Former OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner leaves SHEEO for Bridgepoint Education Inc.

Bridgepoint’s stock is way up since the Trump election and his appointment of Betsy DeVos, who is busy gutting the Obama administration’s crackdown on exploitative for-profit universities. Bridgepoint owns Ashford University and the University of the Rockies.

And it looks like easy money:

Appointment of George Pernsteiner as Director

On July 10, 2017, the Board, upon the recommendation of the Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board, elected George Pernsteiner to the Board, effective as of August 1, 2017. Mr. Pernsteiner will serve as a Class I director, with a term expiring at the annual meeting of stockholders to be held in 2019. Mr. Pernsteiner will serve on the Compensation Committee of the Board. In addition, the Board determined that Mr. Pernsteiner qualifies as independent under the rules of the NYSE.

Mr. Pernsteiner, age 69, has over 28 years of experience serving in several leadership posts in the post-secondary education system. Mr. Pernsteiner has been the President of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, which represents chancellors and commissioners of higher education from every state, from September 2013 until the present, and has announced his retirement as President effective as of August 1, 2017. Previously, Mr. Pernsteiner served as Chancellor of the Oregon University System from July 2004 through May 2013. Mr. Pernsteiner has a B.A. in Political Science from Seattle University and an MPA from the University of Washington in Public Administration.

In connection with his appointment to the Board and in accordance with the Company’s non-employee director compensation program, Mr. Pernsteiner will receive a base annual retainer of $45,000 for service on the Board. In addition, Mr. Pernsteiner is eligible to receive a stock option under the Company’s Amended and Restated 2009 Stock Incentive Plan, as amended, exercisable for a number of shares of Company common stock equal to the quotient of (a) $85,000, divided by (b) the Black-Scholes value of an option to purchase one share of Company common stock, with an exercise price equal to the closing price of Company common stock on the NYSE on the date of grant. Mr. Pernsteiner may be eligible for additional stock option and restricted stock unit awards that may be granted to the Company’s non-employee directors from time to time in the discretion of the Board and the Compensation Committee of the Board.

Dysfunctional HECC now wants UO & PSU to beg for tuition increases

Update: OPB’s Rob Manning reports on the latest from the HECC, here:

… HECC commissioners were critical of the large universities, suggesting they had not done enough outreach to affected groups, like students.

One commissioner also suggested that by rejecting tuition hikes it would send a message to state lawmakers that more funding is needed for public universities.

… In a statement released Thursday night after the meeting, HECC executive director Ben Cannon signaled an expectation the big public universities would come back to the commission to make their arguments again.

Meanwhile, InsideHigherEd reports that UO’s old friend, former OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner, will soon be available to help out the HECC:

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association has hired Robert E. Anderson to be its new president, beginning in August. He will replace George Pernsteiner, who has led the group for four years.

5/12/2017: Pres Schill responds to HECC’s denial of tuition increase

Dear University of Oregon community members,

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s decision yesterday to reject the University of Oregon’s tuition plan is disappointing and creates uncertainty on our campus. If it stands, we will be forced to make even deeper cuts at the UO than are already anticipated, including cuts that will likely affect student support services, academic programs, and jobs. While we would like the HECC to reconsider its vote, we are already evaluating additional budget reduction steps that can be taken if this decision holds and the state does not provide additional support for public higher education.
No one wants to increase tuition, but the university is left with little choice given that tuition is the UO’s main source of revenue after decades of declining state support. Prior to the HECC’s vote, the UO’s tuition plan would have required more than $8 million in budget reductions next year, which would come on top of more than $6 million in cuts made in the previous fiscal year. I have steadfastly expressed my view that we will try to shield the academic part of our university from the impact of this year’s budget cuts, but if we are forced to limit our tuition increase to less than 5 percent, then that aspiration will likely be impossible.

In the face of cost-drivers that institutions do not control—including retirement and health benefit costs—Oregon’s public universities have been clear that significant additional state support for higher education is necessary to keep tuition increases low and to maintain critical student support services. State legislators still have the opportunity this session to approve a higher-education budget that prioritizes Oregon students and their families and makes the proposed tuition increase at the UO and other institutions unnecessary.

