UO Senate to Gottfredson: “Asked, and answered”

5/12/2014 Update: By an accident of history, President Gottfredson’s Q&A about the latest athletic scandal at the upcoming Wednesday May 14 Senate meeting will come on the anniversary of his first sustained interaction with the UO faculty, the infamous 2013 “asked and answered” debacle. (Yes, he managed to wait almost 10 months after taking office to meet the UO faculty.)

Since then, it’s been all downhill. I know there are those counseling we wait for the UO Board to deal with this disastrous president, and maybe they’re right. (Although I doubt that’s the message the alumni and parents are sending.) But here’s a little history to support the argument that enough is enough, and that if we don’t get answers from Gottfredson on Wednesday, we should hold an immediate vote of no-confidence:

5/14/2013: President Gottfredson’s first talk with UO faculty goes very badly.

Update on the shared governance “conversation” with President Gottfredson:

Our president’s most common response to the faculty is now a curt “read my written remarks” or “asked and answered”, a phrase lawyers use to semi-politely insult each other, when objecting to a question in court.

Continue reading

11AM at the Ford Alumni Center: Gottfredson will speak, 2 months to the day after the alleged rape

Update: I’m here w/ about 10 TV cameras, 50 or so reporter types, and another 50 faculty and students. I’ll try and live blog a little, but I’m not I’ve got the stomach for it.

PR flack Toby Klinger introduces the rules. Brief remarks from Gott, followed by Q&A. ONLY 20 MINUTES TOTAL! Crowd giggles.

Gottfredson blames 2 months of privacy on police cooperation, FERPA. He’s still playing with dates – EPD claims they told UO investigation was over 4/8. Gott claims 4/24. Still won’t say when he would have warned campus, if the sports reporters hadn’t broke the story.

“We will appoint an independent panel …” Yup.

11:12, time for questions:

Woolington: Why the gap? Holmes: We started our investigation on the 8th, we couldn’t get it until the 24th?

Q: When were the players suspended? April 30.

Q: Where you and Altman aware at the tournament? A: Didn’t even know which players.

Wollington: Who is paying for the players lawyers? RH: No idea, don’t even know their lawyers.

Q: Why were they kicked off the team? RM: Conduct that we didn’t want out in public.

Q: Why are you hiding behind FERPA? MG: To protect ourselves. Whoops, I mean the students.

Q: Why did you wait so long with no notification? RH: These sorts of things happen all the time, we don’t notify.

Q: What’s the status of the federally required investigation.

Wollington: Why hasn’t the IAC met since since Feb? Gottfredson: I don’t know, ask the Chair. [Bullshit].

Q: Are you going to expel these students? RH: Can’t say.

Q: Is Dana Altman going to be coach next year? RM: Yes.

Q: Gottfredson, did you know the names? A: Yes.

Gottfredson: The safety and security of our students is our top priority [after sports cash, that is].

5/9/2014: 11AM at the Ford Alumni Center KEZI will cover it live.

Rumor is that Altman will be the designated scapegoat. Mistakes were made. Gottfredson will appoint a hand picked team of “experts” to investigate UO’s response and report back during the summer when the students aren’t here.

Or Gottfredson will surprise us, accept responsibility, and resign.

Another rumor is that Mark Yuran quit UO because he wouldn’t go along with the JH cover-up.

Another rumor is that Gottfredson shut down the Senate Intercollegiate Athletics Committee the day after he realized the rape allegations were going to go public after all.

UO should fire Dana Altman for cause – or get rid of Gottfredson

BBall Coach Dana Altman recruited a player with a sexual assault history, then he let two others play in games despite the fact they were under investigation by the police for even more serious allegations. His November 2013 contract has a morals clause:

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 10.33.35 AM

His excuse could be that these actions were approved by his bosses: AD Rob Mullens and President Mike Gottfredson. If so, fire them. Gottfredson’s contract, here, doesn’t say anything about ethical responsibilities, but it does allow the board to get rid of him with 30 days notice.

Provost Scott Coltrane would make a fine Interim President. And from what I hear, he would have much more support from the faculty and Deans as permanent UO President than Gottfredson has ever had.

University develops 5 point plan to boost AAU rank!

4/26/2014: That would be the University of Missouri, story here. Meanwhile here at UO, our administration is still trying to write a two paragraph mission statement.

Interestingly, the UM plan is focused on increasing incentives to create intellectual property, by making it easier for faculty to own patents and start businesses. Just the sort of thing that President Gottfredson and Sharon Rudnick tried to crush here at UO during the faculty union negotiations. Remember when Randy Geller wanted the right to vet all faculty consulting?

4/24/2014: With UO research in disarray, Gottfredson jets off for AAU meeting.

President Gottfredson’s official schedule is here:


Traveling to Washington D.C. for Association of American Universities (AAU) meeting

This trip is not going to be as much fun as January’s Alamo Bowl junket.

Last year President Gottfredson told our academic accreditors that UO’s aspiration was to rise to the top half of the AAU publics. The truth is that we’ll be very lucky if we can even stay in the AAU. Their “membership indicators” are posted here, and it’s all about federal research money. Sports gets zero weight.

But UO’s priorities are a little different than the AAU’s. For the 2012-2013 FY UO spent $95M on Duck athletics:

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 10.11.22 PM

UO research spending beat that by only $2.7M:

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 10.08.09 PM

Yes, while the UO Foundation funneled $25M in tax-free donations to Duck athletics, and spent another ~$6M on their own offices and salaries, only $2.7M went to fund UO research. (Note: the athletic and research numbers are for current expenditures, and exclude buildings like LISB and the Football Palace.)

Last spring the UO Senate handed President Gottfredson a golden opportunity to finally end some of the athletic subsidies and send the money back to the academic side:

2.1 BE IT HEREBY MOVED that the UO Senate requests that the UO President requires the UO Athletic Department to pay from its budget the full cost of providing tutoring and academic support for student-athletes, beginning in FY 2013-14;

2.2 BE IT FURTHER MOVED that the UO Senate requests that the UO President requires the UO Athletic Department to pay from its budget the full cost of the bonds used to purchase the Knight Arena land, beginning in FY 2013-14;

But Gottfredson blew this faculty plea off. The athletic subsidies – about $5M a year – continue.

Then there’s the leadership problem. The faculty just chased off the disastrous VP for Research Kimberly Espy. It took a year and a half – two formal reviews, research institutes gutted, PI’s have left, or are on their way out. While Gottfredson defended Espy every step of the way, he must have seen this coming for at least a year. Nope, he still hasn’t even found an interim replacement.

In a nutshell, staying in the AAU is all about academic research. But President Gottfredson is taking money from the academic side and spending it on sports. We currently don’t even have a VP for Research. But he says he wants UO to be a top tier AAU research university. Sure. Have a good time explaining this all to your peers at the AAU meeting, President Gottfredson.

