Ben Franklin and Ted Wheeler: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”

Benjamin Franklin was a failure as an apprentice chandler. He almost died as a runaway from his second apprenticeship, as a printer. Eventually he figured out what to do with his life. In the end he donated L1,000 in his will to start a revolving fund to lend money to Boston students, so they’d have an easier time of it than he did.

The idea was that his money would fund the first students, then they’d repay the fund out of their higher incomes, and that money would go to new students, ad infinitum. In 1908 Andrew Carnegie chipped in more money, creating this technical college, which still exists and specializes in HVAC engineering and electrical technology. The inventor of the lightning rod and the Franklin Stove (both of which, in an early example of open-source technology, he refused to patent) would be pleased. But charity is not a reliable way to fund education. Even Carnegie and Franklin could only create one technical school.

Oregon now has an innovative program under consideration to do something similar on a much larger scale. State Treasurer Ted Wheeler’s idea originates with the well-proven fact that, even if you ignore the benefits to society, the private return to education, in terms of higher wages, is far higher than the government’s cost of borrowing. Betsy Hammond explained the plan in the Oregonian last year:

Oregon currently awards about $50 million a year worth of “opportunity grants” — enough for just a fraction of eligible students who apply. More than 80 percent of students who qualify are turned down because the state runs out of money.
If lawmakers agree, voters would be asked to approve the plan in fall 2013 or spring 2014, said Wheeler’s policy director, Michael Selvaggio. The state would then sell $500 million in bonds to start the fund, which would be projected to grow to $6 billion in 30 years.

UO’s PathwaysOregon program uses these opportunity grants, private money, and federal aid to put together tuition free packages for to low income students – but it’s also underfunded and turns away many students.

Borrow at 3%, invest at 10%. What’s not to like? Any such program needs to be carefully designed, because of the moral hazard and adverse selection issues and because many of the borrowers will leave the state. But compare the potential benefits to, say, the $100s of millions Kulongoski and Kitzhaber have wasted on green energy tax credits. (Ted Sickinger story here.)

Wheeler, who hopes to run for Governor in 2018, is still working on the details. The latest report on his efforts is here.

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Gottfredson’s “External Review Panel” to continue secret meetings today

7/31/2014 update:

While the UO Senate’s Task Force is holding open meetings in accordance with Oregon Public Meetings Law (see report here) Gottfredson’s self-appointed external review panel has barred the press and public. Their secret meetings continue today in Room 301 of the Ford Alumni Center.

The Review Panel is meeting on campus today and tomorrow. The panel will be establishing its organizational structure and gathering background, and this first meeting is not open to the public or media. The panelists are expected to hold a public forum and take input in a variety of ways, and will be making decisions about how to do that going forward.

So, maybe a scripted public meeting at some point. That’s the word from UO Strategic Communicator Julie Brown. No doubt “Around the O” will put out more PR fluff soon, however. Meanwhile Dave Hubin is still trying to charge $508.48 for public records. Not the way to build trust or credibility.

Camilla Mortensen has more on US Attorney and UO Alum Amanda Marshall’s decision to join the Senate Task Force, here.

7/27/2014 update: Gottfredson rejects US Attorney for Oregon, so she joins Senate Task Force

Steve Duin has the report in the Oregonian here. There’s an interesting bio piece on Ms Marshall here. Gottfredson’s decision is yet another blow to his credibility and that of his hand-picked “Administrative ERP”, which already has issues with cronyism, inexperience, and secrecy.

After being rejected by Gottfredson, Marshall agreed to serve on the faculty Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support. As you can see from their website, the Senate committee includes many knowledgeable experts and practitioners, and is holding open meetings in accordance with state law. I will have a report on their 7/24 meeting later today.

7/23/2014 update: Gottfredson thinks his research shows the best way to deal with sexual violence

Yes, that’s really what our President’s anonymous PR flacks at “Around the 0″ have him saying:

President Gottfredson says his own work in criminology and social behavior makes it clear that prevention is far and away the best place to invest much of our energy for ending sexual violence.

And VP for Student Life Robin Holmes thinks this is all “an incredible opportunity”, and that the president has encouraged everyone on campus to share information readily.

Excuse me while I laugh at the ground. By all accounts Gottfredson had no intention of ever reporting the incident to the public, and he is still battling requests from the New York Times, the Oregonian, and the Register Guard for documents showing how he responded to the allegations. Where is Gottfredson’s committee meeting? Is it open to the public? Write Gottfredson’s Chief of Staff Greg Rikhoff a $508.48 check and he might tell you. Or maybe he’ll redact it all.

