Coltrane promises more transparency. Cheap talk?

9/22/2014: Troy Brynelson has the interview in the ODE:

Coltrane also inherited an administration derided for its opaqueness. He quickly became a favorite of the faculty for his openness, hosting public forums and city hall-style meetings for people across the school to chime in on issues.

“The administration and the faculty have to work together,” Coltrane said of the divide. “…We need to be better at posting information before it’s asked for, and routinely put up important documents and financial statements and that sort of stuff. That should be available to the public all the time.”

Talk is cheap, and Coltrane’s won’t be credible until he tells Dave Hubin and Doug Park to stop using fees, delays, redactions, statements that the administration’s lawyer’s resumes are protected “faculty records”, and claims of harassment to hide documents.

9/21/2014: Coltrane to meet with Senate President, new faculty, etc.

Mike Gottfredson hid out in Johnson Hall for his first 10 months, and when he finally emerged it was to blow off the faculty, saying their questions had already been “asked and answered” by his $300 an hour lawyer Sharon Rudnick. Dave Hubin charged student journalists $250 to see Gottfredson’s schedule – a public record.

In contrast, Scott Coltrane is already doing the job. From his official calendar:

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Hubin’s public records office uses fees and delays to hide docs

9/18/2014 update: Excluding duplicates, UO has received roughly 40 public records requests in the 90 days since June 18. Log here. That’s roughly two requests every three working days. They’ve got two staff, plus help from the GC’s office on redactions. Some requests are complicated, but many are simply asking for bids, contracts, or accounting statements, which require almost no PRO time. (And many requests are never filled, after reporters see the high fees Dave Hubin wants to charge them).

The Oregon AG’s Public Records and Meeting Manual gives one week as a reasonable time for public agencies to respond – but according to this letter UO’s PRO is now 6 weeks behind. They’ve got plenty of time to spend on writing long excuses, however.

9/14/2014: Dave Hubin’s public records office charges KATU TV $779 for retaliation docs

To his credit Scott Coltrane has already spent more time talking to the press than Mike Gottfredson did in two years. Unfortunately he’s had to use most of that air time to deal with Gottfredson’s reeking aftermath. And as the latest story makes clear, that’s unlikely to change until El Jefe tells Dave Hubin it’s time to return to Richard Lariviere’s transparency policies.

The current UO administration is willing to spend piles of tuition money on PR flacks to write stories that make them look good, and to help reporters get information that puffs up administrator’s resumes. Tim Clevenger gets $195K, Tobin Klinger gets $115K, and Ann Wiens gets $110K for writing stories like this. I can’t wait to read her Coltrane hagiography. (For contrast, look at the excellent story Brent Walth wrote for the Oregon Quarterly about Lariviere’s New Partnership Plan. If you can find it – the OQ seems to have deleted the editions from before Ms Wiens was hired from their archives.) Dave Hubin gets $140K to help hide public records – page down for details.

And here’s the petty trust destroying punishment these expensive administrators inflict on journalists who dare to criticize Johnson Hall:

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Original KATU story here, UO response here, KATU evisceration of the UO response here.

How does UO decide to deny a fee waiver request? UO Public Records Officer Lisa Thornton explains, here. (Paraphrased with a little editorializing on my part, not direct quotes, but I think a pretty accurate reflection of the March 2013 meeting, and so far as I remember never disputed by her supervisor and Assistant to the President Dave Hubin):

Fee waivers:

Dave Hubin: I believe we are operating within the law, which says “may waive”. But the optics are not good.

Lisa Thornton: We apply the three-part test on page 20 which gives us broad discretion to delay and frustrate, and we drive a truck through that.

Tim Gleason: Explain.

Thornton: I apply my judgement to ask if the citizen’s of Eugene would benefit from reading about this. (My god).

Q: Do you explain your denials? Thornton: No.

Craig Pintens: Can’t you have drop down boxes or something?

Thornton: We google the requester to see what they are up to. (My god).

Even Gleason sees this is trouble: “It’s problematic to give you this discretion.”

John Bonine: Oregon law was based on federal law, which contrasts public benefit with private benefit. Commercial is out. If it’s not just for yourself, it’s public benefit.

