2012: ASUO Pres catches VP for Finance cheating students on overhead charges

12/29/2016 repost: Thought I’d celebrate the upcoming new year with some reposts from UO’s past:

4/17/2012 update: Steve Duin of the Oregonian wrote some good stuff supporting Lariviere’s New Partnership. But he’s not so happy with UO on this issue and has some great quotes.

4/17/2012: The short version: UO’s VP for Finance Frances Dyke raised student overhead to cover a subsidy for the jocks, got caught by student government president Ben Eckstein, and the new VP Jamie Moffitt had to repay the students. This really isn’t acceptable because it’s well known how much students struggle when it comes to money, they sometimes even need to look for the best credit card with no credit that will allow them to buy their necessities. The fact that the VP did this shows the lack of trust there.

This Becky Metrick story in the ODE explains part of the story:

“At the end of last year, we had a 5 percent assessment rate. There was a discussion that the rate was actually going to be 6, percent but there were people who weren’t in agreement with that,” Eckstein said. As a part of the change, he hoped to be assessed differently than the rest of the campus groups. “In the process of those negotiations, it came to my attention that we had been overcharged by 1 percent this year.”


The difference between the original 6% rate and the updated 5% rate for this year that will now accrue back to the ASUO

6% X 13,217,538 = $793,052
5% X 13,217,538 = $660,877

Difference: $793,052 – $660,877 = $132,175

Which UO’s new VPFA/CFO Jamie Moffitt had to repay back to the students. This all came to light during an effort started by the Senate IAC to understand how much the academic side was subsidizing UO sports. OUS rules require that “auxiliary enterprises” pay overhead to the institutions:

As Laura Hubbard, associate VP for Budget & Finance, noted at the time, those changes were necessary to meet Oregon University System “guiding principles” in allowing indirect costs that are “reasonable, properly allocable, auditable and applied consistently across campus.”

The assessment on the student government ASUO expenditures (Incidental Fees) has been increasing from 2% to 7%. Athletics pays 3%, nominally. Their effective rate is more like 2%, because many of their expenditures are exempt.

Steve Duin’s column in the Oregonian
in November covered the basics of how athletic’s low rate was the result of a secret deal between Frohnmayer and Kilkenny, signed two weeks before Frohnmayer retired. That contract is here and is full of unusual things, amounting to several million dollars in subsidies for athletics. The overhead rate is a clear violation of OUS rules. I wonder what Frohnmayer got in return for signing it? It was so secret even UO’s VP for Finance Frances Dyke never saw it – or so she claims.

Jamie Moffitt had been in charge of athletic department finances, presumably she knew. But now that she’s the new CFO she needs to redo the overhead rate setting process to try and follow the OUS rules that rates be “reasonable, properly allocable, auditable and applied consistently across campus.” I love that word “auditable”.

So, I wonder if Moffitt will include the athletic department’s unusually high legal costs, set-asides for future MTBI liabilities, their portion of public records costs, legal costs, Johnson Hall time, the $200,000 or so for NCAA representative Jim O’Fallon’s salary and office costs, the $2 million jock box subsidy, and a fair proportion of the $1.6 million UO Police budget increases in her calculations?

Four years later, Doug Park is still hiding public records

10/15/2014: Thought I’d repost this email showing that it was current Interim GC Doug Park who sat on the public records requests which eventually led to the firing of Melinda Grier. Park seems to be at it again, with the help of Dave Hubin. The PR Office is using fees, delays, and redactions with abandon.

9/8/2011: RG reporter Ron Bellamy retires

I’ve never met him. But Ron Bellamy is the RG sports reporter who made me realize that what this country needs is political reporters who care as much about politics as sports reporters care about sports. His retirement announcement is here.

Bellamy’s persistent and unanswered public records inquiries about the Mike Bellotti contract ultimately led to a determination by Oregon AG John Kroger that Dave Frohnmayer’s longtime general counsel Melinda Grier had “provided deficient legal representation” to UO:

Richard Lariviere fired her. UO has been better ever since. Bellotti took his millions and split. UO’s new AD Ron Mullens is not going to repeat Mike Belotti’s mistakes – he’s on to a whole set of new ones. Dave Frohnmayer is no longer collecting a UO paycheck. Meanwhile Doug Park is still in the GC’s office, and his new boss is Randy Geller – Melinda Grier’s old assistant. Plenty of interesting stories left for Mr. Bellamy’s successors.