Business school does “360 degree” review of Dean, posts all comments

No, of course I’m not talking about UO and our B-School Dean Kees de Kluyver. This is for Eastern Michigan. Survey responses here. Seems like a constructive exercise.

Will this ever happen for UO administrators? Maybe. After a secret performance review of President Gottfredson last spring – the Senate wasn’t even told it was being done – the OUS Board extended his contract through July 2016. As the RG editorial board noted last summer about Gottfredson’s lackluster first year at UO:

“And if a president proves lacking in either vision of his own or the ability to execute the vision of others, the board can replace him.”

Fortunately, as the editors also note, we now have an excellent independent board:

“These people won’t be content to be figureheads. They will expect the UO to perform as the state’s leading institution of learning and research, and as a primary engine for Oregon’s civic, cultural and economic development. All of them have achieved their various types of success through careful investments of their money, time and energy. Now they’re investing a part of their lives in the UO, demonstrating a commitment to the university and a faith in its potential.

And fortunately UO’s Trustees are indeed taking charge and planning a new review for Gottfredson. Here’s hoping it involves an open process, along the lines of what other universities do.

Pres Gottfredson’s Winter welcome and campus update

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back to campus. I hope you had an enjoyable and restful holiday break.

The year 2013 was a remarkable one for our university. It was a year bracketed by the celebration of two bowl-game victories; a year of historic changes in our governance structure accompanied by steadfast continuity of our mission. As we begin a new year and a new academic term, I am impressed by the challenges we have overcome and the opportunities that lie ahead—remarkable opportunities to invigorate key programs, focus our goals and priorities, and refinance the university to make our aspirations a reality.

Several years ago, the university created an academic plan—an important tool to guide the development of priorities and a crucial step in the formation of fundraising campaign goals and strategies. The plan provides a solid foundation from which to move the university forward—it includes benchmarks, measurable goals, and a strategy to achieve them. I have asked the deans to review that plan as it pertains to their areas, and the provost has scheduled a series of discussions to further refine our academic priorities and planning as an institution. (The next one, on benchmarks and metrics, is January 14.) I hope you will participate in this dialog—as faculty and staff, you are the intellectual and innovative heart of the university, and your input is critically important to the future of our campus.

Our new Board of Trustees will also be key to helping the UO realize our future. Last fall, our board members participated in two orientation sessions designed to build their knowledge of the breadth and complexity of the university. Later this month, the trustees will convene their first board meeting on campus to create bylaws, elect officers, and continue learning what they’ll need to know to assume authority on July 1. Agendas and information will be posted on the trustees website next week. I remain impressed and humbled by the extraordinary wealth of talent and experience this group embodies, and I look forward to working with them in the months ahead and the years to come.

Looking back on the fall term, the accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff give us much to be proud of. UO faculty members have garnered many significant honors recently, including Alec Murphy, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of American Geographers, and J. Josh Snodgrass and Tom H. Stevens, who were named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

It was a spectacular season for Duck athletics, with a victory over Texas in the Alamo Bowl providing a terrific finish to the Ducks’ first season under Mark Helfrich. We also saw freshman Edward Cheserek win the NCAA individual cross country championship, a third straight 20-win season for volleyball, and our men’s basketball team is among the top-ranked in the country. Go Ducks!

The UO is receiving recognition for a culture of innovation that runs through many aspects of the university. Our PathwayOregon scholarship program, which covers tuition and fees for academically qualified, Pell-eligible Oregonians, was singled out by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as a model for others to follow when he spoke at a national student-aid conference recently.

The UO also received recognition at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) annual conference in November. The Association of American Universities’ president cited our creation of an institutional board structure as one of several positive recent developments for higher education. We participated in a panel on the topic of evolving funding models for public research universities.

Research funding is threatened by cuts in federal as well as state funding, a point addressed in an Oregonian op-ed I coauthored with the presidents of OSU, PSU, and OHSU warning of the long-term costs of funding cuts associated with sequestration.

As I reflect back on 2013 I’m proud of what this university has accomplished. I’m excited and optimistic for the year ahead, as we continue to define our priorities, implement our new governance structure, and fill key leadership roles that will help guide our future. This fall, we welcomed Terry Hunt as dean of the Clark Honors College, and dean searches are in progress for the College of Education and the UO Libraries, and will be relaunched this spring for the School of Journalism and Communication. The four finalists for the position of Provost and Senior Vice President will be interviewing on campus between January 13 and February 4, and information will be posted on my website before each presentation.

In the coming year, we will build on the strong momentum we have established as we work together to support our students, advance scholarship and research on our campus, and fulfill our promise to serve Oregonians. I look forward to receiving your input and sharing our progress with you.

Michael Gottfredson, President

Gottfredson hires more branders

11/21/2013: Our President’s reaction to the grim benchmarking report from Coltrane:

Title: Sr. Director, Marketing Communications

Salary Range:  $100,000 – 120,000

Review Date:  Search will remain open until filled.  Search committee will begin reviewing applications December 20, 2013
Start Date:  As soon as possible
General Responsibilities:The University of Oregon seeks applications for the Senior Director of Marketing Communication position.  Reporting to the Associate VP, Communications, Marketing, and Brand Management, the Sr. Director is responsible for leading the University of Oregon’s marketing-communications operations, playing a lead role in the development and execution of organizational structure and practices supporting long-term communications objectives that promote the University of Oregon’s values, vision and key messages in various designed communication channels.

Posted today in the UO jobs listing, here. Another faculty line lost to administrative bloat. There’s also this:

Title:  Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communication
Department:  University Advancement
Reports To:  Associate Vice President, Communications, Marketing and Brand Management
Term:  1.0 FTE for 12 months (renewable annually)
Salary Range:  $100,000 to $120,000

and this:

Title:  Sr. Director, Marketing Communications
Department:  University Advancement
Reports To:  Assoc. VP, Communications, Marketing, and Brand Management
Term:  1.0 FTE for 12 months (renewable annually)
Salary Range:  $100,000 – 120,000

and this:

Title:  Associate Vice President (AVP) for Advancement/Executive Director (ED) UO Alumni Association
Department:  University Advancement
Reports To:  Vice President for University Advancement
Term:  1.0 FTE for 12 months (renewable annually)
Salary Range:  $150,000+
Review Date:  Search will remain open until filled.  Search committee will begin reviewing applications September 17, 2013.
Start Date:  As soon as possible

11/21/2013: Gottfredson off on more road trips

Two weeks ago it was Palo Alto for a football game. Last week it was to DC, for a meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, arranged by Kimberly Espy. This week it’s Portland to meet the UO Trustees who were too busy to come visit the campus they will soon be running, then Tucson for another game. Schedule here. Rumor has it that Gottfredson applied for the UA Presidency back in 2012 but didn’t make the final cut, hence his faux pas about the “great University of Arizona” during his campus visit to UO, as sole finalist for the UO President. The UA job went to Ann Weaver Hart, who seems to be doing great.

