Pres Schill’s Track & Field Championship construction boom adds $15M a year to UO costs, UO credit rating goes negative

In June 2015 UO projected that debt expense payments for 2021 would be about $43M a year:

Now in June 2020 they are projecting debt expense payments for 2021 will be about $58M a year – a $15M increase:

Why the increase? Mostly for 30 year bonds sold to build new dorms, part of the “Athlete’s Village” that Phil Knight needed for the IAAF Track and Field Championships bids. We’ll be paying them off for a long time.

For perspective, the average student brings in about $20K a year in tuition, so it would take about 750 new students to cover this $15M in new debt.

Enrollment increases are unlikely, so the current plan from President Schill and Provost Phillips is to cut wages for faculty and staff to cover this debt expense increase and any revenue declines from cuts in state contributions and enrollment.

In any case the party is over. In March – before the impact of the coronavirus – Moody’s had already revised UO’s credit outlook to negative, citing the increased debt, spending, resistance to tuition increases, low reserves, etc. (Thanks to a helpful reader for sharing this public record, which took Kevin Reed’s office 3 weeks to provide. Full report here. So far as I can tell Angela Wilhelms and Chuck Lillis never showed it to the Trustees, nor was if discussed in their public meetings. Not exactly due diligence.)

The tables are from the back pages of the Trustees agenda materials. June 2015 here, 2020 here. It seems unlikely that the Trustees will do their due diligence on this at their June 4th meeting, given that they are the people who approved all the decisions that got us here.

Gov Brown appoints former aide Connie Seeley to watch over Angela Wilhelms & troubled UO Board of Trustees

Our Trustees will meet again on June 4th by Zoom, presumably to approve another $12M Jumbotron for Uncle Phil.

Meanwhile, The Daily Emerald has the story on Governor Kate Brown’s nomination of current OHSU VP for Administration and Board Secretary Connie Seeley as the latest UO Trustee, here:

Seeley graduated from UO with a degree in political science in 1992 and currently serves as Oregon Health & Science University’s chief of staff, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, according to the application she submitted to the governor’s office.

… Seeley worked for Brown previously as her legislative director when Brown was the senate democratic leader, according to Seeley’s resume. For seven years she was also the chief of staff to Senate President Peter Courtney, who’s been the leader of the senate — which will confirm Seeley’s appointment — since 2003.

This will make Seeley the first UO Trustee with any significant higher ed administrative experience, unless you count Chuck Lillis who was a b-school dean back in the day.

Interestingly, Seeley also serves as the Board Secretary for OHSU’s Trustees. At UO that role is filled by Angela Wilhelms, where the BOT Secretary is a full time job with separate staff, controlled by Board Chair Lillis, with the job of making sure the UO President toes the line. Wilhelms had previously been Chief of Staff to the Republican side of the Legislature.

The full board applications from Seeley and the four other applicants are available on Gov. Brown’s admirably transparent public records website, here. Wilhelms and Lillis endorsed 3 of these candidates as explained by Zach Demars in an earlier story, here.

Presumably runner-up candidate Steve Holwerda, a private wealth investment advisor known for his love of Ayn Rand,  lifelong desire to be Duck Athletics Director, and fabulous Lake Oswego mansion, will get his chance to serve on the board of Oregon’s flagship public university soon, and perhaps recruit a few new rich clients for his firm.

I requested these docs from Gov Brown’s office last month:

4/25/2020 William Harbaugh UOM Under Review n/a

​I am requesting electronic copies of any communications sent between the Governor’s office and UO President Michael Schill or his office, UO Provost Patrick Phillips or his office, Duck Athletic Director Rob Mullens or his office, UO Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms or her office, and UO Board of Trustees Chuck Lillis. This request is for the dates Jan 1 2019 til the date the request is filled.

And will post a link when they are  available.

UO Trustee Ginevra Ralph grills Mullens & Roedl over $12M Jumbotron

Just kidding, Ralph threw them a few softballs. Then Chairman Chuck Lillis (best known for his role in the 2008 bankruptcy of WaMu) asked Mullens something about the Duck’s magical season, they all laughed and our Board of Trustees voted unanimously for it and for a new media licensing deal which includes another $5.5M for Jumbotronettes. Not exactly what I’d call due diligence:

Pres Schill tells Board of Trustees they’re doing a heck of a job

What else can you say to the people who hired you and set your salary and bonuses? You can promise them that you’re continuing the hidden athletics subsidies and won’t use any of the Duck’s budget bucket to help the academic side:

Some snippets, full report below the break:

Under the direction of the Board of Trustees, the university recommitted with full force to improving its educational and research capacity to pursue excellence in support of its academic mission. Those plans, developed by the UO administration and faculty, are now propelling the university forward. Five years later, the UO is on a sustainable upward trajectory and has strengthened its overall standing as a comprehensive university distinguished by the disciplinary breadth and depth of our programs in education and research. The progress has been noted by external reviewers, who use words such as “transformational” to describe the progress of the past five years.

