Berdahl’s appointment letter

1/6/2012: Written 12/28/11, link here. Apparently there will be a more complete contract by 1/31/12. Salient points: It’s open ended. He’s got a key role in the search. Kitzhaber wants UO to have its own board, but not until the 2013 session, and on his own terms. And George Pernsteiner writes like George Orwell’s worst nightmare:

Notably, the letter does not include the conditions Pernsteiner imposed on Lariviere last summer, and which he then used to fire him:

(1) (a) Attendance at Board meetings and Presidents’ Council meetings, absent a legitimate and unavoidable conflict;

 (b) Active participation in Board, Board committee, and OUS discussions on governance, institution boards, and sustainable financing models in preparation for the 2012 legislative session, including presenting and advocating for a specific proposal on governance and financing now known as “The New Partnership” for Board committee and Board consideration;

(c) Refrain from advocating, in any way, including through employees and contractors, for The New Partnership or a governance/financing proposal substantially similar to The New Partnership, except through the Board’s processes;

(d) Refrain from opposing any legislative proposal adopted by the Board and/or advanced by the Governor for presentation to the 2012 Oregon Legislative Assembly.  

(2) Termination without cause providing for 30 days’ notice and liquidated damages of whatever state salary is remaining on the contract.

Kitzhaber’s education plans

The OEIB website is here, pretty transparent. This is interesting, on local boards, from the 1/3/2011 meeting:

1/3/2011: In all the craziness around the Lariviere firing, I think I missed this 12/1/2011 Betsy Hammond story on the extremely confusing situation involving Kitzhaber’s plans for governance of Oregon education. Raises more questions than it answers:

Oregon plans to recruit and hire a new “chief education officer” who will have unprecedented power over education, including control of the chancellor of higher education, the next superintendent of Oregon’s public schools and the state community college commissioner.

Gov. John Kitzhaber’s new overarching education board, with control over preschool through universities, unanimously endorsed the general job description for that education officer Thursday.

Kitzhaber said he hopes to have the right person in the job by April….

A small group of education advocates, led by Nike government and public affairs director Julia Brim-Edwards and the vice president of the state teachers union, has since spent months fleshing out what the education officer would do and what authority the officer would have.

Based on their work, the 13-member statewide education board, formally titled the Oregon Education Investment Board, plans to ask the Legislature to require the chancellor, the community college commissioner and the executive director of Oregon’s college financial aid agency to answer to the chief education officer. 

Read it all. Kitzhaber’s press release is here. The job description is posted here – I’ll believe it when it shows up in the Chronicle of higher ed job listings.

Call him Herr Doctor Chancellor Professor Pernsteiner

12/30/2011: The docket for the 1/6/2012 OUS Board meeting is out. Summer session tuition increases (very large for law school) and this perk for Dr. Pernsteiner:

5.  Academic title can be assigned to staff members in unclassified academic service,
whether the type of service is teaching, research, extension, administration or other
service. Deans, vice presidents, presidents, Chancellor, and vice chancellors may have
the academic rank of professor as determined by each institution’s criteria.

A commenter points out this may be Pernsteiner’s exit strategy. Sounds possible: Kitzhaber appoints a new OEIB boss, Pernsteiner gets a faculty appointment at the PSU Hatfield School of Government, takes a sabbatical, then cashes in for a few more years. A path well worn by Dave Frohnmayer, with lots of help from Pernsteiner, and perhaps now also by Jim Bean.

RG reports UO will freeze hiring

12/14/2011: Kitzhaber’s just full of good news for UO lately. From the RG:

Oregon universities, including the University of Oregon, will abide by Gov. John Kitzhaber’s call for a state hiring freeze while lawmakers wrestle with expected declines in tax revenue.

Presidents of all seven state universities are expected to meet with Oregon University System Chancellor George Pernsteiner today to discuss the freeze and how it will be carried out.

