UO takes admin hiring secrecy to next level for CAS search

We’ve all heard about the controversial practice of closed presidential searches, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a closed search for a Dean before – not even at LSU. But UO seems to be trying, so here’s my public records request for a little transparency:

From: harbaugh <[email protected]>
Subject: Public records request, CAS Dean finalist info
Date: April 12, 2022 at 3:39:00 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <[email protected]>
Cc: Elliot Berkman <[email protected]>
Dear Ms Thornton – 
This is a public records request for the cover letters and cv’s of the finalists for the CAS Dean position. I ask for a fee waiver on the basis in public interest in the hiring of a public university official who will have responsibility over the bulk of UO’s academic matters and a large chunk of its budget. 
I’m ccing search committee co-chair Elliot Berkman, as he should be able to provide these documents without your office’s usual fees and delays. 

Bill Harbaugh, UO Economics, [email protected]

The ask:

Candidates interview dates:

Candidate A: Monday and Tuesday, May 2-3

Candidate B: Thursday and Friday, May 5-6

Candidate C: Monday and Tuesday, May 9-10

Candidate D: Thursday and Friday, March 12-13

Public Presentation

There will also be a public presentation by each candidate. The presentations will take place on the second day of each candidates visit from 10:00 to 11:00a with a reception immediately following at 11:00 to 11:45a on the dates below. The presentations will be hybrid and the Zoom link will be available later in April. Please hold these events on your calendar.

  • Candidate A Presentation: May 3 10-11a, EMU Gumwood Room, 245 | Reception 11-11:45a, EMU Cedar + Spruce Rooms, 231-232 
  • Candidate B Presentation: May 6 10-11a, EMU Gumwood Room, 245 | Reception 11-11:45a, EMU Cedar + Spruce Rooms, 231-232
  • Candidate C Presentation: May 10 10-11a, EMU Gumwood Room, 245 | Reception 11-11:45a, EMU Cedar + Spruce Rooms, 231-232
  • Candidate D Presentation: May 13 10-11a, Chapman Hall, 220 | Reception 11-11:45a, Tykeson Hall, James Commons area (first floor)

Please be aware that candidate names will not be made public. Members within UO will be able to access candidate materials in the secure   search folder. Materials will be added to this folder the week of April 25. We ask for all participants to maintain confidentiality in regard to candidate names and materials.

Duck Football brings UO more free publicity!

From https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/33716661/former-oregon-ducks-ol-doug-brenner-adds-100m-damages-claim-lawsuit-ncaa

… According to the lawsuit, Taggart told players when he was hired that he and the new coaches were going to focus on discipline in strength and conditioning and that they were “going to find the snakes in the grass and cut their heads off.”

The document states that the workouts took place every morning on four consecutive days, and Brenner was in a group that began at 6 a.m. The lawsuit states that Taggart and Oderinde didn’t review the training program with the school’s sports medical staff, and Oregon failed to require them to do so.

According to the document, the workout lasted for 60 to 90 minutes, and the staff “did not make water available in the workout room for at least the first day of the workouts.” The lawsuit also states that about 40 players in each group had to do “10 perfect push-ups in unison,” and if one of the athletes was out of sync with the rest or failed to use perfect technique, all of the players had to do up-downs and start the drill over.

The lawsuit contends that over several days, “student athletes vomited, passed out, or collapsed during the workouts.” It says that Oregon’s medical staff “acknowledged that the workout went beyond the student athletes’ natural limits after the first day, but rather than stop the workouts, university staff brought in oxygen tanks on the second day.”

Faculty Union bargains with our Johnson Hall colleagues and their outside lawyer Jeff Chicoine

[I’ve deleted the screenshot of the Zoom session, because the Administration threatened to close bargaining if I didn’t. Touchy.]

I don’t know much about Chicoine except that, in a strange reversal of the normal higher ed business model, he’s charging UO to teach him how to do his job.

