Black Student Collective issues list of demands to UO, Trustees, Pres Schill

Link to their twitter here.

For some history on past such efforts for reform by UO’s black students, there’s a good 2019 piece on Around the O, here. While it has the mandatory puffery about the vital roles of President Schill and VP Alex-Assensoh (both on the job market) and VP Marbury, author Jim Murez covers that cleverly and tells much, much more. Respect.

The Black Student Collective appears to be a new group, distinct from the UO Black Student Task Force that arose in 2014-15 during widespread protests over the police killing of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Protests at the University of Missouri led to the quick resignation of president Tim Wolfe, followed by panic among university presidents across the country fearful of the same fate.

The RG has a good story on the motivation of some of the organizers of Eugene’s BLM protests, here.

Admin hits up students for $800K for Black Cultural Center overruns

That’s the rumor from a generally reliable source, who reports the ask to ASUO is coming from VP for Student Life Kevin Marbury. Pres Schill got a donor, but apparently CPFM low-balled the construction estimate and they don’t want to go back to that well.

No word yet on whether the ASUO Senate will go for this. UO’s students already pay unusually high fees, which support EMU operations, student groups, the Rec Center, and of course ~$2M to Duck VP Eric Roedl for “free” student tickets to Duck games – say, there’s an obvious place to take the money from.

The last time I recall student fees were raised was for the EMU renovation bonds, in 2012, when VPSL Robin Holmes got in all sorts of trouble for using student money to hire RBI Elections Consultants to manipulate the student vote. That post is well worth reading, though as a regular at Falling Sky I have to admit I’m now glad she did it.

President Trump joins Coach Altman in pressuring black athletes to keep quiet

9/24/2017: Apparently both share similarly grandiose views of their authority, and both lack an understanding of the First Amendment and American history. Of course the NCAA gives Altman considerably more power over “his” players than Trump has over Kaepernick, the NFL and the NBA, and so far Altman been able to keep them quiet. Trump, not so much:

12/10/2014: Coach Dana Altman thinks National Anthem is the wrong time to protest racism

Our fool of a basketball coach thinks he owns those players. They shouldn’t protest when he’s trying to collect his $2M paycheck, off their free labor.

Fortunately we’ve still got people who can hear someone sing “O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave” and actually understand what it means.

Want to ask the players what they think? No. Duck AD Rob Mullens and his PR flack Craig Pintens have a rule about players talking to reporters without permission, and “Benjamin and Bell have not been made available to comment.”

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What did Professor and Exalted Cyclops Frederick Dunn know, and when did he know it?


In response to questions about how likely it was that Professor Dunn was duped into becoming the leader of the Eugene KKK in the early 1920’s, I asked Elizabeth Peterson, the cinema studies librarian and film archivist in the UO Libraries, about local showings of “The Birth of a Nation”,  the infamously racist and KKK promoting DW Griffith film of 1915. It turns out she knows a lot:

My article about early Eugene and Springfield movie theaters has just been published in the Oregon Historical Quarterly I discuss the local screening of “Birth of a Nation” on p. 459-460:



The Eugene Theatre (later the Heilig Theatre) showed the film for three days in the summer of 1916. The Eugene Theatre had a capacity of 760 seats and was in direct competition with three other large movie theaters in Eugene: the Oregon, the Rex, and the Savoy. The Eugene Theatre management ran ads for “Birth of a Nation” for a month in the Eugene Daily Guard leading up to the event. Both the Daily Guard and the Morning Register ran stories about the film’s production (these were likely placed there as PR items), and the Daily Guard’s theater reviewer wrote an enthusiastic piece in praise of the film:

I wasn’t able to find any other evidence of local reactions to the film, although there was a large outcry against it in Portland, led by Beatrice Morrow Cannady. There is an article in the Oregon Historical Quarterly about that protest (Kimberly Mangun, “‘As Citizens of Portland We Must Protest’: Beatrice Morrow Cannady and the African American Response to D.W. Griffith’s ‘Masterpiece’,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 107:3 (2006): 382-409).

