University pays professor $504K to leave

Universities do that for coaches all the time. For example, over the past 5 years UO has paid former coaches $13.5M. Universities also do it to get rid of bad presidents – e.g. the $940K we paid Gottfredson to go away. But this time a university bought out a tenured professor – and that’s unusual enough make it into InsideHigherEd news:

… [UNC-W chancellor Sartarelli], in a note to the campus, said he had three choices. “1) Have him continue as a faculty member and accept the ongoing disruption to our educational mission, the hurt and anger in the UNCW community, and the damage to the institution. 2) Attempt to terminate him, and face drawn out, very costly litigation, that we might not win, which was the case when Dr. Adams sued UNCW and won a First Amendment retaliation lawsuit in 2014. That legal process lasted 7 years and cost the university roughly $700,000, $615,000 of which was for Dr. Adams’ attorneys’ fees. Losing a similar lawsuit today could cost even more. 3) Negotiate a settlement when, as part of a conversation with me about his conduct and future at UNCW, I learned Dr. Adams was interested in retiring. This approach allows us to resolve the situation quickly, with certainty, and in the most fiscally responsible way. This is the best option for our university and our community.”

3:00 p.m. Finance and Facilities Committee

[reposted because of reserve and media contract stuff]

3:00 p.m. Finance and Facilities Committee

1. Audited Financial Statements: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO; Kelly Wolf, Associate Vice President and Controller; Scott Simpson, Partner, Moss Adams

Here’s one metric where UO is not at the bottom of the AAU – reserves:

2. Quarterly Financial Reports and Annual Treasury Report: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO; Karen Levear, Director, Treasury Operations

All these business people on the board, and the only trustee who found the error in the report is the UO staff trustee, Jimmy Murray, a librarian. Controller Kelly Wolf thanks him.

As usual these reports do not include any information on the athletics budget, or the various tax changes affecting it, or their subsidies, or their debt obligations. This is despite the fact that in the past trustees have specifically asked to see this.

Continue reading

Pac-12 meets Friday under Pres Schill to consider postponing football

Rumor down at the faculty club is that the PAC-12 board, which is chaired by President Schill as of July 1, will meet this Friday to discuss what to do about football. The Ivy League has already postponed or maybe cancelled it, that news is here.

Meanwhile USA Today reports that Learfield IMG College, the multimedia conglomerate that controls the marketing and sponsorship rights for the Ducks and many other universities has started delaying payments, and is threatening to activating force majeure clauses if the universities don’t renegotiate their contracts.  UO’s contract with IMG, first negotiated by GC Kevin Reed in 2016, has such a clause.

And, since there’s an MOU between the Ducks and the Academic side sharing these revenues, this could cost us all:

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 9.36.18 PM

University to cut 11 subsidized sports due to budget crisis

That would be Stanford University – thanks to several readers for the forward.

Sacrifices must be made. Except by the golfers, I can’t help but notice:

Stanford University logo
JULY 8, 2020

An Open Letter to the Stanford Community and the Stanford Athletics Family

Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President
Persis Drell, Provost
Bernard Muir, Director of Athletics

One of Stanford’s great sources of pride is our intercollegiate athletics program. Over the course of our storied history, through innumerable days of challenge, triumph, and joy, our student-athletes have set the standard for exceptional achievement in both academics and athletics. Cheering on the Cardinal is an integral part of life at Stanford, and the commitment and dedication of our student-athletes serve as an inspiration for fans and followers well beyond The Farm.

As you may know, Stanford currently offers more varsity sports than nearly every other Division I university in the nation. Our goal is to provide excellent support and a world-class experience for our student-athletes in the sports that we offer. Over time, however, providing 36 varsity teams with the level of support that they deserve has become a serious and growing financial challenge.

We now face the reality that significant change is needed to create fiscal stability for Stanford Athletics, and to provide the support we believe is essential for our student-athletes to excel.

In that context, we are writing today with some extremely difficult news. In consultation with the Board of Trustees, we have made the decision to reduce the breadth of our athletics programs and staffing. Stanford will discontinue 11 of our varsity sports programs at the conclusion of the 2020-21 academic year: men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men’s volleyball, and wrestling. All of these teams will have the opportunity to compete in their upcoming 2020-21 seasons, should the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 allow it, before they are discontinued at the varsity level. Regretfully, 20 of our support staff positions are being eliminated as part of this realignment.

