Dennis Galvan is new VP or AVP or whatever of Undergraduate Studies

Dennis Galvan (Poli Sci) is the new head of Undergraduate Studies. I know I’ve said a few unkind things about Dennis in the past, but that was only because I knew he was a better man than Ali Bongo deserved. UGS is the right job for him. I’m not being sarcastic. If you don’t trust me and want to read some bullshit about this change in leadership, Tobin Klinger’s got it on Around the O.

Tranegram: Galvan and Freinkel

Galvan confirmed as permanent Ambassador to Gabon, Freinkel as VP for UGS. Nothing yet on HC Dean.

Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost - University of Oregon

7-17-13 Interim Provost’s Message


Scott ColtraneScott Coltrane
As I step into my new role as Interim Senior Vice President and Provost, I am delighted to announce the appointments of Dennis Galvan as Vice Provost for International Affairs and Lisa Freinkel as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies.  Both Dennis and Lisa were appointed through internal searches.
Dennis Galvan, a professor of Political Science and International Studies, served the UO as Vice Provost for International Affairs for the past 18 months in an interim capacity and has now been named to a regular appointment. Dennis has been at the UO since 2001. He was the director and department head of International Studies from 2005-09, chair of the African Studies Committee from 2004-08 and director of the Ethnic Studies Program from 2003-04. He has done extensive fieldwork in West Africa, especially Senegal, and in Central Java, Indonesia. He was a Fulbright Fellow in Senegal from 2009-10.
Dennis is also the co-founder and co-director of the Global Oregon Initiative, which will form the core of the new Global Studies Institute within the Office of International Affairs. I am certain that Dennis’s extensive background and research in international affairs will help the UO to expand its global outreach.
Lisa Myobun Freinkel is an associate professor of English and Comparative Literature and has served as head of Comparative Literature since 2004. She has been at the UO since 1995. Her innovation in teaching has been recognized with both an Ersted award and a Williams Fellowship. Lisa created Comparative Literature’s “translation pedagogy” program in 2005. Her current research explores the notions of “mind” and “mindfulness” in liberal education.
Lisa’s publications include Reading Shakespeare’s Will: The Theology of Figure from Augustine to the Sonnets, and articles on a variety of topics including Kantian critique, psychoanalysis and early modern encounters with Buddhist Asia. Lisa’s impressive credentials and proven track record will help raise the bar for all UO instruction.
Please join me in congratulating Dennis and Lisa on their appointments.
Scott Coltrane
Interim Senior Vice President and Provost
University of Oregon
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The University of Oregon is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Galvan to explain Gabon

5/16/2013: Dear colleagues:

I invite you to a presentation by Dr. Dennis Galvan, who is a finalist for the position of Vice Provost for International Affairs. Dr. Galvan’s application materials (letter and cv) will be available for your review on Monday, May 20,  at He will give his public presentation on Thursday, May 23, from 3:30-5:00 in the Oak Room at the EMU. A survey for providing feedback to the Provost on this candidate will also be available at the link mentioned above. Please join me and the search committee at this important event.
Barbara Altmann
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Shame on U of Oregon, Citoyens!

I try to keep this blog focused on sleazy administrators, football scams, and transparency. But every now and then something a bit more consequential comes up. From the comments on a UO Gabon post:

Citoyen Libre Gabon Sunday, 02 December, 2012 

University of Oregon just accepted a gift of $20M from Gabon! As a gabonese citizen, this is a shameful decision by a university in the US profiting from poor people of Gabon. In my country, infants die for anecdotal deseases and women still give birth on the floor because the kelptocratic, corrupt and dictatorial president in power is robbing the country! How can a state university in the US accept to deal with crooks? How can money be so more important than people? The US is supporting a dictator that people of Gabon never elected; a man who imposed himself as president with support of France and US (in some extend). 

This an insult to the people of Gabon struggling for justice and democracy and also to survive, even if their country is rich with all sort of natural resources. U of Oregon students should ask their leaders to give them answers about why they are dealing with a dictator from Gabon! 

Again, shame on U of Oregon!

