Kitzhaber fires Lariviere

11/22/2011: Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week has the scoop:

WW has learned that Oregon University System board members met with University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere on Monday, telling him that when his contract expires in June, it will not be renewed. Governor John Kitzhaber surprised Lariviere by affirming that decision in a 4 p.m. meeting today.

Dr. Pernsteiner wins. UO loses. My first thought is there is no way in hell I want to work for George Pernsteiner without a strong faculty union on my side. So let’s start one – where and when can I sign that card check? Am I nuts?

Honest, competent, and he wanted the best for UO. It’s amazing the state’s old guard let him stay this long.  Remember what OUS did to Paul Olum? Meanwhile who will be interim President? Frohnmayer? Lorraine Davis? Melinda Grier as GC? Moseley as Provost? Disastrous. Rep. Phil Barnhart gives Lariviere a strong defense in this RG story. 

If you want to email Pernsteiner and the OUS Board members and tell them what you think – or ask them what they plan to do now that they own UO – the addresses are

george_pernsteiner@ous.edu, matt_donegan@ous.edu, jill_eiland@ous.edu, lynda_ciuffetti@ous.edu,  hannah_fisher@ous.edu,  allyn_ford@ous.edu,  jim_francesconi@ous.edu,  Farbodd_Ganjifard@ous.edu,  paul_kelly@ous.edu ,  rosemary_powers@ous.edu ,  preston_pulliams@ous.edu ,  kirk_schueler@ous.edu, dave_yaden@ous.edu

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64 Responses to Kitzhaber fires Lariviere

  1. Anonymous says:

    Finally!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I guess you can never really underestimate others’ ability to think small.

    Maybe Nigel should really be asking why he’s out. Larivere isn’t out because he skirted the furlough days or the faculty/administrator raises. This was about the debacle that is funding of higher education in this state. The Wizard of OUS doesn’t want anyone to lift the curtain on how out-of-state tuition dollars UO students pay not only subsidize their Duck counterparts but also their Owl, Mountaineer, Raider, Wolf counterparts. It’s easier to get rid of Lariviere than to make the tough decisions that some of these institutions are too big a drain on funding and quality of higher education in this state.

    You may not like Lariviere or agree with him but the UO was better off with him as our advocate. He is a man that — it seemed to me — was most concerned about doing the “right” thing for the UO, even if it angered others.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Lariviere for Union President

  4. Anonymous says:

    How about Bob Berdahl?

    Then there’s the usual suspects of UO’s retired senior administators, many of whom are already on the payroll.

    E.g., Moseley as interim prez, running the UO
    remotely from his DRL through Provost Davis. Or maybe Davis as interim prez with Tomlin as Provost until Jim Bean jumps back in the saddle?

    UOM should open nominations for an interim prez, followed by voting on the nominations.

    With Lariviere on a short leash, was there some recent event that PO’d Pernsteiner and the board? Or was this already preordained when Lariviere was put on a short leash last spring? With Pernstiner and the board hoping Lariviere would eventually leave on his own. Since he didn’t do so in a timely manner, did Pernsteiner get Kitzhaber onboard and then gave Lariviere “notice?”

  5. Anonymous says:

    How are you guys missing the key point? KITZHABER did it. What did he do that ticked off the gov? Pernsteiner doesn’t have any power to do this or it would have happened long ago. And if this was new partnership it would have happened long ago. What did he do recently that pissed off the governor???

  6. Anonymous says:

    He shoulda done the nuclear option! Too late for Lariviere, but it is still there.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Since he won’t be renewed next fall, how about he gives out some more raises on his way out the door! What else can they do now? And you can bet more raises won’t be coming for a LONG time once the new president gets here.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Since the state provides only some tiny percentage of the UO’s budget (last I heard it was 7%), other than tuition, fundraising takes up a lot of the slack. Why should alumni and other supporters give big gifts to the UO knowing that the state – which provides such a small slice of the budget – has so much control to make stupid decisions? This was the entire point of the “New Partnership.” The next two years are going to be very tough for the UO.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Kitzhaber is/was/always has been an enemy of higher education. He wants uniform mediocrity in the OUS while diverting funding to K-12 education.