He’s pretty happy with the faculty union too:

The UO also works collaboratively with its faculty union on matters related to employment. The UO is unusual among nationally prominent universities in having a unionized faculty. Among the UO’s AAU peers, only Rutgers University, the State University of New York, and the University of Florida have tenure-related faculty in a bargaining unit. A faculty bargaining unit was also certified at OSU in 2018. The leadership of United Academics has been stable and they have collaborated with the UO administration to solve such challenges as the new teaching evaluation process, benefits for postdoctoral fellows, and mandatory discrimination training for faculty. There have also been periodic instances of friction over a variety of issues, for example, funding allocations.

And even the University Senate:

Shared governance, as embodied by the University Senate, has long played an important role at the UO. At times, the senate and administration have been at odds. Relations have improved substantially over the last four years, aided by greater stability in Johnson Hall and a willingness from both administration and the senate to improve communication and collaboration. Disagreements still occur from time to time, but they are rarely over academic matters, the prime area entrusted to the University Senate. Indeed, there have been notable examples of successful collaboration, including work on curricula, teaching evaluations, sexual violence reporting requirements, and academic continuity.

On athletics, Pres Schill takes the unprecedented step of explicitly rejecting proposals to get the Ducks to help the academic side of the university, with money. Past presidents, including Frohnmayer and Gottfredson, had endorsed calls to eventually use some of the athletic department’s ever increasing revenues to support academic scholarships for undergraduates. Not President Schill:

Through the extraordinary generosity of passionate donors, athletics is able to balance its budget and maintain self-sufficiency annually. [UOM: This is not true. The academic budget pays for the Jock Box, Matt Court land bonds, we give them a break on overhead expenses, and we pay most of their legal costs, etc.]

If these donors were to suspect that their gifts were being siphoned off to benefit other parts of the university, as some members of the UO community have suggested, donors would likely reduce their support resulting in insolvency for the program. [Why does this work at other universities? Is there something peculiar about Duck donors?]

Continue reading

Board of Trustees to meet Mar 16 & 17

3/16/2020: N0 liveblog since meeting is closed to visitors, live-streaming is failing.

I showed up at Ford Alumni this morning and was told the Board has banned all visitors from the room – no advance notice and no mention on the Board’s website.

The last time I got kicked out of a board meeting was the one on the IAAF Track and Field Championship bid, when Angela Wilhelms lied to me and the RG’s Diane Dietz, claiming it was a “training session” and that the Public Meetings law allowed her to ban reporters and mere bloggers.

Also, the live-streaming is now breaking up, at least for me on campus, and is unusable.

Supposedly I’ll be allowed into Tuesday’s meeting though, because I signed up to give public comment. I’ll try and live blog it.

3/15/2010: Expect frequent updates Monday and Tuesday.

Live streamed at All meetings are in the Ford Alumni Center Ballroom, are open to the public, and given the coronavirus situation everything is subject to change. Presumably more than the usual number of Trustees will be phoning it in, this time literally.

The main items for our Trustees to rubber-stamp this quarter are

$12M for a bigly new video screen at Autzen,

a risky new guaranteed tuition plan that does not yet have the necessary donor support, and

a new multi-million Duck media deal. Wilhelms has redacted all the interesting numbers from that, but it seems to cut the academic budget’s take even more. Hard to say how much, since Kevin Reed’s Public Records Office still won’t release the public records on it.

Schedule in brief:

Monday March 16:

10 AM: Academic and Student Affairs Committee

12. PM:  Secret Board meeting where Pres Schill tells them how well he thinks the Faculty Union bargaining is going.

2:30 PM: Finance and Facilities Committee

Tuesday March 17:

9:30 a.m. Full Board meeting.

12:00 PM. Tour of The Phildo for interested Trustees.

As usual, Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms has done her best to make it as difficult as possible to find the board’s agenda and meeting materials. So as usual I’ve extracted these from the pdf’s, added hyperlinks, and will add some more with commentary as the meetings progress.

Schedule in full, details to be added:

Monday March 16, 10 AM: Academic and Student Affairs Committee. Materials

Provost’s Report

Yes, there were a few understudies willing to do this job for less than union scale, but from what I’ve seen so far Patrick Phillips is earning his paycheck. So why do they list everyone’s name in the program except his?

1. College of Education’s Institutional Plan for Educator Equity in Teacher Preparation – Update: Randy Kamphaus, dean of the College of Education; Dianna Carrizales-Engelmann, director of Administration.

The Legislature made them do it.

2. Accreditation – Mid-Cycle Report: Ron Bramhall, associate vice provost for academic excellence; Chuck Triplett, associate vice president for academic infrastructure and accreditation liaison officer.

Our accreditors at the NWCCU are making them do it.

3. UO Career Center: Paul Timmins, executive director

Should be interesting. This has not been UO’s strong point, but should be.

4. Student Success – Measuring Outcomes: Doneka Scott, vice provost for undergraduate education and student success; Kevin Marbury, vice president for student life; Elliot Berkman, professor of psychology and vice president of the University Senate; Michael Griffel, assistant vice president and director of University Housing; and Paul Timmins, executive director of the UO Career Center.

