UO Econ PhD student less dismal than some on voter suppression effects

From a NYT Op-Ed here:

Kyle Raze, a graduate student in economics at the University of Oregon, studied turnout patterns in the wake of the 2013 Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. The court declared Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which required jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to get preclearance from the Justice Department for any change in election law, unconstitutional. Shelby opened the door to the enactment of voter suppression measures.

Raze, in his February 2021 paper, “Voting Rights and the Resilience of Black Turnout,” writes that

Despite well-founded fears to the contrary, the Shelby decision does not appear to have widened the turnout gap between Black and White voters in previously covered states.

Instead, Raze found

an accumulating body of evidence that suggests that voters mobilize in response to increases in the cost of voting when those increases are perceived as threats to the franchise.

Dethroned OSU Pres F. King Alexander goes Prince Harry rogue, spills dirt on secret Board meetings

Jack Stripling has the report in the Chronicle, here. These were LSU Board meetings, presumably he’ll get around to trashing OSU soon. Here’s hoping he kept screenshots of those secret NCAA portal communications. Those will be crucial to making sure the other big-time college sports presidents help him find his next job running SHEEO or something.

OSU board doesn’t have the stones to fire F. King Alexander for cause, pays him ~$700K to “resign”

3/23/2021 updates on twitter:

Oregon State to buy out F. King Alexander for ~0.7 Gottfredsons, from “private funds”. Both sides to release all claims. No word on WittKiefer refund, no apparent recognition from Board that they got rolled and failed at due diligence.

Heartfelt remarks from Trustee & former BB player Lamar Hurd on corruption in big-time college sports.

Other board members now saying how they share others pain, "may have been too cold" during public testimony.

Trustee Steve Clark wants to work on an "engagement strategy". Nothing yet on a transparent hiring policy.

Whoops, he's not a trustee, just the OSU PR flack. Sorry, rookie mistake.

Yup, now he's telling the board to be careful when they talk to the press.

Pres F. King Alexander now saying "it's all about the students" (and the $700K buyout he must have demanded). Board puts him on admin leave until April 1, with pay.

Board will empower Provost Ed Feser until Interim Pres is appointed. (Close call for @JonBoeckenstedt and @waynetinkle). Board Exec will meet in public tomorrow to consider process for appointment of interim Pres.

Trustees won't admit they blew it with secretive Alexander hiring process, but are promising transparency for interim Pres appointment process.

OSU Board Chair closes meeting with heartfelt thanks to UO Emerald alum & USAToday reporter @kennyjacoby for tirelessly pursuing the public records that led them to realize WittKiefer had tricked them, and Alexander needed to be fired.

Originally tweeted by UO Matters (@uomatters) on 03/23/2021.

3/22/2021: LSU Board tells OSU Board F. King Alexander is a liar:

Just in time for their 8:30 AM meeting Tu. I predict they pay him 0.5 Gottfredsons to leave. Maybe they’ll even ask WittKiefer’s Zachary Smith for their money back. Full letter here.

Alexander’s contract with OSU is here.

OSU Trustees will meet Tu, offer Pres F. King Alexander’s job to Wayne Tinkle

I assume that’s what this Oregonian news report says, I didn’t read it all: https://www.oregonlive.com/education/2021/03/oregon-state-university-trustees-call-special-meeting-tuesday-to-again-consider-fate-of-f-king-alexander-as-osu-president.html

8:30 AM Tu, https://leadership.oregonstate.edu/trustees/meetings/board-meeting-03232021

And their Exec committee has a followup meeting 8AM Wed: https://leadership.oregonstate.edu/sites/leadership.oregonstate.edu/files/210319_public_meetings_notice.pdf

OSU President F. King Alexander’s family business is running the “Oxford International Round Table Symposiums [sic]” scam

Every professor I know gets spam like this about fake academic conferences with prestigious sounding names, held in popular holiday locations. They accept all papers, have a similarly unreviewed “journal”, and I assume some people try to get reimbursement for them, or try to use them to pad their c.v. – which would be laughable at any reputable university.

What a scam. A scam run by OSU’s new President and his family. You’ve got to wonder what else the OSU Board of Trustees and Witt/Kieffer search consultants Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., Suzanne Teer and Kim Brettschneider missed – or ignored.