  10. Anonymous says:

    And keep in mind that it is not “Dr. Pernsteiner.” Our wizard of standardized mediocrity does not have a doctoral degree.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Is Lariviere being sacrificed by Kitzhaber so that Kitzhaber can keep working for his ideas about K-through-college?

    Who remembers that one of Kitzhaber’s tactics in his previous governorship was “if they won’t play my game, let them feel the pain — then they’ll change their minds”?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Not following Board policy and being a lone wolf is not the way to move the UO to a position of excellence in more than football. Giving raises when there was a freeze, creating your own legislative agenda when you are part of a system and wanting to pull out of the NCAA seem like really bad strategic moves.

  13. UO Matters says:

    Kitzhaber now owns a whole series of UO problems. I wonder if he has a plan other than let Pernsteiner do whatever he wants.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Not following Board policy? When the Board policy is that OUS institutions should be of high quality….but not too high in quality, lest others look bad.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Scumbag Kitzhaber– announces end to Oregon death penalty, then kills any hope for administrative reform at UO for the foreseeable future.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well, what can I say. You feel the pain when you stand up to your boss. Contracts, contracts, are they not a pain in the a$$ ezpecially the ones at the UO. They will come around and bit everyone last one of them who are enforcing such an unfair employment practice. It only takes a discussion in someone office to not renew. Laughably sad.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I was on the fence about the union, but not any more. We need a power base that is NOT devoted to mediocrity.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Now it is REALLY time for a union! Who else will be fighting for the faculty? Not King John or Prince George.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Be reminded that there’s no way to know if the pro-union sentiments expressed here are actually from faculty members. I find the firing of Lariviere appalling but personally it doesn’t increase my support for the union (which I have concluded is also a force for mediocrity).

  20. Anonymous says:

    I am torn. On the one hand, I can see the argument that faculty need a strong power base. On the other hand, United Academics apparently cannot type their own URL right.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Dear U of O,

    Do not pass go. Take 100 steps back. This is a big loss for us. Hats off to Richard for stepping up to these clowns. Down with OUS and Pernsteiner.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Yup, between the state board, the governor, the whole damn state — and the prospect of a union — there’s nowhere to go but down, down, down.

  23. Anonymous says:

    We don’t have to have a union to act collectively.

    I say not a single class gets run in January until Lariviere is reinstated!

  24. Anonymous says:

    I think this would be an excellent time to OCCUPY the PERSTEINER MANSION! I’m ready to go camp out. See http://uomatters.com/2011/11/occupy-eugene-to-move-in-with.html Draw some media attention to this 1% who not only feeds off the 99% but has also fired our President for showing leadership and vision.

  25. Anonymous says:

    “I say not a single class gets run in January until Lariviere is reinstated!”

    That’s a strike. Acting collectively and going on strike is effectively having a union, whether you want to give it that name or not.

  26. Anonymous says:

    As the Occupy movement has shown, collective action is not the same thing as official organization into a group such as a union. As Orwell would perhaps point out, if you form a union you run the risk of replacing old pigs by new ones.

  27. Anonymous says:

    They must have a BIG BED for all of them to fit in Lariviere kicked out in the cold.

  28. Anonymous says:

    From my experience UO is adverse to anyone organising. The students are speaking out about the unfair moves to have them pay for a new EMU that they had no input in, but the Administration has tried to undercut them by getting students to be on their side. That leaves one to think, why should there be any type of “rising”? It is NOT the Oregon Way. Possibly if we take it to Autzen and have it wear green and yellow, we will get some reaction.

  29. Anonymous says:

    How do we get rid of Pernsteiner there must be a way or are we living under a Dictatorship?

  30. Anonymous says:

    They will probably take Lariviere’s salery and divide it amongst them selves or maybe they will throw dice winner takes all.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Disgusting politics. Fire this Chancellor!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Recall the Governor!

  33. Anonymous says:

    We’ve lost a fine president, but we still have a fine and highly accomplished Sanskrit scholar.

    Just trying to find the bright side on a dark, dark day for Oregon.

  34. Anonymous says:

    re: no UO representation on the OUS Board.
    Allyn Ford (UO’s Ford Alumni Center) is on the board. Why did he vote against Lariviere?

  35. Anonymous says:

    “Not following Board policy and being a lone wolf is not the way to move the UO to a position of excellence in more than football.”

