Civil Mediation to Begin between Oregon University System and JPR
This week, civil mediation will be hashed out between the Oregon University System and Jefferson Public Radio (JPR). The University System has objections about JPR's rapid fundraising as well as their leadership structure over the past few years.
Specific Reasons Why the Mediation Services are Happening
The Chancellor's Office of the Oregon University System conducted an audit of JPR and the JPR Foundation, its fundraising arm. The University terminated the executive director of the foundation and the radio station, Ron Kramer, as of June 30. Their claim is that his dual role could create a conflict of interest on his part.
They also criticize the property acquisitions of the foundation, particularly the Holly Theatre and other buildings on 10th Street for their use as JPR's future headquarters. The Holly Theatre has been deemed unsafe and is in need of structural repairs. The university is concerned that these acquisitions could undermine future fundraising efforts by the JPR Foundation.
On the Flip-Side of the Mediation
In JPR's defense, their expansion in operations and fundraising efforts have come up as a response to budget cuts from the University itself. The further separation of JPR and the Foundation could pose an unreasonable risk to the future of the radio station. Additionally, as the University terminated Mr. Kramer from his dual role as executive director of both the JPR Studio and the JPR Foundation, the University itself has several executives serving in dual roles.
The civil mediation, facilitated by retired Federal Judge Terry Lukens along with consultants in the public radio station and nonprofit sectors. The decision will not be binding, only suggestive.