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Pickin’ Up the Rose Bowl Tab: UO Athletics’ Excess, Extravagance

May 8th, 2012 by Rebecca

If you haven’t yet, skim it now. More nods and firm handshakes for Sam Stites and the ODE for its front page exposé: the cost of the Ducks Football, Inc Rose Bowl trip last January.

Well the magic number is $1,599,307 and the magic word is muthafuckinexcessive.

$220,107 was spent on transporting the 212-piece armada of players and staff for nine days. That’s $1038 per immortal football being.

Oh wait. Food and lodging for the fleet was $404,356. That’s an additional $1907 per person.

So in all we’ve got $2945 per footballer.

But more curiously is how much the Athletic Department spent on transporting an “official party” to accompany the armada: $123,851 for the transportation of 56 people. Now that’s $2211 per “official party member.”

Food and lodging was $95,483 for the civilian gaggle, an additional $1705 per person.

2211+1705=$3916 per official accompanying partygoer.

The ODE tells us that “the official party consists of athletic department officials, representatives of the University’s third-party rights holder IMG, and 6 students whose names were redacted from the list.”

It included UO Provost Lorraine Davis and “family” along with OC darlings Ben Eckstein and Katie Taylor.

I'm Lorraine. Yeah, it was all-expenses paid. Thanks bitches. xoxo


Ah, it’s all so clear now. Thank you, Sam Stites. Thank you, dearest ODE.

The numbers y’all found gives much elucidation on as to why the Athletic Department can gross $88 billion  but can only afford to..

1. Pay only 3% overhead back to the UO when other departments like University Housing pays %7

2. Run the athlete-only Jacqua Center on intended-for-students general state funding until this lucky break

3. Not set up an academic scholarship that was agreed to be started in 2006

4. Try and weasel the ASUO into giving them a budget raise, then subsequently deny any chance of more student tickets at Autzen

Because now I know that the Athletic Department has more important things on their tab. Like paying for lavish, all-inclusive $3916 So-Cal getaways for our greedy, beloved Athletic Dept bureaucrats, some “third party rights-holders,” and students like Katie muthafuckin’ Taylor.

Read the tab itself here.



Boards on Boards on State Boards on Institutional Boards on Hiring Presidents

April 24th, 2012 by Rebecca

The Oregon State Board of Higher Education has drawn up a proposal for the possible establishment of those independent, institutional boards for every school under the Oregon University System that we’ve been a hurtin’ for.

We have so vainly sought after this elusive concept of an “independent governing board” after the OUS  fired our much-missed President Richard Lariviere.

Well the fact that a proposal has been proposed should be a sign of progress, right? Wrong. Read the excerpt that describes the institutional board’s role in the hiring and firing of university presidents below, and read the entire proposal right hurr.

OUS recommends a system in which the institutional board hires and
reappoints the president with the advice and consent of the OSBHE.
Presidential evaluations should be a joint effort between the institutional
board, the Chancellor, and the OSBHE member serving on the institutional
board. Termination should be the responsibility of the institutional board after
consultation with or with the advice and consent of OSBHE.

Alright OUS. We wanted an institutional board so we could do these things without your advice and consent. Why are you so fucking unaccommodating? Give us autonomy, or give us death.

Anyway, blah blah blah, they will vote on it in June. Read some statement from some OUS bureaucrat named “Di,” here.


Fix UC Eugene? 20 Years, %5 of Your Income, Free Tuition

February 20th, 2012 by Rebecca

Students at UC Riverside organized as Fix UC have formally proposed their own tuition reform proposal to the University of California Board of Regents. The proposal is called the “UC Student Investment Proposal,” and it calls for free tuition.

Why does this matter?

Well, the Ol’ Dirty Emerald found that, “Without a doubt, the Oregon University System finds itself facing the same conundrum that the California system and countless others are currently experiencing: Keep raising tuition or sacrifice the quality of the education.”