    As if being a lone wolf was the position taken to expand football! Rather, Olum ran afoul of the nascent football mania, and he was removed. Mindless games are easier to support than mindful education.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Phil Knight, our largest benefactor: “It’s yet another application of Oregon’s Assisted Suicide law.”
    http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2011/11/23/nikes-knight-lashes-out-at-lariviere.html

    UO Alumni Association president Julia Mee: “This is a terrible decision for the University and the State of Oregon that promotes mediocrity rather than rewarding visionary leadership.”
    http://blogs.eugeneweekly.com/content/uo-alumni-association-responds

    If the board cannot make things right with its donors, this does not bode well.

  37. Anonymous says:

    So, Phil comes out with the nuclear option at last. Let’s hope it’s not too late.

    If Oregon really just blew off $800 million in private giving, it will make the old WRC fiasco look like a childish misstep.

  38. Anonymous says:

    A person who never made a mistake never tried something new………..Albert Einstien

  39. Anonymous says:

    Petition to retain Richard Lariviere as the University of Oregon President:

    The signers of this petition believe that the Oregon State Board of Higher Education should reconsider its decision not to retain current UO President Richard Lariviere beyond the end of the 2011-2012 academic year. The information collected here will be presented to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner, Governor John Kitzhaber, and other relevant Oregon state leaders

    at:
    http://goo.gl/5stzF

  40. Anonymous says:

    You can’t effectively manage an organization when one of its key management team is insubordinate. Just doesn’t work. Sorry, UO is NOT an entity unto itself. UO answers to the Chancellor and the board. There is no legal entity named the UO. The legal entity is the State Board of Higher Education. RL was insubordinate and flaunted it. He should have been fired a year ago.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Ridiculous! Insubordinate? This isn’t the military. And, creativity and innovation ALWAYS looks like “insubordination”.

  42. Anonymous says:

    “Creativity and innovation ALWAYS looks like insubordination.” Now THAT is ridiculous! I hope that is emotion talking and not logic. RL was told to hold the line on salaries. He did his own thing. He was told to hold back on his plans for UO that would harm the other state universities. He did not. His actions actually did hurt the other state universities. He deserved to get canned. Now, that does not mean that I do not agree with the thinking behind some of the decisions RL made. Those can be debated separate from the insubordination, which is grounds for firing. I will bet Mr. Knight would not stand for one of his VP’s actively seeking a different agenda than his boss.

  43. Anonymous says:

    How did his actions hurt the other universities? There is no foundation to support the idea that they did. Just because their presidents lack vision, creativity, and the ambition to solve real problems is NOT his fault. Oregonians need to grow up.

    The bottom line: we are in the business of research, critical thinking, and innovation.

  44. How did his actions hurt other universities? Because UO pay raises forced other schools to increase Classified salaries?

  45. Anonymous says:

    Huh? He didn’t give raises to classified employees. Classified salaries are set on a step scale by the bargaining agreement. An OS1 at UO makes the same as an OS1 at Eastern.

  46. Anonymous says:

    His actions in granting pay raises forced the University System to a higher SEIU settlement and the other university faculty negotiations to a higher total cost. The other universities are now forced into further program cuts. The UO is not an entity unto itself.

  47. Anonymous says:

    “His actions in granting pay raises forced the University System to a higher SEIU settlement and the other university faculty negotiations to a higher total cost. The other universities are now forced into further program cuts. The UO is not an entity unto itself.”

    What you say cuts both ways: if the UO did not pursue salary increases, it would continue a slide towards mediocrity. So you are saying Lariviere should have been canned because he chose the welfare of his campus over the other OUS campuses?

    Sure, you can then “sack him” if you are his “boss.” But that is ultimately striking a huge blow for mediocrity.

    What this points to instead is all the more reason to retain Lariviere and pursue an agenda of independence, while of course being true to our mission of serving the people of this state. The sooner such arguments about hurting other OUS institutions (which, by the way, are balancing their budgets in part off of money which should go to the UO) are irrelevant, the better.

  48. Anonymous says:

    The Chancellor and board are leeches on the University system. This is nothing but a naked power grab by them. They know they are a waste of time and money. They know they are on their way out.

    They can take their fat salaries and the slime of their croneyism and take a hike. The university system and the state of Oregon would be better off without them.