This is heartbreaking news to share. These 11 programs consist of more than 240 incredible student-athletes and 22 dedicated coaches. They were built by more than 4,000 alumni whose contributions led to 20 national championships, 27 Olympic medals, and an untold number of academic and professional achievements. Each of the individuals associated with these programs will forever have a place in Stanford’s history.

We will do everything we can to support the student-athletes, coaches, and support staff members affected by this decision. We will honor all existing athletics scholarship commitments to the student-athletes throughout their undergraduate experiences at Stanford, and we hope they choose to remain on The Farm and earn their Stanford degrees. Should any student choose to continue their collegiate athletics career elsewhere, however, we will support them in every way possible. The contracts of affected coaches will be honored, and any support staff whose employment is ending will be provided with severance pay. All of the affected sports will have the opportunity to transition to club status after they conclude their 2020-21 varsity season.

We understand that the timing of this announcement, in early summer and against a backdrop of uncertainty and change across our country, is certainly far from ideal, as is the method by which we had to deliver the news to our student-athletes and coaches today, via Zoom. However, we felt it was imperative to confront the financial challenge before it worsened, to undertake a deliberate and collaborative decision-making process with our Board of Trustees and campus leadership, and to exhaust all alternatives before making profound changes in our programs, especially during this difficult time. That process has recently come to a conclusion, and we wanted to share the news as quickly as possible in order to provide our student-athletes and staff with as much flexibility and choice as possible. Given the timing, we determined that offering these 11 programs the opportunity for one final season of varsity competition in 2020-21 was the right thing to do.

Below, we would like to provide more information about the financial challenge behind this decision, how the 11 sports were chosen, and what the future holds for varsity athletics at Stanford.

Financial sustainability & competitive excellence

The financial model supporting 36 varsity sports is not sustainable. The average Division I athletics program sponsors 18 varsity sports. In fact, only one university at the Division I FBS level sponsored more varsity sports than Stanford prior to this change, and that institution does so with a significantly larger budget. Many of our peers at the Power Five level are supported by budgets that are much larger than ours while operating far fewer sports. Stanford’s more than 850 varsity student-athletes today represent 12% of our undergraduate population, a far higher percentage than exists at nearly all of our peer institutions.

Due to the escalating costs of operating such a large athletics department, a structural deficit emerged several years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. That deficit was projected to exceed $12 million in FY21 and to grow steadily in the years ahead. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated recession have only exacerbated the gap; before these sport reductions, our revised forecasts indicated a best-case scenario of a $25 million deficit in FY21, factoring in the effects of COVID-19, and a cumulative shortfall of nearly $70 million over the next three years. These projected deficits could become much greater if the 2020-21 sports seasons are suspended or altered due to COVID-19.

We have investigated a wide variety of alternatives – ticket sales, broadcast revenue, university funding, philanthropic support, operating budget reductions, and many others – and found them insufficient to meet the magnitude of the financial challenge before us. While Stanford may be perceived to have limitless resources, the truth is that we do not. In general, Athletics has been a self-sustaining entity on our campus, and we are striving to preserve that model in a time when budgetary support for our academic mission is already under significant stress. Academic and administrative units across the university already have been planning budget cuts of up to 10% in response to the university’s constrained resources as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of Stanford’s endowment is directed toward specific long-term uses, including need-based financial aid for students, and is not available to backfill an ongoing structural budget deficit in a specific department. In addition, while Stanford Athletics benefits from a robust community of generous supporters, their philanthropy simply could not cover the escalating costs of ensuring excellence across the board in our 36-sport model. stay connected.

Over the past several months, Stanford Athletics has undertaken significant cost-saving measures. Our entire Athletics executive team and a number of our head coaches, including our head football and basketball coaches, have taken voluntary pay reductions. We are reducing sport and administrative operating budgets to the greatest extent possible, including altering our competition schedules and travel plans for the upcoming academic year. Additionally, the support staff layoffs announced today represent a 10% reduction in our Athletics workforce. Even implementing all of these measures, however, we will need to access our limited reserve funds to bridge us through the current economic downturn and the acute near-term impacts the pandemic will have on our revenue sources.