ODE on UO’s poor benchmarking performance.

11/11/2013: Sami Edge of the ODE reports on the issues, with some interesting quotes from Coltrane. and Jeremy Hedlund. Well worth reading it all, here. The admin’s spin is that UO needs more money. But the state is already giving us grief for holding reserves in excess of the OUS maximums, and of course there are millions going to athletic subsidies, police, golden parachute deals, the White Stag, etc.

RG on Benchmarking, meeting with Gottfredson Update, 11/10/13: Back in August the Register Guard editorial board took a look at Michael Gottfredson’s first year as UO president. They weren’t impressed:

… And if a president proves lacking in either vision of his own or the ability to execute the vision of others, the board can replace him.

Gottfredson’s response to this new arrangement — he’ll be liberated in some ways, more accountable in others — will be telling. The board will expect, even demand, that he become more vocal in articulating the university’s mission, and leave behind the caution that can characterize presidents who are in some respects mid-level state bureaucrats. … 

Today they take another look, after meeting with him Tuesday, just before he flew south to catch the football game with Stanford. Today’s RG editorial mostly focuses on the benchmarking data from Interim Provost Scott Coltrane, and data from the AAUP national union’s Howard Bunsis. Showing under-investment in faculty. Gottfredson does get a shout-out at the end, but there’s no evidence the editors think he’s broken out of that mid-level bureaucrat mode:

Low per-student spending is reflected in many of the other benchmarks. In 2010-11, the UO had the highest ratio of students per tenured or tenure-track faculty member — 35 to 1. The average at other AAU public universities was 23 to 1. 

Five years earlier, the UO’s ratio of tenure-related faculty to students was 32 to 1. The university saw a 20 percent surge in student enrollment during that period, and almost managed to keep pace with a 19 percent increase in the total number of faculty. Nearly all of the increase, however, was among lower-ranked faculty with smaller paychecks and less job security. The UO kept professors in front of its students by watering the soup. 

This conclusion is buttressed by an analysis presented in March by Howard Bunsis, a professor of accounting at Eastern Michigan University and chairman of the American Association of University Professors’ Collective Bargaining Congress. Bunsis found that from 2005 through 2012, the number of part-time faculty at the UO rose 38 percent, while full-time faculty increased by 1 percent. Bunsis also found that among nine AAU public universities, faculty salaries at the UO ranked last — except for instructors, the lowest rank examined, whose salaries ranked fifth.

We’d know more, but Gottfredson hasn’t released the performance review OUS did on him this spring, and 15 months into the job UO doesn’t even have the beginnings of a plan to deal with its problems. The early RG story on the meeting quoted him as saying:

The university increased its faculty ranks by about 20 this fall to address the problem, but it would need about 100 additional faculty to keep up with the enrollment growth of recent years, Gottfredson said. 

“That’s probably our near-term target,” he said.

Probably? What fields? What’s the strategic emphasis? How are you going to reallocate funds? Not very inspirational, or even very organized.

UO releases chilling benchmarking report:

  • Oregonian reporter Betsy Hammond quotes from Provost Coltrane, not President Gottfredson, taking the credit for releasing this report. So where’s our President? On his way to a football game, of course. We are so screwed.
  • RG reporter Diane Dietz gets some Gottfredson quotes, from his talk to the RG editorial board. He sounds sleepy.
  • University cancels former Provost’s lucrative 2 year salary, for unspecified transitional administrative job. No, of course I’m not talking about UO’s Jim Bean. This was at NC State. Despite all UO’s financial troubles, Gottfredson is going to give Bean another $500K for an administrative sinecure.

11/4/2013: The first step is admitting you have a problem. UO has now done this, sort of, with this public “benchmarking report”, posted here. Produced by Academic Analytics, it lays out a plethora of problems, in admirably blunt graphs. The report was posted today on Provost Coltrane’s academic plan website, here. UO paid quite a lot for this info – here are just some of our consulting expenditures over the past year:

This benchmarking effort is part of the secretive strategic plan that President Gottfredson will presumably be discussing with the RG editorial board, this Tuesday at 1:00. So far the UO Senate hasn’t heard a word about this report, or had any input into the development of a financial plan to address these issues. The Senate Budget Committee hasn’t even met this year. Gottfredson won’t even show the faculty UO’s budget projections, which were part of his secret performance review by OUS this spring:

The benchmarking report does not include any of the sort of skeptical inquiry into UO’s priorities and spending that can be found in the faculty union’s Bunsis Report, here.

Research funding, research output per professor, student SATs, graduation rates, PhD production. You name it, we’re at the bottom or close to it. Here’s my look at the report. The takeaway? This is more transparency than we’ve ever before had from Gottfredson, but the report is slanted so as to make the UO faculty look bad, and it omits important data about UO’s spending and donations.


Careful with this one, it’s got a truncated y-axis:

On the other hand we’re doing pretty well serving low income students. I’m guessing most of the retention problem is due to the population of undergrads we are serving – the appropriate population for a public university in a poor state like Oregon:
The faculty teach those undergrads that do stay like crazy. UO faculty produce half again as many graduates per tenure-track faculty as the AAU average:

On the PhD side though, things are grim:

The report has a heavy emphasis on the low research productivity of UO faculty. These data are presumably the reason Gottfredson has abandoned Lariviere’s efforts to get salaries to the AAU comparators – he doesn’t think we’re pulling our weight on the research side:
Of course, if these data accounted for UO’s lack of faculty in fields that are eligible for federal funding, the results would look better. They might even flip. For example, on a per professor basis UO’s faculty are fecund producers of books – the standard output in the liberal arts:
Similarly we don’t do so well on scientific articles – perhaps because we don’t have very many scientists relative to the AAU average? Who knows. While Academic Analytics has those data in spades, the benchmarking report doesn’t show any off those distinctions. Too bad, because it’s exactly the sort of information you would need in order to make intelligent decisions about funding priorities: 
When it comes to finances, it’s interesting to see what UO chooses to report and not report. For total spending per student FTE, we’re at the bottom:
It would be interesting to see that broken out by how the money was spent. Maybe a little too interesting for President Gottfredson. Here’s what Howard Bunsis of the AAUP found when he looked at the numbers. “Institutional Support” means UO’s central administration:
The increase in the JH budget exploded during the Frohnmayer years:
If you look just at salaries, it’s more obvious. Auxiliary Programs is mostly athletics:
Gottfredson still hasn’t made a serious response to the Senate’s call for a decrease in subsidies for the jocks. Instruction and research have been getting the short end of the stick. On the other hand, UO’s expenditures on $244K golden parachute deals for deadwood administrators don’t even get a bar chart. Similarly, there’s nothing in this benchmarking report on UO’s exploding expenditures on the athletic department. So here’s a little data I put together on UO compared to OSU, for research and athletics:
When it comes to the UO Foundation, the report looks bad according to totals, good relative to UO’s budget:

However these data combine giving to academics and to athletics. VP for Development Mike Andreasen has an aspirational goal of raising the academic sides take to 2/3 of the total – but the athletic department won’t cooperate with his fundraising efforts:

Q: what’s the downside to taxing the athletic donations? This last year, a 5% tax would have brought $5-6M to academics. What’s the downside? Would it hurt the core mission of teaching/research side to lose some athletic donations?