Here is a link to a page from the Eugene Daily Guard that has a half-page ad for the film, and an article just below encouraging people to see the film and which mentions its representations of black people (“Master Picture of Civil War Period is to be Here Monday”)


I have also attached two items from the Eugene Morning Register that were published prior to the Eugene screening of the film. One has a tone of praise for the depictions of the Klan, while the other seems to express concern for a resurgence of Klan activity:



I did a quick search of the Oregon Historical Newspapers database ( and “Birth of a Nation” played all over Oregon in towns of all size during this time.

Whether or not Frederic Dunn saw the film when it played in Eugene, the publicity for it in local media was such that he was likely aware of it and its subject matter.

9/28/2016 Professor Frederick Dunn was not tricked into leading the KKK in Eugene

Earlier this month President Schill recommended denaming Dunn Hall, on the basis of Dunn’s position as Exalted Cyclops of the Eugene KKK chapter during the early 1920’s. The Board of Trustees agreed, despite the arguments of David Igl during the public comment period that Dunn was misled about the true nature of the Klan. At the time I praised Igl for his courage in taking an unpopular stance in defense of a dead man who could not defend himself. The RG has now published his defense of Dunn in an Op-Ed here:

Dunn was tricked into leading KKK in Eugene

Frederick Dunn, a University of Oregon professor of classics, was tricked into accepting the position of exalted cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan in Eugene for what probably amounted to a short period.

Ironically, it was because of the very fact that Dunn was an honorable and moral man of high standing that he was targeted by the Kleagles — the marketing reps for the Georgia-based financial scam that was the Klan fraternal organization — for this position so that they could use his standing in the community as a cover to make themselves appear legitimate.

It’s an interesting argument, read it all. I don’t believe it.

The 1920’s Klan was spawned by the notoriously racist 1915 D.W. Griffith film “Birth of a Nation”. The movie was very popular, and it sparked well publicized protests across the country over its insidious racism and its positive portrayal of the Klan. Here’s the infamous scene of the knights of the Klan riding to protect southern white women from a horde of black union army veterans. Dunn could hardly have been unaware of this controversy, or of the original Klan’s role in lynchings and terrorism against Blacks, or of what it meant to be a leader of the new Klan.

UO Board meetings video: Senate myths, Divest UO, Deady denaming, etc

The UO BOT does not post videos of the board meetings – so UO Matters operatives will do it for them. More to come. (Links fixed, thanks.)

Randy Sullivan’s farewell speech to the Board: “Six Myths the UO Trustees believe about the University Senate” starts at

Faculty Union President Michael Dreiling explains to the Trustees how UO gives its students education in science, finance, and politics – and they’re now using it to fight for CO2 reductions. Starts at, the students follow Dreiling.

UO alumni and faculty use the Black Students campaign to rename Deady and the Boards public comment period to teach us all a little Oregon history. Starts at I’m hoping history lessons will become a regular part of the board meetings. I’m working on a talk about Treetops, Phimister Proctor, and Irene Hazard Gerlinger.

ASUO Student Government President Helena Schlegel – chased off the board by Chair Chuck Lillis – returns for a postscript. starts at

Are university responses to Black Student demands grounded in research?

The RG has a list of the demands from UO’s Black Student Task force here, along with UO’s responses so far. Here are some of the demands and responses:

2: Create an African-American Opportunities program that is comparable to the Opportunities program for Latino students.

In fall 2016, the enrollment management team will expand its efforts to recruit African-American students, the UO said. This will include more staff who are experienced in working with the African-­American community.

3. Commit to creating scholarship money ­exclusively for students who identify as black/­African-American.

Schill said he has asked donors to fund such ­scholarships.

4. Commit to having Ethnic Studies 101 as a graduation requirement.

No progress on this ­demand reported.

5. Commit to creating an academic residential community that will feature African-­American history/Oregon Black ­Diaspora.

