Last night Prez Beckstein attempted to transfer a reported $40,516 from the Exec budget to the Sustainability Center, setting a dangerous precedent of favoritism among programs and allowing the ASUO Exec to, in the words of Senator Lange, “pick and choose who to bring up through the ranks while ignoring the process.” The lovely Lyzi Diamond first called it back in October 2010.
Ex-Commie and ASUO legend in the making Emily Schiola explains it all in the ODE:
The ASUO Executive’s request to transfer money from their budget to the budget of the Sustainability Center sparked a discussion of process last night at the ASUO Senate meeting and ultimately brought a failed vote.
According to certain members of the Programs Finance Committee, the center has a questionable past.
In September 2008, the ASUO Internship Class being taught by the Oregon Student Association’s campus coordinator chose to instead hire a Graduate Teaching Fellow to teach the class under the directive of then-ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz.
In 2010, Emma Kallaway decided to eliminate the GTF position and give the class back to the OSA. She then allocated the money that was previously used for the GTF to the coordinator of the center.
Since the center was not yet a program, they had to be given money from the Executive’s budget.
Now the center is officially a program, and ASUO President Ben Eckstein is requesting to move budget money into the center’s own budget so it will no longer be placed in the Executive Budget.
What appeared to be a simple act of housekeeping quickly turned into a question of process. Many senators showed concern that the Sustainability Center wasn’t created through the proper channels.
Sen. Kaitlyn Lange was concerned that this program was only created because they used their friends in the Executive to bypass the system.
“I feel like the Exec can pick and choose who to bring up through the ranks while ignoring the (Programs Finance Committee) process,” she said.
Her feelings were echoed by Sen. Benjamin Rudin.
“It isn’t fair that programs can jump the queue,” he said. “(Executive) is making winners and losers.”
While some senators saw this as an excuse to keep the Executive more accountable, others viewed is a straightforward money transfer.
“How does voting no on this put a stop to things like this in the future?” Sen. Ben Bowmanasked. “The Sustainability Center has been a success, and it wouldn’t be here today if that hadn’t happened.”
Lange countered by arguing if the money is transferred and never discussed again, the way the center was created might be overlooked and could happen again.
A wary-looking Eckstein again made the point that this transfer would make it so transferring the money is a way to match up what is being spent on the center.
The tension in the room mounted, and the Senate became increasingly divided when a vote was finally called, deciding not to transfer the money at this time.
We’ll have to wait until next Wednesday to see if the transfer passes the senate.
Some of you may remember the water damage caused to the Jacqua Center’s custom wood flooring as a result of a faulty drinking fountain. Well, the ODE reports that the numbers are finally in: $121,647 for repairs, to be covered by a state insurance policy. However, like you learned that time you crashed your mom’s concerto into Mrs. Roberts’ rose bushes after a bit too much Milwakuee’s Best, utilizing one’s insurance usually comes with at least one unfortunate fee. That fancy wooden floor is no exception, and according to the Ol’ Dirty, no one knows yet who’s going to pay for that:
The athletic department has assured that, while maintenance costs will be covered by the academic budget, the costs for these repairs will be completely covered by an insurance claim.
However, according to the University’s department of risk management, the University will be charged fees by the insurance company after the repairs are made. The department that will pay for this is not yet certain.
It will be interesting to see how this develops. And by “interesting” I mean, “boring until the record shows that the Jock Box is being paid for with academic funds, at which point we get to say we told you so.”
Welcome back. This week you have several opportunities to engage in the process of choosing the next president of the University of Oregon. George Pernsteiner, chancellor of the Oregon University System (OUS), and Allyn Ford, OUS board member and chair of the presidential search committee, will be here to discuss the search and receive questions and comments from the audience.
If you have any questions about any of these sessions, please contact Tim Black in the President’s Office, email@example.com, 541-346-5023.
So free venting and no one will remember or care about anything you say? But they’ll listen? Sounds like a bar with a lot less alcohol. I’ll be at Rennies along with the rest of the student body if you want to join.
The State Board of Higher Education has increased Summer tuition rates for all Oregon State universities, meaning a 7.5 percent increase for UO.