Recess meeting for [Full Board] executive session / lunch. Reconvene approx. 1:00 p.m. Monday, March 16, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. Ford Alumni Center, Room 403. This meeting is an executive session only and is held as authorized under ORS 192.660(2)(d). It is closed to members of the public and the media. Subjects of the meeting will include: discussions related only to current collective bargaining between the UO and United Academics. 

5. PathwayOregon Overview: Jim Brooks, associate vice president and director of financial aid; Doneka Scott, vice provost for undergraduate education and student success.

Last I looked this program – which waves tuition for low income in-state students with decent GPAs and then surrounds them with support services – was a model. But it doesn’t have enough money to help lower middle class students.

6. UO-OHSU Partnerships: Patrick Phillips, provost and senior vice president; David Conover, vice president for research and innovation; Bill Cresko, professor and executive director of the Data Science Initiative.

7. Standardized Tests in Admissions: Jim Rawlins, assistant vice president for admissions; Janet Woodruff-Borden, executive vice president for academic affairs.

UO plans to follow the flagship OSU in going “test optional”, meaning students can choose not to submit their SAT/ACT scores. Good idea, not likely to have a big impact.

Monday March 16, 2020 2:30 p.m. Finance and Facilities Committee. Materials

1. Quarterly Audit Report: Leah Ladley, chief auditor; Amy Smith, senior auditor

Chuck Lillis and other UO boosters put up $500K in campaign donations, and got SB 270 through the legislature. The new law took away the State’s ability to audit UO. Now we only have internal auditors. They are beholden to Lillis, who has a bad track record including losing multiple ERISA lawsuits involving defrauding employee retirement funds, and serving on the WAMU board as it went through the largest financial services bankruptcy in US history, so far.

 Ladley is Lillis’s third UO internal auditor since the BoT took over. Not a good sign.

2. Quarterly Finance and Treasury Reports; Update on Bond Sale Activity (Action): Jamie Moffitt, vice president for finance and administration and CFO; Jeff Schumacher, director of treasury operations

3. Autzen Stadium Audio/Video Project (Action): Rob Mullens, director of intercollegiate athletics

What can you say,

4. Amended Multi-Media Agreement (Action): Rob Mullens, director of intercollegiate athletics

Show us the records.

Monday March 16, 12PM: Full Board Exec Session to hear about Faculty Union 

Monday, March 16, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. Ford Alumni Center, Room 403 This meeting is an executive session only and is held as authorized under ORS 192.660(2)(d). It is closed to members of the public and the media. Subjects of the meeting will include: discussions related only to current collective bargaining between the UO and United Academics.

Tuesday MARCH 17, 2020 | 9:30 a.m. Ford Alumni Center, Full Board regular session. Materials

President’s Report –

Public Comment – Social distancing protocols will be in place for those wishing to make public comment in person. Public comment may also be submitted via email to

1. ASUO and University Senate Reports -ASUO President Sabinna Pierre -University Senate President Elizabeth Skowron

2. Tuition and Mandatory Fees for Academic Year 2020-2021 (Action): Michael Schill, President; Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration; Kevin Marbury, Vice President for Student Life [Materials can be found under the bookmark for Agenda Item #5 – page 27.]

3. COVID-19 Planning and Response at UO: Andre Le Duc, Chief Resilience Officer and AVP for Safety and Risk Services [Materials can be found under the bookmark for Agenda Item #2 – page 9.]

4. Honorary Degree – James F. Ivory (Action): Michael Schill, President [Materials can be found under the bookmark for Agenda Item #3 – page 11.]

5. Resolutions and Seconded Motions from Committee (Actions) [Materials can be found under the bookmark for Agenda Item #4 – page 17.]

4.1 Seconded Motion from FFC – Autzen Audio/Video Project: Ross Kari, FFC Chair

4.2 Seconded Motion from FFC – Amended Multi-Media Agreement: Ross Kari, FFC Chair

4.3 Seconded Motion from FFC – Bond Refund Authorization: Ross Kari, FFC Chair

How will UO replace Trustee Ballmer after cancellation of Duck BBall games?

Trustee Connie Ballmer is quitting 3 years early. The normal replacement procedure is for President Schill and Gov Brown to cut a secret deal on a new Trustee for the “Independent” Board that sets his salary and bonuses at a basketball game, with followup by Chuck Lillis’s Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms, UO lobbyists Hans Bernard and Libby Batlan, and Brown’s Chief of staff.

But this year the NCAA has banned spectators, because of the coronavirus. So I wonder how they’ll do it this time?

(Thanks to Gov. Brown’s lawyers for providing these public records, at no charge)

Bad news for troubled UO Board as Connie Ballmer steps down early

Governor Brown had reappointed her to a 4-year term just last year. The Board’s next meetings are March 16-17th, in Eugene.