Gleason: Back on his thing about the burden on the institution.

Bonine: First test for public interest, then ask if the extent of those benefits exceeds the cost.

Thornton: So I’m going to have to do benefit-cost analysis? Can I hire an economist?

Bonine: Not only that, I want you to put your decision and reasons on the web. Provides guidance to requestors, reduces your unbounded authority.

Thornton: We do have discussions and back and forth with requesters about public interest.

Harbaugh: No, you don’t.

Thornton: Let me backtrack on my previous statement. Randy Geller has advised me not to explain fee waiver denials.

Bonine: WTF? Hubin should go back to Geller and change this.

Bonine: There should not be secret law. It is not appropriate for an agency to hide the reasons for a denial. If explanations harm the university, that’s because the university is not behaving well.

Hubin: Is there a consensus that we should give better explanations, and post them? I would have to take that to Geller, and Gottfredson.

Bonine: Not appropriate for Geller to hide his opinions – so if we ask this, we want to get his opinion in writing.

Hubin: We will write some language for transparency about our denials of fee-waivers for transparency requests.

Coltrane and Bronet on next steps

Dear Colleagues,In the past few weeks, the University of Oregon has successfully transitioned to a new executive leadership team. As interim president and acting provost, we are incredibly grateful to our stellar team of vice presidents, deans, vice provosts, the university, and the community for supporting this transition and helping maintain momentum on major initiatives and preparing for the new academic year.


The important work of the university continues, and we are pleased to offer an update on current university planning and searches.




Strategic Initiatives

The executive leadership team is working to further major initiatives started during the past year. These projects include:

  • Renewing our academic plan and setting strategic goals
  • Creating a facilities framework vision for campus
  • Supporting the faculty cluster hire initiative
  • Preparing the public phase of our fundraising campaign
  • Finalizing our new mission statement

In addition, the university will embark on a comprehensive policy review and adoption under a new board structure; work with the University Senate to enhance shared governance; continue implementing the faculty collective bargaining agreement; and continue reforms relating to curricular development, research oversight, student conduct, benchmarking, and transparency.


In the coming 2014-15 year, the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon will conduct a national search for president. Additional details about the search process are expected to be shared during the September board meeting. Also this year, the university will hold a national search for general counsel and conduct an internal search for dean of the Graduate School.

To allow the new president to be involved in other important hires, the university will conduct searches for vice president for research and innovation, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and dean of the School of Journalism and Communication in the following year, 2015-16.

Challenge Creates Opportunity

Our ambitions for excellence are intact.  Through our collective efforts, we are building strength. This is a pivotal moment for the University of Oregon and we invite the entire campus community to join us in innovating to shape our future.


Scott Coltrane                                            Frances Bronet
Interim President                                       Acting Provost

Register-Guard editors call out Gottfredson as a timid paper-pusher

8/21/2014: I’m hoping Coltrane’s meeting with the RG editorial board goes a little better than Gottfredson’s did!

8/21/2013, here:

… 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. …

A bureaucrat who is afraid to even ask the faculty for input on his performance review.

Economist does the math, gives up Duck tickets for big TV and cable

8/17/2014: While UO’s focus on big-time college football has made millionaires of coaches and administrators like junket queen Lorraine Davis, it’s created some tradeoffs for fans. John Tapogna, president of the ECONorthwest economic consulting firm, gives his personal cost-benefit analysis of going to a Duck football game in this RG Op-Ed:

But success comes with price. The 2012 Rose Bowl victory triggered a spike in what had been gradually rising ticket prices. Next, the Pac-12 TV deal ended predictable kickoff times and ushered in additional evening and Thursday night contests.

We tried to hold on. Autzen was our tradition, and our loyalty runs deep. But as Portlanders, the long string of taillights on the late-night returns and the occasional motel bills ground us down. We let the season ticket deadline pass last spring.

Also see this Bob Welch piece. Meanwhile you can get a ticket to the $525,000 Duck-Coyote game on for $13.70:

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8/5/2014: Ducks to pay Coyotes $525,000 for August 30 football beatdown

[Editor’s note: This post originally confused the University of South Dakota Coyotes and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. My sincere apologies.]