The state of Oregon deserves a world-class research institution like the UO. The HECC’s decision to overturn a tuition plan that was reached through months of inclusive campus engagement and careful deliberation by our institutional Board of Trustees, however, threatens our ability to deliver on that promise for all Oregonians. We will continue to work with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to make the case in Salem that cutting higher-education funding and usurping campus independence will lead to untenable outcomes for the UO and all of higher education in Oregon.
As we have said repeatedly, the UO stands ready and willing to provide HECC commissioners with the information they need to reconsider their decision about tuition on our campus. This situation is very fluid and time is of the essence, given that the fiscal year starts on July 1, but you have my commitment that we will communicate with the campus community as we hear more. I appreciate your patience and understanding.

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

5/11/2017: HECC turns down UO’s 10% tuition increase

That’s the bad news from the HECC meeting today. The tuition increase for in-state student tuition will be capped at 4.99%.

The vote on UO was 4-4, and a majority was needed. Will Campbell has a “to be updated” report in the Emerald here.

The docket is here, the official HECC statement is here:

PRESS RELEASE: HECC Takes Action on Public University Tuition Proposals, Approving Increases at OIT, SOU, WOU 

MAY 11, 2017
Contact: Endi Hartigan, Communications Director, Higher Education Coordinating Commission, [email protected], 971-701-4032 cell

Salem, Oregon  — Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) voted today at a public meeting in Salem to approve three out of five requests for resident undergraduate in-state tuition increases at Oregon public universities. The Boards of Trustees for Oregon’s seven public universities generally set tuition for their students, but under Oregon law* passed in 2013, HECC is required to determine for the State of Oregon whether any public university proposal for undergraduate in-state tuition and fee increases greater than five percent is appropriate.

Facing significant budget shortfalls in 2017-18, five of Oregon’s seven public universities** proposed 2017-18 tuition and mandatory fee increases above the five percent statutory threshold. These proposals were based on anticipated state funding levels, as described in the Governor’s Recommended Budget for higher education. The Commission’s action today approved proposed tuition increases at Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT), Southern Oregon University (SOU), and Western Oregon University (WOU). The proposals for Portland State University (PSU) and University of Oregon (UO) were not approved, in part related to concerns about student involvement in the tuition-setting process. Both PSU and UO fell one vote short of the five Commissioner votes required for passage. The vote followed nearly four hours of public testimony from students and other stakeholders over the last two days of Commission meetings, as well as vigorous discussion among the Commissioners.

Institution ApprovedTuition Increase**
OIT 7.42%
OIT-Wilsonville 8.08%
SOU 11.43%
WOU* 7.45%
Institution Not Approved
PSU 8.37%
UO 11.48%
*=Weighted Average Increase
**Resident undergraduate tuition and mandatory enrollment fee

Cognizant of the precedent-setting nature of its action, the Commission’s votes followed a careful evaluation of the universities’ requests against a set of criteria substantially shaped by Governor Kate Brown, who on April 10, 2017 issued a letter to HECC Commission Chair Neil Bryant detailing conditions for tuition approval. In her letter, the Governor expressed concern for whether universities gave serious consideration to alternatives, how tuition increases would impact underrepresented students, how they would be balanced with institutional cost-saving measures or cuts, the degree to which students and faculty were involved in tuition-setting processes on campuses, whether additional state funding would reduce these tuition levels.

Institutions prepared detailed responses about how they satisfied these concerns; those responses, along with HECC staff analyses are available on the HECC website under materials for the May 10 and 11 public meetings here. The Chairs of the Boards of Trustees of all five universities joined senior university administrators before a HECC subcommittee on May 10 to personally attest to how they met the Governor’s conditions.

Neil Bryant, Chair of the HECC, said, “This was an unprecedented scenario for our Commission, as Oregon faces stark challenges in higher education funding. We appreciated the Governor’s student and equity-focused vision, which we share, and her clear criteria, which reinforced HECC priorities. The fact that universities are committed to reducing tuition increases should the Legislature provide additional state funding was an especially important consideration to the Commission. Although the Commission did not approve the UO and PSU proposals, we are committed to supporting the institutions in every way we can on next steps.”

