Monday, March 25, 2013

On the Record with Gregg Lassen

The following is the result of our research on EKU Presidential finalist Gregg Lassen. All of the material contained herein is cited or linked to the original source for those who may wish to dig a bit deeper. And there has been ample faculty interest in Lassen’s scholarship. The chatter on campus seems to be whether or not Lassen’s dissertation would have met the requirements for a Master’s Thesis at EKU. There is less doubt among the faculty that it fails to stand up to academic rigor typically required of a dissertation. Ouch.

Again, it is our hope that readers will gain a sense of the candidate, his career path, ideas, skills, vision, and ability to communicate as a scholar and as a university leader. What issues did the candidate face during his career and how did he respond to them? How do his responses match EKU sensibilities? Background information on Alan T. Shao will follow in the coming days. As with all candidates, we encourage readers on the EKU campus to look over the material as background, and then go meet the candidate, and decide for yourself if we have found the right fit for EKU.

The data is presented in chronological order from earliest to most recent, so keep scrolling.
We ultimately dug up more than 40 pages of material, edited down, on Lassen – about half the amount we found on Benson. And the news is different.

The public record Dr. Gregg Lassen shows ambitious individual with mostly frustrated designs on public office, unless one counts a year on a local school board, after which he resigned. He began his chameleon-like political life as a Republican, ran for Congress in Texas as a Libertarian, and ran for governor in Utah as a Democrat - this in an era of great political polarization.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Lassen's low-budget Texas Congressional campaign called for slashing the federal budget and “letting the free market take over education, health care, and other basic services.” !?

A lack of attention to important details led to an embarrassing episode in Utah when Lassen gathered his family, party officials, and local news media to witness his filing to run for governor, only to learn (apparently on camera) that he had failed to discover or meet the residency requirement.

Before beginning his career in higher education, Lassen spent 18 years in the energy industry, in a wide variety of assignments including financial and commercial management, regulatory affairs, business development, negotiations, marketing, and auditing across the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors.

Lassen began his work in higher education at the University of Phoenix, starting as a faculty member in the Sperling School of Business, then as department chair, and associate dean, before moving to Southern Mississippi. Lassen completed his Ph.D. in political science and international affairs while at the University of Southern Mississippi, under a controversial set of circumstances. He holds a law degree from the University of Houston, and an MBA and B.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Lassen was recently passed over for the presidency of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas where he presently serves as Vice President for Finance and Operations. He previously held similar positions at University of Texas at Tyler, and the University of Southern Mississippi where he and some close associates came under fire from faculty. It is important to note that the source of these complaints appear to come from blogs (i.e.,, History News Network) which operate on a lower journalistic standard than mainstream print media. KSN&C readers are admonished to review the material cautiously.

Dr. Lassen and his wife Jackie are the parents of three daughters, aged 14 to 20.

We pick up the story in 1992.

GOP, Dems aren't only parties in town: Meet the Libertarians
Houston Chronicle - Monday, SEPTEMBER 14, 1992
Author: ALAN BERNSTEIN, Houston Chronicle Political Writer: Staff
With his oil company job, law degree and polished style, Gregg Lassen could play the part of an ambitious young candidate for Congress.

In fact, that's exactly what he is -- minus the backing of either the Democratic or Republican Party.

The 32-year-old Houstonian is running for Democratic U.S. Rep. Craig Washington's seat on the Libertarian Party ticket.

And he isn't the only challenger operating outside the two-party system.…
This time, with anti-incumbency and political restlessness in the air, they sense an advantage.

"People know fundamentally that the two parties together are the problem," says Lassen, who has never run for office before…
As outsiders, Libertarian candidates in Houston draw few campaign contributions and make contact with voters on a door-to-door basis.

Lassen, a one-time Republican on leave from his job as an analyst of natural gas regulations, has gone a step farther. He is distributing a series of campaign brochures, but they make no mention of his Libertarian affiliation.

Lassen says he isn't the typical Libertarian candidate because he doesn't dwell on political philosophies that would appear obscure.

"They (Libertarian colleagues) can't believe there's somebody who wants to win and not (just) make a statement," he says.

Lassen sides with Washington's votes against funding for NASA's space station and the superconducting super collider project, which have created jobs in Texas. Lassen says private industry could do a more efficient job of developing such scientific pursuits.

But Lassen is closer to Washington's Republican challenger, investment banker Ed Blum, on the ideas of reining in social programs and promoting free enterprise.

Washington's 18th Congressional District includes many of Houston's inner-city neighborhoods, where the federal government provides housing subsidies, food and preschool programs. Lassen's party, however, calls for the government to withdraw from those responsibilities, reduce federal taxes and let local individuals address problems with the resulting savings.…

18th Congressional contest blends unusual mix of ideas
Houston Chronicle - Sunday, OCTOBER 18, 1992
Author: ALAN BERNSTEIN, Houston Chronicle Political Writer: Staff
Fellow Republicans advised Edward Blum that running against Democratic U.S. Rep. Craig Washington would be a waste of time.

Then in June, Blum commissioned a private survey by a respected national polling firm. It showed that the white investment banker had no reasonable chance of beating Texas' only black congressman in an urban Houston district that is half black.

Blum is running anyway. So is Libertarian and energy company analyst
Gregg Lassen
Lassen, true to the Libertarian philosophy, says government programs are no answer to the social and economic problems of the district. Lassen is one of the few local Libertarian candidates running an active campaign, complete with elaborate brochures and news releases.…
Lassen's low-budget campaign calls for slashing the federal budget and letting the free market take over education, health care and other basic services. He has challenged Blum and Washington to pledge to quit Congress in 1996 if the federal budget isn't halved by then.…

U.S. Representative, District 18
Houston Chronicle - Sunday, OCTOBER 25, 1992
Author: Staff
GREGG LASSEN, 32, regulatory affairs representative.
Political experience: None.
Education: BBA, University of Wisconsin, 1980; MBA, UW, 1981; JD, University of Houston, 1990.
Background: Native of Indianapolis; employed, Amoco Corp., working with federal regulation of gas industry; treasurer and director, Amoco Federal Credit Union.
Family: Wife, Jackie Lynn.

Campaign briefs
Houston Chronicle - Wednesday, OCTOBER 28, 1992
Walking man

While running for the 18th Congressional District seat, Libertarian candidate
Gregg Lassen is also walking.

On Saturday, he is scheduled to start a 57-mile walk through the district, a crazy-quilt area that stretches from the Astrodome to Houston Intercontinental Airport. Lassen said his walk "will draw attention to the ridiculous gerrymandering that defines Harris County."