Begin forwarded message:
From: Board of Trustees <>
Subject: Board of Trustees Update – Vacancy and Appointment Process
Date: March 2, 2020 at 1:43:42 PM PST
To: Board of Trustees <>
You received this email because you have signed up for UO Board of Trustees updates. If you wish to unsubscribe from this list, please reply to this email with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.
The Board of Trustees would like to announce that an at-large position on the Board will become vacant effective July 1, 2020. Trustee Connie Ballmer, who has been on the board since its formation in 2013, will resign on June 30. We sincerely thank Trustee Ballmer for her extraordinary work over these last several years, and for her ongoing commitment to the UO community. This information will also be shared on Around the O.
The vacancy for Trustee Ballmer’s at-large seat will be filled by the governor for the remainder of the position’s term, which runs through June 30, 2023. Information about the appointment process, including relevant links to the governor’s executive appointments website, has been updated on the Board’s website.
Those interested in applying for this position are welcome to contact the Board office for more information.
The faculty, staff, and student trustee positions will all be up for appointment next year, with terms taking effect July 1, 2021. To see the term dates for all current trustees, please visit the “Meet the Trustees” page on the Board’s website.
Thank you.
Office of the University Secretary
Board of Trustees, University of Oregon

Students to protest Board in Salem, Sec Wilhelms invites economist to speak

Hannah Kannik has the protest story in the ODE here:

“We are out here plugging folks to show up to a community meeting at the end of this month,”  Pishioneri said. “We’re also getting signatures not only to be added to our email list but also to be taken up to Salem on Thursday.”

Thursday is student lobbying day, where students from all seven public universities in Oregon flock to Salem to show the importance of funding higher education, according to the UO Alumni Association website. Pishioneri said the group plans to voice its concerns to state legislators.

“[Students] fund this university and they deserve a say in how it’s run,” Pishioneri said.

Nick Keough, an ASUO senator and member of the campaign group, said they are working to get the community involved in their campaign.

“We deserve a board of trustees that reflects who we are and represent us in that capacity,” Keough said. “Right now they don’t; they represent corporate interests and continued privatization. That’s why we’re working to democratize the board.”

As a neo-liberal economist I’ve got nothing against corporate interests or privatization, so long as they serve the public good – something which UO’s insular board has consistently failed to demonstrate.

In other Board news, they’ve invited an economist to their next meeting, to explain the “demographic cliff” to them. In a nutshell, the US birthrate fell during the great recession and has not recovered, so the number of college age students will start falling in about 5 years – just when Brad Shelton’s budget model had been predicting big enrollment increases. Whoops.

The Senate’s Exec Committee asked Faculty Trustee Laura Lee McIntyre about this last year. She’d never heard of it, then got mad when we asked civil and respectfully tough questions about what she did know about how UO was planning to deal with it in future budgets. It appears she, or BoT Secretary Angela Wilhelms got the message though – as often happens during uncomfortable conversations – so they’re bringing out an economist to explain it to the BoT next month:


Dr. Nathan Grawe, a professor of economics at Carleton College and author of Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, will visit the University of Oregon on March 17 for a presentation and Q&A session about his demographic analyses and the potential implications to higher education.

March 17, 10:30 a.m. EMU 214 – Redwood Auditorium

For decades, demographic forces have been reshaping the composition of the population of traditional-aged college students.  Now, a recent decline in fertility points to additional disruption as prospective student pools shrink in the mid-2020s.  After examining these forces and their potential to disrupt markets for higher education, Professor Grawe will share examples of how various colleges and universities are proactively engaging these demographic challenges.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Please also pass this information on to others in your unit or department who might be interested.

Dr. Grawe is coming to the UO at the invitation of the Board of Trustees, which will meet with him in the afternoon of March 17 at approximately 2:00 p.m. If you cannot attend the morning session but are interested in Dr. Grawe’s presentation, the Board of Trustees’ meeting is open to the public (Ford Alumni Center, Giustina Ballroom) and will be webcast (

Thank you, Angela Wilhelms, University Secretary & Advisor to the President

Great timing for the Administration to use it against the Faculty Union in bargaining.

6 years into job, Angela Wilhelms finally starts a BoT listserv

This was one of the small pro-transparency changes she agreed to make – only after the Governor’s office, the Senate, faculty union, and some legislators pushed back on the secrecy and lack of input regarding recent board appointments. She has also added website tab that gives some brief info about upcoming vacancies.

Dear Colleagues,
The UO’s Board of Trustees is launching an email update service for those interested in receiving information about the board’s meetings and action items (votes), board vacancies and appointments, and other key news about the board and its work.
If you wish to subscribe to the email updates service, please submit your name and email address using this form.
The board’s website will continue to post information about meetings, membership, and other key announcements. You can also contact the board office at any time via
Thank you.
Angela Wilhelms
University Secretary

Live-blog Full Board meeting, Tu 12/10/2019: $0.1M for Schill, $1M for Cristobal

Disclaimer: My summary of what people said or should have said. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes. The Monday committee meetings are here.

