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

Last updated on 04/26/2015

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 <[email protected]>
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


  1. Nice car, Tim. 08/06/2014

    Gleason? It would take someone like that to take the UO FAR job. Here we go, I guess. (I give him as long as it takes for a competent leadership to clean house. He hasn’t had a place on campus in years now, so he won’t be going anywhere on his own.)

    My inbox rejected that email as it arrived post-Gottfredson.

  2. nom 08/06/2014

    So, this is a “stick in your eye” appointment. Obviously he knew what the reaction would be, and thus, what he actually thinks of Gleason.

    What would the world be without the passive-aggressive approach?

    • XDH 08/06/2014

      Where the hell did this email come from???? It is not on the various deans-dir or DH listservs from Johnson Hall or Friendly Hall, and it sure did not end up in my spam filter. Is this legit????

  3. Severinus de Monzambano 08/06/2014

    What a relief! With so much transition going on, it’s comforting to know that not all continuity is lost.

    • nom 08/06/2014

      All too true.

    • one eyed pinhead 08/06/2014

      Au contraire…without a comprehensive de-Espyfication of the UO, continuity is guaranteed for years even without the TG appointment…. For starters, when will the researchers in Neuroscience get their fish facility back. I hear it was apparently hijacked by some sort of hostile takeover…

      • XDH 08/06/2014

        It was a hostile takeover b/c ION researchers were unable to run it themselves financially in the black. Few realize how bad ION’s finances were/are.

        • Watched the whole thing 08/07/2014

          Actually, Espy and company were hostile to neuroscience for reasons that went beyond the financial difficulties. Espy was undermining the world class zebrafish facility long before the financial difficulties came to light. Many suspect that this was in part driven by the long acknowledged conflict of interest in which Espy usurped resources intended for neuroscience so that she and Stormshack (her associate Vice President for research) could build a new institute fashioned after their own programs of research.

          This blatant conflict of interest, of course, became one of the primary pillars of Espy’s disgraced departure. People like XDH will continue sniping about this because they LOST the battle to keep Espy here and maintain their position at the trough Espy was building and feeding from at the same time.

          But at least she got the same puff piece goodbye letter from Gott that he just received from his board.

          • Was here for the whole thing 08/07/2014

            What ‘whatched the whole thing’ says above is definitely how it went down based on what us peons in the trenches saw/heard. The skimming off the top by espy (may have been done while linton was here too?), the arbitrary numbers they came up with for indirects, the trying to make every single service center try to turn a profit. Lots more, but good riddance to both!

          • A science faculty member 08/07/2014

            The above is one half the story. Espy certainly overstepped her bounds and treated ION and the rest of UO’s research community with disdain and disrespect. However it needs to be mentioned that ION cooked its own zebrafish by going deep into the red and using grants funds for inappropriate purposes for decades starting way back when with the fish Program Project grant. After 20+ yrs of fiscal negligence and malfeasance, they were finally caught red-handed. The depth of the problem triggered investigations by the University, federal granting agencies and the FBI. ION’s excellent administrative assistant was scapegoated and fired solely for following orders given by z-fish faculty and then-current ION directors to illegally move federal grant funds. The z-fish faculty, who were found guilty of fiscal malfeasance in several investigations, were let off scott-free to avoid a major public academic scandal. The z-fish faculty gross fiscal mismanagement, including paying people for not working and giving salary raises to themselves and others during the salary freeze, finally forced the hand of the University, who took over ION’s management and then the fish facility. Let’s not blame Espy who did enough damage while here. The fault clearly lies with zfish faculty, current and retired, and past ION directors, who believed they were above the law and did not have to follow federal, state and grant regulations.

        • one eyed pinhead 08/07/2014

          Frankly – that’s not what I was told – the “centralized” fish facility is run worse now than ever before; research is now apparently SIGNIFICANTLY more difficult and inefficient, fraught with administrative bloat and per diem cost (even though a PPG grant is in place to finance operating costs). This one facility could hardly have contributed to the bad finances (of the entire Institute?) either, because it was run off communal funds from such a PPG grant for many years. My hunch is that as long as zebrafish researchers were in charge (and administrators weren’t interfering) progress and science was not slowed down (judging from numbers of publications). In this respect there was significantly better bang for the buck, by high publication rates, which in turn secured more funding.

