ORSA administrator forced out

6/11/2010: Two weeks ago VP for Research Rich Linton was told he would get a terminal contract. Today, rumor has it that Associate Vice President of Research and Director of ORSA Paula Roberts was fired by Provost Jim Bean, and that this was the direct result of pressure from “irate” UO faculty angered over her poor job performance. If true, I think this would be the first time in recent memory that the UO administration has taken faculty complaints about a matter involving a senior administrator seriously enough to take serious action. Good work Provost Bean, and I hope this is a precedent.

$25,000 to oppose union, $0 to evaluate administrators

6/9/2010: In November, UO VP for Finance Frances Dyke signed a secret contract with labor relations consultant Stan McKnight for $25,000 to develop UO’s website responding to a faculty unionization effort from the AAUP/AFT. UO kept the contract secret until May, when the GTTF union found out about it. At that point UO fessed up, posted the contract and work description here and ended the deal.

The official line is that the $300 an hour consulting fee was not for advice on how to “oppose the union” – that would be illegal under Oregon law – instead it was for help “conveying relevant and factually accurate information” to the UO faculty. Which explains why the administration tried to keep the contract secret, to the point of including a nonstandard confidentiality clause preventing McKnight from even disclosing the existence of a contract:

Because you don’t want to give the faculty factually accurate information about who is giving the faculty factually accurate information. The contract was limited to $25,000 because OUS rules require a public posting on the OUS procurement website for contracts more than that. Clever. Too clever. Dumb. But it should make a good case study for Melinda Grier’s labor law class.

The saddest part of this is that the McKnight firm is not exactly the Pinkerton Agency. McKnight’s main business is consulting on evaluations of university administrators. Standard stuff for any well managed institution. They survey the faculty and staff, collect ratings of effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses, then write up an independent evaluation explaining what is being done well, areas for improvement, and so on. Now that’s something I’d be willing to see UO pay $25,000 for. I’ve been here a long time, and UO has never performed this basic good management practice for its top administrators. Not even once. Because they are scared of what they will hear and are afraid it would make it harder to justify giving each other raises. And they wonder why there is support for a union?

How did this $25,000 contract come to light? Apparently UO lied to the GTFF during negotiations and those ever curious grad students got suspicious and dug it up. Good work. No word yet on how much UO will pay for advice on how to minimize the damage from UO having to tell the faculty that they had been hiding the existence of this contract, or on how much UO will pay for advice on how to minimize the damage from having to tell the faculty that they had to pay a consultant to tell them how to minimize the damage from having to …

6/10 Update: A senior UO professor now leaving for another university sends us these extracts of past Senate meeting minutes on previous efforts to make UO administrators take the requirement for annual evaluations seriously. He says the last time faculty were surveyed for their opinion on a top administrator was for President Myles Brand’s 3 year review. Frohnmayer put an end to that business.

Larry Galizio resigns from OUS to head CCC

6/11/2010: Larry Galizio was an Oregon state representative who retired mid term 2009 and was given a OUS job by Governor Kulongoski. Harry Esteve of the Oregonian called it payback for supporting a pet Kulongoski bill to stop a development project near some supporters’s vacation homes. Nigel Jaquiss in WWeek now reports that Galizio is leaving OUS to take the job as President of Clatsop CC. One of their board members has resigned in protest, saying it was a political decision and that Galizio was the least qualified candidate. What we have to look forward to when the Governor appoints UO Board members.

Go Ducks

6/9/2010: I thought Masoli had been kicked off the team after the laptop theft, but I can’t keep them straight anymore. Not sure if possession really should count, but it looks like this will move the Ducks up in the Fulmer Cup rankings. Does Kelly’s contract have a penalty for this sort of thing? Shouldn’t it? The Oregonian reports that Masoli will also lose his scholarship. Because coach Kelly needs it for another player. What about UO’s backup quarterback? In the car with Masoli during the arrest.

Louisiana cleans up Higher Ed. pension abuse.