Mike Andreasen: People aren’t inspired by this sort of tax or fee. The idea is to get them excited about the UO, then inspire them to give to the academic side. We don’t want to turn off the athletic donor who might become an academic donor.

Comment: Don’t call it a fee or tax, call it an opportunity to help the students.

Mike: we’re building relationships with these people. If a donor doesn’t want to give to something, we don’t want to be in a position to turn down the gift or to aggravate them. We want to get them excited about giving.

Q: What’s your strategy to get academic donations to be a larger percentage?


Q: If we assume that most of the big donors give to athletics, it would require a big shift in culture or donor demographics of donors.

Mike: Most of the big donors are to academics. Most schools have one or two big athletic donors. Most of the athletic donors are small donors – people who donate just so that they can get tickets to the games, and they’re not interested in giving anything else to UO.

The UO Foundation has data on the split – is it possible they won’t release them to the UO President? They won’t tell the CAE much – but what they do reveal suggests that giving to UO academic causes is pretty small:

While I’m posting figures, here’s the latest Org Chart. Coltrane has appointed former Journalism Dean Tim Gleason as his latest special assistant. Who knows what UO’s bloated central administration is now costing us. I’ve got a public records request in for Gleason’s job description. Lorraine Davis’s is here. Totally redacted, of course. Because Step 2 is blindly putting your trust in a higher power.

Gottfredson on new academic plan

11/7/2013: Letter from President Gottfredson and Interim Provost Coltrane to faculty, on benchmarking and a new academic plan. The links include documents shared with the new UO Board. Presumably they will soon announce efforts to involve the Senate and Union leadership.

Dear Colleagues, 
As a comprehensive research university and a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), the University of Oregon stands among the top 62 high-intensity research universities in North America, and the top 34 public universities. We are well positioned to distinguish ourselves further. To this end, we are taking a critical look at where we stand currently in relation to the top institutions in the country. 
We celebrate the remarkable work being done on our campus that positions us among the highest-ranking universities in the world. We are continually impressed by the quality and dedication of our faculty and staff; the significance of the research, scholarship, and creative inquiry being produced on our campus; and the intellectual curiosity and engagement of our students. We acknowledge that your accomplishments have occurred in the context of the significant challenges posed by declining state funding and increased enrollment. Imagine what we’ll achieve with more faculty, better support for research and graduate students, and enhanced facilities, which are all among our highest strategic priorities. 
With our new governing board structure and continuing shared governance we have an extraordinary opportunity to ensure that the UO is competitive with the finest universities in the nation. We are about to embark on a strategic planning process to focus intently on refinancing our organization and elevating the stature of our university. 
To advance this goal, we asked Brad Shelton, vice provost for Budget and Planning, to chair a committee to update the data that show us where we stand in relation to our AAU peers. As you know, we have measured ourselves for some time in relation to the OUS set of eight AAU public research universities (University of Michigan; University of Washington; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Iowa; Indiana University; University of Virginia; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Vice Provost Shelton led a committee that included Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president for Research and dean of the Graduate School; Yvette Alex-Assensoh, vice president for Equity and Inclusion; Roger Thompson, vice president for Enrollment Management; Frances Bronet, dean of the College of Architecture and Allied Arts; Karen Sprague, then vice provost for Undergraduate Studies; and Mike Bullis, then dean of the College of Education; with input from others. 
This committee produced a benchmarking report, which we shared on the Senior Vice President and Provost’s website this week, that compares the UO with our AAU public peers on several metrics. Used along with other tools, it provides empirical evidence we need to inform our decisions moving forward. The metrics identify some areas of remarkable strength, including a high percentage of female tenure-track faculty members and the significant number of books published by our faculty. The report also identifies areas in which we should improve, including our faculty–student ratio, the number of graduate students we support, and the resources we have available to invest in students and research. Not surprisingly, the comparative data show that our public peers are better funded than we are. 
We are sharing this information with our new trustees as they prepare to participate in the governance of the institution, and with you, as we embark on a planning process that depends on the active participation of our campus community. You may download the orientation notebook we prepared for our trustees, which includes a variety of information about the UO, from the Board of Trustees website. 
Our goals for improvement remain aspirational, but attainable. The UO has a rich history of creativity, scholarship, and scientific achievement and a well-deserved reputation for delivering high-quality education to the people of Oregon. As we go forward, we will need to make strategic adjustments to focus additional resources where they will be the most effective. As we embark on a campus-wide process of identifying objectives linked to the values articulated in our academic plan, there will be opportunities for everyone to participate. We look forward to working together with the entire UO community as we set new goals for the future. 
Michael Gottfredson, President
Scott Coltrane, Interim Senior Vice President and Provost

Gottfredson now posting calendar, lots of athletics

11/4/2013: During his first year in office President Gottfredson earned the ire of the Oregon Commentator and the Student Press Law Center by trying to charge hundreds of dollars to see copies of his official calendar – and then not letting students use student funds to pay the bill. In a modest improvement in transparency, his office is now posting a selection of events from his upcoming week, here. Half of this week is about athletics:


2:00 p.m. — Travel to San Francisco 


San Francisco / Palo Alto, California 

8:30 a.m. — Pac-12 Network tour
President Gottfredson tours Pac-12 Network facilities with university and community leaders. 

1:00 p.m. — Oregon University System Presidents Council
President Gottfredson joins the meeting of OUS presidents by videoconference. 

3:30 p.m. — Duck Alumni Tailgate
The president joins UO alumni and Ducks fans for a pregame tailgate before Oregon meets Stanford at Maloney Field. 

6:00 p.m. — Football
The Oregon Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal.  


San Francisco / Palo Alto, California

Not a surprise, given UO’s emphasis on big-time college sports. Here’s an interesting report on how such an emphasis can make it difficult for universities to recruit and keep top administrators who care about the academic side. Just another of the hidden costs of athletics:

After five scandal-plagued years as University of North Carolina chancellor, Holden Thorp was downright ecstatic to start over on a campus where the term “student-athlete” doesn’t evince snickers and groans. 