The Commission’s discussion focused heavily on the insufficiency of state higher education funding levels, which has a direct impact on tuition. A recent national report on higher education funding showed that while Oregon made significant investments in 2015, this was in the context of many years of underfunding. Oregon still ranks substantially low (37th) for educational appropriations per student, and has seen some of the steepest reductions in the country since before the 2008 Recession.

Ben Cannon, executive director of the HECC, said, “Our Commissioners were faced today with the same unwelcome dilemma that has tested university Boards of Trustees: namely, the gap between steadily rising costs and flat state funding levels. Under these circumstances, the Commission concluded that the proposed increases represent the ‘least bad’ option for WOU, SOU, and OIT. We look forward to hearing how UO and PSU intend to either adjust their tuition proposals or present additional information to the HECC that could result in reconsideration.”

In their remarks, Commissioners expressed appreciation for the institutions, students, agency staff, and all who testified and contributed to the public process. Commission Chair Neil Bryant said, “I commend all public testimony, both pro and con, concerning the tuition increases. The HECC understands the tremendous burden that is placed on students and their families and is committed to supporting additional funding to reduce tuition.”

Under Oregon law, UO and PSU will need to do one of the following before finalizing their 2017-18 tuition rates for resident undergraduate students: 1) Modify their plan such that it falls below the 5% increase threshold requiring HECC approval, 2) Receive approval from the HECC for a modified or resubmitted proposal that is at a level of 5% or greater, or 3) Receive approval from the Legislative Assembly for a tuition increase greater than 5%.

*ORS 352.087(1)(i) and ORS 352.102(4).
**Eastern Oregon University (EOU) and Oregon State University (OSU) did not seek HECC approval, as their boards approved tuition increases of less than five percent.

The HECC is dedicated to fostering and sustaining the best, most rewarding pathways to opportunity and success for all Oregonians through an accessible, affordable and coordinated network for educational achievement beyond high school. For more information, go to

More here:

2.0 DRAFT March 8, 2017 Minutes
4.0 2017-19 Community College Strategic Fund
5.0 Community College Support Fund Distribution: Growth Management
6.0a Public University Support Fund Distribution: Overview of SSCM Model
6.0b SSCM Funding Model Overview presentation
6.0c SSCM Summary
6.0d SSCM Calculation Map
7.0a Public University Tuition and Fee Increase Requests
7.0b UO Tuition & Fee Increase HECC summary
7.0c UO Tuition & Fee Institutional Board Packet
7.0d PSU Tuition & Fee Increase HECC summary
7.0e PSU Tuition & Fee Institutional Board Packet
7.0f PSU Tuition & Fee Institutional Finance Committee Packet
7.0g Letter from Governor Brown to HECC re  tuition increases

OUS to condemn Treetops, give it to Gottfredson, or return it to the heirs

It looks like the OUS Board is finally going to decide what to do with Tree Tops. By condemn they mean seize it under eminent domain, and presumably pay the heirs the market value, which according to Zillow is $1.4M.

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 12.28.06 AM

The full docket for the board’s 1/10/2013 meeting, which includes one of Matt Donegan’s special executive sessions as well as approval for work on utility tunnels and Chapman Hall as well as cuts to the state lottery subsidy for Duck sports scholarships, is here.

2/12/2011: Treetops / Pernsteiner scandal
Greg Bolt of the RG has a great story about OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner’s non-use of his state provided mansion in Eugene, Treetops, at 2237 Spring Blvd.

The state pays $50,000 plus in maintenance, plus another $20,000 for travel, plus $280,900 in straight salary. (See this Oregonian report on how Pernsteiner got raises while others got furloughs). Oh yes, we also give him $23,120 for “professional development” expenses. OUS does not have any documentation on how he actually spends that. Unbelievable.

