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Interim president named

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Berdahl for $200 Alex.

Love letter from said interim:

Dear faculty, staff, and students:

I am pleased to report to you that the Oregon State Board of Higher Education has asked me to serve as the interim president of the University of Oregon and that I have accepted their invitation.  I do so with a mixture of excitement, sadness, determination, and gratitude.

I am excited to return to the UO, where I came as a young faculty member and spent important years of my intellectual growth in the presence of wonderful and stimulating colleagues, some of whom remain on the faculty or engaged in the ongoing life of the University.  Although the UO is a much different institution, and a substantially better university than I left twenty-five years ago, I still feel that I am truly coming home.

However, I am saddened by the circumstances that have led to my assuming this position.  I believe that the UO has made important progress on all fronts under the leadership of Richard Lariviere and I have made it clear that, whatever its reasons, I believe the Board of Higher Education made a serious and damaging mistake in terminating his presidency at the UO.

I am also moved by a determination to carry forward the important agenda President Lariviere has outlined for the campus: taking important steps toward the development of genuinely independent governing board for the campus, continuing to assure alumni and supporters of the University that investing in this institution will yield substantial dividends for the State of Oregon, and working with Oregon leaders to restructure and improve all levels of education for Oregonians.  I have said repeatedly that the quality of the University of Oregon is better recognized outside of Oregon than within it.  We must work to persuade Oregonians of the treasure they have in the UO and why it deserves their support.

Clearly, securing a highly qualified permanent president who shares our visions of innovation and academic distinction will be among the top priorities for my term as interim president.  The University’s next president will have unprecedented opportunities to work with other higher education leaders and Oregon lawmakers in setting an ambitious course for the future, expanding the UO’s impact throughout the state and the world.  I intend to assist in recruiting the next president in whatever way I can.

Finally, I am filled with gratitude to the faculty and staff for the confidence you have expressed in me.  It will be difficult to meet the high expectations you have set for me or to provide the quality of leadership provided by President Lariviere, but I commit to you that I will do my best.  I look forward to working with you all as we move forward together.

Sincerely,

Robert M. Berdahl

Start the Fear Mongering

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Swine Flu is all the rage this week, and we just learned that it does not mean we like to pork fatties.

So far it has killed 152 people, with the only deaths being in Mexico. In the United States there have been reported cases in California, Ohio, Kansas, and New York.  The virus that normally infects pigs has began to infect humans causing The World Health Organization to raise it’s pandemic warning level from 3 to 4 meaning that we are one step away from declaring a global pandemic.

With the Virus being tested for in Santa Clara County, Oregon is starting to worry. But have no fear, the Oregon Government is on it, Lane County has been apparently prepared for years, and even our very own Health Department has started preparing for the flu.

But don’t forget it’s going to kill us all.

ESPN Article on Oregon/Knight Relationship

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

ESPN.com “investigative reporter” Mike Fish has a hyperbolic front page story on the Oregon athletic department’s relationship with Nike founder Phil Knight. ESPN, home of Playmakers, the World Series of Poker and ESPN Hollywood, promotes the story on its front page in the following manner:

ESPN OU/Knight Front Page

Can someone please explain this photo and caption to me?
As for the story itself, you already know what to expect. Fish devotes only one paragraph to Knight’s sizable non-athletic contributions and portrays him as a selfish, childish puppet-master. Maybe Fish can get a job at the Eugene Weekly when ESPN abandons real sports entirely.

From The International Sports Desk

Monday, December 5th, 2005

My biggest double-take of the year: the other night I was perched at a table in a labyrinthine downtown bar, when I spotted an eerily familiar face at the 5 for the Sydney Kings. My subsequent spraying of beer across the table and frantic attempts to explain how awesome this was were greeted with, at best, bemusement.

Needless to say, now I have to get tickets. Doesn’t everybody love a happy ending? (His height is listed at 210cm on the team page. I’ll be keeping an eye on it.)

Foreigner Refuses To Shut Up About Immigration

Monday, December 5th, 2005

OK, fair’s fair. Having laid into Ms. Brock a few posts below, I should say that this response, by grad student Tami Hill, is annoying for different reasons, a few of which I’ll address here.

In regards to history, it is an acknowledged fact that the U.S. illegally took a large part of Mexicos territory in The Treaty of Guadalupe. The U.S. government is not above acting illegally.