The new provost at the private Washington University spends little time worrying about academically suspect jocks — as a Division III school, WashU doesn’t even award athletic scholarships. It’s a far cry from Chapel Hill, where an academic fraud investigation found dozens of athletes taking no-show classes, along with assorted other abuses, and led to Thorp’s resignation from the top job at his alma mater — the sole college he applied to as a high school senior in Fayetteville, N.C.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/11/03/3338133/college-presidents-find-smaller.html#storylink=cpy

Another uninformative Gottfredson email on UO Board


Dear Colleagues, 
This week, nominees to the University of Oregon’s new Board of Trustees—the institutional governing board recently established by the Oregon Legislature—will visit our campus for an orientation workshop. It is one of many opportunities our new trustees will have to become broadly knowledgeable about the university and their role as board members before their authority becomes fully effective in July 2014. 
In my first year as president, I embraced and advocated for this shift in governance structure as a path toward sustaining our public mission in a time of great change for higher education. This reform is bold, and it is essential to the university’s ability to effectively manage its resources and plan strategically for the future. It offers a unique opportunity for faculty, staff, trustees, and leadership—working together—to strengthen the UO’s academic standing and further its reputation as a top-tier research university. 
We welcome our prospective trustees with great anticipation as well as considerable purpose. Our board nominees’ time on campus this week will include a high-level overview of the university, and opportunities to become familiar with many aspects of our organization. 
As we begin to implement this new governance structure, we look to our own institutional heritage—when the university’s first board of regents, present at its founding, worked in partnership with faculty, students, members of the community, and the state. And we look toward a bright future, as we employ a strategy of focused excellence that will continue to strengthen our ability to compete for the best faculty, the best students, and the public and private financial resources to advance our mission. 
This is an exciting time for the university. Your ongoing commitment to excellence is evident everywhere, from the quality of the educational experience our students receive in the classroom, to the creativity and innovation of the research that begins on our campus. I look forward to working together as we continue the positive momentum of this great institution, sustaining and elevating the University of Oregon’s position as one of the world’s premier public research universities. 
Michael Gottfredson 


10/27/2013: UO Board of Trustees to hold first meeting

President Gottfredson has made it very clear that the UO Trustees will follow Oregon public meetings law. Their website is here, and their first meeting is this Tuesday. Should be an interesting one. Here’s the meeting notice required by state law:

State of the University, Fall 2013

10/16/13 Update: President delivers fact filled speech to Senate, announces strategic plan, end to athletic subsidies!

Pac-12 media contract revenues from ESPN/FOX, our Pac-12 network partners, the new Rose Bowl agreement and the new College Football Championship agreement will substantially increase funding for athletics. In several years, there will be net funds transferred from athletics to the broader university community for academic and support purposes. Provost Randhawa and Athletic Director Bob DeCarolis and colleagues will determine future uses of those funds.

Oh wait, that’s from President Ed Ray at OSU. Never mind. On the down side, he also says OSU raises will be only 3% for the next few years:

Together, these factors will position us to provide an average compensation increase for faculty of 3% or more in each of the next several years beyond 2014.

Good thing UO has a faculty union.

10/15/13: From an email sent round today. Below is the State of the University address from Pres Gottfredson that Scott Coltrane gave to the Senate last week (Gottfredson was absent). For comparison, here is his speech from last year, and an excerpt:

In my view, the administrative governance responsibilities only work when important policies and practices are informed by consultation and advice from the faculty, staff and students. Such consultation and advice can only be meaningful if it takes place in a spirit of transparency and knowledge and in a timely manner. There’s not much use in consulting after the fact – or not much use consistent with these ideas of governance, anyway.  

So there’s an essential advisory role for the senate, even on administrative matters – an essential role on those matters that are central to the execution of our mission, like budget and finance, space and capital planning, athletics and of course participation in the selection and the evaluation of academic administrators.

As I’ve noted, President Gottfredson was evaluated by OUS this spring without any effort to get faculty input on his performance. The totally unscientific UO Matters poll closed last week. It suggests a fair amount of skepticism:

I emailed Coltrane with a few followup questions about last week’s speech, which he has said he will get answers to this week:

1) I notice that the budget for the Jaqua Center athlete only tutoring has increased from $1.8M in 2012 to $2.3M for 2014. As you know this money is paid by the academic side, specifically out of the Provost’s budget. I’m wondering if you know the reasons for the increase, and whether or not additional increases are forecast? 

2) You mentioned that there had been a dramatic increase in the number of “students of color”. I’ve heard that there was a recent change in the definition used to classify these students. Do you know how much of the increase is driven by this change? 

3) In 2011 the draft CAS salary proposal said 

“Step 3 (as early as FY 2012/13 and no later than FY 2013/2014), increases based on internal equity and merit. The total amount of funding made available for salary increases by the College in Step 3 will be at least the amount necessary to increase the College’s average salaries to make up the remaining distance to the average salaries of the OUS 8 comparators.  Distribution of funds to departments will be at the discretion of the dean after consultation with department heads.” 

Is this still the plan, and if so what is the new target date? 

4) You discussed planning for the new board. Who is in charge of drafting the board by-laws, and interfacing with the members, and is there a plan for involving the Senate in those discussions? 

I’ll post the answers when I get them.

10/8/2013 State of the University:

Dear Colleagues,

I hope your academic year is off to a great start. I’ve enjoyed meeting new students and welcoming our outstanding new faculty and staff members to campus at events marking the beginning of school, from “Unpack the Quack” and our neighborhood welcome walk to the annual new faculty picnic. Since the close of our previous academic and fiscal years, we’ve made significant progress on a number of fronts that affect the university, and I’m pleased to take this opportunity to share a few highlights with you. 
I frequently mention our dual obligations of access and quality that are the foundation upon which our university is built. As we now plan for the UO’s future, it is critical that we elevate both, for quality that is limited only to those with the means to afford it does not serve the public interest, and access without excellence is a hollow promise. 
We are on the right trajectory, as this year’s freshman class demonstrates. Numbers won’t be final until the fifth week of classes, but we can say with confidence that this incoming class will break records in several key areas linked to both quality and access. It is the most academically prepared class we have ever enrolled, with an average 1126 SAT and 3.6 GPA. Nearly 27 percent of freshmen are from underrepresented populations, and among Oregon freshmen, 37.6 percent are Pell eligible. Our total enrollment will hold steady at about 24,500 as planned, with about 5,200 new students, 54 percent of them Oregonians, coming to the UO. 
We are focusing intently on reducing financial barriers to attendance for Oregon residents, who continue to be hit by ongoing reductions in state funding that have shifted the burden of paying for education onto the shoulders of students and their families. This year, we increased financial aid to in-state students by 75 percent through scholarships aimed at high-achieving Oregon students, such as Summit and Apex, and the outstanding Pathway Oregon program. 
It was a summer of construction around campus, with about $300 million in physical improvements in the works. Recently launched projects include renovations and classroom expansions at Straub and Earl Halls, a major expansion of the Student Rec Center, significant upgrades and expansions of the Science Commons and Research Library and the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, and maintenance involving everything from seismic upgrades and new roofs to sewer-system improvements. Soon, the long-awaited renovation of the Erb Memorial Union will begin. 
I anticipate that such infrastructure improvements will become easier to realize as we adopt a new governance model that will provide greater flexibility in the way we manage the institution. The long-sought move to governance by local institutional boards was approved by the legislature and signed into law this summer. I am grateful to the Lane County delegation and many other supportive legislators, Governor Kitzhaber and his staff, the UO Foundation, and the UO Alumni Association for their partnership in bringing about this momentous change this spring. The governor has appointed a 14-member board for the UO that reflects a remarkable range of experience and expertise. Ten of our new board members are alumni, and all bring a commitment and dedication to the future of this university that will serve us, and the state, well. I look forward to working closely with them as we determine new ways to finance the institution and support programs and practices that will strategically focus our resources to improve access, elevate excellence, and secure our position among our peer research universities. We must develop the means to better support research, to address threats from sequestration and cuts in federal funding, and to close the innovation deficit that compromises our nation’s capacity to remain the world’s leader in innovation, creativity, and discovery. 
At the heart of the university’s ability to carry out its mission are, of course, our faculty and staff. I am pleased that we are beginning the new academic year with new contracts for our union-represented faculty and staff, and with a schedule of compensation increases in place for faculty, classified staff, and officers of administration. At the same time, I recognize the pressures that faculty and staff are feeling from successive years of declining state investment and burgeoning undergraduate enrollment. Your work with our students, in the classroom and in informal settings, is what distinguishes this university and creates the quality educational experiences that will define your students’ futures. Improving the teaching and research environment for our outstanding faculty and staff is among my top priorities, and essential to our success in realizing our aspirations of access, excellence, and innovation. 
Best regards, 
Michael R. Gottfredson