“We’re telling students all the time work hard, get an education, but we’re also putting an increase in financial burden on the shoulders of students to fund their own education,” Beckstein told KEZI, “It’s getting unmanageable, unpredictable, and unaffordable.”
Alliterated, and true.
An Oregon University System spokesman rationalized that this increase simply aligned summer rates with academic year rates.
As you may already know, this week Governor Kitzhaber called for a hiring freeze for all state agencies, suspending all but “essential hiring” without really clarifying what that means. He also requested that such agencies stop enrolling employees in a variety of state programs, from the Oregon Health Plan to state-sponsored senior and child care. Supposedly, the freeze is in response to a tax revenue shortfall, as the state attempts to verify if the money to run all these programs even exists. (Though, as UO Matters has noted, that didn’t stop the governor’s office from posting a new job opening the day after calling for the freeze.)
If there’s one thing that the Lariviere debacle has taught us, it is that the 7% of the UO’s funding that the state pitches in entitles it to full control over the university’s business dealings. According to the Register-Guard, the UO, along with the rest of Oregon’s public universities, will go along with the hiring freeze–despite the fact that the governor’s office has said exactly nothing about how it should affect the university system. From the Register-Guard article:
UO spokesman Phil Weiler said the university had not received any official notice or direction from the university system on Wednesday but expected to get that after Pernsteiner’s meeting with university presidents today. He said the UO would abide by whatever directions are issued.
Di Saunders, spokeswoman for the always credible OUS, noted that, “We feel it’s very, very important to follow the governor’s mandate with the hiring freeze.”
For what reason, it seems, even the Register-Guard can’t hash out:
“The UO, with its growing student population, has been a strong jobs generator for Lane County throughout the recession, often showing hundreds of job openings on its website. Shutting down that growth could hurt employment opportunities locally…Another issue that some universities wrestle with is the fact that state revenue only provides a small slice of the overall budget. Some on the UO campus believe it’s unfair for the state to exercise such broad control over UO spending, given such a small investment.
So, let me see if I have this straight. In order to account for a drop in tax revenue that compromises the state budget, the governor has called for a public hiring freeze. To make sure that the University of Oregon doesn’t spend that 7% of its funding that the state gives it, it is being told to comply with the hiring freeze. This compliance will be at the expense of the local employment rate, which could cause a further decrease in tax revenue.
Words cannot convey all that I feel as my time as president comes to an end. It is an honor to be your colleague. In many ways, my job was as simple as holding a mirror to the institution — letting your great work speak for itself.
The outpouring of support you have shown has moved me deeply. You will continue to build on our momentum to make this university greater still. The leadership demonstrated on this campus these past few weeks gives me great optimism for that future.
Finally, please know how much Jan and I love this place. We have become part of you and part of this community, and you have become part of us.
From the bottom of my heart,
Here at the Commentator we will be using all of our available resources (which include a Sudsy suit and $3.28 in the couch cushions) to convince Lariviere to sing “So Long, Farewell.” Dear President Lariviere if you are reading this and would like to upload a video of you singing, please email the link to editor(at)oregoncommentator.com. And if you could get Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Dr. Paul Shang to sing with you that would be all the better.
Ethical note: I’m bs-ing about the $3.28, who the hell is brave enough to search the Commentator couch?Lyzi, Lyzi, LaMichael, anyone?
Governor Kitzhaber calling bullshit on Lariviere, saying it’s about “trust,” and standing behind the state board. From his letter:
First, let me say that the situation involving the Oregon State Board of Higher Education and Dr. Richard Lariviere has nothing to do with an “ongoing difference of opinion over the future of the University of Oregon,” as Dr. Lariviere suggested in an email sent out to faculty and students last Tuesday.
There have been a number of well-publicized incidents involving Dr. Lariviere that have eroded trust and confidence with the Board of Higher Education.
Dr. Lariviere unilaterally granted substantial salary increases to his administrators and faculty. Unlike every other university president in the state, he disregarded my specific direction on holding tight and delaying discussion about retention and equity pay increases until the next biennium to allow for a consistent, system-wide policy on salaries.
The UO Deans calling it as they see it, urging for reconsideration:
We are unanimous in giving the president an A+ for his vision, his leadership and his unwavering commitment to public higher education. We are confident that an evaluation of his performance based on appropriate metrics would lead to a similar grade. We can only conclude that the state board and the governor gave him an F in “plays well with state bureaucracies.”