The Umoja Pan-African Scholars Academic Residential Community will be launched in fall 2016. It will accommodate 25 students and will be in the Living-Learning Center.

6: Commit to hiring an African-American adviser/retention specialist and black faculty across all academic disciplines, ­especially major UO departments such as architecture, business, education, math and science.

No progress reported, although the UO is in the midst of hiring 40 new tenure-track faculty.

7: Create a ­substantial endowment to open a black cultural center.

Schill says he’s working on it.

11: A commitment to immediate change of fraternity and sorority life baseline standards for university recognition.

Beginning in fall 2016, the UO will invite six historically Black Greek letter organizations to the UO to become part of fraternity and sorority Life, including Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Delta Sigma Theta sorority, Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and the Zeta Phi Beta sorority.

The WSJ has an article here, by Jonathan Haidt (NYU) and Lee Jussim (Rutgers) that cites research from social psychology and other fields to argue that many of these responses will be ineffective or counterproductive.

Regarding the proposals for racially focused dorms and fraternities:

In a 2004 study designed to examine the effects of “ethnic enclaves,” a team of social psychologists led by Jim Sidanius (now at Harvard) tracked most of the incoming freshmen at the University of California, Los Angeles. They measured attitudes in the week before classes started and surveyed the same students each spring for the next four years. The study allowed the researchers to see how joining an organization based on ethnic identity changed students’ attitudes.

The results were mostly grim. For black, Asian and Latino students, “membership in ethnically oriented student organizations actually increased the perception that ethnic groups are locked into zero-sum competition with one another and the feeling of victimization by virtue of one’s ethnicity.” The authors also examined the effect on white students of joining fraternities and sororities and found similar effects, including an increased sense of ethnic victimization and opposition to intergroup dating.

There may be academic reasons for creating these ethnic centers, but if the goal of expanding such programs is to foster a welcoming and inclusive culture on campus, the best current research suggests that the effort will backfire.

Might the negative effects of these policies be counteracted by diversity training? We don’t know. Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that corporations and universities spend on them each year, such programs “have never been evaluated with experimental methods,” as a comprehensive 2009 study in the Annual Review of Psychology concluded.

The evaluations that have been done are not encouraging. A major 2007 review of diversity training in corporations concluded that “on average, programs designed to reduce bias among managers responsible for hiring and promotion have not worked.” A review of diversity interventions published in 2014 in the journal Science noted that these programs “often induce ironic negative effects (such as reactance or backlash) by implying that participants are at fault for current diversity challenges.”


Interracial contact can yield many benefits. In a review of more than 500 studies, published in 2006 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Thomas Pettigrew and Linda Tropp concluded that when people of different races and ethnicities mix together and get to know each other, the effect is generally to reduce prejudice on all sides. This is a good justification for increasing diversity.

But the researchers also found that these benefits depend in large measure on certain conditions, like having common goals, a sense of cooperation and equal status. The benefits disappear when there is anxiety about cross-group interactions. On a campus, this means that increasing the number of black students and professors could, in theory, improve race relations, but such benefits are unlikely when accompanied by microaggression training and other measures that magnify racial consciousness and conflict.

President Schill & VP for Diversity Alex-Assensoh on Black Student demands

Sent out this afternoon:

Dear campus community, 

One of the hallmarks of a great university is that it does not shy away from tough questions or difficult topics, be they cultural, theoretical, or scientific. Rather, a great university embraces challenges and applies intellectual, academic, and research rigor to delivering solutions that move the community, the nation, and the world forward to make it better.

In this case, the challenging issue for the University of Oregon is one of enhancing our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Ensuring that all UO students have a world-class campus experience is one of this administration’s top priorities. We are dedicated to doing all we can to foster a campus climate that embraces diversity, encourages equity, and values inclusion. In particular, we recognize that we can and must do more as an institution to meet the needs of Black students. We cannot and will not shy away from this conversation, and today we are pleased to share some of the progress we’ve made to address this important issue.