We have calculated that the total incremental funding needed to permanently sustain these 11 sports at a nationally competitive varsity level exceeds $200 million. There are other significant fundraising priorities across the university and within Athletics. In fact, even after recognizing the full expense savings resulting from this decision, closing the remaining Athletics structural deficit and ensuring the continued success of our remaining 25 varsity sports will itself require garnering resources that exceed that amount, and we are fully committed to that endeavor.

The primary alternative to this decision would have been a broad and deep reduction in support for all 36 of our varsity sports, including the elimination of scholarships and the erosion of our efforts to attract and retain the high-caliber coaches and staff needed to provide an unparalleled scholar-athletics experience. After considering the effects of this model, we determined that operating our varsity athletics programs in this manner would be antithetical to Stanford’s values and our determination to be excellent in all that we do.

While painful, the discontinuation of these 11 sports at the varsity level and the associated reductions in our support staff will create a path for Stanford Athletics to return to fiscal stability while maintaining gender equity and competitiveness. It will ultimately enhance the experience of the remaining student-athletes and increase their likelihood of competing for national championships for years to come. We remain steadfastly committed to excellence in varsity athletics and, in fact, Stanford will continue to maintain one of the highest student-athlete to undergraduate student body ratios in the nation, with nearly 9% of the undergraduate student body continuing to participate in varsity athletics beyond the 2020-21 academic year.

Why these 11 sports?

These 11 sports were decided upon after a comprehensive evaluation of all of our sports across a broad set of criteria and considerations, including, but not limited to:

Sponsorship of the sport at the NCAA Division I level

National youth and postgraduate participation in the sport

Local and national fan interest in the sport stay connected.

Potential expense savings from the elimination of the sport

Incremental investments required to keep or put the sport in a position to achieve competitive excellence on the national level

History of the sport at Stanford

Prospects for future success of the sport at Stanford

Impact on gender equity and Title IX compliance

Impact on the diversity of our student-athlete population

Impact on the student-athlete experience across all sports, now and in the future

For example, in simply looking at sponsorship of the sports at a national level as one consideration:

Of the 11 sports being discontinued, six (lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming) are not NCAA-sponsored championship sports.

All 11 sports being discontinued are sponsored by less than 22% of the more than 350 Division I institutions, and nine (men’s and women’s fencing, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men’s volleyball) are sponsored by less than 9%.

There are only two other Division I field hockey programs on the West Coast, and there are no other fencing, lightweight rowing, sailing, squash, or synchronized swimming programs on the West Coast.

Many of these sports currently compete without a full complement of scholarships (e.g. wrestling), coaches, and resources. After careful analysis, we concluded there was no realistic path to ensuring that they have all of the resources needed to compete at the highest level without hindering our ability to support our other 25 varsity sports.

All of the impacted sports will have the opportunity to compete at the club level after their upcoming varsity seasons are complete, assuming sufficient student interest, but will need to do so in a financially self-sustaining manner that ensures the safety and well-being of the participants. We will immediately begin working with the student-athletes, parents, alumni, and supporters of these sports to work toward providing robust opportunities for participation at the club level.

The future of Stanford Athletics

Today’s announcement brings the three of us great sadness, though we realize ours is nowhere near the level of pain and disappointment that our student-athletes, parents, alumni, and supporters of the impacted sports are experiencing.

We remain committed to a strong and vibrant varsity athletics program at Stanford, and we are confident that these changes will position Stanford Athletics, and our remaining 25 varsity programs, for sustained excellence and leadership in athletics, academics and education through sport. Our commitment to diversity and gender equity in athletics also remains firmly in place and is supported by this decision.

More information about the issues we have discussed here is available at Thank you for reading, and for those of you who are part of the Stanford Athletics family, thank you for your steadfast dedication to the success and well-being of our student-athletes.

Pres Schill and Prov Phillips on Trump’s latest nastiness

Dear University of Oregon community,

The federal government’s recent guidance forcing the immediate exit from the United States of international students enrolled entirely in online or remote classes is cruel, unfair, and misguided. This is a reversal of guidance issued at the onset of the pandemic that had created helpful flexibility for international students when universities rapidly adjusted curriculum delivery to respond to COVID-19.

We are all working to ensure safe instructional formats for all students. Yet this new guidance targets one population for sudden exclusion if a university makes decisions for safety to move instruction online. It has no sound justification in health or educational policy. It will cause devastating disruption to the educational and research experience of University of Oregon international students already in the United States, as well as those looking to come to the UO. This shameful announcement is already creating personal stress, uncertainty, and financial harm to members of our university community.