Here is some documentation on how he charges the state for per diem while living at his 2nd house in Portland – for which the state gives him another $26,000 a year, so he can make the mortgage payments. He is using tuition money to pay for his morning croissant and latte.

The Treetops utility bill is $1,000 a month. Pernsteiner was letting his kids’ college student friends live there. Maid service is ~$8,000 a year, paid by the state. Party on.

State Higher Education Board President Paul Kelly is quoted:

“Whether we’re imposing an obligation on him that’s worthwhile, from the board’s point of view or not, that’s something we perhaps ought to take a look at,” Kelly said.

Yes, that sort of money can be a tough obligation to impose on someone, I hear. I’m glad the board doesn’t spend it on professors. Or students, god forbid.

In unrelated news, yesterday Governor Kitzhaber announced his intention to disband the State Higher Education Board. It’ll be tough for Pernsteiner to get another gig like this, without a PhD.

Here are some of the Tree Tops documents:

1938 Campbell Church gift letter on “actual use”
Mrs. Gerlinger’s warning
Historical interest from DOJ file
Interior photos from ~1983

Maintenance and maid service costs:
Some 2004-2008 costs
Some 2008-2010 costs
IRS tax levy documents for maid service and OUS payments
Maid in Oregon housekeeping contracts

“Actual use” and misc:
Pernsteiner employment contracts 2004-2010
Pernsteiner Portland house 
Pernsteiner expense reports and per diem charges (more soon)
Heidelberg junket (more soon)
Treetops use by unrelated individuals (soon)

Voting investigation:
Lane County election supervisor initial inquiry
Pernsteiner’s attorney’s reply.

Lawsuit docs (email me).

Faculty union contract vote, Tu October 8

10/2/2013: Updated announcement with links. 

I apologize but we do not have a budget or dues rate yet. Nothing nefarious, I’m traveling and the OC is busy with the contract and classes etc. Hard to arrange a meeting time to approve everything. I’d post the draft but I’m just one of many involved in this, so that would be presumptuous.

An email sent to bargaining unit members about the 10/8 meeting:

Next Tuesday’s General Membership Meeting and Contract Ratification Vote are rapidly approaching!  Please mark your calendars and make time to ratify our Tentative Agreement with the UO Administration.
Many of you have written-in asking about the schedule for 10/8.  Here is the agenda for next Tuesday:
5PM doors open for member check-in–voting begins
6PM–meeting convenes–Chief negotiators present the contract
6:30PM–Q & A with the bargaining team
7:30PM–Finance committee presents local budget and dues proposal to membership
8:00PM–Q & A with the finance committee
9:00PM – Meeting and Voting Conclude
The contract ratification vote will continue until 9PM–ballots will be counted at the end of the meeting and results will be announced via email.
The contract summary, the budget, and the dues proposal will be available at the meeting.

Members do not have to stay for the entire meeting.  You may come, vote, and leave at any time during the meeting.  However, we encourage everyone to attend the entire presentation and participate in the discussion.

9/20/2013: Union to use Treetops for contract ratification meeting?

That’s the rumor from the profs playing darts down at the Faculty Club tonight. Hard to think of a more appropriate location, really. Pernsteiner was evicted a few months ago, and if the celebratory goat roast gets out of control – god forbid – the cops will have a hard time figuring out who’s the landlord and enforcing the Social Host Ordinance. Meeting is set for the evening of October 8, details later. 

Rudy Crew scammed Kitzhaber on expenses too

7/16/2013: Nigel Jaquiss and Alex Blum have the scoop in WWeek, based on public records requests, including Crew’s official calendar:

Records obtained by WW under the state’s public records law suggest the governor and the Oregon Education Investment Board left Crew unsupervised in his high-profile job. He spent much of his tenure jetting to conferences and private speaking engagements in faraway locales such as Alaska and the Bahamas, often flying first class.