In December, following a rally on campus, the Black Student Task Force released a list of demands, highlighting specific action steps the university can take to enhance diversity and inclusion on campus. This list prompted more discussion, and 13 working groups were created to address concerns raised by members of the BSTF. Those groups—led by university senior leaders and composed of faculty, staff, and students—have been meeting through the winter and spring to review promising practices in each of these areas, analyze the opportunities as well as the challenges, and develop meaningful action steps for moving forward. In collaboration with UO faculty, staff, and administration, members of the BSTF have been an integral part of developing these recommendations, and we want to recognize and thank our students for their input and partnership. We will continue to work with BSTF and other stakeholders within the UO community as we endeavor to strengthen services and resources that support equity and inclusion.

Recommendations that are moving ahead include the following:

  • African American Opportunities Program—Beginning in fall 2016, the university’s Enrollment Management team will significantly expand its efforts to attract and recruit African American students, including programs and activities that enhance the UO’s outreach to and partnership with African American students, their families, and community partners. This will also include additional staff members who are experienced in working with the African American community.  
  • Fraternity and Sorority Life—Beginning in fall 2016, the university will invite six historically Black Greek letter organizations to the UO to become part of Fraternity and Sorority Life, including
    • Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity
    • Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority
    • Delta Sigma Theta sorority
    • Omega Psi Phi fraternity
    • Phi Beta Sigma fraternity
    • Zeta Phi Beta sorority
  • Exploratory information sessions will begin this spring term. The UO will work with civic organizations from Eugene as well as Black faculty and staff who are members of these Greek organizations to promote and encourage the success of this initiative.
  • Academic Residential Community—The Umoja Pan-African Scholars Academic Residential Community will be launched in fall 2016. It will accommodate 25 students and will be housed in the Living-Learning Center.
  • Student Advisory Boards—Beginning in fall 2016, an African American advisory group will be added to the existing multicultural Student Leadership Team in the Division of Equity and Inclusion to assist with the development of strategies related to African American student retention and advising. This group will comprise members of the faculty, staff, and student body.  
  • Speaker Series, Seminars, and Workshops—The African American Presidential Lecture Series will bring a range of African American scholars and practitioners to campus—authors, scientists, and innovators, world leaders, game-changing policymakers, authors, and artists—to share concepts, information, and perspectives for the intellectual enrichment and development of the UO community. Speakers next year will include Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me, and Kelly Mack, vice president for undergraduate STEM education at the American Association of College and Universities. These events are being scheduled and more details will be provided as soon as they become available. We also will seek input from across campus as we create a list of additional prospective lecturers. 
  • Diversity Data—Beginning immediately, the university will publish campus diversity data at This includes a link to published safety data from the Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The university will annually review the data that is provided on this site and add or change data as new information becomes available.

These six initial investments reflect a commitment to enhancing the recruitment and retention of Black students on our campus, but they are only the beginning. We are analyzing recommendations recently received on the remaining issues, including building de-naming, advising and retention, faculty hiring, scholarships, and more. We will make decisions on these outstanding recommendations or refer them to the appropriate university body in a timely manner, and our sincere expectation and hope is that we will be able to make progress on each proposal. We are committed to completely analyzing the issues, examining their feasibility, assessing available resources, studying alternatives, sharing progress, and moving forward in a thoughtful and reasoned way.

We want to again thank members of the Black Student Task Force for raising these important issues about race, diversity, and inclusion on the UO campus. We have much work to do, and will continue to engage members of the campus community in this important discussion. 

Michael H. Schill

President and Professor of Law

Yvette M. Alex-Assensoh

Vice President for Equity and Inclusion  

Black student demands, SCOTUS case on racial preferences, football


This is from 538, here, citing

The most common demands, according to our analysis, have been for schools to increase the diversity of professors, offer sensitivity training to students and faculty members, and create or expand support for cultural centers on campus. The demands at more than a quarter of these schools (14) included a deadline by which school administrators needed to agree or respond, or else face escalations of protests.

