UO’s retirement incentive scheme. As her letter notes:

This chilling requirement is both a new injury for me — as I was invited to participate and then later told I could participate only if I drop my lawsuit — and a new form of discrimination for all those with a history of discrimination. The victims of discrimination are being asked to choose between their right to pursue justice in court versus take the incentive. Those who are privileged are not forced to make such a choice.

The fair solution would be simple, and would allow her to continue her case in the 9th Circuit Court without a new financial opportunity cost. That case deals with important matters that could drastically limit the ability of professional women and minorities to use the Equal Pay Act for redress:

Change the release on the retirement incentive program from a release of all claims to a release of claims about the retirement incentive program itself.

But it seems President Schill has already rejected this:

Open Letter to the University of Oregon Board of Trustees
From Jennifer J. Freyd, PhD, Professor of Psychology
5 January 2021

Dear Trustees,

I am writing to share my concern about the UO’s handling of gender inequity among faculty, particularly in the Department of Psychology. I have worked at the University of Oregon for 33 years, and I deeply care about our institution. As I imagine you know, I have a lawsuit pending against the UO for the gender-based discrimination in pay I have experienced. In this letter, I hope to share my expertise from the perspective of a faculty member who has been impacted by these inequities and as a scholar of institutional response to gender discrimination.

I am concerned that in recent years, the UO has been responding in ways that increase rather than decrease inequities and that create more rather than less discrimination. I will summarize three examples of this pattern. (Further details, including my recent correspondence with President Schill, are provided here: https://jjf-archive.blogspot.com/ )

1. The University has failed to address a substantial pay inequity throughout the Department of Psychology that the department documented over four years ago. In early 2016 the psychology department provided a self-study document to the university describing a substantial pay inequity for full professors that puts women at a disadvantage. In August 2016 the psychology department head wrote a letter to the Deans of CAS conveying grave concerns over the inequity and requesting it be addressed, particularly in my case as the person experiencing the most egregious inequity. After the Deans refused to address the inequity, I filed a lawsuit in early 2017. As I recently explained to President Schill (correspondence archived https://jjf-archive.blogspot.com/), based on data provided by the department head in December 2020, in the past four years the inequity across the whole department has only grown.

2. The University has defended itself against my pay discrimination lawsuit through an argument that throws all academic women — including the UO’s own faculty and students — under the bus. The UO’s defense claims that I have a different job than the male professors in our department who are paid more, and therefore we cannot be protected by equal pay laws. This claim of different jobs contradicts 33 years of being explicitly compared to the other full professors in my department on the same criteria during merit review processes. The potentially devastating impact of this different jobs defense on academic women (and perhaps women in other professions too) should it become precedent led the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to file an amicus brief. It also led a group of 47 women’s and civil rights groups, including Equal Rights Advocates, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, and the National Women’s Law Center, to file an amicus brief. (The briefs are posted here: https://justicelawyers.com/womens-and-civil-rights-groups-file-briefs-supporting-professor-jennifer-freyds-equal-pay-act-case/ ) As the brief from the AAUP noted, if the decision for summary judgment is not reversed it would be “virtually impossible for faculty to bring a successful prima facie case of “substantially equal work” under the EPA or “work of comparable character” under the Oregon equal pay law.”

3. This year the University has invited some of us to partake in a retirement incentive program that embeds pay inequity into the program by basing incentive amount on current salary. In addition the program currently requires participants to release the UO from all claims. This chilling requirement is both a new injury for me — as I was invited to participate and then later told I could participate only if I drop my lawsuit — and a new form of discrimination for all those with a history of discrimination. The victims of discrimination are being asked to choose between their right to pursue justice in court versus take the incentive. Those who are privileged are not forced to make such a choice. Furthermore, the requirement that I drop my lawsuit in order to participate in the retirement program is uniquely injurious to me as I am, as far as I know, the only person with an ongoing lawsuit eligible for the incentive.

Each of these actions or inactions that push the institution towards greater inequity can be reversed through courageous leadership. For example, if the University took the following actions, it could not only stop harming its community in the ways I describe above, it could become a national leader in the fight towards equity (living up to one of the UO’s stated core values).

Solutions (a start, not the end):

1. University-level action to close the gender pay gap among professors in the Psychology department.

2. Withdraw the harmful and misleading argument that professors at a shared rank in the same department are not entitled to the protections of federal and state equal pay laws because every professor is unique, and instead pledge to support equity rather than inequity.