And read the comments here. I’ve asked President Gottfredson and UO’s Interim VP for Academic Affairs Dennis Galvan, who helped negotiate the Gabon deal under Lariviere, if they care to respond. I’ll post it here if they do.

Our university now has a foreign policy. And I don’t think it’s one that would have made Ben Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, Woody Guthrie, Franklin Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, or Bill Clinton proud. Nixon and Kissinger would have loved it though. 12/2/2012.

UO ally Gabon drops French over corruption investigation

10/14/2012: Longtime readers may recall the bizarre alliance between Richard Lariviere and Ali Bongo Ondimba, the “President” of Gabon. UO was supposed to get $20 million from Gabon – Dennis Galvan helped set this up and is now in charge. The latest from Gabon is that Bongo has decided overnight to switch the national language to English, in a fit of pique at the new French government’s efforts to investigate what he’s been buying with the money he’s been stealing from his people:

Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba — like his father, El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba, who served as the country’s president from 1967 to 2009 — has been accused of embezzling billions of dollars from the nation’s treasury to purchase luxury items for himself and his family. Looking into Bongo family’s assets, French investigators said they have uncovered “the cave of Ali Baba,” including a portfolio of 33 luxury properties and 70 different bank accounts.

UO and Gabon: Twin Edens

2/6/2012: From the Guardian:

In an unprecedented move, three serving African leaders and their families are under investigation in Paris over whether they embezzled state funds to acquire vast assets in France including bank accounts, Riviera villas and fleets of luxury cars.

The clan of Gabon‘s late leader Omar Bongo and its current leader, his son Ali Bongo; the Congo-Brazzaville leader, Denis Sassou-Nguesso and his family, and President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea and his clan are accused of having assets worth €160m in France, from penthouses and villas to scores of bank accounts and luxury car fleets. 

Qaddafi and the LSE, Bongo and UO

10/30/2011: Many of the comments on the appointment of Dennis Galvan as VP for IA are somewhat supportive. I don’t trust Dennis Galvan because of the way he handled the deal between UO and Gabon this summer.

Galvan and Lariviere signed UO to a deal with Gabon based on some pap about sustainability and “Twin Edens” without any public discussion. Then they refused to share documents on the deal until I went to Attorney General Kroger. Then they only sent me part of the agreement. Dennis wouldn’t answer questions. I had to go back to get the rest – which was substantially different than what is described in the press release. What a surprise. I suppose I should be glad that UO’s President didn’t retaliate against me for sticking my nose into his business, or send some big guys to knock on my door. It’s all the same though – you will stop asking so many questions, Professor.

What’s not to like about a secret deal with a famously corrupt government? It’s not like this is Libya. Well, actually ….

Reuters has a long story here on the repercussions and lawsuits coming out of the London School of Economics’s secret agreements with Libya. And here’s a link to a fascinating interview with Ali Bongo, – within days of the UO ceremony, and apparently done as a requirement of his meeting with President Obama. Question #1 is about his ties to Qaddafi. He looks like he is going to have the reporter taken out and shot – then he remembers he’s sitting in Blair House, being videotaped, and that the reporter is from VOA. In the end he gives a remarkably credible answer:

In all fairness to Lariviere and Galvan, the US State department now says Ali Bongo is apparently shaping up to be a reformer, and better than you’d expect for a defacto President for Life with dictatorial powers. But remember when Condoleezza Rice said that about Gaddafi? Whoops. Here’s a more credible ABC news report on Ali Bongo: Grand Theft Nation

There are lots of places around the world were you can’t ask questions. I don’t think a US university – my university – should be one of them. Tempting offers like the one Galvan went for in Gabon are going to come up all the time. Bad regimes want to buy legitimacy, and universities like ours still have some available. Look for example at the PRC Confucius Institutes. So what’s Galvan going to do next time? Given the way his appointment was handled, the faculty didn’t even get a chance to ask him that question. What a lesson for UO to be teaching the students of Gabon. At least I’m sure we won’t be the first people to kill off a bit of their idealism.

Dennis Galvan appointed interim VP for International Affairs.