There’s a website that keeps track of scams like this, which notes:

Who or what is behind these efforts? They appear to be organized far from Oxford by the International Round Table Symposiums, which is said (6/2/17) to have have a “location in Oxford” at the Harris Manchester College. But a webpage on its history — which does not indicate when and where this group was founded — reveals that

The Round Table is, thus, not an academic programme conducted by the umbrella University. Harris Manchester College is the venue, the situs, location of the Round Table. The colleges, themselves, in their private corporate capacity, traditionally host an array of academic conferences assisted by Conference Oxford. The Round Table is one such conference. Harris Manchester College was selected as the location for the meeting because of its reputation, its location in the heart of Oxford, and because of its congenial working relationship with the members of the Round Table Programme Committee and Advisory Board.

I have not located the names of any members of the committee or advisory board. The history webpage ponderously advises that

The International Round Table Symposium is an international educational organization whose purpose is to promote education, art, science, religion and charity … effectuated by the conduct of interdisciplinary symposia and the publication of meritorious manuscripts emanating therefrom. …

The lack of sponsorship by Oxford University is a virtue because it advances “Academic Independence”:

Academic Independence is an important aspect of the Round Table. As a private charitable educational organization, the Round Table is not under the control of the hosting Oxford colleges, most of which are established as endowed sectarian foundations, nor is it in anyway under the aegis, restraint or sanctions of the University of Oxford; rather, the Round Table is free-standing, apolitical and non-denominational.

When accused by an Oxford faculty member of deceptive advertising, the group sued her. The domain name oxford-population-and-environment-symposium.com is registered to Shenette Alexander, London Education Research Symposium, Sand Dune Aly, Saint Augustine, Florida 32080, telephone: (562) 676-6382, email: internationallawsymposia@gmail.com. Shenette describes herself as “Dedicated Wife, Loving Mother, Assistant to Oxford Round Table.” Her husband, Fieldon King Alexander, is the chancellor of Louisiana State University and A&M College and president of the LSU system. The group, which has existed under various names and corporate charters (mostly in the US) is a creation of the Alexander family.

OSU’s jock-sniffing Pres F. King Alexander gets called before trustees to explain cover-up of the usual athletic assaults at LSU

Public meeting notice for 12:30 Wed here.

The OSU Trustees hired Alexander last year, after a closed search by Witt/Kieffer search consultants. At LSU Alexander’s accomplishments included a $85M “lazy river” and firing a professor for cussing. But these weren’t his only problems. Former Daily Emerald reporter Kenny Jacoby, now working for USA Today, uncovered Alexander’s role in covering up the usual sorts of big-time sports scandals that presidents of sports factories get paid the big bucks to cover up. USAToday has a summary here:

… Alexander has come under increasingly heavy criticism since the March 5 release of the Husch Blackwell report, which detailed LSU’s “serious institutional failure” when it came to handling cases of physical and gender violence. Husch Blackwell is the outside law firm LSU hired in November to review its handling of Title IX cases after USA TODAY chronicled systemic failures.

Among Husch Blackwell’s revelations was that then-athletic director Joe Alleva urged Alexander to fire head football coach Les Miles in 2013 after another internal investigation found Miles had behaved inappropriately with female student workers, and that LSU had intentionally hired an outside law firm to do the investigation so the report wouldn’t be made public.

Miles was not fired until 2016, after LSU started the season 2-2. The 2013 investigation did not come to light until last month, after USA TODAY sued for a copy of the report.

No word yet if OSU will ask Witt/Kieffer search consultants, Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., Suzanne Teer and Kim Brettschneider for their money back, as the UNC system did when it also banned its schools from hiring Witt Kieffer for searches, after they failed to do due diligence on a chancellor hire.

Of course it’s equally possible that during the hiring process Pres Alexander bragged about his ability to keep these sorts of scandals private – as UO General Counsel Kevin Reed did – and the trustees saw it as a positive.

