Not very well coordinated bullshit:

4/26/2010: Jamie Moffitt has been put in charge of the Athletic Department’s finances. Excellent move. But read the bullshit in the RG story, from our new Interim AD Lorraine Davis:

“The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has experienced a period of rapid growth and success. This new position will help the department to develop and implement the necessary budgeting, financial, human resource, and contractual practices to support this expansion,” she said. “A key element of Jamie’s role will be assessing the department’s ongoing needs,” Davis said.  “Jamie and her team of financial and human resource professionals will ensure that the organizational structure, staffing, and financial resources are in place to achieve department priorities.”

“I felt there needed to be a high-level finance and administration person to coordinate all the functions of budgets, finances, human resources, strategic planning and contracts,” Davis said. “It’s not as coordinated as it needs to be.”

No kidding. Not very well coordinated, that’s the biggest problem with our athletic department? Compare this with what President Lariviere said:

“In the past this university has not followed acceptable business practices. That will not continue under my administration.” 

Here’s hoping he can quickly hire an AD that isn’t entirely beholden to the old guard, and that Lorraine can go back to proctoring exams for athletes and arranging the recruit / sorority girl mixers, while paid out of of the Tenure Reduction Program budget on the golden parachute contract she got from Frohnmayer. Not that we’re jealous.

Lariviere on Knight

4/25/2010: From Steve Duin’s column in the Oregonian, well worth reading it all:

“I’m looking at the Knight Library,” Lariviere said. “I have my back to the Knight Law School. And I can name several of the professors sitting in the 22 Knight-endowed chairs. We are incredibly lucky Penny and Phil Knight love this place so passionately.”

I came to UO in the middle of the building boom paid for by Phil Knight’s philanthropy. Library, law school, and then the Knight chairs. This all came to an end when Dave Frohnmayer signed UO up for the well-intentioned but naive anti-Nike Worker’s Rights Consortium. (But remember, many of the faculty supported this too.)  Knight immediately lost all trust in Frohnmayer’s judgment and said so very publicly. He then shifted all his academic giving to Stanford. Lariviere is rapidly earning back the faculty’s trust, I hope he earns Knight’s too.

In the end I think Richard Read of the Oregonian had the best take on the misguided idealism of the WRC supporters. What are those “exploited” Nike sweatshop workers actually doing? Saving their paychecks, sending the money home to build houses and finance new businesses for their families, sending their kids to college. That’s the life we choose – why do we think we should deny it to them? Who is doing more for these people – the WRC, or Phil Knight? Not that I’m an economist.

Anyway, from Duin’s version, the most interesting person in all this is Howard Slusher.

Where’s Frohnmayer?

4/23/2010: The Daily Emerald, RG and the Oregonian have stories on the Grier firing. The RG includes a picture of the $2.3 million hug – thanks Greg!

Dave Frohnmayer has not yet said a word in public about the Bellotti scandal or about the firing of the woman who served as his legal advisor for 12 years. Obviously Frohnmayer was behind Grier’s many years of stonewalling public records requests, and he had ultimate responsibility for the Bellotti fiasco. So why no interviews with Frohnmayer?

Apparently he’s somewhere in the EU. Given that UO is paying him ~25,000 a month, I wonder if he filled out the required Sabbatical Travel form justifying his absence during the term – or if it is just a vacation? Regardless, the reporters have his (UO paid) cell phone number and his email address. You could also reach him through his second job at Harrang Long Gary Rudnick, Tel: 541.485.0220.

Dave loves to talk to the press, especially when it’s about him. Every story about the verbal agreement mentioned that Lariviere was in China and wouldn’t respond til he returned. But still not even a “no comment” or “unavailable” from man at the root of the fiasco, Dave Frohnmayer?

Wait until the law school prof’s hear about this:

4/22/2010: Rumor control Reports in the RG and Oregonian explain that Melinda Grier will be given a one year terminal contract at the Knight Law School, apparently at her full $183,00 salary. Under Brad Shelton’s new budget model it looks like the law school will have to pay her salary and benefits out of law school student tuition money. Or maybe we will all pay?

Frohnmayer’s emeritus deal ($245,700 in salary, $186,000 for expenses, $25,000 for assistants) also gives him an office in the law school. Maybe he and Melinda will co-teach a course on how to break Oregon’s public records law?