Duck athletic department punts to librarians on charitable giving

10/2/2014: Seems like a good time to repost this:

11/29/2013: Every year the state runs a Charitable Fund Drive for employees. You know the drill. You get a few emails from your department head, asking you to sign up for payroll deductions to support community groups like the United Way, the local food bank, and so on. This year’s drive is wrapping up, if you haven’t given you can do it here.

I’m no expert on charitable giving, but as it happens, the Oregon CFD publishes the data on gifts, by unit. It’s rather remarkable. Take, for example, the Duck Athletics Department. There are 6 men’s head coaches, with average pay of $1,062,690. Men’s assistant coaches numbered 21, with average pay of $278,066. Total payroll was about $35M. NCAA data here. And total pledges to the Oregon Charitable Fund Drive from Duck Athletics Department employees for this year? $11,321:

That works out to about 0.03% of income. For comparison, the average American gives almost 3% of their income to charity, and the average UO employee gives about 0.1% to the CFD, making the obscenely overpaid millionaire coaches in the athletic department about 1/3rd as generous as the average UO worker. [Thanks to Uncle Bernie for correction.]

Of course, the coaches are pretty good about pressuring their unpaid athletes to work for charity – and then getting as much good press for themselves as they can out of it. From UO’s Alumni magazine:


Wow, that’s almost another 0.01% of the coaches’ pay! I’ll have more about the O Heroes program later, but essentially the AD uses a points system to encourage players to show up at booster events and so on.

I’m not too sure what average pay for a UO librarian is, but I’m guessing it’s a bit shy of $1M. They seem to be the most generous:

The B-school’s pretty good too. What about the President’s office? There are a few hefty salaries there. But charitable gifts, not so much:

Thanks to an anonymous correspondent for the idea, the data and the links!

Ducks tie Beavers in Civil War!

11/29/2013: Too close to call. The Ducks spend 61% more on athletics and 19% more on our bloated central administration, but the Beavers spend 100% more on research.

IPEDS data from:


Helfrich contract here – maybe this slim win will keep the Duck boosters from blowing $6.4M on buying his contract out early?

Oregon supremes diss anti-union initiative

11/27/2013: Jeff Mapes has the story in the Oregonian:

The court upheld a ballot title that reads:

Allows non-union member public employees receiving required union representation to refuse to share representation costs.

I’m no economic theorist, but in theory the wording shouldn’t matter – the incentives are the same. But in practice, this is a win for the union movement.

Loss to UA will help UO cut athletic subsidies

11/24/2013: UO saved some big bucks yesterday. Yes, we’ll owe AD Rob Mullens another $50K if the Ducks play in any bowl game at all – contract here.  But we’ll save maybe $250K on Helfrich – almost enough to cover the Scott Coltrane / Lorraine Davis increase in the Jock Box subsidies. And if it’s a really lousy bowl, maybe fewer administrators will demand expensive UO paid junkets. Helfrich contract here:

Thanks to Jason Quick in Oregonian for pointing this out.

11/23/2013: Zoners crush Ducks, 446 to 170

The puck drops at 12:30 PM.

Meanwhile, another university president comes clean about the hidden cost of big-time athletics. After he retires, of course:

“If we had paid as much attention to what the quality of the incoming deans were, as we were for a football or a basketball coach, I know this institution would already be at least on a peer with Harvard or anybody else. The level of scrutiny over athletics is a conundrum,” the out-going president said.

From Margaret Soltan’s blog.

President backs faculty concerns about governance, transparency

11/19/2013: That would be SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi, asking for guidance from the CA State Chancellor’s office. InsideHigherEd.com reports from their Senate:

“A series of conflicts over the last year has highlighted issues related to communication and transparency, has opened serious rifts in our shared sense of community, and has contributed to extremely low morale,” the resolution reads. “A fresh look at the SJSU situation from outside the campus could help to diagnose problems and identify solutions.

… “Today’s Senate discussion revealed a desire for more transparency about our priorities and explored questions about some aspects of university governance,” Qayoumi said. “As I said during the meeting, communication is the basis for effective governance.

Here at UO, President Gottfredson has passed these issues off to his widely despised General Counsel, Randy Geller. And where’s our Senate? 