Federal law limits the means the university can use to address the demands regarding increased diversity. For example, the SCOTUS will hear the Fischer v. University of Texas case on racial preferences in college admissions on Dec 9th, though the decision presumably won’t come until June.  The NYT has a lengthy discussion, here:

The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on Dec. 9 in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case challenging affirmative action in university admissions. Emily Bazelon, a staff writer for the magazine, and Adam Liptak, The Times’s Supreme Court correspondent, have been exchanging emails about the possible outcomes of the case and what they might mean at a moment of debate over race in American higher education.


It’s been a season of attention to racial inequality on American college campuses. Across the country, sometimes eloquently and sometimes not (these are 18-to-22-year-olds), minority students and their supporters have channeled the spirit of Black Lives Matter and demanded more. More black and Hispanic and Asian and Native American faculty members. More resources. A greater sense of belonging.

The Supreme Court may be poised to make them settle for less, in the most basic form: fewer seats in the future entering college and university classes.

The justices will hear arguments on Wednesday in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case that challenges the consideration that the University of Texas, Austin, gives to race in admission. This is the second time the court has heard the claims of Abigail Fisher, a white woman who didn’t get into U.T. Austin seven years ago. The university says Fisher wouldn’t have gotten in even if race had played no role in the decision, because her other qualifications were lacking. Nonetheless, the justices let her case proceed, and now they’ve brought it back for a second round. That is not a good sign for supporters of affirmative action. …

On the faculty hiring front, UO has a “Underrepresented Minority Recruitment Plan” that gives $90K to departments that hire a minority faculty. At one point minority faculty could and did use these funds for course buyouts and summer salary. However, after a DoE Office of Civil Rights investigation UO General Counsel Melinda Grier agreed to adopt new rules specifying that the funds go to the department not the hire, and requiring that any benefits paid from these funds not be based on race or ethnicity. So if your department hires a new minority professor the department gets $90K, which they can use to give summer salary for *all* new hires.

On the student front, UO used to offer minority-only sections of math classes. Those were shut down as part of a consent agreement with the OCR, after a non-minority student complained. (We’ve started offering these sections again, but entrance is apparently not restricted to minorities.)

Interestingly, while federal law is pretty strict about not giving benefits to people based on race, ethnicity, or gender, there is pretty much nothing that prevents giving preferences to low income students or first generation students.  Not that I’m a law professor.

Last, here’s a bit of history about the important role that black football players had in the integration of UO:

It was not without its difficulties though, as both Robinson and Williams were initially barred from living in campus dorms, having to find housing in off-campus apartments during their freshman year. Their white teammates signed a petition and submitted it to the school under protest demanding that their fellow players be allowed to live on campus in the dormitories alongside their peers. By their sophomore year the university relented, allowing Robinson and Williams to reside in Friendly Hall, albeit separated from others and permitted to enter the building only through their own designated entrance. On road trips too they were segregated from the rest of the team, not permitted to stay in the team hotel, though Williams later confirmed that despite the separate living quarters both managed to mingle with their fellow students and teammates just fine. Often on road trips after check-in at a hotel their white teammates would sneak them into the hotel anyway to stay with the rest of their fellow Webfoots.

Read it all, here:

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Not enough Black PhD students

11/30/2015: The data is from a discussion on InsideHigherEd, here:

… How realistic are these goals? Penn proves informative. Even with its prestige and an arsenal of cash, progress has been steady but relatively slow — at least compared to the Mizzou timeline. Between 2011 and 2013, the percentage of new hires who were underrepresented minorities grew from 9 to 14 percent. But the total percentage of underrepresented minorities on the faculty jumped just 1 percent, to 7 percent, from 2010-13. Minority professors over all increased from 13 percent in 2013 to 16 percent in 2014.