We are now paying over $1 million a year just in salary for the obvious administrative deadwood. It’s going to be hard to justify a tuition increase without some cuts in this.

Update: Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago law school thinks dumping Melinda on the law school is outrageous.

Lariviere fires Melinda Grier, wants replacement by Friday

4/22/2010: From Jeff Manning at the Oregonian. Obviously Lariviere has some guts and he is now taking charge:

Melinda Grier, the attorney at the center of a controversy surrounding the University of Oregon athletic department, appears to be on her way out.

University President Richard Lariviere and Oregon Attorney General John Kroger have reached out to a handful of potential replacements as UO’s general counsel in recent days. Officially, the university’s general counsel is part of Kroger’s staff….

Grier, who did not return a message seeking comment, has come to personify the culture of secrecy that has developed at the university, particularly with regard to its athletic department. Grier repeatedly rejected or sat on requests from the media for additional financial details about Bellotti’s contract and a number of other high-profile athletic department issues.  ….

Neither Lariviere nor Kroger would comment, but four sources confirmed that the university president is searching for a successor. Paul Kelly Jr., a Portland attorney and president of the State Board of Higher Education, said he learned Wednesday that Lariviere had made the decision. The other sources asked to remain anonymous. …

Kent Robinson, long-time federal prosecutor in Portland, has emerged as one candidate to replace Grier. Robinson is a respected veteran prosecutor who for years has worked in a senior role at the U.S. attorney’s office. …

Fantastic news for UO. Melinda covered up for Dave Frohnmayer for years, and her office is piled high with documents on the sleaze. She is taking the fall for his decisions – because she never had the guts to say no to him. It will be interesting to see how much of it now comes to light.

Not so good for the tight circle of administrators she has been protecting. There will be a lot more turnover to come. Very good sign that Lariviere is apparently not considering either of Grier’s assistants, Doug Park or Randy Geller for the job. Ms Grier is the wife of Jerry Lidz, appointed Oregon Solicitor General by AG John Kroger. This decision must have been politically difficult for Lariviere.

UO Matters would like to claim some credit for this – we pursued ethics complaints against her with the state DOJ and the Oregon Bar – but the truth is she got fired because she embarrassed Lariviere in the newspapers, and the newspapers only cared because it was about sports.

Daily Emerald Editors

4/22/2010: The ODE Editors manage to combine most current UO issues into one opinion:

… The library parking lot is central to preserving the divide between those who work and those who drink. On any given night, good, clean, sober students exiting Knight Library in the wee hours of the morning are forced to mix with the inebriated heathens stumbling home from campus bars. As the wholesome, sober scholars weave their way through the dimly lit parking lot back to their vehicles, they risk exposure to the dark and seedy underbelly of college culture, where one is likely to encounter a veritable bevy of intoxicated hoodlums who want nothing else than to ruin the lives of the sagacious Knight Library denizens.

Library-goers can’t handle the ugly forces of peer pressure and could easily succumb to the brutal jocks loitering in Lot 16, trying to prolong their inebriation after the bars close. And, as we all know, when these two colossal forces collide, the scene is seldom pretty: Textbooks, calculators and pocket protectors lay strewn across the parking lot, the lone testament to the fracas from the night prior. The broken spirit bottles line the sidewalk parallel to the broken spirits of the academics who managed to make it home.

And, would you believe it, this happens every night. Are you scared yet? …

It’s clear the University likes to keep things under wraps, and administrators need a bigger place to dispose of those silly public records requests, inexplicit contracts and other important documents. Conveniently, Lot 16 is big enough for a bonfire pit. We probably would have been livid if we’d seen the Frohnmayer/Bellotti contract. Ignorance is bliss. …

Sunshine and Goodness

4/21/2010: President Lariviere is apparently going to implement a system whereby all faculty will have access to the BANNER accounting system, and he is going to remove authority over public records requests from Melinda Grier and Doug Park’s office, and give it to the UO Archivist or to Media Relations. This will be a huge step forward in restoring trust and faith in the administration. Which will make this blog pretty boring.

The other news of course is that Lariviere has begun sending the tuition money from all our new students back to the academic departments, to use for hiring, raises, etc. Last time UO got new tuition money Dave Frohnmayer gave it to VP Frances Dyke, who spent it remodeling Johnson Hall. Which meant we didn’t meet federal expectations on research spending, so we lost millions more in ICC money.