President calls for more academic freedom!

10/14/2013 update: 

That would be President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. The Chronicle has the story.

9/16/2013 update: InsideHigherEd reports on UO Academic Freedom fight

UO’s free speech fight has gone global. Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed broke the story on Thursday, then CUNY’s Cory Robin posted his take on his blog and on the popular Crooked Timber (tagline: Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made). He included a call to faculty worldwide to write President Gottfredson about this nastiness, and from the emails I’ve seen, they certainly have. The pro academic freedom Foundation for Individual Rights in Education blogged about it here, and Betsy Hammond of the Oregonian has a related story here. Info on the administration’s bizarre “open letter” accusing me of being anti-university is here.

9/12/2013 update: I really hope the UO administration and President Gottfredson think this post is sufficiently civil and respectful. I’d just hate to get disciplined for being too blunt in a post about free speech. Their “open letter” post about me is here.

Today, reporter Colleen Flaherty of InsideHigherEd.com has an excellent story on the academic freedom debates occurring between the UO faculty union and the administration, here. (See below for the live-blog of the 4/17/2013 Senate meeting leading up to a unanimous vote in favor of the Academic Freedom Policy, which President Gottfredson then rejected.):

… Oregon’s existing policy [Approved by President Lariviere] calls free inquiry and free speech “the cornerstones of an academic institution committed to the creation and transfer of knowledge.” The belief that an opinion is “pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or ‘just plain wrong’ cannot be grounds for its suppression,” it says. …

Margaret Paris, professor of law and president of the Faculty Senate, has not been involved in union negotiations but said that the union statement likely would set a precedent for the ultimate Senate document, since it would be difficulty to work off two different policies when most of the faculty belong to the union (although law professors do not).

Paris also said she was aware of the university’s preference [I think this should read Randy Geller’s preference] to decouple academic freedom and free speech in the final Faculty Senate statement, and that she would likely support it. Because the document applies to all university employees, it makes sense that academic freedom – which protects faculty but not staff – deserves individual attention, she said.

Oregon’s administration works closely with the Faculty Senate and Paris is looking forward to a collaborative process finalizing the document, she said. 

The new UO policy, unanimously approved by the Senate, which Gottfredson refused to sign, said:

Freedom of Speech 

All University employees retain the right to address any matter of institutional policy or action without fear of institutional discipline or restraint. They also are guaranteed the protections of freedom of speech with regard to any matter, so long as it is clear that they are not acting or speaking on behalf of the University. 

Contractual Force of Policy 

This Policy on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech shall be given contractual force by incorporation into pertinent contractual and collective bargaining agreements and individual letters of appointment. It shall be incorporated into the Faculty Handbook and the UO University Policy Library.

Gottfredson rejected this Senate policy back in May or so. Does anyone know if the Senate ad-hoc committee has met to try and work out the changes he asked for? I can’t find anything in the UO policy library, just what Lariviere approved in 2010.)

Bill Harbaugh, professor of economics and moderator of the “UO Matters” blog, which is frequently critical of university policy, said decoupling academic freedom from free speech left room for administrators to punish those faculty – like him – who say things administrators don’t like. He also objected to the idea that administrators would be the ones deciding what qualifies as “civil.” 

The university has previously publicly accused Harbaugh of including “consistently anti-university” statements on his blog. …

Asked about the civility clause, [Dave] Hubin said Oregon has a long history of promoting respectful discourse – one that’s covered by the university’s existing policy on academic freedom and free speech: “It is the responsibility of speakers, listeners and all members of our community to respect others and to promote a culture of mutual inquiry throughout the university community.” Any determination of what’s civil would likely include faculty input, he said.

The reporter apparently couldn’t get an interview with Gottfredson – I don’t think anyone has since January, when ODE student reporter Dash Paulson asked him why he’d cracked down on public records. But she includes a boilerplate email from him about how great freedom is.

Here is the live-blog of the 4/17/2013 Senate meeting (by a guest blogger) leading up to a unanimous vote in favor of the Academic Freedom proposal that President Gottfredson then rejected:

3.2 Motion (Policy Adoption): Academic Freedom & Freedom of Speech;
Margie Paris (Law), Senate President-Elect & Chair, Academic Freedom
Review Committee

Presumably Mr. Geller will be there to defend his work, which should be interesting. It looks to me like the Senate committee handling this did a bang-up job editing the proposal from our administrative overlords:

Geller had removed “they are entitled to comment on our criticize University policies or decisions” from the original draft, and added a lot of other restrictive language. Because this free speech stuff is dangerous, and we don’t want our students getting any ideas from the faculty.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: this blog has never criticized University policies or decisions. Just administrative ones. Which makes me a little worried about this job ad:

Campus Operations

That’s right, the president’s counsel is hiring “plumbers” to conduct “campus operations”. We know where that leads.

Notes: Seems like Geller chickened out.

Kyr reads the motion.

3:34: Margie Paris gives history of this motion: a committee in 2010 made a “very able and well-written draft” passed by the Senate and submitted to Administration. “A lot happened and it was not approved.” The GC office had “suggestions and changes” it wanted to see in the policy. When Gottfredson arrived, Kyr asked him for permission to take up the three policies—facilities, academic freedom, I forget the 3rd

The new committee started with the language that the UO Senate had approved. “This version is very close to the original language the Senate had approved.” Small committee of Paris and 3 others accepted some of the GC office’s suggestions, and discarded others. Tightened up the preamble, mentioned the mission statement of the UO.