The article quotes ASUO President Ben Eckstein, saying “a movement like this would be absolutely acceptable. I don’t see any reason why we can’t see a ‘Fix OUS’ movement at Oregon.”

Then there’s Diane Saunders, the director of communications for OUS: “The kind of program that Fix UC proposes might stratify who attends your university,” she said. “For those who might have higher incomes, it may be too much to pay in the long run.”

Oh, whoops. You don’t even know what she’s talking about. I forgot to explain how exactly Fix UC’s proposal works! Well I’ve taken a few answers from Fix UC’s FAQ page for some elucidation on their whole “free tuition” thing:


1. Wait, so like. Why is it called UC Student Investment Proposal? I thought this had to do with like, tuition and shit.

Fix UC: Under the proposal, the University of California would invest in its students to attend the university with no up-front costs, with the expectation that they will graduate and financially contribute once they enter a career.

This “investment” would be the University of California collecting %5 of their students’ income for 20 years after graduation.

Oh and let me remind you: In Oregon, if your income range is over $7,601, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is %9, with a top rate of 11% kicking in at an income level of $250,000.

So just imagine, if the OUS were to adopt this, you’d be sending away %14 of the fruits of your labor until you were forty or so.

That’s right, now read the next question.

2. Hey, hold on. My dad’s fucking loaded, so I don’t want to pay like that. Can’t I just like, pay the tuition up front like we do now under this proposal?

Fix UC: No. An option to pay an up front fee would run contrary to one of the core concepts behind the proposal.Graduates of the UC will maintain a connection with their university not just for the time they spend there, but for a lifetime. A UC education is not a product, and its value is a complex one. The proposal requires a rethinking of the role of education in people’s lives, not simply as a product in the form of a degree…

This may just be the History major talkin’, but this sounds a lot like a little thing called indentured servitude. You know, that labor system prevalent in Colonial America during the 17th century, where poor immigrants would sign contracts committing several years-worth of their labor and wages in return for free ship fare..


Another day, another dollar


Like indentured servitude, Fix UC’s proposal seems kind of, I don’t know, binding maybe. The “%5 of your income” isn’t like a loan you can simply pay off once you have the money. It’s a tax. It’s a fee that rises as your income rises. AND IT DOES NOT GO AWAY.

What if you graduate and and end up working at Best Buy for 20 years?

What if you graduate and become extremely successful?

Or even worse yet, what if you graduate and become exponentially more successful each year, for 20 years, like most people?

When asked about his thoughts on Fix UC’s proposal, University of California president Mark Yudof told NPR, “In its current form, frankly, it’s unworkable.” Yudof did say, however, that he was “impressed” when students presented the idea at a recent meeting of the UC Board of Regents, and that his “best number crunchers” are reviewing the plan.

Like Yudof, the Oregon Commentator is admittedly impressed as well. Why? Well, simply because Fix UC emerged out of the staff of a student publication, just like us!

On Fix UC’s About page, it cites “after publishing editorial after editorial on the subject of the budget cuts and their impact on students, the editorial board of the Highlander newspaper at UC Riverside began developing an out-of-the-box, long-term solution for the University of California that addresses its most fundamental shortcomings.”

It’s true. Chris LoCascio, President of Fix UC, is also the Editor-In-Chief of UC Riverside’s newspaper, the Highlander.

Now I can’t say that our own Editor-In-Chief, Sophie Lawhead, will ever write a highly-debatable tuition proposal for a public university system in her spare time. But I will tell you that she will never let herself become editor of anything called the Highlander. I also cannot say that us on the OC editorial board will ever collectively develop some “long term solutions” to any “fundamental shortcomings.” In fact, I can personally attest that that will never happen. But please know, we want lower tuition too. We all do. And if we had to write a tuition reform proposal, it would look a little like this:

The Oregon Commentator’s OUS Tuition Reform Proposal:

1. Cut out some of that Oregon University System bureaucracy.

2. Cut out some of that mother fuckin’ Oregon University System bureaucracy!

Some Gun Lovin’ Legislature

February 17th, 2012 by Rebecca

State politics, everybody. Who’s ready for some?