  49. Anonymous says:

    On the point of creativity and innovation looking like insubordination – you made the author’s point. Larivier was told to do one thing, he didn’t believe that was in the best interest of UO so he challenged the status quo and the defenders of the status quo – a necessary feature of innovation. You called that insubordination. Depending on where you stand, innovation looks like subordination.

    He was punished for doing his job – acting in the best interests of UO. It was NOT his job to look out for the best interests of the other OUS institutions – that is the state board’s job and they have consistently failed at that job. Because they weren’t innovative enough to effectively do their job, Larivier had to go around them.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Phil Knight for UO President

  51. Anonymous says:

    “On the point of creativity and innovation looking like insubordination – you made the author’s point.” Actually, you made my point. RL should have kept his “innovative” thinking inside the team, which IS the Chancellor and the Board. He had every right and obligation to argue his points to his bosses. He did not have the right to subvert their plans and to go on his own. According to Webster’s, the definition of insubodination is “disobedient to authority.” No matter how much you don’t like it, the authority is the Chancellor and the Board. Again, I do not argue against the thinking behind some of the things he did. As long as the organization is the State Board of Higher Education, it cannot be effectively governed with a state-wide view of how best to serve Oregonians if one if its key management team actively promotes an agenda that is at odds with the organization. It simply is untenable. What RL should have done was work within the team to make the changes he wanted. If they did not agree, he had an obligation to work in the best interests of the UO and the State of Oregon and agree to resign quietly. The mess we have now is ENTIRELY the fault of RL. Many will disagree, perhaps all will. But, that is the way to ethically work within an organization.

  52. Anonymous says:

    No, this mess is ULTIMATELY the fault of a state system of education which because of a combination of poor resources (in part from a lack of a diverse economy), misplaced values (think Measure 5) and cronyism has been living large off of previously-earned reputation rather than strength for too long.

    The state board is incompetent, and if RL went quietly, we’d continue the slow bleed. Now we can see where we stand – turn the corner for excellence (which I am now more sure of can happen given Uncle Phil’s recent remarks) or go down the toilet, which is where we belong if we continue to follow the board.

  53. Anonymous says:

    “The mess we have now is ENTIRELY the fault of RL. Many will disagree, perhaps all will. But, that is the way to ethically work within an organization. “

    How about trying a different perspective? How about that maybe the organization is a broken system and it need to be dismissed? If your road is blocked by a rock, do you stop moving forward, or do you remove that road-blocking rock? Or if possible do you walk around that road-blocking rock?

  54. Anonymous says:

    “How about trying a different perspective? How about that maybe the organization is a broken system and it need to be dismissed? If your road is blocked by a rock, do you stop moving forward, or do you remove that road-blocking rock? Or if possible do you walk around that road-blocking rock?”

    Bad anology. The road is not blocked by a “rock.” The road that RL chose was blocked by his boss. He should work with his boss, not around.

    How about you trying a different perspective? How about maybe looking at how best to achieve statewide goals for higher education? That is the job of the Board. They are working with the Governor to attempt just that. You may not agree with the Board of the Governor. But it is not the prerogative of the UO President to actively and openly work at odds with leadership.

    I agree that parts the system is broken. But I would expect that we would not agree on what about it is broken.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Blind obedience to a system or a “boss” that has clearly failed to do its job is both cowardly and unethical. Just because a person holds a position of authority, especially a politically appointed one, does not mean that person occupies either the moral or rational high ground. In fact, history tells us that it is often the exact opposite.

  56. Anonymous says:

    “Blind obedience to a system or a “boss” that has clearly failed to do its job is both cowardly and unethical. Just because a person holds a position of authority, especially a politically appointed one, does not mean that person occupies either the moral or rational high ground. In fact, history tells us that it is often the exact opposite. “

    It is that kind of thinking that leads to anarchy. What the Governor and Board are working toward is neither unethical, immoral or illegal. It is certainly unethical to be insubordinate.

    I think exactly the opposite of you. What RL did was cowardly. It is a coward that cannot overcome his own arrogance and self-importance.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Unethical to be subordinate? By that logic, Rosa Parks should have gone to the back of the bus and MLK should never have had a dream. Anarchy? Hyperbole. But as long as we are overstating things, blind obedience leads to Fascism.

    To argue that this board is above reproach just ignores the facts.

