Archive for Friday, May 11, 2007

Lariviere doesn’t plan to step down

May 11, 2007


Negotiations between Kansas University Hospital and KU Medical Center soon may test whether KU Provost Richard Lariviere is still a member of the hospital's board.

Hospital leaders say they have removed Lariviere from the board because state statutes don't allow for him to serve as an ex officio, voting member of the board. But Lariviere contends only Gov. Kathleen Sebelius can remove him. Lariviere has said he intends on attending future meetings and wants to be allowed to vote.

That includes an important upcoming meeting where KU Hospital board members are scheduled to approve details of a proposed affiliation agreement with KU Hospital and the KUMC that would transfer additional hospital funds to the medical center. The hospital board also may be asked to weigh in on a controversial proposal for KUMC to affiliate with Kansas City, Mo.-based St. Luke's Hospital. That meeting is scheduled to happen in late May or early June.

Whether Lariviere will be allowed to vote on those issues was up in the air on Thursday.

"When a roll call vote is taken, I suppose that is when the rubber meets the road," said Amy Jordan Wooden, a spokeswoman with KUMC, to whom Lariviere referred all questions.

The hospital board met Tuesday to deal with several routine items. Lariviere attended the meeting, but was told by board chairman George Farha that he would not be allowed to vote on items, hospital spokesman Dennis McCulloch said. No roll call votes, however, were taken at the meeting. Lariviere was allowed to participate in board discussion as a "guest of the board," and also was allowed to attend a closed-door executive session.

Lariviere, in saying that he should be allowed to stay on the board, has noted that it was Farha who originally said in late 2006 that Lariviere should serve as an ex officio member of the board.

McCulloch, though, said the hospital board has since reviewed the state statute creating the board, and now realizes that it clearly does not allow for Lariviere to serve on the board as an ex officio member. The statute lists six positions within the KU system that are to serve as ex officio members. Lariviere holds none of the positions.

"We don't deny that we made a mistake," McCulloch said. "The board made a mistake in believing that he could fulfill that role."

McCulloch said the board was trying to accommodate the wishes of the governor, who had expressed an interest in Lariviere serving on the board.

Lariviere also has argued that he has a Dec. 20 letter from Sebelius appointing him to the ex officio position. Because of that letter, he said he feels it would be improper to step down.

But the letter did not appoint Lariviere to the board. It said the governor "would be proceeding with the appointments" of Lariviere and five other members to the board. But the governor has not yet officially nominated any of those members to the board.

In an interview with the Journal-World last week, the governor's press secretary, Nicole Corcoran, said Sebelius did not end up nominating anyone for the board. Corcoran also specifically said the governor did not appoint Lariviere to the hospital board because Sebelius realized that the state statute makes no provision for the governor to appoint ex officio members to the board. Corcoran said the governor simply acknowledged the board's appointment of Lariviere, and took in "good faith" that he was legally eligible to serve.

Corcoran on Thursday said that was still the governor's position, and was reserving any further comment on the Lariviere position pending the attorney general's opinion.

Two key legislators on Thursday asked Attorney General Paul Morrison to issue a legal opinion on the issues. Sen. Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, and Sen. Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, asked Morrison about the Lariviere issue and 13 other questions. Those other issues include questions about what process the governor must follow when appointing board members and whether individuals who have not officially been appointed are allowed to participate in board discussions.

Lariviere said he would abide by any legal opinion that Morrison produces. Leaders of the hospital board stopped short of saying that. McCulloch said if Morrison's opinion on the Lariviere issue was different from the board's attorney, hospital board members would have to decide whether to accept the attorney general's opinion - which is nonbinding - or undertake "a quote, unquote friendly lawsuit."

A spokeswoman with the attorney general's office said there was no timeline for when the opinion would be completed, but it likely would take several weeks.


crono 11 years, 1 month ago

I believe KU made a mistake when they hired Lariviere. This seems to be another instance of him putting his own needs before those of the broader KU community---as he did when he unilaterally, without any real discussion, singlehandedly overturned the decades-old right of individual departments to determine whether graduate students can vote on new faculty hires.