Margie: “I didn’t realize how impt these statements are, not only in their own right but because accrediting bodies ask to see these statements.”

Adkins: asks to amend the policy to include officers of administration, who are not included in this policy but deserve this freedom as well.

“The University protects academic freedom, and Officers of Instruction, Research, and Administration [“faculty members”] shall enjoy…”

Passes unanimously.

Psaki: again, simple and uncontroversial.

Sinclair: “the freedom to teach”: does this mean anyone can walk into a classroom and teach?

Paris: No. Read the context.

Foster: Curious about the interpretation of “so long as it is clear that they are not acting or speaking on behalf of the university.” The interpretation of that can be quite wide. Nationally people have been identified as a professor, and were penalized for that. How far do you have to go to establish that you are not speaking on behalf of the university, and what does that mean anyway?

Paris: I’ve thought long and hard about this. This is a change suggested by GC. If I write an editorial, I should specify in it that I’m not speaking on behalf of the U. We have certain freedoms due to our role, and we have the responsibility to clarify when we are not speaking for the institution.

Foster: It’s actually very unusual for professors to state this. It’s usually taken for granted. Does this then apply to academic articles? TV appearances? Radio interviews? It’s actually a new requirement, and awkward. I don’t want to be seen as supporting Ward Churchill, but there have been cases where people have been disciplined for speaking their minds and identified as professors—how far does this go?

Merskin: In wrtg we often say “in my 20 years of teaching” etc. we refer to our prof. exper. to back up our point of view.

We weren’t asking for a statement everyone should make, which would restrict freedom of speech.

Kyr: a statement of intent.

Paris: there are many situations and contexts where it is quite clear that one is not speaking for the university. Where there might be ambiguity or confusion, it’s appropriate to add a statement. This would clearly not apply to research publications.

Jin: what does “to fulfill the demands of the scholarly enterprise” mean?

Paris: this is from the original draft; it’s a way of articulating both the freedom and the responsibility it entails.

Jin: What kind of scholarly enterprise? Am I free to deny requests for my syllabus from people who aren’t enrolled?

Paris: the ‘demands’ in question aren’t any demands anyone might make of you; they are the demands that are part of your job.

Motion passes unanimously. Yippee!

9/9/2013 update: As discussed below, The UC system recently worked in cooperation with its faculty to develop a strong statement on academic freedom and freedom of speech. I got curious about what position if any President Gottfredson took in that process, so I made a public records request last night to UC-Irvine for his related emails:

This is a public records request for any emails, memos, or other documents sent to or received by former UC-Irvine Provost Michael Gottfredson, dealing with the UC system’s new policy on academic freedom, which is described in this IHE news story: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/07/29/u-california-board-regents-adopts-new-measure-academic-freedom 

This request covers the period 1/1/2008 to the termination of Provost Gottfredson UC employment, or the closing of his UC email accounts, if that was later.

10:30 this morning, I get this response from the UC-Irvine public records office:

With regard to the time needed to process your request, please note that we are not the office of record for these requests and we cannot tell you how long the search will take at this time.  We will let you know what the results of our search are as soon as possible.

With respect to fees, please note that our office typically waives the cost and no fees are expected for your request. 

We will process your request today.  You should see an official acknowledgement email from us shortly.

Meanwhile, here at UO, Dave Hubin’s public records office is still trying to charge me $225 to tell me who which UO anonymous administrators wrote that “Open Letter to the UO Community

 9/8/2013: Gottfredson to gut Senate’s Academic Freedom Policy:

 The current UO policy on Academic Freedom is here:

… Free speech is central to the academic mission and is the central tenet of a free and democratic society. The University encourages and supports open, vigorous, and challenging debate across the full spectrum of human issues as they present themselves to this community. Further, as a public institution, the University will sustain a higher and more open standard for freedom of inquiry and free speech than may be expected or preferred in private settings. 

Free inquiry and free speech are the cornerstones of an academic institution committed to the creation and transfer of knowledge. Expression of diverse points of view is of the highest importance, not solely for those who present and defend some view but for those who would hear, disagree, and pass judgment on those views. The belief that an opinion is pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or “just plain wrong” cannot be grounds for its suppression….

The Senate’s April 2013 revision is here. President Gottfredson has still not signed it. A well-informed correspondent passes along this:

Minutes of May 22, 2013 Senate Meeting” “3.9 Academic Freedom & Freedom of Speech Policy (Kyr) 

Senate President Kyr informed the Senate that President Gottfredson preferred that the Senate divide this policy into two different policies; one addressing academic freedom and the other addressing freedom of speech. Senate President Kyr had agreed to these terms and mentioned that this would be a change in formatting, not content. This policy would be carried into Senate VP Paris’ (Law) administration in case further discussion was needed.”

Note that Kyr was not acting properly when he made this agreement. Only the Senate had that authority. They will exercise it as they see fit in the coming year.

The faculty union’s Academic Freedom Article was basically the same as the Senate proposal. Instead of accepting it, Gottfredson’s bargaining team has put up a counter-proposal that limits some rather basic freedoms that faculty assume we have.

In particular, the proposal from President Gottfredson’s bargaining team includes none of the forceful pro free-speech language from current UO policy. It also strikes out the Senate’s language guaranteeing faculty the right to engage in criticism of university policies and actions, replacing it with language that seems to limit this right to situations where the faculty are working through committees or other university approved forums.

In addition, his proposal requires that faculty treat colleagues “fairly and civilly”, and that participation in shared governance be “civil and effective”. Sounds great, but who gets to define these words? I’m guessing it’s rare that a faculty meeting, not to mention a seminar, can go on for more than an hour without at least one person crossing the line. The administration wants us to resolve these sorts of arguments with grievances and arbitration? 

In the bargaining session discussion the administration’s team made it pretty clear they don’t think this blog can pass those rather vague tests. This is presumably the reason they are trying to add them to the contract, since their efforts under existing UO policy and Oregon law to shut me down have failed – including a threatened defamation lawsuit from Gottfredson’s lead negotiator Sharon Rudnick, and a bizarre “open letter to the UO community” about me posted on the official UO webpages, from GC Randy Geller, VPAA Doug Blandy, Dean Tim Gleason, attorney Sharon Rudnick, and VPAA and Oregon Humanities Center Director Barbara Altmann.
Here is the Senate proposal, with the more egregious changes President Gottfredson is trying to impose marked like this for deletions, and in bold for insertions. A pdf of the latest admin proposal to the union, showing more differences, is here.