You can watch on zoom at https://aft.zoom.us/j/94038587036?pwd=ak02amdzN3lkcWpjcG5YUU5FRjN1QT09

UAUO’s bargaining info is at https://www.uauoregon.org/bargaining/

Starting spring term with optimism

Dear University of Oregon community members,
I hope your spring term is off to a terrific start. Spring typically brings a sense of hope and renewal, and this year we have reason to be especially optimistic about what lies ahead at the University of Oregon. As I walk around campus and I teach my spring quarter class, I feel an enthusiasm and sense of community we haven’t enjoyed in more than two years.
Because we are a highly vaccinated campus in a community with low COVID-19 risk, we are able to move with cautious optimism into what I hope will be a new and better normal. While we are hopeful, we are also vigilant and will be ready to make adjustments if necessary.
This spring we have important work ahead. Our faculty and staff are launching the groundbreaking Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health. We are preparing to soon make our campus in Northeast Portland into a place where our students and faculty will help improve the lives of children and families for generations to come.
Next week, we will launch our IDEAL Climate Survey for UO Employees. We are conducting this survey because we care about making sure that the university’s culture is welcoming, equitable, and respectful. This effort will help us understand the experiences of those who work here, and help to ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed and thrive. I encourage all members of the faculty, officers of administration, classified staff, and graduate employees to take the survey when you receive the invitation by email on April 11.
Our Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact has brought on new faculty members in research areas ranging from microelectronics to next-gen biomaterials to artificial intelligence. Its bioengineering PhD program and graduate internship programs continue to grow in size and diversity, and undergraduates are now being trained in cutting-edge Knight Campus research. Preparation for the second phase of the Knight Campus is underway with plans to start construction in January of 2023.
Our community is also preparing to welcome the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 to Hayward Field in July. This year it will be one of the largest sporting events in the world, and the first time the championships are hosted in the United States or on a college campus. The magnitude of the international event is unprecedented for our campus, as it attracts 3,000 members of the media and a global television audience of 1 billion.
This celebration of diversity, human potential, and athletic achievement will also create important research and hands-on opportunities for our students and faculty. For example, our faculty will study wildfire smoke and air quality issues; our School of Journalism and Communication students will build career skills as they report on the competition; more than 200 students will gain global and cultural skills as they serve as envoys to the visiting federations; and the university will host an event focused on women in sports. In coming days, we will launch a website and share regular updates to keep you current on campus operations and activities as we celebrate our university’s standing on a global stage.
Perhaps most exciting, this June we will celebrate our graduates, hosting our first completely in-person commencement festivities in two years. We will recognize the classes of 2022, ’21, and ‘20 at a spectacular UO commencement celebration at Autzen Stadium on June 13. I so look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our students with everyone.
This spring, we have an opportunity to move forward, resume traditions, and create new ones. I remain deeply humbled, grateful, and impressed by our community’s perseverance. I am eager to see all that we will accomplish as we refocus our energy to the future, and continue our mission of making our state, nation, and world a better place for all.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

