Senate de-names covid financial planning task force over shared governance theater concerns

The decisions about UO’s financial and academic response to the coronavirus and its long term consequences are being made by Pres Mike Schill, Provost Patrick Phillips, BoT Secretary Angela Wilhems, VPBP Brad Shelton, CAS Dean Bruce Blonigen, and VPFA Jamie Moffitt in secret.

The idea that they would use this joint Senate Admin task force and its confidential meetings as anything more than a vehicle to claim Senate buy-in for whatever changes are coming was a sham, and Senate Pres Elizabeth Skowron and VP Elliot Berkman should have known that and refused to play along. Now, after the threat of a motion from former senate Pres Chris Sinclair and others to require that the meetings be open, and the charge and membership determined by the Senate, they’ve backed down and removed the Senate stamp of approval.

Dear University Senators,

Last week, we announced the formation of a joint task force that will advise the UO president on potential long-term institutional responses presented by the COVID-19 crisis. This task force was formed in response to our recent call for collaborative long-term planning that would bring together the knowledge and experience of UO faculty, staff, and administrators to find new, creative ways to accomplish our mission in the face of significant cuts to our operating budget in the coming months/years. I am writing you today in response to questions raised about how task force members were chosen and attempt to address any confusion about the relationship between the task force and the university senate.

Our goal in proposing this task force is to engage proactively with the administration to advocate for significant representation from the university’s senate and diverse constituencies in this important long-term planning effort. We view the task force as an outstanding opportunity to promote an elusive goal:  academic shared governance in the long-term financial planning of the institution. We are proud of the level of representation on the task force, which is comprised of many individuals who serve in elected, representative positions on campus, including current and former senators, and members of university academic and advisory committees. Further, the task force is comprised of a majority faculty.  Of 15 members, 9 are women.  Three members are senior academic administrators, one is a member of the classified staff, one is an officer of administration, and there will be one student member as well.

Members of the task force were identified and chosen jointly by the Senate President (myself), Senate President-Elect Elliot Berkman, University President Mike Schill, and Provost Patrick Phillips.  Together the Senate President and President-Elect generated a list of prospective members for the Task Force and the President and Provost made some edits and suggestions as well.  Together we finalized a list of candidates. All who were approached recognized the importance of this opportunity and agreed to serve. We sought broad representation from the ranks of TTF and Career Faculty, Classified Staff, and Officers of Administration across campus, with a student representative to be named in the coming weeks.  We sought individuals who would bring diverse expertise and a deep commitment to the institution-as-a-whole, while also keeping the committee manageable in size.

Though the task force members were appointed jointly by the senate leaders and administrators noted above, we want to be clear that the task force cannot speak for the senate nor substitute for consultation with the senate or any senate committees. Further, in no way does the task force replace the important work that will continue in the senate’s various committees in the coming year. On the contrary, the work ahead will intersect with many parts of the academic mission of the university, making it important to engage with these committees throughout the coming year where their expertise is relevant.

In light of concerns that have been raised, we are changing the name of the task force to the “University Task Force on Long-Term Financial Responses to COVID-19”, so as not to confuse matters and make it clear that the members of the task force have not been chosen by the senate, nor have they been formally endorsed by the senate. This name reflects the reality that the whole university will need to be part of our long-term response to the changes brought forth by the pandemic.

In closing, Elliot and I would like to express our gratitude to those of you who have worked with us to clarify the role this task force will play in the coming months. We view this conversation as yet another example of the positive outcomes that result from direct communication, constructive engagement, and shared governance and cooperation between the senate and administration.


Elizabeth A. Skowron, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychology
Center for Translational Neuroscience
UO Senate President
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403

Gov Brown appoints former aide Connie Seeley to watch over Angela Wilhelms & troubled UO Board of Trustees

Our Trustees will meet again on June 4th by Zoom, presumably to approve another $12M Jumbotron for Uncle Phil.

