11/27/2011: The Oregon GEC is charged with enforcing Oregon law regarding public meetings. We believe the OUS decision to fire President Lariviere in secret without public notice of their meeting and to then call a sham meeting to rubber-stamp their secret decision violates that law. We have emailed have the complaint below to GEC Director Bersin and Chancellor Pernsteiner and the OUS Board. It is signed by more than 75 UO faculty so far. To make your participation official you must download, sign the last page, and mail this convenient 13 page pdf of the complaint to the GEC. Do this by Monday AM. Complete instructions are on page 1.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want your name added to the list below.
Anyone can download and file the complaint. For complete news on Lariviere firing go here. The RG has reposted our complaint here and has a comprehensive story on it by Jeff Wright, here. The Oregonian has this:
State board President Matt Donegan said Saturday he is aware of the complaint. “I have no reaction other than to say we have made every step in conjunction with legal council to ensure that all appropriate processes have been followed,” he said.
Dear Oregon Government Ethics Commission Director Bersin, and GEC Members:
This is a request that you investigate a potential violation by the Oregon University System Board and OUS officials of the Oregon Revised Statutes regarding public meetings and executive sessions. Public officials that may have been involved in this potential violation include OUS Chancellor Pernsteiner, OUS Board Chair Matt Donegan, and the other OUS Board members listed at the bottom of this complaint.
WW has learned that Oregon University System board members met with University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere on Monday, telling him that when his contract expires in June, it will not be renewed.
University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere this morning said he was disappointed the State Board of Higher Education has asked him to leave a job that he considers a good fit by the end of the school year. “It comes down to a disagreement about the future of the University of Oregon,” he said. “It is a disappointment.” Matthew Donegan, board president, told Lariviere Monday that his one-year contract would not be renewed.
Lariviere was told of the decision in a meeting Monday with Matt Donegan, the board president, and board member Allyn Ford.
Donegan stressed Wednesday that no final action has been taken. That is expected to come in a special meeting that has been called for Monday in Portland, although no notice of a meeting was posted on the board’s website Wednesday. The state board issued a press release Wednesday, saying it will vote in a public meeting “regarding the status of the employment agreement of Dr. Richard Lariviere as president of the University of Oregon.”
But Donegan said he had polled the board before speaking to Lariviere and also consulted with Gov. John Kitzhaber.
He said the decision has not been voted on, but he has talked individually or with a couple board members as a contractual Dec. 31 deadline to notify Lariviere approaches. Those discussions made clear there was “no support” to continue his contract. He also consulted the governor, he said.
Donegan said he decided to talk with Lariviere on Monday. He proposed spending the week to work with him on a separation both could be happy with, Donegan said, before going to the board for a formal vote. He also encouraged him to speak with Gov. John Kitzhaber.
“Unfortunately, things became publicly known almost immediately, and so that ended the opportunity to have a quiet process,” he said.
A decision of this importance to the state is supposed to involve public input – not be made as part of a “quiet process” between insiders.
ORS 192.620 establishes Oregon’s policy of open decision-making by governing bodies:
The Oregon form of government requires an informed public aware of the deliberations and decisions of governing bodies and the information upon which such decisions were made. It is the intent of ORS 192.610 to 192.690 that decisions of governing bodies be arrived at openly.
This open decision-making policy is given effect by the law’s substantive provisions. These provisions are intended to ensure, among other things, that the meetings of governing bodies, at which decisions about the public’s business are made or discussed, are open to the public, ORS 192.630(1), (2); that the public has notice of the time and place of meetings, ORS 192.640; and that the meetings are accessible to persons wishing to attend, ORS 192.630(4), (5).
The manual then goes on to explain:
The Public Meetings Law requires that public notice be given of the time and place of meetings. This requirement applies to regular, special and emergency meetings as those terms are used in ORS 192.640. The public notice requirements apply to any “meeting” of a “governing body” subject to the law, including committees, subcommittees and advisory groups. See discussion above of Governing Bodies and of Meetings. A governing body’s notice must be reasonably calculated to provide actual notice to the persons and the media that have stated in writing that they wish to be notified of every meeting.
If a meeting will consist only of an executive session, notice still must be given to the members of the governing body, to the general public and to news media that have requested notice. The notice also must state the specific legal provision authorizing the executive session. ORS 192.640(2).
Notices for meetings that will include both an executive session and a nonexecutive session should give notice of both and state the statutory authority for the executive session.