UO Senate and Committee Elections

2022 Candidates & Statements

University Senate 

CAS – Humanities:  5 openings

1. Barbara Muraca, Philosphy – Statement

2. Stephen Rust, English

3. Bjorn Smars, English

4. Peter Warnek, Philosophy

5. TBD

CAS – Natural Sciences: 4 openings

1. Anthony Hornof, CIS

2. Huaxin Lin, Mathematics

3. Peng Lu, Mathematics – Statement

4. Carrie McCurdy, Human Physiology

5. James Schombert, Physics

6. Shabnam Akhtari, Mathematics

CAS – Social Sciences: 1 opening

1. Melissa Graboyes, History

2. Matthew Norton, Sociology

3. Dan Tichenor, Political Science

College of Business: 3 openings

1. Robin Clement – Statement

2. Yoav Dubinsky

3. Ali Emami

4. Ralph Heidl

5. Michael Tomcal – Statement

College of Education: 1 opening

1. Beth Harn, SPECS

College of Design: 3 openings

1. Bob Choquette, PPPM

2. Christopher Michlig, Art

3. TBD

School of Journalism & Communication: 2 openings

1. Dayna Chatman

2. Kelli Mathews

Honors College: 1 opening

1. TBD

Librarians: 1 opening

1. Franny Gaede

2. Ann Shafer

Officers of Administration: 1 opening

1. Jesse Conway, Sponsored Projects Services

2. Greg Brock, Safety & Risk Services

3. Sara Mason, Career Center

4. Melissa Bowers, English/OCIAS

5. Jeffrey Bulkley, University Testing Center

6. Damon Rutherford, Campus Planning & Facilities Management

7. Devon Graham, Tykeson College & Career Advising

8. Michael Gwynn, Tutoring & Academic Engagement Center

9. Carol Hardy, University Housing

10. Jove Rousseau, VPFA Office

11. Lillian Moses, University Housing

12. Sheri Donahoe, Erb Memorial Union

13. Holly Syljuberget, Business Affairs Office

14. Brandon Greene, University Housing

15. Thor Mikesell, School of Music & Dance

16. Louie Bottaro, College of Design

17. Vanessa Crakes, OICRC

18. Julie Koch, School of Music & Dance

Classified Staff: 2 openings

1. Jacy Berg, Clark Honors College

2. Alida Bevirt, College of Design

3. Krista Burke, PathwayOregon

4. Jay Butler, Business Affairs Office

5. LL Clawson, Anthropology

6. Donald Dixon, Information Services

7. Shelly Ehlers, Office of the Registrar

8. Zach Fairchild, Student Life

9. Christie Ferris, Office of the Dean of Students

10. Maria Gomez de Pena, University Housing

11. McKenzie Gibson, College of Education

12. Julien Haven, Knight Campus

13. Michael Holmes, University Advancement

14. Richelle Krotts, College of Education

15. Octavio Ortiz, Intercollegiate Athletics

16. Kristin Reagan, College of Design

17. Adrian Sampedro Cruz, Duck Rides

18. Trudi Stuber, University Health Services

19. Nick Sloss, Campus Planning & Facilities Management

20. Imani Soares, University Health Services

Faculty Advisory Council

CAS – Career: 1 opening

1. Phil Colbert, CIS

CAS – At-Large (TTF): 1 opening

1. Elliot Berkman, Psychology

2. Melissa Graboyes, History

3. James Schombert, Physics 

4. Carrie McCurdy, Human Physiology

5. Raghuveer Parthasarathy, Physics

CAS – Humanities (TTF): 1 opening

1. Martin Klebes, German/Scandinavian

2. Dorothee Ostmeier, German/Scandinavian

Officer of Administration: 1 opening

1. Jesse Conway, Sponsored Projects Services

2. Brandon Greene, University Housing

3. Greg Brock, Safety & Risk Services

4. Sara Mason, Career Center

5. Thor Mikesell, School of Music & Dance

6. Michelle Brown, Information Services

7. Eden Cronk, Linguistics

8. Larissa Ennis, Government & Community Relations

9. David Landrum, Enrollment Management

10. Lara Nesselroad, UO Libraries

11. Marcus Langford, Office of the Dean of Students

Professional Schools & Colleges – Career: 1 opening

1. Deb Bauer, College of Business – Statement

2. Robin Clement, College of Business – Statement

3. Lisa Peyton, School of Journalism & Communication

Professional Schools & Colleges – TTF: 1 opening

1. Gina Biancarosa, College of Education

2. Beth Harn, College of Education

Faculty Grievance Appeals Committee: 1 opening

1. Deb Bauer, College of Business – Statement

2. Melissa Graboyes, History

3. Peng Lu, Mathematics – Statement

4. Barbara Muraca, Philosophy – Statement

5. Stephen Rust, English

6. James Schombert, Physics

Faculty Personnel Committee

CAS – Humanities: 2 openings

1. Peter Ailunas, Cinema Studies

2. TBD

CAS – Natural Sciences: 1 opening

1. Elliot Berkman, Psychology

2. Dave Sutherland, Earth Sciences

CAS – Social Sciences: 1 opening

1. Stephen Frost, Anthropology

2. Melissa Graboyes, History

3. Matthew Norton, Sociology

4. Timothy Williams, History

Law School: 1 opening

1. TBD

School of Journalism & Communication: 1 opening

1. TBD

Graduate Council

CAS – Humanities: 2 openings

1. Barbara Muraca, Philosophy – Statement