Meanwhile, The Daily Emerald has the story on Governor Kate Brown’s nomination of current OHSU VP for Administration and Board Secretary Connie Seeley as the latest UO Trustee, here:

Seeley graduated from UO with a degree in political science in 1992 and currently serves as Oregon Health & Science University’s chief of staff, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, according to the application she submitted to the governor’s office.

… Seeley worked for Brown previously as her legislative director when Brown was the senate democratic leader, according to Seeley’s resume. For seven years she was also the chief of staff to Senate President Peter Courtney, who’s been the leader of the senate — which will confirm Seeley’s appointment — since 2003.

This will make Seeley the first UO Trustee with any significant higher ed administrative experience, unless you count Chuck Lillis who was a b-school dean back in the day.

Interestingly, Seeley also serves as the Board Secretary for OHSU’s Trustees. At UO that role is filled by Angela Wilhelms, where the BOT Secretary is a full time job with separate staff, controlled by Board Chair Lillis, with the job of making sure the UO President toes the line. Wilhelms had previously been Chief of Staff to the Republican side of the Legislature.

The full board applications from Seeley and the four other applicants are available on Gov. Brown’s admirably transparent public records website, here. Wilhelms and Lillis endorsed 3 of these candidates as explained by Zach Demars in an earlier story, here.

Presumably runner-up candidate Steve Holwerda, a private wealth investment advisor known for his love of Ayn Rand,  lifelong desire to be Duck Athletics Director, and fabulous Lake Oswego mansion, will get his chance to serve on the board of Oregon’s flagship public university soon, and perhaps recruit a few new rich clients for his firm.

I requested these docs from Gov Brown’s office last month:

4/25/2020 William Harbaugh UOM Under Review n/a

​I am requesting electronic copies of any communications sent between the Governor’s office and UO President Michael Schill or his office, UO Provost Patrick Phillips or his office, Duck Athletic Director Rob Mullens or his office, UO Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms or her office, and UO Board of Trustees Chuck Lillis. This request is for the dates Jan 1 2019 til the date the request is filled.

And will post a link when they are  available.

2-factor activation via DUO comes to UO

My initial reaction was “oh shit, this is going to be like Concur or the Faculty Tracking Software scheme, or Craig Ashford’s plan to save millions by centralizing all UO purchasing (say, anyone know what happened to that?).”

But I’ve been using it for about 2 months and it’s seamless. Log on as usual and if I haven’t used that service in a week my phone beeps, I hit the green button, and I’m in. Strangely you don’t need it for Duckweb, so anyone who has the 6 number password I’ve used for the past 10 years can still change my students’ grades and direct deposit my paycheck to their bank, but I assume that will be part of Duo eventually:

Dear UO faculty, staff, and GEs,
With spring term nearly complete, we wanted to express our deep appreciation for everything you’ve done to teach, work, and persist through the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
As part of our work to secure the university’s systems and data, especially during this unusual time, we will be expanding UO’s two-step login service in two important ways in the coming weeks. Action is required.
Key Points
Protect Yourself, Protect the Flock
Enrolling your Duck ID account in two-step login protects not just you but also your students, colleagues, and the university as a whole.
Enroll in Duo now by following these brief instructions. While enrollment is voluntary at this time, the deadline for taking action is rapidly approaching.

Continue reading

President Michael Schill has been very, very good to his upper admins. Faculty & staff, not so much.

Relative to other “Very High Research” public universities. I think this is what is commonly called “administrative bloat” – though these are salaries, not numbers. 2018 means the 2018-19 FY.

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, here. (You may need to create a free login with your UO id). The data comes from federally required IPEDS data submissions. UO is in orange, the 4-year VHR public university average in teal:

Admin: Upper management salaries:

Admin: Comm/Legal/Media salaries:

Faculty: (Full profs.)