RRC, House races top lengthy ballot - Presidential contest expected to lift state, Harris County voter turnout
Houston Chronicle - Tuesday, NOVEMBER 3, 1992
Author: ALAN BERNSTEIN, Houston Chronicle Political Writer: Staff
…In other congressional races, incumbents are facing a throw-the-rascals-out attitude fanned by criticisms of Congress by the presidential candidates.

But most incumbents will be helped by the redistricting process. For instance, Democratic U.S. Rep. Craig Washington of Houston, the state's only black congressman, is seeking re-election in a reshaped district that contains more black voters than during the late 1980s.

His opponents are Republican broker Edward Blum and Libertarian energy analyst
Gregg Lassen .…

Green, incumbents headed to Congress
Houston Chronicle - Wednesday, NOVEMBER 4, 1992
Author: BENNETT ROTH: Staff
… a staunch liberal who first won election in the district following the death of Mickey Leland, ran a relatively low-key campaign against Blum, a moderate who attempted to paint the incumbent as too controversial and confrontational. Libertarian Gregg Lassen also was a contender in the race.…
City and school district issues to be decided/Area voters will go to the polls today
Houston Chronicle - Saturday, January 20, 1996
Author: Staff
Spring Branch ISD
This west Houston district has three seats on the ballot.
For Position 1,
Gregg Lassen, 35, a natural gas negotiator, faces Bill Ray, 46, a corporate training manager.
Kenneth Lloyd, 53, a certified public accountant, is leaving his Position 1 seat to challenge Christopher Hamilton, 18, a Memorial High School student, for Position 3.…

`Keep Kids First' trustees win re-election in Huffman/ Office- holders recapture seats in number of school districts
Houston Chronicle - Sunday, January 21, 1996
Spring Branch ISD
Voters in the Spring Branch district in west Houston filled three school board seats.
Position 1 candidate
Gregg Lassen , 35, a natural gas negotiator, defeated Bill Ray, 46, a corporate training manager. Lassen received 2,061 votes; Ray, 1,854.…

Klein ISD voters back 3 incumbents by large margins
Houston Chronicle - Sunday, January 19, 1997
In Position 1, a seat vacated when Gregg Lassen resigned, Ray drew 3,388 votes, leading challengers Yuri Calderon, 28, a lawyer, with 535 votes; Tim Mattingly, 49 a software publisher, with 1,140 votes; Franklin Olson, 56, a marriage and family counselor, with 1,188 votes; and Debra Turkat, 45, a volunteer, with 712 votes.…

Leavitt Says He Wants 3rd Term, Not a D.C. Job - Leavitt Will Face Challengers in Bid for 3rd Term
Salt Lake Tribune, The (UT) - Friday, January 28, 2000
The popularity wave Gov. Mike Leavitt rode high on for so long may have turned bumpy lately. But the two-term Republican likes the ride enough to seek a third.…
Democrats have been primping their own candidate for the 2000 race. He is energy company executive Gregg Lassen. A self-described political novice and "conservative Democrat," he recently met with party leaders to get a feel for their likely support.

"My vision is to embrace the future in new terms and plan for it," said Lassen.

Senate Minority Leader Scott Howell said Lassen will give the governor "the race of his life. [Lassen] has no hidden agendas, no secret motivations. He just wants to serve."…

Last Week on Capitol Hill: A Summary Of What Happened and Who's Involved
Salt Lake Tribune, The (UT) - Sunday, January 30, 2000
Thursday, Leavitt announced he will seek a third four-year term. If successful, he will become the second governor in Utah history to keep the office so long. Democrat Cal Rampton was the first.

Two others have already announced their intention to challenge Leavitt: Republican Tim Lawson and Democrat
Gregg Lassen

Lack of residency foils Lassen gubernatorial bid
Deseret News, (UT) Published: Tuesday, March 7 2000 4:54 p.m. MST
Gregg Lassen was the first in line early Tuesday to declare his Democratic candidacy against Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt.

Lassen's wife and two of his three children were there. His youngest, Kelsey, played with his hair while he answered questions as part of an oath given by Lt. Gov. Olene Walker. Are you 30 years old? Have you been resident of Utah for five years?

But Lassen, who announced his candidacy about a month ago, has not been a resident of Utah for five years, and nearly as soon as he had filled out the paperwork, Democratic Party officials pulled the candidacy for the energy company executive.

"He would have been an excellent candidate and we're going to run him in the future," said Megan Holbrook, chairwoman of the Utah Democratic Party. "We misinterpreted the residency requirements for the office of governor, which are different than for other offices."

A one-page biography handed out at Tuesday's event, which kicked off the beginning of candidate filing for the year 2000 in the State Elections Office, talks about the Lassen family priorities and how a search for the ideal place to raise their children led the family to Utah.

"We arrived from Hong Kong on Pioneer Day in 1997, and as the plane descended into Salt Lake City, the fireworks were going off," the statement reads.

After taking the oath with Walker, Lassen disappeared into a state office with party officials and emerged to tell reporters he had overlooked the residency requirement but that he loves Utah and has made a professional commitment to raise his family in the state. He also will remain active in the Democratic Party, he said.

Holbrook ran up to the Utah Attorney General's Office to see if there was anything the office could do. There wasn't.

BRIEF CAMPAIGN: Rules Force Leavitt Challenger Out of Race - Democrat Lassen discovers he has not lived in state long enough to qualify as candidate; Rules Surprise Leavitt Challenger, Force Withdrawal
Salt Lake Tribune, The (UT) - Wednesday, March 8, 2000
It's difficult enough for Utah Democrats to make a mark in Republican-controlled Utah. They made it even tougher for themselves Tuesday, putting forth a gubernatorial candidate who wasn't eligible to run.

The embarrassment occurred just as Gregg Lassen, a businessman who moved his family to Utah in 1997, was preparing to file papers for his long-shot bid to unseat GOP Gov. Mike Leavitt. He ran smack into a legal requirement that a person must live in Utah for five years before running for governor.

"I'm extremely disappointed," Lassen said. "We've committed to spending the rest of our lives in Utah and raising our children here. And I was so focused on service that I didn't make sure that we fulfilled all the statutory obligations."

To run for a federal office in Utah, there is no residency term requirement. You just have to be an inhabitant of the state. Lassen thought that was also the case for would-be governors. "I wasn't aware in the Utah Constitution that I have to be here five years before I'm allowed to serve as governor. So I have to take a pass this time."

Thus, what began as a news conference led by Republican Lt. Gov. Olene Walker to highlight the first day that candidates can file for office became a minor fiasco when attention turned to Lassen's gaffe. 

No Newcomers Allowed
Salt Lake Tribune, The (UT) - Thursday, March 9, 2000
Author: The Salt Lake Tribune
Legislators may have been too enthusiastic when they approved a measure requiring Utah's public schools to teach flag etiquette. Had they been more thoughtful, they perhaps would have opted for requiring schools to teach about the Utah Constitution.

A recent incident reveals an astonishing lack of knowledge about it.

Utah's Democratic Party had recruited an attractive candidate to face popular Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt in the form of businessman Gregg Lassen . Unfortunately, Lassen and the party had overlooked the Utah Constitution. It requires that gubernatorial candidates be five-year residents or longer to stand for the office. Lassen and his family moved to Utah in 1997.

They paid for this ignorance, too. Lassen and state Democratic leaders discovered the fact when he went to file in the lieutenant governor's office. The news media, complete with photographers, was on hand for what everyone figured would be a favorable, upbeat occasion.

To be charitable, it is easy to understand such a gaffe. After all, the only people who have to regularly devote a lot of attention to the Utah Constitution are the Utah Supreme Court's five members and, for some time now, the state's Constitution Revision Commission which has been charged with studying it and suggesting ways to update it.

About the only provision in the state constitution that has received noticeable publicity in recent years is its strict prohibition against polygamy, a feature Utahns were forced to include in it if they wanted statehood. Besides, everyone who has watched television in the past few months knows how Hillary Rodham Clinton just recently took up residence in New York so she can run for the U.S. Senate.

Still, the incident illustrates a troubling unfamiliarity with the Utah Constitution. If some of the state's political people are unfamiliar with such mundane provisions as requirements for elected offices, others likely are even more so. 

Orton to challenge Leavitt -- sort of - Demo won't run till September, won't raise much money
Deseret News, The (Salt Lake City, UT) - Thursday, March 16, 2000
Author: Bob Bernick Jr. Deseret News political editor
Before you can pull a rabbit out of a hat, you need the rabbit.

And former congressman Bill Orton is the Democrats' bunny in the governor's race this year, hopping in at the last moment.

Wednesday, Orton agreed to jump into the race against the rich and popular Gov. Mike Leavitt -- rich because he has more than $1 million in his campaign war chest, popular because 80 percent of Utahns like the job Leavitt is doing as governor.…
Still, Utah Democrats have to be pleased with Orton's decision Wednesday. At least they got a name people recognize.

A week ago the anointed Democratic lamb heading for the Leavitt slaughterhouse,
Gregg Lassen, was denied the right to file for governor because he hasn't lived in Utah five years, as the Utah Constitution requires. Holbrook started scrambling.

And while Orton told the Deseret News last September he'd consider a race against Leavitt this year, he'd recently stepped aside for Lassen. Orton said Wednesday he agreed last Sunday to run -- but only after his wife encouraged him and LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley told a National Press Club audience last week that you can be a good Mormon (as Orton is) and be a Democrat, also.…

Democrats of Utah, Arise!

Salt Lake Tribune, The (UT) - Saturday, April 15, 2000
Author: ERIK SWANSON in The Salt Lake Tribune
As a longtime moderate Democrat I am enthused at Bill Orton's recent announcement to run for governor of Utah. In the nine years I have resided in Salt Lake County, I am embarrassed at the lack of organization or legitimacy of the Democratic Party in Utah.

This is the main reason, I believe, Utah's political citizenry do not elect Democrats for office outside of Salt Lake City because the management of the Democratic Party has failed its candidates.

Gregg Lassen 's aborted candidacy for governor is a glowing example. What an embarrassment to the Utah Democratic Party; way to show sound background checking of its candidates. What a joke…

Mass Transit Fight Goes 'Grass Roots' - Proposed sales-tax increase latest episode in showdown
Salt Lake Tribune, The (UT) - Tuesday, September 12, 2000
Everyone wants the "grass-roots" label in the fight over a quarter-cent sales tax increase for mass transit.

One side says folks caught in traffic jams are crying out for alternatives. The other insists families paying taxes on everything they purchase, including food, are stretched far enough.

A coalition boosted mainly by public officials from Davis and Weber counties announced a pro-transit and fund-raising campaign Monday, speaking for the tens of thousands of commuters who struggle to reach Salt Lake City each day. People for Sensible Transportation supports the tax hike on the Nov. 7 ballot to help build and operate commuter rail, new light rail and buses.

"This is totally a grass-roots campaign," said
Gregg Lassen, chairman of the group's Salt Lake County effort. TRAX riders know the value, and need to help get the word out, he said.

"If we could get everybody to ride TRAX, we would get 100 percent of the vote."

Referendum foes immediately attacked the new group as representing elites and construction companies.…

Transit sales tax wins support of labor, civic, business groups
Deseret News, The (Salt Lake City, UT) - Wednesday, October 11, 2000
Author: Zack Van Eyck Deseret News staff writer
Fifteen community organizations went public Tuesday with their support of the proposed quarter-cent sales-tax hike for mass transit in Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties.

Representatives of groups such as the Utah AFL-CIO, the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club, Kennecott Corp., Catholic Community Services and the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce gathered Tuesday morning in support of the increase, which would generate about $43 million a year in the three counties to operate commuter rail, light rail and an expanded bus service.…

"We believe the more you know about transportation issues the more likely you are to vote for (the measure)," said Gregg Lassen, chairman of People for Sensible Transportation, which is leading the campaign for the tax hike.…

Tuesday afternoon, Lassen went head-to-head with a leading opponent of the measure, community activist Janalee Tobias, in a radio debate on KSL's Doug Wright Show.

Lassen noted that foes of the transit tax, including Tobias, are not opposed to mass transit, just the tax increase. Lassen said sales tax is how most other communities pay for their share of transit expenses, and that up to $640 million in federal construction money is available for expansion if Wasatch Front residents will pay to operate those buses and trains.…

'Facts' flung in transit tax debate - Friends, foes agree on transit need but disagree on taxes
Deseret News, The (Salt Lake City, UT) - Friday, October 27, 2000
Author: Zack Van Eyck Deseret News staff writer
The first and possibly only public debate about Measure One in Salt Lake County on Wednesday failed to clarify the contradictory statements and conflicting "facts" the two sides have been offering.

But it did make one thing clear: The debate over the proposed quarter-cent sales tax hike in Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties is not about the need for an expanded regional transit system. It's about how to pay for it.…

The 90-minute debate, held in the Salt Lake County Commission chambers, featured Fredde and Greg Zenger, co-founder of People Against More Taxes, arguing against Measure One. Inglish and Gregg Lassen, chairman of People for Sensible Transportation, spoke in favor of the referendum.…
The opponents also took issue with UTA's promotional advertisements which boasts the agency takes 81,000 cars off the road each day. Inglish said UTA's ridership figures support that assertion.

