Cal Poly Provost reassigned?

September 30, 2008


Cal Poly President Warren Baker announced that Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost William Durgin has been reassigned, on Monday. Durgin will now serve as the university’s executive for research and external support.

“Durgin has provided outstanding leadership of the university and we are grateful for the significant accomplishments made during his tenure as provost,” Baker says in a press release.

Nevertheless, sources claim Durgin’s “demotion” from second in command has more to do with internal power struggles, issues with the proposed Saudi program, and problems finessing the media.

Durgin faithfully backed College of Engineering Dean Mohammad Noori’s controversial plan to partner Cal Poly with a Saudi Arabian university. Opponents claim the plan would exclude many Cal Poly faculty — women, Jews and specific minorities such as gays — from involvement.

Saudi officials have not agreed to the latest contract, rewritten to protect Cal Poly’s interests.

Robert Koob will serve as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs as of October 6.

Back in the 1990s, during a previous budget crisis, Baker appointed Koob to serve as senior vice president and vice president for academic affairs. Known by faculty and staff as “The hatchet man,” Koob axed tenured faculty and entire departments.

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Member Opinions:

By: TONEDTGR on 12/2/08

hilarious, at least they are consistent in their missteps

By: rogerfreberg on 10/7/08

well… this isn't the first time a position has been created to put someone in a circling pattern until retirement.

The unforeseen consequence is that Warren Baker 'must' stay on for at least another 2 more years… or was that the plan all along?

Actually, I am please that Robert Koob is stepping in — even temporarily — for very selfish reasons. Having been named in a federal case brought by my wife against Cal Poly… virtually any negative action he might take against my wife would certainly be viewed as 'retaliation'. Since I know Cal Poly reads this column ( trust me ) I am putting this out there as 'friendly advice.'

In any event, outside of providing Warren Baker with layers and layers of disposable protection… I really can't see the value to students, faculty or the larger community for the huge administrative Rue Goldberg machine he's built up?

Why not just pick a faculty member to run the university … dump Warren … and reduce the excess baggage… and put the resources where they belong.. in the classroom.

Roger Freberg

By: yelapop on 10/1/08

All THINKING California taxpayers should be interested in this story, actually. Durgin failed miserably as provost, yet he retains his inflated salary in some obscure position run out of the library. A quarter million dollars annually + 30% benefits on top could fund quite a few health care premiums for sick kids.

By: blueseal on 9/30/08

Hmmm… The "Hatchet Man" cometh. With every faculty member on campus working to develop external support and in research, it seems likely that one of the first jobs to cut would be the $240K a year "University’s Executive for Research and External Support," who in his previous role looked the other way too many times.

By: ThomasPaine on 9/30/08

Interesting article. Not every story can be as dramatic and colorful as possible PRPD malfeasance or corrupt financial types. I have a son at Poly and he says its a big deal to them.

Regarding NSZ, thanks.