The Attorney General’s manual (and ORS) then directs citizens to your commission for redress:
A citizen who believes that a governing body has violated the provisions permitting an executive session may file a complaint with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.
After the news stories on the Board’s decision regarding non-renewal of President Lariviere’s story broke, the OUS did finally issue a notice of meeting of sorts, on Wed 11/23/2011, at http://ous.edu/news/112311. This notice says that President Lariviere’s employment status will be discussed at a public meeting from 3PM-5PM Monday 11/28/2011, but it reads as if the news stories above are correct, and the decision has been made, that the decision will be rubber-stamped, and the question for the board now is just a search for a replacement:
“The Board’s priority is an effective transition in leadership for the benefit of the University of Oregon and the Oregon University System.”
Then, sometime late Friday (6:16 PM, by the time stamp on the pdf ) on 11/25/2011 the board posted a new announcement of this meeting, on the regular meeting agenda webpage. The file is at http://www.ous.edu/sites/default/files/state_board/meeting/letters/call111128-spec.pdf . This announcement includes an even vaguer description of the meeting agenda than the initial one. The announcement states there will be an executive session from 2PM-3PM on an undisclosed topic involving “a record otherwise exempt from public disclosure” followed by a public meeting “to address employment of the University of Oregon president” from 3PM-5PM.
This notice, apparently posted the evening of the Friday after Thanksgiving, on a UO holiday, less than 5 working hours before the meeting, seems deficient in terms of the relevant ORS requiring reasonable notice in terms of time, and a public agenda “reasonably calculated to give actual notice to interested persons” – especially given the many news stories on this issue, the meeting with President Lariviere a week prior, and the apparent polling of OUS Board members about this meeting that preceded all this. What’s the sudden rush? Why not be more explicit about the agenda?
The leadership of the University of Oregon is of vital interest to the UO community and the state at large. As the Oregon Attorney General says:
“The Oregon form of government requires an informed public aware of the deliberations and decisions of governing bodies and the information upon which such decisions were made.”
This principle is fundamental to legitimate representative government. The most famous quote is by James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights. Ironically, it is from an 1822 letter commending the new state of Kentucky for funding public education – at the time a rare thing: (http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch18s35.html):
A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both.
The OUS Board appears to have broken that principle, and the Oregon law designed to implement it, by arriving at a decision of large public importance behind closed doors and or by using private email communications. There was no means for the public to acquire information, no public input into the process, and not even any public notice before the decision regarding President Lariviere’s contract was apparently made and announced. The OUS arrangements for the rushed executive and public meetings on Monday 11/28 appear to be prologues to a farce set up to approve a decision that they have already made in private.
Therefore we ask you to use your authority under ORS and investigate this situation.
As a first step we ask you to request all records, including emails (using OUS or non-OUS addresses) phone logs, and notes involving Chancellor Pernsteiner, OUS General Counsel Ryan Hagemann, OUS Board Chair Donegan, and other OUS officials and board members involving the decision not to renew President Lariviere’s contract, in order to obtain sufficient documentation to determine if the ORS rules on executive sessions have been broken by the OUS Board and OUS officials.
I understand that upon receipt of this complaint, the public official subject to this complaint will be notified of the nature of the complaint, my identity and will be provided copies of this complaint and any enclosures.
We the undersigned, will provide a copy of this form with the information above, and with our signatures and contact information, by pdf and mail to your office by Friday, 12/2/2011.