Well a week ago in Salem, the Oregon House of Representatives tabled Senate Bill 1550– a bill that would have prohibited carrying firearms on school and college campuses

Yes, prohibited even if you had a concealed handgun permit. And no, this wouldn’t have any affect on whether or not DPS will be able to carry guns.

The body cited that “all gun-related legislation is over for the current, abbreviated session.”

Democratic Senator Ginny Burdick, who proposed the bill, said that she wudn’t even surprised her bill didn’t move forward. She explained that “the short legislative session should be devoted primarily to budget adjustments and major policy issues that have more urgency to them.”

Guns on campus?



Take your time.

"Everybody be cool, this is just a robbery!"


The best part is that on Wednesday, the Oregon state House demonstrated what they do find urgent enough to pass: a bill prohibiting the release of information listed on concealed handgun license applications.

This is the third time since 2009 that the Oregon state house has passed a bill that protects this information– ensuring that the applications “remain confidential and [the information] is not released to the public.”

“The bill would protect very personal information about people who are trying to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said Republican Rep. Kim Thatcher, who proposed the bill.


Dammit, Oregon State Legislature. I really wanted access to the personal information of these gentlemen.


Sit Your Ass Down! Oregon Democrat Suzanne Bonamici takes her seat in Congress

February 1st, 2012 by Rebecca

A very special election was held Tuesday– a very special Oregon election within the Portland-area 1st district.

Held in light of former Rep. David Wu’s resignation, the election determined who would assume Oregon’s freshly vacated seat in the House of Representatives.

Wu’s resignation, of course, came in some light of its own– that light being the allegations made by an 18-year old girl, accusing Wu (pictured in a tiger suit below) of making “unwanted sexual advances.”


Photo Credit / The National Review

Wu? Unwanted? Well that just doesn't make any sense.


The seat was taken by Democrat and former Oregon state senator Suzanne Bonamici, who won with 54% of votes as opposed to Republican Rob Cornilles’ 39%.

It seems that Democrats had been “strongly favored to hold the seat,” because Oregon has managed to send only Democrats  to Congress since 1974.

Oregon – “Lettin’ them (D)’s sit exclusively since 1974”

Just to be safe though, The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee forked out $830,00 in order to rain down some heavy Bonamici advertising. This was a necessary precaution, because apparently “Cornilles gave Wu a tough race in 2010, despite the strong Democratic lean of the district.”

I’m sorry, did I read that correctly? There’s a strong Democratic lean in Portland?


Photo Credit / Politico

Oh, stop it. I was strongly favored.


It is believed that Bonamici’s win will discourage Republicans from competing at all –in this district, in November– where and when she will run for a full term.

Upon victory Tuesday night, Bonamici insisted, “If you work hard and play by the rules, you can succeed in America.”

Look, Suzanne. Save it for C-SPAN okay?


Summer Tuition Hiked

January 9th, 2012 by Kellie B.

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.

Whatevs, no one cares about student debt anyways.

Insert Awful “Winning!” Joke Here

December 28th, 2011 by Kellie B.

UO is about to get a SHEEN of it’s own, and no, it’s not Charlie. (Did it!)

Ex-ASUO President and wild-land firefighter Sam Dotters-Katz has started a PAC (Political Action Committee, stupes): SHEEN, or Students for Higher Education Excellence Now. Actually, he started this back in November, but we’re just sobering up from Thanksgiving now.

SHEEN’s mission carries on the goals of our now-former President, aiming to create a “local governing board dedicated to improving UO” and a “new funding relationship with the state,” in the hopes of giving the University it’s own tuition stability “while also enhancing the quality of the academic experience.”