UO’s academic budget pays the jocks $467,538 a year towards the bonds for the Matthew Knight Arena land, and another ~$2.2M for athlete-only tutoring. The Senate has voted many times to ask the administration to end these subsidies. Here’s video of Provost Scott Coltrane in April, lecturing the faculty on how unreasonable a request this is. “I don’t know how to say this delicately, but what is going on here? What is the goal of this legislation?”:

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At the time we didn’t know of AD Rob Mullens’s latest extravagance: Paying $525,000 to the South Dakota Coyotes (plus 400 tickets) to travel to Eugene and serve as the Ducks sacrificial warm-up team:

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Last year Mullens paid Nicholls State $450K for the same job, Sam Stites report in the RG here. Presumably the extra $75K is for the players’s concussion insurance.

The vote to end the subsidies was delayed when the Senate had to start dealing with the basketball rape allegations, but it will be back on the Senate agenda in October – as legislation, which will be a little harder for Gottfredson Coltrane to ignore than the previous resolutions.

Interim President Coltrane appoints Frances Bronet as Interim Provost

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From: “President’s Office” <>
Subject: Message from Scott Coltrane
Date: August 8, 2014 at 2:16:42 PM PDT


The fact that I am greeting you as interim president is as surprising to me as it may be to you.

When I stepped into the provost role a year ago, I was looking forward to spending the next several years focusing on the university’s needs as chief academic officer. However, even though higher education is slow to embrace it sometimes, things change. The university’s needs have changed and we again find ourselves in the midst of a transition.

However, this transition is not exclusively related to who occupies the office of the president. It is driven by this institution’s need to define what it will be in the future. And in that way, many things remain the same as they were a week ago. Our goals for this academic year have not changed.

In the coming year, we will make great strides in our important work on strategic and academic planning, fundraising and the search for a permanent president, in partnership with the new board of trustees. My goal in this interim period is to lead the campus through these critical efforts, while adhering to our enduring commitments: access to educational opportunities and excellence in research and teaching.

We will do this by being a collaborative university, where the important perspectives of our many passionate faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni and donors are a part of the conversation. Our need to come together as a university has never been greater as we work to find greater stability and define the University of Oregon for the future.

During this time of transition, I will offer what stability I can by continuing to approach the needs of this university as I have in the past, by listening and having the greatest respect for the work you do every day.

As I take on this interim role, I will need to rely on a strong senior vice president and provost. It is my sincere pleasure to announce that Frances Bronet has agreed to serve in this role on an interim basis.

In my years as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and during my time as provost, I have developed a tremendous respect for Frances. More importantly, however, Frances has earned the respect of the campus community, and I believe she will be a breath of fresh air in Johnson Hall.

We have much work to do in the coming months and I believe we are well-positioned for success, if we all pull together.

Thank you in advance for your support and hard work.


Scott Coltrane
Interim President

UO Pres Mike Gottfredson resigns for $940K cash, Coltrane is interim

8/9/2014 update: Christian Wihtol reports in the RG that UO was not obligated to pay Gottfredson $940K.

8/8/2014 2:30 pm update: Still a beautiful day out there.

Gottfredson’s separation agreement, here. $940K, half in cash within 5 days. Dr. Gottfredson agrees not to sue The University or its employees

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8/8/2014 update, on a beautiful Eugene summer morning:

Eric Kelderman of The Chronicle has a long (gated if off campus) report, here, and apparently written before the Board released the news that they’d paid Gottfredson $940K to leave early. It’s followed by a helpful timeline. Some excerpts:

There has long been a sense among faculty members that athletics has overshadowed the academic mission of the University of Oregon—an idea fueled by the millions of dollars spent on sports facilities by Philip H. Knight, an alumnus who is a founder of Nike. The money has helped make the athletics department financially independent of the university, according to athletics officials. But that independence has also raised questions about whether there is any accountability for how the department is run.

That has played out in recent years as the success of the university’s athletics teams, financially and in competition, has been frequently marred by scandals involving players, coaches, and administrators, producing plenty of presidential agita.

… But at the root of much of this is still the fear, expressed in a 2007 newspaper opinion article signed by 92 faculty members, that the university was gambling with its academic future to become “a minor-league training ground for elite athletes.”