Pres Schill to teach Honors course on what’s wrong with higher education

Thanks to an anonymous reader for forwarding the course description, full text below. President Schill’s own porkalicious contract, which will presumably be #3 on the reading list when it comes to reasons for the increasing cost of college – after faculty pay and guvmint interference – is here:

and, just in case Uncle Phil decides Schill hasn’t done enough to promote Duck sports and has Chuck Lillis fire him, he’s got this insurance clause. Smart:

And here’s the course description, which seems like a pretty good summary of the frustrations of trying to run a university these days:

Professor: Michael H. Schill

HC 410H: Higher Education in the United States: An Introduction to Key Issues and Challenges

2.00 credits

  • CRN 37045: Mondays, 1515-1715 @ REMOTE               

       Higher education today faces an unprecedented set of challenges.  Even before COVID-19, many of the most divisive issues facing our nation were playing themselves out in the ivory tower.  Partisan politics either cast universities as places overrun by the left and inhospitable to freedom of speech or as corporativist entities out to exploit the poor and middle class.  The Black Lives Matter movement added fuel to the critique by suggesting that universities were failing to adequately serve marginalized populations.  Costs rose every year faster than inflation as universities competed for faculty and administrative talent, as students demanded greater levels of services, and as government saddled universities with costly requirements.  State support dropped precipitously and student tuition and debt increased to fill the void.    In 2020, COVID-19 threatened the very underpinnings of many universities by making it difficult or impossible for people to study together in a residential setting.

                This class will survey a number of different forces and issues facing the higher education sector.  We will begin by examining the structure of higher education and some of the changes that have taken place over the past 75 years.  We will then discuss the financing of higher education and how that has affected tuition and increasingly widened the gap between well-funded “elite” institutions and the rest.  As part of this analysis we will discuss the critique of universities as “neoliberal” institutions.  We will then launch into a discussion of a number of issues such as access and affordability, diversity and inclusion, freedom of speech, lagging levels of student achievement, and intercollegiate athletics.

                The class will be in the form of a discussion with only occasional lectures.  Expert guests may join once and a while.  Student participation will be highly valued and grades will be based upon a combination of a final paper, short class presentations, and participation in weekly discussions.

Students pissed that UO will host in-person Olympic Trials, but not commencement

Reporter Joanna Mann, in the Daily Emerald here:

… UO social media accounts faced backlash from students, particularly graduating seniors, after the school announced the decision Feb. 9. Students called for the university to cancel the in-person Olympic trials if it was going to cancel in person commencement.

Graduating senior Ethan Shafer said he had been expecting a virtual commencement, but the decision to also go through with the Olympic trials felt like a “slap in the face.”

“How can you say that you’re trying to keep people safe, and that you’re making this huge decision to cancel graduation for the second year in a row, but then also not even address what’s happening with the Olympic trials?” Shafer said. “The university has not said anything. They won’t even address something that everyone is really pissed off about.”

This is not the first time UO has messed with commencement to accommodate the Ducks’ big-time athletics program. In 2010, Pres Lariviere moved graduation from its traditional Sunday to Monday, to accommodate the NCAA Track & Field Championships schedule that Pres Frohnmayer had agreed to.

UO Senate votes 42-2 to oppose Pres Schill’s new $2M student fee for Duck tickets

Senate Pres Elliot Berkman had tried to keep the Senate from voting on this, but the students were persistent and persuasive, and in the end the only nay votes were from an LCB accounting instructor and a Math prof. The gist:

2.1 THEREFORE BE IT MOVED THAT the University Senate calls on UO Administration and the Board of Trustees to respect ASUO’s autonomy and authority over their own budget.

2.2 BE IT FURTHER MOVED THAT the University Senate supports the decision by the ASUO Student Senate to reject the proposals from the UO Administration that ASUO send a portion of the money they have saved as a result of not paying for tickets during the pandemic to UO’s Athletic Department, and to instead support basic needs programs and return money to students.

2.3 BE IT FINALLY MOVED THAT the University Senate opposes the new mandatory Athletics fee on students for the ticket lottery, and calls on President Schill to work with the Athletics Department to provide adequate funding for student tickets from the Athletic Department’s other sources of funding, or adopt a voluntary plan by which those students who want to attend intercollegiate sporting events can purchase a package of tickets from the Athletic Department for the student section at reduced prices.

Meerah Powell has the full story for OPB here, with many good quotes from the students, e.g.:

As part of the UO Senate’s resolution Wednesday, the Senate explicitly opposed the Athletics Department’s proposed mandatory fee. It also called on UO President Schill to work with the department to identify other funding sources, or to adopt a voluntary plan for students interested in attending games.

Mayne with ASUO’s Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee said she thinks a university that collected nearly $300 million in contributions and in-kind donations to its athletics department last year should be able to provide tickets to students without this fee.

An alternative, Mayne said, could be looking to what other universities are doing, which members of ASUO have researched. She said for example, the University of Alabama, home to the perennial football powerhouse Crimson Tide, has a program that has students opt-in to buy tickets to football games. Student advocates suggest the Ducks could try something similar.

UO’s PR flacks stack the TFAB breakout rooms with ringers from athletics, cheerleading

My room had 4 administrators, me, and a football player who gave his lines with camera off then said nothing for 40 minutes.

Pres Schill’s next step of course will be an Around the O report claiming this Town Hall shows student support for his new $90 tick lottery scheme, which he’ll then use when this comes up in the UO Senate on Wed. If Senate Pres Berkman ever gets around to posting the motion and agenda, that is. It has a noteable thirteen co-sponsors so far, plus much additional support, but Berkman and VP Gildea have been slow-walking it.

Report on the TFAB town hall in the Emerald here.


InsideHigherEd reports on student fight against Duck sports ticket tax

The UO Senate will vote this Wed on a resolution to support the students, and oppose the new mandatory fee President Schill wants our students to pay the the Ducks. I’ll post more on that soon. Meanwhile, more free national press for President Schill and UO, this from InsideHigherEd here. Read it all, some snippets below.

Pandemic-Era Priorities, by Greta Anderson February 22, 2021,

Members of the student government at the University of Oregon were reviewing their $17 million annual budget last summer when they came across a decades-old contract with the athletics department, which gave students access to tickets for football and basketball games. About 10 percent of the student government budget, or $1.7 million, was going to the athletics department each year in exchange for “free” student tickets to athletic events, according to members of the Student Senate’s Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee.

Under the current contract, students pay $25.50 each during the fall, winter and spring terms for access to tickets, even if they don’t attend any athletic events, according to Annika Mayne, a student senator and chair of the committee. The fee gives students access to a lottery for a game ticket, not an actual ticket. The charge is part of a mandatory $271.50 Incidental Fee, which funds student government programs and clubs and is paid by students each term.

…Like their counterparts at colleges and universities across the country, the ASUO’s focus on athletics and other student fees reflects a growing financial activism by young people worried about the long-term economic consequences of the pandemic and intent on not having their colleges’ financial burdens passed on to students. As a result, they are increasingly reviewing the funding and spending priorities of their institutions, especially those related to athletics, and are more closely scrutinizing how students’ tuition and fees are being spent.

Nick Schlereth, a sport management professor at Coastal Carolina University who studies athletics department spending, said in an email that conversations about student spending on higher education typically revolve around the cost of tuition, whereas fees are not commonly discussed. That’s starting to change, he said.

The ASUO decision could set an example for “student governments across the country to re-evaluate their fee allocation and usage,” Schlereth said. “It also brings to light the reliance on student fees and funds directly from the university to support an auxiliary service.”

At Oregon, Mayne, the student senator, took particular issue with administrators describing the tickets as “free.” That’s how President Michael Schill referred to them in a recent email to students, faculty and staff members.

“It’s this notion that students paying money gets them something that’s free, and that’s not true,” she said. “It’s just so inequitable to have students pay for something they’re not using.” …

Board of Trustees unveils 1st replacement for Pioneer Father and Mother

It’s been a while since I walked past Johnson Hall, so I missed the unveiling of the first in what will apparently be a series of culturally relevant yet classically motivated monuments:

Thanks to an occasionally reliable source for the info and photo. I salute our Trustees for erecting this fitting complement to the triumphant Phildo.

As for the Pioneer Mother and Father, despite rumors that they’ve been melted down for scrap to pay for the latest raises for Rob Mullens, Dana Altman and Mario Cristobal, they are apparently still safely quarantined in an undisclosed location, more or less intact: