Kevin Kiley of IHE has the story, read it it all:
“[The Oregon state board] can say, ‘For the good of the system, the matter is closed,’ “ Kyr said. “But it can’t say ‘We did this for the good of the university’ without extensive prior consultation with the faculty, which was missing with the firing of President Lariviere.” Unlike Virginia, where faculty members could argue that the board’s decision was in fact bad for the campus, which they arguably understood well, Oregon faculty members were not given enough essential information to discuss statewide priorities, Kyr said. In fact, one of the criticisms of some state officials was that Lariviere was so focused on his campus — to the delight of professors there — that he didn’t understand the larger state context.
But the faculty’s success at the University of Texas, which also has a systemwide board and no campus governing board, shows that the Oregon faculty’s failure cannot entirely be attributed to that.
Others say that Lariviere might not have had the same kind of support among faculty members that Powers and Sullivan enjoyed. Friedman, who worked with Lariviere when the latter was dean of the College of Liberal Arts at UT-Austin, said Lariviere had a tendency to alienate faculty members. During his tenure at Oregon, Lariviere angered faculty members by failing to get athletics spending under control.
Others chalk up the Oregon faculty’s failure to the fact that the faculty simply wasn’t as organized and cohesive as at the other universities. Unlike Virginia and Texas, the Oregon faculty doesn’t have a single unified body to represents its interests. The University Senate includes students and university staff, not just faculty, and thus represents a broader range of interests. The Oregon vote also took place around Thanksgiving, when many faculty members weren’t paying close attention to university news.
Kyr said that the leadership debate, and the ensuing search for a new university president, was an opportunity for the chancellor, the state board, and the faculty to discuss the proper role of faculty in governance. He said that the Presidential Search Committee included diverse faculty voices, and that the selection of University of California at Irvine provost Michael R. Gottfredson as the new president reflects an emphasis on shared governance. “I’m confident that if new problems arise, we now have the means for achieving better communication through consultation and through new forms of collaboration between the university, the Chancellor, and the state system,” Kyr said.
Many say the Oregon faculty’s failure in the leadership debate helps explain why the faculty, in January, began the process to create a faculty union, a relatively rare occurrence at major research universities in recent decade. The faculty approved the union in March. “At Oregon, I don’t think there was a sufficiently organized, unified voice of the faculty, which is one years the University of Oregon faculty are now being unionized,” Snyder said.
I’d say Lariviere lost because he pissed off and embarrassed the governor with the raises – particularly the administrative ones, like for Bean and his BMW. Other than the raises, he was not particularly popular with the faculty – until we had to make a choice between him and Pernsteiner!
As to why we got a union, it had more to do with the years of faculty neglect and incompetent administration than Lariviere’s firing. Look at the student faculty ratio, the cuts in F and A rates, mismanagement in many (most?) important administrative departments, repeated no-search appointments of old friends, expensive special deals for retiring administrators like Moseley, Frohnmayer, etc. And Lariviere left Jim Bean and Frances Dyke in charge of the day to day, which didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Bean’s sabbatical – another slap in the face. Then the interim President, Bob Berdahl, turned out to be a petty tyrant in thrall to Dave Frohnmayer of all people, who spent a lot of time trying to weaken faculty governance. The union won because enough faculty reluctantly decided we could run the place better than they could. We will see if that’s true.