That article dates to the tenure of David B. Frohnmayer, who led the university from 1994 to 2009. Mr. Frohnmayer was a popular former state attorney general and gubernatorial candidate. But his leadership spurred harsh criticism from some faculty members who blamed him for what they saw as a decline in the university’s academic quality.

Mr. Lariviere, on the other hand, was largely praised by professors and seen as someone who was looking out for the interests of the instructional staff. …

One of [Gottfredson’s] most outspoken critics, William Harbaugh, a professor of economics who runs an influential blog about university matters, has maintained a steady drumbeat of criticism against Mr. Gottfredson.

“There were the botched administrative hires, the pointlessly contentious relations with the faculty over academic freedom, and the union contract and the secrecy about the basketball rape allegations,” Mr. Harbaugh said in an email on Thursday.

Robert Kyr, the president of the University Senate and a professor of music, said Mr. Gottfredson had “served during one of the most difficult times in the history of our university.”

Mr. Kyr also praised Mr. Gottfredson for working with the legislature and the university system to create an independent Board of Trustees—”the most significant part of the vision that was articulated by his predecessor, Richard Lariviere.”

This year the university did gain the independence Mr. Lariviere had pushed for when a state law, supported by Mr. Gottfredson, created a new Board of Trustees to govern the institution.

But it was, apparently, that same body that has now pushed Mr. Gottfredson to resign, said Mr. Harbaugh. “Our new board is doing the right thing,” he said, “by getting rid of a failed president as quickly as possible.”

Mr. Kyr, for his part, is focusing on the future, with the board’s announcement that Scott Coltrane, the university’s provost, will take over as interim president. “His appointment is a sign of the stability and strength of the institution, and a vote of confidence from the board in our longstanding tradition of shared governance,” Mr. Kyr wrote in an email.

KEZI has some video from the board meeting here.

8/7/2014 10:00 pm update: Reports from “credentialed reporters” roll in:

Troy Brynelson and Alex Cremer in the Emerald (Dominic Allen photo):

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[Unclear what noted tobacco company lawyer Sharon Rudnick is so smiley about, but it sure makes me worry about Coltrane’s future.]

Diane Dietz in the RG:

Former University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson is leaving the university entirely — giving up a tenured faculty position — in exchange for $940,000, according to an agreement finalized on Thursday.

Hanna Hoffman in the Statesman-Journal:

Neither Gottfredson nor board chairman Chuck Lillis cited a specific reason for his departure. However, his tenure was peppered with struggles and problems. The most public of them has been the sexual assault allegations. The men accused were dismissed from the basketball team and eventually expelled from the school, but not before the university faced public scrutiny over whether it appropriately investigated the incident.

It then released 119 pages of emails and other correspondence between Gottfredson and athletics director Rob Mullens at the request of newspapers around the state. All but six pages were fully redacted, and the Eugene Register-Guard filed a lawsuit against the university in late June over the records.

Gottfredson had an equally poor relationship with faculty and students, said economics professor Bill Harbaugh. … Fundraising fell in the second year of his presidency, and he struggled to connect with his campus. “He was just tortured by the most basic part of his job where he had to communicate with people,” Harbaugh said. “The main job of a university president these days is to raise money…this guy was the world’s worst schmoozer.”

Betsy Hammond in the Oregonian (The outraged comments are well worth reading):

EUGENE — Former University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson will receive $940,000 in severance. The UO’s Board of Trustees voted 12-0 Thursday to approve the terms of Gottfredson’s departure a day after he abruptly resigned.

8/7/2014 4:20PM live-blog from the UO Board meeting:

Short version: The board will pay Gottfredson $940K to resign the presidency and give up his academic tenure in sociology. Scott Coltrane will be the Interim President. The search for a permanent is president expected to take a year. Lillis expects the board to take charge of fundraising. No word on who will be interim provost.

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Sharon Rudnick walks in, of all people. Presumably we paid her $300 an hour, to negotiate the $940K buyout.

Official Agenda: Accept Gottfredson’s sudden resignation, appoint interim. Nothing about search, no public comment.