Jennifer Ablow, Associate Professor of Psychology
Holly Arrow, Associate Professor of Psychology
Dare Baldwin, Professor of Psychology
Neil Bania, Associate Professor of Planning, Public Policy and Management
Dietrich Belitz, Professor of Physics
Louise Bishop, Associate Professor of Literature, Clark Honors College
Doug Blandy, Professor of Arts and Administration, AAA Assoc Dean for Ac Affairs
Bruce Blonigen, Knight Professor and Head, Economics
Marcin Bownik, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Greg Bothun, Professor of Physics
Lowell Bowditch, Professor and Head, Department of Classics
Elisabeth Chan, Associate Professor and Department Head, Landscape Architecture
Anita Chari, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Jennifer Craig, Associate Professor of Dance
Paul Dassonville, Professor of Psychology
Victoria J. DeRose, Professor of Chemistry
John B Fenn III, Assistant Professor, Arts and Administration
Jennifer Freyd, Professor of Psychology
Maradel Gale, Professor Emerita of Planning, Public Policy and Management
Mark Gillem, Associate Professor of Architecture
Sangita Gopal, Associate Professor of English and Cinema Studies
Jo Anna Gray, Professor of Economics
Marina Guenza, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Ben Hansen, Assistant Professor of Economics
William Harbaugh, Professor of Economics
James Harper, Associate Professor of History
Mary Jaeger, Professor of Classics
Lamia Karim, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Lauren Kessler, Professor of Journalism and Communication
Steve Kevan, Professor and Head of Physics
Peter Keyes, Associate Professor of Architecture and past UO Senate President
Harinder Khalsa, Senior Instructor of Italian
Peter Laufer, James Wallace Chair in Journalism, School of Journalism and Communication
Laura Leete, Associate Professor, Planning, Public Policy and Management
Katharina Loew, Assistant Professor of German and Scandinavian
Joe Lowndes, Associate Professor of Political Science
Ulrich Mayr, Professor of Psychology
Ian F McNeely, Associate Professor of History
Brian McWhorter, Associate Professor of Music
Jeffrey Measelle, Associate Professor, Psychology
Robert Z. Melnick, Professor and former Dean of Architecture and Allied Arts
Deborah Morrison, Chambers Distinguished Professor, Journalism and Communication
Lou Moses, Professor and Head, Psychology
Mikhail Myagkov, Associate Professor of Political Science
Julianne H. Newton, Professor of Journalism and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs
Jon Palfreman, KEZI Distinguished Professor of Broadcast Journalism
Jeremy Piger, Associate Professor of Economics
Rita J Radostitz, OA, Institutional Equity and Diversity and Instructor, PPM
Geraldine Richmond, Professor of Chemistry
Tina Rinaldi, OA, Arts & Administration
John Rowell, Associate Professor of Architecture
Gordon Sayre, Professor of English and past UO Senate President
Benjamin Saunders, Associate Professor of English
Kim Sheehan, Professor of Journalism and Communication
Carol Silverman, Professor and Head, Department of Anthropology
Dev Sinha, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Christopher Sinclair, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Nicholas Sly, Assistant Professor of Economics
Priscilla Southwell, Professor and Head of Political Science
Sanjay Srivastava, Associate Professor of Psychology
Frank Stahl, Emeritus Professor of Molecular Biology
H. Leslie Steeves, Professor of Journalism & Communication
Joe Stone, Miner Chair Professor of Economics, former CAS Dean
Andrew Verner, Assistant Dean, College of Business
Ying Tan, Associate Professor of Art
Marjorie Taylor, Professor of Psychology
Ed Teague, Head, Architecture & Allied Arts Library
Daniel Tichenor, Philip Knight Professor of Political Science
William C. Terry, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Roxi Thoren, Associate Professor of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Nathan Tublitz, Professor of Biology and past UO Senate President
Kartz Ucci, Associate Professor of Art
Laura Vandenburgh, Associate Professor and Head, Art
Glen Waddell, Associate Professor of Economics
Peter A. Walker, Professor and Department Head, Geography Department
Dean Walton, Science Librarian
Tom Wheeler, Professor of Journalism and Communication
Lisa Wolverton, Associate Professor of History
Kyu Ho Youm, Jonathan Marshall First Amendment Chair of Journalism and Communication
OUS Officials and Board Members potentially involved in this situation:
1431 Johnson Lane
Eugene OR 97403-0175
Office of Legal Counsel
1431 Johnson Lane
Eugene OR 97403-0175
Matthew (Matt) W. Donegan,
c/o Forest Capital Partners, LLC
111 SW 5th Avenue, Ste 3850
Portland OR 97204
503.200.2730 (main office number)
Jill W. Eiland, Board Vice
c/o Intel Corporation
5200 NE Elam Young Parkway
Hillsboro OR 97124
Lynda M. Ciuffetti
2082 Cordley Hall, OSU
Corvallis OR 97331
c/o Roseburg Forest Products
PO Box 1088
Roseburg OR 97470
James (Jim) L. Francesconi
c/o Haglund Kelley, LLP
200 SW Market, Ste 1777
Portland OR 97201
Paul Kelly, Jr
c/o Chancellor’s Office, PSU
PO Box 751
Portland OR 97207-0751
Dr. Rosemary Powers
116 Ackerman Hall, EOU
One University Blvd
La Grande OR 97850
Dr. Preston Pulliams
President, Portland Community
PO Box 19000
Portland OR 97280-0990
Kirk E. Schueler
Chief Administrative Officer
St. Charles Health System
2500 NE Neff Road
Bend OR 97701
David (Dave) V. Yaden
275 North Shore Rd
Lake Oswego OR 97034