There were (at least) two credible internal candidates. President Lariviere went with the one who was willing to go to Gabon and prove he had no spine. As with other recent appointments there was no legitimate search committee, hence Galvan will take office without any buy-in from the people he is supposed to lead or from the faculty he is supposed to work with. What kind of person would want the job without that? This lesson will not be lost on good, qualified potential senior administrators – they will try another university.

Oct. 28, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Dennis Galvan has agreed to serve as vice provost for the University of Oregon’s Office of International Affairs, following the departure of current Vice Provost Denis Simon on Dec. 31.

Dennis Galvan is tremendously well-qualified to lead the university’s international initiatives – an area that has been identified as being of critical importance to the UO and the state of Oregon. Dennis has been a professor in international studies and political science at the UO for 10 years. He has served as head of the International Studies Department, and co-director with Craig Parsons of the UO’s Global Oregon Initiative – a university-wide effort to promote internationalization.

In addition to his teaching and administrative work at the UO, Dennis has compiled a deep real-world resume with periodic field work in West Africa since 1986 and in Central Java, Indonesia, since 1999, and ongoing initiatives in France and Korea. His research interests include sustainability, the politics of culture and political legitimation.

Dennis will begin his duties as vice provost on a part-time basis Nov. 15, and then transition to full-time Jan. 1, for the remainder of an appointment period ending June 30, 2013.  During the 2012-13 academic year, a nationwide search will be conducted to permanently fill the position. 

Denis Simon informed me recently that he would be leaving the UO at the end of this year due to a combination of health-related and family considerations. He has reorganized the Office of International Affairs while serving as vice provost for the past year, and leaves it well-positioned for continued leadership in study abroad and international student and scholar services.

We make this appointment confident that Professor Galvan will maintain and build on recent momentum in the international arena. We consider it especially important to create more regular, robust and mutually rewarding linkages between the Office of International Affairs and the international initiatives of schools, colleges, departments and research centers. To that end, we support the conceptual vision for an over-arching Center for International Affairs, housed in the Office of International Affairs, working to integrate global research centers, strategic initiatives and related undertakings. We expect that Dennis Galvan will be consulting widely with relevant stakeholders across campus to develop an appropriate plan.

I felt it was important to move quickly in naming an acting vice provost during a period of great international opportunities for the university. Dennis Galvan will provide a seamless transition in our programs and initiatives – including next June’s meeting at the UO of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities presidents.

Please join me in welcoming Dennis to his new role.

-Lorraine Davis, Acting Senior Vice President and Provost

one on one with Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon

6/28/2011: From the Voice of America. I didn’t realize they had survived the end of the cold war. The videos are just fascinating, and not simple. Great questions, some plausible answers, tough followups. Impressive on both sides. A lesson for US reporters. But keep thinking about his $140 million Paris hotel particulier as you listen. He’s not a dictator, he’s a thief. But he’s in it for the long haul, and knows it’s more profitable to loot a strong economy than a weak one.

Recorded at Blair House, where Lariviere signed the UO agreement with him. (Which Phil Weiler, Dennis Galvan, and John Manotti still will not show me, yet.):
corruption – at 5:44
UN security council, Libya
His Dad was Quadaffi’s best friend.”Quadaffi was your mentor, no?”
5:00: In 20 years, maybe Gabon will be an emerging economy. Diversify economy. Educate people.
9:00 Not true that life expectancy is 48 years. I will reorganize government statistics bureau!
Q: Why haven’t you built hospitals instead?
Education. Preparing 5 year plan. Better supply and demand discussion than I’ve heard from Pernsteiner.
Q: “It’s not like what Abraham Lincoln said about democracy. You run a government of some people, for some people”.
Bongo gets a little testy here. “I have tried to reach out …”
You are lucky you work for the American government, my friend, or  …

I wonder if submitting to this VOA interview was part of the ground rules to get the Obama invitation. It’s in English, so obviously not for Gabonese consumption. Still, it’s an impressive performance – especially compared to his mentor, Quadaffi.