While Gottfredson is trying to hide, the UO faculty Senate Task Force is going for transparency. They meet tomorrow, 3-5PM, Lewis Lounge 4th floor of the Law School, Their webpage is here, and their meetings are open.

7/17/2014: Gottfredson wants $413.87 + $94.61 for docs on secret “external review panel”

I’m not yet abandoning all hope, but Gottfredson’s “External Review Panel” is going to have to get out ahead of the transparency problem to avoid looking like they aren’t just another part of Gottfredson’s cover-up of how he handled the rape allegations. Letting Gottfredson hide information on how they were picked and what they are doing is not going to cut it.

President Gottfredson learned of the basketball rape allegations on March 9th. He then waited three months to appoint his “External Review Panel”. He had himself, Athletic Director Rob Mullens, and VP Robin Holmes pick the members. The chair is former Interim UO President Bob Berdahl, one of Gottfredson’s mentors. Not exactly an independent review. But at least it will be transparent, right? The first announcement made it seem so:

  • Evaluation of current practices and protocols for the prevention of sexual misconduct and support for those who have experienced it
  • Benchmarking of the UO’s practices and protocols in relation to those of our peer institutions
  • Review of the athletic department’s processes for evaluating prospective student-athletes
  • Review of life-skill education and support for students, including the communication of conduct expectations
  • One or more campus climate surveys with a focus on the UO’s prevention, response, and education culture regarding sexual misconduct
  • A follow-up review of the recent report commissioned by the Division of Student Affairs to assess the university’s sexual misconduct policies and procedures to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of those recommendations
  • Further refinement of the charge will be informed by the expertise of the panelists themselves

Process and Timing
Work is to begin immediately, with care taken to collect initial input from the campus community prior to the end of the spring term.

It’s now July 17 – almost 4 and a half months since Gottfredson learned of the allegations. What’s going on with his committee? He’s named the members (below) but he wants $413.87 to show the emails explaining how he and Mullens and Holmes picked them. Not exactly trust building. How about just showing the charge, meeting agendas, that sort of thing? Let’s ask:

Subject: public records request for “external review panel” communications
Date: July 1, 2014 at 3:23:18 AM EDT
To: Lisa Thornton <>, Gregory Rikhoff <>
Cc: Bob Berdahl < [etc.]

Dear Ms Thornton and Mr. Rikhoff:

This is a public records request for any communications from the UO President’s Office to the members of the “External Review Panel” listed at, dated from 6/6/2014 to the present, and dealing with the charge, meeting schedule, agenda, or expense reimbursement of the panel

I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

Two weeks later, after a reminder:


The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any communications from the UO President’s Office to the members of the “External Review Panel”… dated from 6/6/2014 to the present, and dealing with the charge, meeting schedule, agenda, or expense reimbursement of the panel” on 07/02/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request.  By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $94.61. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure.  Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

You requested a waiver based on an assertion that release of these documents is in the public interest.  The office has performed the three-part analysis of your request, has determined that your request does not meet the public interest test, and has exercised its discretion to deny your request for a fee waiver.  Upon receipt of payment outlined above, the office will begin to prepare your requested documents.

Please note that if the cost of preparing the documents for you is less than the estimate, we will refund the difference.  If the cost of preparing the records for you exceeds the estimate, however, you may be charged for the difference.  Following is an outline of how costs are determined. …

Thank you for contacting us with your request.


Lisa Thornton
Office of Public Records
University of Oregon
Office of the President

Gottfredson’s Panelists: 

Javaune Adams-Gaston
Javaune Adams-Gaston is the vice president for student life at The Ohio State University, where she oversees university operations including the student judicial process and student advocacy and crisis intervention. Prior to her arrival at Ohio State in 2009, she served in a variety of positions, including associate dean of academic affairs, assistant athletic director, and equity administrator at the University of Maryland. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Iowa State University.

Bob Berdahl
Bob Berdahl is a higher education expert who retired as president of the Association of American Universities in 2011, He served as interim president of University of Oregon in 2012 and was the dean of the UO College of Arts and Sciences from 1981-1986. He also previously served as the chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1997-2004 and the president of the University of Texas at Austin from 1993-1997.