The wrap up (Note: I skipped out before the votes on some of these, but I assume the board rubber-stamped whatever Lillis and Wilhelms put in front of them, as usual):

  1. The board voted 12-0 to spend $100K of other people’s money on a bonus for President Schill – and gave him a retention package with a fat retirement deal – teach two courses a year for $450K. Schill promised to donate $75K back to UO for scholarships.
  2. The board re-elected Charles M. Lillis as Chair to a 3rd term, since no one else will take on the job of being Phil Knight’s amanuensis. Avoided mention of his ERISA lawsuit settlements and the ~$175M he and the other WaMu board members had to pay out after they led it to the largest financial bankruptcy in US history. Video here. “This time they even blamed teachers.”
  3. The board avoided any substantive discussion of what work they might do to carry through with the promises Lillis, Knight, and the other backers of SB270 and UO independence made about stabilizing UO’s funding. As Henry Ford said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”
  4. VP’s Jamie Moffitt and Kevin Marbury set the stage for ensuring that ASUO is on board with the next round of tuition increases, and that they will result in only minor student demonstrations and minimal public embarrassment to the Trustees. They also discussed a proposal to offer a guaranteed tuition rate for new students over their 4 years.
  5. The board voted to issue $120M in debt to finish constructing the Athlete Village for Phil Knight’s Oregon21 T&F championships. Bonds to be repaid with higher room and board charges for UO students.

KEZI has a report on Pres Schill’s bonus, here:

Chair Chuck Lillis and Vice Chair Ginevra Ralph are recommending the approval of the bonus based on Schill’s performance.

“He’s already making $700,000, why does he need that $100,000 bonus?” said student Daisy Caballero.

Schill is actually making $720,000 a year, and the bonus would come just weeks after graduate employees were fighting for basic benefits and a livable wage.  …

The Daily Emerald reports the Board then voted 12-0 for the $100K bonus, of which Schill has generously promised to donate $75K for scholarships.  This will leave him with about $13K after tax, which may not be worth the bad will.

That said our board has done more wasteful things, like voting a few years ago for a contract for the Duck’s Mark Cristobal which so far this year has given him $1M in bonuses to top off his ~$3M pay:

And speaking of philanthropy, while the Duck athletic department’s donations to the Oregon Community Fund Drive are up 50% over last year, that’s off of a $50 base – total, for a department with many, many people making more than $250K.



Full Board of Trustees, Tuesday December 10, 2019 | 9:30 a.m. Live here:

– Public comment (Sorry, I spilled my coffee and missed some of the public comments.)

Former Trustee Kurt Willcox speaks against $100K bonus for Pres Schill noting he is already the 38th highest paid public president. Presided over large tuition increases, a deficit, cuts to LERC and museums, and labor unrest with the GTFF etc.

Grad Student Johnny Saunders walks the board through the history of the $120M residence hall bond deal they are about to approve, referring to previous board minutes and reports commissioned by the board to show that this proposal is motivated by the desire to build an athlete village for the 2021 IAAF meet, not by need for new undergraduate housing. Thanks to Jonny for providing his notes and links:

– Finance and facilities committee meeting, December 2nd, 2015:
page 32
“The findings from the feasibility and market demand study final report clearly state that the university of oregon should […] renovate rather than replace bean, hamilton, or walton. the findings show that the cost of replacement would create prohibitively expensive room and board rates relative to renovation.”

– Still described as ‘hamilton renovation” at meetings on
– December 1st 2016
– December 7th, 2017

– finance and facilities committee june 7th 2018
meeting slides: video:

-Introduced with no further reports,
– vague nonempirical statements about need for plan
-only tangential reference to feasibility reporty

– two reasons for project presented
housing demand

with reference to the 2011 residence hall feasibility and market demand study:

housing demand:
– feasibility and market demand study estimated 23,198 undergrads in 2021
– for that we would need 5100 total beds
– but currently there are 18,903 undergrads
– should be low/no pressure for housing

– in FFC presentation: ‘we know what housing students want’
– but the feasibility study: “Moreover, the students in the focus groups in the Residence Hall Feasibility and Market Demand Study did not express alarm or disdain over their existing housing. They said the housing is what they expected to live in as freshmen. That the housing was not brand new was of secondary importance.”
– 5/8 of their focus group said cost was the primary reason they chose UO

What changed in the spring of 2018?
– price tag
– end-date of first phase: a new building in summer 2021 instead of a renovated Hamilton in 2022

This board is derelict in its duty to pass this bond.
– Board has not asked why it suddenly costs $500k per new bed
– housing demand is far lower than expected
– cost of attending consistently increases, pricing students out of an education
– student’s in both the board’s focus group and ASUO explicitly say they don’t want this project:
– ASUO statement on tuition increases says too much money spent on giving lavish experience:
– no additional reports have been given
– no firm details on how much housing fees will increase
– And still pass along an unadvertised potentially double digit percent increase in cost to a generation of UO students

Two members of the OA Council (sorry I missed names) speak to the board about their 2018 climate survey and the issues it raises regarding salary and respect for their work. The OA’s are UO’s core managers, the OA website is here.

Community member David Igl reiterates his well known views on the Dunn denaming and the KKK. Say what you will about Mr. Igl, he is not afraid to speak unpopular and factually questionable views to a hostile audience.