6/9/2010: The Louisiana Higher Ed commissioner has resigned after the Times Picayune caught her in a retirement scam involving double dipping. Legal but sleazy, and she didn’t tell the board what she was going to do. In Oregon, her boss would have helped her set up the scheme and written the contract for her. I still don’t understand how the golden parachute deals that Frohnmayer set up for John Moseley et al, passed legal review. Oh wait – Melinda Grier reviewed them. Huey Long would have been proud of those two. The later Huey, that is.

Public Records Officer to report to President

6/9/2010: Still no job ad for a new General Counsel, but Lariviere has followed through on his promise to remove authority for public records requests from the GC’s office and there is an ad for the new job here. The new position will report directly to Lariviere. No salary is given, but the qualifications are basically a Journalism degree and a few years experience with public records. We are still trying to get info on what changes UO will make to public records policy. The interim person in charge is Brian Smith. Notably, the job description involves fulfilling requests – not setting policy or procedures. The Public Records Officer will be an ex-officio member of the new UO Senate “Transparency Committee” which is intended to give input on policy, procedures and compliance.

Public Records Officer
Office of the President 

Reports To: President
Term: 1.0 FTE for 12 months (renewable annually)
Review Date: Search will remain open until filled. Search committee will begin reviewing applications the week of June 21, 2010
Start Date: As soon as possible

GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES:
The Public Records Officer (PRO) is a position in the new Public Records Office that reports directly to the President and is responsible for the effective, timely and thorough compliance with the public records law and managing, processing, and completing all
public records requests submitted to the University of Oregon. The PRO analyzes each request, determines where responsive records are located, and communicates with other offices to gather the responsive records. With advice as needed from the Office of the General Counsel, the PRO will determine whether records are exempt from disclosure or prohibited from being disclosed and respond to the request accordingly. Currently the university receives 125 – 150 public records requests annually.

The PRO must have a working knowledge of public records law and preferred experience with Oregon Public Records law and with state and federal confidentiality rules as applied to public universities.

The PRO will manage the office and oversee all aspects of public records requests including initial intake, coordination of payments, reviewing records, and communicating with requestors and records holders.

REQUIREMENTS:
* Bachelor’s degree (journalism, public administration, political science), or any degree demonstrating the capacity to address the desired skills;
* Demonstrated budget management in a non profit or public entity
* Demonstrated strong interpersonal and communications skills with internal and external constituencies;
* Attention to detail;
* A minimum of two years working knowledge of public records law;
* Demonstrated ability to evaluate voluminous amounts of information in a timely fashion and track multiple requests simultaneously;
* Develop strong working relationships with units on campus;
* Demonstrated ability to track and learn new state and federal laws, rules and regulations relating to public records requests.

PREFERENCES:
* Experience with Oregon Public Records law
* Experience with state and federal confidentiality rules as applied to public universities

HOW TO APPLY:
Send PDF attachment via e-mail to Abigail Jorgenson, abbyj@uoregon.edu and include the following: cover letter addressing your qualifications; resume; and list of names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of three references [one of whom must be indicated as your most recent supervisor].
OR
Send to:
Public Records Officer Search
University Relations
1270 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1270

The University of Oregon is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the ADA. Candidates with experience serving the needs of diverse populations strongly desired.

Faculty raises:

6/8/2010: This is rumor but we hear President Lariviere is still going to push to raise faculty pay. For full prof’s this is the lowest in the AAU by 10% and is currently at 84% of our “peer institutions.” Most of the raises will go to the full’s as a group, they are the most underpaid.

In the comments, “Wild and Crazy Duck” thinks this is the wrong time to push for raises. I disagree. The counterargument is that drastic steps are needed to ensure UO’s survival as a top research school, that this should be a top state priority, and that the benefits to the students are worth the extra tuition. I think Lariviere can and will make that case to the public. He’s already got a bunch of newspaper editorial boards to sign on, including the Oregonian and the RG. And I bet that he got the OUS Board to agree to something like this before he accepted the job.