2. Dorothee Ostmeier, German/Scandinavian

CAS – Natural Sciences: 2 openings

1. TBD

2. TBD

College of Design: 1 opening

1. TBD

Law School: 1 opening

1. TBD

Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Committee

Teaching Faculty: 1 opening

1. Melissa Graboyes, History

2. N. Chris Phillips, Mathematics

3. Paul Swangard, School of Journalism & Communication

4. Peter Warnek, Philosophy

Classified Staff: 1 opening

1. Alida Bevirt, College of Design

2. Donald Dixon, Information Services

3. Zach Fairchild, Student Life

4. Maria Gomez de Pena, University Housing

5. McKenzie Gibson, College of Education

6. Imani Soares, University Health Services

7. Richelle Krotts, College of Education

8. Kristin Reagan, College of Design

9. Jay Kerzman, Intercollegiate Athletics

10. Jennifer Maguire, Mathematics

11. Megan Miller, Advancement

12. Stephanie Prentiss, Business Affairs Office

Officers of Administration Council – 4 openings

1. Greg Brock, Safety & Risk Services

2. Sara Mason, Career Center

3. Michelle Brown, Information Services

4. David Landrum, Enrollment Management

5. Lara Nesselroad, UO Libraries

6. Melissa Bowers, English/OCIAS

7. Jeffrey Bulkley, University Testing Center

8. Damon Rutherford, Campus Planning & Facilities Management

9. Devon Graham, Tykeson College & Career Advising

10. Michael Gwynn, Tutoring & Academic Engagement Center

11. Carol Hardy, University Housing

12. Jove Rousseau, Finance & Administration

13. Lillian Moses, University Housing

14. Sheri Donahoe, Erb Memorial Union

15. Holly Syljuberget, Business Affairs Office

16. Angie Peatow, Enrollment Management

17. Jen Bailey, OVPRI

18. Julia Cohalen, General Counsel’s Office

19. Ashley Dougherty, Duck Rides

20. Kate Dworak, Oregon Hazards Lab

21. Paula Ellison, Transportation Services

22. Jody Ferguson, College of Education

23. Ray Finnen, UOPD

24. John Frankfurt, University Housing

25. Courtney Garcia, Tykeson College & Career Advising

26. Scott Geeting, UOPD

27. Laurie Graham, SRS/EHS

28. Brandon Greene, University Housing

29. Madeline Hagar, Office of the Dean of Students

30. Matt Marcott, Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence

31. Danielle Parmenter, Research and Innovation

32. Tonya Perkins, Law School

33. Rachel Hall, Advancement

34. Emma Rinaldi, Division of Global Engagement

35. Sarah Vajgert, Lundquist Admission

36. Noemi Sepe, Office of the Provost

37. Spencer Smith, Financial Aid & Scholarships

38. Harmony Stobaugh, Prevention Science Institute

39. Randy Sullivan, Knight Library DSS

40. Rachel Todd, Oregon Executive MBA

Undergraduate Council 

CAS – Social Sciences: 1 opening

1. Melissa Graboyes, History

College of Design: 1 opening

1. TBD

School of Music and Dance: 2 openings

1. Drew Nobile

2. Jason Silveira

School of Journalism & Communication: 1 opening

1. Lisa Peyton

Law School: 1 opening

1. TBD

Smoke your O at the Phildo

The Olympic torch lighting signifies the start of the games, but when track and field events are underway for the World Athletics Championships this summer at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, a new tradition will spark. The tall tower outside of Hayward Field, long called the “Phildo,” will be lit by officials to indicate the start of track and field events but also to celebrate Eugene’s economic driver: weed. 

Officials say the “Hayward Joint” will wrap the community together and help students save on weed money so they can pay for tuition. 

“We’ve all shared a marijuana cigarette with our closest school chums, but the Hayward Joint will ensure, as the kids say, no one will bogart this baby,” says UO President Michael Schill. “Rather than throw our O, I figured we should smoke our O, too.” …

[From the EW, here.]

President Schill and GC Kevin Reed’s work sets important legal precedent on equal pay for faculty

And fortunately that precedent is the exact opposite of what they’d hoped for when they spent UO’s money on a losing fight against Professor Jennifer Freyd’s equal pay lawsuit. Some snippets from Law 360 below.

My favorite part is “Counsel for the University of Oregon did not respond to an interview request.” That attorney would of course be Paula Barran, who sent me this failed takedown threat over my mockery of her use of the “bodily fluids” defense, presumably with GC Reed’s encouragement.

A Year Later, 9th Circ. Ruling Is Shaping Pay Bias Cases

A Ninth Circuit holding that workers in a university setting can be compared for the purposes of bringing federal pay discrimination claims, and that a jury can decide whether such workers are similar enough, continues to influence pay bias cases a year later, attorneys said.