Though Dotters-Katz has been blogging for weeks now, today is SHEEN’s “Day of Action,” (also noted as Lariviere’s last day as UO Prez) which can be taken in two forms: Emailing or calling your representatives (no drunk dialing, D’Andrea) and the infinitely easier liking on Facebook.

This is the kind of tangible political action that the Oregon Commentator values over sign-waving and extended camping trips. Show some real Duck pride by taking 5 minutes of your day to support SHEEN, and remember that every time you tell a friend Richard Lariviere gets a new hat.


Would you rather be murdered or live in Beaverton?

December 27th, 2011 by Hailey

If you type “Ted Szal” into Google, you’ll find at least 4 pages of articles claiming that another “victim” of John Wayne Gacy (a serial killer from Chicago who murdered roughly 33 boys between 1972 and 1978) has been found in Beaverton (maybe more, I stopped looking). Ted Szal was never a victim of Gacy, he never eluded death, he isn’t Harry Potter and he didn’t defeat Voldemort. He probably never even crossed paths with Gacy.  He’s just a guy who left home in 1977 and never called his parents to check in, which isn’t even that crazy considering they didn’t have texting in the ’70s.

He apparently left parents and sisters and wife in Chicago after a routine disagreement. In The Oregonian he is quoted saying that growing up he felt like the ‘black sheep’ of his family. While his three pretty sisters were cheerleaders in school, he was more of a class clown. He wasn’t pretty, or a cheerleader, so he decided to flee Chicago for the Wild West. This isn’t very surprising to me, but his family saw this as shocking and after waiting almost 25 years, his sister Marcia called murder because he was a guy in Chicago at the same time Gacy was shoving kids into his crawl space. Marcia contacted the police department on October 18, 2011. A little slow on the draw, but whatever, it’s just her brother’s life.

The police department, possibly lacking in anything better to do, decided to support the insanity by running DNA tests on the victims of Gacy, and they concluded that Szal had not been brutally murdered. They ran a background check that lead them to Beaverton, Oregon, which for some reason wasn’t their first move.

I’ve never been to Chicago, but I can only assume it’s like the stone age there and they have yet to be connected to the series of tubes connecting every computer, because in The Oregonian Szal stated that with the advances of the internet, he thought his family would be able to find him, which I’m sure is true because you can find anything on the internet.

On the off chance that Szal didn’t exist on the Internet, it should also been noted that he left his car at the Chicago airport before he skipped town. In his interview with The Oregonian, he stated that he threw his keys in the sewer, so nobody else could’ve driven it away, and I might be dreaming too big here, but I’m sure that checking the license plate, or doing some police-y thing could’ve brought to attention that his car was left there. That probably doesn’t matter though, murder victims always leave their cars at airports before they are raped and slain, obviously.

Szal has just been living life for the last 25 years, living in various cities in Colorado and California, Springfield, and eventually Beaverton. He got re-married, has a job, and hasn’t been living under the radar in any respect. He just hasn’t called his family and they haven’t tried to call him.

I don’t know who to be more disappointed in, his family for lacking any common sense or computer skills, the police for supporting them, or our parents tax dollars for supporting all of this. In related news, apparently anyone can be a police officer, so I’m joining the force.

The Worst Christmas Present Ever

December 26th, 2011 by Kellie B.

Oh, so four assholes camped out on City Councilor George Poling’s front yard all Sunday night in protest of Occupy Eugene’s recent eviction from the Washington-Jefferson Park.

The four Occupiers, whom one could be presume to be homeless since they apparently had no where better to be on Christmas than a Poling’s front yard, put a twist on the classic Ding-Dong-Ditch by repeatedly ringing his doorbell, then setting up four dingy tents in his front yard and yelling “This is what a police state looks like!” (No joke. Really, I can’t make shit like this up.)

The neighbs loved it, Al Reddig from across the street told the R-G, “This is the most excitement that’s happened here in 10 years. This is big for us.”