This is the middle of the hiring season for a lot of departments – mine has interviews scheduled, starting in a few weeks, fly-outs start in mid January. The Oregonian has more here. Did anyone need another example of just how right Lariviere was about the New Partnership, and how little Dr. Pernsteiner, Matt Donegan, and Dr. Kitzhaber understand about our “higher education business model”?

OUS Board approves Berdahl as UO President

(interim). And then appoints Allyn Ford as chair of search committee for permanent President, with no consultation with the faculty. Throw the dog a bone? Aren’t we still paying off his Ford Alumni Center debt? The gift that keeps on taking. Berdahl’s opinions on OUS board members like Allyn Ford are crystal clear:

… The chancellor and board have recklessly ignored the wishes of donors, alumni, faculty and students. They have signaled the academic community throughout the nation that innovative, courageous leadership will neither be sought nor tolerated.

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.

It will be interesting to see how these two work together in their joint search to help UO find a new, innovative and courageous president. As one commenter below notes, let’s hope Ford runs interference for Berdahl with the more rabid board members.

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.

Bill Graves documents public meetings violation by OUS Board

12/3/2011: From his narrative of the “Rise and Fall of Richard Lariviere”, in the Oregonian:

On Nov. 17, the board met to decide whether to allow state universities to have independent boards, a cornerstone reform that Lariviere advocated.

“This was the defining issue, the cause of so much acrimony,” Donegan said. “Richard simply didn’t show up.’

By then, Donegan had started to poll board members on whether they wanted to renew Lariviere’s contract, a decision they had to make by the end of the year.

Donegan and board member Ally Ford arrived at Lariviere’s Eugene office at 9 a.m. sharp on Nov. 24 with the axe. His contract would not be renewed. No one on the board supported him. 

Rumor is that OUS board member Jill Eiland was a key player in this hatchet job, and that there’s an email trail documenting that the decision was made before the 11/28 executive and public meetings and Paul Kelly’s bathroom break – as if there’s any doubt on that.

Director Ron Bersin has not yet responded to the public meetings ethics complaint filed by UO faculty members last Monday. His email is and the GEC phone number is 503-378-510. I should have more info to post about this Monday. The next meeting of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission is January 12, 9AM, location TBA. The GEC Comission members are:

Portland, OR
Occupation: Foundation Board Member
Appointed by House Democrats

Salem, OR
Occupation: Retired
Appointed by Governor

Portland, OR
Appointed by Senate Republicans

Salem, OR
Appointed by Occupation: City Attorney

Eugene, OR
Occupation: Retired
Appointed by House Republicans

Portland, OR
Occupation: Retired
Appointed by Governor

Portland, OR
Occupation: Attorney
Appointed by Senate Democrats

A good resource for Oregon law on this ethics inquiry is at Key points:

The Preliminary Review Phase begins on the date the complaint is filed or the date the commission decides to proceed on its own motion and ends on the date the commission determines there is cause to undertake an investigation, dismisses the complaint or rescinds its own motion. The Preliminary Review Phase may not exceed 135 days unless: …

At the conclusion of the Preliminary Review Phase, the commission shall conduct its deliberations in executive session. All case related materials and proceedings shall be open to the public after the commission makes a finding of cause to undertake an investigation, dismisses a complaint or rescinds a motion. Prior to the end of the Preliminary Review Phase, the executive director of the commission shall prepare a statement of the facts determined during the phase, including appropriate legal citations and relevant authorities. Before presentation to the commission, the executive director’s statement shall be reviewed by legal counsel to the commission.

If the Oregon Government Ethics Commission finds that an appointed public official has violated any provision of this chapter or any rule adopted under this chapter, the finding is prima facie evidence of unfitness where removal is authorized for cause either by law or pursuant to section 6, Article VII (Amended) of the Oregon Constitution.