Similar story from Betsy Hammond in the Oregonian, here. Small change compared to what Matt Donegan let Pernsteiner get away with. The croissants were the least of it – he even hit up the students for his mortgage payments, $26K a year. Plus car, maid service, etc. Speaking of Pernsteiner, I wonder what Treetops cost us last year? Lets find out:

From: UO Matters
Subject: Treetops records

Date: July 15, 2013 8:04:33 AM PDT
To: Charles Triplett

Dear Mr. Triplett, this is a public records request for
a) any documents showing expenses for the maintenance or operation of Treetops, including but not limited to landscaping and maid service, from 1/1/2012 to the present, and
b) any documents since 1/1/2013 showing plans for use of Treetops, now that Mr. Pernsteiner has left the building. 

Dr. Pernsteiner finds gainful employment in Boulder

6/27/2013: Just 4 days before his eviction from Treetops, former OUS Chancellor Dr. George Pernsteiner has landed a job as president of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. No word on whether or not his former chief of staff Bridget Burns will follow him to their offices in Boulder. Who knows what pot of public money funds this non-profit, but they pull in $3.5 million a year, and his predecessor’s take was 300 large. The good news is this means Oregon student tuition won’t have to cover the year of severance Matt Donegan had promised him. Thanks to anon for the tip!

Pernsteiner evicted from Treetops mansion, accuses Lane County Clerk of "specious challenge to my citizenship"

6/8/2013: Sorry, long story. Lane County Clerk Cheryl Betschart, who is in charge of elections and investigating illegal voting, recently sent former OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner a form asking if he really should be voting in Lane County. He sent back this response:

Yup, that’s our former Chancellor, accusing the Lane County Clerk of making a “specious challenge to my citizenship and residency”.

Specious? Really? Pernsteiner has been living at the Treetops Mansion at 2237 Spring Boulevard since 2004, courtesy of Oregon college student’s tuition money. At 6,389 square feet it’s the second largest house in Lane County. Maintenance is $150K or so a year. Our students also spring for Pernsteiner’s maid service.

Except Pernsteiner doesn’t really live there. He just pretends he does. If he doesn’t, the house goes back to the heirs of Campbell Church, a rather remarkable man who made his fortune in the Alaskan gold rush:

The early days of ecotourism – the M.V. Westward had a harpoon the guests could try out on passing whales.

In 1938 the formidable Irene Gerlingher, a UO booster from back when that term had nothing to do with athletics, persuaded the widowed Mr. Church to give Treetops to UO, on the condition that it be used as the residence of the UO President or the Chancellor:

But Pernsteiner’s actually been living at his own house in Portland. In fact his contract was giving him another $23K a year to pay for his mortgage there. Greg Bolt had a great story about it in the RG a few years back. That’s all over now. OUS board president Matt Donegan finally fired the right guy, and OUS has a new interim chancellor, Melody Rose. And as of 7/1/2013 she’s kicking Pernsteiner out of Treetops (and has no intention of getting involved in the scheme to keep it, by pretending to live there herself.)

This is sort of a problem for Mr. Pernsteiner, since back in 2011 when I challenged his claim to be a Lane County resident, he got his lawyer Bill Gary (of Harrang, Gary, Rudnick and Long) to tell Lane County Clerk Cheryl Betschart that:

Pernsteiner most recently voted in Lane County in the May election. Of course it’s illegal to vote in one county when you really live in another. But Ms Betschart said there wasn’t much that she could do except take his word – or his lawyer’s word – about his plan to someday return to live at Treetops. We’ve all got a dream I guess, and it does have a fabulous view from the verandas, a guest house, and a tennis court.

But, somewhere between 2011 and now reality set in. Pernsteiner changed his mind about buying Treetops from the Church heirs, and bought another house for his permanent residence. According to Zillow he did it on 4/27/2012, but what’s a few illegal elections? At 800 square feet it’s a bit smaller than Treetops, but it’s got a little history too, as James Beard’s beach cottage, and when you have to pay for your own maid service you make some sacrifices.

What will become of Treetops? Presumably President Gottfredson will move in, satisfying the gift letter terms, and UO will then let McMorran House, the current presidential residence, be used as the official residence of UO general counsel Randy Geller, the man who really runs UO. Or maybe Athletic Director Rob Mullens? The Duck football coach? Phil Knight?