International students are a valued part of the UO, and important to our success as a world-class, global institution of higher education. We are committed to doing everything we can to support international students through this time of uncertainty and are working directly with affected students on how best to continue their education at the UO. We urge the administration to reverse this destructive guidance and instead provide flexibility, fairness, and clarity for international students. The UO is working actively with higher education associations and peer institutions to pursue all avenues to delay or overturn these unnecessarily harsh requirements for international students.


Michael H. Schill, President and Professor of Law
Patrick Phillips, Provost and Senior Vice President (and Professor of Biology last I checked, though apparently he doesn’t need to keep reminding everyone of that.)

Changes in UO expenditure authorizations from 2014 to 2020 budgets

Note: These data are from They show authorized expenditures – not actual expenditures. For example, the Law School is authorised to spend $10.8M this year, they probably spent more that $18M.

I’ve sorted these by the $ change from 2013-2014 to the 2019-2020 AY. Changes in accounting mean that direct comparisons should be done with care. My quick takeaway is that most of the units getting large increases are administrative units – not academic units.

Comments and interpretation welcome.

2014 2020
unit  Total Expenditure Budget Total Expenditure Budget2 % change $ change
400500 –  Budget and Finance Division $609,831 NA NA
410210-FASS Finance & Admn Shared Services $4,230,781 NA NA
410500 –  Campus Planning & Real Estate $1,523,420 NA NA
422111 –  VPSA Holden Center $590,395 NA NA
433300 –  Printing & Mailing Services $4,805,174 NA NA
440500 –  Affirmative Action $770,250 NA NA
460509 –  Parking and Transportation $1,961,731 NA NA
461000-Campus Services $19,066,396 NA NA
520200-University Communications $9,242,351 NA NA
900100-UO General / Budget Control $910,197 NA NA
910000-UO General Business Operations -$7,355,165 NA NA
912000-UO General Insurance $5,588,795 NA NA
913698-UO Building/Property Management $5,561,516 NA NA
430000 –  Business Affairs Office $5,962,728 $89,723,648 1405% $83,760,920
480000 –  Athletics $98,011,236 $139,080,843 42% $41,069,607
600000 –  Research $33,270,095 $65,152,481 96% $31,882,386
470000 –  University Housing $57,347,971 $86,978,680 52% $29,630,709
263000 –  Information Services $21,127,986 $44,556,899 111% $23,428,913
226000 –  Education, College of $32,825,094 $51,769,399 58% $18,944,305
450000 –  Campus Operations $45,666,314 $64,195,299 41% $18,528,985
262010 –  VP Student Affairs Administration $4,436,250 $20,270,005 357% $15,833,755
490000 –  University Health Center $18,680,905 $30,100,545 61% $11,419,640
225000 –  Business, College of $32,996,210 $44,336,069 34% $11,339,859
221000 –  Architecture & Allied Arts, School $21,365,273 $29,297,696 37% $7,932,423
262000 –  Enrollment Management $22,956,355 $30,704,252 34% $7,747,897
425000 –  Student Union, EMU $13,982,738 $20,026,783 43% $6,044,045
267000 –  Undergraduate Studies $5,817,332 $10,949,308 88% $5,131,976
229000 –  Music and Dance, School of $12,876,518 $16,694,166 30% $3,817,648
150001 –  Academic Extension $19,722,601 $23,397,158 19% $3,674,557
265000 –  Graduate School $2,644,944 $6,241,397 136% $3,596,453
410000 –  VP Fin & Admin Operations $3,219,494 $5,940,514 85% $2,721,020
410800 –  Enterprise Risk Services $2,897,358 $5,570,814 92% $2,673,456
440000 –  Human Resources $5,313,727 $7,700,330 45% $2,386,603
227000 –  Journalism & Communicatn, School of $23,811,816 $26,185,848 10% $2,374,032
460000 –  Police Department $5,684,545 $7,646,310 35% $1,961,765
224000 –  Honors College $4,354,598 $6,261,566 44% $1,906,968
100100 –  President Administrative Operations $3,544,927 $5,441,851 54% $1,896,924
266900 –  Physical Education and Recreation $10,683,956 $12,445,380 16% $1,761,424
120000 –  Senior VP and Provost Operations $7,660,326 $9,143,398 19% $1,483,072
264000 –  International Affairs $14,017,355 $15,412,721 10% $1,395,366
211000 –  VP for Equity & Inclusion $3,487,333 $4,851,098 39% $1,363,765
210325 –  UO Portland $4,494,486 $5,711,118 27% $1,216,632
267500 –  Counseling & Testing Center $4,333,012 $5,467,328 26% $1,134,316
432000 –  Purchasing & Contracting Services $1,212,868 $2,078,298 71% $865,430
410600 –  University Auditor $37,950 $759,515 1901% $721,565
102000 –  General Counsel $2,523,487 $3,128,404 24% $604,917
267600 –  Career Center $1,684,687 $2,241,144 33% $556,457
106000 –  UO Board of Trustees $172,912 $593,208 243% $420,296
410310 –  Institutional Research $616,030 $872,900 42% $256,870
212000 –  Vice Provost for Budget & Planning $1,137,671 $1,210,615 6% $72,944
420000 –  Budget and Resource Planning $908,143 $968,077 7% $59,934
250000 –  Library $28,032,268 $28,087,702 0% $55,434
200100 –  Academic Affairs $10,018,273 $7,048,971 -30% -$2,969,302
267900 –  Dean of Students & AVP Stdnt Affrs $8,771,136 $5,246,465 -40% -$3,524,671
222000 –  Arts & Sciences, College of $176,341,301 $169,805,544 -4% -$6,535,757
228000 –  Law, School of $19,621,847 $10,842,522 -45% -$8,779,325
500100 –  University Advancement $30,228,889 $20,004,888 -34% -$10,224,001
Grand Total $834,761,746 $1,181,386,029 42% $346,624,283

Bargaining IV, 7/7/2020

Liveblog, usual disclaimer: my thoughts on what people are saying, trying to say, trying to be thinking, etc. Nothing is a quote unless in ” ” ‘s.

None of the usual chit-chat. Cecil sent in some written questions, Matella waited until just now to give him the answers. She claims that UO hasn’t really enacted any cost savings measure yet. Cecil calls caucus til 9:45. Union looks pissed. Matella promised two week a go to share Brad’s “models” – by which I think she meant spreadsheets. She hasn’t.

Meanwhile the Union’s discount branders have been busy:

They’re back. Sinclair: We’re trying to figure out how much money the university has or is likely to save and raise – before we get to faculty cuts.

Sinclair: Let’s cut to the chase. How much could we save by ditching Concur?

[UOM: Sorry, that’s it for live blogging today. I’ll have a recap tomorrow.]

University presidents make token cuts to bloated Pac-12

The Pac-12 is run by the 12 university presidents/chancellors. John Canzano has the story here:

Scott relayed the bad news to the staff via an email obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive. Scott wrote, “our CEO Group approved our conference budget for this coming year, which includes a 9 percent overall decrease in expenses along with salary reductions for employees making over $100,000 in annual salary.”

The salary reductions were effective immediately and will remain in effect for the next 12 months. Employees making six figures received pay reductions ranging from 5-10 percent. Scott, who makes $5.3 million, revealed in the email that he’d be taking a compensation reduction of 12 percent.

… I can’t blame the Pac-12 CEO Group for looking hard at the conference budget, seeing the cost of operations, and asking Scott to implement cost cuts. It’s a natural economic reaction. And it’s the same stuff being carried out on the Pac-12 university campuses. But what remains at the conference level are a series of vital questions.

Employees are left wondering why didn’t Scott assume an inspiring leadership stance and take a more significant pay reduction himself? It would have played well in all circles, internal and external.

Of course if Scott took a big cut then the university presidents would have to explain why they haven’t. Interesting that the Pac-12 cuts started at $100K. 2 months ago Pres Schill proposed pay cuts for faculty and OA’s that started at $30K – but he and the other university president’s weren’t willing to the same for the Pac-12, because it’s sports.

UO still hiding data on positive tests

7/5/2020: In the RG letters:

As an alumnus, I strongly object to the decision by the University of Oregon to hide any information about the number of athletes testing positive for coronavirus. Why?

One, the decision represents a disservice to, and potentially puts at risk, other members of the team as well as other students and the public. Clearly most Oregonians and other Americans are concerned about the pandemic and want to be fully informed about infection rates and potential risks.

