AGB consultants sell out state to Boards and Presidents Council

Last year the legislature was considering SB854, a bill to strengthen state oversight of the university’s and boards it established with SB270. The boards and their lobbyists – who ironically are mostly paid with student tuition – were able to weaken the bill to the point it died in committee, but the boards did agree to a report on the effectiveness of the boards. Originally UO offered to pay for the report, but in the end they were able to get the consultants they wanted without even having to put up the money.

The state hired Carol Cartwright of AGB. Cartwright is a former president of Kent State and Bowling Green who now makes her living consulting on governance issues. She’s also on the NCAA cartel’s Infractions Committee, doling out punishments to athletes and schools with the bad luck to get caught taking or giving impermissible benefits. (The co-consultant was a Richard Novak, who from my interactions was well meaning but not in charge.)

AGB and Cartwright know who butters their bread, and the report paints the boards as doing a heck of a job, except for a few presidential hiring slip-ups at OSU, PSU, OIT, etc., which are glossed over.

Apparently the problem is not the boards, it’s the rest of the state – students, staff, faculty, and legislators. They just don’t understand their place in shared governance. AGB’s recommended solution? Take away what little power the HECC and the legislature has and give it to the Council of Presidents.

I can’t imagine the sponsors and supporters of SB 854 are happy with this report, or that it’s done anything to increase their trust in the boards or confidence in the system the legislature bought into with SB 270.

Full report here, some snippets below:

The HECC executive director and senior staff and chair of the commission should seek
enhanced opportunities to meet regularly and informally with the university presidents
and the boards of trustees. The purposes of such meetings should be an open
exchange of ideas among leaders and ways to seek clarity on any impending HECC
initiative, study, or statewide plans and goals.

HECC’s responsibility as a convener of leaders and experts to devise solutions to the
state’s educational challenges, such as efforts on Oregon’s educational attainment
goals, cannot be underestimated or dismissed. The necessity to overcome barriers
facing today’s students requires HECC’s collaborative, systemic approach that spans
the State’s higher education’s sectors. But as a strategy for tackling future critical
issues, HECC might consider the advantages of having a college or university assume
or be assigned as the lead institution, with HECC becoming an equal partner with the
participating colleges and universities. Likewise, the Legislature should not overburden HECC with new mandated studies or activities. It’s admirable that HECC has the Legislature’s confidence, but the Council of Presidents or an ad hoc group of university and community college leaders (including board members) could assume responsibility for specific assignments and would likely welcome the opportunity to demonstrate leadership on postsecondary issues of key statewide significance.

In other words AGB and Cartwright think the legislature should give oversight of the state’s universities to the state university presidents who are appointed by the boards. This would be incest, not oversight.

Senate to meet Wed at 3PM

Zoom at https://uoregon.zoom.us/j/96310002361

February 2, 2022 Senate Meeting Agenda

Academic Year2021-2022DateFebruary 2, 2022

Call to Order

  • Land Acknowledgment; Renee Irvin
  • “Practicing Trauma-informed Pedagogy in a Time of Political Polarization”; Anita Chari (3:00 – 4:00 P.M.)
  • Intro Remarks; Spike Gildea
  • ASUO updates; Maxwell Ely

Approval of the Minutes

New Business

Beginning at 4:25 P.M.

Open Discussion

  • Campus Climate Survey info; Yvette Alex-Assensoh (~4:10 P.M. )

Adjournment

  • 5:00 P.M. 

UO Information Services under review for inequity towards Analyst Programmers/OSNAs

Thanks to an anonymous IT worker for sending this, about UO’s efforts to prevent IT workers from getting SEIU representation by classifying them as “management”:

SEIU 503 is challenging a whopping 60% of all Information Services Division OAs (40+ positions in total) for being mis-classified as “Managerial Positions”, even though they manage neither people nor budgets. SEIU contends these positions perform the same job functions as other classified Analyst Programmers/OSNAs on campus, and appear to have been purposefully crafted by Information Services/UO HR to circumvent the union, given nebulous job titles such as ‘Data Asset Manager’ and ‘Enterprise Systems Developer’, and position descriptions laced with subjective loop-hole labor statute verbiage exempting them from representation:

“Though this position does not directly supervise, this position possesses authority to formulate and carry out management decisions or who represents management’s interest by taking or effectively recommending discretionary actions that control or implement employer policy, and who has discretion in the performance of these management responsibilities beyond the routine discharge of duties.”

Compared to positions with similar job duties and years of service, the salary inequities range from 10K-30K less than that of their classified peers. Not to mention zero compensation for overtime and on-call work. UO Information Services (already poorly staffed compared to our peer institutions) is experiencing a minor exodus in both leadership and rank-in-file staff. While UO is “deeply committed to a culture that values … equity” (according to Pres. Schill) it behooves UO to look after its own long-term interests of retention in an expanding and ever-remote job-seeker market in IT, especially given the glacial pace of UO HR’s re-hiring process.