Pernsteiner is still voting illegally in Lane County?

5/17/2013: It sure looks that way to me, and Lane County Registrar Cheryl Betschart has asked him for an explanation. You remember Pernsteiner, right?

Last time I asked this question Pernsteiner had his lawyer, Bill Gary of HLGR, send this response to the registrar, claiming Pernsteiner intended to return to Lane County and make it his permanent residence:

Sure he plans to return. I like that “we respectfully request that this information be held in confidence” part. Nice try, Mr. Gary. Of course, lying to the Registrar about this sort of thing is a felony:


Kate Brown audits OUS

Update: By popular request I’m adding a link to an audit and other shenanigans of Dave Frohnmayer’s two last provosts, John Moseley and Jim Bean. “Provost’s gone wild”.

The RG editorializes, here. Read the commenters there, they are better informed than the editors about the lack of substance and the Kate Brown politicking in the audit. Speaking of politics and audits, Brown had a hell of a time deciding how to handle the problems with Frohnmayer’s golden parachute deal – they ended up replacing his name with “a former UO president” in the audit report – maybe he threatened to sue them for defamation too? He did have to repay some money though. Then her Audits Division decided to completely bail on doing anything about Pernsteiner taking his $26K “professional expenses” budget as personal salary, while claiming his croissant reimbursements from another account. 4/14/2013.

UO’s Treetops mansion searched in graft probe

2/24/13. Whoops, sorry, actually that story is about one of the many villas belonging to the Bongo Ondimba family, who recently gave $20 million in Gabonese money to UO for a greenwashing program. The latest story about Treetops and departing OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner is in the RG, here:

Interim Oregon higher education chancellor Melody Rose says she’s not going to live in the official chancellor’s home in Eugene, an 8,111-square-foot, 1911 mansion in the Fairmount neighborhood known as Treetops. 

That puts the future of the problematic property in doubt. 

The property presents a conundrum for the chancellor’s office because, when a merchant donated the property to the state in 1938, it was with the stipulation that the chancellor or the University of Oregon president live there. The state pays upward of $50,000 annually to maintain the residence, and in some years has spent tens of thousands of dollars more on repairs.

The Audits Division recently decided to let Pernsteiner keep the $23,200 a year in “professional expenses” money he’d been pocketing as an add-on to his $294,000 salary:

On MondayFeb 11, 2013, at 4:22 PM, “BOND, V Dale” wrote: 

[UO Matters]:
After consideration of the information you provided regarding professional expenses included in Chancellor Pernsteiner’s 2009-2012 contract, we have decided not to pursue the questions you raised. The expenses were treated as salary and taxed.


V. Dale Bond, CPA, CISA, CFEAudit ManagerSecretary of State Audits Division
255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 500
Salem, OR 97310
[email protected]
If you know of or suspect any fraud, waste, or abuse affecting Oregon state funds or resources, call 1.800.336.8218.Professional operators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or report online at Any person reporting such acts shall remain anonymous (ORS 177.180).

And the Lane County voter registrar decided not to pursue voter fraud charges against him, for now:

From: BETSCHART Cheryl L
Subject: RE: investigation of George Pernsteiner voting residenceDate: February 15, 2013 2:58:14 PM PST
Cc: “BAYES, Brenda J ([email protected])”
[UO Matters],
You have requested that Lane County Elections investigate whether George Pernsteiner meets Oregon residency requirements for voting purposes based on the contents of a Separation and Resignation Agreement. I do not find sufficient evidence to challenge his residency at this time. If you have additional documented evidence that shows that Mr. Pernsteiner is no longer in compliance with the residency guidelines outlined in ORS 247.035, please forward those to me for consideration.

Cheryl BetschartLane County Clerk275 W. 10th Avenue, Eugene OR 97401(541) 682-4328 – Fax (541) 682-2303[email protected]

And Diane Dietz has a piece in the RG about the new Chancellor, here.

