Remember the Hat Day: November 21

I think nostalgia for Lariviere peaked under Mike Gottfredson, and has fallen to historical lows under Mike Schill. Here’s the post from 2015, with a few updates:

Break out your hats and mark the day. On November 21st 2011, three four five six years and four five UO presidents ago, OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner and Board Chair Matt Donegan came down to UO with their ultimatum and told Lariviere to resign, for trying to implement his “New Partnership” plan to combine $1B in state bonds and $800M in private donations to create a sustainable funding model for UO, run by an independent UO Board. The endowment income would have, in theory, produced enough income to more than replace the state’s annual appropriations, and have allowed UO to keep in-state tuition low.

He also ignored the governor’s call for a pay freeze, and passed out a round of secret raises to faculty and staff. Lariviere refused to leave, so they fired him, on instructions from Governor Kitzhaber. Nigel Jaquiss broke the news on the 22nd.

Six years later, where are the principals in this sad event?

UO President Richard Lariviere: Now president of Chicago’s Field Museum, and apparently well on his way to completing a turnaround of that troubled institution.

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Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber: Resigned after getting caught trying to destroy his email archives, and found guilty of violations of Oregon ethics law.

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OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner: Still living at Treetops and using Oregon students’ tuition money to pay for his kids’ maid service. Just kidding, the croissant chancellor went on to a $300K sinecure as president of SHEEO, a little known non-profit higher ed policy group in Colorado. He’s now retired from that, and is on the board at Bridgeport, a scandal ridden for-profit university system.

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OUS Board Chair Matt Donegan: After a very nasty divorce he sold his timber business, then sent out some feelers on restarting his political career. The response was not good, and he’s dropped out of public life to work on counting his money.

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(Bridget Burns and Chuck Triplett at the 2011 Mac Court meeting.)

OUS Board Secretary Chuck Triplett: Triplett’s role in setting up the secret discussions that led to the board’s decision to fire Lariviere may never be fully known, unless I can get my hands on the OUS digital email archives. Meanwhile he has parlayed his $72K job for Pernsteiner into a $130K job for UO, and then a promotion from Scott Coltrane. All without an affirmative action compliant search. He’s currently JH liason to the UO Senate – an appointment made without consulting the Senate with which he is supposed to liase. He’s currently UO liason to the HECC, the putative replacement to OUS.

Pernsteiner’s Chief of Staff Bridget Burns: She and Triplett were quite the team. After OUS collapsed she set up a consulting business, which just got a $9.8M grant from the DoE. According to her website,

… she led the successful legislative effort to free Oregon’€™s seven universities from state agency status, for which she received the national award for innovation in government relations from colleagues spanning the national higher education landscape at AASCU, APLU, AACC, and CASE.

Wow, and to think Mark Haas and Mike Gottfredson have been claiming all the credit for SB 270.

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UO Senate President, Protector and Defender of the University, Slayer of Chancellors, and Professor of Music Robert Kyr: “Mr. Pernsteiner, answer the question as a human being would answer it.”

Kyr is now back at his regular job, composing and teaching music theory.

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11 Responses to Remember the Hat Day: November 21

  1. Old Man says:

    During his presidency, The Hat engaged in serious negotiations with a Senate Committee charged with creating a Constitution that would restore the Faculty’s historic role in university governance. As I recall, the work was completed prior to Pernsteiner and Donnegan’s visit to campus on November 21, 2011. On December 7, the Faculty Assembly unanimously endorsed the Constitution and on the 15th, Lariviere ratified it and its companion document, the Policy on Policies. These two documents ensure that the Faculty’s voice is heard in all matters of academic concern. I hereby request that, on December 15 of each year, UOMatters will remind us of the historic significance of “Constitution Day.”

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    • uomatters says:

      Old Man, you are hereby instructed to prepare a complete report on the history of the UO Constitution and Policy on Policies, of between 2000 and 10000 words (excluding footnotes and bibliography) by no later than Dec 7th, 2015, the 4th anniversary of “UO Constitution Day”.

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  2. Anas clypeata says:

    I was there. Kyr was in top form. He was the only person who came out of the whole debacle smelling like anything but manure.

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  3. Patrick Phillips says:

    The blog that I started to track and respond to these events is apparently still up and running (I haven’t looked at it in years).

    Here’s one quote that I noted: “The scars that may remain for years to come depend heavily on the actions of the next few days”

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  4. thedude says:

    Just think if how much Schill would be endeared if he would say anything about bringing salary up to peers as a key priority.

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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      I think the measure should be total compensation, salary + benefits. This is kind of hard to ascertain, because e.g. there are at least 3 different pension tiers, and there are also the PERS opt-out versions. It is hard to know especially in the case of Tier 1 faculty just how much the pension benefit is currently worth. But it is almost certainly worth a hell of a lot. That has to be taken into account.

      For the Tier 3 people, it is more straightforward.

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  5. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Another person who should probably be in the cast of dramatis personae: Phil Knight.

    He and UO under the Hat dreamed up the plan where the state would replace its annual subsidy with a one-time $800 million endowment. Phil would have matched it with $800 million more. This was independent of any later gift, e.g. the new Knight Campus.

    The state under Kitzhaber basically told Phil to forget it. $800 million for Oregon higher education, and they told him to shove off!

    At the time of the Hat’s firing, Phil made a great remark about Oregon committing assisted suicide.

    Imagine: UO with $1.6 billion in additional endowment, no more subsidy for the in-state students. More money, more independence. The state flipped it off.

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  6. What? says:

    What kind of person tries to jump start their career by sitting on the higher education board of a bottom wrung state?

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  7. Miss the Hat says:

    I miss The Hat every day. We’d be a very different, and much more student-focused, institution if he was still here.

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