Kitzhaber to hire boss for Pernsteiner

12/3/2011: That’s the gist of this Oregonian story. Because our Governor passionately believes in the importance of more administrative bloat for Oregon education. $280K a year, same as Pernsteiner. But will he get more perks than the Croissant Chancellor: staff, 2 houses, maid, landscaping, retirement add-on to PERS, extra expense money, …

UO President Robert Berdahl (Interim)

12/1/2011: Yesterday’s meetings made it very clear to Governor Kitzhaber, the OUS Board, Chancellor Pernsteiner, and his mostly young and ambitious staff that there is only one clear way out of the disaster they have created for themselves: appoint Robert Berdahl as interim President and give him control of the search for a permanent replacement.

Otherwise they are all going to spending a lot time driving down to Eugene and talking to to a lot of pissed off people. The two best places to get info on Berdahl are at the Berkeley site and his well timed Op-Ed in the RG. For the faculty, his words sealed the deal:

… The chancellor and board have recklessly ignored the wishes of donors, alumni, faculty and students. They have signaled the academic community throughout the nation that innovative, courageous leadership will neither be sought nor tolerated.

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.
Robert Berdahl was a professor of history and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon. He is a former president of the University of Texas at Austin; chancellor emeritus of the University of California, Berkeley; and president emeritus of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

Pernsteiner and his Chief of Staff Bridget Burns have been given a simple message from the faculty to take back to Portland and the Governor and Board: Convince Berdahl to take this job on his terms, or face 18 more months of what you sat through yesterday in the meeting rooms of the Knight law school and in Matt Court. The faculty assembly has another meeting Dec 7. Maybe you should come to terms before then?

George – here’s what we really think:

11/30/2011: Not everyone had a chance to speak their piece today. Send me more, I’ll post them.

Chancellor Pernsteiner,

At Monday’s meeting, the Board of Directors said that trust is vital to the relationship between our University and the OUS, and I agree. But the past few days have shown that this community no longer trusts the Board, and it especially does not trust you.

The overwhelming sentiment on this campus is that your leadership threatens to drive our University into the ground. Given this irreversible erosion of trust, my question is this: will you consider stepping down from the board so that our institution can continue to grow and thrive, or will you cling to power at the expense of the 27,000 students, faculty, and staff who believe in a bright future for the University of Oregon.

Thank you,
Ben DeJarnette

Link to DeFazio’s strong statement of support for Lariviere and a UO Board and for the end of OUS. Where were you last week Pete?

Professor Robert Z. Melnick knows Pernsteiner, and ripped into Pernsteiner and Ciuffetti at the assembly, pdf here.

Professor and former CAS Dean Joe Stone – who also knows Pernsteiner – explains how UO has sacrificed for OUS, and gives his advice on the appropriate “beau geste” for Mr. Pernsteiner.

One pissed off P. B. Shelley explains the next steps the UO community should take regarding the OUS Chancellor, Board and staff:

Men of Oregon, heirs of Glory,
Heroes of unwritten story,
Nurslings of one mighty Mother,
Hopes of her, and one another;

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you –
Ye are many — they are few.

RG storyOregonian story, KEZI video

Bridget Burns, Pernsteiner’s Chief of Staff

11/30/2011: Chancellor Pernsteiner will be on campus today, telling the UO faculty leadership how he will pick his new UO president.

His chief of staff Bridget Burns has been briefing him with background info on us. Turnabout is fair play: Ms Burns’s OUS bio is here, OSU MPP thesis on “The Perception Gap: The Gulf Between Public Opinion and Public Higher Education in Oregon” here – with regressions!

Contact Info:

Bathroom break and OUS meeting video

11/29/2011: At 5:05, after sitting for two hours pretending to listen to us, and right before the board members were to vote, Board member Paul Kelly announced he had a sudden need to go to the men’s room. The entire board filed out with him, coming back 10 minutes later. Any guesses as to what went on back there? Here’s his email address, if you want to ask:

Here’s the link to the entire OUS meeting. I haven’t looked too see if it includes bathroom video: