UO commemorates 3rd annual Gottfredson Day by not suing him for legal fees

8/9/2017:  Three years ago yesterday the UO Board of Trustees paid President Mike Gottfredson $940K to leave town immediately. Half up front, the rest within two weeks. In exchange, Gottfredson released UO from all liability related to his brief and disastrous employment as UO President and agreed to pay his own attorney costs, etc:

I’m no Harvard law professor, but I think it’s the $940K that makes that a legally enforceable contract, not just a promise:

 

But will UO enforce it?

As reported in this Jack Moran story in the RegisterGuard last month, after winning dismissal of the federal court case by the three former Dana Altman basketball players and alleged rapists who had argued that UO and Gottfredson had illegally ruined their basketball careers by kicking them off the team and campus without due process, the UO General Counsel’s office announced that they would sue the players for legal costs:

The University of Oregon is seeking reimbursement of nearly $53,000 in attorney fees and court costs from three former Ducks basketball players who sued the UO after being kicked out of school following a rape investigation in 2014.

The university on Friday filed a motion for fees and costs in U.S. District Court. The move comes nearly two months after a federal judge dismissed civil lawsuits brought by the players, who were banned from campus for up to 10 years but did not face criminal charges after a female student accused them of sexual assault.

In the request for reimbursement, lawyers for the UO characterize the lawsuits — filed by Brandon Austin, Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson — as frivolous and unreasonable.

“The university rarely seeks prevailing party fees,” the motion states. “But in this case, plaintiffs pursued claims that lacked any reasonable basis in law or fact, which forced the university to waste considerable public resources.” …

Seems iffy, unless of course you’re one of the Miller Nash Graham & Dunn attorneys that UO is paying by the hour at $350 per. In contrast the contract with Gottfredson is pretty clear cut. So why won’t the UO General Counsel’s office unleash Miller Nash et al to take Mike Gottfredson to court over his share of the Austin et al legal fees?

I don’t know, but there are many more details in the court docket here, including plenty of expensive conversations with “Dr. Gottfredson” in the detailed billing records:

8/8/2016: UO to mark 2nd Gottfredson Day with traditional appearance in Federal Court

[Remember the Hat Day is November 21].

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Mike Gottfredson 2nd highest paid public Univ administrator for 2015

So he should be able to pay UO back for his legal defense, right? Andrew Theen has the report in the Oregonian, based on the latest Chronicle data:

Michael Gottfredson, a former University of Oregon president, received more than $1.2 million in compensation during the 2014-15 school year, making him the second-highest paid administrator in the country. …

10/31/2015: Will UO make Gottfredson pay lawyers for Austin v. UO et al.?

His separation agreement says that we paid him $940K in return for him releasing UO

“from any liability for any claims, losses, damages, liabilities, or other obligations (including attorneys’ fees and costs actually incurred) of whatever kind, in law or in equity, statutory or at common law, known or unknown, arising out of or in any way connected to his employment with or separation from employment with the university.”

Seems pretty bullet-proof to me. Good for Chuck Lillis for putting it in there. But I wonder if UO will enforce it? The danger to UO would be that independent Gott lawyers might prefer to try to stick the blame for any errors in how Austin was treated on, say, previous UO General Counsel Randy Geller, or previous interim GC Doug Park, or VPSA Robin Holmes, or AD Rob Mullens, etc. In any case discovery is certainly going to be interesting.

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Baylor fires Ken Starr after mandatory prayer policy fails to end rapes

It’s the usual big-time college sports story: the athletes were raping undergrads, and the coach and president were doing their best to cover it up.

The WaPo has a report here. Baylor’s faith-based sexual assault policy doesn’t seem to have worked out so well for the survivors:

Pray for the wisdom of our leaders as they shape efforts to prevent interpersonal violence and care for survivors of sexual assault.

I Timothy 2:1-2: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for…all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.

But I’ll guess that Baylor’s board of trustees will pay President Ken Starr plenty to leave “in godliness and dignity.” The UO board spent $940K to get rid of Mike Gottfredson. Getting rid of Ken Starr has to be worth twice that.

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More students punished for sexual assault are winning in court

11/5/2015:

Jake New has the analysis in InsideHigherEd. The start:

Last week, Brandon Austin, a former college basketball player, filed a lawsuit against the University of Oregon for $7.5 million, arguing that administrators there violated his rights when they suspended him over his alleged involvement in a gang rape.

Austin was able to transfer to a community college and play basketball there last season, but has since left to (so far, unsuccessfully) pursue a professional basketball career. In the lawsuit, Austin claims that the punishment caused him emotional distress and lessened his chances of one day playing in the National Basketball Association. His case joins more than 50 other pending lawsuits filed by men who say they were unfairly kicked off campus after being accused of sexual assault.