Mary Deits
Mary Deits retired as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals in 2004 after serving for 18 years, including seven years as chief judge. From 1974-1986, she served as an assistant attorney general in the trial, appellate and general counsel divisions of the Oregon Attorney General’s office. Since Deits’ retirement, she has worked extensively as a mediator and arbitrator.

Laura Hinman
Laura Hinman was the 2012 president of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon, where she created the Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force, now known as the University of Oregon Organization Against Sexual Assault. She is currently a Masters of Education graduate student at the University of Southern California.

David Schuman
David Schuman is a retired judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals, where he served from 2001-2014. Earning his Ph. D. from the University of Chicago and his J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1984, he was the deputy attorney general for the Oregon Department of Justice from 1997-2001. Schuman also was on the Oregon School of Law faculty from 1987-1996 and served associate dean for academic affairs from 1994-1996.

Theodore Spencer
Theodore Spencer is the outgoing associate vice provost and executive director of the Office of Undergraduate Admission at the University of Michigan, having worked at Michigan since 1989. Prior to his arrival at the University of Michigan, he was the associate director of admissions at the United States Air Force Academy after previously serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Kevin Weiberg
Kevin Weiberg recently retired as the Pac-12 Conference’s deputy commissioner and chief operation officer, where he served from 2010-2014. Prior to joining the Pac-12, he was the chief executive officer of iHoops from 2007-2010, the Big Ten Network’s vice president for planning and development from 2007-2009, the commissioner of the Big 12 Conference from 1998-2007 and the deputy commissioner of the Big Ten from 1989-1998. He also worked in the athletics departments of Wichita State University and University of Maryland.

Mary Wilcox
Mary Wilcox is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon and vice president and director for Capital Realty Corp., a family-owned real estate and financial investment company. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oregon in 1976 and her J.D. in 1980 from the University of Oregon School of Law.

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UO’s 160over90 branders to propose “Bowl of Dicks” logo?

7/30/14 update:

That’s the latest rumor from down at the faculty club. No confirmation from Tim Gleason or Tim Clevenger yet, but it seems like the logical next step after UO’s Bowl List went viral. Photo of the actual bowl (trigger warning) here.

Speaking of viral, Gleason ($218K) and Clevenger’s ($195K) 160over90 branders (slow flash site warning) and Nike are not having a lot of luck selling the University of Dayton student body on their proposed new logo. The UO Foundation plans to pay these fools $150K. Tim Jaschik of InsideHigherEd has the post-mortem from Ohio:

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6/8/2014: Duin on Branding in the Oregonian

“What five words would you use to describe UO?” The comments are open.

Steve Duin has collected a pile of even funnier Clevenger quotes here. The comments are pretty good too.

BTW, I thought this was all the usual PR fluff, but it sounds like some serious money and time has been spent already. Around the O has details.

Once upon a time Oregonians knew how to brand

6/7/2014: Now we pay former deans and consultants to stand around in white woolies, while someone else does the work. Steve Duin has the latest on UO’s hard working administration in the Oregonian here. Isn’t this what we’re paying Tim Gleason $218K for? If not, why are we paying him?

Continue reading

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UO refuses to admit Dana Altman’s latest catch

UO Admissions has a special committee to vet athletes that don’t meet regular UO standards. Lorraine Davis runs (ran?) it. This was a potential conflict of interest, according to UO’s most recent NCAA review. But UO snuck around the rules and kept her in charge. Presumably her committee approved the Brandon Austin transfer, as explained here.

Now it appears that, for the first time in living memory, the “Special Athletics Admits Committee” has refused to admit a basketball player the athletic department wanted. Matt Prehm has the story in 247 sports. As he notes, this is a “huge blow for the Oregon Ducks” (and to Coach Dana Altman’s scuzzy recruiting methods.):

Sources tell three-star power forward Ray Kasongo has been denied admission by University of Oregon admissions, and will now look to play his college basketball elsewhere.

This is a huge blow for the Oregon Ducks who enter next season with only eight scholarship players currently on roster.

Four-star guard JaQuan Lyle has also not been admitted yet at this time.

Is this how Gottfredson is going to chase off Altman without having to buy out his contract – starve him of fresh meat? Andy Greif has more in the Oregonian.

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NCAA to pay out $75M over concussions. Nothing for players.