Coltrane takes his seat, presumably he’s our guy. Room starts filling up. Lillis wonders if we’re going to need a bigger room. Doug Park, Coltrane, Ginevra Ralph, Chuck Lillis, Susan Gary. No UO student at the table, because there is no student trustee at the moment. 10 or so students in the audience. Calling the roll: Here, Here, President Gottfredson, excused.

Lillis: He is resigning as president, and as a faculty member. Board will vote on a separation agreement, with terms, then vote on interim. Separation agreement will be distributed to public at end of meeting.

Angela Wilhelms, Secretary of the University, reads motion. No discussion of separation agreement? Roll call vote starts. Unanimous yes. (Ann Curry is not on the call.)

Lillis: Now we vote on an interim. Wilhelms reads motion, which is to appoint Provost Scott Coltrane. Lillis thanks Coltrane for being willing to serve. Notes he is respected by the faculty, will provide continuity. [Ed: I agree on both points.] Board votes, give unanimous support with 2 not present in person or on phone.

Lillis notes Gottfredson’s accomplishments, at a difficult time. Says he believes Gottfredson’s secrecy over the rape allegations was appropriate, though he knows others disagree. Says Board has enormous faith in Coltrane.

Moves to adjourn formal meeting, board will take questions from “credentialed media”. The infamous Tobin Klinger manages the process.

Q: When did the board learn of the resignation? Lillis: Monday.
Q: Was he asked to to leave? Lillis: He was very gracious about it.
Q: But you’re paying him $500K [Ed: Actuallly, $940K, 1/2 in 5 days]?! Lillis: It was a fair amount. And he resigned from his tenure job too – at which he would have been paid well.
Q: Will the turnover harm UO? Lillis: It’s not ideal, but we have spectacularly unbounded opportunities. We need to deliver – looking at Coltrane.
Q: Search? Lillis: We want to hire someone who might not be looking. We expect it to take a year.
Q: Any discussion with Alumni Association? Lillis: Not that I know of.
Q: What kind of qualities in new Pres? Lillis: Great academic credentials will be #1. Experience with how universities operate, has been in trenches. Someone who is not easily misled, with communications skills, can handle external constituencies.
Q: By my math you spent $940K on the buyout. How do you justify it? Lillis: No state or tuition funds [Ed: Lillis is being evasive, this is foundation money we could have spend on scholarships, etc.] It’s fair, in the sense that it was mutually agree on.
Q: Why did he resign? Lillis: I won’t speculate. It’s a tough job.
Q: Did you encourage him to stay? Lillis: Evades.
Q: So it wasn’t about how he handled the rape allegations? Lillis: No, the laws were very complicated, not clear how it should have been handled.
Q: What does Coltrane bring to the table? How will it be different? Lillis: We are telling him his job is to focus on internal management, be a “super provost”. Board will work with development to fundraise.
Q: What are you going to do? …
Q: So what you will be paid? Coltrane: Same as Gottfredson.
Q: Problems with athletics? Coltrane: We have a very well run athletics department, and President’s and Senate committees checking up on them.

Update, 2PM: Word is that Gottfredson never gave up his tenure at UC-Irvine, and will return there forthwith. His placeholder website is here.

Update: Bob Berdahl’s disastrous choice for U of Hawaii president later demanded $2M to resign. Will our new board make the mistake of going to Berdahl for advice on Gottfredson’s replacement?

What will we pay Gottfredson? $1.1M to buy him out of the remaining 2 years? Or $0, which is what his contract specifies even if he’d give 30 days notice of his resignation, instead of just 36 hours?

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On the other hand we’ve apparently given him a back-up job as the world’s most overpaid Sociology Professor, at $360K a year, with tenure:

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Update: Diane Dietz has the story in the RG (with assistance from Ian Campbell):

… Gottfredson faced a lot of criticism over the handling of a sexual assault allegation involving three UO basketball players that surfaced in May.

At about the same time, Gottfredson talked with the University Senate about the university’s handling of the assault, a biology professor, Nathan Tublitz, proposed a vote of “no confidence” for the president, citing a series of alleged leadership failures that caused great concern among university faculty, staff and employees.

Some students also complained about a perceived lack of leadership.

“A lot of students were really upset about the basketball scandal and that there wasn’t a lot of openness,” said [UO student] Friedman.