GC Kevin Reed hiding Duck’s public records from press

No disrespect to Mr. Reed intended – this is just the sort of thing he said he would do in his job application letter, and just what Pres Schill pays him to do:

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The NCAA is reviewing the University of Oregon’s relationship to an organization backed by Nike founder Phil Knight and other prominent alumni aimed at helping athletes with marketing opportunities.

Documents obtained by KOIN 6 through a public records request show the NCAA sent a letter to the University in December asking Oregon’s Chief Compliance Officer to explain how it interacts with Division Street, INC. The Division Street website describes itself as “a sport venture that will supercharge name, image, and likeness (NIL) opportunities for University of Oregon athletes.”

KOIN 6 requested Oregon’s response, but the Office of Public Records said the records were exempt from public disclosure.

The letter from the NCAA does not accuse the U of O of any wrongdoing. The NCAA instructs the University to explain whether any school staff members are involved with Division Street and if they receive compensation.

“Describe any institutional policies or procedures in place to ensure the agreements established via Division Street represent payment for actual work performed,” the letter stated.

The letter asks the compliance office to provide information on any contractual agreements facilitated by Division Street between Oregon athletes and businesses. It asks for the athletes’ names, their responsibilities under the agreements and how much they are to be paid.

Bikes, Covid, and Relative Risks (keep on biking!)

Thanks to Raghu Parthasarathy of UO Physics and http://eighteenthelephant.wordpress.com/ for sending in the following:

..I’ve wondered about this exact comparison [of the relative risks of Covid and of bicycling] for a while. Here are some very rough numbers — I encourage someone to put together better ones.

TL/DR: My estimate is that the annual risk of dying by bike is 10,000 greater than of dying by Covid. Nonetheless I happily bike to work.

Let’s say about 9 people per year in Oregon die in bike accidents — from https://towardsdatascience.com/oregon-bicycle-motor-vehicle-collisions-33af6d4a47a9 ; that’s 9 per 4 million. (I’m surprised it’s not higher.) 

What fraction of Oregonians commute by bike? Even in Eugene, I doubt it’s over 5%. Let’s say the death rate per cyclist is therefore 9*20 = 180 per 4 million. The biking death rate per year is therefore about **50/million.**

In the past two years 6000 people have died of Covid in Oregon, so 3000 per year per 4 million. As we all know, the risk is extremely age dependent, and the demographics of bicyclists will be very different from that of Covid victims! (The fatality rate is *100 times* smaller for 40 year olds than 75; 1000 times for 20 year olds; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33289900/) Very roughly, as a 45 year old, my Covid fatality risk (without vaccination) is therefore around 30/4 million; I’m vaccinated and boosted, so this becomes ~0.3/4 million — I think it’s 100x smaller, though I can’t find the reference now. Plus, I’m in good health. So at most about 0.1/million, and probably more like 0.01/million. The Covid death rate per year, for a healthy and vax’ed 45 year old, is therefore about **0.01/million.**

I happily bike to campus every day; my kids bike to school. We live with such risks; they make life worth living. It is wrong / ignorant / neurotic to think that our Covid risks are anywhere close to the risks that many people perceive them to be.

If the numbers are wrong, I welcome corrections. I suggest, however:
(i) snarky comments without numbers are not constructive
(ii) put your name on your posts. (The internet would be a better place if this were more common…)

Pres Schill and Prov Phillips blow off faculty covid concerns

The union’s response today to the administration’s dismissal yesterday of the union’s request that JH get its shit together about this omicron thing, any fucking time now:

Colleagues,

Below, you’ll find the [Union] Executive Council’s message to upper administration after reviewing their response.

If you are having difficulty with remote accommodations for your work, if you feel you are working in an unsafe environment, or, if your workload has significantly increased this term, please contact us so we can advocate for you as best as we can.

Please remember Bargaining picks up again this coming week. Zoom in from wherever you’re at. The B-Team did their work. Now we do our work and show up.

In Solidarity,

The EC of UAUO



Dear President Schill, Provost Phillips, Executive Vice Provost Woodruff-Borden, and Vice President Schmelz,

We received your response to our membership generated action items presented and discussed with you on Tuesday, January 18. We are disappointed that you continue to discount and devalue important faculty input and suggestions to better their working conditions and maintain excellence in teaching and research during this global pandemic.

A presidential advisory group on COVID academic continuity and scholarly impact involving representatives from units across campus is not comparable to what we proposed, a joint UA and management group responsible for Covid-related decision making affecting our bargaining unit members. If you want input on decision making from a variety of campus groups, you might similarly work with them to make decisions affecting their unique interests, such as teaching modality with GTFF. But one group to cover all you’ve suggested cannot function efficiently. For example, we cannot see how a campus-wide group of stakeholders is best suited to discuss scholarly impact for faculty under the pandemic.