If filed last year, Austin’s lawsuit would have seemed like a long shot, especially as the athlete had been accused of sexual assault at another institution before he enrolled at Oregon. But accused students suing the institutions that suspended or expelled them are now increasingly winning those lawsuits, including at least four cases in the last four months. …

10/30/2015 Klinger: Unfortunate that Mr. Austin has decided to defend his rights

Kyle Wizner has the latest in the Daily Emerald. UO Duck Advocate Tobin Klinger:

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Austin has decided to pursue this type of lawsuit, and we intend to vigorously defend the university. We’re confident Mr. Austin was afforded fair and consistent due process that fully complied with the university’s legal obligations. We cannot provide further comment because this is pending litigation,”

Of course if UO was trying to nail a professor, archivist, counseling psychologist, or cop, or just destroy their reputation, Klinger would be happy to provide a lot more comment. Or even hold a news conference or two, if he thought it would help his boss:

10/29/2015: Brandon Austin sues UO, Mike Gottfredson, Robin Holmes, etc. for $7.5M

Not exactly a surprise. Tyson Alger in the Oregonian. A snippet:

Former Oregon men’s basketball player Brandon Austin is seeking $7.5 million in damages in a lawsuit against the University of Oregon, former president Michael R. Gottfredson and three others.

The 18-page lawsuit, filed Thursday in Lane County Circuit Court, alleges that the university, the former president, UO director of Student Conduct & Community Standards Sandy Weintraub, assistant dean of students Chicora Martin and vice president of student life Robin Holmes, violated Austin’s rights by unfairly suspending him and not providing due process, among other things.

In the suit, Austin claims personal and professional harm, emotional distress, a lesser chance of playing in the NBA, and loss of future income following his dismissal from the university in June 2014 following a sexual assault allegation against him and two teammates in the spring of 2014. The suit, filed by attorneys Alan C. Milstein of New Jersey and Marianne Dugan of Eugene, claims Austin “committed no sexual assault.”

Charges were never filed against Austin and teammates Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson. All three players were dismissed from the university and barred from campus for at least four years, and up to 10, in June 2014.

The alleged sexual assault took place in the early hours of March 9, 2014, as players and students celebrated the Ducks’ victory against No. 3 Arizona in the regular-season finale. Five weeks later, in April, the Lane Country District Attorney declined to charge Austin, Dotson and Artis, citing “conflicting statements and actions by the victim” while acknowledging that the Eugene Police Department’s investigation revealed there was nonetheless “no doubt the incidents occurred.” …

Brandon Austin’s full complaint is here. What did former UO General Counsel Randy Geller and his Associate GC Doug Park know, and when did they know it? I have the feeling we’re going to find out:

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“Refused to provide unredacted reports?” I’m shocked that Mr. Austin would claim that UO would do this. Shocked.

Brandon Austin’s attorney’s are local lawyer Marianne Dugan and NJ lawyer Alan C. Milstein, a noted expert on the sperm donor industry. Really.

His favorite words are “preeminent”, “prominent”, and “prestigious:

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Ms Dugan’s website is here:

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Reporter makes public records request for all Gottfredson emails

That’s the latest rumor. I don’t see the request in Dave Hubin’s PR log, but that often omits requests that might lead to embarrassing disclosures. Here’s hoping that in addition to the 7K emails from his pres and mgott accounts at UO, they also requested any emails from his UCI and personal accounts dealing with UO business. While Gottfredson was famously reluctant to use his official UO email address, these emails should cover some very interesting episodes in UO history, including

  1. Gottfredson’s negotiations over the UO Board legislation SB270, including efforts by Gott and the UO Foundation to cut faculty representation,
  2. nominations of UO Trustees (remember Gott’s bizarre effort to come up with names?),
  3. his communications with Bob Berdahl about the Board, the faculty union negotiations, etc.,
  4. his dealings with Michael Glazier and Bond Schoeneck and King over the Kelly/Lyles NCAA investigation,
  5. the beginnings of UO’s branding boondoggle,
  6. his efforts to subvert UO’s Academic Freedom and shared governance during the union negotiations and then with the Senate Freedom Committee,
  7. his failed efforts to cover up the basketball rape allegations until Dana Altman could quietly pass his players off on other universities,
  8. Gottfredson’s efforts to recruit placid, inexperienced members for his “Independent Task Force on Sexual Violence”.

Where are Mike Gottfredson and Bob Berdahl on the rape allegations now?

We all know Mike’s $940K richer, and that he’s technically on the books at UC-Irvine as a Criminology professor for $240K a year. But what’s he really doing?

My guess is that he’s topping off that $240K with some serious AAU money – in the spirit of his mentor Bob Berdahl – to help develop the AAU’s new “Campus Climate” survey on sexual assault. This apparently became an AAU priority at their meeting in April, a month or so after Gottfredson (and Berdahl?) learned of the UO basketball rape allegations.

Frankly, it’s hard to imagine anything that would do more to destroy the AAU’s credibility on this issue than getting Gottfredson and Berdahl involved. But here’s the report from AAU President Hunter Rawlings, apparently posted by mistake on Gottfredson’s website, here: (Yes, the yellow hilites are in the original.)

