UO Trustees meet to accept big Ballmer gift, cut real tuition, & replace Chuck Lillis with another Uncle Phil lackey

Yeah sorry this is late but I really don’t care much either. Board Chair Chuck Lillis is finally stepping down – so far without any of the bankruptcies, lawsuits and pension money raids that marked his service on the WaMu and other corporate boards. I’m sure Uncle Phil has another yes-man lined up to take his place. Tuition increases are smaller than inflation, which is bad because it doesn’t leave much scope for “progressive pricing” scholarships for low SES students. Agenda and materials for yesterday and today:

UO Policy revision will allow Pres Schill & Trustees to expel students & fire faculty for failure to “Honor the rights, dignity, essential worth, and well-being of all individuals.”

It appears to be a flagrant violation of the First Amendment and the Oregon Constitution, but presumably our leaders think they can use it as a threat against troublesome faculty and students until FIRE brings a lawsuit. My first reaction to this was disbelief, and in case yours is the same I’ve put the working doc below. Here’s the proposed final text, from an email sent to me by one of the authors:

The University of Oregon affirms its commitment to the advancement of knowledge and the promotion of respect for all. A culture of respect and inclusion, both in-person and in online forums that honors the rights, safety, dignity and worth of every individual is essential for this community to thrive and excel. The University further affirms its commitment to the freedom of thought and expression of all its members.

Members of the University of Oregon community are expected to:

  • Comply with all applicable student or workplace expectations, including those contained in the Student Conduct Code, University and unit-level policies, relevant collective bargaining agreements, and the annual respectful workplace notice.
  • Practice personal and academic integrity and expect it from others.
  • Respect the privacy, property, and freedom of others.
  • Honor the rights, dignity, essential worth, and well-being of all individuals.
  • Reject bigotry, discrimination, violence, or intimidation of any kind.
  • Value the passions, aspirations, individuality, and success of students, faculty, and staff.
  • Promote academic freedom, creative expression, and intellectual discourse.
  • Foster equity and inclusion in pursuit of a welcoming, safe, and respectful community.

Failure of a University employee or student to comply with this policy and its associated procedures will subject the person to discipline up to and including termination or expulsion. Discipline will be imposed consistent with applicable University policies, the Student Conduct Code, and/or applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Campus Contrarian’s Cynicism Currently Canceled

3/1/2022 update: Thanks to Connie Ballmer, and to Mike Schill for his successful efforts to bring in gift money to support UO’s mission. This is a huge gift targeted to an important issue. It appears to be a good combination of research, teaching, and service to the state. Just what a public university should be doing. I’m sure the Ballmer’s gave the money based in no small part on Ms Ballmer’s experience working with Pres Schill on the BoT, and her trust in his ability to manage this kind of money.

Regular UOM programming will resume after my chronic skepticism recovers from this shock and returns to base levels.

EUGENE, Ore. — Today, the University of Oregon officially launches The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health, a bold new approach to addressing the behavioral and mental health care needs of Oregon’s children. The Portland-based institute is made possible by a lead gift of more than $425 million from Connie and Steve Ballmer, co-founders of Ballmer Group Philanthropy.

The institute establishes a new national model for behavioral and mental health care by uniting the UO’s top-ranked research programs, Oregon public schools and families, and community support groups in the creation and delivery of intervention and treatment programs that can be part of the daily lives of K-12 students. The UO will propose a new degree program and launch a certificate program to empower a new workforce eager to meet children’s needs within schools and organizations. …

2/28/2022 Join us Tomorrow for an Important Announcement

Dear University of Oregon community,

I have exciting news to share about the future of the University of Oregon. The university is embarking on a new opportunity that will benefit our students, region, and Oregonians, while tackling one of society’s most pressing problems.

Please join us tomorrow, March 1 at 9:00 a.m., for a streamed video announcement. I invite you to join by following this link.

As always, thank you. We could not make this incredible leap forward without your support and dedication.I hope you will join us tomorrow!

Sincerely,Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Massive strikes at UK universities over ‘unsustainable’ working conditions

From Nature (thanks to a generally reliable correspondent):

… Staff risked their personal safety to teach in person during the pandemic, and many have reported frequently working weekends, says Jo Grady, general secretary of the UCU. “The fact that we love what we do makes us easily exploitable,” adds Leach. …

And while thee proposed 23% pension cuts are much smaller than what’s already happened at UO (Oregon PERS Tier 1/2 payouts have fallen from 100% of final pay to 50%), at least the Brits are transparent in officially calling their retirement plan a “Super Scheme”:

… The row is likely to escalate further. On 22 February, the board that oversees the pensions scheme at the heart of the debate — the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) — voted to ratify proposed cuts and reject a UCU counterproposal. This led to warnings from the union to expect further action, including a marking boycott. The UCU estimates that under the USS plans, an average staff member will see a 23% cut to their retirement benefits. However, calculations by USS employers suggest the reduction will be more modest, at around 10–18%.