President Lariviere was hired by the board and supported by the UO community because he promised to lead us in finding a new model for excellence in higher education in Oregon. The UO community challenges the board, the governor and our president to forge a new path so that we can continue to build a great university for the benefit of all Oregonians.
The UO, with the consent of the abutting property owners, applied for the vacation of a portion of Moss Street extending from East 15th Avenue to East 17th Avenue. Moss Street is located just east of campus, but you’re probably not familiar with East Campus, because it’s opposite West Campus—the area in which you either live or party or both. You can find Moss Street in the shadow of Matthew Knight Arena, and along it you can find the site of the new East Campus Residence Hall, an exquisite gravel parking lot, a couple of houses converted into UO offices, and the sad, displaced Moss Street Children’s Center.
The Eugene City Council held a public hearing Monday night with the Moss Street ordinance first on their agenda. Four people stood and spoke on behalf of the ordinance, three of which were a tri-part UO tag team: the VP of Finance and Administration, the assistant VP of Student Affairs, and some landscape architect. They each presented a few reasons why vacating Moss Street was in the “public interest.” They claimed that the purchase of Moss Street is part of the UO’s “strategic effort to steer parking away from its surrounding neighborhoods,” allowing the UO to transform Moss Street’s 60 parallel parking spaces into 107 head-in parking spaces. The benevolent UO also says that they really just want to “lessen the burden” on the city, repair sidewalks, add better lighting and maintain the landscaping themselves.
At the hearing, the public produced only one person in opposition, a certain Zachary Bishnoff, “former” UO student and concerned citizen. Zachary moved us all with some of that lukewarm, quintessentially Eugene, stick-it-to-the-man rhetoric we all know and love: this will turn the historic Fairmount Neighborhood into a suburban office park, how does UO know what is in the public interest, I have a ponytail and a mustache, blah blah blah. Well to mine and the UO tag team’s surprise, and I think to Zachary’s as well, the council responded to this plea and voted to delay the vacating another two weeks, giving time for further deliberation and for anyone else to submit their concerns to the council.
Adjourned, bitches. Democracy at a local level throws an eensy-weensy wrench in the inexorable gears of the University of Oregon and its malicious encroachment upon the city of Eugene. Well, you can bet that I’ll be submittin’ nothin’ to the council in my allotted two weeks. You know why? Not only does the UO already own all property adjacent to this portion of Moss Street, but the UO’s gonna fork out a cool 1.8 million to the city of Eugene for those ugly 1.35 acres (58,729 square feet). I just know that number makes Mayor Kitty Piercy purrrrrrrrrrr. Today I walked down Moss Street myself and I couldn’t even tell I was off campus. Call me indifferent, but I hereby conclude that the UO’s motion to purchase part of Moss Street is not that big of a deal. But read the ordinance and form your own opinions here.
Wednesday, the current home of University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, Agate Hall, was adorned with a giant banner stating, “WE STAND WITH THE HAT.”
Apparently, the decision was made at a SOJC faculty and staff meeting Wednesday afternoon.
In hanging this banner, the SOJC is speaking not just for SOJC staff and faculty but for its students as well. That building represents the SOJC as an entity and the banner is an official stance in support of President Lariviere.
Yet, as far as I am aware, students weren’t consulted. As far as I am aware (and I checked, but I admit, I got upwards of 25 emails Wednesday about Lariviere via grad list emails), I did not get an email inviting me to the meeting. If the SOJC was going to take a stance, they should have been transparent and made sure there was clear and thorough communication with students. Furthermore, students should have had a voice in the matter.
There seems to be an argument that we should trust the people that attended that meeting and SOJC Dean Gleason to make that decision for us but I find it invalid.
Trusting Dean Gleason to speak for us is the same as trusting the CEO of a big company to speak for its employees (note: I very much respect Dean Gleason and the SOJC staff, they are all very thoughtful people who wouldn’t take something like this lightly). He’s not necesarily in tune with my interests, he hopefully doesn’t think exactly the same way as I do, there is a possibility that he could be wrong and I didn’t elect him to represent me. This isn’t a normal, write-it-off kind of event, this is the President of the university and a banner on the front of our building. We should be encouraged to do as journalists do and explore all sides of the story. We should be presented with information from both sides. We should have a discussion or a talk with several guest speakers. We should sit down and talk with the President. We should be independent thinkers, and having our leaders stand behind an issue discourages that and encourages us to jump behind the cause rather than thoughtfully defend our positions.