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Doug Blandy switches sides on union

9/25/2014 update:The faculty union had lunch today with the new faculty hires. They were in the middle of their orientation, which ends tonight with a BBQ in the Alumni Center. I remember Frohnmayer used to invite the new faculty to McMorran house – not sure when that tradition ended. Anyway, from what I could tell most of the new faculty signed cards, and they reported that the administrators who had talked to them – Barbara Altman, Ken Doxsee, and Doug Blandy – were uniformly positive about the union’s influence on UO. Blandy even sat there at the table as the union reps collected cards from the new hires. Quite the switch from last year:

10/17/2013: Plenty of water in Gottfredson’s well – for Jim Bean

At the faculty union bargaining session on 9/6/2013, the UO administration’s chief negotiator and famed tobacco company lawyer Sharon Rudnick presented President Gottfredson’s final offer on faculty salaries, saying

“The well is dry. Hear me please. The well is dry. This is an incredibly rich offer.”

UO’s VPAA Doug Blandy sat there, nodding his head. Two weeks later the union bargaining team accepted it.

Why was the well so dry? In part because, just a week before, Blandy had signed off on this contract with former interim Provost Jim Bean, guaranteeing Bean about $1M in salary and benefits over the next three years. Dave Hubin’s public records office sat on this request for a month, until after the faculty had ratified the CBA. How’s that for good faith bargaining?

That’s on top of Bean’s odd 2010 sabbatical, and what we paid him after the Senate forced him out in February.

Bean’s new job is Associate Dean for “Experiential Learning” at the LCB. A newly created position. Sounds like a great idea – undergrad internships and so on. You might think there’d have been a job posting and an open, Affirmative Action compliant search for an important, well paid job like this – especially given UO’s troubled history with these administrative golden parachute appointments. I’ve got a public records request in. We’ll see how much Dave Hubin tries to charge for the documents.

Register-Guard editors call out Gottfredson as a timid paper-pusher

8/21/2014: I’m hoping Coltrane’s meeting with the RG editorial board goes a little better than Gottfredson’s did!

8/21/2013, here:

… And if a president proves lacking in either vision of his own or the ability to execute the vision of others, the board can replace him.

Gottfredson’s response to this new arrangement — he’ll be liberated in some ways, more accountable in others — will be telling. The board will expect, even demand, that he become more vocal in articulating the university’s mission, and leave behind the caution that can characterize presidents who are in some respects mid-level state bureaucrats. …

A bureaucrat who is afraid to even ask the faculty for input on his performance review.

Don Kahle and Austin Meek on Frohnmayer, Gottfredson, Lariviere, Lillis, Nixon, and Gleason

8/15/2014 update: RG sports columnist Austin Meek gets Dave Frohnmayer to take a little time out from his work lobbying for BP, to talk about UO and sports:

Critics would say Oregon’s sports boom came at the expense of the school’s academic reputation. Frohnmayer disagrees, saying Oregon made academic progress in spite of severe cuts in state funding.

Frohnmayer is especially emphatic about rebutting the idea that Oregon’s athletic achievements — fueled by contributions from Knight, also the school’s largest academic donor — undermined the school’s educational mission.

“The critics, who I think are either uninformed or malevolent, don’t get it,” he said.

I think Frohnmayer is either defensive or malevolent. Here’s a good Steve Duin column from the Oregonian about some of the sleazy deals he cut with Kilkenny, 2 weeks before he resigned as President in 2009. The academic side is still paying the bill.

And Don Kahle has a skeptical column on the editorial page , comparing the departures of Lariviere, Gottfredson, and Nixon:

Reporters cannot speculate about a private conversation, but columnists can. Here’s how that conversation might have gone.

Chuck Lillis: We’d like you to leave.

Michael Gottfredson: The Oregon University System extended my contract through June 2016.

CL: We could pay you for those two years.

MG: Is that a threat or a bribe?

CL: (silence)

MG: I don’t want to have to answer any questions.

CL: This will be just between you and me.

MG: My contract requires that I give 30 days’ notice.

CL: That won’t be necessary.

MG: (silence)

CL: I’ll look for your letter later today.

The Lariviere bit is even funnier. He ends by asking about the last minute Gleason appointment. I have the feeling there are going to be a lot more questions about Gleason and the FAR job. Say, doesn’t UO need Gleason’s expertise for that important bowl branding work?

8/6/2014: Gottfredson’s last act: appointing Tim Gleason as NCAA faculty rep

I think Gottfredson is technically President until the end of the day, so who knows what other last minute craziness there will be.

This reminds me of when Bob Berdahl gave Randy Geller a 3 year contract renewal, just before he left town. I doubt this will stick as long as the 2 years Randy lasted. In fact the Senate already has a motion scheduled for October for legislation to have the faculty appoint the Faculty Athletics Representative – yes I know that sounds crazy – before Gleason’s term would even start:

Date: August 6, 2014 at 5:05:05 PM PDT
To: everyone <everyone@jcomm.uoregon.edu>
Subject: [Everyone] message from Julie Newton

This message is sent on behalf of Interim Dean Julie Newton:

Dear members of the SOJC community,

As you may have seen on Around the O, Tim Gleason has been appointed by the president as the University of Oregon’s Faculty Athletics Representative. This will be a .5 FTE position. The other .5 will be as a Professor in the SOJC. Tim’s duties will include teaching, directorship of the Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism and development and implementation of the budget and plans for the SOJC 100th Anniversary Celebration in 2016. Tim will be back from sabbatical in January 2015.

