University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere urged students and staff in a letter Sunday night to focus on higher education reform rather than his employment status or the "wisdom or process of the decision" the State Board of Higher Education makes today on his fate.
The board is meeting at 3 p.m. today in the Portland State University Academic and Student Recreation Center, 1800 S.W. Sixth Ave., to vote on whether to renew the 61-year-old president's one-year contract, which ends June 30. Board President Matt Donegan last week told Lariviere the board would not renew his contract, triggering outrage from faculty, alumni and other supporters.
The board and Gov. John Kitzhaber say Lariviere has disregarded their directions in his push for more independence for the University of Oregon. Supporters say the president has been bold and innovative in fighting to protect the university's quality and financial stability.
In his letter, Lariviere writes, "The conflicts that resulted in my termination are a symptom of the broken system of governance and funding in Oregon higher education that desperately needs changing if the State of Oregon is going to achieve the greatness we all aspire to. You know that."
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