Political diversity at UO

10/29/2012: The University of Iowa Law School was sued in 2009 for failing to hire a conservative instructor. The ruling just came out, and is described by Peter Schmidt in the Chronicle:

In a case in which the University of Iowa College of Law stood accused of political bias for refusing to hire an instructor known for her conservative views, a jury found that the plaintiff, Teresa R. Wagner, did not suffer infringement of her First Amendment rights. The jury deadlocked, however, over a second claim, that Ms. Wagner was denied her equal-protection rights under the 14th Amendment. …

Back in 2006 I matched the Lane County voter registration file to a list of UO professors. Out of 506 matches, there were 25 registered Republicans. Comparing the matched results to the county and state:

By UO college, it looked like this:

Former UO Prof Hsu has opinions about stuff

10/7/2012: Physics Prof Steve Hsu left UO this fall, to be VP for Research at MSU. Matthew Miller of the Lansing paper has a report. Not the usual generics, it deals in part with an email sent to MSU colleagues by UO Prof Daniel HoSang about Hsu’s views and research on IQ, but mostly about plans to link MSU research to local economic success. His blog has his response.

For contrast, I looked at what the RG has written about UO VPR Kimberly Espy and her efforts to keep UO in the AAU, etc: nothing. The ODE had generic puff piece on her when she replaced Linton, here. We need more serious journalism about this issue at UO.

Update: But meanwhile, we’ve got our readers, one of whom posts this:

Forget the genetics stuff, I’m more interested in this…
The Strategic Partnership program provides major grants ranging up to $400,000 over three years for areas of research growth. They are used to leverage matching support from other sources, to provide seed funding for the development of new knowledge, and to initiate new centers of excellence. These grants are treated as investments in the future development of MSU as one of the nation’s leading research universities.
…as compared to, oh I don’t know, maybe this…
Projects which fund Graduate Research Fellows will be prioritized and eligible for funding to a maximum of $8,000 if fully matched by funds from non-RIGE sources… Projects that do not provide support for Graduate Research Fellows will be eligible for funding to a maximum of $5,500.

Still no UO affirmative action plan

Federal law requires annual updates, the 2012-13 plan was due 7/1/2012. The OFCCP has investigated Penny Daugherty’s AAEO office before for their repeated failure to do these plans, and for backdating them to make it look like they had. Last year Lariviere signed it late and just left off the date. When the plan is filed I expect it will show what it always has shown – UO’s hiring of tenure track faculty is generally representative of the pool of available PhD’s by race and ethnicity, but is low on women in science. The Johnson Hall executive administration, which frequently exploits a loophole in federal law that allows them to hire their friends without a search or even a public announcement will have substantial underrepresentation of minorities. 8/2/2012.

Penny Daugherty late with Affirmative Action Plan again

7/3/2012 update:

I got interested in public records matters back in 2006, after Melinda Grier and AA Director Penny Daugherty tried to charge me $200 to see copies of UO’s Affirmative Action plans – documents which state clearly on the cover that they are to be made freely available on request. Most universities post these on the web, but it took the threat of a motion to the UO Senate to get UO to hand them over.

When they did I found out why they were so secretive. UO’s AA Office routinely filed the plans late – even skipping some years. Dave Frohnmayer would then backdate them to make it look like UO was in compliance with the federal law requiring annual updates.

Eventually I was able to convince AA to post the plans on the web, and at least try and do the updates annually. This year Penny Daugherty tells me the plan will only be a month or so late. When it is done, I expect it will show what it has always shown – UO’s hiring of tenure track faculty is generally representative of the pool of available PhD’s by race and ethnicity.

On the other hand the Johnson Hall executive administration, which frequently exploits a loophole in federal law that allows them to hire administrators without a search or even a public announcement that there is a job opening, will not be representative of the available pool of administrators.

The problem is not lack of resources. UO’s AAEO office was already larger than of many other comparable schools, and their spending has increased from $432,000 for the 2009 FY to $635,000 for 2012. Report here. They spent $13,000 on conference registration fees, and $10,000 on out of state travel. Add in the $1 million or so budget for OIED, and you begin to see how expense and mismanaged UO’s diversity efforts have been.