Two, the decision runs counter to what some, though not all, Pac-12 schools, and many colleges outside the Pac-12, are doing. For example, the University of Colorado, Oregon State University and the University of Washington are reporting the number of athletes testing positive.

UO claims that this decision was made to protect the privacy of athletes per “federal and state law,” implying that other colleges, such as OSU, are violating those statutes by publishing the very type of non-identifiable information that the UO refuses to release.

Finally, the decision contradicts the university’s purported commitment to prioritize health and safety above all else, and to maintain transparency, during the pandemic. It clearly prioritizes athletic department finances over health and welfare of athletes, other students and the public.

Bob Weinstein, Portland

7/4/2020: Still no details from UO, while UW is even reporting fraternity cases:

(Thanks to a reader for the link).

7/3/2020: That would of course *not* be the University of Oregon, which posts only numbers, here. Other universities release more helpful info – e.g. UCLA, here.  Oregon State reports positive athlete tests, UO does not. Why not?

Even USC – never known for transparency, and as a private school exempt from public records laws – does a better job than UO. Here’s a tweet from one of their PR flacks:

Bargaining III, 7/2/2020

Liveblog: Usual disclaimer: My opinion of what people said, meant to say, or should have said. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes. The link to register and watch is below.

Matella: Brad is working on budget projections now. He knows algebra! I’ll get you them soon.

Here’s what the faculty would get for accepting cuts:

Cecil: Need to pin down what you mean by pre-COVID levels. You mean the 0.1 contracts that were being give out then, e.g. to AEI? Also, people get lied to.

Matella: OK will take back to my team. I agree that heads and deans tell faculty things that are not true. This is why we need central control.

Matella: We want to keep flexibility to change FTE on the fly.

Cecil: We don’t want you to keep flexibility to change FTE on the fly. Reading this, you could have used the above to give *all* NTTF 0.1 contracts – and waited until September to do it.

Matella: But we’d have to write a memo justifying that.

Cecil: Right.

Matella: I don’t understand why you want to make it harder to reduce FTE than to lay people off.

Cecil: Nothing in your proposal keeps you from shifting all the risk from enrollment/funding problems to the NTTF/Career, as you did this spring. So, department could give you a three year contract at 1.0 FTE, then 90 days later reduce it to 0.1 FTE, after writing a memo.

Matella: OK, please come back to me with a counter.

Break til 11:15. They’re back.


Matella: What would UAUO’s position be on the one-time buy out figure? 33%? Cecil: Enough to get some faculty to retire. You think 33% is going to excite people?

[Lots going on here. Admin wants to end the TRP permanently. Replace it with 2 temporary early retirement/buyout plans – offered for a limited time only. The idea is to get a spike in retirements/tenure relinquishment now. Matella believes that the current TRP does not incentivize early retirement – it’s just a bonus for people who are planning on retiring anyway.]

Cecil: So, if it’s a bonus for old TTF, why would we bargain it away for 33%?

Matella: Current TRP is very expensive – just look at what Brad’s getting.

Cecil: We have a shared interest in encouraging COVID retirements. But not in ending TRP.

Matella: PERS Tier 1’s already have a robust retirement plan (not true of ORP faculty, sadly.)

Matella: How about an ongoing incentive program, tied to employee’s place in their career? (Not sure it’s legal to do this by age, but perhaps by years in rank or something.

Cecil: Will you share model you used to cost out our previous incentive program. Matella: Yes.

Cecil: Are you also looking at early retirement for non-faculty? Matella: Yes, but not sure it’s workable or a cost saver.

Moving back to layoffs:

Cecil: Are you willing to consider some mechanism for financial criteria that does not involve some administrator saying we’re in financial crisis?

Matella: N0t sure.

Cecil: How do we distinguish between a real crisis and a decision to spend university E&G money on, say, wiring up the Phildo?

Break, back at 12:45.

[Sorry, live-blogging suspended for an hour or so, had to run to Jerry’s. Back now, they’re caucusing]

They’re back.

Matella: For the “panel”, we’re ok with two admins, two faculty, one neutral. Triggered by a complaint by a faculty member about contract rights – not academic judgement. Panel would review w/in 15 days. What were you thinking re the provost’s role?

Cecil: The panel would have to agree before a senior instructor could be laid off for financial reasons.

Matella: Gotta take that part back to the provost.