"They're not nearly doing that. It's a trick they're using to try to get us to pass the sales tax," Zenger suggested.

The proponents, Lassen in particular, argued the tax hike is needed to preserve quality of life along the Wasatch Front.

"If we screw this up, we're going to be wondering what we did 10 years from now," Lassen said.…

Utah likes GOP, initiatives
Deseret News, The (Salt Lake City, UT) - Wednesday, November 8, 2000
Author: Deseret News editorial
Meanwhile, Leavitt joined Democrat Calvin Rampton as the state's only three-term governors. But Democratic foe Bill Orton made him earn it, waging a credible challenge. The Democrats faced an uphill battle against the popular incumbent because their initial contender, Gregg Lassen, had to bow out before the filing deadline because he hadn't lived in Utah long enough. Orton, a former congressman, agreed to run but insisted on running on his own terms. That meant he didn't actively campaign until after Labor Day but lobbied hard on the issues of education, campaign spending and the controversial Questar utility regulation bill. Orton was widely outspent by Leavitt but still managed to pull down about 43 percent of the vote.…

6 professional offices on S.L. County ballot
Deseret News, The (Salt Lake City, UT) - Friday, November 1, 2002
Along with council seats, district attorney and sheriff, Salt Lake County voters will also make choices for six professional offices that, while not directly involved in setting policy still have an impact on daily lives. For example, the assessor determines property values, the clerk determines voter eligibility, and the recorder maintains public records to ensure accuracy, public access and privacy rights.…
(Candidate for County Treasurer)
Name: Gregg Lassen
Age: 42
Party: Democrat
Residence: Olympus Cove
Education: Bachelor's degree and master's of business administration from University of Wisconsin, law degree from University of Houston.

Experience: He served on a school board in the Houston area. He is currently the campus chair for graduate business at the University of Phoenix. Prior to that, he worked almost 20 years as a finance director for oil companies.

Issues: Escalating property taxes that are forcing the elderly out of their homes, improved customer service, will take a 20 percent pay cut.

Why Best Candidate?: "We need to stop treating taxpayers like indentured servants and treat them like customers."…

Yocom, Kennard lead incumbent sweep
Deseret News, The (Salt Lake City, UT) - Wednesday, November 6, 2002 Author: Josh Loftin Deseret News staff writer
In the other races, Republican Lee Gardner defeated Democrat Liz Fehrmann with 58 percent of the vote for the county assessor. County Surveyor Vaughn Butler, a Republican, defeated Democrat Kim Lundeberg with 56 percent of the vote. Republican Larry Richardson defeated his two opponents, Democrat Gregg Lassen and Libertarian Hugh Butler, for the county treasurer position with 54 percent of the vote.

Major County Races and Issues

Salt Lake Tribune, The (UT) - Thursday, November 7, 2002
Author: The Salt Lake Tribune

Rich County Treasurer
Hugh Butler, Lib. 12,484
Gregg Lassen, Dem 84,564
Larry Richardson, GOP (i) 114,655

Prows, Others Tardy on Disclosure Form - Clerk candidate had contested huge loss in recent election

Salt Lake Tribune, The (UT) - Thursday, December 5, 2002
Salt Lake County Republican clerk challenger Keith Prows -- who requested an investigation of his lopsided loss after alleging that "clerical errors" or fraud cost him the election -- is among a handful of candidates who failed to file financial disclosure forms by this week's deadline…

Losing candidates whose forms have not reached the clerk's office: Democratic challengers Jan Johnson (recorder),
Gregg Lassen (treasurer) and Kim Lundenberg (surveyor), along with Libertarian candidate Hugh Butler (treasurer)…  

Sun Herald, The (Biloxi, MS) - Wednesday, July 7, 2004
HATTIESBURG --- The University of Southern Mississippi will give out $3 million in salary increases to faculty and staff.

Who gets the money will be decided by the end of the month, said
Gregg Lassen, vice president for business and finance.

''Over the last two years, the university has worked hard to save money,'' he said. ''We've put that money aside. We've managed to cobble all those little bits of savings here and there into a small pool of dollars that we want to reinvest in our human capital.''…
Faculty who got raises earlier this year won't necessarily be ineligible for a second, Lassen said.

''That will be a factor in the decision as to whether or how much of a raise they will get.

''I was able to give some of my employees just a little bit of a raise because they worked without a boss for a number of months. That was about 2 percent. I don't want to exclude them from the pool. I'd like to give them a raise if they earned it, but I'll factor in the 2 percent,'' Lassen said.…
The pay raises currently under consideration will be about 4 percent, Lassen said.

For 12-month employees, he said the increases will be retroactive to July 1. For faculty on 9-month contracts, he said the increases will start with the first paychecks of the fall semester.

USM may consolidate funds
Commercial Appeal, The (Memphis, TN) - Monday, December 27, 2004
Author: Associated Press
HATTIESBURG - The University of Southern Mississippi's chief financial officer wants to centralize the school's set-aside money into one fund to spend it more efficiently.

USM's academic departments set aside $4.6 million at the beginning of the academic year and hadn't spent $3.3 million of it as of Oct. 31, according to university records. That money is saved and carried over from one fiscal year to the next by the individual departments.

Chief financial officer
Gregg Lassen says his plan would place that money into one central fund and could be used for purchases to benefit the entire university. "I completely grant that there's valuable needs for this money and that they have them," Lassen said. "But if I'm responsible for managing the budget, I need to know what they want to spend that money on, then I can help them and prioritize that."

Opponents say it gives the university administration too much control over how the departments control expenditures.

"The administration is being way too centralized in decision-making and that sort of thing and this would be yet another one in taking away decision-making at the department levels and putting it somewhere else," biology professor Bobby Middlebrooks said. "Who would get that money? Would it be redistributed from the center for the campus? And we don't know that and that creates some uneasiness."

Money will remain with the individual departments, Lassen said, adding that he doesn't intend to consolidate current funds. "These people are going to spend these monies now," he said. "If a process changes, it will be going forward, not retroactive and it's still an 'if.'"

By Robert L. Campbell for the History News Network at George Mason U.
Posted on: Monday, August 8, 2005 - 13:06
…The merit raises [at USM] during 2003-2004 were awarded to a small minority of the faculty, mostly to people with strong connections to the Thames regime. (His daughter Dana, who chairs the department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, received the highest raise in percentage terms.) The $3.6 million pool of money for raises this year is of uncertain provenance--most likely it was obtained on a one-time basis when Chief Financial Officer Gregg Lassen raided departmental reserve accounts throughout the university. The CFO has changed his story more than once, but if he and Thames paid for raises with one-time money, the consequences will be felt late this fiscal year, when departments run out of money, or early next, when USM's state appropriation is cut once again.