Poling himself was less phased, stating “I guess if I made a decision that somebody doesn’t like, I guess I’m subject to this type of protest. That’s part of the job. But it’s not going to change my mind about how I represent my people and my ward.”

The protestors were removed by police soon after they arrived, and we can only wait with baited breath to see where they occupy next! Will it be Kitty Piercy’s whimsical meditation garden? Pat Farr’s rustic aluminum fishing boat? The Oregon Commentator office? Bitches, I hope not, it smells in here already….

Occupy Eugene to be evicted by January 11, God willing…

December 16th, 2011 by Kellie B.

…But not before wasting $300,000 of the city’s money. The Occupy Eugene camp underneath the Washington-Jefferson bridge has now become essentially a transient village, abandoning all the lofty demands of the several months ago to focus on the single issue of homelessness.

Last Wednesday the city council voted 5-3 to extend Occupy’s camping exemption to January 11 and spend up to $300,000 to pay for Occupy-related police expenses and fund several homeless initiatives, such as $100,000 earmarked for “wet-bed” facilities and warming centers similar to the Egan Warming Center. They were locked 4-4 until ol’ polecat Mayor Kitty Piercy cast the deciding vote. Councilors Farr, Clark, and Poling opposed the extension and funding on the grounds that “most of the funding would come from funds meant for parks maintenance, pothole repairs, and gang prevention efforts.” Also, the fact the city council continues to cater to the whims of a single group of questionable “activists” is embarrassing for everyone. (If it’s this easy to get exemptions and cash for whatever policies one desires, what is the OC waiting for? Occupy Rennie’s until all beer is free forever!)

Councilor Poling expressed his (and our) frustration at the voting outcome, telling the Register-Guard, “It’s time that we actually stepped up and did what we have to do to reclaim that park, reclaim the city and reclaim what we, as a council, should be doing, and not be guided by somebody else.”

The council did hold firm on the city mandate that outlaws fires in public parks, which the Occupiers requested in order to warm themselves during these bitter Eugene nights. Occupy organizer John Monroe accused the councilors of being “uncaring,” but a rational human could also accuse them of having “reasonable forethought” and being “park-fire-averse.”

The Occupiers themselves seem split on the ruling. KEZI reported that Occupy Eugene feels the city is “wasting money” on them, saying that the problem is the city council’s view that the camp is comprised mostly of homeless who need funding for a smooth transition out of the park and back to rustling around in your dumpster at 5 AM.

“This is not a homeless camp,” Occupier Alley Valkyrie told KEZI, “until they get themselves out of the mentality that this is a homeless camp, we’re just stuck in this lost-in-translation place,” backing this up with, “I am not homeless. I am at this camp.”

This stands in contrast to, well, all evidence, and the words of their own spokespeople. In a press conference this past Monday the speakers from Occupy emphasized that “the camp is home to hundreds of homeless people who are finding ways to sober up, catch up on sleep and contribute to the intentional community.” Sounds like UO students the morning after a post-finals celebratory binge.

The “official” Occupy Eugene website called the city council’s ruling a “milestone” to be celebrated, but were “disheartened” by the council’s decision to use some of the $300,000 to pay the police for their services. Right. It’s not like there have been 296 police calls to the park this year (as of December 11th) compared to 139 in 2010. That guy who almost got his fucking leg chopped off with an axe? Well, “everything that happens here, happens everywhere in society,” according to Occupy Eugene spokesperson Mike Elliot.

Yeah, we at the OC have totally been there, man.

As Jim West advised Dr. Arliss Loveless in the cinema classic Wild Wild West, “it’s time for you to stop all this foolishness.”

Occupy Eugene: you’ve made some waves, had some marches, and nearly chopped some legs. You have $100,000 for some nice, wet beds and new warming centers. Homelessness is not a problem that is ever going to be “solved,” at least not until our mental health and addiction treatment system is “fixed” (but no one gives a fuck about that, right?) Quit while you’re ahead.