Part of the problem is that black students are underrepresented in a majority of Ph.D. programs and among Ph.D. holders. While black people make up 14 percent of the U.S. population, they’ve earned roughly 6 percent of the research doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents each year since 2003, according to the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies’ Survey of Earned Doctorates. While blacks hold a relatively high proportion of education doctorates, earning about 13 percent of such degrees awarded in 2013, they’re underrepresented in other fields. According to 2013 data, the most recent available, they earned 6 percent of life sciences doctorates, 3 percent of physical sciences doctorates and 5 percent of engineering doctorates. In the social sciences, blacks earned 7 percent of doctorates. It was 5 percent in history and about 4 percent in the humanities. In business, it was 9 percent.

According to the survey, 2,167 black citizens or residents earned research doctorates in 2013. Compare that number to 130 — that’s how many full-time black faculty members Kevin Eagan, interim managing director at the Higher Education Research Center at the University of California at Los Angeles, says Mizzou alone would need to hire in the next two years to meet the 10 percent demand.

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11/29/2015: Pushback begins against Black student demands & tactics

The NYT, here, on Amherst, Claremont-McKenna, Yale, etc:

… In the heat of the moment, the students drafted a list of demands for the administration. … They wanted students who had posted “Free Speech” and “All Lives Matter” posters to go through “extensive training for racial and cultural competency” and possibly discipline. They wanted the administration to apologize for “our institutional legacy of white supremacy,” among many other forms of discrimination, like “heterosexism, cis-sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma and classism.”

… But just as there has been pushback at other colleges, the demands at Amherst were met not only with sympathy but also with skepticism and criticism that the students were asking for too much and trying to stifle free speech and intellectual dissent. Alumni took to the college’s website by the hundreds to complain that this generation was trying to sanitize history and impose a repressive orthodoxy on a place that should be a free market of ideas.

“Why is Amherst, an institution supportive of political freedoms, ultimately becoming a college full of restrictions?” Matthew R. Pewarski, a member of the class of 2008, asked on a password-protected alumni forum.

… At Yale, more than 800 students, faculty, alumni and others signed a letter to the president, criticizing student demands like firing a house master who questioned the policing of Halloween costumes and creating a censure process for hate speech. The letter said these would reinforce “intellectual conformity.”

“The point of the letter was to show administrators that there is organized support for open expression at Yale,” said Zach Young, a junior and the president of the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale.

11/21/2015: UO Black Student Task Force releases list of demands for administration

Diane Dietz reports on Pres Schill’s campus conversation here, and Miles Trinidad has the story on the demands in the Daily Emerald, here:

… “Some of these requests will be easier to achieve than others, but I believe we can make good progress in the coming weeks and months on most, if not all, of those requests,” Schill said. …

Here is the complete list of demands:

  1. Change the names of all of the KKK-related buildings on campus.
  2. Create an African-American Opportunities program that is comparable, in scope and impact, to the Opportunities program for the Latino student population and community.
  3. Commit to creating a Funding Resource and Scholarship initiative that is designed exclusively to support and meet the unique needs of students that identify as Black/African American.
  4. Commit to having Ethnic Studies 101 as a graduation requirement.
  5. Commit to creating an Academic Residential Community (ARC) that will feature African-American history/Oregon Black Diaspora.
  6. Commit to hiring an African-American advisor/retention specialist as well as Black faculty across all academic disciplines, especially major UO departments such as Architecture, Business, Education, Math, and Science departments.
  7. Create a substantial endowment fund and support system to fund and open a Black Cultural Center.
  8. Commit to creating a Black Student Leadership Task Force.
  9. Commit to conducting seminars and workshops by bringing in a black faculty from a peer institution who specializes in Black history and contemporary black issues.
  10. Commit to creating a Student Advisory Board for The Office of Equity & Inclusion and Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence (CMAE).
  11. A commitment to immediate change of Fraternity & Sorority Life Baseline Standards for University recognition.
  12. Commit to immediately keeping and publishing data on efforts to increase Black student acceptance, retention, and safety.