3. Change the release on the retirement incentive program from a release of all claims to a release of claims about the retirement incentive program itself.

4. Support sustained education for university leadership, faculty, and staff on the dynamics of discrimination and inequity along with ways to ensure equity, diversity, and inclusion.

I care deeply about the UO, which is why I am always trying to make it a better place for my colleagues and students. I know that with your help it can better live up to its mission to be a university that treats all its members equitably.

Sincerely,

Jennifer J. Freyd

Jennifer J. Freyd, PhD
Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon
Affiliated Faculty, Women’s Leadership Lab, Stanford University
Founder and President, Center for Institutional Courage

Retirement buyout updates

1/18/2021 update: After years of paying buy-outs to fired coaches like Mark Helfrich, you’d think our General Counsel’s office would have a clue. But, in response to complaints, they’re claiming they’ve just now identified “a tax compliant way” to split the payments:

NEW: Retirement Incentive may be split into two payments.

Based on feedback received from eligible employees and other stakeholders, HR requested UO legal counsel revisit the option of offering split payments to program participants. After further review, legal counsel was able to identify a tax compliant way to divide the payment over tax years 2021 and 2022.

When signing their formal Participant Agreement and Release, participating employees will be asked to indicate whether they would like to receive their incentive in one lump sum payment or split into two payments by choosing one of the following three options:

Option 1: The entire payment will be issued in one lump sum in July 2021.

Option 2: 50% of the total payment will be issued in July 2021 and the remaining 50% will be issued in February 2022.

Option 3: 25% of the total payment will be issued in July 2021 and the remaining 75% will be issued in February 2022.

11/23/2020 update: The second email from HR is below. No, JH hasn’t raised their offer yet.

I thought the HR staff’s video presentation was pretty helpful, although Director Mark Schmelz’s attempt to explain why UO wouldn’t split the payments over two tax years made no sense given that UO’s FY runs from July to June. Maybe it has something to do with our General Counsel’s demand that employees taking this offer first sign away their rights to everything?

g. Return of University property.  Employee agrees to return to the University any and all University property in Employee’s possession on or before the Resignation Date. [In the past Emeritii faculty have kept their computers, since they’e still writing letters for students, doing research, etc. Hard to do if UO has all your files.]

Age Discrimination Release:  Because Employee is over forty (40) years old, Employee has certain rights under federal law, including the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), and state law, including ORS 659A.030, all of which prohibit discrimination based on age. Employee acknowledges:

The release in this Agreement includes, but is not limited to any claims based upon age; …

Tenure Release:In exchange for the consideration of the mutual covenants set forth in this Agreement, Employee relinquishes tenure as of June 30, 2021. By participating in this 2021 Retirement Incentive, Employee agrees they are ineligible to participate in, and waive all rights related to participation in, the University’s Tenure Reduction Program (TRP).  TRP agreements executed after September 16, 2020 are null and void upon execution of this Agreement. 

Severability: This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the Parties, and there are no other understandings, oral or written, other than those stated herein. If any portion of this Agreement is determined to be unenforceable as a matter of law, the remaining portions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.

[You had an agreement with your chair and dean? Forget about it.]

Jurisdiction and Amendment: Oregon law applies to any and all claims or disputes arising out of or relating to this Agreement and those disputes or claims shall be exclusively brought in courts located in Lane County Oregon (“Oregon Courts”).  The parties explicitly consent to the personal jurisdiction of the Oregon Courts. This Agreement can only be amended or modified by a writing signed by both Parties.

[Really? You give up your rights under Federal law? Is that enforceable?]

Attorney Fees: If either Party is required to enforce this Agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to reimbursement of attorney fees by the other Party.

[Huh? UO’s lawyers have already demanded that employees who take this deal give up all their rights. This suggests they’re worried that won’t hold up in court. So why all the pretense?]

The HR email:

From: Retirement Incentive <retirementincentive@uoregon.edu>
Subject: UO 2021 Retirement Incentive Update — Info session recording, retirement planning webinars, and election deadline reminder
Date: November 23, 2020 at 5:22:05 PM PST

UO Information Session recording now available.
Human Resources held a virtual information session on Thursday, November 19. Topics included an overview of the Retirement Incentive Offer, process, and action steps, tools and resources available, as well as a Q&A session. 

A recording of the session is available on the HR website: View recorded session.