    You are right – we will not agree so I am done with this argument. It doesn’t matter what we think anyway – power will prevail. Not logic. Not ethics. Not even money. But power. We’ll see where the power is. Hopefully it’s with the unethical, insubordinate masses whe see this for what it is…an unethical power play.

  58. Anonymous says:

    “Unethical to be subordinate? By that logic, Rosa Parks should have gone to the back of the bus and MLK should never have had a dream.”

    Another bad anology. Hyperbole.

    I never said that RL should have been blindly obedient. Reread my posts. I stated that he should argue his case and, if he could not continue to be in alignment with the organization’s goals, he should resign quietly to spare the organization the trauma.

    I wish you the best. Happy Thanksgiving.

  59. Anonymous says:

    “…he should resign quietly to spare the organization the trauma.” Is our community so weak that we can’t stand some questioning of authority? If nothing else, I would thank RL for forcing something of a wake up here. It may be less messy to let the few in power control decision making. That doesn’t make it right. Neither does it make the alternative anarchy.

    RL isn’t compliant. And I wouldn’t characterize him as a particularly skilled politician (not such a bad thing, to me.) I imagine that some of his actions make it quite reasonable that his “boss” would want to fire him. But many people at the UO find him a force for positive change, probably, to some degree, because he is willing to speak out and make some risky decisions. To bow to the OUS agenda, which, frankly, isn’t necessarily aligned with the goals of the UO, would have been cowardly. To resist change would have been cowardly. He spoke up. And, yes, perhaps, he acted up. We should all have the strength to do the same.

  60. Anonymous says:

    The commenter who defends the board’s decision is representing an indefensible cause. Lariviere a coward? Unethical? What nonsense. His job was to advocate for his university to the maximum, and then some; that’s what creates excellence. The board’s job is to be big enough to understand that sometimes presidents will step out of line. In a mature system, that’s not a firing offense, but an opportunity to reassess collective goals. Boards don’t experience “trauma,” but universities do. What you’re seeing now is trauma.

    As so many people have written here, the OUS board is committed only to mediocrity. I left the UO ten+ years ago because it had no culture of excellence. The list of people who departed for the same reason in the Frohnmayer years amounted to a hundred or more. In my years at the UO no one ever talked about Berkeley or UW as peer institutions; the institutionally organized evaluations of our departments routinely compared us to departments at universities manifestly of a lesser category than UO (the University of Louisiana at Lafayette?) with not a peep of disagreement from Lorraine Davis, Joe Stone, Russ Tomlin, or any of the senior administration. I knew I was out of UO when I asked the president which peer institutions he thought we should keep our eyes on, and he replied “the University of Phoenix”–a diploma mill.

    Well, you have bought mediocrity at an exorbitant price, and now you are reaping the consequences. If this firing stands, no one of any distinction will accept the job of president of UO for a generation.

  61. Anonymous says:

    I for one won’t be signing any petition to keep him when he has done NOTHING to make my or my other classified workers life or paycheck stronger. He fought for raises for people who already make $100,000 or more, yet the ones who really get dirty and cook, clean,landscape-paint, really make the campus tic, HE DID NOT HAS NOT WILL NOT SUPPORT US. For the working person it does NOT matter who is in that seat.

  62. Anonymous says:

    The reason that the HAT could not give the classified workers a raise is because it was NOT up to him. We have a B^!!$h!) “union” to “fight”(rollover) for our money and benefits. We as UO classified workers need to form out own “union” call it SEIU 541 and bargain with the UO. When we bargain as a group with the rest of the OOZE(OUS) institutions, we get screwed. The UO can afford bigger salaries and better benefits. SOU, WOU, EOU, and PSU cannot, and all those school drag us down. After we get the HAT rehired, we need to separate and form our own UO bargaining unit. With Franny gone, this will be more of an option. Seems to me it was the HAT who was giving overtime shifts to us to make up for the previous round of furloughs. Which was in direct defiance of the previous Gov.

    Ditch Franny and OOZE, get the HAT back, get our own union and the we (UO) will succeed on a massive scale.

  63. Anonymous says:

    “HE DID NOT HAS NOT WILL NOT SUPPORT US. For the working person” — this is just not true. In the last biennium he gave classified staff the opportunity to make up every bit of furlough with overtime, and many of us did so. That’s one reason OUS wants him out. Be fair here!

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