So which fulls will get the raises? Lariviere has ditched Russ Tomlin’s plan, which was to give the most money to those making the least relative to their peers, with a small merit bump. The new plan is an across the board increase (still targeted mostly at fulls) in proportion to current salary with the amounts determined by how far the department is behind its comparators. The main difference is that Tomlin’s plan would have given most of the money to those making less than the dept. average, the new plan will give most to those making more.

No word yet on OA’s and senior administrators but we can assume the latter are spending a lot of time on figuring out how to get their own raises. In the past UO has used “stipends” to funnel more money to the senior administrators, then folded the stipends into salary later, when no one is looking. For example, Provost Bean got a $12,000 stipend (folded into his salary last year), Diversity VP Martinez gets a $23,306 stipend on top of his regular pay and his off the books OSLC money. These stipends are supposed to go to faculty who take on extra administrative assignments. Too bad!

* Note to reader: These stipends are not for expense reimbursements: they are regular taxable income, just from a different pot.

Legislators not excited by Lariviere Plan

 6/6/2010: Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney told the OUS Board the universities can keep the money they have raised from higher enrollments and tuition, but not to expect more autonomy from the state, particularly regarding tuition. More state money is a non-starter. Report by David Sarasohn in the Oregonian. No mention of Lariviere’s plan to increase faculty salaries.

Economist on state budget

6/6/2010: UO Economist Tim Duy has a sobering Op-Ed in the Oregonian on the state’s budget:

Another lesser known trend is battering the state — the steady decline in average wages relative to the rest of the nation. From 1987 to 1997, average wages increased from 88.9 percent to 94.3 percent of the U.S. average for the brief period Oregon rode the tech boom. Unfortunately, that trend ended even before the 2001 recession, and wages fell back to 89.4 percent of the U.S. average by 2008. Interestingly, this trend occurred even as development officials convinced themselves that young “creatives” are flocking to the state, fueling growth in high wage jobs. The data suggests otherwise — relative job quality is declining.

To be sure, one can wax poetic about the value of the “second paycheck,” the nonmonetary benefit of Oregon’s quality of life. But like it or not, money is important. State coffers certainly could use the boost a 5 percent increase in wages would provide. Meanwhile, even as job growth stalls and relative wages decline, Oregon’s population keeps increasing. Note that the employment-to-population ratio — the proportion of the 16-and-older population that is employed — peaked at 65.2 percent in 1998 and has since reverted to 57.8 percent, a level not seen since the 1970s. More people simply require more services: more health care for the poor, more schools for our children, more prisons for our criminals. But without job growth, how can we pay for these services? Perhaps we should rethink the wisdom of basing our economic strategy on attracting people and instead attract jobs.

Duck Soup’s spot on comment:

6/5/2010: I have no idea who Duck Soup is, but I agree with him/her:

… Briefly, UO is a very low-budget place, an overachiever, but starved too long to have avoided academic decay.

However, UO could have reached its supposed faculty salary goals of a decade ago if it had really wanted to. Dave F, Moseley, Bean didn’t. I don’t know if this was due to intent or simply a lack of focus.

UO spends a lot of money on things that I don’t care to have in the pot. Some of these things would be missed by others.

Overall, there has been a growth of administration at the expense of more directly academic expenditures. Been going on for years, maybe decades. All of this is easily seen from publicly available figures. Why this is not an issue — in the state board, the UO senate, the completely feckless FAC and budget committee — is beyond me. Maybe too many would-be administrators in the latter three groups, a lot of surreptitious butt-kissing.

Finally, I don’t see how tuition can keep rising faster than disposable income of middle class families. UO (and most other universities without huge endowments) need to figure this out before the public rebels. Part of it can be solved by ending above-mentioned administrative growth/bloat.

But, another piece of the puzzle, I think, is a reorientation of private giving. UO brings in something like $100 million/yr, very roughly, in private giving. But very little of this, proportionately, goes to tuition relief — I mean holding down posted tution rates in addition to augmenting financial aid.