New Chancellor update: Politically appointed boards do strange things …

2/14/2013 update: Melody Rose appointed Interim Chancellor. Betsy Hammond has the story. No word yet on whether or not her contract will

  1. Give her $23,200 for “professional expenses” and then let her pocket it as extra pay.
  2. Require her to pretend she lives at Treetops, and pay for her maid service, landscaping, and mortgage, and croissants.
  3. Encourage her to lie on her voter registration form and vote in Eugene.

2011 Update: This Harry Esteve story reports that SB909, Kitzhaber’s plan to shove OUS and Dr. Pernsteiner under the nearest bus, is building momentum:

As the session heads into its final days,  he appears to have the upper hand on his remaining priorities, including a statewide super-board to oversee all levels of education spending and a plan to trim health costs by overhauling the way low-income residents get medical care. 

6/18/2011: The quote is from Mrs. Irene Gerlinger, first woman regent of the University of Oregon, and “a formidable fundraiser” for the UO’s academic side.

UO no longer has a Board of Regents. We gave that authority up to the statewide Oregon State Board of Higher Education in 1929. As the impressive Mrs. Gerlinger predicted, this was a mistake. 
She was trying to keep the Chancellor in Eugene, where UO could keep an eye on him. Sure enough, in 2005, then interim Chancellor George Pernsteiner reneged on the Treetops deal, split for Portland, and has been taking our money ever since. The Campbell Church heirs are still trying to get their house back from him. 
President Lariviere’s new partnership plan would bring back the UO Board of Regents. Good idea. I can just imagine what Mrs Gerlinger would have said about Pernsteiner’s rule that Lariviere
(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;

I don’t think Pernsteiner would have lasted a month.

Update: Watch Donegan give Pernsteiner $300K in student tuition money

1/28/2013: Pernsteiner’s buy out deal is here, courtesy of OUS Board Secretary Charles Triplett – no fee this time, though it’s going to cost the students plenty:

Word from the recently dedicated Lariviere Smoking Lounge down at the UO faculty club is that the state Audits Division may be looking into how Pernsteiner has been accounting for some of those past “professional development expenses”.

1/27/2013: The OUS board meeting on his golden parachute is 10AM Monday, live-streaming here. But rumor around the faculty club snookers table is that Paul Kelly and Matt Donegan are going to do the deal in the men’s room, as usual. Here’s their last effort. Charles Triplett refused to post the video on the OUS minutes website – but UO put it on youtube:

Update: Pernsteiner gives OUS board two months notice

1/26/2013: Pernsteiner’s attorney, Bill Gary of Harrang, Rudnick, Frohnmayer et al., says Pernsteiner intends to return to live in Eugene:


Full letter and more recent info here, more on his various scams below.

1/26/2013: Actually, the board gave *him* notice – read the press release. Brad Schmidt of the Oregonian has a quote from some disgruntled prof, here. The board meets Jan 28th to decide how much tuition money our students are going to have to pay to get rid of him. Donegan gave him a contract through July 2014 just 6 months ago, here, so it ain’t gonna be cheap. Two weeks ago the board gave him a 5% raise, part retroactive, increasing his buyout cost $15K or so. Now they make him resign. Presumably he’s PERS tier one and this will pump up his payout to Frohnmayeresque levels. See Steve Duin for some history. Sure is fun spending other people’s money on your friends, eh Matt?

I wonder what this will mean for Treetops – will Gottfredson take it over? Anyway, good for Kitzhaber! For the nostalgic: Lariviere Day memories, the video of the November 28th 2011 OUS meeting where Donegan and Pernsteiner fired Lariviere, and the video of the November 30th 2011 faculty assembly with Pernsteiner, where the UO faculty unanimously passed this resolution calling for the board to dump him:

Statement from the State Board of Higher Education

January 25, 2013


University System Chancellor George Pernsteiner announces plans to resign

Portland, Oregon – January 25, 2013: Chancellor George Pernsteiner announced his resignation from the Oregon University System today. Chancellor Pernsteiner will remain in his current role through March 1, 2013 and will continue to contribute on a special assignment through March 31. Pernsteiner’s continued service to the Oregon University System through March will facilitate a successful leadership transition.