Faculty: (Asst Profs):


Regular OA’s:

Paul Weinhold’s Secretive UO Foundation delays IRS reporting yet again

The usual deadline for these reports is 5.5 months after the end of the fiscal year, which for the Foundation would be Nov 15, 2019. But no, the Foundation has already made 2 requests for 3 month extensions, which would have made the report due today. And now they are using the coronavirus as an excuse to drag this out another 3 months. Which means we will not have public access to even the most basic information on the UO Foundation’s income, expenditures, and assets for the fiscal year that ended on June 30th, 2019 until July 15, 2020 – more than a year later:

Kelly Bosch (University of Oregon Foundation)

May 15, 2020, 11:26:33 AM PDT

Good morning,

Thank you for your inquiry. The IRS extended the filing deadline for 990 returns until July 15th due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Thus, we will be filing our returns on July 15th. The public disclosure copies will be available at that time.

Thank you,

Kelly Bosch
This information, and any attachment, is PRIVILEGED and CONFIDENTIAL property of the University of Oregon Foundation. Any unauthorized reproduction, dissemination or disclosure is prohibited.

We do know from the most recently available IRS 990, covering the 2017-18 FY, that it’s a pretty lucrative operation, for some:

In his spare time, after devoting 44 hours a week to the Foundation, Weinhold serves as Chairman of the Board of Summit Bank. I don’t know how much they pay him, or how many hours he spends at that:

Trustees to meet May 26, 29th, & June 5 on budget, bargaining, and COVID-19

That would be the OSU Board of Trustees. The UO Board will meet June 4th. No agenda has been distributed yet.

Public Meetings Notice

May 15, 2020

The Oregon State University Board of Trustees will meet on Friday, May 29, to consider the university’s operating budget for the coming fiscal year and the consolidated request for operating funds for the next biennium being made by Oregon’s seven public universities to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

The board also will receive a report on the university’s COVID-19 response; hear a legislative update; consider practices related to collateralizing public funds; receive updates on a number of capital projects; and discuss a policy regarding the use and management of the university-provided president’s residence. The board also will hear an update on the Corvallis campus vision, a community-based engaged effort launched by the university to guide how the campus will evolve over the next 10 years.

Given current COVID-19 guidance from the Governor’s Office, as well as university and county health officials, the meeting will be hosted through a remote conferencing service. The meeting is open to the public and will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Options for joining the meeting and instructions for providing comment during the board meeting’s general comment period and in a testimony period held before the board votes on each action item are located under “Meeting Details” at this webpage.

The board will hold an executive session as part of its agenda, pursuant to ORS 192.660(2)(d) to conduct deliberations with persons designated by the governing body to carry on labor negotiations.

Board committees also will meet via remote conferencing services. These meetings are open to the public:

  • The Finance and Administration Committee will meet from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, to consider the university’s operating budget for the coming fiscal year and Oregon’s public universities’ operating funding request for the next biennium to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. The committee also will consider practices related to collateralizing public funds, and hear an update on the Finley Hall capital project budget and capital project requests related to the PacWave energy research project and a university gymnastics practice facility. The committee will receive a written report on research space needs and a risk management report.
  • The Executive and Audit Committee will meet from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. on Friday, May 29, to consider the Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance’s progress report and a policy on the use and management of the university-provided president’s residence. The committee also will discuss all hazards planning.
  • The Academic Strategies Committee will meet from 8 to 11 a.m. on Friday, June 5, to consider a proposed new academic program in marine studies. The committee will hear briefings on student life and conduct, educational programs, enrollment and financial aid and athletics. The committee also will discuss the university’s efforts related to sexual harassment and violence education, prevention and response.

Agendas and meeting materials for board and committee meetings will be posted as they are available at If special accommodation is required, please contact (541) 737-3449 or at least 48 hours in advance.

Lauren Skousen | Executive Assistant, Board of Trustees
Oregon State University | Kerr Administration Building, 638 | Corvallis, Oregon 97331
Phone: 541-737-3449 | Fax: 541-737-3033

Board-updates mailing list

To unsubscribe, send a message to:
with the word “unsubscribe” in the body.