Where does all the booty go? Look around! Especially near the corner of 13th and Agate and surroundings. Some of it is worthwhile, but different goals are needed for the future.

Have I left anything out?

Tuition, more jock stuff, faculty raises.

6/5/2010: The OUS press report on increased tuition and approval of the latest sports project from Phil Knight here. Bill Graves on the tuition increases is here. The Oregonian story by Rachel Bachman on the sports construction is here:

As the clock ticked on Friday’s meeting of the State Board of Higher Education, University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere warned of a chill on donations if the board did not approve a plan by Phil Knight to privately construct an 80,000-square-foot operations center for the Ducks football team on campus. “If we don’t accept this gift, what will be the negative consequences for the university’s education and research mission?” Lariviere said. “Probably not much — immediately, in the short-term. “But they could be really, really profound over the longer term. Really profound. This is an important gift for our future.”

When Lariviere finished his remarks, which came at the end of a nearly one-hour discussion of the project, the board hushed. Then the 12-member body swiftly and approved the project with the minimum six “yes” votes, plus four abstentions and two absentees.

Lariviere’s comments were some of the starkest ever used by a public official in an open forum to illustrate the stakes of the relationship between Knight, the Nike co-founder and former Ducks runner, and his alma mater. …

This latest request came with urgency: The board had to vote on granting a license for the project despite discussing it for the first time on Friday.

“If it’s not approved today, that’s the end of the deal,” Lariviere told the board.

It was the second time a large project backed by Knight came with a quick deadline for public approval. His $100 million pledge to support debt payments for the construction of Matthew Knight Arena was contingent on the Legislature approving $200 million in state bonds for the project by June 1, 2008. That fact came to light on Feb. 9, 2008 — 20 days before the end of the only legislative session that year. 

I hope I’m wrong, but the prospects for faculty pay raises this year seem pretty dim. UO has the money, and Lariviere keeps arguing publicly that we can’t continue to pay 82% of our peers. I am sure this is his “top priority.” But you can only go to the Board so many times and tell them things like “If it’s not approved today, that’s the end of the deal.”

He has been spending his political capital on the $1 billion bond proposal, and now this new athletic construction. Our chance probably passed back in April, when he was busy dealing with Bellotti and Grier. I’m not blaming this on Lariviere – he seems to be doing what he can do. But why does Knight put him on the spot like this? Do this right now, or else! And you will pay for a football museum curator too! It’s just weird.

Athletic Director, VP for Diversity, and General Counsel searches:

6/4/2010: Margie Paris hasn’t posted an ad for the General Counsel job yet – 6 weeks after Melinda was fired. And Lariviere is still thinking about who should be on the search committee for the Martinez replacement. But Robin Holmes is making progress on the AD hire:

Campus Colleagues:

What’s important to you in the next University of Oregon Director of Intercollegiate Athletics? On behalf of the search committee, you are invited to come share your thoughts at an open forum, Wednesday, June 9, from 2-3:30 pm, in the Harrington Room of the Jaqua Center. Members of the search committee will be in attendance to gather your input.

For more information on the position, please view the posting on the UO jobs page: http://hr.uoregon.edu/jobs/unclassified.php?id=3017

Sincerely,

Robin H. Holmes, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Search Chair

Bring it on Mr. Slusher, you aren’t even close yet.

6/4/2010: Bill Graves of the Oregonian has a new story on the latest sports facility craziness here. This seems to be another “gift that keeps on taking,” like the Jock Box:

But Phit’s gift does not come without costs. The license agreement requires the university to employ a facilities manager, museum curator, museum receptionist, food service administrator and a senior administrative assistant for football operations — all full time for at least six years. The university also would maintain the facilities, which could become costly.

Phil Knight and Howard Slusher are rolling on the floor over the dumb shit they can get UO to agree to for some vague promise of $1 billion, someday. We pay for a football Museum Curator? That is a pretty good one, though I still think taking away the law school profs parking lot tops it. But bring it on Mr. Slusher, you aren’t even close yet.