Presidential change agents

11/18/2013: Insidehighered has a report on the brief tenure of Robert Sternberg as President at Wyoming. Hired by the board to make change, he did, stepping on a lot of toes in the process, to the point he could no longer run the place. This is apparently not uncommon for universities with an inbred central administration: bring in a “change agent” to clear out the old guard, then replace the “change agent” with someone to put things back together. I’m no psychologist, but apparently the personality characteristics necessary to do these two different jobs are not highly correlated. Some tidbits:

One of his first major decisions was to oust the longtime provost, Myron Allen. … Once Sternberg came in, Allen’s exit happened quickly. Within four weeks of coming to campus, Sternberg told Allen to go back to being a faculty member. The official story – which Sternberg and a university spokesman both told faculty and the media – was that Allen’s resignation letter was received with “great regret” because Allen had decided to go back to teaching. 

“That’s what’s usually done,” Sternberg said in an interview.
Indeed, the usual practice is for a president and departing official to coordinate their statements and have a cover story. 

But the cover was blown when Allen made it known that he was forced out.
Shive said that cost Sternberg. 

“He said that everybody resigned, but it quickly became apparent that that was a lie,” Shive said. “He explained the lie by saying, ‘Well, I lied because I wanted to protect the reputation of these people.’ So, that begs the question, If it’s O.K. to lie in this circumstance, what other circumstances would justify his lying to his faculty?” Sternberg said was only following standard procedure to protect those asked to step down. 

“My trying to preserve their dignity and administrative job possibilities, therefore, seriously backfired,” he said in an email. “What I did not anticipate was the negative feelings that my effort to preserve their dignity would create, nor did I anticipate that many of the officials who stepped down actively would turn on me.”
Of course, the dignity preservation effort often works. 

For instance, George Washington University President Emeritus Stephen Joel Trachtenberg was once a new president who wanted to get rid of a “very nice older gentleman who held the title” of provost. 

Trachtenberg told the provost he could stay around another year, keep the title, keep the office, keep the secretary — but with someone else doing the actual job of provost.
“It’s just the way adults treat each other,” Trachtenberg said.

Especially when the adults are spending other people’s money, as Gottfredson is doing with UO’s former provost, Jim Bean. (For some more outrageous examples, read this Boston Globe story, courtesy of an anonymous reader.)

This part of the Sternberg story gets a little weird:

Shive said things got so bad on campus that trivial things would become part of the climate of fear. For instance, Shive said Sternberg asked everyone to wear the school colors, brown and gold, on Fridays. 

Shive, a geologist by training, said he walked around campus and found the farther away from the administrative building he went, the fewer people were wearing brown and gold – except for a spike at the College of Education. 

“They wore brown and gold on Fridays only because they were afraid not to,” he said of the people who wore the right colors.

President meets with board, resigns

11/15/13: That would be Robert Sternberg, at the University of Wyoming. Insidehighered.com has the report. He had support from the Caspar newspaper (thanks, commenter):

Sternberg argued that he’s gotten a bum rap for firing too many people too fast. He pointed to the fact that he has asked for two resignations: Provost Myron Allen and Dean of Education Kay Persichitte. Others resigned in protest, including Easton and two associate provosts. 

He questioned why higher education officials would not want to be evaluated. “Accountability is important,” he said. “We need a culture that welcomes that.”

Well, we can certainly count on President Gottfredson not to make that particular mistake.

(Please leave any new comments here: https://uomatters.com/2012/11/remember-hat-lariviere-day-is-tomorrow.html)

Duck footballer tells off Duck fans

10/29/13: In the Oregonian:

I remember walking in from fall camp practice and talking to my teammates about how similar our lives were to the TV series Spartacus. We were slaves. We were paid enough to live, eat, and train… And nothing more. We went out on the field where we were broken down physically and mentally every day, only to wake up and do it again on the next. On the outside, spectators placed bets and objectified us. They put us on pedestals and worshipped us for a short time, but only as long as we were winning. In the end, we were just a bunch of dumbass (racial slur) for the owners to whip, and the rich to bet on.

University gives cash, cars to hard-working student-athletes

10/29/2013: That would be SMU, back in the free-market 1980’s:

The NCAA cartel came down hard on them, since every dollar going to a player is a dollar that won’t go them, the athletic directors and coaches, and Faculty Athletics Representatives like UO’s Jim O’Fallon. But now the NCAA is considering giving the players a token $2K a year. for comparison, AD Rob Mullens makes about $500K, with considerably less concussion risk. Troy Brynelson has a report on the ongoing debates in the ODE. Thanks to a commenter there for this fascinating SMU video. I particularly like seeing how happy the student-athletes were with the competition for their services!