New task force on long-term response to COVID-19

Dear University of Oregon community,

We all recognize the profound impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on both the University of Oregon and the national higher education landscape. The simple truth is that the coronavirus is an invisible disruptor that suddenly and harshly threatened what has been the UO’s foundation for nearly 150 years—the ability to fulfill our mission of excellent teaching, research, and service as a residential campus.

We know there will likely be drops in enrollment and state budget cuts that will create real financial challenges for the UO. It is too soon to know whether it will be a sharp but short-term hurdle that we must find a way to overcome or a systemic recalibration of the way the UO operates. Ultimately, the scope and duration of the financial and operational challenges posed by COVID-19 will be revealed in the coming weeks, months, and years.
To help the UO address the challenges, we are announcing the creation of the Joint UO Senate/Administration Task Force on Long-term Responses to COVID-19. This joint task force, which is advisory to the president, will review data on university operations and revenue projections, engage campus stakeholders, seek input and feedback, and use this information to analyze proposals, develop and consider strategies, and provide advice for long-term planning.

The 16-member task force is broadly representative of units across campus, including faculty, deans, classified staff, officers of administration, and a student. The group will begin meeting in June and be co-chaired by Elliot Berkman, Associate Professor of Psychology and Senate President-elect, and Sabrina Madison-Cannon, Dean of the School of Music and Dance. The full charge and membership of the task force are posted on the president’s website.

What we cannot do is sit idly by and wait for budget cuts or other impacts to happen to us. Ensuring the UO is poised to meet these challenges means we must do all we can now to look around corners, anticipate problems, develop scenario-based solutions, and proactively seek innovation. One thing we all agree on is that the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the University of Oregon are not going to be solved by any one person or group of persons. We must leverage the collective wisdom, creativity, and intellectual horsepower of our entire campus. Our intention is that this joint task force is a step toward doing that.

Thank you.

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law
Patrick Phillips
Provost and Senior Vice President
Elizabeth Skowron
Professor of Psychology and UO Senate President
Elliot Berkman
Associate Professor of Psychology and UO Senate President-elect


Elliot Berkman (co-chair), College of Arts and Sciences, Associate Professor of Psychology; University Senate President-Elect
Sabrina Madison-Cannon (co-chair), School of Music and Dance, Phyllis and Andrew Berwick Dean and Professor of Dance

Bruce Blonigen, College of Arts and Sciences, Dean and Professor of Economics
Liska Chan, College of Design, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture; Clark Honors College, Associate Dean for Faculty
Robin Clement, Lundquist College of Business, Director, Master of Accounting Program; Academic Director, Sports Product Management; Robert and Lois Braddock Distinguished Senior Instructor
Nicole Dahmen, School of Journalism and Communication, Associate Professor, Honors Program Coordinator
Judith Eisen, College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Biology
Larissa Ennis, University Advancement, Government and Community Relations, Associate Director of Sponsorships and Community Relations
Kent McIntosh, College of Education, Philip H. Knight Chair and Professor of Special Education and Clinical Sciences
Terry McQuilkin, School of Music and Dance, Instructor of Composition; University Libraries, Music Services Department, Access Services Specialist
Michael Price, College of Arts and Sciences, Senior Instructor of Mathematics, Assistant Department Head
Gerardo Sandoval, College of Design, Planning, Public Policy and Management, Associate Professor
Doneka Scott, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Student Success
Melissa (Lisa) Redford, College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Linguistics, Department Head
Jennifer (Jen) Reynolds, School of Law, Associate Professor; Faculty Director, Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Center

A student will also be part of the task force but has yet to be chosen. More information will be available for students, undergraduate or graduate, interested in serving on the task force.

