At the end of a contentious three-hour meeting, the Oregon University System voted unanimously this evening to fire University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere.
The terms of the 61-year-old Sanskrit scholar's contract allowed the board to fire him at any time with 30 days notice, and the board chose to do so rather than allowing him to work until the contract expires on June 30. Lariviere will cease to be University of Oregon president Dec. 28 but his status as a tenured professor was unchanged by today's decision.
A standing-room only crowd in a fifth-floor assembly room in Portland State University's Student Academic and Recreation Center gave Lariviere a long and raucous ovation when he arrived after the conclusion an hour-long executive session of the OUS board.
Although some lawmakers and numerous faculty members showed up to urge the board keep Lariviere in his post, Lariviere knew his fate was sealed. At 3:22 pm, more than two hours before the board voted him out, he released a statement that said in part:
The response of the University of Oregon community to the news that I am to be terminated is unlike anything I have seen. As much as I would like to think that this response is about me, I know better. It is an expression of disappointment and long-standing frustration over hindrances to the University of Oregon’s future. These people who so love the university, who have such confidence in its potential, who know what it must do for future generations had hoped that there was change in the air. They see today’s board move as a denial of that change.Lariviere read his statement into the record during the meeting but to no avail. He will leave the university just two-and-a half years after replacing Dave Frohnmayer, who held the job for 15 years.