Gabon and the Koch Foundation

6/28/2011: The Koch Foundation’s academic grants – which come with many strings – are in the news again, Dan Berrett has an excellent piece in Insidehighered.com It concludes with this:

The best way to safeguard a university’s interests and commitment to academic freedom is to be clear about expectations up front, said Rae Goldsmith, vice president for advancement resources at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. “The gift agreement is in many ways like a prenuptial agreement,” she said. “All issues of institutional and donor control should be laid on the table. In this case, prevention is the best medicine.”

I’ve asked UO Spokesperson Phil Weiler for a copy of the agreement that UO President Lariviere and “President” Ali Bongo of Gabon signed. Phil says he doesn’t have it. So I asked Prof Dennis Galvan – who negotiated it. He’s not answering my emails. Nice start.

Oregon and Gabon and Paris

6/20/2011: Deborah Bloom of the ODE manages to extract some qualifying language from Professor Galvan on Gabon:

“It’s one thing to say we won’t do business in Africa,” Galvan said. “It’s another thing to say we are going to understand the African reality of what a change toward good governance looks like.”

Change towards good government starts with sucking up to the boss man? Who knew. But apparently the money hasn’t come through anyway –

Still to be determined is how to fund this new program. The University has long wanted to create a research program in Africa, but federal grant money has yet to come through. For now, the agreement is a memorandum of understanding, with no hard deadline for how to move forward.

“The partnership creates the parameters of what this program will look like,” Weiler said. “Now, it’s a matter of finding the resources to make it happen.”

Maybe those resources are still tied up in Paris?

More on Gabon

6/15/2011: UO Matters’s foreign correspondents have been hard at work on the UO Gabon partnership. Turns out the US Ambassador Eric Benjaminson is a UO alum and football fan – pretty sure he’s not talking soccer.

Finalement, c’est un réel plaisir de vous présenter le Dr. Dennis Galvan et John Manotti, nos deux visiteurs de l’Université de l’Orégon, dans le nord ouest des Etats-Unis. C’est une satisfaction personnelle parce que l’Université de l’Orégon apporte avec eux des projets importants. Cette Université a été ma maison pendant quatre ans en tant qu’étudiant, elle a presque gagné le championnat universitaire de football cette année, et elle abrite également des initiatives d’études mondiales qui touchent aujourd’hui toutes les tranches de la société civile Gabonaise.

Unsurprisingly, our State Department’s support for President Ali Bongo, son of the previous President for Life, is controversial:

Dear Madam Secretary of State:

The Gabonese Community residing in the United States is asking for the immediate sacking of Eric Benjaminson, currently serving as U.S. Ambassador to Gabon. We are also asking that the United States stands with the Gabonese people to reject the Bongo regime as illegitimate, and demands the resignation of Ali Bongo Ondimba. For these reasons, we will be demonstrating at the State Department on Feb. 8, 2011, at 9:30am.

The Gabonese Community residing in the Unites States, many of whom are Gabonese-Americans, is stunned and perplexed by the January 28 statement by Eric Benjaminson asserting that the United States are officially and fully recognizing Ali Bongo Ondimba as the legitimate president of the Republic of Gabon. We are also shocked by his recommendation that the Gabonese people should abide by the Gabonese law and constitution.

The first question that comes to mind is: what law and what constitution are the Gabonese people supposed to really abide by? Does the Ambassador really mean the law and constitution that have allowed the Bongo family to rule by dictate over the Gabonese republic for more than 43 years, and which have presided over, and comforted, the unconstitutional practice of rigged and unfair elections in Gabon while confiscating the Gabonese presidency for the same family for 43 years?

And why should the Gabonese people be urged to abide by such abusive and dehumanizing laws when the United States’ own Declaration of Independence, which enshrines the right for oppressed people to overthrow their government, stipulates that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  …

From Professor Daniel Mengara of the opposition group “Bongo doit partir”.

It’s never good when it takes other people to remind us of our principles. What do you think the chances are we will have a real debate about this on campus before cashing President Bongo’s check? Will Professor Galvan use the funds from this new partnership to invite members of the opposition such as Professor Mengara to come to UO and speak?