Cecil: Back to the wage cut. We will need information on the hold harmless level. We don’t want to agree to wage cuts, then discover you’ve blown $1.5M on wiring up the Phildo, or faculty tracking software.


Continue reading

Students, or vectors?

Campus has been closed for almost 4 months. Classes, meetings, union bargaining, everything is online. Sorry, I mean virtual. Everything is closed, even Taylors.

Well, not everything. Uncle Phil’s unpaid Duck football players have been back on campus for a few weeks,  for “voluntary” workouts and practices. And no one wants to know what’s going on at the frats and sororities. Apparently a lot of partying. Shocking.

Here’s the latest data. Extrapolating this exponential trend, by the time classes start in October every surviving member of the UO community will have had at least 3 cases of COVID-19:

Information on Positive Tests

July 1, 2020: Nine positive tests. Nine University of Oregon students are determined to be positive for COVID-19 in Eugene.

June 29, 2020: Three positive tests. Three University of Oregon students tested positive for COVID-19 in Eugene.

June 26, 2020: Five positive tests. Five University of Oregon students tested positive for COVID-19 on June 26 in Eugene. The presumptive positive case reported on June 22 is now a confirmed positive.

June 22, 2020: Three positive tests. One presumptive positive. Three UO students tested positive for COVID-19 in Eugene. One additional student is a presumptive positive. They are all recovering in isolation. Public health officials are conducting contact tracing and monitoring for individuals associated with these cases.

June 12, 2020: One positive test. One UO student tested positive for COVID-19 in Eugene. They are recovering in isolation. Public health officials are conducting contact tracing and monitoring for individuals associated with this positive case. This individual had minimal contact with the campus community.

Faculty Union to continue bargaining with Admins, Tu and Th

Liveblog: Usual disclaimer: My opinion of what people said, meant to say, or should have said. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes. The link to register and watch is below.

Matella: Shares marked up version of Union’s powerpoint on general principals from last week. Admin response is in red:

Cecil: So you want to use any failure to meet the pre-covid predictions from Roger Thompson of *increases* in enrollment as the trigger for pay cuts? Matella: Yes. [Also, Admin wants to use enrollment rather than tuition as part of the trigger?]

Cecil: So the union’s share would be based on the faculty’s current share of the UO budget? Matella: After a $10M hold harmless for the union. [Some back on forth – this is a framework not a real proposal yet.] Urbancic: Auxiliaries? Grants? [Unclear]

Matella: [I think she’s saying faculty are held harmless for a $10M loss. Losses above that the faculty give up a share proportionate to their current share of E&G budget. So, say $25M loss out of E&G, admin pays first $10M, the union pays their share of the remaining $15M, or ~5M.

Sinclair: UO’s enrollment projections are often aspirational, rather than fact based. Union will need to see the basis for the projections.

Matella: We’re just spit-balling here, conversation on principles. The powerpoint is just a starting point. Cecil: That helps, thanks.

Page 3 of powerpoint:

Questions about OPE calculations and savings. Not a linear function of salary. UO uses a “Blended OPE rate” but is willing to use actual savings if union wants.

Cecil: So, if we do this we’ll also be able to use actual OPE for course buy-outs etc?

Matella: We’re not tied to Brad’s weakly progressive plan. Cecil: That’s good, we know a few economists.

Matella: We hop to share our models next week. [She said the same thing last week.]

Slide 4:

Matella: Any cuts will temporary. Doesn’t think voluntary cuts are possible.

Cecil: Last time Admins asked faculty and OA’s to take cuts at the same time Senior Admins took raises. Then they got more raises later. Are they gonna pull that shit again? Board gives Schill more bonuses? An even sweeter retirement scam?

Matella: Don’t forget about giving senior admins overloads and stipends.

Cecil: OK. We want to continue looking at voluntary plans. OEPA is not really a problem.

Cecil: UO already got $8M from CARES. Such payments will mitigate pay-cuts, right? Matella: Fed money comes with lots of restrictions. Not promising it will be used as an offset. Maybe. Cecil: How interesting.

Cecil: We’ll want reverse triggers, to restore cuts if there’s good budget news. Matella: Also could be multiple triggers. Can we make it simpler?

Cecil: Simplest would be to wait til next June, do the math, make any cuts to offfset losses.

Matella: What principles do we still need to work on?