I am beginning to think Lariviere may be the person to turn UO into the university it should be, and that’s pretty damn exciting.

Parking

4/20/2010: Dave Martinez and Alex Tomchak Scott have an excellent article in the Daily Emerald today about parking. Takeaway is that UO raised the student parking fee from $125 to $300 and the quantity demanded fell from 4000 to 1000. I’m no economist, but I think they call that elastic, meaning that total revenue a) rose or b) fell?

It’s the first in a 3 part series. In the next story they will address how UO will pay for the parking garage we had to build for the new arena. My guess is that the athletic side will not be paying for it. But of course athletics breaks even, right?

Oregonian story on Lariviere

4/20/2010: Bill Graves of the Oregonian has a long story on President Lariviere:

The State Board of Higher Education expects him to “get things under control” and put athletics “in proper perspective,” said Paul Kelly,  board president. “The indications are, he is going to be a good leader,” Kelly said, “assuming he meets the leadership test on this Bellotti matter.” 

That’s pretty outrageous, Mr. Kelly. You and the rest of the OUS board winked at Frohnmayer for years while he set up the Bellotti deal and many even sleazier other ones. Then you gave him a sweetheart retirement contract – $245,700 from UO, while he took a second job at Harrang, Long, etc. “Leadership test” you say?

With state support declining, Lariviere and presidents of the other state universities want more autonomy from the state Board of Education and the Legislature. They’ve discussed seeking authority to define their missions, set tuition and faculty salaries, manage their costs and revenues, sell bonds, borrow against assets and possibly levy taxes.

Lariviere’s plan is politically risky given that both the state board and the Legislature may be reluctant to relinquish power. But the president said the quality of the university is at stake. He said he must find a way to raise faculty salaries, now at about 80 percent of their peers in comparable institutions.

“The quality of a university is determined by its faculty.”

In my experience, good students don’t hurt either.

Good rumors

4/19/2010: Rumor control reports that Brad Shelton’s new budget model has already translated into new money for some academic departments for next year, and that Pres Lariviere has developed a 5 year plan to raise UO faculty salaries to the average of UO’s “peer” institutions, with the first round of raises starting in Sept.

Union Survey from Senate

4/18/2010:  If you got an email from the Senate Executive Committee last week on the union poll, please fill it out. (The link is specific to your email address, so I can’t post it here.) I have no association with this poll but I think it is important to understand the extent of faculty support for a union and whether the faculty think their bargaining unit should include OA’s.

Also, I’m happy to run more completely unscientific polls on the RHS of the blog. Post a comment if you have an idea for one.

Senate Meeting

4/18/2010: I missed the Wed Senate meeting but have heard a few reports:

First, Pres Lariviere appeared and made a brief statement about transparency. Leaving Melinda Grier and her lackey Doug Park in charge of public records has been a disaster for UO. Now that it has led to embarrassment for Larviere over the Bellotti contract he is pushing for more transparency. Apparently RG reporter Greg Bolt made 3 public records requests to Grier and Park for the Bellotti contract. They ignored these, and never told Lariviere that people were asking to see a written contract and it did not exist. The result was pretty bad for the credibility of President Lariviere and therefore bad for UO. When he goes to the legislature or the OUS board to argue for UO, this is what everyone is going to remember: $2.3 million on a vague promise from a booster, and his staff hid it from him for a year. Does he know what’s going on this time?

So Lariviere is now planning a revision to UO’s policies and practices. We are trying to get the details – which should be a public record!

Second, Brad Shelton announced the new budget model is moving ahead and will be implemented starting in July. It seems from this and other signs that Frances Dyke is no longer pulling the strings.

Contracts for UO’s senior administrators are up for renewal July 1 and discussions are already underway. So we will know soon if Lariviere is going to make substantive changes at UO, or take the easy way out and keep Frohnmayer’s team on until they slowly fade away. At this point he can hardly argue that he’s surprised by how they run the place.

Ken De Bevoise

4/17/2010: Steve Duin of the Oregonian has a column about Poli-Sci firing instructor Ken De Bevoise. I’d honestly never heard of this guy until his students started a movement to reinstate him. From the interview with VP for Academic Affairs Russ Tomlin, it appears possible that UO will in fact do that:

“They framed their arguments,” Tomlin said, “in ways that require thoughtful engagement. Clearly, a review is ongoing. We heard the students, and the students are giving us pause to reconsider.”