“I know some people are pretty shocked about (Gottfredson’s resignation), at least the people who keep up with politics on campus….Frankly, I don’t know what a president does on a day-to-day basis, and I don’t know why he resigned, but I assume most people will speculate it’s about the basketball stuff.”

Harbaugh, one of the administration’s harshest critics, provided a laundry list.

“There were the botched administrative hires,” he wrote, “the pointlessly contentious relations with the faculty over academic freedom and the union contract, and the secrecy about the basketball rape allegations.

“But I’m guessing the final straw for the Board of Trustees was that the donors didn’t seem to think much of his leadership, either. Instead of the expected UO independence surge, donations actually fell, from $200 million last year to $100 million.”

The process used to hire Gottfredson sparked controversy because it was a closed process, meaning the job candidates identified by a Philadelphia headhunter were kept secret until they were winnowed to one. Only the name of the winning candidate was revealed. UO faculty have advocated for an open hiring process at past changes in administration.

Allyn Ford, a timber executive who is now on the UO Board of Trustees, led a 22-member committee that spent six months identifying and interviewing candidates until it recommended Gottfredson.

“That didn’t work out well,” Harbaugh wrote. “The faculty will give the new board a huge amount of credit for executing Gottfredson’s speedy departure, but we’ll expect to be thoroughly in the loop in finding his replacement.”

Also see Troy Brynelson in the ODE (awesome photo by Taylor Wilder), and Betsy Hammond in the Oregonian.

Update: The Board of Trustees will hold an apparently public meeting at 4:30 Thursday, announcement here:

The Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon will hold a meeting on the date and at the
location set forth below. The subject of the meeting will be a discussion of administrative
leadership and personnel.
The meeting will occur as follows:

THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2014 AT 4:30 pm

8/6/2014: Effective tomorrow:

From: President Gottfredson
Subject: Transition

Dear Campus Community,

Today it is with mixed emotions that I announce my decision to depart the UO as President and pursue other opportunities in academia.

I accepted the job as President of this great institution with the clear objective of helping the University manage through a period of uncertainty and get to a place of stability. We have accomplished those objectives and I know that the UO is on the right course.

With a new governance structure for higher education, new clear benchmarks for academic excellence, and an expanding world-class faculty, the UO is on path to enhanced status as a leading public research institution. My scholarly interests beckon and Karol and I are eager to spend more time with our family. With our outstanding campus leadership and new strategic planning underway, it is appropriate for a new president to continue the legacy of this great University.

It has been an honor to serve as President of the University of Oregon. The caliber of faculty and staff, and the wonderful students and community represent the endless opportunities ahead for the University and the state. Many thanks to our outstanding students, terrific academic leadership, supportive and engaged community, dedicated staff, supportive legislature and amazing faculty colleagues.

Thank you for the privilege to serve at the University of Oregon. I know that the next president will find the same welcome that I did and I look forward to ever more greatness at the UO.

Go Ducks!

Michael R. Gottfredson
President, University of Oregon

From UO Board Chair Lillis:

UO Board of Trustees Chair, Chuck Lillis, issued the following message today in response to President Gottfredson’s decision to step down as President of the University of Oregon:

President Gottfredson entered into the role as President of the University of Oregon at a critical time in our university’s history and led the institution from a state of uncertainty to a path of stability.

When President Gottfredson accepted the position two years ago, he inherited a pending NCAA investigation, which was cleared, a statewide debate about the future of higher education governance, and a new faculty union without a labor contract.

The challenges before him and the University were no small feat — but he successfully concluded the NCAA issue, worked and repaired relationships with the other University presidents, Governor and State Legislature to establish a new system of higher education governance for Oregon, including institutional boards, and negotiated a fair labor contract with the faculty union.

Despite the competing challenges, President Gottfredson never lost sight of the mission of the University of Oregon and continued to push to move the UO toward even greater academic excellence.

He identified national talent to serve as the Provost and other key leadership positions. He did a top-to-bottom review of UO operations, including how we budget and manage fiscal responsibilities. He established a Presidential Panel to review policies on sexual misconduct and adopt best practices. And he led a comprehensive space-needs assessment to make sure the UO is planning for and positioned to accommodate the growing demands to serve more students into the future.

President Gottfredson also took a critical look at where we are today — and where we need to be — establishing new ambitious but attainable benchmarks to make the UO a leading public research university that can compete on a world stage.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are grateful for the leadership of Michael Gottfredson to put the University of Oregon on a path of excellence in every area that we compete. We wish him the best in his next endeavors. The Board looks forward to seeking new leadership at this time to continue the work he started and continue to build on the legacy of the University of Oregon.

Chuck Lillis
Chair, Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon

And the last word, from the comments in the RG:

Gottfredson is off “down the road”
All his idea, so the public is told.

That 940K?…why t’was just a gift.
nothing to do with any rift.

See, we’ve got two funds, one code name “slush”
One even bigger, code name “hush”.

and we can spend the dough as we see fit,
not a damn thing you can do ’bout it.

We’re the ‘new sheriff in town’, so give us space,
as we choose, to run this place.

and if our actions, you don’t like
go join Michael on his well-paid hike.

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:

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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.

NCAA to share administrators’ perks and family junkets with the players?

4/24/2014: This is a stunning development from the NCAA, reported by Rachel Bachman in the WSJ. It must be bitter news for UO’s FAR Jim O’Fallon, who has spent his professional life taking away kids athletic scholarships for just this sort of thing:

Other changes that the five power conferences are likely to consider if their autonomy is affirmed by the board of directors in August include the following, according to an NCAA news release:

  • Enhanced insurance policies for athletes that protect future earnings
  • Greater academic support, particularly for at-risk athletes
  • Allowances for players’ families to travel to games
  • Free tickets to athletic events
  • Payment of expenses related to practice and competition such as parking fees.

1/16/2014 Alamo Bowl junket list drops admins with conflicts of interest:

Dave Hubin’s public records office is still hiding this year’s memo from President Gottfredson inviting his JH admin’s on UO paid Alamo Bowl junkets, but they’ve finally released the list itself, after a variety of sneaky delays.

It appears the Geller family was indeed left off the bus this year, consistent with the timing of Randy’s enraged “fully engaged” holiday letter to the faculty. Also missing are VP for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt and family, the Davises, strategic communicator Tim Gleason, and a number of other administrators with rather obvious conflicts of interest related to their responsibility for approving the athletic department budget, paying for its lawyers, approving employment contracts for Rob Mullens and his coaches, etc. Good for President Gottfredson on this one. Interim Provost Scott Coltrane and spouse got a trip, but after spending $2.2M for Jock Box tutoring, I suppose he wanted to see if what he’d bought was worth our money.

In totally unrelated news, U.S District Judge David Campbell has set the sentencing date for former Fiesta Bowl CEO and convicted felon John Junker for March 13. The aptly named Mr. Junker laundered Fiesta Bowl money for illegal political contributions, strip club parties, and presents for the UT admissions office when they admitted his daughter. It’s not clear how much if any money from the Duck’s 2002 appearance was involved. Meanwhile our Alamo Bowl is paying its CEO Derrick Fox well over $500K a year, while giving just $128K for scholarships. Latest IRS report here.

Given all the corruption in big-time college sports, it’s nice to see JH has finally come clean about “Faculty” Athletics Representative and emeritus law professor Jim O’Fallon, now frankly listed as athletic department staff. Of course the academic side is still paying his salary, but rumor has it he’s going to resign soon in the face of a Senate motion for a 25-year-overdue performance review. Not clear if he’ll also have to give up his NCAA infractions committee gig harassing unpaid athletes.

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1/22/2014 update: Correction from the Public Records Office on Jim O’Fallon:

On January 15, 2014 the office released documents in response to your public records request for documents released in response to the following public records request: “the names of all university employees who were invited to as well as those who actually attended the Valero Alamo Bowl for pre-game events in San Antonio, Texas. Second, if it is possible I would also like to request invoices for the costs of their trip that the University of Oregon paid for, in the form of a per diem or any comparable allowance”.

One of the documents you were given has Mr. James O’Fallon categorized as “Athletic Dept. Staff- Faculty Rep”. Mr. O’Fallon should have been categorized as “Faculty Athletics Representative”. This mistake has been corrected, and a corrected copy of this document is attached.

Scott Coltrane won’t share credit for UO raises with the faculty union? Wow.

Either Senior VP and Provost Scott Coltrane has lost his brain, or he thinks UO’s faculty has lost their memory. From Coltrane’s email today (full text after the break):

The UO was able to provide an across the board and merit process for all faculty and officers of administration in FY14. We are providing another across the board and merit process for FY15.

Thanks Scott, we appreciate this statement, really. But the truth is that “The University” fought the faculty union raise proposals long and hard, then bought us off with a $350 goat. And now Coltrane wants to take credit for the little bit of merit Gottfredson, Geller and Sharon Rudnick finally agreed to? Shame.

Really Scott? Not a word about the fact the faculty union contract requires that you implement these raises, or about the fact that the Lariviere plan, which you supported publicly and were prepared to implement as CAS Dean in 2009, and for which you had the funds, and for which you gave me the detailed spreadsheets for (OK, only after a public records request), would have meant raises sufficient to get UO within spitting distance of our AAU peers?

Come on Scott, you’ve got the permanent provost job now, you’re a better person than this, aren’t you? Because “The University” sure needs one.

Coltrane’s full email below:

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Coltrane gets promoted to UO Provost job, search for CAS Dean to begin.

Coltrane is scheduled for a public meeting about the academic plan at 8:30 AM, Friday 2/14, Gehrlinger.

From: “President Michael Gottfredson” Subject: Senior vice president and provost announcement
Date: February 13, 2014 at 1:27:21 PM PST

Dear Campus Community,

I am pleased to announce that our colleague Scott Coltrane has agreed to serve as the new senior vice president and provost of the University of Oregon.

The provost serves as the chief academic officer of the university, fostering excellence in undergraduate education, graduate education, research, and service to Oregonians. Dr. Coltrane has been serving as interim senior vice president and provost since July 2013. During that time he has proven himself to be a strong leader and an inspiring colleague. I am impressed with the academic-planning and priority-setting efforts he is currently leading on campus, and am excited to work together as we advance our mission of access and excellence at the University of Oregon.

Prior to his current appointment, Professor Coltrane served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon from 2008 to 2013 and as associate dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the University of California, Riverside, from 2004 to 2008.

He earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1988 and was a professor of sociology at the University of California, Riverside, from 1988 to 2008. His research focuses on families, in particular the ways mothers and fathers divide parenting and housework, and has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Spencer Foundation. He is the author of four books and more than 100 articles and chapters. Professor Coltrane received the Distinguished Teaching Award at UC Riverside, is past president of the Pacific Sociological Association, and is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. (Scott Coltrane CV)

The University of Oregon undertook the search for a new provost in the spring of 2013. A search firm helped conduct a national recruitment effort that yielded about 200 applicants for review. The 20-member UO search committee, chaired by Alexander Murphy, Professor of Geography and James F. and Shirley K. Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences, narrowed the group to 25 candidates for consideration. The committee conducted initial interviews with 11 semifinalists. Finalists were invited to campus to participate in a series of campus interviews, including a public presentation and campus feedback process. I thank Professor Murphy and the entire search committee for their work on this important endeavor.

Professor W. Andrew Marcus will serve as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences while a permanent replacement is sought.

Please join me in congratulating Scott Coltrane and welcoming him to his permanent role as senior vice president and provost.

Michael Gottfredson, President

Provost candidate #3, Jorge Jose, VPR at IU

1/30/2014 update: Betsy Hammond of the Oregonian has some details, here. A more complete story here includes quotes from Conoley saying she had not sought the UO job, was approached by UO about applying, and made clear all along that she was interested in the Long Beach president’s job.

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#3 Jorge Jose statement and vita here (fixed). Public talk is Monday at 4:30 at the Art Museum. The schedule for his meetings with the usual JH suspects is here. JH has now removed the Jane Conoley info from their website, here’s a backup.

In other news, Coltrane will hold a public session on “academic planning” today at 3:00PM in Gerlingher. He’s posted a few docs here. Maybe he’ll tell us what our “clusters of excellence” and fundraising priorities are, and explain how Gottfredson picked them?

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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.