This sort of rhetoric is a pet hate of mine: it’s about on a level with shouting “Yeah? Well, this whole court‘s out of order!” during your arraignment for public drunkenness. Even if the above statement is true in every particular, so what? The US, along with every other damn country in the world, was founded on a vigorous program of armed conquest, land seizure and other very bad things. The existence of laws – even, sometimes, laws that Tami Hill disagrees with – is not some unjust reward for historical pillage: it’s the way we try to mediate the pillaging of the future. (We may complain a lot about eminent domain abuse, but at least people aren’t being executed over it.)

Second, if you know anything about U.S. immigration policy, you know that we have changed our policies over the years for our own convenience, depending on labor needs…

The most damning indictment of all, that one.

Third, part of the reason Mexicos lack of infrastructure exists is not its own problem, but rather a result of how the U.S. has exploited this less powerful country over time.

And this is a symptom of the weird kind of egocentric guilt complex exhibited by many Americans on the subject of the lands beyond their borders. Poor countries are poor because America made them poor, and recover economically through American (or UN) munificence. If this is actually Hill’s contention, she should be supporting a closed border for the good of Mexico, one would think – but apparently not. While I’m at it, the scare-quoting in this column is absolutely epic: “journalism”, “illegal”, “criminal”, and, bizarrely, “Mexican”.

Building a big fence along the (“Mexican”) border is no kind of solution at all. Dealing with Castro to keep Cuban refugees out of the US is despicable. Having a group hug and giving visas to everybody isn’t a solution either. Why not? Because, as Glenn Garvin points out in that essay I linked to earlier, these (for example) backbreaking, insecure agricultural jobs simply would not exist if the pay was set to what most of us consider a living wage. Before that point is reached, it becomes cheaper to mechanize production or to just import the stuff from a different country, where it is being grown and harvested by people working in similarly awful conditions. I’m not sure that anything can be done to fix this – farm work has always been thoroughly nasty, and that’s why industrialization is generally regarded as positive progress. Still, the jobs are there, for now. And where there is opportunity, people will come. That’s America. I think part of the reason for the defense illegal farm workers get from people like me is that their stories – entrepreneurial vigor, determination, hard work at a thankless job bucking a remorseless bureaucracy – are pretty much classic American immigrant narratives. It might also have something to do with the fact that I’m reading this right now, which makes a similar point about a different country.

(So, before I do finally give this one a rest, I might as well take the opportunity to preemptively instruct all further ODE columnists tackling this subject to bite me, also. Oh, and I say this as a time-serving graduate student myself: informing your audience in the very first clause that you’ve been one for ten years will not necessarily get you a better reception.)

“It May Seem Ridiculous To Talk About Mexican Terrorists – But…”

Thursday, December 1st, 2005

Just when I think I’m out, ODE columnists keep pulling me back in. What subject is almost guaranteed to trigger an angry blog post from your humble correspondent? That’s right, immigrant-bashing. Kirsten Brock’s focus, as I’m sure she would point out, is illegal immigration, but count me as one non-citizen who isn’t terribly reassured by what she does here: take a crucial national security problem and treat it as if it applied only to one particularly vulnerable segment of the population.

And then there is this spectacular money quote:

While increasing security is a step, we must remove the incentives for crossing the border.

This is, to say the least, a novel approach to the issue: removing the incentives for crossing the border. Yes, if only the US economy (not to mention US salaries) were on a par with Mexico’s, if only people didn’t want to come to the US to build a better life for themselves and their families – in short, if only the United States could somehow be made to suck more, we wouldn’t be drowning in all these goddamned foreigners.

Brock deploys every related fallacy in the book – immigration as antisocial behavior, immigrants as drain on public resources rather than as the engine driving a substantial part of the economy, etc – with enough space left over to call ‘em all terrorists. After all, she points out, they’ve already broken one law, simply by being here! Why, these fiends will stop at nothing! The moral distinction drawn here between good-guy legal immigrants and nefarious illegals is, to put it politely, nonsense: to pick one obvious example, Mohammed Atta actually received the student visa he’d applied for, six months after September 11. This points to a massive systemic problem, to be sure, but it’s one that can be conveniently disregarded the moment an easier populist target comes along, such as the work visa scheme Brock is busy decrying.

Bite me, Kirsten Brock. And when you’re done biting me, read this.

On The Modern Police State

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

While I’m at it, this editorial is hilarious:

Writing about alcohol-fueled endeavors on your blog or posting a photo of yourself peeing on public buildings on Facebook may seem like a private act…

Yes, it might, if you are very, very stupid.