Let’s stop and think, what has Lariviere done that’s bettered the university? And equally, how has he hindered progress? Honestly, at this point, I can’t tell you, I have a lot of research to do. But it is quiet curious that this just popped up, it makes me think that we might be missing some information.
The jury’s out for me on Larieviere’s reinstatement, but I reject the idea of let those in power speak for the masses. Every voice is important. The SOJC mobilized too quickly to get a comprehensive feel for the reactions of its students.
Here’s the question I’m left wondering–where did the money for the banner come from? Even if it was a small amount, it still matters. If the banner was paid for with student fees then if there are students who oppose President Lariviere’s reinstatement, they should be allowed a banner as well.
The Commentator is working on securing a photo of Agate Hall.
Update December 4, 2011: UO SOJC Dean Gleason said in an email that the banner was paid for with faculty money. He also said that he made it clear to the faculty that he was not directing the project.
This is a public service announcement: With all this riffraff about the 1%, don’t forget the true meaning of Thanksgiving: standing in line outside a chain-store at 1 a.m. the morning after, eating left-overs and looking like Rudolph because it’s freezing.
Just please don’t have as many Red Bull and Eggnog’s as these guys:
In an email sent out at 11:30 PM tonight, UO President Richard Lariviere notified students of his impending departure from the University of Oregon. After only two and a half years as President the chair of the State Board of Higher Education gave him the choice of immediate resignation or finishing out his contract to July 2012. The full contents of the email are below.
Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:
I received news on Monday in a meeting with the chair of the State Board of Higher Education that my contract as president of the University of Oregon will not be renewed. I was told I could resign or accept the termination of my contract, which runs through July 1, 2012, and I am weighing those options at this time.
This turn of events is a result of the ongoing difference of opinion over the future of the UO. But meaningful change often turns on uncomfortable moments, and it is my hope that I will be leaving the university well-positioned to take advantage of ongoing reforms to our state’s system of public universities.
Since becoming the UO’s 16th president in July 2009, my focus has been on enhancing the education of our students at Oregon’s flagship public university. I have sought to do this by focusing on our critical public mission and tapping the brilliance and innovation that resides here among our faculty, staff and students.
The UO has had a leading voice in public discussions that resulted in this year’s legislative overhaul to the structure of Oregon’s entire educational system – from early childhood education through post-doctoral studies. Our bold ideas have led to the promise of additional changes in the not-too-distant future, including eventual consideration of our proposal for individual universities to form local governing boards.
But our primary mission has been to provide educational opportunity and academic excellence, and you have taken both to new heights. Enrollment is at an all-time high this year, topping last year’s record enrollment. Much has been made of our ability to attract out-of-state and international students, but we are also educating more Oregon students than ever before. This year’s freshman class is the most diverse and has the highest grade point average of any incoming class in UO history, and we have raised freshman-to-sophomore retention to a new level.
We are what great students look for in a university. We are different, and embrace difference. We have brilliant, dedicated faculty, cutting-edge research, and award-winning programs. Through careful financial stewardship we were able to give well-earned salary increases to faculty and staff. The UO’s research grant funding is setting records as well.
Even though the past 2 ½ years have been difficult economic times for our entire country, we have generated a quarter of a billion dollars in private gifts at the UO and we have half a billion dollars in ongoing construction projects.
One of my proudest accomplishments is the concerted advocacy for public policy, governance and funding changes to strengthen the university and the entire state. I remain hopeful that honest debate and the exploration of new ideas – whether academic or political – will be celebrated and encouraged.
I wanted you to hear this news from me personally, not read about it elsewhere. I encourage all of you to channel your energy into advancing the momentum we have built together. Thank you for the great work you do. I am intensely proud to be your colleague.
Now what are we going to do with all these Dick Rivers t-shirts?
Either way, now your lazy ass doesn’t have to walk all of two blocks off campus to mail something.