Community member and student Joe Tindhal states that UO is infected by “social justice snowflakes” and “students leave dumber than when they arrive”. He also notes a decline in Star Wars merchandise sales. Given that our board is mostly composed of rich old business people, this seems more directed at the students than the board, and they exercise their First Amendment right to make their disagreement known while respecting his right to speak.

Lillis calls a 5 minute recess.

1. ASUO and University Senate Reports

-ASUO President Sabinna Pierre

Not present.

-University Senate President Elizabeth Skowron

Despite Chuck Lillis’s best hopes the UO Senate survived Harbaugh’s presidency, and with Skowron in charge he will have to find a new excuse for subverting shared governance. She delivers a crisp, fact-based report:

She also arranged meetings with select faculty and the board over lunch. Lillis is eating this stuff up.

2. President’s Report & an Overview of the Last Five Years: President Michael, Schill

Presumably this will be part retrospective, and part supporting material for his next job application.

5 years and he’s late turning it in? Still nothing posted. OK, just got the link, here. How can the board be expected to do its due diligence on his $100K bonus and lucrative retirement deal when they don’t get his brag sheet til the day of the meeting?


Pres Schill notes that it’s 5 years since the UO Board took power. Lots of chaos. Lots of work and money was spent recreating the functions previously done by the OUS board. Schill notes that when he arrived Coltrane could not tell him how many faculty we have. [As union treasurer, I can report that IR still cannot figure that out on a timely basis.]

Gives a shout out to the faculty – careful to include the NTTF/Careers. I wonder if this means he’ll agree to raising their salary floor from $38K for 8 classes a year?

Rebuilt his relationship with the university senate [Is this the part where he gives me some credit? Nope. Good, this would blow my street-cred.]

Replaced UO’s semi-transparent and easily gamed RCM model with BradShelton’s opaque budget model, which centralizes faculty hiring with a committee run by Brad. This will allow UO to move faculty lines from the declining humanities to the sciences. Says this will promote excellence – as measured by Brad Shelton’s metrics, of course.


State funding up substantially – thanks to the state, not UO. Endowment up 37% over 5 years. This seems low – the S&P is up more than 50%. Raised $374M for scholarships – I assume that’s mostly promises. 33% of fund drive money is for athletics. I think that excludes Hayward, etc.


Enrollment, not so good. And no, this slide is not in his report:

Worked with the Senate to redo student evaluations, worked with faculty on new academic programs for undergrads, etc.

Student Access:

Scholarships to Oregonians up by 37%. [But then tuition is up, which offsets much if not all of this.]

Student success:

Gives CAS – but not Andrew Marcus – credit for Tykeson, which so far is a money pit for everyone but Ikea.

Diversity: Lots of window-dressing. Still having problems retaining minority faculty. Need a new VPEI pretty soon, maybe that will help?

Student Experience:

There’s no doubt that the physical environment has improved dramatically since I came here in 1995. E.g. new EMU, paid for by student tax. Not so good for faculty, though I did get window AC for my PLC office, which helps when my students start sweating over calculus questions.

Sexual Violence: We’ve improved services, and GC Kevin Reed has done a great job hiding the sorts of incidents that got President Gottfredson fired. So far.

Athletics: “We’re” going to Rose Bowl, We’ll have a big junket for the Deans and JH senior admins and their spouses so they can recruit students. Sure, that’ll work great.

If you want to see who else took this previous junket, there’s video here and photos here.

For a more sober analysis of the effects of football on enrollment, here’s one of many recent papers:

Colleges and universities face pressure to maintain enrollments in a time of demographic shifts in the college-going population and reductions in state funding. One indicator of successfully maintaining enrollments is the percentage of accepted students who matriculate—the enrollment yield. Factors known to contribute to yield include school size, cost, research, and reputation. Of interest in the present study is the import of academic reputation as measured by U. S. News and World Report rankings and social reputation as measured by designation as a ‘party school’ relative to accomplishments of the school’s high-profile athletic teams. I use a 21 year panel to model yield for all institutions competing at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics. The results show that yield rates consistently respond to USNWR rankings, but being named a party school has a more sporadic influence. Athletic success has little effect on a school’s enrollment yield. The findings suggest that the signals sent by academic rankings are stronger and better received than the signals sent by social or sports accomplishments.

Challenges: Pres Schill comes close to saying out loud that Board has not delivered on the financial stability that was promised. Points out that philanthropy is tricky.

It is. When Phil Knight gave the money for Hayward, Schill could have made sure that he paid to replace the parking and the $2.3M for utility hookups. He didn’t, so now the UO staff and students are stuck with the bills. Very tricky.

Questions from the Board?

Nope. No preparation, no questions, no due diligence.