Chief Resilience Officer’s email on Lane County re-opening

Dear University of Oregon community,

As many of you are no doubt aware, Gov. Kate Brown this morning approved Lane County’s plan to allow some local businesses to start operating as early as tomorrow through a controlled and phased reopening strategy. The county moving into a Phase 1 reopening stance is certainly good news, because it means that Lane County has not seen a significant growth in COVID-19 cases and that the local testing and contact-tracing infrastructure is beginning to take shape.

While a Phase 1 opening in Lane County will allow restaurants, some retailers, and certain service providers to reopen, it does not change the University of Oregon’s operational status. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Oregon’s universities are subject to an executive order from Gov. Kate Brown that suspends in-person instructional activities and limits campus operations through June 13. We cannot make changes until it is lifted.
  2. We are awaiting guidance specific to higher education from the Oregon Health Authority. That guidance, which we expect to be delivered in the next few weeks, will be the foundation for helping us develop plans for a safe and responsible reopening at the UO.

In the meantime, the university is taking proactive steps to prepare for a methodical and phased return to in-person work over the course of the summer and into the beginning of fall term. We have teams across campus that are currently developing mitigation strategies that will be needed for reopening, such as physical distancing protocols, a robust campus testing and contact-tracing program, recommendations for the use of face coverings, and more. We have already started and will continue to engage subject-matter experts from across campus. And we will seek input on these and other potential mitigation strategies from employee groups and various campus stakeholders through direct conversations, online surveys, and other feedback opportunities.

Next week, we’ll add a detailed reopening section to UO’s COVID-19 website, and we will continue to update FAQs with specifics about reopening plans and guidance as they become available. We will also continue to communicate the latest news and information about next steps and campus impacts as quickly and transparently as possible. Your input is always welcome. Diverse perspectives are vital when tackling complicated issues. If you have questions, ideas, or potential solutions related to our resumption plans, we want to hear from you. Please use the COVID-19 web form to submit your thoughts using the “Resumption Planning” category.

Finally, let’s remember that, even though it won’t be easy, we’re all in this together. Each new phase will require all of us to learn new habits and attempt different ways of doing things, which I appreciate can be unsettling and uncomfortable. I have great faith in the thoughtfulness and ingenuity of the UO community. In the last few months we’ve seen many examples of creative problem solving, and that flexibility, compassion, and can-do attitude are what will carry us through the upcoming phases of this collective challenge.

Thank you.

André Le Duc
Chief Resilience Officer and Associate Vice President
Safety and Risk Services

Senate to hear from Pres, Prov, etc on Zoom, Wed May 13, 3-5PM

SENATE MEETING AGENDA – MAY 13, 2020, 3:00 – 5:00 P.M.

Updates here. Location: Zoom (Please see link to meeting below the agenda. )

The results of the recent elections are here. Turnout was very high.

3:00 P.M.   Call to Order

  • Introductory Remarks; Senate President Elizabeth Skowron

New Joint Senate/Administration Task Force on Long-Term Responses to Covid-19 Crisis 

Meetings will be confidential. No call for volunteers was made.

Co-Chairs :

Elliot Berkman, Associate Professor of Psychology, Senate President-Elect

Sabrina Madison-Cannon, Dean of the School of Music and Dance


Bruce Blonigen, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Liska Chan, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture

Robin Clement, Director, Master of Accounting Program, Lundquist College of Business

Nicole Dahmen, Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Communications

Judith Eisen, Professor of Biology

Larissa Ennis, Assistant Director, Sponsorships and Community Relations, UO Advancement

Kent McIntosh, Knight Chair, Special Education, College of Education

Terry McQuilkin, Music Services Department, University Libraries and Instructor of Composition, SOMD

Michael Price, Senior Instructor, Department of Math

Lisa Redford, Department Head, Department of Linguistics

Jen Reynolds, Professor, Law School

3:05 P.M.  Approval of the Minutes

3:10 P.M.   State of the University

  • President Michael Schill
  • Provost Patrick Phillips

3:30 P.M.   Open Discussion (senators may submit questions in advance to and, or at meeting)