FromWendy P Polhemus, Interim Director of the EMU:
I am pleased to announce the opening of The UPS Store in the location formally occupied by the U.S. Post Office in the Erb Memorial Union. Starting September 1, 2011 you will be able to receive an extensive array of UPS, postal, packaging and related services Monday – Friday, 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. and Saturday, 10 A.M. – 2 P.M. Post Office box rental is also available. For a menu of services please visit www.theupsstore.com online or come by the store. Within the next week or so the local website will be available at www.theupsstorelocal.com/6258. A formal grand opening is scheduled during the Week of Welcome, September 19 – 23.
Earlier this year eduHookups.com went viral. What started as a casual sex site for UChicago students turned into a dating/sex site for many universities across the nation.
The website had just barely made its way from the Ivies to the University of Oregon before it was sold. And for how much? $1,000. Seems a bit odd considering how many users were on the site. According to this website which may or may not be very trust-able, eduHookups was facing security problems.
A look at their twitter confirmed not only that eduHookups was sold on eBay but that the original site, www.UChicagoHookups.com, is now for sale as well.
Now the website redirects to http://www.ratemylasthookup.com where you can describe your last hookup in terms of bases, like you’re in second grade again! How exciting! You can even list their initials!
A study recently released by the Harvard Graduate School of Education seeks to solve the growing disconnect between the job market and academia by focusing on job training and education.
With barely half of the students enrolled in four-year colleges completing their bachelors degrees in six years and even less completing an associates degrees in three years, it is evident that college-prep should not be the only focus of High School. Indeed, many students drop out because the relationship between their courses and possible jobs is blurred.
This is not only a problem in High School, but college as well. With the variety of courses required for graduation being confusing at best and alluring course offerings like Zombies in Popular Media, Philosophy and Star Trek, and Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame, one can easily be distracted from reality. Moreover, the connection between education and career can be befuddling— what can you do with a history or Latin degree? What kind of job can you get a bachelor’s degree in economics?
What’s more, while Community Colleges face lower funding, they often produce graduates that earn more than those who earn a degree from a four-year university. “Pathways to Prosperity”, the study recently published by the Harvard Graduate School of Education reports, “27 percent of people with post-secondary licenses or certificates—credentials short of an associate’s degree—earn more than the average bachelor’s degree recipient.”
Professor Vedder of the Ohio State economics department made similar comments in his October article “Why Did 17 Million Students Go to College?” stating ” the growing disconnect between labor market realities and the propaganda of higher-education apologists is causing more and more people to graduate and take menial jobs or no job at all” noting that more than 317,000 waitresses have college degrees.
The University of Oregon could soon launch a huge overhaul of student recreation and activities facilities if it can win quick state approval of a $160.5 million plan to expand two key buildings.
The plan, which faces some challenges, would demolish and rebuild a substantial portion of the Erb Memorial Union, the central gathering space on campus for students and student groups. It also would add more than 100,000 square feet to the Student Recreation Center, including adding a two-pool swimming center.
Money for the project — which would get under way next year if approved by the state university system and legislators — would come from several sources, including private donations and funds already set aside for the work. But the largest amount would be raised through bonds backed by a substantial new fee on students, including students who would graduate before ever getting to use the new buildings.
For comparison, the most recent renovations to the Student Recreation Center happened in 1997, and current students are still paying them off, to the tune of $43.25 per term. This fee has been flat since Fall 2009, but was rising before it reached that plateau. It seems that the new fees will have a similar structure:
The work would be financed using $13.5 million the university previously set aside for the project, $35 million in private donations and the rest through bonds repaid with the new student fee. The fee would start at $30 per term in 2011-12, rise to $60 per term in 2012-13 and after that would remain at $100 per term — that’s $300 for an academic year — until the bonds were repaid.
$100 per term? Tack on the aforementioned $43.25 for the 1997 Rec Center renovations, the $45 building fee (for students taking 9 credits or more), $140.75 for the health services fee (regardless of how many credits you’re taking), and the $191 incidental fee, and you’re looking at $520 in fees per term (at least — we all know the incidental fee is going to keep rising no matter what). That’s $1,560 per year in fees, on top of tuition. That’s insane.