7/8/2011 update: This time she’s only a week late – Penny has now posted the signed 2011-2012 AA Plan on her website. The quick take for those who enjoy the sordid business of classifying Americans by race and gender: Faculty hiring is broadly representative on race/ethnicity, bit less on gender. UO’s higher administration executives remain a problem:

 One question I’ve got is why the UO AAEO office has not yet adopted the new multi-racial categories. The OFCCP has been recommending these for several years now. More on this later.

7/6/2011: At the bottom of every UO job ad it says “The University of Oregon is an EO/AA/ADA institution …” Sort of important stuff, if you are looking for work, or serving on a search committee.

Penny Daugherty is in charge of the AAEO office. She has two main responsibilities: Update UO’s Affirmative Action Plan every year with new numbers, and approve exceptions to the regular hiring rules. In practice, this means giving the wink-and-nod to appointments for UO administrators and their kids without requiring an AA compliant public posting and competitive search.

Ms Daugherty has failed to update the AA plan on time 7 out of the past 8 years. Some years she just blows it off completely. She’s late again this year – and won’t say when or if she will update. It’s not about resources – she has nearly twice the staff of comparable offices. Her incompetence has lead to one OFCCP investigation of UO, so far.

But she must be doing a hell of a job with the wink-and-nod. Our administration just gave her a 7% raise, to $105,316.

And when they came for the Asian-Americans …

5/31/2012 updates. The Volokh Conspiracy gives a round-up and some analysis. From Peter Schmidt in the Chronicle:

A national federation of more than 200 Indian-American groups has joined two other prominent Indian organizations in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to end race-conscious college admissions in a case involving the University of Texas at Austin.


Twenty-two current and former federal civil-rights officialshave joined in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin, arguing that it oversteps not only the Education Department’s guidelines but also legal advice given to colleges by higher-education groups.

My impression of the many programs at UO that give racial and ethnic preferences to students and faculty is that while they are sometimes well intentioned, the people supporting them are either totally unaware of the law or trying to circumvent it. I’m hoping that the new VP for Diversity, Yvette Alex-Assensoh – who has a law degree – will move us towards more effective and legal alternatives based on SES instead.

5/30/2012: Scott Jaschik of InsideHigherEd on the amicus brief filed by Asian-American advocacy groups in *opposition* to affirmative action programs in Texas universities:

The brief filed Tuesday on behalf of Asian-American groups Tuesday focused less on the Texas admissions policy than on the consideration of race generally in college admissions. “Admission to the nation’s top universities and colleges is a zero-sum proposition. As aspiring applicants capable of graduating from these institutions outnumber available seats, the utilization of race as a ‘plus factor’ for some inexorably applies race as a ‘minus factor’ against those on the other side of the equation. Particularly hard-hit are Asian-American students, who demonstrate academic excellence at disproportionately high rates but often find the value of their work discounted on account of either their race, or nebulous criteria alluding to it,” says the brief.

UO physicist Steve Hsu had opinion pieces in the NY Times and Bloomberg on this issue a while back. And UO’s program to give $90,000 to departments that hire minorities, except Asian physicists, is described here. I’m not kidding. Maybe Tomlin should give the money for hiring Mormons?

New VP for Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh

3/4/2012: Best of luck to Ms Alex-Assensoh, who was hired by CAS Dean Scott Coltrane and VP Robin Holmes after an open, reasonably transparent national search, and who has excellent credentials (PhD, law degree, research) and relevant experience at IU. I didn’t go to the interviews but on paper I though she looked like the best candidate. Let’s call her the VP for Equity for short. From the new VPEI website:

Yvette Marie Alex-Assensoh, a political scientist and attorney who has served on the Indiana University faculty for the past 18 years and as dean for women’s affairs since 2008, has been named vice president for equity and inclusion at the University of Oregon. She will begin work at the UO in August.

The diversity position was originally created because former UO administrator Joe Wade sued Provost John Moseley for employment discrimination, and then insisted in the settlement that UO make some policy changes to encourage open searches, and transparent hiring processes. Good for Mr. Wade! Unfortunately UO is still a long way from doing the right thing when it comes to administrative hiring.