Pres Schill calls for raises for underpaid UO faculty to increase excellence!

In a bold move, President Schill took to the RG Op-Ed page today with data showing that UO’s faculty are underpaid relative to their peers, arguing that pay increases would improve UO’s teaching and research performance.

2020-21:

But of course I’m kidding about what Pres Schill wrote. His op-ed below argues for raises for state lawmakers – something he has no control over – and not raises for UO faculty, which he does control. But it’s sort of interesting how many of his arguments track those that the faculty union made while Pres Schill was negotiating the recent 3 year agreement that will lead to cuts in real faculty pay.

Compared to 2010-11, things haven’t changed much. Worse for our assistant profs, better for associates and fulls.

Not exactly the stuff of excellence. FWIW here’s Pres Schill’s plan for raises for legislators:

We pay for what we get, so pay Oregon lawmakers more with SB 1566

Michael H. Schill

In addition to being intelligent, dedicated, honest and hardworking, we want Oregon’s lawmakers to reflect the districts and state they represent. Yet, we don’t pay nearly what we should for their service. We have an opportunity to fix this with Senate Bill 1566. 

With the challenges facing our state, we need to ensure the best possible public servants do not forgo public service because they cannot support their families on the current legislative salary.   

In a democracy, it is critical our representatives reflect the state’s diversity. But with such a low legislative salary, if one isn’t retired or independently wealthy, public service may become a sacrifice they cannot make. 

Oregon needs a new compensation model to encourage participation from Oregonians of every walk of life. That is the goal of SB 1566, which would set the legislative salary at the average for the state. For obvious reasons, no legislator wants to advocate for their own pay increase, which is why I feel compelled to speak on their behalf.  

Some might argue the length of the legislative session does not justify a full-time salary. This ignores the fact that much legislative work takes place away from Salem, in the districts legislators represent. I can say elected representatives have spent many days outside the session on the University of Oregon campus assessing needs, talking with experts about problems and coming up with solutions. 

Increasing the salary paid to legislators will also reduce the need for many to work additional jobs, increasing time to devote to the public good and reducing possible conflicts of interest.   

As more candidates are drawn to run for office, it is highly likely races will become more competitive. That competition would be good for our state and our body politic.   

However, for those of us who would like increased numbers of historically underrepresented people in the Legislature, including people of color and economically disadvantaged residents, raising salaries should not be seen as the lone solution. The only systematic study of the relationship between legislative salaries and working-class representation in state legislatures actually finds a negative relationship. 

While higher salaries may draw more people from diverse backgrounds to run into politics, they also can create an incentive for middle- and higher-income candidates. Nevertheless, setting salaries at the mean for the state would not singularly lure people with high incomes to give up their other jobs.  

A recent survey of research by professors at the University of North Carolina and Duke concludes higher legislator salaries are associated with less outside employment, fewer missed votes, more legislation introduced [wait, this is a good thing?], greater congruence with constituents’ views and more electoral competition.  

In our society, what we pay often reflects how much we value something. We all should value a state legislature populated by men and women who reflect Oregon’s diversity and are willing and able to devote themselves and their time to making the state a better place. 

Now is the time for lawmakers to pass SB 1566.  

Michael H. Schill is the University of Oregon president and a professor of law. 

Submit a guest view by emailing bomeara@registerguard.com your draft of either 525 words or 725 words, not in between. Include any relevant links to resources and research. Also, be sure to include a short biography explaining who you are, what you do and where you live. Writers may publish one guest view per 90 days.

UO holds not very open search for new VPRI

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the news that 3 finalists have been selected and are coming to campus. The link that is supposed to take you to the schedule does not.

Finalist A is Cass Moseley, (current interim who seems to be doing a fine job). Don’t ask me how I found out but her talk is on Tuesday, February 22 from 11:00-12:00p EMU Cedar and Spruce Rooms (231-232) or https://uoregon.zoom.us/j/98495786347

The other finalists are Andrea Belz (USC) and Anshuman Razdan (Delaware).

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.