Academic Freedom 

The University protects academic freedom, and Officers of Instruction, Research, and Administration [“faculty members”] shall enjoy all of its benefits and responsibilities. These are defined as: 

  • the freedom to conduct research and creative work and to publish or otherwise disseminate the results of that work. Within the broad standards of accountability established by their profession and their individual disciplines, faculty members must enjoy the fullest possible freedom in their research and in circulating and publishing their results. This freedom follows immediately from the university’s basic commitment to advancing knowledge and understanding. 
  • the freedom to teach, both in and outside of the classroom. Faculty members must be able not only to disseminate the results of research, but also to train students to think about these results for themselves, often in an atmosphere of controversy that, so long as it remains in a broad sense educationally relevant, actively assists students in mastering the subject and appreciating its significance. 
  • the freedom to engage in internal criticism, which encompasses the freedom to address any matter of institutional policy or action whether or not as a member of any agency of institutional governance. Universities promote the common good through broad-based engagement in the scholarly endeavor. Faculty members, because of their education and their institutional knowledge, play an indispensable role as independent participants in university decision-making. By virtue of this role, they are entitled to comment on or criticize University policies or decisions, either individually or through institutions of faculty governance.

Faculty responsibilities:

All University employees retain the right to address any matter of institutional policy or action without fear of institutional discipline or restraint. They also are guaranteed the protections of freedom of speech with regard to any matter, so long as it is clear that they are not acting or speaking on behalf of the University. 

Academic responsibility implies the competent and full performance of duties and obligations and the commitment to support the responsible exercise of academic freedom by one’s self and others. Each bargaining unit faculty member has the responsibility to 

a. Observe and uphold the ethical standards of his or her discipline in the pursuit and communication of scientific and scholarly knowledge; 

b. Treat students, staff, colleagues, and the public fairly and civilly in discharging his or her duties and in accordance with this Agreement. 

c. Respect the integrity of the evaluation process, evaluating students, staff, and colleagues fairly according to the criteria and procedures specified in the evaluation process; 

d. Represent one’s self as speaking for the university only when expressly authorized to do so as part of one’s position or professional responsibilities; 

e. Participate, as appropriate, in the system of shared academic governance, especially at the department or unit level, and seek to contribute to the civil and effective academic functioning of the bargaining unit faculty member’s academic unit (program, department, school or college) and the university.

A helpful commenter notes:

Why not remind the president of what the UC Board — his former employer — just did to strengthen and confirm academic freedom? In July the UC Board newly upheld the “freedom to address any matter of institutional policy or action when acting as a member of the faculty whether or not as a member of an agency of institutional governance.” If it’s good enough for California, why is it not good enough for UO?


    Faculty out of the loop on new UO borrowing

    10/14/13 update: Gottfredson is now hiring a full time “Director of Treasury Operations” to deal with the upcoming bond sales that he hasn’t told the faculty anything about:

    The University of Oregon Business Affairs Office (BAO) invites applicants for a full-time Director of Treasury Operations. This position is a fixed-term appointment for one year with annual renewals. This recruitment is open to any applicant who meets the qualifications listed below.

    The University of Oregon (UO) has recently been granted legislative authority to establish its own governing board and manage its own treasury functions. We are looking for an experienced and dynamic leader to guide the institution in assuming management of the university’s cash and debt portfolio, establish an institution-wide Internal Bank, and collaborate with the new governing board to develop and implement new policies related to debt and investment management.

    10/12/13 update: It turns out the football team’s ranking doesn’t matter to Moody’s.

    The Oregon Treasury Department just sent me a copy of the July 2012 report from the PRM consultants on the consequences of UO independence for OUS, and the likely bond ratings for UO and PSU when separated from OUS. Full report here. A concise summary:

    The cocktail party version is that PFM forecasts a respectable but not excellent Moody’s rating of Aa2 or Aa3. A rather remarkable third of our outstanding bonds are for Mac Court, (before the EMU and Straub) but it’s not clear how much of a hit that made to the rating forecast.

    I’m still waiting to get the docs on the meeting with Goldman Sachs, which Gottfredson and Moffitt hid from the faculty during the union negotiations, and which yielded more promising results, or at least that’s the rumor.

    9/14/2013: Would you buy a used car from this man?

    If the dealer showed you an odometer reading and repair records like this, you’d give him the wave, and say no thanks:

    But that’s about all VPFA Jamie Moffitt will show the UO faculty, and it’s the basis on which President Gottfredson expects us to trust his administration when it comes to UO’s finances. Pretty disrespectful, and un-civil.

    SB 270 gives the new UO Board the power to issue its own bonds. The investment bankers aren’t going to sell them without seeing some credible data and forecasts. Why shouldn’t the faculty be able to see that same information? And why would President Gottfredson think that his faculty union should cut a deal with him without first seeing the same information his finance people are showing Goldman Sachs?

    So here’s a public records request to Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler, asking to see what information UO has shared with his office and the bond rating agencies:

    Dear Treasurer Wheeler:

    This is a public records request for documents related to discussions between the Oregon Treasury Department, UO administrators, and bond rating or lending firms regarding the potential sale of bonds by UO, or by other state agencies for UO and UO’s bond rating.

    Specifically, I am asking for any documents shared with your office or these firms showing UO’s financial situation, including;

    a) current data and projections of enrollment, tuition, state funding, grant revenue, athletics revenue, licensing revenue, donations, and other significant revenue streams.

    b) current data and projections of cost items such as salary, benefits, facilities services, athletics, etc;

    c) discussions and analyses of potential upside and downside risk for UO involving changes in revenue or costs or potential legal liabilities.

    d) data on current UO debt and assets and analyses of the impact of the recent changes in higher education on debt and assets.

    e) reports from bond rating firms and investment banks analyzing these data and or providing advice to the Treasury Department, UO, OUS, OIEB and or HECC on bond ratings and projections and estimates of borrowing capacity

    For universities, the bond rating agencies such as Moody’s and S&P look pretty carefully at these factors, and the consequences of holding back information are substantial. Here are a few examples of their reports, from universities that practice transparency:

    9/13/2013 update: The most recent Oregon Higher Ed bond sale was rated Aa1, the second highest rating after AAA. UO’s financial reserves are the highest in the system. UO’s enrollment, tuition, and student quality are all growing too, and SB 270 will soon give UO the ability to issue its own bonds. I’m thinking UO’s well will be able to handle quite a bit more flow than what Rudnick and Moffitt have been telling the faculty.

    9/11/2013: Maybe President Gottfredson’s chief negotiator Sharon Rudnick wasn’t kidding when she told the UO faculty on Tuesday that

    “The well is dry. Hear me please. The well is dry.”

    Or maybe there’s a very different explanation for the 8/27/2013 meeting between the UO administration, Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler, and representatives of Wall Street’s respected Goldman Sachs financiers?

    The UO Matters surveillance cameras capture some interesting stuff in the Johnson Hall lot. I’ll make a public records request for the details on the meeting. Hubin’s office won’t release anything until the union negotiations are over, but Wheeler faces some different incentives.