Standing with the Hat

29 Nov

Around 5 o’clock this evening I watched the Daily Emerald’s live streaming of the Oregon State board of higher education’s decision to terminate UO president Richard Lariviere. A situation that started not but a week before when faculty and students received a saddened email from Lariviere explaining the boards rash decision to not renew his contract and remove him as president.

Since Lariviere came on as president at the University of Oregon, many great changes have been seen around campus from various new buildings including a new science complex and Allen Hall renovations. Lariviere was a good man who had a deep respect for the faculty and students at the university, he only wanted what was best for the school and what could make the UO a top ranked institution. What Lariviere was trying to achieve to better the university was also the cause of his downfall; as public universities are receiving minimal government funding Lariviere planned to focus more on getting private donations and relying on state funding less. The board of higher education disagreed with Lariviere’s innovative idea, turned around and ended his contract causing an uproar amongst faculty, students and many supporters.

It was amazing to be able to see so many people come together so quickly in order to support the president; immediately social media exploded with everyone offering their support to reinstate Lariviere and challenge the board. All over campus people shared their love and support to keep Lariviere as president; the campaign “I stand with the Hat” was a huge success  and was even represented at the Civil War game at Autzen Stadium on Saturday. I was so proud to see this viral video of Chip Kelly awarding Lariviere with the game ball, it was victory that he was very much apart of and in every way deserving.

 

Students and faculty have been seen on campus with posters, printed t-shirts and petitions fighting to keep their beloved president. What frustrates me the most is how the board doesn’t the see the effect that Lariviere has on the people whom he is serving, isn’t that supposed to be what matters? Lariviere is beloved by community surrounding the University of Oregon and it is heartbreaking to know that a board of adults who aren’t even apart of the school can make a decision that impacts us all.

Colton Totland from the Daily Emerald quotes Lairviere after the announcement of the board’s decision:

“I was told I had the option of resigning, which I didn’t choose, and that my contract wouldn’t be renewed. This wasn’t discussed,” Lariviere said. “It’s a big disappointment to me. I had hoped to serve the UO, and the wonderful people who support it, for a long time. And now I have 30 days.”

As a student at the University of Oregon for the past 3 years I have been lucky enough to see the changes that Lariviere has put into place. Enrollment is at an all time high, overall GPA has increased and most of all the school has become a successful and distinguished institution. I am disappointed the higher education board, not only was the timing of the situation strategically planned but they are not looking at the greater picture. The University of Oregon has suffered a great loss today and the faculty, students and university community will feel this loss. I thank Lariviere for everything he has done for the school and the opportunities he has provided for me as a student. I along with many stand with the hat!

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