With very best regards,
Julie Newton

Gottfredson’s announcement:

Dear Campus Community,

It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of former dean Tim Gleason to serve as the university’s Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR), an important position required by the NCAA.
The FAR is responsible for ensuring the academic integrity of the intercollegiate athletic program, promoting the well-being of student athletes, and supporting institutional oversight of athletics compliance and student eligibility.

The opportunity to gain experience from a 15-year dean who is nationally recognized and respected among peers in his field is wonderful for the University of Oregon.

Dr. Gleason began his career at the UO in 1987. During that that time he was awarded the School of Journalism and Communication’s Marshall Award for Innovative Teaching, published two books and many articles in law and history journals, and led the school through major growth, changes in the journalism industry and two major remodels. Since stepping down as dean he has served as a special assistant to the president and provost. Gleason’s teaching and research focus is on communication law and communication ethics. He also serves on the legislative committee of the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, on the board of directors of Open Oregon and on the Oregon Bar Press Broadcasters Council where his primary focus is on laws and regulations concerning the gathering and reporting of news.

Dr. Gleason will assume his appointment on January 1, 2015. Current FAR, Jim O’Fallon, will continue in his role until June 30, 2015 as co-FAR to facilitate a smooth transition. I again thank Dr. O’Fallon for his dedication to the university and his willingness to provide continued counsel and expertise as he transitions into retirement.

When Dr. O’Fallon announced his retirement, after more than two decades in the position, I appointed an advisory recruitment committee to oversee the search for his successor. I am grateful the excellent work of the committee members, under the leadership of chair Andy Karduna, for their thorough and thoughtful vetting of the highly qualified candidates for this critical role.

Dr. Gleason exemplifies dedication to the academic success of the university’s student-athletes, along with the ability to collaborate successfully with the varied groups the position serves. Please join me in congratulating Tim Gleason and welcoming him to his new role as Faculty Athletics Representative.

Michael Gottfredson, President

UO Pres Mike Gottfredson resigns for $940K cash, Coltrane is interim

8/9/2014 update: Christian Wihtol reports in the RG that UO was not obligated to pay Gottfredson $940K.

8/8/2014 2:30 pm update: Still a beautiful day out there.

Gottfredson’s separation agreement, here. $940K, half in cash within 5 days. Dr. Gottfredson agrees not to sue The University or its employees

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8/8/2014 update, on a beautiful Eugene summer morning:

Eric Kelderman of The Chronicle has a long (gated if off campus) report, here, and apparently written before the Board released the news that they’d paid Gottfredson $940K to leave early. It’s followed by a helpful timeline. Some excerpts:

There has long been a sense among faculty members that athletics has overshadowed the academic mission of the University of Oregon—an idea fueled by the millions of dollars spent on sports facilities by Philip H. Knight, an alumnus who is a founder of Nike. The money has helped make the athletics department financially independent of the university, according to athletics officials. But that independence has also raised questions about whether there is any accountability for how the department is run.

That has played out in recent years as the success of the university’s athletics teams, financially and in competition, has been frequently marred by scandals involving players, coaches, and administrators, producing plenty of presidential agita.

… But at the root of much of this is still the fear, expressed in a 2007 newspaper opinion article signed by 92 faculty members, that the university was gambling with its academic future to become “a minor-league training ground for elite athletes.”

That article dates to the tenure of David B. Frohnmayer, who led the university from 1994 to 2009. Mr. Frohnmayer was a popular former state attorney general and gubernatorial candidate. But his leadership spurred harsh criticism from some faculty members who blamed him for what they saw as a decline in the university’s academic quality.

Mr. Lariviere, on the other hand, was largely praised by professors and seen as someone who was looking out for the interests of the instructional staff. …

One of [Gottfredson’s] most outspoken critics, William Harbaugh, a professor of economics who runs an influential blog about university matters, has maintained a steady drumbeat of criticism against Mr. Gottfredson.

“There were the botched administrative hires, the pointlessly contentious relations with the faculty over academic freedom, and the union contract and the secrecy about the basketball rape allegations,” Mr. Harbaugh said in an email on Thursday.

Robert Kyr, the president of the University Senate and a professor of music, said Mr. Gottfredson had “served during one of the most difficult times in the history of our university.”

Mr. Kyr also praised Mr. Gottfredson for working with the legislature and the university system to create an independent Board of Trustees—”the most significant part of the vision that was articulated by his predecessor, Richard Lariviere.”

This year the university did gain the independence Mr. Lariviere had pushed for when a state law, supported by Mr. Gottfredson, created a new Board of Trustees to govern the institution.

But it was, apparently, that same body that has now pushed Mr. Gottfredson to resign, said Mr. Harbaugh. “Our new board is doing the right thing,” he said, “by getting rid of a failed president as quickly as possible.”