Patrick Hruby in Sports on Earth:

Zilch. Nada. Bupkus. If you’re a former college athlete with brain damage and/or a neurodegenerative disease, guess what: The proposed NCAA settlement will pay for your diagnosis. And that’s it. Not a nickel for treatment. Not a dime for pain and suffering. The deal’s medical monitoring fund isn’t matched by an award fund, which means the truly injured are on their own — including name plaintiffs Adrian Arrington and Derek Owens, who both suffered concussions and sub-concussive hits playing college football and currently suffer from chronic headaches, short-term memory problems, depression, trouble concentrating and other issues.

The Chronicle of Higher Ed has more:

The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced on Tuesday that it would pay $75-million to settle a class-action lawsuit over concussions in college sports.

Rather than paying damages to former players who have suffered concussions, as the NFL has done, the NCAA will devote most of the money to brain screenings for current and former NCAA athletes and to set up preventive measures for future players. Of the total, $5-million will pay for research on concussions.

The $75-million is:

Less than what General Motors alone spent on advertising during the NCAA’s men’s basketball tournament (“March Madness”) in 2013 ($80.7-million). About 10 percent of the NCAA’s total revenue for television and marketing rights in 2013 ($726.4-million). Slightly more than the NCAA spent to put on just the Division I championships in 2011-12 ($73.4-million).

…spread out over several years (the settlement calls for four payments to be made over the course of 20 years) and divided among potentially hundreds of thousands of current and former athletes (there were more than 450,000 athletes in 2011-12 alone), it starts to seem somewhat meager.

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UO General Counsel’s office loses another one


Johnson Hall sure is hard on lawyers. In 2010 President Lariviere fired GC Melinda Grier for hiding public records about Mike Bellotti’s contract, then appointed her assistant Randy Geller after what mounted to a failed search for a replacement. (It appears Gottfredson has rehired Grier on the side though). In 2013 Assistant GC Paul Kaufmann left without explanation, half way through his initial one year contract. Earlier this year Randy Geller “retired” in the midst of the scandal over Gottfredson’s handling of the March8-9 basketball rape allegations.

And now the word is that Assistant GC John F. Salmon III left at the end of June, about 6 months after being hired. Again, no explanation.

Given that UO’s Legal Services Policy (if it’s ever signed by Gottfredson) gives these people the responsibility to defend UO and faculty and staff against accusations of misfeasance etc, and help Gottfredson stonewall the release of public records, you’d think that we could at least get a list of the current GC office’s attorneys and their qualifications. Nope. Their website is still “under construction” and has been since that embarrassing “General Counsel Emerita” episode in 2012:

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7/31/2012: Geller defames judge, appoints Grier as UO’s General Counsel Emeritus, attacks Senate Pres and IAC

In response to demands from Senate President Kyr and others including Frank Stahl, Nathan Tublitz and John Bonine, UO General Counsel Randy Geller announced yesterday he’s rescheduling his random drug testing hearing.

But it’s a sham, he’s picked another date when school is out of session. And he completely ignores the faculty / administrative agreement calling for UO policies like this to go through the Senate. That “policy on policies” agreement with Lariviere had been the Senate’s major accomplishment for 2011-2012. Now Geller thinks it isn’t worth a mention.

Geller also claims Senate President Rob Kyr and the IAC Chair made false and offensive comments about the university’s rulemaking process. Apparently that process’s feelings have been hurt, so Randy asks Kyr et al to apologize to it, and to some especially sensitive senior administrators:

Dear Rob and Brian:

I received your email of July 24, 2012, requesting a delay in the public hearing scheduled for August 23rd, 2012. The hearing will be rescheduled for September 13, 2012. Written comments will be accepted until noon on September 14, 2012. We will similarly postpone the date the rule will be filed with the Secretary of State and become final. The rule will be filed on September 21, 2012.

Your allegations about the University’s rulemaking processes are offensive and false , as are the comments made publicly by members of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. I ask that you apologize in writing to President Berdahl, Rob Mullens, and me. I also ask that you censure the members of the IAC who have published offensive and defamatory comments.

Randolph Geller

General Counsel
University of Oregon

I like that “in writing” part. Maybe Geller wants Kyr to stand in front of the whole class and use the blackboard, like in third grade? Geller sent this out yesterday. Berdahl’s last few days look to be as crazy as his first. Adult supervision supposedly returns Aug 1, but Gottfredson still hasn’t signed his contract. and Gottfredson apparently signed his contract last night.

