The University relies on 4,500 faculty and staff to maintain the campus’ daily operations and all — from professors to EMU employees — impact the community in some way. @@http://www.uoregon.edu/faculty@@Certain University figures, however, stood out last year as leaders whose initiatives could lead to ample change on campus
University President Richard Lariviere took his position on July 1, 2009, and has since proved to be an influential and potentially contentious figure for campus and the Eugene [email protected]@http://president.uoregon.edu/biography/@@
Most notably, his “New Partnership” proposal to substantially change the University’s funding model has garnered national media attention and generated conversation from education leaders and policymakers around the country.
The proposal, which involves two bills expected to be put to vote in the next legislative season, has not been without controversy — yielding both praise and criticism from the Oregon public and the state’s policy makers. However, it has also led to features in journals like the Chronicle of Higher Education and an op-ed column by Lariviere in the Wall Street Journal.
Vice President of Student Affairs Robin Holmes has been with the University since 1992. She was appointed her current position on July 15, 2007.
Holmes holds many responsibilities in her role as vice president of student affairs, including overseeing the Dean of Students office, the Career Center, the University Health Center and the Counseling and Testing Center. During the 2010-11 school year, however, Holmes’ most important and publicized role was arguably her involvement in the proposed renovations to the Student Recreation Center and EMU.
Like the New Partnership, the proposal to renovate the buildings was met with both praise and criticism from students and the Eugene community. Funding the project, Holmes and other leaders of the project, which is expected to cost around $160.5 million, spent months planning the renovations and designing a finance plan to fund the renovations.
However, student leaders like ASUO President Ben Eckstein contested the finance plan, arguing that the inclusion of a new building fee was decided without enough student input. Taking Eckstein’s concerns into account, Holmes and other project organizers have decided to gather further student input through a referendum this fall before imposing the fee.
As the daily governing body on campus, University Senate plays a key role in some of the most important issues for faculty, administration and students. Through his newly appointed role as Senate President, Robert Kyr, who has worked as a professor of composition and music theory since 1990, has already indicated that he plans to enact substantial changes.
As it stands, University Senate representative are the primary voices for faculty. Many faculty members expressed discontent with the body last year, however, arguing that important decisions regarding everything from salaries to health benefits were made regularly without their input. In his inaugural address during Senate’s final spring term meeting, Kyr expressed a commitment to addressing these concerns by creating a more unified and transparent body that values the input of all constituents.
Associate Dean of Students Sheryl Eyster has headed many initiatives by the Office of the Dean of Students, including substance abuse prevention and improving campus community safety efforts.
One of Eyster’s most recent focuses is on improving campus’ sexual assault prevention. The University’s systems for addressing sexual assault allegations garnered increased government focus last year in light of growing concern that incidents were going uninvestigated and victims inadequately supported and protected.
Eyster and other members of the Office of the Dean of Students, however, have made a commitment to improving the University’s system to ensure victims’ needs are better addressed. One of the biggest initiatives is a plan to develop a sexual assault response team, or SART, that strengthens the current system by merging all resources available on campus.