Letter to Gregg Lassen, CFO, on Potential Outsourcing of the Physical Plant Operations
USM Faculty Senate

Passed without dissent by members of the Faculty Senate on 12-09-05.

Endorsed by Members of Staff Council through email and phone 12-19-05.
Date: December 19, 2005

To: Mr. Gregg Lassen, Chief Financial Officer
Box 5005
From: Members of the Faculty Senate and Staff Council
Topic: Potential outsourcing of the Physical Plant operations
We are concerned about the announcement, “USM may outsource the Physical Plant
operations,” that appeared in recent articles in the Hattiesburg American and Clarion
Ledger. Apparently, this announcement was a surprise to many who may be affected by
this most recent outsourcing initiative. Regrettably, the announcement comes just before
the Christmas holidays and just after so many of the people whose jobs may be
outsourced devoted so much time and energy to helping the university move forward
from the damage of Hurricane Katrina.

Mr. Lassen, you are quoted as having said, “If we go this route, the university and
employees will benefit.” We are not sure how employees will benefit, but your assertion
raises several questions.

1. What is the main motivation for outsourcing the operations of the Physical

2. What will happen to the state retirement programs for employees who have
served USM for, say five years? Ten years? Fifteen years? Twenty years?
Twenty five years?
3. What about medical benefits employees currently have?
4. What about other benefits such as tuition reductions for family members?
5. Will any benefits (such as tuition waivers) be “grandfathered in” for Physical
Plant staff?
6. What happens to the commitment to USM from employees of the Physical
a. Do they still consider themselves as part of the USM family?
b. Does USM still consider them as part of the USM family?
7. How much does USM expect to save through outsourcing operations of the
Physical Plant, and how does it intend to achieve these savings?
8. Just how would a private sector firm to whom the operations of Physical
Plant are out sourced make a profit?
a. By reducing employment levels?
b. By charging more for services to units within the university?
c. By a fixed contract with the university?
d. Through a less experienced workforce?
e. Through lower compensation (including benefits)?
9. Can current employees of the physical plant expect long term employment
with a firm to which services have been outsourced?
10. What happens when the initial contract expires?
11. What impact will outsourcing to an out of state firm have on businesses in the
local community that currently provide materials and services to the USM
Physical Plant?

Members of the Faculty Senate and Staff Council hope the Administration will openly
respond to the points above as well as other relevant questions and concerns.

Is the initiative to outsource the operations of the Physical Plant the business of the
members of Faculty Senate and Staff Council? We believe an outsourcing initiative that
may have a notable impact on the university as a whole and to valued employees is the
business of every member of our university community and most certainly the business
of the elected representatives of faculty and staff. We are deeply concerned for the
welfare of the staff of the Physical Plant, and we are equally concerned about a university
that seems to be on a path of off loading colleagues who have contributed much and who
believed they were part of a USM family. In this context, we urge the administration to
establish a transparent and participatory process to help determine if and how outsourcing
“benefits all.”

xc Dr. Shelby F. Thames, University President
Dr. Jay Grimes, Provost
Members of the Faculty Senate
Members of Staff Council

An Open Statement from the USM Faculty Senate to the Thames Administration - Re: Outsourcing
USM Faculty Senate

Preface from the Faculty Senate Executive Committee: On January 27, 2006, the
Faculty Senate endorsed without dissent the following statement, subject to some
editorial revisions, which have now been incorporated. The original statement
also contained two sentences concerning the lack of a meeting of the committee
formed to consider outsourcing and the lack of information about the composition
of that committee. Information about the committee has since been provided and
the committee is now scheduled to meet in March; those sentences have been
removed from the current statement to reflect those developments.

Since January 27, Mr. Lassen has announced his intentions to leave the CFO
position at USM. With Mr. Lassen's impending departure and given his key role
in outsourcing endeavors, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee believes the
initiative to outsource physical plant operations should be revisited in its entirety
with full involvement of the committee.

The Faculty Senate urges the Administration to respond in timely and meaningful ways to the legitimate questions and concerns the university community has about the prospects of outsourcing Physical Plant operations.                                         

To date, meaningful responses have not been forthcoming from the Administration even though there are indications that the Administration has put outsourcing Physical Plant operations on a “fast track.” The paragraphs that follow provide both a “history” of this outsourcing initiative as well as evidence that important questions still await responses from the Administration.     

Just before the 2005 holidays, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Gregg Lassen announced in the press that the possibility of outsourcing USM physical plant was being explored. He went out of his way to assuage concerns being expressed about outsourcing Physical Plant operations, and he assured the USM community that the university would go the direction of outsourcing only if the university and employees “benefited.” He further stated, “We won’t do this if it’s not a win-win situation.” Mr. Lassen followed up by establishing a committee to help in the “evaluation” of the merits of outsourcing.

In a December 19, 2005 letter to Mr. Lassen, the Faculty Senate raised a series of questions and concerns about the motivation behind the decision to explore outsourcing of Physical Plant operations. The Faculty Senate representative to the committee Mr. Lassen created posed related questions in a January 11, 2006 email to the chair of this committee, Mr. Russ Willis. There have been no responses to either communication. Physical Plant employees are apparently being told that the date for outsourcing is July 1, 2006. Most Physical Plant employees believe the outsourcing is a “done deal,” and they are apparently being advised to visit Human Resources to find out what their options may be.

The Faculty Senate now wonders if there is a meaningful process for studying the merits of outsourcing Physical Plant operations. Maybe a “process” was “established” merely for show. Perhaps a decision to outsource has already been made without input from or regard for the effect it will have on valued USM employees. The time is now for the USM Administration to operate openly on this matter and provide real data upon which it has based its decision to develop a Request for Proposals (RFP’s) so that the committee Mr. Lassen established can provide informed advice. 

Further, if RFP’s have been solicited and are received, they should be shared with the committee so that it might offer additional informed advice.

On behalf of the Faculty Senate and the Senate Executive Committee,
Dr. William Powell, President

The University of Southern Mississippi Is Under a News Blackout
Robert L. Campbell for the History News Network at George Mason U.

You would think that with several campus controversies raging simultaneously, and an accreditation consultant who is still unpacking her bags, the University of Southern Mississippi would be getting nearly daily attention from the in-state media.

Instead, there is a creepy silence. All of a sudden the only news about USM is appearing on the sports pages.