8/27/2012 9:00 AM: Geller defames judge:

Sorry, long story. Back in 2010 UO’s General Counsel Melinda Grier got in big trouble for ignoring multiple public records requests and failing to get a written contract for her friend, Athletic Director Mike Bellotti:

It was a big scandal and a humiliation for new UO President Lariviere, especially when he then had to pay Bellotti millions, after firing him for what was reportedly lax financial management of the athletic department.

So Lariviere fired Grier too, and got the Oregon DOJ to look into what had happened. Their investigation took 381+ hours, cost UO $44,086.60, and concluded that Grier (and/or her office, a bit ambiguous) had provided “deficient legal representation” to UO.

Lariviere then tried to hire an outside replacement for Grier, but after 6 months with no luck he gave up and just promoted her associate GC, Randy Geller. (Randy’s letter and resume are here. It was supposed to be a public search, but he wouldn’t release these until I petitioned the AG’s office under the public records law. His bit of intransigence cost UO another ~$1,000 in DOJ billing time.) Grier’s assistant GC Doug Park became the associate. And then eventually of course Lariviere got fired too, to be replaced by Berdahl and now by a permanent President, Mike Gottfredson.

And during the transition to Gottfredson a few weeks ago, Geller sent out a string of odd emails. One accused the UO Senate President and others of defaming him. Another, sent to the Senate STC, with President Gottfredson cced, included this:

The “investigation” of Melinda by DOJ was a hack job. Unfortunately, she was the first of several victims of the former Attorney General. His incompetence eventually led to his decision not to run for a second term and then to resign before the end of his term. If you google “John Kroger” I am sure you will find the Oregonian and Willamette Week articles.

There’s no doubt that Kroger, who has gone on to become president of Reed College, had his issues. But the Grier investigation was led by longtime Associate Attorney General David Leith, now a Marion County Circuit Court Judge. The other investigator was Keith Dubanevich, now Oregon Associate AG. Accusing a sitting judge and an associate AG of a “hack job” is competent professional behavior for UO’s chief lawyer? Maybe Geller’s just mad because the DOJ is fighting his efforts to get them to pay Frohnmayer’s law firm $864,000.

Meanwhile, who was it that broke the story on the Grier firing? Jeff Manning, at the time an investigative reporter for the Oregonian. And now the spokesperson for the AG John Kroger’s replacement, Ellen Rosenblum. And what happened to Melinda Grier? She’s been working as a consultant in an office she shares with a law firm that’s tried to persuade Randy Geller to hire them to do legal work for UO.

And – I’m not making this up – a few days ago Geller declared that she is now UO’s “General Counsel Emeritus” (sic):

Screen shot above, page here. We’ll see how long it stays up.

10:15 AM update: Grier’s now off Randy’s website. That was quick. The html from Friday is here. A commenter notes that this would break UO’s new policy for faculty emeritus status, which Geller and Berdahl signed off on in May. No word on his apology to Judge Leith and AAG Dubanevich yet.

12:15 PM update: Steve Duin of the Oregonian gets Geller to speak. Well worth reading. Must have been a fun party.

4:20 PM update: Geller apologizes to Kroger.

If he’s apologized for his equally unprofessional accusations against UO Senate Pres Kyr and IAC members, I guess I wasn’t on the list. From all indications UO’s new random duck drug testing policy will go forward without UO Senate review.

And this, via UO spokesperson Phil Weiler:

Statement regarding DOJ inquiry/General Counsel website

I have communicated directly with the president of Reed College and former
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger expressing my regret for the ill-advised
email I sent several weeks ago. My comments were unacceptable and I have
apologized to the former Attorney General and his staff.

I also recognize that it was inappropriate to use my office’s website to
recognize the former General Counsel for her years of service.

Randolph Geller
General Counsel

I’ve acquired quite a collection of other “un-lawyerly” messages from Randy over the years.

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PERS costs to fall slightly, freeing up money for raises

Hannah Hoffman has the story in the Statesman Journal. Good news for the UO faculty. The reserve funds Jamie Moffitt set aside for increased costs will now be available to bring salaries up to the level Russ Tomlin and Scott Coltrane tried to implement in 2011. The next round of union bargaining starts in December.

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Register Guard to sue UO over Gottfredson’s redacted emails

7/28/2014: Christian Wihtol has the story in the RG, here:

The next legal step for the newspaper will be a lawsuit in Lane County Circuit Court, said Wendy Baker, the newspaper’s general counsel.

“The rejection of our appeal leaves us with no option but to file a lawsuit against the university. Oregon Public Records law exists to preclude this kind of secrecy among our public servants,” she said.