And City Council, yeah, you: it’s a nice gesture to throw money at the problem, but the police costs are really just going straight down the toilet. Woman up, Piercy, and let the police clear out what used to be OUR CITY’S park. Once the police start making arrests and writing tickets the Occupiers will scatter faster than freshmen at a busted party.

As the Register-Guard observed:

A 22-year-old man who called himself “Skeeter” said he would leave the camp rather than risk a citation.

“How can I pay for a ticket? I don’t have any money,” he said, adding that he’d likely just leave Eugene.

Making the connections, yet?

Artist rendition of Occupier "Skeeter"


Only time will tell if, come January 11, the council holds firm in their decision to evict the camp. Until then, its up to Santa to take care of business:



State calls for hiring freeze, UO to participate over 7% funding

December 16th, 2011 by Ashley

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.

Uh. Okay then.

Interim president named

December 9th, 2011 by Melissa Haskin

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.


Robert M. Berdahl

Lariviere urges students to focus on policy reform

November 27th, 2011 by Kellie B.

President Lariviere addressed his supporters in an email sent out tonight at 7:44 PM. He thanked the students and faculty for their support but asked them to worry less about keeping him around and more about the need for an independent governing board for the University of Oregon, and all other OUS institutions.

So he’s asking for us to, instead of holding marches, signing petitions, and making Facebook groups to “make a difference” and right this wrong, we could, what’s that, instead ask for meaningful policy shifts to create real and lasting changes for future generations of students to come? Yeah, ship this one out, he’s totally full of shit.

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

Thank you for your support this week.  Jan and I are deeply touched.  More than anything I want the University of Oregon to flourish. Like so many of you, I love this university and all it represents.

I came here because the University of Oregon is a model for how public universities fulfill their mission in troubling times.  I came here because the state of Oregon is a place so often at the forefront of change, a crucible where innovators, dreamers, mavericks and fair-minded citizens devise new solutions to old problems. I still believe this is true.

The conflicts that resulted in my termination are a symptom of the broken system of governance and funding in Oregon higher education that desperately needs changing if the state of Oregon is going to achieve the greatness we all aspire to.   You know that.  This is why there has been the outcry—the genuinely amazing outcry—from so many of you.

I am humbled by your support, but your cause should not be my employment status. Your cause must be how Oregonians will be educated.  Your cause must be how institutions like the University of Oregon can be strong in a state with weak public resources.

I urge those of you who plan to rally or attend the state board meeting to focus your time, energy and efforts, not on questioning the wisdom or process of the decision.   Instead focus yourselves on the larger cause of meaningful policy reforms that will benefit the UO, the system of higher education, and the state of Oregon.  The Governor and Legislature already took actions this year to create a promising new governance structure for all education in Oregon.  It is possible for the state to take the next step and create a strong, independent governing board for an institution like the University of Oregon.

Universities in Oregon need to be differentiated based on their mission.  Strong independent boards should be guided by goals set by a statewide coordinating authority.  Each individual university must be able to best organize resources, serve the state and meet its mission.

A system approach that delivers conformity among institutions by applying the same fiscal and policy lens to all, regardless of mission, will continue to be costly to the state’s future.  It will not harness the unique strengths of each institution.  Such an approach has not and cannot deliver the fullest promise of higher education for Oregon’s future.

Work for a genuinely independent, genuinely powerful institutional governing board.  That is the doorway to a better future for the UO.  Stay the course.  Don’t let disappointment prevail.

Thank you for supporting the University of Oregon and for the honor of serving as the sixteenth president of the university.


Richard Lariviere


The Lariviere Situation Continues

November 26th, 2011 by Melissa Haskin

So here’s what we’ve got:

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.

Full text of the letter here.

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.

Full text at the RG

State Board Prez blames it on the trust too. Story here.

& A letter from the senate executive committee:


Agate Hall Accessorizes

November 24th, 2011 by Melissa Haskin

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.