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Bob Berdahl to be interim UO President, fireworks at Treetops

12/9/2011: 5:11PM. The board tricked us and is doing this meeting in person. They also started with an executive session, not announced in advance. Web link here. They are currently talking about how great Berdahl is.

Now they are laughing, voting. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, …

12/8/2011: Does anyone know if any of the board members will actually show for this meeting? My understanding is they are pretty scared, and will phone this one in. So I’m thinking this is not worth a trip up, unless you’re willing to follow Jill Eiland and Paul Kelly into the bathroom.

Latest: From Mark Zusman in WW:

Berdahl was hired by Lariviere, is a strong supporter of Lariviere’s goal of establishing more independence for the University and is the author of a blistering op-ed piece in the Eugene Register-Guard, in which he condemned the State Board of Higher Ed and the Governor.

Despite that column, Berdahl has the support of Kitzhaber and Board president Matthew Donegan. Other members of the board are reportedly angry and less inclined to support him, which is why no announcement has yet been made.

And, just 17 minutes before the deadline, Jill Eiland and the OUS Board cave. And note the conflicting dates. OUS Board Secretary Charles Triplett tells us this is a typo, now fixed online – the meeting is indeed Friday, 4PM, by telephone.

12/7/2011, updated occasionally: The word from multiple sources is that Robert “Bob” Berdahl will be appointed interim UO President by Friday 12/9. Pernsteiner and Donegan have abandoned their efforts to foist one internal OUS toady or another off on us. The Senate & Exec, heads, students, faculty and the rest of UO made a loud, clear statement to the Chancellor, Board, and Governor, and apparently we’ve been heard. The documents UO Matters dug up and posted made a difference. Dirty work, not something I’m that proud of, not something I want acknowledgement or thanks for. But it’s something I will do again, and am doing again, because that is what it takes to move these people.

Meanwhile Kate Renner of KEZI does one tough interview with Kitzhaber. I’m guessing she’ll never get another. He won’t answer her questions about what happened, he just wants us to “all move forward”. Thanks governor, we were, until your board shit all over us. As President Berdahl wrote last Monday,

As everyone who has followed this tragic turn of events knows, however, Lariviere was fired because he bucked the system. … He was fired because both Pernsteiner and the board place a higher value on institutional conformity and uniformity than they do on institutional excellence. … If you want to be president of the University of Oregon, be prepared to knuckle under to the chancellor and the board and be wary of the promises of the governor.

Kitzhaber’s aides have already starting spinning the Berdahl appointment to a still dizzy press:

The governor has met with Berdahl. He is indeed an impressive scholar. Interesting ideas. I found Dr. Berdahl to be Larivieresque, but without that damn hat. He’s someone I could work with, someone who could help me implement my long-held, secret plan for an independent UO board, which we will soon announce  at a joint news conference to show we are all now moving forward together. (Thanks to anon for link.) More from Kitz spokesperson Tim Raphael, in the RG here.

So, now that hiring Berdahl turns out to be Kitzhaber’s idea, why can’t we “all move forward” to hiring him sooner?

You’ll love this: it’s because the OUS board can’t get together a quorum for a public meeting to confirm him until 3PM Friday. Quorum? Public meeting? Can’t Jill Eiland get this done with a few emails? Can’t Matt Donegan come down to Eugene and give Berdahl the word in person? Whoops, guess there’s no football game this weekend. Can’t Paul Kelly do it in the bathroom?

What a feckless bunch of fools we are ruled by. Check their web page here, board secretary Charles Triplett will have to post a public agenda eventually. Delay too long and the OC students may get some traction on their alternative candidate.

Next up: Making sure 6/30/2012 is Pernsteiner’s last day at work, and then having a party for Governor Kitzhaber, President Berdahl, the OUS Board, the whole UO community, and ex-Chancellor Pernsteiner at Treetops on July 4th, 2012. I hear the veranda is a great place for fireworks.


  1. UO Matters 12/08/2011

    Hilarious. Soon Kitz will be claiming this was his plan all along. And if he’ll fire Pernsteiner too he can claim as much credit as he wants, no argument from me!

  2. Anonymous 12/08/2011

    Maybe it was. Don’t you think Lariviere knew he was doomed a year ago? Could that be why he went ahead with those raises? And hired Berdahl knowing he was a likely successor?

    Firing Pernsteiner a UO Matters fantasy, perhaps. But it wouldn’t surprise me too much.

  3. Anonymous 12/08/2011

    Got to ‘FIRE’ the Governor first…

  4. Anonymous 12/08/2011

    Must have pulled the blogger link (404 error)

  5. Anonymous 12/08/2011

    I CAN only hope ppl see what the Governor is really about now. He does not give a DAMN about Eugene, or our School. Seems like their is a bunch of ‘green eyed monsters’ up North.

    And his comments about donors,and reaction about their gifts, wow…rude

  6. Anonymous 12/08/2011

    Wow, the Kitzhaber responses on KEZI are awful. That’s the best that he can do? After 2 weeks of turmoil we’re all supposed to giddy’on up and look only forward (waaaaay forward) to some really vague betterment of all of Oregon? Zero content, and zero recognition of what I would call crisis averted by really hard work on this campus. Very disappointing political and patronizing behavior. Blech.

  7. Anonymous 12/08/2011

    Lariviere for governor. That would be a move forward.

  8. Anonymous 12/08/2011

    “Dr. Lariviere is a real visionary. I think he was a real advocate for policies that I think make a great deal of sense not just for the University of Oregon but for the larger university system, and I think the important lesson here is those policies need to be cast in the frame of ‘how do we create excellence in higher education in the state of Oregon, not just for the University of Oregon, but for all of the institutions of higher learning that are so important to our state?'”

    Wow, that is one circular firing squad of a sentence.

  9. Anonymous 12/08/2011

    Interesting in the Emerald interview:

    *At about 7:35, Lariviere says he was hired to get the University “out from under the Oregon University system.”

    I wonder who is supposed to have hired him to do this? The very same board? But who else could he mean — he was hired by the board, right? But then if he really thought the board was hiring him to do this, there must have been a huge element of self-delusion from the very beginning.

    Something was not right about this guy, much as I support what he was trying to do.

  10. Anonymous 12/09/2011

    They can be angry at Berdahl, but if they don’t hire him, they will look like complete fools — he is probably the most accomplished administrator in the country in public higher education.

    Furthermore, not only will the UO community be pissed as hell — once again — their only alternative is to hire someone who now would have zero support here.

    And furthermore, the donors have made it clear, with Phil Knight’s explosion, and now the Oregonian piece with Lokey — they’re very angry at what the board is doing.

    Not hiring Berdahl now would make them look like complete small-minded spiteful fools.

  11. Anonymous 12/09/2011

    I agree. 7 to 1 they go with Bean or Lorraine.

  12. Anonymous 12/15/2011

    surely it should be Robert ‘the cleaner’ berdahl?….anyone? ‘ are you the cleaner?’

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