Andy Greif has more in the Oregonian.

No word yet on whether or not the NY Times will join in, or on how much of UO’s student tuition money President Mike Gottfredson is willing to pay to Dave Frohnmayer and HLGR, to help him continue to hide the documents that explain his administration’s response to the March 8-9 rape allegations.

The opinion by DA Alex Gardner and Deputy DA Patty Perlow is here, along with the 2011 Kroger/Leith opinion they cite. My understanding is that neither opinion has any weight in court. Normal procedure is for the DA to get the unredacted documents and examine them to see if the redactions are justified. It sounds like Perlow really did not want to do that here:

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It’s a stretch, given that UO specifically color-coded many redactions not on FERPA grounds, but on a claim of attorney-client privilege (typically granted only for advice, not facts), or because they included “frank discussions” which might frighten the public. A statement from US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on universities abuse of FERPA to hide documents is here.

In other public records news, the DA’s office has also gone with President Gottfredson’s claim that UO lawyers Doug Park, Samantha Hill, and John Salmon III are “faculty” and therefore do not have to release their resumes. Bizarre and secretive.

7/23/2014: The New York Times is not impressed by Gottfredson’s “sanitized” timeline and redactions

Chief Deputy DA Patty Perlow is handling this petition, for unredacted copies of the emails showing the UO administration’s efforts to cover up the March 8-9 rape allegations. There is another petition from the RG and Oregonian. Perlow has not yet ruled, but in response to a PR request she has sent me all the NYT petitions and UO’s responses. (No charge. For comparison, UO PR boss Dave Hubin wants $94.61 just to show the emails laying out the agenda and so on for Gottfredson’s “External Review Panel”.)

Hilariously, UO’s Interim General Counsel Doug Park is still refusing to sign his name to the responses he has written for UO. Or maybe he’s got a ghost writer, perhaps UO General Counsel Emerita Melinda Grier? In any case, the Times is not impressed by the UO’s arguments or President Gottfredson’s “sanitized” timeline. Their final response to UO begins:

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The RG and Oregonian have also appealed UO’s redactions to the DA. Documents on that should be available soon, at the moment I just have the petition.

  • NYT petition and UO response documents here (51 pages).
  • Links to the redacted cover-up emails etc. here.
  • Redacted U of Nike coffee mugs and t-shirts here.

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UO communicators try to hide Gottfredson’s calamitous fundraising collapse

Chuck Lillis, the Chairman of UO’s new Board of Trustees, wants to raise $2 to $3 billion to get UO back on the AAU track. Gottfredson is not delivering. The word is his style does not go over any better with alumni than it does with students and faculty.

Now UO’s strategic communicators are doing their best to move the goalposts. I’m thinking that Mr. Lillis, who has been very generous himself and has called for the Trustees to develop quantifiable goals for Gottfredson’s next performance review, is not going to be fooled this easily:

Aug 19, 2013: Giving to the University of Oregon surpassed the $200 million mark during fiscal 2012–13, a banner year highlighted by a large increase in gift commitments providing student, faculty and research support. Individuals, companies and foundations contributed 41,460 gifts and pledges helping propel the university’s endowment to a record level. [2013 UO News link here.]

July 28, 2014: For the 2013-14 fiscal year, 77 percent of donors made gifts toward academic purposes. Individuals, companies and foundations made 49,904 gifts and pledges totaling $115,150,868, helping propel the university’s endowment to a record level. [2014 UO Around the O link here.]

From what I can tell the largest donation Gottfredson has brought in so far was $10M – for a new softball stadium. Seriously. More on the UO Foundation here.

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Gottfredson extends union benefits to OAs, but not to GTFs.

After paying noted tobacco company attorney Sharon Rudnick and her friends $1M to unsuccessfully argue “The University” couldn’t afford to give these benefits to faculty union members, Gottfredson now wants credit for giving them to the non-unionized faculty and the OAs too. His email manages to try this without once mentioning the word “union”. Classy guy.

Meanwhile, he’s still paying HLGR’s zoning and easements lawyer Jeff Matthews $300 an hour to fight parental leave for our PhD students, who say they’ll strike over it.

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that I have enacted three new or expanded benefits allowing unrepresented faculty members (UFM) and officers of administration (OA) to enjoy more generous family leave benefits and receive a tuition discount for a second child who attends the UO, as well as expanding sabbatical compensation for faculty. I announced my intention to do so last October. We solicited public input about the policies this spring. These benefits took effect on July 1.