“It has been a true honor to serve Oregon as Chancellor for more than eight years,” said Pernsteiner. “In that time, I have been privileged to lead and work with truly dedicated professionals in the Chancellor’s office who care deeply about our students and our state. The accomplishments of Oregon’s universities in the past several years have been outstanding as we changed the way we engaged with community colleges, increased our enrollment and the success of Oregon students, and witnessed all-time record high levels of enrollment and degrees. It has been a gratifying experience to work with faculty, staff, student leaders, board members and state officials to help improve the lives of Oregonians. I very much look forward to continuing to make that happen over the next couple of months and into the future.”

“We wish to thank Chancellor Pernsteiner for his many years of service to the students served by our universities,” said Matt Donegan, president of the State Board of Higher Education. “George leaves the university system well positioned, having reached record enrollment and degree attainment at a time when higher education has never been of greater importance to Oregon’s economy. The state has reached a critical transition point, making this an opportune time for a change of leadership. We are embarking on new strategies to achieve the state’s 40-40-20 goal and capturing unprecedented opportunities for achievement and efficiency through technology and innovation. As we look ahead, student success will continue to guide us.”

“Throughout this transition, our focus will remain on students and supporting the faculty and staff who do such an outstanding job educating them,” said Jill Eiland, Board vice president. “We appreciate George’s willingness to remain on board to lend his expertise and ensure a successful transition. Our immediate priority will be to name an interim chancellor.”

The Oregon State Board of Higher Education will vote in a public meeting on January 28, 2013 at 10:00 am at the Board’s meeting room in Portland regarding the final separation agreement with Chancellor Pernsteiner.

The Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities and one branch campus, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to

I’ve posted a lot of stuff over the years about Pernsteiner’s various perks and scams – here’s a good index:

  • He was hired in 2004 by Neil Goldschmidt as an interim appointment, then made permanent after the molestation story broke and everyone was too busy to go through a public search process. 
  • He does not have a PhD – unique for a Chancellor. 
  • He is paid $280,900 in straight salary. (plus new 5% raise)
  • He gets another $23,320 for “professional development expenses.” He does not document how he spends this – just takes as a cash salary add-on. 
  • He gets a free car with all costs paid.
  • He gets a $12,720 retirement add-on, to top off his regular PERS account.
  • He gets an all expenses paid mansion in Eugene, Treetops, which he uses about 4 nights a month, at a cost to the state of over $50,000 a year.
  • We pay about $7,000 for his maid service.
  • He gets another $26,000 in housing allowance to pay the mortgage on his own house, in Portland.
  • He charges the state $52 a day for his personal food while he’s in Portland. The scam is to claim he lives in Eugene, so when he’s in at his own house in Portland, he’s traveling! 
  • He votes illegally in Lane County, and gets away with it by having his lawyer, (Bill Gary of Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick and Frohnmayer) tell the Lane County Elections Supervisor that “He spends less than half of his time in either of his residences, but his primary residence and the place to which he intends to return is his official residence in Eugene.” Sure you do, George.

Cuts to Pernsteiner’s Treetops maid service?

Christian Whithol has the story in the RG:

Oregon’s top higher education officials are engaged in a hypothetical analysis of financial pressures that the state’s public universities, including the University of Oregon, face over the next few years. 

But they want to keep the projections secret. …

Pernsteiner said he’d only release the projections “if I were assured that it wouldn’t be misconstrued and misinterpreted.”

Stay calm George. You may lose the maids, but Oregon tuition money is still going to pay your mortgage and croissant expenses. The RG is reporting on the “executive” meeting that OUS Counsel Ryan Hagemann kicked me out of. 1/21/2013.

Dr. Pernsteiner’s raise is retroactive to July 2012.

And he keeps the two houses, maid service, croissants etc:

I’m sure there’s plenty more scandal in these OUS board minutes. And they’ve got another meeting coming up on Friday. One agenda item? Approve Robin Holmes’s EMU renovations. Another? A new code of ethics. You can’t make this shit up. 1/9/2013