The office got off to a troubled start, then suffered through 5 years of mismanagement by Charles Martinez, who ironically was appointed by Frohnmayer and Moseley without any search at all, and then allowed to double-dip at an off campus job. Two years ago most of the relevant faculty and staff broke out in rebellion against Martinez, so Bean and Tomlin created a tenured position for Martinez in the Ed School, then President Lariviere dumped him as VP and sent him back to teaching.

Robin Holmes has already made some much needed changes in the office as interim head. Here’s hoping this office is now off on a good track and that the new VP will undertake a thorough review of  some of its more questionable programs, such as the UMRP, and move resources to fill-the-pipeline efforts that work and are legal, such as the OYSP. The fact that Ms Alex-Assensoh has a law degree seems like a good sign. Maybe she will even abandon the 5 year “diversity action plans” window-dressing effort.

Her application materials are here. This clip from her application letter looks very encouraging. “legally proper”, “best students”, and “just as likely to complete the program and find good jobs”:

Nice contrast to the inane “diversity *is* excellence” mantra that Martinez and Linda Brady used to spout.

3 VP for Diversity candidates

1/13/2012: Diversity VP Charles Martinez was one of those no-search interim appointments gone permanent and bad. He had a remarkable ability to screw up UO’s diversity efforts, despite spending most of his time off campus double dipping at his second job at OSLC. Jim Bean and Russ Tomlin protected him for years, but last spring pretty much everyone who’d ever had to deal with Martinez, including his staff and the ethnic studies department, broke into open revolt. I think 60 people signed the letter. Lariviere finally announced he would do what UO Matters had been calling for for years – have an affirmative action compliant open public search for UO’s VP for Diversity. What a radical idea – this is why Martinez called me a “racist nut”. Bean and Tomlin bought Martinez off with a $153,502 no-search tenured job in the College of Education – they hid this from the FPC – and a sabbatical.

Given that the search for his replacement was chaired by Scott Coltrane and Robin Holmes, it’s not surprising to see that 2 of the 3 finalists are academic administrators with pretty standard diversity track careers. I’ll keep an open mind, but I don’t see a lot of intellectual diversity on issues or policies coming out of this process. The last candidate does look like an interesting scholar though.

The end game here is pretty simple: We hire one of these three, or Coltrane declares the search failed and then Berdahl adds Diversity to VP for Student Affairs Robin Holmes’s portfolio. Just like happened with our new CFO Jamie Moffitt. Then Holmes’ runs with it for a year and goes on the road for a third tier university president job. Sounds good to me.

Anyway, here are the candidates she and Coltrane picked:

Roger Worthington, Missouri:

PhD in Counseling Psych, 5 years as diversity administrator with $1.2 million budget. Web page here.

January 19, 2012
Public presentation
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Papé Reception Room
Candidate presentation: 4:00‐5:00 p.m.*
Question and answer: 5:00‐5:45 p.m.* 

Worthington Cover Letter
Worthington CV

According to this story, Worthington resigned (coincidentally, he says) from his diversity administrator job just after the UM faculty rejected his plan to require all students to take a diversity course:

Roger Worthington is stepping down as chief diversity officer and assistant deputy chancellor of diversity at the University of Missouri.

The announcement comes on the heels of a faculty vote that defeated a proposal to require all students to take a diversity course. Worthington said the timing is coincidental and that he made his decision before that vote. MU won’t hire a replacement, at least for the foreseeable future, spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken said.

If I resigned on principle, I’d brag about that. I’ll never understand administrators.

 Sheila O’Rourke, Berkeley. JD.

Assistant Provost for some sort of faculty diversity initiative.  O’Rourke Cover Letter, O’Rourke CV

January 23, 2012
Public presentation
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Papé Reception Room
Candidate presentation: 4:00‐5:00 p.m.*
Question and answer: 5:00‐5:45 p.m.*

Video here of a pretty low level gender pipeline talk at OSU. As might be expected for a Berkeley admin she’s been involved in lots of controversies, do a google search.

 Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Indiana:

Phd in Poli Sci, JD. Poli Sci Professor, Dean in Office of Women’s Affairs. Long and interesting publications list. Alex-Assensoh Cover Letter. Alex-Assensoh CV

January 26, 2012
Public presentation
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Papé Reception Room
Candidate presentation: 4:00‐5:00 p.m.*
Question and answer: 5:00‐5:45 p.m.*

She’s also a finalist for an AVP job at Missouri State.

Portland, Huron, Diversity

12/30/2011: Readers have asked me to get information on the cost and plans for UO – Portland, for the Huron consulting contracts, and for info on the VP for Diversity search. I’ve been asking VP for Portland Wendy Larson for the Portland info, and I’ve filed PR requests for Huron and Diversity.

Rumor has it that Portland is losing ~$3.5 million a year, that the Huron contracts are not shrinking, and that there are three finalists for the campus visits for the VP for diversity Let me know if you have any specific tips or questions on these issues.

ASUO government working pretty well

10/14/2011: We’ve had a few posts about conflicts between VP for Students Robin Holmes and the students. Both now seem resolved, at least temporarily. Franklin Bains has a long story in the ODE on EMU referendum:

The meat of this negotiation was a line-by-line hashing out where Eckstein would read a section from the original memo he tried to sign with Holmes, which was not agreed to, that provoked the postponement. Following, senators — who all had this document open on their computers, along with the new document that was receiving revisions — would discuss concerns they had and vote on these individual sections.

Finally, just before 4 a.m., the final memorandum was approved, and the group took a 15-minute recess so another group could write the letter. It went out to the Multicultural Center, the Women’s Center and the governing bodies of Fraternity and Sorority Life on Thursday. Those bodies returned approval. The letter was read, and the magnitude of that momentous occasion was reflected upon.

“I’ve never seen this happen before … I want to thank everybody,” said Eckstein, who is going on his third full year in the ASUO.

Then the OMAS fight, led by UO Truth, a group of students and their OMAS advisors who were worried they would be reassigned as part of Holmes’s efforts to restore some sanity to Charles Martinez’s OIED empire. Mei Tsai reports Robin Holmes has compromosed there too:

Students with the UO Truth Coalition and Vice President of Student Affairs Robin Holmes agreed in a meeting Friday afternoon to set up a student advisory board that would work with administration in the transition of OMAS to CMAE.

The UO Truth Coalition would like to see a board of 10 students from the group, as well as other representatives of other student groups. It would take part in the hiring process of potential CMAE advisors, as well as approve or disapprove of hiring advisors.
However, she did not agree to allow the student board to oversee the administration and its processes.

“To have oversight over an administrative function is not something I can agree to, nor do I think it would work,” she said.

Students also asked for included the retaining current OMAS services, hiring culturally competent advisors to fill advising positions that are currently empty, and creating more scholarships for in-state students of color. Holmes agreed to all of these.

Bit by bit the administration is learning they are better off consulting with the students than ignoring them.

Robin Holmes FAQ on OMAS

10/31/2011: Better late than never. The students who oppose this have a blog here.

Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence
Responses to Recent Questions
1. Is OMAS being eliminated?
You will no longer see the name Office of Multicultural Academic Support (OMAS). 
However, all of the current staff of OMAS will continue at the University with
responsibilities to serve students.  Multicultural programs are being expanded and other
initiatives are being developed to ensure that students have the support to be successful at the University of Oregon. 

2. Whose idea was this?
 It was a discussion among a number of people in recognition of the need for more
multicultural services at the University and a desire to follow innovative practices for
providing those services in the most effective way possible.  Feedback from the recent Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity listening sessions helped to solidify the need for more services for underrepresented students at the University of Oregon. 

3. When will the change happen?
It is an on-going process.  The three program area directors (Audrey Cramer, Jane Irungu and Chicora Martin) are working together to create a strategic plan for the new Center for
Multicultural Academic Excellence.  A grand opening event will be held during the UO MLK celebration week.  However, there is an open forum scheduled for November 3, 2011 at noon in the Fir Room, EMU so we can provide more information to interested students.  Additionally, the area directors of the new center are always open and available to meet with students, faculty, and staff with questions. 