HIs presence is just one reason why I will probaly never donate any money to KU after my time in graduate school is done.

compmd 11 years, 1 month ago

I have always believed that Lariviere was a danger to the university and had no interest in promoting education here. This is reinforcing that belief in my mind very strongly.

terrapin2 11 years, 1 month ago

I don't know what your insight is in this matter, but I personally believe Lariviere has made some very positive changes within the University since he came on board. I know he personally helped promote several projects within the IT dept that were long overdue, and that others said weren't possible because of a lack of funding.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 1 month ago

crono, get over it. Graduate school is not meant to be an employer-employee relationship and is not menat to go on for more than 5 or 6 years. Seems like some grad students at KU, especially in the humanities, want to make that their life's work. This is an abuse of the grad school system.

As for students voting, Lariviere was right on this one. Grad students don't (and shouldn't) have a long-term stake in university operations as do faculty.

Lariviere is an intelligent, strong leader who has done many great things already and will do more in the future. He will mold KU into a modern research university. This change upsets many, including the ossified "dead wood", so naturally he will be a target.

crono 11 years, 1 month ago

yourworstnightmare, have you read the language of the section of the University Senate Code (Article XIX) that Lariviere "reinterpreted" in order to remove grad student votes? Decades, ago, the language of that section was inserted in the first place to preserve student rights of membership on committees! Thus, he unilaterally violated longstanding interpretation of University Senate Code without going through the proper channels to change such code!

I might remind everyone that Lariviere is also the one who unilaterally (without discussion) tried to get rid of anti-plagiarism software at the university... until the uproar caused by faculty, graduate students, and the press.

In short, during his tenure at KU, he has established a track record of doing what he wants, when he wants, regardless of the opinion of the broader university community he is supposed to serve. I believe KU deserves better leadership.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 1 month ago

As I understand it, Lariviere has acted within his purview as provost, chief academic officer of the university. Student voting and representation on committees is/was a terrible idea, especially on committees determining personnel issues (hiring, promotion, tenure). As I understand it, the University Senate is an advisory body to the Provost and works closely with the Provost.

Lariviere is not a "KU man" as was the previous provost, which is a breath of fresh air. His new ideas and leadership based upon excellence as a research university are ruffling feathers of the entrenched and obstructive. These are exactly the feathers that need to get ruffled in order for KU to advance.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 1 month ago

Oh, and XIX of the University Senate Code is a piece of crap. It is so riddled with stupidity and so poorly written as to be almost ludicrous.

"19.1 In this Article, the terms "faculty" or "faculties," shall be interpreted to mean both faculty members and those students who have been recognized as legitimate members of academic decision-making bodies of the College and the various schools, departments and programs."

Huh? What the hell does this mean?

"19.2.3 In this regulation, the term "policymaking" includes but is not limited to the discussion, initiation, adoption, revision, alteration, or elimination of policies, procedures, priorities, courses, curricula, prerequisites, programs, admissions criteria, degree requirements, and honors programs. In those committees which are concerned with the application of policies to specific individuals or situations, students are not necessarily included by Section 19.2. 19.2.4 The determination of what committees are "policymaking committees" under this regulation shall be made by the full College, school, department or program at a time when properly selected student representatives have been invited to be present and to vote."

Huh again. There's the out. It is dependent upon defining what committees students can participate in. The Provost has simply said "none".

jayneway 11 years, 1 month ago

Lariviere rocks. Grad students on selection committees is crap. Lariviere is representing KU on that board and I admire him sticking to his guns. KU needed a serious change and Lariviere is making things happen.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 11 years, 1 month ago


If people who disenfranchise voters and railroad through their own ideas without feedback is your cup of tea can you tell us which other dictators rocked your boat?

KansasMeadowlark 11 years, 1 month ago

Follow the Money: Richard Lariviere's wife, Janis, gave $1000 to Kathleen Sebelius for Governor on 10/24/2006.

crono 11 years, 1 month ago

Regarding whether graduate students should vote on new faculty hires, any honest assessment of the issue must concede that reasonable people disagree on this matter. Though I believe graduate students should have such voting rights, I can see good arguments against my belief---and as far as I am aware, none of those good arguments use the word "crap" or any other references to defecation.

Many departments at KU have strongly felt that graduate students should vote on new faculty hires and have done so for decades under the aegis of Article XIX. It would be fine to overturn this policy through democratic debate and amendment to the University Senate Code. It is much worse to overturn this tradition through a new Provost's fiat that runs contrary to longstanding interpretation of that section of the Code.

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