Unfortunately, the question is not whether students deserve a right to privacy in their online communications…

Unfortunately? It’s a non-issue. You have a (limited) right to privacy in your online communications. You may, however, choose to waive this right by posting material in a public forum. I feel stupid even having to point this out, but your Facebook profile is not a private online communication. The lack of privacy is kind of the point. Otherwise, people wouldn’t be able to read it. And I’m not just using lots of italics to emphasize this fact, I am also pounding my fist on the table, although that might not be audible from this far away.

Coming soon from the ODE editorial board: fire is hot and will burn you if you stick your hand in it – unfortunately, the question is not whether students are flammable.

Documentary Fails To Achieve Purpose

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

I’m taking a less active role chez OC these days, but sometimes it’s just irresistible:

Thanksgiving weekend, Wal-Mart gleefully became one of the only big box retailers to surpass expected holiday sales.

Apparently, the recent documentary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price didnt achieve its intended outcome…

UPDATE:

And who picks up the tab on workers who, by general standards, should be insured by their employer? Local taxpayers who give money to support public health care programs, which then benefit the workers who should have been covered by their employer in the first place.

Wait. Hang on a second. Ailee Slater is arguing against public healthcare subsidies? Did I miss a meeting?

UPDATED UPDATE: At least Wisconsin is standing up to the pernicious scourge of Wal-Mart and making sure prices stay appropriately high. (Hat tip: H&R.)

AND FINALLY: By way of the last link, allow me to recommend this counterpoint to Slater’s piece.

Look Out– He’s Got a Lame-ometer

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

Yesterday’s ODE commentary from Bradley, wherein he takes the ROTC protest to task, here.

Okay, but I think he may have missed some points.

1) It is abundantly apparent that the protestors wished to be arrested for the purpose of airing their views in a newspaper headline, which they accomplished at slight taxpayer expense but without inflicting violence on themselves or others.

2) Being university types, the protestors situated their event on campus grounds, quite possibly because a) this increases the likelihood that the Emerald will cover the story thoroughly, and/or b) it’s more of a central location to the parties concerned than the Federal Building downtown.

3) There aren’t that many places on campus where the presence of fifty people would be seen as anything out of the ordinary, let alone a matter of trespassing. Sure, they could have clogged up Johnson Hall– but, really, that’s been done.

4) By the logic of Bradley’s commentary, if the protest had been staged at Johnson Hall, it would be anti-administration; and if it had been staged at the Federal Building, it would have been anti-federalism. There isn’t any claim made in the article that the writer knows the disposition of the protestors– it’s entirely within reason, and statistically probable, that some of those in attendance have loved ones in the service. This opens up the question of what is meant by the term “anti-military”: does it refer to a hatred of those in uniform, to the opinion that there are some problems more amenably solved than through the imperilment of those same servicemembers, to some other notion within a wide range of possible perspectives, or to all of the above? We can safely assume that, whatever it means, no one who has loved ones in the military is opposed to the welfare of those loved ones or those loved ones’ comrades in arms.

5) It’s easy enough for some to recall the civil rights movement as a historical event fixed neatly within the same decade that gave us the walk on the moon, and to think of it as a decisive moment later universally understood as the triumph of absolute right over absolute wrong. A closer look informs us that a lot of people disagreed at the time– whether the movement should be happening at all, whether those behind it had laudible goals, whether those goals were acheivable, how exactly to pursue them– and there are still any number of people disagreeing over the peripherals of that debate. I’ve had occasion to speak with people– living, breathing Americans in the twenty-first century at points north and south in our far-flung Republic– who feel quite strongly that the position of absolute right did not win out. By that I mean that there are people who perceive the civil rights movement to have hardly begun to occur, as well as people who perceive that it has but who are not at all happy about it. Just a heads-up to anyone reading who thinks that all the matters of right and wrong have been ironed out for us by previous generations.

6) There are people who think that this war is a good one, and they make a number of arguments to support their position. Among them, some define the terms of the argument in terms of right and wrong– the victory of freedom over terror, etc. Then there are people who think this war is a bad one, and conversely they make a number of arguments too. Not surprisingly, many of these arguments are also grounded in absolute notions of right and wrong– the reprehesibility of government officials who make misleading claims that eventuate in the exacerbated misery of a nation on the other side of the world where we need to be making friends among potential enemies instead of the opposite, playing fast and loose with the integrity of our military and the lives of our soldiers and in the process rendering our nation ever more vulnerable to new threats. All these people are Americans. None of them are joking.