Now, the bonds and the subsequent student fee will still have to be approved by the state legislature, and never before has the legislature approved a fee for a building before it was built (for obvious reasons). Leave it to the University of Oregon to try and rock that boat.
What will we be getting for this exorbitant cost to students?
The newer wing of the EMU, built in the 1970s, would be demolished and rebuilt, creating 107,000 square feet of new construction.
With renovation of the older, Ellis Lawrence-designed main building, the EMU would gain a 1,200-seat performance venue, conference facilities, a 300-seat theater, expanded food court, space for 15 student unions and scores of student organizations, a computer lab and other features.
The original plan also included underground parking, but that was eliminated to save money.
The Student Recreation Center would gain a swimming center with connected lap and leisure pools, double the space for weight and fitness equipment, a three-court gym, expanded indoor jogging track, new racquetball and squash courts, new outdoor synthetic turf fields and more.
I completely understand the reason for the renovation, especially to the EMU, which is to bring more students to their student union. The biggest problem with the union, however, and any EMU board member will tell you this, is that the building is not financially self-sufficient. There are not enough revenue-generating services in the building to sustain itself, so students are subsidizing the cost of the building to the tune of $5,091,532 for 2011-12 (that’s for programs, services and building operations), plus additional funds from elsewhere in the university.
I have yet to see the official renovation plans, so I am unsure as to what exactly the new EMU will entail, but one worthy upgrade would be an actual kitchen (the one currently being used by food services is makeshift). Ideally, the performance venue and theater will create some revenue generation, or at least bring students to the union to make it a central part of campus. (Side note: did you know that the Grateful Dead once played in the EMU Ballroom, as well as many other worthwhile acts including Mudhoney?)
But the elimination of parking was also an interesting choice. And the (in my opinion, ridiculously extravagant) upgrades to the Student Rec Center seem frivolous and unnecessary, especially considering the state of disrepair of many other campus buildings.
Another issue that has not been addressed here is the fact that, from what I’ve heard, student programs will no longer have individual offices once the building is renovated. When I spoke with Vice President of Capital Projects Gregg Lobisser this past fall, he mentioned that the “space for 15 student unions and scores of student organizations” mentioned in the article would mean 15 satellites for student groups, including the Student Sustainability Center, the Multicultural Center, the ASUO and the Women’s Center. Within these satellite spaces, individual student programs would have their own work stations with lockers, but would likely not have their own office spaces.
Additionally, when we spoke, he said there were not yet plans for accommodation of student media services — that is to say, none of these “satellite unions” will be a Student Media Center, or even anything remotely similar.
Granted, the current model does not adequately serve the hundreds of groups that a student union should be able to accomodate. There are over 160 fee-funded student programs and less than half of them have offices, but those who do have offices have had them for a long time and use them to the fullest. Ask a program like the Oregon Voice, who was displaced from its office earlier this year to a much smaller space in The Break. Noah Dewitt, editor-in-chief of the Oregon Voice, said that the new space is much smaller than the previous space, does not have any storage space, is much louder than their previous space (The Break has a multitude of pool and ping-pong tables), and is open subject to The Break’s operating hours rather than the EMU’s operating hours, which means they can’t access their space as frequently. The storage space is likely the biggest issue, because they can’t access their archives themselves — they need someone from EMU Facilities to let them into their own storage.
Some student groups, the Oregon Commentator included, use their spaces for myriad activities — in our example, we hold meetings and work sessions in our office, as well as producing our magazine. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to undergo production with a Student Insurgent desk five feet away and a Siren workstation five feet behind. It would be near impossible to do what we do under these circumstances.
Again, this all has yet to be approved by the legislature, and frankly, I’m not sure it will. But it’s something to start thinking about now, during the planning stages when large decisions are being made.
The rumor mill says that most members of the EMU Board have signed a letter in support of this student fee. That makes sense — most of them won’t be around when the fee is incurred, so it won’t affect them. But it’s sure as shit going to affect most students on this campus, most of whom will never see the finished products.
Student fees are rising constantly, tuition is skyrocketing out of control, and to charge students who will no longer be around to experience the new buildings is asinine, especially for a building that is going to devalue the experience of being involved in student organizations. Maybe a new EMU theater and a Rec Center swimming pool are going to be awesome, but at the cost to students, it seems like an unworthy investment.