Family leave

The university provides UFMs and OAs with leave upon the birth or adoption of a child as provided by the Family Medical Leave Act and the Oregon Family Leave Act. Under the new paid family leave benefit, a UFM or OA who takes parental leave under FMLA or OFLA may take the first six work weeks of such leave with pay in the following manner:

  • After using available short term disability insurance benefits, all vacation leave and all but 80 hours of accrued sick leave, if a UFM or OA cannot cover the six weeks, the university will provide them with the necessary amount of paid parental leave to receive a total of six weeks paid parental leave.
  • Each UFM and OA may use accrued sick leave for his or her remaining six weeks of parental leave. In the event that they do not have sufficient accrued sick leave, they may borrow advanced sick leave for the remainder of the last six work weeks.

For questions or to check eligibility, contact Laurie Mills, Medical Leaves Coordinator at or 541-346-2950 

Second child tuition benefit

The new second child reduced tuition benefit will allow a UFM or OA to use their staff fee privileges for a second child who takes classes at the University of Oregon. Both children must be enrolled in undergraduate programs; one eligible child may take classes at any OUS institution but the second eligible child must be enrolled at the UO.

The staff fee privilege enables eligible employees and/or dependents to take up to 12 credits per term at 30 percent of the in-state resident tuition cost.

For additional information on eligibility and forms for the staff fee privileges program, please see the Human Resources website.

Sabbatical benefit

Under the expanded sabbatical benefit, compensation will increase from 85% to 100% for a third of a year (4 month) sabbatical for UFM who are eligible to receive a sabbatical benefit. Additional lengths of leave and compensation are also available depending on the school, college, or other administrative affiliation. Represented faculty members also receive this new higher sabbatical compensation under a collective bargaining agreement negotiated last fall. For more information on sabbatical leaves please see the Academic Affairs website.

I again want to thank all the employees of the University of Oregon for all that you do to make this a premier public research university.


Michael Gottfredson, President

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Dash Paulson reports on Senate Task Force on Sexual Violence meeting

UO Matters: Because of the importance of Thursday’s July 24th meeting of the Senate Task force on Sexual Violence to the UO community and beyond, I hired reporter Dash Paulson as a freelancer to cover it. Mr. Paulson wrote several excellent stories as an Emerald reporter, including the first substantive interview with President Gottfredson, in January 2013, here, and he previously reported for UO Matters on the June Trustees meetings, here and here. His summary is below, followed by a detailed report on the meeting. As usual, quotes are in quotes, otherwise it’s the gist of the discussion.

The Task Force’s Official website is here, prior UO Matters posts are here. President Gottfredson’s self-appointed “External Review Panel” is scheduled to meet Wednesday and Thursday, still no word on whether their meetings will be open or closed.

Mr. Paulson’s report:

Last Thursday, the new Task Force to Address Sexual Assault and Survivor Support, created by a motion in the faculty senate, met to elect a chair and clarify the goals and mission of the new group.

Professor Carol Stabile and Randy Sullivan volunteered to co-chair the task force. Stabile wanted to focus on facilitating the task force meetings while Sullivan leads development of a tentative new course to educate students and to some extent UO employees on sexual violence. After unanimously electing Sullivan and Stabile as co-chairs, the group had a lengthy discussion on the charge of the task force. It was widely agreed that the task force should begin by gathering as much information as possible about the UO’s process and policies on sexual assault cases. Task Force members Sandy Weintraub, director of student conduct & community standards, and Renae DeSautel, sexual violence response coordinator, volunteered to give a presentation on the UO’s policy on handling sexual assault incidents. Some members said that the procedure appeared from the outside to be “broken” in light of the March 8th incident of alleged sexual assault, and they felt part of the group’s charge would be to identify problems and recommend improvements.

The group also discussed the upcoming Campus Climate Survey. Stabile said the task force should endorse the University’s proposed survey along with others, like one conducted by Professor of Psychology, Jennifer Freyd, who has been developing a survey on campus sexual violence for two years.

Several members wanted to understand better what the panel initiated by President Gottfredson will be doing. Senate President Robert Kyr, who called in for the first half hour of the meeting, told the Task Force the President’s Chief of Staff, Gregory Rikhoff, would be contacting them. There was discussion of liaisons between the groups. By the end of the meeting, the task force agreed to meet again in two weeks and in the meantime make contact with other groups on campus that deal with sexual violence. Talking points next time will include the presentation by Weintraub and DeSautel, the role of alcohol in “party culture”, and more about a possible course on the nature of sexual violence.