Mr. Kyr, for his part, is focusing on the future, with the board’s announcement that Scott Coltrane, the university’s provost, will take over as interim president. “His appointment is a sign of the stability and strength of the institution, and a vote of confidence from the board in our longstanding tradition of shared governance,” Mr. Kyr wrote in an email.

KEZI has some video from the board meeting here.

8/7/2014 10:00 pm update: Reports from “credentialed reporters” roll in:

Troy Brynelson and Alex Cremer in the Emerald (Dominic Allen photo):

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[Unclear what noted tobacco company lawyer Sharon Rudnick is so smiley about, but it sure makes me worry about Coltrane’s future.]

Diane Dietz in the RG:

Former University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson is leaving the university entirely — giving up a tenured faculty position — in exchange for $940,000, according to an agreement finalized on Thursday.

Hanna Hoffman in the Statesman-Journal:

Neither Gottfredson nor board chairman Chuck Lillis cited a specific reason for his departure. However, his tenure was peppered with struggles and problems. The most public of them has been the sexual assault allegations. The men accused were dismissed from the basketball team and eventually expelled from the school, but not before the university faced public scrutiny over whether it appropriately investigated the incident.

It then released 119 pages of emails and other correspondence between Gottfredson and athletics director Rob Mullens at the request of newspapers around the state. All but six pages were fully redacted, and the Eugene Register-Guard filed a lawsuit against the university in late June over the records.

Gottfredson had an equally poor relationship with faculty and students, said economics professor Bill Harbaugh. … Fundraising fell in the second year of his presidency, and he struggled to connect with his campus. “He was just tortured by the most basic part of his job where he had to communicate with people,” Harbaugh said. “The main job of a university president these days is to raise money…this guy was the world’s worst schmoozer.”

Betsy Hammond in the Oregonian (The outraged comments are well worth reading):

EUGENE — Former University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson will receive $940,000 in severance. The UO’s Board of Trustees voted 12-0 Thursday to approve the terms of Gottfredson’s departure a day after he abruptly resigned.

8/7/2014 4:20PM live-blog from the UO Board meeting:

Short version: The board will pay Gottfredson $940K to resign the presidency and give up his academic tenure in sociology. Scott Coltrane will be the Interim President. The search for a permanent is president expected to take a year. Lillis expects the board to take charge of fundraising. No word on who will be interim provost.

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Sharon Rudnick walks in, of all people. Presumably we paid her $300 an hour, to negotiate the $940K buyout.

Official Agenda: Accept Gottfredson’s sudden resignation, appoint interim. Nothing about search, no public comment.

Coltrane takes his seat, presumably he’s our guy. Room starts filling up. Lillis wonders if we’re going to need a bigger room. Doug Park, Coltrane, Ginevra Ralph, Chuck Lillis, Susan Gary. No UO student at the table, because there is no student trustee at the moment. 10 or so students in the audience. Calling the roll: Here, Here, President Gottfredson, excused.

Lillis: He is resigning as president, and as a faculty member. Board will vote on a separation agreement, with terms, then vote on interim. Separation agreement will be distributed to public at end of meeting.

Angela Wilhelms, Secretary of the University, reads motion. No discussion of separation agreement? Roll call vote starts. Unanimous yes. (Ann Curry is not on the call.)

Lillis: Now we vote on an interim. Wilhelms reads motion, which is to appoint Provost Scott Coltrane. Lillis thanks Coltrane for being willing to serve. Notes he is respected by the faculty, will provide continuity. [Ed: I agree on both points.] Board votes, give unanimous support with 2 not present in person or on phone.

Lillis notes Gottfredson’s accomplishments, at a difficult time. Says he believes Gottfredson’s secrecy over the rape allegations was appropriate, though he knows others disagree. Says Board has enormous faith in Coltrane.

Moves to adjourn formal meeting, board will take questions from “credentialed media”. The infamous Tobin Klinger manages the process.

Q: When did the board learn of the resignation? Lillis: Monday.
Q: Was he asked to to leave? Lillis: He was very gracious about it.
Q: But you’re paying him $500K [Ed: Actuallly, $940K, 1/2 in 5 days]?! Lillis: It was a fair amount. And he resigned from his tenure job too – at which he would have been paid well.
Q: Will the turnover harm UO? Lillis: It’s not ideal, but we have spectacularly unbounded opportunities. We need to deliver – looking at Coltrane.
Q: Search? Lillis: We want to hire someone who might not be looking. We expect it to take a year.
Q: Any discussion with Alumni Association? Lillis: Not that I know of.
Q: What kind of qualities in new Pres? Lillis: Great academic credentials will be #1. Experience with how universities operate, has been in trenches. Someone who is not easily misled, with communications skills, can handle external constituencies.
Q: By my math you spent $940K on the buyout. How do you justify it? Lillis: No state or tuition funds [Ed: Lillis is being evasive, this is foundation money we could have spend on scholarships, etc.] It’s fair, in the sense that it was mutually agree on.
Q: Why did he resign? Lillis: I won’t speculate. It’s a tough job.
Q: Did you encourage him to stay? Lillis: Evades.
Q: So it wasn’t about how he handled the rape allegations? Lillis: No, the laws were very complicated, not clear how it should have been handled.
Q: What does Coltrane bring to the table? How will it be different? Lillis: We are telling him his job is to focus on internal management, be a “super provost”. Board will work with development to fundraise.
Q: What are you going to do? …
Q: So what you will be paid? Coltrane: Same as Gottfredson.
Q: Problems with athletics? Coltrane: We have a very well run athletics department, and President’s and Senate committees checking up on them.