          On the other issues, – I am sure there is truth (at least some) in mistakes by the faculty, however by trumping up charges and escalating mistakes at the first possible opportunity, Espy simply deflected accusations raised in the van Hippel and Blonigen investigations, which ultimately, but too late, result in the Blonigen report. Could Espy not have fixed the salary/raise issues internally, without an immediate state and federal audit?

  4. Watched the whole thing 08/07/2014

    “science faculty member” is using the tired strategy of trumping up charges that you’ll notice are never actually made explicit. The actual problems — though there were truly poor decisions made — do not involve the sort of profiteering that is often *insinuated* by these vague accounts. People like “science faculty” probably understand that innuendo can be more damaging than facts. Espy made damn sure that these problems led to the greatest possible amount of damage to research groups that competed with her own. Her strategy probably allowed her to keep her job for at least one year longer than she would have given her absolutely disastrous and self-interested actions VPR. Whether UO will fully recover from the damage she did remains to be seen.

    Comments from those like “science faculty” will continue because the allies of Espy are bitter about the huge loss they have experienced. Espy’s schemes didn’t pan out in the end. She is the primary reason for the problems, and she knows it. But go ahead and spout off here “science faculty”. It is the only forum where you will even have a voice now that Espy has been put in her proper place — off campus.

    • an important correction 08/07/2014

      “Espy certainly overstepped her bounds and treated ION and the rest of UO’s research community with disdain and disrespect.”

      Actually, Espy did not disrespect *all* of the other research groups on campus. Her buddies in the new institute created in the dark of night, the Prevention of Science Institute, were not treated with disdain. They are doing great. Just ask Espy’s former associate VPR Beth Stormshack; she was given the directorship of the PSI despite the astounding conflict of interest inherent in that decision.

      Also, note that PSI minions were very very strongly represented in the “clusters” of donor bait that were chosen in part by a research advisory board hand-picked by Espy. (Go Jim Bean!! Sell more athletic apparel. Make this research university proud.).

    • A science faculty member 08/07/2014

      Given that Espy denied every one of my requests including some that did not require funding, I find it deeply ironic I am now considered among her “friends” particularly as I was involved in pressing to get rid of her. Espy’s terrible tenure does not explain what happened at ION, a situation which had its origins several decades before Espy showed up in Eugene.

      • Misdirection 08/07/2014

        Poor poor “science faculty”. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to complain about your lack of success with Espy’s replacement. But whatever drives your bitterness about life sciences will just have to fester for a while.

  5. FBI informant 08/07/2014

    Science faculty is mostly right and the investigation continues. Consider the curious case of Dr. Karr and why faculty members have hired criminal defense attorneys. Focusing on the former VPR is an ineffective effort to distract away from decades-old fraud.

    • Watched the whole thing 08/07/2014

      More vagueness.

      Expect more of the same while Espy’s friends cry bitter tears.

      • XDH 08/07/2014

        “Science Faculty Member” and “FBI Informant” have it right. At least two ION faculty members committed federal crimes of defrauding the US gov’t (unrightful claim of overtime, misrepresented FTE of employess) yet it was the ION OA/business manager who was thrown under the bus because she signed off on what her corrupt bosses said to do.

        No one is trying to re-write history in favor Espy – except for PSI members, all of us are glad the wicked witch of the west is gone. I sure as hell am glad she is gone!

        For those that claim to watch the whole thing and to be in the trenches – either your trench was so deep you did not see what was going on beyond your narrow myopic view or the only trench you were in was the trench on your backside.

        • XDH 08/07/2014

          AND I agree that the whole PSI thing smacked of conflict of interest! So don’t crap on me as a PSI/Espy supporter – she ‘effed me and my Dept over in her last days on her way out. Espy was bad for nearly the whole university. It was just unfortunate(?)for some that she and her minions chose to focus the spotlight on ION.

        • anon 08/08/2014

          It does seem true that Federal crimes were committed. And yet, the act itself was what? Giving a raise to a low-level employee when there was a salary freeze by using shady accounting tricks. The problem was that ION didn’t understand that what they thought was a harmless bit of help would be viewed as “Federal crimes” by others and treated as such.