The last print-media reference to the accreditation crisis was the Hattiesburg American's happy-talk editorial of January 17. The American signaled its change of editorial policy toward the Thames regime on January 9, when it ran an op-ed by Amy Young, the president of USM's chapter of the American Association of University Professors, in its print edition but (in an extraordinary move) kept it out of the online edition. If you want to read Young's hard-hitting op-ed online, you'll have to do it here or on her AAUP chapter's message board....

What's uncontested by any knowledgeable source is Thames' fury at the College of Business for trying to keep its accreditation with the AACSB and consequently refusing to embrace his Economic Development program. Besides, if Thames could be rid of the present, accredited College of Business, he could replace it with an unaccredited College of Economic Development run by Ken Malone or Gregg Lassen (who, in addition to being the Chief Financial Officer is a graduate student in... International Development). And he would no longer have to pay the going rate for professors of Marketing or Finance. Business professors in AACSB-accredited programs draw salaries that Thames believes must be reserved to administrators--or to Polymer Science researchers…

Local briefs for 11-23-08
Palestine Herald-Press (TX) - Sunday, November 23, 2008
UT Tyler builds new Fine Arts Complex

The University of Texas at Tyler is building a new facility to further enhance art studies, President Rodney H. Mabry announced.

The $7 million fine arts complex will provide an additional 29,000 square-footage surrounding the existing art studio on the main campus. It also will feature a 100-seat lecture hall, studio work spaces and department offices.

"The addition will address the much needed space the department was previously lacking and centralize both areas," said Gary Hatcher, professor and Department of Art and Art History chair. "It's all about making the best learning environment here for current and future art students. President Mabry has been very supportive of this, and
Gregg Lassen, vice president for business affairs, has been really instrumental in bringing this together."

Construction began in September 2008, and the facility is expected to open fall 2010.

Board approves lowering speed limit on Old Omen
Tyler Morning Telegraph (TX) - Friday, April 3, 2009
Author: Malena Ogles, Tyler Morning Telegraph, Texas
Gregg Lassen, vice president for business affairs at UT Tyler, told the board that the 688 residents of the apartment complex, many of whom are students, Lassen said, are afraid to walk across Old Omen Road and instead get in their vehicles to drive across the street.

"The kids just don't want to walk across there under the current situation," he said, adding that the university continues to look at adding additional facilities in that area that would require students to cross the roadway.

"We are in a long term effort to make UT Tyler a residential campus, and part of that is to make it pedestrian friendly," he said.…

Lassen said the university police department is willing to work with the Tyler Police Department to increase police presence on Old Omen Road to alert drivers of a crosswalk.…

US Fed News (USA) - Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Author: Hannah Buchanan, 903/565-5769.
TYLER, Texas, April 13 -- The University of Texas at Tyler issued the following media advisory:

The University of Texas at Tyler University Center Grand Opening Ceremony and Reception will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 14 at the UC Auditorium.

A tour of the building will immediately follow the public event.

* University response - Gregg Lassen, UT Tyler executive vice president for business affairs.…
Begun January 2009 and completed last month, the renovation project adds a 300-plus seat auditorium/theater along the north wall, a fully-expanded, two-story bookstore, new study lounge areas and office spaces for student government, student services, testing and other student-related programs.

"Everyone is excited about the space. The informal seating areas seem to be very popular. The Barnes and Noble at UT Tyler looks fantastic, and the new auditorium is a welcome and important addition," said Lassen.…

University Tightens Its Belt
Tyler Morning Telegraph (TX) - Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Author: Emily Guevara, Tyler Morning Telegraph, Texas
Jun. 15--In anticipation of a potential $5 million cut in state funding annually, The University of Texas at Tyler plans to cut adjunct professor positions, eliminate extremely small classes and all but freeze hiring, among other initiatives.…

Gregg Lassen, UT Tyler's executive vice president for business affairs, said the early notice about the potential funding cuts combined with the relatively small size of the local UT campus place it in a good position moving forward.

"We're doing everything we can to reduce our costs and become more efficient, but we aren't panicking," Lassen said Monday. "We're still going to be able to provide a great education for students, and we're still positioned here specifically at UT Tyler to grow and give that opportunity to more students."…

The university already had cut the "easy stuff," Lassen said. Turning off lights when possible, keeping thermostats at modest temperatures, and severely limiting staff travel were among the measures put into place for the 5 percent cut.

The university will continue with those while implementing some of the new recommendations.…

The university plans to cut one-third of its approximately 100 adjunct professor positions. These positions are made up of people who typically have other jobs and teach at the university on the side, Lassen said.

Although he did not specify when or where these cuts would be made, he said that university administrators will investigate this in the coming months.…

We're looking for efficiencies everywhere we can," Lassen said. "But the thing that we're trying (hardest) to do is to not impact the student directly in the classroom. That high-quality classroom experience is the thing we're trying to preserve."

The relatively small size of the university combined with the early warning about potential budget cuts should help school officials in that effort, Lassen said.

While other schools across the state -- and particularly the nation -- are having to take more drastic measures, UT Tyler is not.…

Salary comparison: UT Tyler plays 'niche role' in UT System
Tyler Morning Telegraph (TX) - Sunday, July 11, 2010
Author: Dayna Worchel, Tyler Morning Telegraph, Texas
July 11--The University of Texas at Tyler President Dr. Rodney Mabry takes home an annual salary of $342,186 -- the sixth highest of nine UT System schools.

Mabry holds the top spot for salaries at UT Tyler, while Jerre Iversen, the vice president for university advancement, makes $187,254. At $183,720 is Peter J. Fos, the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Gregg Lassen, executive vice president for business affairs, makes $183,001.
Lassen said the salary at the presidential level and, to a smaller degree, the other executives' salaries are determined at the UT system level.

"The compensation level is determined by Austin to make sure that they attract people of sufficient quality to work at a place as important as UT Tyler to make sure we do a good job for the community," Lassen said.

UT Tyler's enrollment is the second lowest in the system -- at 6,163 -- with the highest at almost 51,000 and the lowest at about 3,500.

But Lassen said there's not a correlation between size of school and compensation to a president.

"We're very proud of the niche role that UT Tyler plays in the UT system," he said. "We're a small and intimate part of the UT system with high-ability students and a very caring faculty and the leadership is sensitive to all those things."

Lassen said that UT Tyler has stayed relatively small on purpose.

"We're not trying to compete to become UT Austin ever. We're an alternative to UT Austin, or any of the big urban schools in that we provide a nurturing environment for students ..." he said. "All universities aren't cut from the same cloth. ... We do somewhat different things, and we feel like we provide a high-quality service to our students and to East Texas by being different and special."

Mabry has been at the university for more than 10 years and that is one factor in his compensation, Lassen added.…

Doty to UT-T through Lassen? . . . . . . . . . . Priceless
by Duane Cobb at
So, a recent GH Chatter has it that former CoB dean (and current CoB MGT professor) Harold Doty is in the running for the dean's opening in the College of Business and Technology at the University of Texas – Tyler. How sweet!

