Search update, Françafrique update, UO gets $20 million for Gabon greenwashing?

Update: Berdahl appointed Dennis Galvan as interim VPIA last year. For a while it looked like Pres Gottfredson was going to give him the permanent job without a search, but to his credit he seems to be conducting a thorough search for other potential internal candidates, in accordance with Senate legislation:

Dear Colleagues:

This is to announce that we have extended the original application period for the position of Vice Provost for International Affairs.

The new deadline for applications is Friday, May 24.  While the original announcement was available on the HR website and was sent to Deans, Directors, and Department Heads, it has come to our attention that that email distribution to faculty was not uniform across campus, so that some of you did not have a chance to consider applying for the position.

Please accept our apologies for this oversight.

Robert Haskett
Head of the Selection Committee

5/1/2012: Maybe the French investigators are closing in on Ali Bongo-Ondimba? The agreement with Gabon called for them to send UO a $5 million downpayment on the “Twin Edens” project by 12/31/2012, or as they say in French, 31/12/2012.

But UO’s Public Records Office reports there’s no money yet.

Financial records
Requester: Gouahinga. Francois
Initial Request Date: 04/23/2013 

Status: No Responsive Records
Request Completion Date: 04/23/2013 

I wish hereby to request records related to the transfer of financial resources, including electronic banking receipts, from the government of Gabon to the University of Oregon and its subentities such as the UO Foundation. Please limit your search from January 2012 to present.

Meanwhile Dennis Galvan has posted a response to a petition from Gabonese students opposing the deal, here.

11/19/2012: Call me a skeptic, but this agreement between UO and Gabon seems to be more about buying some goodwill for the kleptocratic government of Ali Bongo Ondimba than about helping his country’s people. $650,000 for advertising what, exactly? $200,000 to listen to Al Gore, Prince Charles, or Bono? Tough choice.

I asked Interim Vice Provost for International Affairs Dennis Galvan for this report a few weeks ago – never got a response. His office does have a very fluffy post about UO and Gabon, here, and eventually they posted the doc. Galvan was appointed as Interim, but that seems to have quietly morphed into the usual JH “Vice Provost for Life” job, without faculty review. I like Dennis, but this is just wrong.

Meanwhile, from the 2010 US Senate report on international corruption. From all accounts this sort of thing has continued since Omar Bongo’s son Ali was elected President, and the new French government has refused to go along with any more of it. 

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6 Responses to Search update, Françafrique update, UO gets $20 million for Gabon greenwashing?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I get the sense that the UO is developing a foreign policy. Thus far, our key allies are Gabon and the PRC.

    Maybe one day our leaders will explain to us what the hell they think they are doing.

    • Anonymous says:

      And Kim Jong-un gets no respect from UO. Why?

    • Anonymous says:

      What about the Dalai Lama? Has Anonymous forgotten this element of UO “foreign policy”? How does he fit with Ali Bongo? The brain reels!

  2. Old Man says:

    C’mon Guys, What’s your problem? Money is money. Why, UO accepts millions in research dollars from the most lethal, intrusive, militaristic, polluting national government on the globe.

    • Anonymous says:

      I see your point, Old Man. Here’s a follow-up question. Do you think that the UO would accept money from anybody?

      Nazis? Neo-Nazis? Cigarette companies? BP? Drug lords?

    • Old Man says:

      Thanks for the follow-up opportunity. The UO has no known restriction regarding sources of research funding. The only requirement appears to be that the data obtained be freely publishable. Now, let’s take your categories in sequence.
      Nazis and NeoNazis: Probably not a problem. My guess is that any frankly political organization would be unwilling to support research that might lead to publications that undermine their philosophy.
      Cigarette companies and BP: The UO has an Administration-promoted program that seeks industry funding. It appears to be a legacy of the Frohnmayer/Moseley regime. The danger is that the funding is apt to fade if the resulting publications undermine the profit line of the industry. Thus, an apparently honest PI, under pressure to maintain his/her summer salary and the incomes of his/her research group, may (semiconsciously) find that such data are really not worth publishing, whereas data supporting the industry’s activities seem to be solid and publishable.
      Drug lords: That’s an easy one. We all know that the American Military (including CIA) run the World’s drug business. That is why America conducts a “War on Drugs” — it eliminates competition and keeps the profits high. As long as the Military/CIA supports its off-budget activities with drug money, our government will continue its War on Drugs. A recent example of military drug profiteering is the occupation of Afghanistan. The Taliban had all but eliminated opium growing in Afghanistan. Since the occupation by the US, Afghanistan has become responsible for 95% of the worlds opium supply, overseen by the company most of us know as Blackwater (with protection provided by US Military). Do we take money from our Military drug lords? A motion to desist was defeated by the UO Senate a few years ago with the argument that “Academic Freedom is absolute” (Senate President PG).

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