3. Tuition-Setting Process and Guaranteed Tuition Discussion: Jamie Moffitt, Vice President for Finance and Administration; Kevin Marbury, Vice President for Student Life; Roger Thompson, Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management

This is the second time around for the tuition guarantee proposal, which is going nowhere for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who read the version three years ago. I assume it’s on the agenda so the trustees can have something that sounds consequential to ask questions about. It’s not, so I’ll skip it – although Thompson is *very* enthusiastic for its potential to help with recruiting. Of course as he suggests – honesty is one of his many charms – it will also eliminate student protests at board meetings over tuition increases, which might be enough to encourage our trustees to kick in the millions that will be needed to implement it.

Bragdon asks why, if this is such a great idea, more schools aren’t doing it. Moffitt explains they are, the presentation just had a short list.

Ralph notes that the last time they heard this presentation Thompson was a lot less positive about it. Why the new enthusiasm? He’s worried the UC system will do it first.

Ford notes that a reserve will be crucial in case of an enrollment decline, or drop in state funding. Asks if the HECC is qualified to evaluate this sort of program. [They certainly are. I’m on the HECC’s SSCM working group, and I’ve found the HECC staff to be quite good. on par with Thompson’s people. Certainly more knowledgeable about higher ed issues than, say, Brad Shelton. ]

Board catches Thompson’s infectious enthusiasm, tells TFAB to start looking at guaranteed tuition.

The real action here is on the TFAB and the coming tuition increases. VP Marbury presents on the state-mandated tuition setting process. For some examples of the propaganda – and lies – that Moffitt and Marbury dish up to our students during this process, check their website here:

OK, so we can’t blame the coaches, so it must be the faculty’s fault. Interestingly, Moffitt and Marbury – or whoever is strategically communicating for them –  are a little confused about whether to blame the faculty union’s labor cartel or free market forces:

They could also blame double-dippers like VP Brad Shelton, who’s now collecting PERS and a fat UO salary. Last year, with SB1049, the legislature decided to make state agencies pay PERS contributions on these salaries, which had been exempt.

Interestingly, the overall impact of PERS this year is a *reduction* in costs, because of reductions in bond costs and because as UO’s Tier 1 employees retire UO no longer has to pay into PERS for them. (Except now while they keep working, as with Shelton or TRP faculty).

Back of the envelope and ignoring the elasticity of demand, a 1% increase in tuition brings in about $750K from in-state students, and about $2.5M from out of state.

So balancing the budget could be done as follows, while keeping the tuition increase to 2%;

    1. $5M saved by eliminating hidden athletic subsidies
    2. $5M saved by dropping baseball, men’s golf and tennis.
    3. $3M saved by reducing the subsidy for law school tuition
    4. $2M saved by reducing consulting costs and getting rid of a few lawyers and strategic communicators.
    5. $6.5M in new revenue from a 2% tuition increase.

That’s more than enough to make the $19M nut.

Needless to say this is not the proposal Moffitt and Marbury will guide the students toward in the next few months of TFAB meetings. Instead UO will push for 4.9% tuition increases, just below the level that triggers HECC review, and they will continue to claim that the athletics budget is untouchable, and that the faculty, state, PERS, and China are to blame for the increases.

Meeting Recessed for Lunch with Students

I’m not sure I’ll live blog the rest of this, video is at (I didn’t. Enough is enough. See top for summary.)

4. Resolutions and Seconded Motions from Committee (Actions)

4.1 Seconded Motion from FFC – Bond Issuance Authorization: Ross Kari, FFC Chair

4.2 Seconded Motion from EAC – Board Officers: Peter Bragdon, Trustee

4.3 Resolution Re Presidential Bonus and Contract Amendment: Chuck Lillis, Chair

5. Academic Area in Focus – Media Center for Science and Technology: Ellen Peters, Philip H. Knight Chair and Director of the SOJC’s Media Center for Science and Technology

Sorry, but this is just too glossy and self-promoting to take seriously.


Live-Blogging: UO Board of Trustees to meet Dec 9 committee meetings

Disclaimer: My summary of what people said or should have said. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes. This is a bit disorganized but I made it through the entire set of Monday committee meetings, and will be here for the full board meeting at 9:30 AM Tuesday.

The gist of the agenda, with details, links, and live-blogging below.

  1. Re-elect Charles M. Lillis as Chair to a 3rd term, since no one else will take on the job of being Phil Knight’s amanuensis. Avoid mention of his ERISA lawsuit settlements and the ~$175M he and the other WaMu board members had to pay out after they led it to the largest financial bankruptcy in US history. Video here.
  2. Offer President Schill a retention package with a $100K bonus and a fat retirement deal – teach two courses a year for $450K – in the vain hope he won’t use it as proof of how highly his current board values him while shopping around for his next job.
  3. Avoid any substantive discussion of what work our trustees might do to carry through with the promises Lillis, Knight, and the other backers of SB270 and UO independence made about stabilizing UO’s funding. They don’t like to work or think, that’s why they’re using tuition money to pay people like Angela Wilhelms to do it for them.
  4. Thank VPFA Jamie Moffitt for her hard work ensuring that ASUO is on board with the next round of tuition increases, and that they will result in only minor student demonstrations and minimal public embarrassment to the Trustees.
  5. Issue $120M in debt to finish constructing the Athlete Village for Phil Knight’s Oregon21 T&F championships. Bonds to be repaid with higher room and board charges for UO students.