The full, updated committee membership, which now includes US Attorney for Oregon Amanda Marshall, is on the committee website, here. Senate President Rob Kyr and Andrew Lubash showed up via conference call.

3:06 p.m. Introductions

Lisa Mick Shimizu: Thanks everyone for coming. Welcomes two new members, Andrew Lubash who will join via a conference call and Cheney Ryan (Law). UO Ombudsman Bruce McCalister has also joined the committee, but he’s on a plane at the moment.

3:10 Confirmation of Chair

Continue reading

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RG features UO nano-science cluster

7/17/2014: Diane Dietz has the story here:

A lot of the work is done on nanoparticles, which are 1/50,000th the width of a human hair and can only be imaged and manipulated by high-tech equipment resting on bedrock for stability in the underground Center for Advanced Materials Characterization in Oregon , or CAMCOR.

7/13/2014: UO faculty recruiting relies on wrath of Vulcan, angry God of Fire

Diane Dietz of the RG has the story on the volcanology cluster hires here:

Recruiting won’t be a problem, Wallace said, because … Crater Lake, Mount Hood, Newberry, Three Sisters, Mount Saint Helens, Mount Rainier, Glacier Peak and Mount Baker — all are on the U.S. Geological Survey’s list of volcanos most likely to blow and endanger people.

7/6/2014: RG on Ken Prehoda lab

Diane Dietz’s report here, part of a series on the “clusters of excellence”. Here’s hoping the UOPD gives a pass on the champagne drinking!

More cluster info here.

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Did Bob Berdahl double-dip with UO and the AAU?

7/26/2014 update:

The scandal about Bob Berdahl’s 2005 UC-Berkeley retirement payoff led to substantial UC-system reforms. Berdahl moved on to the Association of American Universities, at a healthy salary. He retired in June 2011 as AAU president, and in October 2011 The Chronicle of Higher Ed reported that UO President Lariviere had hired Berdahl as a “special advisor” for two days a week, for $96K a year. Boy did that work out badly.

Meanwhile, according to the AAU’s IRS 990 form, Berdahl was working 47 hours a week as the “Past President”, for $463,410 a year. Sweet gig.

47 hours was the average, for the calendar year ending Dec 2011. I suppose it’s possible he front loaded his hours, and cut back on the AAU money when he started working for UO. Doesn’t look likely though:

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At the same time Berdahl was pulling down $115K or so in PERS retirement money, according to the Oregonian.

6/9/2014: President, hired with Berdahl support, demands $2M buyout to resign

Like Mike Gottfredson, the (now former) President of the University of Hawaii M.R.C Greenwood seemed like a bad fit from day one:

Under Greenwood’s tenure, student tuition increased at a record pace – more than 100 percent in 5 years – and is set to rise another 29 percent, but lawmakers said the money appeared to be going to a bloated administration, not students and classrooms…. Rep. K. Mark Takai, another graduate of the University, was critical of Greenwood’s unwillingness to appear before lawmakers at hearings involving the University. He also introduced resolutions and bills to reduce excess spending at the University.

Relations between Greenwood, the regents and the Senate were so stressed in the fall of 2012, Greenwood sent the regents a letter demanding $2 million to leave the University ahead of her contract expiring. …

(Read it all for the Stevie Wonder connection). Greenwood was a controversial hire in 2009, but got a compelling endorsement from, interestingly enough, her fellow former colleague Bob Berdahl:

Tanoue added, “The committee spoke with numerous academic leaders who described Dr. Greenwood as an exceptional administrator and leader, with a strong record of working with federal, state and local officials and diverse communities. We note, for example, that individuals such as Dr. Robert Berdahl, president of the American Association of Universities, and Dr. Martha Kanter, President Obama‘s nominee to become undersecretary of education, provided compelling testimony about their high regard for Dr. Greenwood as one of the most talented, creative and effective leaders in higher education today.”

Apparently the search committee didn’t dig very hard into the connections between Berdahl and Greenwood, or they would have found a long series of San Francisco Chronicle stories on various scandals, like this:

As for Mike Gottfredson, the OUS board held a secret review of him in spring 2013, and renewed his contract through July 2016, without input from the UO faculty (excepting apparently, a few token insiders).

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