You do not acknowledge or address our action item to allow faculty teachers to choose modality based on their pedagogical expertise and their ability to best evaluate classroom safety from an “on-the-ground” perspective. Faculty recognize this flexibility is for a limited time, and they will base their decision first and foremost on their students’ holistic well-being and the best path forward for their success.

In conversation with our Labor partners across the UO, we are cognizant that the University cannot “shut down.” We also recognize we are in a privileged position where we are able to deliver our mission-critical responsibility of engaged, inclusive, and research-led teaching via two different modalities. Many of our Labor cousins and bargaining unit members can’t Zoom in to their jobs. But we are able to do so, and, as we’ve proved, do so effectively. We cannot stress enough that despite the limited data upper administration may have on student experiences during the pandemic, the realities for our students in the here and now are much more complicated. Teachers hear directly from their students what they’re experiencing now. This is why we are best suited to gauge what is pedagogically best for our students. It is an odd thing that we must stress this point. We were all hired for our pedagogical expertise and yet our expertise from within the classroom is disregarded.

Clarifying the application of Provost Phillips’ direction for when instructors may request remote instruction does not address the root issue: faculty need to have flexibility given their on-the-ground assessment and expertise involving numerous factors that may render a change in teaching modality during the pandemic. Factors not included in Provost Phillips’ policy (e.g., inadequate classroom technology, technology mismatch between classroom and teaching faculty, etc.) require faculty to work longer hours to deliver quality instruction to all of their students. Our cousins in SEIU working to support faculty with their IT needs and maintain a healthy environment in our classrooms and offices are incredibly overburdened. These are compounding pressure points unaccounted for in the current absence-based modality policy.

We argue that all faculty’s personal situations should be considered in teaching modality and support, but your persistent denial of the effects of these personal problems caused by the pandemic–among them the particular crisis in childcare, particularly for parents of unvaccinated children below age five, and faculty juggling all of this while teaching and conducting research–is leading to a significant proportion of the workforce nearing a breaking point. We believe our action items are well within reason given the current social conditions. Asynchronous or remote teaching as needed while caretaking (or other extraordinary circumstances) and establishing protocol for unit heads to ensure full participation in departmental governance are reasonable responses to the level of crisis caretakers are experiencing.

Your insistence that you continue to handle each faculty member’s situation individually on a case-by-case basis is putting faculty through more stress, labor, and time, and also drastically increasing the university’s administrative capacity. This is an issue of equity; not all faculty have the time, energy, and support of their supervisors to go through the individualized administrative process to fight to improve their own working conditions.

We wish our efforts and discussions could have been more productive. We are all striving for quality, safe working conditions while maintaining excellence in teaching and research. We will be pursuing further efforts to ensure faculty can maintain both without more detriment to their health and wellbeing.

Daily deaths to peak on Feb 4

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, another key COVID-19 forecaster in the Pacific Northwest says the number of infections in Oregon likely peaked Jan. 11. It forecasts that hospitalizations will top out on Feb. 1. Daily deaths would start declining on Feb. 4.

From Gary Warner at the Oregon Capital Bureau here.

Duck Coach Dana Altman secretly reprimanded for mask violation

From https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/01/20/pac-12-stock-report-oregons-covid-issue-washingtons-beefed-up-schedule-low-level-star-power-small-wins-for-asu-and-colorado/

The outline of an unfortunate situation has emerged on the Oregon trail. It involves COVID — specifically, the apparent violation of conference protocols by Ducks coach Dana Altman.

We framed it that way because details are sketchy. What can and cannot be revealed about COVID is dictated by student and employee privacy laws, at both the campus and conference levels.

But here’s what we know:

— Ducks point guard Will Richardson was wearing a mask during pre-game warmups last week at Oregon State.

— Richardson did not wear his mask during the game, which Oregon won 78-76.

— No Pac-12 protocols differentiate between mask-wearing in games and in warmups. Either you need one for both or for neither.

— The Pac-12 issued a private reprimand to Ducks coach Dana Altman at some point after the game, according to a report late last week by the Oregonian’s John Canzano: …

Is Altman the first head coach to be privately reprimanded by the conference over a COVID matter?

We don’t know.

Was there more to the private reprimand that a few stern words from HQ? Were any sanctions considered for the program?

Also unknown.

But the Pac-12 schools have devoted immense resources and incalculable effort into crafting and enforcing COVID policies that allow for continued competition while keeping players and coaches as safe as reasonably possible.

Any breach of those protocols — whether it’s Oregon basketball or Arizona State football or any other team and any other circumstance — is both extremely serious and deeply unfortunate.