          • XDH 08/08/2014

            Uhhh… how about paying an employee a full-time salary yet knowing full well the person only was working half-time? This particular situation went on for many years. That is well beyond shady accounting.

          • RIGE crimes 08/08/2014

            as long as we’re talking about mis-appropriation of funds, how about we discuss RIGE’s attempt to skim indirect costs out of the accounts of every department and institute on campus, to the tune of 500,000 to 1,000,000 dollars per year? They did their best to hide this cheat by deleting the formulas on the relevant spreadsheets, and it surely helped Espy to trumpet the improved “bottom line” for RIGE. But unfortunately for them, they were caught in the end.

            Of course, this little fraud was simply corrected without any public discussion or admission of guilt by Espy and her minions. Because that’s what happens when a JH insider mis-appropriates funds…

            hey it was an HONEST mistake…let’s not focus on the past.

            Gott’s golden parachute is just another example of the double-standard that XDH and other suckers swallow whole without question.

          • Interesting 08/10/2014

            Just one mention of the fraud RIGE pulled with indirect costs and XDH goes completely silent. I’m guessing XDH is an admin buddy fer sure. Knew too much (though still inaccurate numbers) about Espy’s plan…”Oh shit they’re mentioning that fraud thing that never got discussed publicly…better go troll a different thread.”

        • XDH has no idea 08/08/2014

          your problem is that you accepted all the innuendo and nefarious overtones that Espy needed you and others to accept to protect her own ass. it was a huge and very successful diversion from all the damage she had done and continued to do under the cover of the scandal she highlighted. you keep using the phrase “federal crimes”, but others see how vague this dark expression really is. the actual misdeeds should never have happened, but they did not even approach the degree of malfeasance and incompetence that Espy bestowed on UO.

          Thus, XDH is simply contributing to Espy’s misdirection. Even though XDH claims to understand her critical role in undermining science on campus, XDH is still a sucker for Espy’s cover story and will likely be just as naive when the next loser administrator comes in to support their pet projects and personal gain. We need less of people like you, XDH.

          • anon, anon, anon..... 08/08/2014

            XDH must be from one of the wannabe-science departments like human physiology that sucked up to RIGE and JH only to be left holding on to the empty promises made by people that did not give a shit and are now gone (so long suckers!).

          • Pollyanna 08/09/2014

            And yet–to quote Sinead O’Connor, let’s fight the real enemy. Faculty are up against enough in the corporate university without turning on each other. (Of course, Sinead got trashed for her comment, especially as she was ripping in two a picture of the pope as she made it.)

          • Dog 08/10/2014

            fighting the “real enemy” requires an objective detection of said enemy, rather than the assumption/innuendo path that is generally revealed in this forum.

            My view, the real enemy in all of this is the immense amount of decentralization that occurred under JTM/DF starting around 1996/7 as the means to deal with our decreasing state support.
            That strategy, in my view, created “enemies” as it produced the wide spread perception that we were all in a zero sum game competing for resources against one another and we still generally function under this perception.

            An important quantitative note: the budget strategy at this time (mid 1990s) assumed significant annual growth in students and that didn;t happen. Student enrollment remained flat during this period and that exacerbated the zero sum game as costs escalated.

  6. Prevention Science Rules 08/07/2014

    Please stay focused on the trumped up charges, and not on the continued benefits we get from all that our godmother
    Espy bestowed on us. We prefer to stay under the radar long enough for our mediocre leaders try to find an appropriate sugar daddy for our institute.

  7. No glee, son. 08/07/2014

    Gleason representing the faculty? The only worse choice would have been Sharon Rudnick herself.

    Can the Senate undo this? Do they have the back bone? Will they follow through?

  8. nonny 08/15/2014

    Poor Dave … so misunderstood. Sigh.

  9. Anon 08/15/2014

    Is it that Frohnmayer will only talk to sports reporters, or that only sports reporters give a rip about what Frohnmayer thinks anymore?

  10. Frohn Be Gone 08/15/2014

    Frohnmayer – ever the rhetorician. In his universe, those that criticized his selling out of the university to the likes of Knight and Kilkenny are either “uninformed or malevolent”.