4. Is the student lounge of OMAS being closed?
 No. The lounge area will be available.  Some staff offices will move, and efforts are being
made to create more multicultural lounge and meeting space for students.  We hope that in
the future we may be able to offer this space more frequently as a meeting space for
organizations and events. 

5. Will I still be able to see my advisor?  
 Yes.  Staff who previously did advising as part of OMAS will be available to assist students with advising issues.  In addition, all staff involved with the Center will be able to provide support and advising.  

6. Are the OMAS retreat, Diversity Excellence Scholarships (DES) and graduation being
No.  We recognize the importance and value of these programs.  We hope to expand the
opportunities for student leadership and institutional support.  We hope interested students
will be a part of these initiatives, through planning and implementation. 

7. I have heard that other programs will be eliminated.  Is that true?
 The leadership team is making a full review of all the services provided to students.  In the near future input will be sought through a survey and follow up meetings focusing on the students who have utilized the programs in the past, and those who may utilize it in the
future to ensure that resources to serve undergraduate and graduate students are allocated to the most effective and desired programs and services.  The survey link will be available on numerous websites including the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of
Institutional Equity and Diversity.  Fliers will be distributed across campus with the web link to all student unions, the MCC, and academic departments.  

For more information please contact 
Robin Holmes
Audrey Cramer
Jane Irungu
Chicora Martin

Please come to the open forum scheduled for November 3, 2011 at noon in the Fir Room for an opportunity to get your questions answered and hear more about new opportunities.

Holmes cleans up Martinez’s mess

10/30/2011: OIED VP Charles Martinez was one of those interim appointments gone permanent and bad. He had a remarkable ability to screw up UO’s diversity efforts, despite spending most of his time off campus double dipping at his second job at OSLC.

Last year Lariviere bought Martinez off with a no-search tenured job in the College of Education, then this fall he appointed VP for Student Affairs Robin Holmes to run OIED on an interim basis. My prediction? The secretive search run by Scott Coltrane and “Diversity Search” at a cost of $100,000 fails, and Holmes then adds the VP for “Diversity and Institutional Equity” job to her portfolio.

And – trust me I *really* never thought I would say this – maybe that’s a good thing. Holmes has a stubborn flaw as an administrator: She just won’t consult with faculty or students about anything – from moving graduation day, to the EMU renovations, and now to the reorganization of OMAS. But the reorganization itself is long overdue, it’s sensible, and Holmes appears to have support from the people who want to change things for the better. OIED needs good administration.

As this ODE story by Mei Tsai reports, some of the students that use OMAS are now up in arms. Their blog is here.  This was predictable, they should have been brought into the reform process. The story I’ve heard is that they are being manipulated by those OMAS advisors who are going to get reassigned by VP Holmes to actual real jobs. Jobs advising students, reporting to administrators with goals, and held to account for their productivity. Nobody likes that.

VP Holmes is apparently scheduling meetings with the students next week. I hope this gets fixed. Meanwhile here’s the latest Org chart:

OMAS to close?

10/26/2011: An anonymous correspondent reports that VP Robin Holmes is closing the Office of Multicultural Academic Success and replacing it with something called CMAE, the Center for Multicultural Access and Excellence. They point readers toward uotruth.tumblr.com for more information and documents, and say that students, staff, and faculty are organizing protests. That blog says:

The goal is “diversity” not multicultural as representing students of color. The new CMAE has shifted the focus that OMAS had on students of color to any student that qualifies under the diversity criteria. Obviously these students need resources and programs but Non-trad and Students of Color should not be treated the same. This is an act of white washing, complete disregard for the actual needs of students of color, and a blatant attempt at assimilation. 

As most readers know, since I’ve beaten the topic to death, my own belief is that special services targeted specifically at racial and ethnic minorities are generally illegal. I would prefer to see targeting by income and SES instead – a filter which would include many minorities. This is in part because of the law, in part because I think it is more appropriately targeted. President Obama has made the same point, about his own daughters. While I often disagree with Robin Holmes, she seems to be a pretty damn good administrator. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. I applaud the students involved for getting involved, even if we don’t agree. And also for their excellent work getting and posting public records for the public to see.