University community rallies in anticipation of Wednesday Senate meeting

Staff, students and faculty gathered at noon Tuesday in the EMU Amphitheater to rally in support of University President Richard Lariviere following the decision made by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education on Monday afternoon to fire him. The rally was held in part to inform the campus community of the importance of Wednesday’s public statutory faculty meeting in McArthur Court at 3 p.m.

University Senate President Robert Kyr and other faculty took the stage to motivate the community to get involved with the process of going forward from this point. Speakers urged everyone who is a stakeholder in this campus to attend Wednesday’s meeting and be active in the discussion.

“To the students, you are crucial to this fight in moving forward,” Kyr @@[email protected]@said. “Without you this cannot happen.”

University senate president Robert Kyr speaks to protesters who were rallying in the EMU amphitheater Tuesday afternoon against the recent OUS decision to fire University President Richard Lariviere from his position on Dec. 28. (Michael Ciaglo/Oregon Daily Emerald)

Other speakers at the rally included Eugene community members, concerned students and tenured professors from several departments including geography, cinema studies and art history. Geography professor Alexander Murphy@@[email protected]@ chose to make a speech in which he voiced his concern for the future of the University as well as his extreme aggravation toward the board.

“I stand here as a faculty member of 24 years, and I cannot remember a day when I felt more frustrated and more of a sense of loss than I feel today,” Murphy said. “That sense of frustration comes from the feeling that the decision was made by a group of people who have spent maybe, at most, a few hours on this campus in the last 18 months.”

Murphy’s distrust and abhorrence of the state board’s approach to the situation is echoed by staff and students alike. Many agree that the state board showed a lack of communication in justifying their decisions as well as hearing out what the campus community had to say.

“The hardest thing for me was that we had so many people filling that room (Monday), and it felt like nobody was listening to what they were saying,” University graduate student Jill Torres said@@[email protected]@. “The most immediate step from here is to attend the meeting tomorrow and come prepared to question the power that is being used to oppress the University.”

Despite losing a leader, the University community is ready to move forward and continue an upward path toward excellence regardless of obstacles imposed by the state board.

“I am asking you now, to go back to your communities and make sure that, tomorrow at the faculty assembly, we have every seat filled,” Kyr said.”You are a critical part of this effort moving forward.”

“This fight is not over,” ASUO Sen. Laura Hinman said.

Supporters of University President Richard Lariviere sign posters hanging outside the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art Tuesday afternoon. Lariviere will be removed from his position as president on Dec. 28, 2011. (Michael Ciaglo/Oregon Daily Emerald)

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