Update, 2PM: Word is that Gottfredson never gave up his tenure at UC-Irvine, and will return there forthwith. His placeholder website is here.

Update: Bob Berdahl’s disastrous choice for U of Hawaii president later demanded $2M to resign. Will our new board make the mistake of going to Berdahl for advice on Gottfredson’s replacement?

What will we pay Gottfredson? $1.1M to buy him out of the remaining 2 years? Or $0, which is what his contract specifies even if he’d give 30 days notice of his resignation, instead of just 36 hours?

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On the other hand we’ve apparently given him a back-up job as the world’s most overpaid Sociology Professor, at $360K a year, with tenure:

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Update: Diane Dietz has the story in the RG (with assistance from Ian Campbell):

… Gottfredson faced a lot of criticism over the handling of a sexual assault allegation involving three UO basketball players that surfaced in May.

At about the same time, Gottfredson talked with the University Senate about the university’s handling of the assault, a biology professor, Nathan Tublitz, proposed a vote of “no confidence” for the president, citing a series of alleged leadership failures that caused great concern among university faculty, staff and employees.

Some students also complained about a perceived lack of leadership.

“A lot of students were really upset about the basketball scandal and that there wasn’t a lot of openness,” said [UO student] Friedman.

“I know some people are pretty shocked about (Gottfredson’s resignation), at least the people who keep up with politics on campus….Frankly, I don’t know what a president does on a day-to-day basis, and I don’t know why he resigned, but I assume most people will speculate it’s about the basketball stuff.”

Harbaugh, one of the administration’s harshest critics, provided a laundry list.

“There were the botched administrative hires,” he wrote, “the pointlessly contentious relations with the faculty over academic freedom and the union contract, and the secrecy about the basketball rape allegations.

“But I’m guessing the final straw for the Board of Trustees was that the donors didn’t seem to think much of his leadership, either. Instead of the expected UO independence surge, donations actually fell, from $200 million last year to $100 million.”

The process used to hire Gottfredson sparked controversy because it was a closed process, meaning the job candidates identified by a Philadelphia headhunter were kept secret until they were winnowed to one. Only the name of the winning candidate was revealed. UO faculty have advocated for an open hiring process at past changes in administration.

Allyn Ford, a timber executive who is now on the UO Board of Trustees, led a 22-member committee that spent six months identifying and interviewing candidates until it recommended Gottfredson.

“That didn’t work out well,” Harbaugh wrote. “The faculty will give the new board a huge amount of credit for executing Gottfredson’s speedy departure, but we’ll expect to be thoroughly in the loop in finding his replacement.”

Also see Troy Brynelson in the ODE (awesome photo by Taylor Wilder), and Betsy Hammond in the Oregonian.

Update: The Board of Trustees will hold an apparently public meeting at 4:30 Thursday, announcement here:

The Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon will hold a meeting on the date and at the
location set forth below. The subject of the meeting will be a discussion of administrative
leadership and personnel.
The meeting will occur as follows:

THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2014 AT 4:30 pm
FORD ALUMNI CENTER, ROOM 403

8/6/2014: Effective tomorrow:

From: President Gottfredson
Subject: Transition

Dear Campus Community,

Today it is with mixed emotions that I announce my decision to depart the UO as President and pursue other opportunities in academia.

I accepted the job as President of this great institution with the clear objective of helping the University manage through a period of uncertainty and get to a place of stability. We have accomplished those objectives and I know that the UO is on the right course.

With a new governance structure for higher education, new clear benchmarks for academic excellence, and an expanding world-class faculty, the UO is on path to enhanced status as a leading public research institution. My scholarly interests beckon and Karol and I are eager to spend more time with our family. With our outstanding campus leadership and new strategic planning underway, it is appropriate for a new president to continue the legacy of this great University.

It has been an honor to serve as President of the University of Oregon. The caliber of faculty and staff, and the wonderful students and community represent the endless opportunities ahead for the University and the state. Many thanks to our outstanding students, terrific academic leadership, supportive and engaged community, dedicated staff, supportive legislature and amazing faculty colleagues.

Thank you for the privilege to serve at the University of Oregon. I know that the next president will find the same welcome that I did and I look forward to ever more greatness at the UO.

Go Ducks!

Sincerely,
Michael R. Gottfredson
President, University of Oregon

From UO Board Chair Lillis:

UO Board of Trustees Chair, Chuck Lillis, issued the following message today in response to President Gottfredson’s decision to step down as President of the University of Oregon:

President Gottfredson entered into the role as President of the University of Oregon at a critical time in our university’s history and led the institution from a state of uncertainty to a path of stability.

When President Gottfredson accepted the position two years ago, he inherited a pending NCAA investigation, which was cleared, a statewide debate about the future of higher education governance, and a new faculty union without a labor contract.

The challenges before him and the University were no small feat — but he successfully concluded the NCAA issue, worked and repaired relationships with the other University presidents, Governor and State Legislature to establish a new system of higher education governance for Oregon, including institutional boards, and negotiated a fair labor contract with the faculty union.

Despite the competing challenges, President Gottfredson never lost sight of the mission of the University of Oregon and continued to push to move the UO toward even greater academic excellence.

He identified national talent to serve as the Provost and other key leadership positions. He did a top-to-bottom review of UO operations, including how we budget and manage fiscal responsibilities. He established a Presidential Panel to review policies on sexual misconduct and adopt best practices. And he led a comprehensive space-needs assessment to make sure the UO is planning for and positioned to accommodate the growing demands to serve more students into the future.

President Gottfredson also took a critical look at where we are today — and where we need to be — establishing new ambitious but attainable benchmarks to make the UO a leading public research university that can compete on a world stage.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are grateful for the leadership of Michael Gottfredson to put the University of Oregon on a path of excellence in every area that we compete. We wish him the best in his next endeavors. The Board looks forward to seeking new leadership at this time to continue the work he started and continue to build on the legacy of the University of Oregon.

Chuck Lillis
Chair, Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon

And the last word, from the comments in the RG:

Gottfredson is off “down the road”
All his idea, so the public is told.

That 940K?…why t’was just a gift.
nothing to do with any rift.

See, we’ve got two funds, one code name “slush”
One even bigger, code name “hush”.

and we can spend the dough as we see fit,
not a damn thing you can do ’bout it.

We’re the ‘new sheriff in town’, so give us space,
as we choose, to run this place.

and if our actions, you don’t like
go join Michael on his well-paid hike.

How did Mike Gottfredson’s annual performance review turn out?

Gottfredson’s contract calls for annual performance evaluations:

Last year Gottfredson refused to release any details about his evaluation. At the March meeting this year the UO Trustees discussed how they would take over this responsibility from OUS. Anyone hear of any followup?

At many universities these evaluations are public as a matter of course. The first year evaluation for President Eli Capilouto at the University of Kentucky is a good example. 44 page report here. Speaking of Kentucky, the interim President of Kentucky State just told his board he wanted a $90,000 pay cut, to fund raises for his university’s lowest paid staff. Story here.

Did Bob Berdahl double-dip with UO and the AAU?

7/26/2014 update:

The scandal about Bob Berdahl’s 2005 UC-Berkeley retirement payoff led to substantial UC-system reforms. Berdahl moved on to the Association of American Universities, at a healthy salary. He retired in June 2011 as AAU president, and in October 2011 The Chronicle of Higher Ed reported that UO President Lariviere had hired Berdahl as a “special advisor” for two days a week, for $96K a year. Boy did that work out badly.

Meanwhile, according to the AAU’s IRS 990 form, Berdahl was working 47 hours a week as the “Past President”, for $463,410 a year. Sweet gig.

47 hours was the average, for the calendar year ending Dec 2011. I suppose it’s possible he front loaded his hours, and cut back on the AAU money when he started working for UO. Doesn’t look likely though:

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 10.53.03 PM

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At the same time Berdahl was pulling down $115K or so in PERS retirement money, according to the Oregonian.

6/9/2014: President, hired with Berdahl support, demands $2M buyout to resign

Like Mike Gottfredson, the (now former) President of the University of Hawaii M.R.C Greenwood seemed like a bad fit from day one:

Under Greenwood’s tenure, student tuition increased at a record pace – more than 100 percent in 5 years – and is set to rise another 29 percent, but lawmakers said the money appeared to be going to a bloated administration, not students and classrooms…. Rep. K. Mark Takai, another graduate of the University, was critical of Greenwood’s unwillingness to appear before lawmakers at hearings involving the University. He also introduced resolutions and bills to reduce excess spending at the University.

Relations between Greenwood, the regents and the Senate were so stressed in the fall of 2012, Greenwood sent the regents a letter demanding $2 million to leave the University ahead of her contract expiring. …

(Read it all for the Stevie Wonder connection). Greenwood was a controversial hire in 2009, but got a compelling endorsement from, interestingly enough, her fellow former colleague Bob Berdahl:

Tanoue added, “The committee spoke with numerous academic leaders who described Dr. Greenwood as an exceptional administrator and leader, with a strong record of working with federal, state and local officials and diverse communities. We note, for example, that individuals such as Dr. Robert Berdahl, president of the American Association of Universities, and Dr. Martha Kanter, President Obama‘s nominee to become undersecretary of education, provided compelling testimony about their high regard for Dr. Greenwood as one of the most talented, creative and effective leaders in higher education today.”

Apparently the search committee didn’t dig very hard into the connections between Berdahl and Greenwood, or they would have found a long series of San Francisco Chronicle stories on various scandals, like this:

As for Mike Gottfredson, the OUS board held a secret review of him in spring 2013, and renewed his contract through July 2016, without input from the UO faculty (excepting apparently, a few token insiders).

Gottfredson: Soft on vampire professors?

7/2/2014 update: The old post below now seems a bit more relevant, given that President Gottfredson apparently assumed he could keep the March 8-9 basketball rape allegations secret while the players potentially transferred to other schools. (The comment from Berdahl and replies are also interesting.)

And here’s another related case, from a reader. Apparently the standards for professors who want to transfer are tougher than for athletes: http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/northwestern-professor-accused-of-sex-assault-wont-join-rutgers-faculty/81079

“When Rutgers learned of allegations against Professor Ludlow at Northwestern, the university requested relevant information from Professor Ludlow and his attorney,” Greg Trevor, a Rutgers spokesman, said in a statement cited by the newspaper. “This information was not provided. As a result, Professor Ludlow will not be coming to Rutgers University.”

8/2/2012: When UO hired Lariviere this blog started a policy of giving new UO Presidents a mostly free pass for their first year. That was before I found out about this $350K ($355K, see comments) Beanesque scam by Bob Berdahl, 6 months after I’d been assured that he was without a hint of scandal, and a fighter for transparency and shared governance. Right.

So when Pernsteiner hired Gottfredson I spent hours combing through google news archives, PACER, EDGAR, California court records, and parking tickets, looking for the dirt. Finally a helpful tipster sent in this:

Alors qu’il n’y a eu aucune contrainte ou violence exercée à son encontre, ni d’atteinte (si improbable au demeurant!) à l’“innocence” présumée d’une femme de 27 ou 28 ans, où trouve-t-elle la ressource, comment peut-elle prétendre avoir le droit d’entamer une procédure aussi grave et de mettre en marche une bureaucratie juridico-académique aussi lourde contre un professeur respectable et respecté de tous?

Yeah, my French is pretty petite too – full translation here. It’s a letter from none other than Jaques Derrida, lambasting Mike Gottfredson and Irvine for their treatment of his friend, professor Dragan Kujundzić, an expert in vampire studies who had been accused of sexual harassment.

If you take Derrida’s view Gottfredson viciously hounded Kujundzić out of a job, over trumped up charges that prove Americans’ sexual naiveté. Or maybe Gottfredson compassionately settled a difficult situation by promising to keep the allegations confidential if Kujundzić left UCI, and then like a true idiot Derrida posted them on the internet. Anyway, Florida hired Kujundzić without knowing about his past. His alleged harassment past, that is, I assume his vampire work was on his vitae.

So, other than his arguably ambiguous position on vampire professors, I got nothing on Gottfredson. I even tried Microsoft BING, for christ’s sake. He’s clean. 8/1/2012.

Oregonian sportswriter says Gottfredson acted like a child

John Canzano in the Oregonian, here.

I don’t empathize with the Ducks coaching staff or UO administrators. They’re the goats here, protecting one another. Coach Dana Altman hasn’t fielded my inquiries for comment. Altman looked physically ill, trying to sell the university’s version of events during that shrouded and awkward news conference. The athletic department administration has subsequently mocked the important public records requests that were made by media and citizens, trying to ascertain what they knew and when they knew it. The UO president has mostly responded to the protesters on campus by issuing, then desperately re-issuing their so-called “timeline” of events. Michael R. Gottfredson and Co. acted like children — thinking if they just yelled and shouted their version of the story a little louder it might make it more true.

Gottfredson pads resume with credit for Academic Freedom, after getting Tim Gleason and Randy Geller to fight it for 18 months

He has no sense of shame. He is trying to claim credit for what was accomplished by 18 months of hard work by the Senate and the United Academics faculty union, over his determined opposition:

The policy as approved by the Senate April 9th is here. Notable points?

Members of the university community have freedom to address, question, or criticize any matter of institutional policy or practice, whether acting as individuals or as members of an agency of institutional governance. … The academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal.

The truth is that Gottfredson and Geller fought with the Senate against including this language for a year. Here are some of Geller’s deletions to the initial Senate draft, noted in white, with comments from former Senate President Margie Paris (Law) in red:

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 3.07.16 PM

When the policy stalled in the Senate, UAUO tried to put it in the faculty union contract. Gottfredson got his bargainers, Tim Gleason (former Journalism Dean, now UO strategic communications consultant) and Sharon Rudnick to fight it. The union proposed, the administration struck it out, repeatedly. One example of the union language struck by Gottfredson:

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 3.18.07 PM

The union eventually compromised. Then the faculty went back to their Senate. Another long fight with Gottfredson, eventually we got what we thought was agreement to the language at the top. Then Gottfredson tried to back out at the last minute – literally, 30 minutes before the April 9th Senate meeting Gottfredson’s assistant Dave Hubin came running in, trying to get us to take it off the agenda. We didn’t. The Senate passed it unanimously. And Gottfredson then waited six weeks, until the last Senate meeting of the year, to claim that he’d been in favor of this all along, and would sign it.

Sure Mike, whatever. I suppose next Tim Gleason will be claiming he supports transparency.