The president of the University of Oregon, Richard Lariviere, is much loved on the UO campus, but has caused tensions through some of the rest of the state’s college system — primarily because of a fundraising plan he came up with to put UO on a separate financial track from other colleges in the state.
Now those ideas, and the perception that he is not working with the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, have cost him his job. He was told last week that his contract, which last summer was extended for only a year, will not be renewed. On Monday afternoon the state board met to vote on this decision. They voted unanimously to fire him effective December 28th.
Lariviere’s been president of the University of Oregon since July of 2009. Six months into his position, Think Out Loud broadcast from his home in Eugene. We spoke with him about many things including his hopes for the university. You can listen to that interview here.
This decision to let Lariviere go has caused a huge rift between UO and the state board. Tim Gleason, the dean of the UO School of Journalism and Communication, estimates that up to 40 faculty members may resign, at least in part, over this. Faculty and students have created a campaign to support Lariviere called We Stand With the Hat, referring to the fedora that has become something of a Lariviere trademark.
Governor John Kitzhaber supports the state board. In a statement released last week he said (among other things):
Dr. Lariviere’s popularity in the University of Oregon community speaks for itself. But evaluating his performance requires more. His responsibility to the Board of Higher Education and his contribution to the larger issues and success of the entire system fall short. Indeed, Dr. Lariviere’s actions have done damage to our vision for higher education and other institutions of higher learning; and, ironically, have served to undercut his own aspirations for the University of Oregon.
What’s your reaction to this news?
Editor’s Note: Think Out Loud producer, Alex Johnson, will be at the University of Oregon in the student union buiding (the EMU) on Tuesday morning between 9 and 10 am. Join him to share your thoughts live on the air. And as always, you can call in from anywhere during the show, toll free — the number is 1-888-665-5865.