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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:

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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).


  1. Slimy slithering 06/09/2014

    The cronyism and corruption at the top end of higher education administration is staggering. It’s in part because the residual claimants are so diffuse. Everyone cares a little, but no one cares enough to act. Thanks to this blog for turning over the rocks and shining a little light on these creatures.

    • village idiot 06/09/2014

      and those that act are attacked, eliminated and/or run out of town. Until there is a major house cleaning at UO the can will just be kicked on down the road.

    • chuck 07/27/2014

      Must be those kleptocrats that are junking you. This is precisely why higher education has become a scam, nothing more than a public money trough for the corrupt….

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