    I sat at the table with Frohnmayer during the run-up to the Knight Arena approval. Those at the table were not misinformed – they got very good financial projections of the arena’s potential. Those projections have played out. But Frohn and cronies decided to go with the overly optimistic projections their lackeys cooked up instead so the vanity project could proceed.

    So no, we were not misinformed – we were often uninformed during his tenure – but not misinformed. He just decided to ignore the very good data we had.

    Just one example.

    I’ll give him malevolent but one can be malevolent with reason so that doesn’t serve as a viable argument.

    Go back to sleep Dave – no one gives a shit what you think anymore.

    • Questioner 08/15/2014

      “Frohn Be Gone” above–

      What have the consequences been of the difference in projections?

      • Frohn be Gone 08/17/2014


        First consequence when the leader of an institution lies to get what he wants and ignores good information? Mistrust of entire administration and lingering low morale.

        Financial problems? We don’t know yet. We do know that because Frohn ignored the data, the Knight “legacy” fund is being tapped into earlier and more often than projected. What happens when the well is dry? What happens when enrollment drops and UO can’t pay the debt load? That’s the nice thing about leaving a legacy – you don’t have to stick around to see it suck the well dry.

        See below for how the arena sucks funds out of the academic budget. The arena is also symptomatic of the obscene commitment to athletics by UO – a commitment that costs the academic side of the University no matter what the administration would have you believe (that the Jock Box is an “academic” expense designed to give athletes the same academic opportunities as all students).

        Are we better off overall because UO overspent on a basketball arena? I’d say today the answer is no.

        Side note on Frohn’s relevance. Heard him speak at a high-rolling event in PDX a few years ago. He was obviously past his prime and everyone in audience knew it. Lobby and bathroom talk was mostly “WTF was that all about?”. Maybe he still holds sway with high rollers but if we are banking on him to get us to a Billion, we are in trouble.

        As for his legislative work – that isn’t for the UO’s benefit and you are naive if you think it is.

    • Questioner 08/15/2014

      Also–Frohnmayer is still involved in high-level fundraising and legislative work on UO’s behalf, so when you say no one gives a shit what he thinks anymore, you are wrong.

      • Answerer 08/15/2014

        Frohnmayer’s most recent “fundraising and legislative work” has been for BP, Philip Morris, and himself, not for UO.

  11. Upton Sinclair 08/15/2014

    I’ve met a few men like this Frohnmayer. It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

    Unfortunately your next president’s salary is also going to depend on keeping Phil Knight happy.

  12. Guest 08/15/2014

    Here’s a financial topic for you all. How is it that the parking department on campus has to pay for the Matt Knight arena parking garage but the athletics department gets all of the revenue from the garage during games and special events? And just exactly howis it that the athletics department gets to use that parking garage and the big parking lot by the aaa studios during athletic and special events without having to pay for it like every other department on campus would? I know this is a bit off topic but just another example of how far the arm of athletics reaches.

    • one-eyed pinhead 08/15/2014

      Right, and … how is it that the good folks at the Jock Box scoff at using their chronically empty parking lot, cater corner from their building, while ordinary staff/faculty like us have to purchase a hunting license at $30 a month and waste time and fuel to find a spot to get to work each day? Are they trying to make a statement that they want to use the Knight Arena parking (closer!?!) permanently and leave the then ENTIRELY empty lot 04 to people who actually WORK across Franklin?

      Am I beating a dead horse? To a pulp…

      Ceterum censeo … raedam IV aperandum est…

  13. Gottfredson's revenge 08/16/2014

    Has anyone considered the possibility that Gott gave Gleason the FAR job as punishment for his botched work on the admin contract bargaining team?

    • one eyed pinhead 08/17/2014

      Asked and answered!

  14. Double Duck 08/19/2014

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

    The UO is on the long slide academically. Science departments becoming mediocre, even the Law School is slipping. Don’t bother to deny it.

    Let’s see, who could be responsible?

    Gottfredson–came and went. Lariviere–came and went. We hardly knew ye!

    But Dave F–presided over the slide to mediocrity, as he turned UO into a farm school for the NFL and Nike.

    Yes Dave, when you point a finger at the “malevolent and uninformed”,–well, you know where the other fingers are pointing, don’t you?

    Thanks for trashing my alma mater. Thanks for nothing, Dave.

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