  • Academic Continuity Guidelines (April revisions/additions) & Remote Education, Spring & Summer; 2020 – Slides
    • Academic Council, Chair (Frances White) & Members
    • Janet Woodruff-Borden, Executive Vice Provost
    • Ron Bramhall, Assoc Vice Prov Academic Exec
    • Kate Mondloch, Interim Dean Grad School
    • Doneka Scott, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Student Success
    • Mark Watson, UO Libraries

4:00 P.M.    New Business

  • Updates: Open Access; David Condon, Mark Watson, et al. White paper here.

4:15 P.M.   Reports

  • Core Ed Council; Chris Sinclair/Emily Simnitt
  • SOAGIE; SJ Wilhelm

4:25 P.M. Notice(s) of Motion

  • US19/20-16: Resolution to adopt an Open Access Scholarship Policy; David Condon (Psychology), Margaret Sereno (Psychology), Mark Watson (UO Libraries)
  • US19.20-17: Creation of a School of Languages and Global Studies; Zhuo Jig-Schmidt (East Asian Languages & Literature).

This is legislation to require this proposal (which I’m unable to find on the web) to go through Senate approval. Letter from 28 faculty here, raising a series of questions about the proposal and the lack of faculty participation in preparing it:


4:25 P.M. Other Business

5:00 P.M.   Adjourn

Topic: University Senate – May Mtg
Time: May 13, 2020 03:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 164 017 529
Password: 235037
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An easy fix for Oregon’s state budget crisis – a PERS funding holiday

The most recent comprehensive report on Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement Plans is “PERS by the numbers“. The numbers are a bit out of date, but the basics are clear.

1) PERS is no longer the gravy train it once was for state employees. Current retirees with 30 years service retire with 51% of their final pay:

2) As of March 2020, PERS had a reserve of about $75B invested in private equity, stocks, bonds, real estate etc. A lucrative business for Wall Street.

3) PERS is paying out about $4.6B in benefits a year to retirees:

4) In 2018, state agencies, municipalities, school districts, universities and community colleges, fire districts, etc paid $2.4B into PERS. The average rate currently is about 30% of payroll – a huge expense. (About 2/3 of employer contributions go to building up the PERS reserve. PERS investments paid for the rest of retiree benefits. From PERS by the numbers.)

5) The state’s revenue forecast will not be out until May 20th, but it’s not going to be good, and Governor Brown is expected to call for about $3B in spending cuts for the 2 -year biennium budget that began July 1 2019. According to OPB, these cuts might include such things as:

Agency proposals available Tuesday morning include shuttering most Oregon prisons, steeply narrowed state police activity, elimination of financial aid to thousands of Oregon students, and drastic reductions to some of the state’s safety net programs.

… The Oregon Department of Education is mulling cuts of nearly $730 million to its $8.6 billion general fund budget, including a $636 million reduction in funding to school districts around the state.

6) Instead, Oregon could simply declare a holiday on state payments into the PERS reserve fund. PERS payments to current retirees would come out of the reserve fund, which is among the largest in the country in comparison to the actuarial liabilities.

A 50% holiday would almost be enough to eliminate the need for cuts – but why think small? Let’s just stop paying in for a while. $75B is a hell of a rainy-day reserve, and it’s really coming down out there.

7) But won’t future future taxpayers have to foot the bill – or future state employees, in the form of lower wages? Yes, so long as PERS insists on getting to a 100% fully funded plan, instead of running on a pay-as-you go basis like, say, Social Security and most other states are doing on a de-facto basis.

But even if they do have to pay to get the Wall Street reserve back up to 100%, those future people will be a lot better off if the state still has functioning schools, universities, and, I suppose, prisons. And Oregon’s economy will be better off with state employees who are working, and spending their paychecks at local businesses.

Wall Street doesn’t need this money like Oregon does.