First, who knew Doty still had prospects? Well, if he does in this case, it may be only because he has a link to UT-T, and that link is Gregg Lassen, the Vice President for Business Affairs at UT-T

Before moving to UT-T in 2006, Lassen was the Vice President of Finance at USM. He came to USM from his position as associate dean of business at the University of Phoenix. Lassen was hired to be VP of Finance at USM by then-USM president Shelby Thames, the same individual who hired Doty to lead the then-College of Business & Economic Development at USM. Lassen holds approximately the same academic credentials as Doty's wife Susan (i.e., an MBA), which created a huge scandal at USM. When Doty hired his wife Susan to head the CoB's Center for Economic Education, another scandal erupted.

To salve some of the difficulties regarding his lack of academic credentials, Lassen enrolled in USM's highly controversial PhD in international/economic development program. That program, often referred to as a "diploma mill" by USM constituents, was in Doty's new home, USM's CBED. Thus, one of Doty's bosses, Lassen, was a student in Doty's college, the CBED. Interestingly, the only course that Doty taught for USM while CBED/CoB dean was a graduate level course in international/economic development. Given Doty's position, and Lassen's, it is quite possible, maybe even quite likely, that Lassen put Doty on his (Lassen's) dissertation committee.

UT-T's website says that Lassen is now ABD in his pursuit of an international/economic development PhD at USM. So, if Doty is seeking Lassen's assistance in parachuting down into UT-T, he may be able to "leverage" (one of Doty's favorite words, at least whilst dean) Lassen's dissertation into a nice landing spot. Or, Lassen could just hire Doty and then make his life miserable until he (Doty) signs off on the thing. A nice tit (new dean's job) for tat (dissertation signed off on). After the tat, Lassen will partially own Doty, once again. Lassen, however, is currently mired in some Aramark problems, just like he was while VP at USM. Maybe on Doty's fly-out to Tyler for an interview (a dark of night one, like Niroomand's at UH-V?), the two can flesh out these plans (above) over at UT-T's new (Aramark) Sports Café.


Doty Pulling All Stops for Job at UT-Tyler
HATTIESBURG – Former CoB dean (and current CoB management professor) Harold Doty appears to be pulling all stops in his pursuit of the opening at the top of the University of Texas – Tyler’s College of Business and Technology. An earlier editorial from Duane Cobb indicated that Doty is likely benefitting from the presence of former USM VP of Finance Gregg Lassen, who is now the VP for Business Affairs at UT-T. Though the presence of Lassen will no doubt help Doty secure employment in Tyler, the presence of former USM College of Health Dean Peter Fos, who is now UT-Tyler’s Provost and VP for Academic Affairs, will likely do even more for Doty given his close relationship with Fos while the two served in the Shelby F. Thames administration at USM.

While one would have to wonder why UT-Tyler President Rodney Mabry would think it is a good idea to reassemble elements of the Thames administration, which was almost without question the the most disastrous administration in USM's 100-year existence, sources say it’s not too difficult to understand why the likes of Doty, Fos and Lassen would desire a reunification somewhere. Under the leadership of Thames, Lassen, Doty, Fos and others, time-tested concepts like academic freedom, academic tenure, faculty governance, and others came under assault, almost on a daily basis. …

US Fed News (USA) - Tuesday, January 11, 2011
BEAUMONT, Texas, Jan. 11 -- Lamar University issued the following news release:

Gregg Lassen will join Lamar University's executive team Feb. 15 as vice president for finance and operations, officials announced today. Lassen has served as executive vice president with a portfolio that includes all business affairs and student affairs functions at the University of Texas at Tyler since 2006.

"Gregg brings a track record of success and a lot of experience to the position," said James Simmons, Lamar University president. "He has served in higher education since 2000 and has nearly two decades of corporate experience to draw on as well.

"He is not only adept at managing the financial and business operations of a major university, he is also a life-long learner who has continually enlarged his own world through education," Simmons said. "I am very pleased to welcome such a champion of higher education to the administrative team."

Lassen joins Lamar at a good time in the university's history, with record enrollment, new construction and programs, and the return of football last fall. Lamar's fall 2010 student enrollment was 13,388, an all-time record for the university. Lamar University employs more than 1,400 faculty and staff and generates more than $310 million in economic impact annually through employment, organizational operations, and student and visitor spending.

At UT-Tyler, Lassen was responsible for all non-academic departments except development, including the budget office, financial services, student business services, information technology, human resources, the physical plant, institutional compliance, environmental health and safety, university police, the Cowan Center, and contracted services including food and bookstore operations in business affairs, and enrollment management, student life, residence life, athletics, and recreational sports in student affairs.

An advocate of the value of lifelong education, Lassen holds a Ph.D. in international affairs from the University of Southern Mississippi and a law degree from the University of Houston. He earned an undergraduate degree and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

He joined the UT-Tyler administration in 2006 from the University of Southern Mississippi where he held the position of vice president for business affairs for two- and-a-half years. Prior to that, Lassen had worked at the University of Phoenix, starting as a faculty member in the Sperling School of Business. He became a department chair and was associate dean before moving to Southern Mississippi. Before beginning his career in higher education, Lassen spent 18 years in the energy industry, in a wide variety of assignments including financial and commercial management, regulatory affairs, business development, negotiations, marketing, and auditing across the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors in the corporate environment.

Lamar names new vice president
Beaumont Enterprise, The (TX) - Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Author: The Enterprise
Gregg Lassen is the new Lamar University vice president for finance and operations, replacing Bob Lovitt.

Lassen comes to Beaumont having served as executive vice president at the University of Texas at Tyler since 2006.

Prior to that, he was vice president for business affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi.

He was a department chair and associate dean at the University of Phoenix, before leaving that school for Mississippi.

He had started in Phoenix as a faculty member in the Sperling School of Business.

Before beginning his career in higher education, Lassen spent 18 years in the energy industry….

Doty Trampling All Over UT-Tyler?