Retirement planning webinars scheduled for December.
As part of reviewing and evaluating the 2021 Retirement Incentive Offer, attend a retirement planning webinar or counseling session with a trusted advisor. A credentialed Financial Advisor can provide advice and insight to assist you as you estimate your retirement income and make retirement decisions. 

Refer to the HR website to view the webinar schedule and for information on consulting a financial advisor.

2021 Retirement Incentive election deadline is 5:00 p.m. on February 5, 2021.
After you review and evaluate the 2021 Retirement Incentive offer, your retirement income benefits, and healthcare coverage options, complete theretirement incentive election form if you wish to participate in the program. Election forms received after the deadline will not be accepted.

Support and Assistance
Please check the web resources often for the latest information and before reaching out to the HR project team. Many of your questions will be answered in these resources:Ø  2021 Retirement Incentive Offer guide

Ø  Frequently Asked Questions

HR is regularly making updates and changes as more information becomes available. If you are unable to find an answer in the web resources to your question, please email your question or concern to the HR project team at retirementincentive@uoregon.edu. Please note that we are experiencing a high volume of emails currently and that we will respond to your inquiry as quickly as we can.

11/18/2020: UO offering retirement buyouts to faculty and OAs – if they sign away all rights

Apparently the email below went out to all eligible TT and Career faculty as well as OAs, on Monday. The email explains whose is eligible – basically age 62 by June 30 2021 and at least 15 years at UO. Keep in mind that I’m just an economist, not an accountant or financial planner or lawyer, and you would be wise not to use my thoughts below to make any decisions.

The employer’s goal with plans like this is to target highly paid employees who would otherwise keep working for many years, thereby cutting their costs by more than the buyout amount. The employer’s worry is that the people taking up the offer will tend to be those who would have retired anyway – meaning that the employer is giving them money for doing what they would have done anyway. (The economic term for them is inframarginal, as opposed to the marginal employees who retire earlier because of the incentive). This is why universities typically offer buyouts only to tenured faculty, who are giving up secure jobs and therefore need more compensation to persuade them to do so. It’s very unusual to see a university make the same proposal to career faculty and administrators.

My guess is that this plan will not encourage many people to retire earlier than they otherwise would have, and that most people taking this offer would have retired even without it, meaning that the net benefit to UO may well be negative, even when considering UO’s savings on PERS/ORP which they do not plan on passing on to the participants. This plan would have been more effective with faculty if it had been offered before the summer, before we’d paid the sunk costs of investing in converting our classes to online. I mean remote.

The buyout gives participants a year of salary plus $880 for each month between now and age 65 to help pay for their own health care, all as a lump-sum. ($880 is the current cost to UO of PEBB health insurance for a single person). I believe that this is all taxable (though perhaps you can shelter some in an IRA). The one-year income spike will mean the after-tax amount will be reduced by roughly 33% to 42% of the buyout.

This buyout payment will not increase people’s PERS salary or basic PERS benefit. For those faculty on the ORP, UO will not make any contributions to your ORP account from this buyout, which are currently about 33% of pay. UO plans to keep those savings – but of course by doing so they they make it less likely marginal faculty and staff will take the buyout offer.

Here are some more specific thoughts:

For Careers and OA’s, who are not eligible for the TRP, this plan is a gift to those already planning on retiring outright next year or staying on less than one additional year. Is it enough to persuade many of those planning to retire in say 3 years to retire now? I sort of doubt it, but those most worried about their job security may decide differently.

For TTF already planning to retire outright at the end of this academic year, this is again a great offer. If you were planning to retire this AY and then go on the TRP, which you could do for 5 years at 1/3 salary, keep in mind that, JUST like the buyout money, TRP pay does not count for PERS or produce ORP contributions, and most people on the TRP really only stay on it for about 3 years. They do get free PEBB insurance while teaching 0.5 FTE (and potentially summer). So net, ignoring your personal utility or disutility of teaching part time, the buyout is probably a modest financial loss relative to the TRP.

For those TT faculty currently planning on retiring outright but not until after another year or two or three of full time work after June 2021, the buyout makes less and less sense, and even less so for those planning on going on the TRP after a few more years full-time. This of course assumes that the faculty union will be able to keep the TRP in the upcoming contract negotiations.

For those on PERS Tier 1/2: Keep in mind that the buyout will not count to boost your highest 3 years pay or benefits. Additionally, under the Full Formula, your retirement income goes up by 1.67% (roughly) for every year you work and 1.67% of any increase in your highest three years salary. Additionally, you get about 4.5% of regular pay put into your IAP. This gives PERS faculty a modest additional incentive to take TRP over the buyout.