A year ago Tuesday, a Ninth Circuit majority panel revived Jennifer Freyd’s Equal Pay Act claim against the University of Oregon, reversing a lower court decision that the psychology professor and four male colleagues were too specialized for comparison.

Since then, the published opinion has come up in at least 20 cases.

“I’ve gotten calls from lots of lawyers from all over the country who are now pursuing claims for clients who didn’t think they had viable claims before,” said Jennifer Middleton of Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton, who represented Freyd.

Freyd sued the University of Oregon, its president and another school official in 2017, claiming they violated the Equal Pay Act and other laws by paying her $14,000 to $42,000 less annually than four comparable male colleagues who did equal work.

To bring an Equal Pay Act claim, a person must first establish that there is a pay disparity with a comparable worker of a different sex who performed equal work.

“The evidence here is not so one-sided as to mandate this conclusion as a matter of law,” the majority said. “Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Freyd, a reasonable jury could find that Freyd and her comparators perform a ‘common core of tasks’ and do substantially equal work.”

The holding that workers in academia can be compared is significant, attorneys said. At least a handful of workers have brought pay discrimination cases against universities in the past few years.

… Counsel for the University of Oregon did not respond to an interview request.

The case is Jennifer Freyd v. University of Oregon et al., case number 19-35428, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

PEBB will pay you $100 as an incentive to do what you already did

Plenty of worse ways to waste taxpayers money, and thanks!

How do I get the incentive?
Login to your PEBB account: www.pebbenroll.com/
You may need to change or reset your password if you have not logged into your PEBB account recently.
After logging in, select the “Oregon COVID Vaccination Incentive Employee Acknowledgment” from the homepage menu.
Select your vaccine booster status (choose only one): medical or religious exemption, received prior to March 14, 2022 or received or will receive booster between March 14 and April 30, 2022.
Click the confirm box at the bottom and save.
How do I receive the $100?
If you are eligible and take the action steps above before the deadline, then the $100 incentive payment will be applied to your May paycheck. The payment is applied as gross earnings and applicable taxes will be withheld accordingly.

In the name of equity, UO Admin forbids faculty from requiring masks in their classes

Equity. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. Some faculty are young, single, low risk. Others have unvaccinated kids, are immunocompromised, taking care of someone who is, or are just plain old. Our administration wants to treat them all the same: no mask requirement allowed. This is not equity.

Dear colleagues,
We hope your winter term is wrapping up nicely following the early challenges of the Omicron surge and other disruptions. We are grateful for your hard work and creativity in serving our students so well during these uncertain times.
As we head into spring term after nearly two years of modified instruction, it’s time to help our students transition to more customary modes of learning. This may be a difficult transition for students who have come to expect a level of flexibility and accommodation that is no longer necessary following the Omicron surge. It is also not sustainable. We have heard from many of you how difficult it has been managing these student expectations and the high numbers of student absences. Following guidance from health authorities and based on current public health conditions and our high vaccination rates, we are able to safely return to instruction practices that are closer to what we offered pre-COVID.
Last week the University of Oregon announced that wearing masks will become optional in most indoor spaces on campus beginning Saturday, March 19. Masks will remain required in health care settings, such as University Health Services and the COVID-19 Monitoring and Assessment Program (MAP) testing sites. The UO COVID-19 regulations should be applied uniformly to all campus settings, including classrooms, unless otherwise required by law or policy. Faculty should not create any rules or requirements that are inconsistent with the university regulations or local, state, or federal public health agencies. In particular, this means you may not require masks where they are optional, nor allow people to go without masks where they are required, such as in health care settings. It is important the university apply the UO COVID-19 regulation uniformly to maintain consistency and equity across campus.
In addition, the Academic Council has revised its expectations for spring 2022 term. The full document is here. In short, the council is largely giving instructors the discretion to manage attendance and makeup policies for their courses. The council recognizes the incredible strain that the heightened flexibility requirements have placed on them. We encourage you to establish your expectations for attendance in your syllabus and early class meetings; students need to hear that attendance is important to their learning. Of course, this is balanced against the need for reasonable flexibility as it existed pre-COVID. Students should know what their options are when they are unable to meet attendance requirements.
Again, thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our students. Your efforts have helped us through one of the university’s most difficult times in recent history. Please find some time for you and your family to rest and recreate over spring break.


Janet Woodruff-Borden
Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

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.


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 [email protected] 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.