22. I Stand With The Hat (Part 2)

You didn’t realize this was coming? Incapable though you are of predicting even tomorrow’s weather, you must surely have realized that your pitiful performance during my inspections, and lack of any improvement, would make it inevitable you would be sacked?” –Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

If you know me, you know that the Harry Potter series makes up most of the air that I breathe. I memorize spells. I spout out quidditch statistics like some people do with baseball scores. I camped out at each and every single movie and book premiere, dressed in Hogwarts school robes (Nerd alert). Never did I think I would actually relive moments from the book. Make fun of me all you want, but there are uncanny correlations between the situation regarding Richard Lariviere and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

I’m not one to blog multiple times about the same subject, but I feel that this is an issue that needs to be discussed.

There’s no other way to describe it — it feels like a dark cloud swept over the University of Oregon campus. As a student, I’ve always been taught to move towards progression. Young people have this ideology that we are invincible. We sincerely believe that we can change the world. Yet, so easily our dreams are shattered. So easily, reality slaps us in the face and says, “no, you can’t”.

That happened today. A board that is in charge of 9% of Oregon’s funding has 100% oversight over the future of the University of Oregon. A man who valued the future of the University of Oregon, and was laying down the foundation to progress our school from mediocrity into greatness, was unanimously fired by the State Board of Higher Education.

Front page of the Student publication, Oregon Daily Emerald

The spontaneous and widespread outcry of support for Lariviere demonstrates that he inspires a deep and passionate commitment. His departure will shatter morale at the University and will make it difficult to fulfill tasks. The damage will be both short and long term” –Robert Kyr, UO Senate president

I wasn’t expecting to feel so emotional over this situation, but I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. I feel empty; I feel powerless. I feel lost, and I question the future of our university.

This is a bigger issue than just firing Lariviere. While it is an unfortunate and HUGE loss to our school, the fact of the matter is that we need to start looking at the way that our education system works in America.

How can we trust a system that makes decisions (regardless of the overwhelming public outcry against them) because they hold the power? How is a university supposed to succeed when you take away the means for it to do so? How can ANYONE succeed if you don’t provide the right framework for greatness? How can we achieve a better world if we are all forced to be the same? It is our individualities that make us thriving and wonderful. If you undermine this, you ruin the future of our success.

It is an incredible shame and injustice that Lariviere was fired. But at the same time, the challenge is what motivates optimism. Already, this is something that has been picked up on a national level. People are forming opinions about it. Their opinions may not be the same as mine but regardless, it is being discussed.

We, at the University of Oregon, stand at a crossroads. Incredible professors question if they should stay with our school. Students feel hopeless.

But if we all give up, then what happens? Change doesn’t come from settling. Change comes from wanting the right thing so badly that you refuse to take no for an answer.

“That is the doorway to a better future for the University of Oregon. Stay the course. Don’t let disappointment prevail.”-Richard Lariviere

I will always stand with the hat. 


2 thoughts on “22. I Stand With The Hat (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: 16. I Stand With The Hat « Kelsey Wilkins

  2. In the end, Richard Lariviere was the calm voice of reason amidst the chaos. His statement below speaks for me and, I hope, everyone in the UO community:

    “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.

    I hope that you will prove them wrong. I hope that you will understand their passion, their frustration, their pent-up need as the hopeful signs they are. These are people who want a university that will flourish, a university that will stand with the world’s best, a university that will bring the wealth of discovery to Oregon.”

    It starts with a blog, it turns into a conversation, it becomes a vote and it changes the world. I, for one, plan to turn my sadness and anger into passion and action. Thanks for another great blog on this important event.

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