Corrections and other thoughts welcome. Maybe I should put all this into a spreadsheet?

Oh yeah, one more twist, from the FAQ:

Why do I have to sign a Participation Agreement and Release? Isn’t my election form sufficient?

UO has designed a formal Participation Agreement and Release, which details the terms of the participant’s voluntary retirement. Since part of UO’s overall objective this program is to manage financial liability, we have included in the Participation Agreement a waiver and release of any [emphasis added] possible claims against UO. We want this agreement to represent the full understanding between UO and the participant. A legally binding document is the best way to accomplish this.”

I’m a bit unclear on why a “full understanding” requires “a waiver and release of any possible claims” by the employee.

From: Retirement Incentive <retirementincentive@uoregon.edu>
Subject: Your UO 2021 Retirement Incentive Offer- Action required by February 5, 2021
Date: November 16, 2020 at 2:52:57 PM PST

Dear []

The University of Oregon has packaged a voluntary retirement incentive offer to provide eligible employees an opportunity to retire sooner than they may have planned. You have been determined to meet the eligibility requirements, and I am pleased to extend to you a 2021 retirement incentive offer. This retirement incentive package offers a benefit to eligible employees while also providing opportunities for the university as we continue to navigate and respond to financial uncertainty. This offer is available to tenure-related faculty, career faculty, and officers of administration who are age 62 and older, have worked at the UO for 15 years or more, and meet all other eligibility requirements.

Through this one-time offer, you would elect to retire on June 30, 2021 and receive a lump sum incentive payment representing one year of compensation. A lump sum payment intended to provide funds for health insurance as a bridge to Medicare eligibility at age 65 will also be issued to participants under the age of 65. Total gross payments are capped at $250,000.

Your 2021 retirement incentive offer is: 

Ø  Estimated lump sum gross compensation-based payment: [one year salary]

Ø  Estimated lump sum gross healthcare bridge payment: [~$880 for each month you are from age 65]

Ø  Estimated lump sum total gross payment:  [redacted]

To receive this retirement incentive, you will need to:

Ø  Submit the Retirement Incentive Election Form no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 5, 2021. This election form is non-binding and sets in motion action steps to finalize the agreement.

Ø  Sign a formal Participant Agreement and Release with the university and relinquish your tenure, if applicable. Refer to the HR website for a complete overview of the terms included in the Participant Agreement and Release.

Ø  Retire from the UO effective June 30, 2021.

You are also invited to attend an information session this Thursday, November 19, from noon to 1:00 p.m. HR will provide an overview of the offer, process and action steps, and be available to answer your questions. Please use this Zoom link to join the meeting.

Action steps are detailed on the HR website with explanations, step-by-step guidance, and resources you will need to consider this offer. Please refer to the HR website for a complete overview of the offerprocess, timeline, and important dates, and frequently asked questions to help you better understand and evaluate the 2021 Retirement Incentive offer.

Please note:

Ø  Your retirement plan: ORP with TIAA, Tier 1
PERS members should request a retirement estimate immediately, if you are at all interested in the 2021 retirement incentive, as it can take 60 days or more to receive.

Ø  Submission of the Retirement Incentive Election Form is an important step that notifies HR that you are interested in pursuing this offer; signing of the formal Participant Agreement and Release will occur in winter 2021. There will be opportunities for you to withdraw your decision after submitting the election form, if you change your mind. Election forms will not be accepted after 5:00 p.m. on February 5, 2021.

I would like to add that this is your individual decision and does not require approval from a dean, department head, or supervisor. Please reach out to a member of my team by emailing retirementincentive@uoregon.edu should you have any questions or need further assistance.

I appreciate you taking the time to seriously consider the 2021 retirement incentive offer, and I am hopeful that this unique opportunity could provide a path to retirement that may appeal to you. Thank you again for your time and consideration.

Best regards,

Mark Schmelz
Chief Human Resources Officer and Associate Vice President

ASUO committee votes to end $1.7M payments to Duck Athletic Cartel for “free” tickets

1/25/2021: The final decision seems to be up to President Schill, and since he firmly believes and restated in the Senate 2 weeks ago that the Ducks should not be subsidized, ending this particular subsidy should be an easy call for him. Student attendance has been dropping for years – and many leave early to get on with the partying – and those who do care about big-time college sports can of course still buy tickets. Presumably Duck financial director Eric Roedl will heavily discount these or hire ringers, since they’ll need a section of excited looking student-types with painted faces to focus the TV cameras on.