Wisconsin Now Apportioning Budgets Using Roulette Wheel

Monday, November 21st, 2005

Via Althouse, some hauntingly familiar echoes in Wisconsin. “Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow” just received under 1% of their requested budget.

Now, while I’d like to shout Southworth at the top of my lungs, there’s too little detail to go on at the moment, although there are some tantalizing hints: “the decorum in the room was appalling”, etc. Also, CFACT were requesting nearly four hundred thousand dollars – three times the budget of those scrounging pinkos at WISPIRG. This is a hell of a lot of money, and I have no clue what they could conceivably need it all for. (Yes, they have 50+ interns. So what? Suck it up, interns.) While the decision doesn’t appear to be predicated on any mealy-mouthed nonsense about “cultural well-being” of students, the “insufficient itemization” charge is one we’ve dealt with ourselves – last year, the final, pitiful attempt by Eden Cortez to dismiss our budget was on the grounds that we had a general “office supplies” line item instead of separate sections for pens, pencils, envelopes, etc. So, this might be one to keep an eye on.

A Simple Question…

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

Bryan brought this to my attention: Which one of these girls do you think this guy is trying to sleep with?

Kate Horton | Photographer

Also, it’s obvious that the girl in the hat miscalculated the amount of space it would take to properly convey all of her salient points. It’s like reading a goddamn eye chart.

*Picture via Kate Horton and the ODE (by “via” I mean I didn’t ask permission to use it)

[Timothy Adds: ODE story here.]
[Ian Adds: Photo hotlinked to and embeded from ODE server.]

Self Promotion

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

For anyone who is interested, I will take part in the horrendously titled “Free Speech vs. Hate Speech” panel tonight at 7:30 in the McAlister Lounge.

The panel will be moderated by Interim Vice Provost for Equity and Diversity Charles Martinez. Other panelists include Chicora Martin of the LGBTQA, David Fidanque of the ACLU and Margie Paris of the Law School. Yes, it will be a blast.

I guess I’ll be situated on the pro-hate speech side, considering how the organizers turn these things into strict dichotomies. Still, if anyone is interested you should come and check it out.

Dorms Still Finding Innovative Ways To Suck

Monday, November 7th, 2005

Update on the dorm-harassment story here. New wrinkle in the lede: swastikas are apparently being drawn in residence halls by retard or retards unknown. Good quote from Oregon Hillel executive director Hal Applebaum on the significance of the iconography:

Thats not necessarily against Jewish students. Its against gosh knows who and gosh knows what.

Quite. (Although he missed a chance at what would have been perhaps the greatest Big Lebowski reference ever.)

Swastikas have been the go-to Bad Symbol for attention-seeking idiots for a good long while now. It’s important to keep such incidents in perspective, and send a message that these rather pathetic people cannot strike fear into the hearts of students by carving a few lines in a table. Let us hope nobody infers the existence of a neo-Nazi cell on campus from this douchebaggery.

Slater: Getting Medieval

Monday, October 31st, 2005

I can’t… words fail… I don’t know how to describe… this is… this is unbelievable. I’m certainly laughing from an inner state of jollification, if I wasn’t before – and yet even with all the wine I’ve spilled over myself, I’m still not sure how I feel about the base degradation that now defines us both. Oh, just read it.

People in the Middle Ages knew how to throw a party that everyone was invited to.

That’s… an interesting way of putting it, Ailee. Not a History major, I’m assuming?

Early nominee for Column of the Year, I’m saying. At this rate, Ailee Slater should be all over the front page of the Huffington Post within a couple of years.

Should “Alitist” Mean For The Nomination, Or Against?

Monday, October 31st, 2005

The SCOTUS mulligan pick is apparently this fellow. What does this mean? No idea. What makes these nominations so fun is that whenever one is announced everyone has to run around frantically trying to learn about the nominee’s judical record, (unlike the previous two, Alito actually has one) and a crucial element of randomness is introduced to the learning process by the fact that most of us are not lawyers. (UPDATE: some of us are less like lawyers than others.)

So, on the one hand, Alito ruled that a law banning student newspapers from running ads for alcohol was unconstitutional (Yay!); on the other hand he ruled that “Not only is strip searches of 10-year-old girls okay [sic], but of wives as well since they are all merely that man’s chattel.” (Boo!)

Wait a second. No, he didn’t. The thing that’s really fun about these nominations is the ideological pie-fight that’s about to ensue. For what it’s worth, enough of the right people seem to be happy, and that’ll do for now.