Cecil: How much money would it cost to restore career faculty FTE? Matella: $6-8M, I think. Cecil: How much has the hiring freeze saved? Suspension of travel? Wage freeze we’ve already agreed to? Matella: We also have losses, cost increases. Also losses in auxiliaries like housing, sports. We need to cover those. 

Cecil: I’m assuming that any savings from union salaries won’t go to athletics, right? Matella: It’s complicated. Can you give me questions by email?

Cecil: Ducks have a $120M budget, plus the $5M they already skim off the academic budget. You sure we’re not going to end up subsidizing them more when they can’t play football?

Back and forth about funding-contingent faculty and cuts.

Slide 5-6: Expectation of Continued Employment

Matella: Given the global pandemic, not sure we can afford to give a full year’s notice. Also other universities give less. Urbancic: Under the current 3-year contracts, on average career faculty have to be given 18-months of notice. So we’re giving you *more* flexibility by cutting that to 12. Also, if we cut a program these are one-time costs, not recurring, and not that expensive.

Matella: Thanks, that’s a helpful point. I will take that back to my team.

Green: Regarding the comparison to other universities, we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to non-unionized places, or places with lots of other academic employers.

Slide 7: Long term planning to close the law school:

Just kidding, Pres Schill has fall-back tenure rights in the Law School and a sweet teaching deal. We’re going to paying $8M a year to subsidize law for a long time.

Matella: Agree with the need for more accountability, concerned that this committee would actually make decisions.

Bramhall: What if legit shared governance process with the Senate leads to layoffs? Cecil: This committee would be a flea compared to the Senate.

Long back and forth about management flexibility and their prerogative to push enrollment risk and the cost of admin bloat off on the least well-paid faculty.

Time for a lunch Break? They’re back:

Matella: Proposed PPR could run for up to 2 years. All employees are in. Cecil: We have lots of questions about triggers, duration, enrollment vs tuition, etc. Your plan is to keep running it until you make up the money you’ve lost? Matella: We realize this is too complicate. Could we simplify it, like OSU? Cecil: OSU said they’d pick up first $35M, and anything over $65M. Matella: We can’t do that. Cecil: I’m concerned about basing this on projections. Obvious incentive for Thompson to over-estimate. Matella: I can get you information, but need to know where you’re going.

Cecil: Baseline for enrollment should be something like 5 year average, not an arbitrary target. Matella: It’s true Brad showed the Trustees some crazy-ass projections in the past, but those weren’t serious. That’s why they stopped inviting him to speak and invited that economist instead. We’re better at this now.  Cecil: If enrollment was up last year, why did you cut faculty? Matella: …

Cecil: You have a commitment from the union to take the cuts necessary to restore career FTE, conditional on you showing there’s no other way to find the money. So why don’t you restore that FTE now? Matella: I hear you. I’m trying to make a deal. I just can’t commit to anything. Especially not cutting the law school. Cecil: We’re not talking about cutting the law school. That’s UO Matters, and even he doesn’t want to cut it, he just wants you to not pay for it with undergrad tuition.

Cecil: Again, can you tell us how much you’ve saved and plan to save with the other cuts you’ve made? Matella: Not a mandatory subject for bargaining. We’re having those conversations with the Not-Senate sham committee. We want to explore these subjects with you. What’s the best next step? Should I put together another PPR plan? Cecil: If you don’t want to be transparent about where you’re spending and saving money, you can’t expect us to go along with big cuts. Small ones, maybe. Say 2-5M.

Matella: Why don’t I come back with some stuff on caps and thresholds? Then see if you want more info?

Cecil: Suppose you’ve already saved $20M from E&G. Then we’re less interested in giving you a $10M threshold. We’ll also want info on what’s coming next or should be – fundraising efforts for things besides sports, endowment assessments, more Jumbotrons, reserves, unrestricted foundation funds, etc.

[Sorry, missed some stuff. Apparently there was a caucus.]

Pratt: Here are some basic union principles for cuts:

1: Threshold and cap

2: limited to 20-21 AY for now.

3; Should be based on tuition and state appropriations, not enrollment numbers.

4: Need something more than a JH announcement that “here’s the deficit, pay cuts are now triggered”. Need real transparency.

Matella: Thanks. I’ll get you some more bullet points in response. Also some response on TRP.

2:40PM – sorry, I gotta go check on some wiring problems. See you Th at 9:30 AM.

TRP and buyouts slide:

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