Reporter Leo Baudhuin has the story in the Emerald:

ASUO’s Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee voted against renewing its athletics ticketing agreement at a Jan. 19 budget hearing. This means the student ticket subsidy will not be funded for the 2021-22 academic year, with the money reallocated to a handful of new programs that ACFC believes will more equitably serve the University of Oregon student body. 

The UO athletics department declined to speak with the Daily Emerald for this story.

According to the 2020-21 contract, ACFC and athletics had mutually agreed upon this markdown rate beginning with Fiscal Year 2016-17. For the 2020-21 fiscal year, ACFC was paying over $1.7 million in student fees for the ticketing contract. The agreement stood at 50% of market value prior to the 2016 deal.

This price allowed I-fee paying members to attend any Ducks sporting event with a student ID — with the exception of football and men’s basketball, which were run through a lottery system that students had to register for.

In place of the athletics contract, ACFC is allocating the $1.7 million to seven new programs: menstrual product accessibility in the EMU, a tiered textbook subsidy program for students with financial need, a basic needs coordinator who will help students apply to programs like SNAP, a student advocacy coordinator for ASUO’s peer-to-peer advocacy work, an across-the-board 20% wage increase for students employed at UO, an emergency housing subsidy fund and a redistribution of roughly $400,000 to other finance committees — which will allow ASUO to decrease or maintain the current I-fee for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

“The reality is not everyone gets a football ticket,” ACFC chair Annika Mayne said, “and a football ticket is not going to pay your rent or help you with legal trouble or increase your wage.” …

… From the hearing, ACFC’s budget proposal will go to the ASUO senate, Mayne said. Pending the senate’s approval, it will make its way to ASUO President Isaiah Boyd before going to UO President Michael Schill. Both Boyd and ASUO Senate President Claire O’Connor voiced their support for the plan during the public comment section of the budget hearing.

“There are some populations of students that I’m sure aren’t going to be happy about this,” said Laus. “But by and large, it’s a university, it’s not a sports team.” …

Here’s a past post on this issue:

June 2017: Duck athletic cartel’s Eric Roedl shake down UO students for another 40 large:

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 3.55.34 PM

Kenny Jacoby has the story in the Daily Emerald, here:

This year, athletics requested another 4-percent increase, even though prices for regular season-ticket holders are decreasing.

“Really the reason behind the 4-percent ask is that we’ve been frozen for so long and we’re trying to just catch up a little bit with the [incidental fee],” [the very well paid AAD Eric Roedl] said.

Dunn said each year Roedl and other athletic department officials “come to the table very frustrated that the conversation is the same.” Students want to pay less, but athletic department officials wants them to pay more, so the end result remains unchanged.

“They don’t think about how any sort of change in these fees or tuition will actually impact the students here on our campus,” Dunn said. “Asking students to pay more for their student athletic tickets in a year where tuition is supposed to go up almost 11 percent is a little ridiculous.”

In the end ASUO gave them only $10K, so now Roedl is threatening to take away the students tickets – or go directly to the TFAB, for a new student fee devoted solely to the athletic department.

UO Senate to meet on Robert’s Rules, Excellent Teaching criteria, etc

3-5PM Wed Jan 13, Zoom link at https://uoregon.zoom.us/j/94535299849

January 13, 2021 Senate Meeting Agenda

Call to Order

  • Land Acknowledgment; Suzie Stadelman
  • Intro Remarks; Senate President Elliot Berkman/Vice President Spike Gildea
  • ASUO updates

Approval of the Minutes

State of the University

  • President Schill

New Business

Open Discussion

  • Human Subjects, National Security & Research, Proprietary Research; Cass Moseley
  • Remote and web teaching guidelines/recommendations; Janet Woodruff-Borden, Lee Rumbarger/TEP, Frances White
  • UOPD; Chief Carmichael, Andre Le Duc, Jamie Moffitt

Feds give UO another $24M in emergency Covid funds

This is from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, and is on top of the $16M we got from the CARES act in 2020. Of the total $40M, $16M is reserved for student grants. I don’t know where the other $24M has gone/will go. The RG has a story here, but UO isn’t saying much.

https://www.acenet.edu/Documents/CRRSAA-HEERF-Simulated-Distribution.pdf

2020 CARES Act: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/allocationsforsection18004a1ofcaresact.pdf

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