4/14/2010: Ron Bellamy of the RG reports that Phil Knight is planning on a new building for football team, to be constructed by the legendary Howard Slusher, under the same contracting scheme used for the Jock Box.

“I’ve been told repeatedly since I’ve come here that there are coaches in what used to be closets and that sort of thing,” Lariviere said. “It does look to be pretty jammed up. I’m not sure that this would be absolutely the top priority for the university if we were having to pay for the building, but that’s another matter.”

So far as I can tell, Knight has not given a dime to UO’s academic causes since former President Dave Frohnmayer signed UO up for the the anti-Nike “Worker’s Rights Consortium”. My recollection was that Dave was persuaded by the argument of the students camping outside his office, who told him that the way to improve the lives of the poor is to get everyone to all join together and agree to stop buying what they know how to make. Some sort of complicated economic thing they learned from their sociology professor. I’m sure it made sense after the first few bong hits. But a recent commenter provides an alternative explanation for why Knight is not so happy with the faculty either:

As I remember it, the WRC was a national movement backed by students at the UO, who took the issue to the Senate, which advised Frohnmayer to join the WRC (see http://www.uoregon.edu/~uosenate/dirsen990/US9900-10.html). He did so. This was an example of faculty actually being listened to on a matter of school policy.

Here’s hoping Lariviere can convince Knight we’re not such a bad lot. He’s already talking tougher to Slusher than Frohnmayer ever did:

“Parking is obviously part of the requirements for this building,” Lariviere said. “The initial conversations I’ve had with Howard Slusher made it clear that we would have to have at least full replacement, if not more parking spaces, as a result of this.”

Back when Frohnmayer and Melinda Grier “negotiated” with Slusher for parking for the Jock Box, we lost something like 120 parking spots. We just gave them to the athletic side gratis, and paid for new ones by increasing general parking fees. Of course, Frohnmayer did get a $150,000 bonus that year from some anonymous donor.

Here’s the former law school lot. 70 spots, 2 cars with jock hang tags. 2 cars and a motorcycle is the most I’ve seen there all quarter.

OUS Board meetings

6/3/2010: The OUS Board typically has one faculty member. The new appointment is Lynda Ciuffetti, Botany and Plant Pathology at OSU. Her research “…is in the area of host-pathogen interactions, specifically, interactions involving fungal pathogens.”  That should give her a lot of extra insight into the OUS Chancellor and Board’s role in Oregon higher education. Interestingly, the current Lariviere restructuring proposal would not put a faculty member on the UO Board.

The OUS Board meets in executive session today, to discuss presidential evaluations. (Wow, UO should try evaluating its administrators someday.) There are plenty of possibilities that could justify a 6 hour board session. I hope one of them is what to do about letting boosters supplement presidential salaries and give them side gifts. Tomorrow they take up two topics of interest:

c.    OUS, 2010-11 Proposed Tuition and Fee Rate and Policy Changes.
Staff is requesting Board approval of proposed OUS tuition and fee rates as well as related policies for the 2010-11 Academic Year.  The RG has a story about these increases here:

… push the annual base cost of an education to $8,190 for resident undergraduates, up from the current $7,428. The difference between those two figures is more than 10 percent. But the actual increase in out-of-pocket costs is close to 6 percent because the UO is taking some fees that are now charged separately and rolling them into tuition.

d.    UO, Approval of License Agreement for (Gift of) an Addition to the Len Casanova Athletic Center and of a Soccer and Lacrosse Complex. The University of Oregon (UO) seeks Board approval to enter into a License Agreement (Agreement) with Phit, LLC (Phit), permitting the construction of improvements to real property with a value in excess of $5 million.

This is another Phil Knight gift to the athletic department. Donations to athletics are still tax-deductible, so this will cost taxpayers ~2.5 million. Some universities would impose their own tax on these sorts of donations, with the proceeds going to academics. Not UO. At least Lariviere is insisting that this time athletics pays for the parking – a small improvement over Frohnmayer’s “Negotiating for Dummies” approach.