The board’s meetings are open to the public – even faculty and students if they tug the forelock. All sessions are in the Ford Alumni Center Ballroom and are webcast here. Note that the committees meet on Monday, but I’ve put the Full Board agenda for its Tuesday meeting at the top:

Finance and Facilities Committee, December 9, 2019 | 1:15 p.m.

Continue reading

Board uses public listserv to notify public of meeting on new President

That would be the transparent OSU board, which has taken to this simple 1990’s technology with enthusiasm. In contrast UO’s Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms still can not, or will not, email out meeting notices or agendas or post them in usable form. (The UO Matters transparent version of our board’s agenda, with clickable links, clips, and helpful commentary is here.)

From: “Skousen, Lauren” <>
Subject: [Board-updates] Public Notice: OSU Board of Trustees to meet Dec 13
Date: December 5, 2019 at 11:47:18 AM PST
To: “Skousen, Lauren” <>

Public Meetings Notice
December 5, 2019

Oregon State University’s Board of Trustees will hold a special board meeting to consider the appointment and employment agreement of Oregon State University’s next president for a term starting on July 1, 2020.

The meeting begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, in the Memorial Union Horizon Room on the OSU Corvallis campus.

The candidate under consideration for appointment will be introduced publicly at the Dec. 13 board meeting. If appointed, the candidate will succeed President Ed Ray, who announced in March that on June 30, 2020, he will step down as president after 17 years of service and join OSU’s teaching faculty.

Following the board meeting, trustees will host a reception in the main lounge of the Memorial Union from 10:45 a.m. to noon to welcome the president-elect. The reception is open to the public.

Action by the board in the meeting will conclude a national presidential search launched last spring with the formation of a 15-member search committee and the holding of community listening sessions to develop a presidential leadership profile to guide the recruitment process. The recruitment included an extensive interview process of candidates that involved the search committee, a broad group of stakeholders and trustees.

“Oregon State’s next president is positioned to lead a distinctive university that enjoys tremendous momentum and provides transformative impact in Oregon, nationally and globally,” said Rani Borkar, chair of OSU’s Board of Trustees. “OSU’s next president will continue to foster a university community that prioritizes diversity and inclusive excellence.”

The meeting is open to the public. The meeting agenda and details are available at The meeting will be live-streamed at If special accommodation is required, please contact (541) 737-3449 or at least 48 hours in advance.

Lauren Skousen | Executive Assistant, Board of Trustees
Board-updates mailing list

To unsubscribe, send a message to:
with the word “unsubscribe” in the body.

Meanwhile, at UO:

From: William Harbaugh <>
Sent: Friday, November 8, 2019 2:53 PM
To: Angela Wilhelms <>
Subject: Fwd: [Board-updates] Public Notice: OSU Board of Trustees to meet Nov. 12 – 13

Hi Angela, is there a way I and others can sign up for similar notifications about upcoming UO BoT meetings?

Bill Harbaugh
UO Economics

From: Angela Wilhelms <>
Subject: RE: [Board-updates] Public Notice: OSU Board of Trustees to meet Nov. 12 – 13
Date: November 8, 2019 at 3:38:32 PM PST
To: William Harbaugh <>

Hi Bill,
Thanks for inquiring. A list-serve is one of the items on my to do list for this academic year. We do not currently have one.

AAUP-OR Pres Dreiling calls out UO Pres Schill over Prof Freyd case, Gov Brown over Trustees

Back of the envelope I’m guessing Pres Schill has let his GC Kevin Read pay Barran and Liebman $300K in tuition money fighting this gender discrimination lawsuit against himself and other UO administrators, with plenty more billable hours to come at $300 per. [Kevin, if I’ve got that wrong please send me Paula’s invoices and the insurance contracts.] A snippet from Prof Dreiling’s email, at full here:

Fourth, I want to call out the University of Oregon for persisting with a problematic approach to faculty relations and institutional governance. The ongoing efforts by the UO to deny a pay equity claim by Professor Jennifer Freyd have now hit the basement floor. The attorneys hired by the UO – advancing arguments no doubt supported by the General Counsel and President of the UO – have made problematic dismissals of research methods used by Professor Freyd while making spurious and exaggerated claims about the value of research methods by other faculty in the department of psychology. Different research methods used by faculty in the same field are not a basis for entrenching pay inequities. The arguments being made by the UO have negative implications for how all professional organizations will approach pay equity claims. As a result, the national AAUP has drafted an amicus brief on behalf of Professor Freyd’s case. You can read more here


Also at the University of Oregon, we witnessed another case where a Trustee was appointed without courtesy public announcements or process. We expect better engagement with the civic and institutional stakeholders to whom the UO and its future matter a great deal. This contrasts sharply with the positive example of shared governance witnessed at PSU in a recent trustee appointment. Trust that we will be working with allies to encourage the Governor to facilitate greater transparency and accountability in the appointment of university trustees.