Sole U-Wisc President candidate withdraws, in another failure for search firms

From the Chronicle of Higher Ed, here:

The University of Alaska’s president, James R. Johnsen, announced on Friday that he had withdrawn his candidacy for president of the University of Wisconsin system following growing criticism of his record in Alaska and of Wisconsin’s search, which named him its only finalist.

“After deep reflection as to where I am called to lead a university system through these challenging times, it is clear to me and my family that it is in Alaska,” Johnsen, 62, said in a written statement. He said he appreciated the search committee’s strong support, “but it’s clear they have important process issues to work out.”

The “process” was a monthslong search, led by a committee with no faculty, staff, or student members, that ended up with a single finalist.

Suddenly he’s upset about the process? He happily went along with it, until it bit him in the ass. From the Wisconsin State Journal, here:

“Preventing the public from knowing who else applied for this incredibly important position is a violation of public trust,” Lueders [president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council] said. “It’s a slap in the public’s face.”

Naming a single finalist for top jobs follows a recent trend in higher education. Candidates themselves and search firms — which, in the case of UW System, will be paid upward of $200,000 — argue that public naming creates too much professional exposure and potential problems with a current employer for the finalists who are not picked.

It also makes it very clear to potential applicants whose interests they need to care about – not students, faculty, or voters – no one but the Board and donors.

The scheme used by UO’s Angela Wilhelms and BoT Chair Chuck Lillis to select President Schill was even less public. The rules, which will stand for the search to replace Schill unless they are changed – gave Lillis as Board Chair sole authority to select a single candidate for the board to vote on. Schill met with a few select faculty, then was driven up to Portland to meet with Phil Knight.

Gov Brown appoints former aide Connie Seeley to watch over Angela Wilhelms & troubled UO Board of Trustees

Our Trustees will meet again on June 4th by Zoom, presumably to approve another $12M Jumbotron for Uncle Phil.

Meanwhile, The Daily Emerald has the story on Governor Kate Brown’s nomination of current OHSU VP for Administration and Board Secretary Connie Seeley as the latest UO Trustee, here:

Seeley graduated from UO with a degree in political science in 1992 and currently serves as Oregon Health & Science University’s chief of staff, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, according to the application she submitted to the governor’s office.

… Seeley worked for Brown previously as her legislative director when Brown was the senate democratic leader, according to Seeley’s resume. For seven years she was also the chief of staff to Senate President Peter Courtney, who’s been the leader of the senate — which will confirm Seeley’s appointment — since 2003.

This will make Seeley the first UO Trustee with any significant higher ed administrative experience, unless you count Chuck Lillis who was a b-school dean back in the day.

Interestingly, Seeley also serves as the Board Secretary for OHSU’s Trustees. At UO that role is filled by Angela Wilhelms, where the BOT Secretary is a full time job with separate staff, controlled by Board Chair Lillis, with the job of making sure the UO President toes the line. Wilhelms had previously been Chief of Staff to the Republican side of the Legislature.

The full board applications from Seeley and the four other applicants are available on Gov. Brown’s admirably transparent public records website, here. Wilhelms and Lillis endorsed 3 of these candidates as explained by Zach Demars in an earlier story, here.

Presumably runner-up candidate Steve Holwerda, a private wealth investment advisor known for his love of Ayn Rand,  lifelong desire to be Duck Athletics Director, and fabulous Lake Oswego mansion, will get his chance to serve on the board of Oregon’s flagship public university soon, and perhaps recruit a few new rich clients for his firm.

I requested these docs from Gov Brown’s office last month:

4/25/2020 William Harbaugh UOM Under Review n/a

​I am requesting electronic copies of any communications sent between the Governor’s office and UO President Michael Schill or his office, UO Provost Patrick Phillips or his office, Duck Athletic Director Rob Mullens or his office, UO Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms or her office, and UO Board of Trustees Chuck Lillis. This request is for the dates Jan 1 2019 til the date the request is filled.

And will post a link when they are  available.

Steve Raymund to replace Chuck Lillis as BOT Chairman

That’s the rumor from yesterday’s match down at the Faculty Club’s polo grounds. Lillis’s 2nd 3-year term as chair of UO’s Board of Trustees is up in December. Raymund is an Econ grad, a wealthy self-made businessman, the current chair of Paul Weinhold’s secretive sports-obsessed UO Foundation board, and a generous donor to UO’s academic mission.

Was Chuck Lillis right & Mike Schill wrong about the deadwood cost of tenure?

UO Board of Trustees Chair Chuck Lillis is a former marketing professor and dean, and the only regular UO trustee with a PhD. (Academic publications and citations here, ERISA lawsuit settlements here.) He started off a Board meeting a few years back with a brief rant about deadwood tenured faculty. Newly appointed President Mike Schill responded with a vigorous defense of UO’s faculty, and since then Lillis and the rest of the board has switched to saluting Schill for his very successful efforts to maintain UO as a viable research university, with all the respect to the faculty that this requires – such as tenure.

But was Lillis right? A soon to be published paper looks at the publishing patterns of pre- and post-tenure faculty at top Economics departments (top 50 as of 1995, which sadly excludes UO Econ) and concludes he was. Here’s the report from InsideHigherEd:

Malaise, slump, deadwood — there are lots of words for what supposedly happens to professors’ research outputs after tenure. A forthcoming study in the Journal of Economic Perspectives doesn’t use any of those terms and explicitly says it must not be read as an “indictment” of tenure. But it suggests that research quality and quantity decline in the decade after tenure, at least in economics.

The authors of the paper — Jonathan Brogaard, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Washington at Seattle; Joseph Engelberg, professor of finance and accounting the University of California, San Diego; and Edward Van Wesep, associate professor of finance at the University of Colorado at Boulder — started with a question: “Do academics respond to receiving tenure by being more likely to attempt ground-breaking ‘homerun’ research and in this way ‘swinging for the fences?’”

After all, they wrote, “the incentives provided by the threat of termination are perhaps the starkest incentives faced by most employees, and tenure removes those incentives.” (The question is sure to annoy academic freedom watchdogs. In the authors’ defense, they do cite the benefits of tenure, including job stability’s potential to encourage risk taking.) …

The paper is here. The gist:

The paper of course includes all the expected qualifications against using these figures or the statistical analysis to conclude that tenure is a bad thing.

FWIW Chuck, my own publishing and citation record is here. I was tenured in 2001. Of my top 5 publications in terms of citations, 3 were published after tenure.

Chair of board of trustees forced to resign after criticizing blogger

10/16/2015: No, of course I’m not talking about Chuck Lillis and his statement to Oregonian reporter Rich Read that he hoped the UO Senate could survive my election as president. Lillis will come around.

I’m talking about UBC board chair John Montalbano, who resigned today, 7 weeks after he called up UBC professor Jennifer Berdahl to complain about her blog post, which called his board’s decision to fire the UBC president racist and sexist. Berdahl’s chair was funded by a $2M donation from Montalbano.

The CBC has a report about the subsequent investigation and Montalbano’s resignation here, and Professor Berdahl is gleefully blogging about it here:

Two months ago I wrote about my experiences of reprimand at UBC after publishing a blog post that raised uncomfortable questions about organizational culture, diversity, and leadership. A fact-finding process was agreed to by the University of British Columbia’sFaculty Association and the UBC Administration into allegations of interference with my academic freedom. The findings of the third party investigator, the Honourable Lynn Smith, Q.C., led her to conclude that UBC failed in its obligation to support and protect my academic freedom.

The Smith Report notes that “The protections of academic freedom extend to the dissemination of scholarly research and opinion through these new electronic media” (p. 5) as well as to “commentary (whether positive or negative) by members of UBC on the extent to which the central functions of the University are being advanced or hindered by decisions or initiatives affecting the University” (p. 6). Some people did not understand that an academic blog, and comments about one’s university and its leadership, are protected by academic freedom. So is scholarly opinion and speculation; asking questions and proposing theories are crucial to the advancement of inquiry and knowledge.

Academic freedom is to a university what love is to a family….

8/26/2015: UBC Board’s John Montalbano defends self against blogger Berdahl

He comes off very well. I particularly liked the part where he explains that the UBC faculty *elects* several board members. Don’t tell that to UO Law Professor Susan Gary, who was first appointed on recommendation of UO Law Professor Margie Paris without faculty consultation, and then kept her position on the board last year without an election, despite UO Senate legislation to hold one for nominees.

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State HECC to examine whether UO Board is transparent and accountable?

6/23/2015 update:

Oregon Law says:


      352.025 Legislative findings. (1) The Legislative Assembly finds that the State of Oregon will benefit from having public universities with governing boards that:

(a) Provide transparency, public accountability and support for the university.
(b) Are close to and closely focused on the individual university.
(c) Do not negatively impact public universities that do not have governing boards.
(d) Lead to greater access and affordability for Oregon residents and do not disadvantage Oregon students relative to out-of-state students.
(e) Act in the best interests of both the university and the State of Oregon as a whole.
(f) Promote the academic success of students in support of the mission of all education beyond high school as described in ORS 351.009.
(2) The Legislative Assembly also finds that:
(a) Even with universities with governing boards, there are economy-of-scale benefits to having a coordinated university system.
(b) Even with universities with governing boards, shared services may continue to be shared among universities.
(c) Legal title to all real property, whether acquired before or after the creation of a governing board, through state funding, revenue bonds or philanthropy, shall be taken and held in the name of the State of Oregon, acting by and through the governing board.
(d) The Legislative Assembly has a responsibility to monitor the success of governing boards at fulfilling their missions, their compacts and the principles stated in this section. [2013 c.768 §1]

The Legislature has passed that responsibility to the HECC. Executive Director Ben Cannon’s proposal for this is here, well worth reading it all:

Workgroup recommendations will be advisory to the Executive Director. HECC staff will make a
final recommendation to the Commission for an evaluation framework in summer, 2015. The
Commission-adopted framework will be employed in Fall 2015 for evaluations of the three
institutions whose boards assumed governance responsibility July 1, 2014 (UO, OSU, and PSU). All
seven public institutions will be evaluated annually using the framework starting in Fall 2016.

The work group will convene January 2015 – June 2015 and will use the following legislative
guidance to frame its work and outcomes:

ORS 352.061(2) stipulates that the HECC’s evaluations of universities must include:
 A report on the university’s achievement of outcomes, measures of progress, goals and
targets as described in the university’s achievement compact with the Oregon Education
Investment Board;
 An assessment of the university’s progress toward achieving the mission of all education
beyond high school as described in ORS 351.009 (the 40-40-20 goal); and
 An assessment as to how well the establishment of a governing board at the university
comports with the findings set forth in ORS 352.025.

ORS 352.061(2)(c) also requires that the HECC assess university governing boards against the
findings set forth in ORS 352.025, including that governing boards:

 Provide transparency, public accountability and support for the university.
 Are close to and closely focused on the individual university.
 Do not negatively impact public universities that do not have governing boards.
 Lead to greater access and affordability for Oregon residents and do not disadvantage
Oregon students relative to out-of-state students.
 Act in the best interests of both the university and the State of Oregon as a whole.
 Promote the academic success of students in support of the mission of all education beyond
high school as described in ORS 351.009 (the 40-40-20 goal).
ORS 352.025 notes four additional Legislative findings:
 Even with universities with governing boards, there are economy-of-scale benefits to having
a coordinated university system.
 Even with universities with governing boards, shared services may continue to be shared
among universities.
 Legal title to all real property, whether acquired before or after the creation of a governing
board, through state funding, revenue bonds or philanthropy, shall be taken and held in the
name of the State of Oregon, acting by and through the governing board.
 The Legislative Assembly has a responsibility to monitor the success of governing boards at
fulfilling their missions, their compacts and the principles stated in this section.

The HECC has now released its workplan, here:

10.0 a. University Evaluation Staff Summary
10.0 b. University Evaluation  and Academic Quality Framework
11.0 Informational Series: Workforce Training Programs in Oregon


Senate repudiates Triplett and Park proposal, directs TAIF to investigate potential retaliation against faculty

12/14/2014: Video of the Senate meeting is now available:

12/10/2014 PM update:

Alexandra Wallachly from the Emerald has posted a report on the meeting, here.

On the Board meeting Thursday: I think it’s important to show up at the Board meeting Thursday at 8AM in the Alumni Center. While the board has backed off on the latest power grab, there’s plenty of potential for surprises, those making public comments deserve some supporters, and it’s important that the Board sees that the faculty take what’s been happening very seriously. And I hear someone will be passing out “Save our Senate” buttons.

On the Senate meeting today: I got there at the very end. I’d love it if someone would send me some notes or post them. People tell me it was standing room only, and filled with dismay and outrage over what’s going on with our administration.

The Senate passed an amended version of the motion below, opposing the Triplett/Park power grab. The fact that they did this even after Coltrane announced the Board would withdraw the motion at his suggestion shows how deep the mistrust of Johnson Hall has become. Coltrane and Bronet need to take charge of that snake-pit, decisively and soon.

The Senate then apparently wrote and approved a second motion, directing the Academic Integrity Task Force to investigate the administration’s “alleged plans to establish groundwork for disciplinary procedures” against Philosophy Dept Chair Bonnie Mann and other faculty who refused to issue “fraudulent” grades. Apparently there is also an accusation that a CAS administrator not only gave out grades for courses, but then raised them after students complained. I don’t know if the TAIF will also investigate that.

I’ll post the video when available, and I expect the motions (passed unanimously?) will be on the Senate website soon, here. Meanwhile check Try Bree Nicolello’s twitter reports on the meeting:

12/10/2014 update: (see below for Coltrane response)

Sorry, I’m at the Board committee meetings, no live-blog.

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Chronicle of Higher Ed quotes Coltrane on Senate strike vote, Board Chair Lillis speaks.

Scroll down for the Senate agenda and live-blog.

Institutionalized News Media Updates:

Once again Johnson Hall’s administrative incompetence crowds out the important news, in this case Chuck Lillis’s speech. Alexandra Wallachy does have this in the Emerald: UO has “bad reputation” for faculty-admin relations, Lillis says. And well paid former TV journalist and UO PR flack Jennifer Winters has the spin in “Around the 0“.

Chronicle of Higher Education: University of Oregon Draws Criticism for Response to Threatened TA Strike

The University of Oregon’s Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to rebuke the institution’s administration for planning for a threatened strike by graduate teaching assistants in a manner that bypasses the faculty and stands to bring about “the dilution and degradation of teaching standards.”

The Senate, which includes representatives of the faculty, student body, administration, and staff, adopted the motion in response to a confidential memorandum that Oregon’s top academic and human-resources administrators sent to deans and directors last month. …

Scott Greenstone has a good report in the Emerald on the dilute and degrade legislation, here:

By supporting this resolution, University Senate is saying two things:

– University Senate does not support the administration’s plan to change finals and called it “diluting academic standards” in the resolution. The plan includes turning final essays into multiple-choice tests, shortening long essay finals, or hiring non-GTF graduate students, officers of administration or even upper-level undergraduates.

– University Senate doesn’t appreciate the UO administration sending the plans to department heads instead of discussing the plans with the senate. University Senate wants to instead work with the university and come up with a solution together.

Originally, the plans were sent out with a stamp of ‘confidential,’ which the faculty pointed to as an attempt to hide the plans from them in the resolution. Barbara Altmann, senior vice-provost of Academic Affairs, denied this. Altmann said the watermark was “vestigial,” and that the university knew emails would be shared and faculty would learn of the plans.

Altmann says she and Blandy marked the plan as confidential, and only addressed it to deans and directors – not department heads, not faculty – because they knew that meant they’d get a lot of attention and feedback from the faculty. And these people wonder why no one trusts them?

GTF Union updates:

GTFF responds to today’s flex-time proposal from the administration here, and officially calls the strike for Dec 2nd, press release here.

Senate Meeting Highlights:

1) UO will dump Blackboard course management software for Canvas. Live Spring 2015. Yea!

2) Lillis speaks, answers questions. Very honest about UO’s situation and in the Q&A. (See below.) He wants administration and faculty to cooperate more to help UO. But will the Johnson Hall administration step up to the plate? Their refusal to work with the faculty on how to deal with the GTF bargaining and strike planning is not encouraging.

3) Opposition to administration’s efforts to dilute and degrade academic standards in the event of a GTF strike. AKA “educational malpractice”: dropping essay exams, canceling classes, having students watch videos, etc. Blandy: Tries to cover his butt, it’s all about protecting our undergraduates. Altmann: THe confidential stamp was there to attract more interest for what was an initial draft. We knew it would get leaked in 30 minutes to UO Matters (WTF? It wasn’t stamped “draft”, it was stamped “confidential“. And it took me days to get it. Embarrassing. And Altmann just can’t keep from digging that credibility hole deeper and deeper.) Dreiling: Sometimes good people make bad decisions. This secret memo was a bad decision. Just Settle. Lots more discussion, Coltrane gives a weak defense of how he’s handled the situation, gets called out on mis-statements by many in the room. One speaker gives HLGR’s $300-an-hour lawyers a special mention for abusing and insulting our grad students, during the year of botched negotiations that led UO to this point.

Legislation passes unanimously almost unanimously (25 to3?) at 5:10, Senate then adjourns. How’s that for Senate action to help UO improve its research standing, by making clear we stand behind our grad students? Now it’s the administration’s turn to show they can work together on this important goal.

Packed room. I’ll try and live-blog a little. No promises, check the livestream link. Usual disclaimer: nothing is a quote unless in quotes.

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Lillis reiterates new Pres will be an academic, appoints faculty to “advise” search

9/23/2014 update:  Alex Cremer has the Chuck Lillis interview in the ODE, along with an excellent Dominic Allen photo, here.

Q: What are you looking for in terms of the new president?

A: When I think about what the most important attributes are of the president, having once been a faculty member, I think faculty work best if they are confident that the president of the university understands what it’s about to be a faculty member. That’s not true at Stanford, I’d say Stanford could go hire Jeff Immelt who’s the CEO of GE and probably everyone would say that’s a brilliant move, but I think for Oregon it should probably be somebody who has strong experience in the university administration system, who holds a Ph.D or something similar in terms of degree and someone who has superior communication skills.

And the Board has just announced an emergency telephone meeting of the audit committee, to add some faculty to the search committee. The junior search committee or PSAG, that is. Is this an effort to actually get faculty input, or an effort to pretend that they’ve gotten faculty input? We’ll know in a year or two. Meanwhile Coltrane says he is not applying for the permanent job – but then he would say that, wouldn’t he?

9/15/2014: Lillis disputes RG report that he is the decider for presidential hire

Ry Rivard of Inside Higher Ed has an interview (link fixed) in which new UO Board Chair Chuck Lillis disputes the RG report that he now has the sole secret power to decide who will be UO’s next president. The story has just been updated with this:

Inside Higher Ed last week requested all documents that outlined the search plan but was not provided with the actual plan, which has was brought to the site’s attention on Monday by UO Matters, a blog that carefully follows the university. The plan clearly contradicts the chairman’s characterization of his powers in the Friday interview. A spokeswoman for the university, Julie Brown, said Monday the omission was “not intentional.”

Decide for yourself. According to the motion that the board passed after no public review (Board Secretary Angela Wilhelm left if out of the public docket materials) and apparently without even much notice to the board, UO’s next president will be appointed according to these rules:

The Committee will ultimately recommend qualified finalists to the Board Chair. The recommendations should be accompanied by a detailed report of the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, especially in terms of the desired qualifications for the position. The Board Chair will interview the Committee’s finalists and forward finalists to the full Board. The Chair is authorized to narrow the field of candidates after consultation with the Committee, and is also authorized to rank the candidates. The Board will interview the finalists forwarded by the Chair in executive session. Any final decision by the Board will be made in a public meeting, and all of the Board’s deliberations and discussions leading to that decision will be in accordance with Oregon’s public meeting laws.

Which sounds to me like Lillis can pick the finalists and if he wants to, that could be one finalist. He’d have to consult with the committee, but he could ignore their advice, and they would be sworn to secrecy about what had happened.

This procedure, and the unusual two search committees with only token student and faculty representation (all of them also picked by Lillis) that were reported by Diane Dietz in the RG are odd enough to have already attracted a highly critical editorial in the Salem Statesman Journal.

I’d say it’s an open question as to whether these unusual search and hiring procedures are really going to help accomplish Lillis’s stated goal from the Gottfredson firing meeting:

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.

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

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 2.36.46 PM

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):

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.15.48 PM

[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.

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 4.35.43 PM

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?

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 12.22.12 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 12.41.51 PM

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

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!

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.

UO capital campaign is stalled. Chuck Lillis to take charge?

6/15/2014: Diane Dietz has the story in the RG, here. These days a university president’s main job is fundraising, and Gottfredson is not doing well at it. While OSU just wrapped up a $1B academic fund drive, the Duck Athletic Fund continues to use the UO Foundation to launder tax donations for Duck athletics donors, and Phil Knight’s $500M gift to OHSU – which still needs $300M in matching money – is diverting donors away from UO science research, towards giving to help OHSU cure for cancer. I believe the biggest gift announcement on Gottfredson’s watch has been $10M for softball. Seriously.

VP for Development Michael Andreasen has made clear his frustrations with the Duck’s poaching of academic donations, but so far has been unable to put a stop to it. Maybe Lillis – a generous donor to UO academics – will be able to convince Gottfredson, or better yet a new President, to get UO priorities straight. The Foundation endowment is currently about $880M. They won’t say how much is for sports. Gottfredson’s Chief of Staff Greg Rikhoff is claiming UO doesn’t have a copy of Robin Jaqua’s gift letter, which the administration claims precludes them from using her donation for the academic side’s Jock Box costs. The Foundation did recently release this totally unhelpful breakdown of recent gifts:

Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 11.48.40 PM

Lillis’s goal is $2-$3 Billion. A large part of that will probably be for buildings and emergency spending on research and new faculty, to try and stay in the AAU. Each $1B in the endowment yields $40M a year. The total UO budget for next year will be about $900M, with about $100M for the Ducks. So $2B in new endowment – if it’s really for academics – would mean a 10% increase in academic spending.

Significant, if targeted correctly. But if it goes to things like Bean’s sports product initiative, it might make for some happy donors, employable students, and wealthy administrators, but the AAU is not going to give a shit.

In other news, the RG has a fascinating report on the growing power of popular revolt to overturn underperforming authoritarian regimes, here.