HATTIESBURG – A surprising 16-Feb-2011 report about trouble brewing among the administrative ranks at the University of Texas – Tyler, and the prominence of a cadre of former USM administrators in this troubling situation, has many members of the USM community (and beyond) interested in events in east Texas. As that report indicates, Gregg Lassen resigned his post as vice president of financial affairs at UT-T on 15-Feb-2011. At about the same time, the UT-T president informed the campus that his provost, Peter Fos, would be leaving for his home town of New Orleans. Lassen and Fos were once vice president for finance and dean of the College of Health, respectively, at USM. That report also stated that, according to sources, the administration chaos that appears to exist at UT-T is the result of ill-advised actions and behavior from a third former member of USM’s administration – Harold Doty, the former CoB dean who is presently the dean of business administration at UT-T. As pointed out in that story, Doty, who was hired by Fos, also hired former USM management chairman/professor Stephen Bushardt to serve as the UT-T management department chairman. According to sources, each of these individuals was, in one way or another, a controversial figure while at USM.
Lassen Fos Doty Bushardt

The report linked above also indicates that details about Doty’s activities at UT-T were being compiled and analyzed by Some of that work has now been completed. This report brings us to the anonymous letter inserted below, which is dated 26-Jan-2011, stamped “CONFIDENTIAL,” and addressed to “Dr. Harold Doty Dean The University of Texas at Tyler.” The letter, which has been widely circulated throughout the UT-T and Tyler communities (and beyond), is analyzed in the space below the insert below.

Confidential memo here.

Paragraph one of the letter above repeats several of the themes that appear in reports and editorials about Doty that are available here at The author(s) states that Doty obtained the top b-school position at UT-T through “corrupt means,” which sources point out does not really stretch the imagination given the lofty positions at UT-T that were held by Doty’s associates – Fos and Lassen – at the time Doty sought the UT-T b-school position. The concept of Doty being involved in a “dirty search” on one side or the other is not a foreign one to many who have experienced Doty’s leadership in the past. Paragraph one also contains accusations that Doty has alienated the Tyler business community, mismanaged UT-T funds, and promoted a toxic environment in the UT-T business school – all accusations that various reports and editorials here at support, at least in terms of Doty’s 2003-07 service at USM. 
In paragraph two, the author or authors accuse Fos of cronyism in the Doty hire, and they implicate Lassen in a quid pro quo scheme to provide Doty with a better-than-market salary in return for Doty’s help with Lassen’s educational pursuits. Long-time followers of USM will recall that Lassen served as vice president at USM while at the same time pursuing an online PhD in economic/international development from USM, itself a highly controversial and suspect academic program. According to old reports here at USM, the only class Doty taught while a USM dean from 2003-07 was a graduate course in economic/international development.

According to the letter, it is believed by some that Lassen departed UT-T before the chaos there escalated.

Paragraph three reminds readers of Doty’s now infamous “booze account” financial management philosophy, adding that he is now flouting the laws of Texas. Paragraph four adds the accusation that Doty has been “passing out degrees [at UT-T] like candy,” and “creating ‘specialty degrees’ for children [of] his buddies,” which is in violation of policies and laws. Long-time readers of will recall that Doty went to various committees/faculty while at USM, seeking approval for carte blanche authority to provide a general bachelor’s degree to certain students who could not, for one reason or another, successfully progress through a specific CoB degree program. 

According to one source, Doty’s academic programs chief at USM, Gwen Pate, mentioned to some CoB faculty that the first candidate for one of these types of degrees was the child of a financial backer of USM’s business school who was having academic difficulties. Thus, this particular accusation, like some others, rings familiar.…

UT-Tyler Student Newspaper Tells Familiar Tale

The 22-Feb-2011 editorial at, the online version of the University of Texas – Tyler student newspaper, entitled “Secrets, Secrets” is an interesting read for followers of who are now intrigued by the UT-Tyler saga involving a handful of former USM administrators. Its author, “leachristine,” tells the story about the newspaper’s forced evacuation of its physical space (during the summer of 2010) in order to make room for a multimedia lab. The Patriot Talon’s editors and faculty advisor were informed that a portable building would be put to use for the newspaper, however the meeting to finalize the details left those concerned “. . . with more questions than answers.” UT-Tyler administrators told Patriot Talon staffers that a new university space allocation committee was being set up so that they could appeal the decision (that they did not even understand).

Unbeknownst to the aforementioned administrators, such a committee already existed on the UT-Tyler campus. The officials got back in touch with the PT staffers to inform them that they had discovered the committee’s existence, and that the committee’s chair was none other than Peter Fos, the UT-Tyler provost who formerly served as USM’s College of Health dean. The problem then was, as followers are aware, that the staffers were forced to deal with a “lame duck” UT-Tyler administrator. Ultimately, and not unexpectedly, pushed into a physical relocation, Patriot Talon editors next became concerned that they would not be able to afford the move and renovation required to have the newspaper up-and-running, and able to serve the students at UT-Tyler. They were told by UT-Tyler administrators that the paper “. . . would probably not be responsible for the costs” of the move. Being veteran observers of higher education administrators, the staff of the wanted formal assurance from an official on the finance end of things. The person in that position was none other that Gregg Lassen, UT-Tyler’s vice president of business affairs. Unfortunately for the PT, Lassen, the former vice president for finance at USM, absconded on 15-Feb-2011 for an equal position at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX. Now, UT-Tyler president Rodney Mabry is supposedly responsible for Lassen’s tasks, given that UT-Tyler is not able to replace Lassen due to a forthcoming, and potentially massive, budget cut.

The editorial concludes: “And the bureaucratic cycle continue[s].” …

 The Axis of Awful
A Guest Editorial                   
The story of the saga involving a handful of East Texas universities, and the cadre of former USM administrators that appears to be damaging them, has been a hot item on this website. That cadre of former USM executives – former USM provost Tim Hudson, former USM vice president for finance Gregg Lassen, former USM business college dean Harold Doty, former USM health college dean Peter Fos, former USM business college associate dean Farhang Niroomand, and former USM MBA director Stephen Bushardt – worked at USM during, if not before, the Shelby Thames administration (2002-07). From USM, Hudson took over the presidency of the University of Houston – Victoria. Hudson later brought over Niroomand, who took the top business school position at UH-V. Fos took the provost’s position at the University of Texas – Tyler; Lassen went there as vice president of business affairs. These two brought Doty over to lead the UT-T business school. Doty then reeled in old friend Bushardt to manage the UT-T management department.

Each of these administrators has a sketchy past at USM. Lassen is a graduate of the now infamous USM PhD program in international affairs (i.e., economic development). His major professor in this largely online program was none other than then-USM business dean Harold Doty. This, of course, is only part of the story of just two of these individuals. The pages here at are full of other stories on these two, as well as multiple reports and editorials covering the activities of most, if not all, of the others in the group.

Once all of these former USM officials were in East Texas, the dominos began to fall. ..

Up north in Tyler, Lassen and Fos landed in UT-T president Rod Mabry’s dog house, according to sources, for their part in bringing Doty from USM to UT-T. It seems Doty has been causing all sorts of mayhem since hitting the ground in Tyler, part of which includes bringing Bushardt from Spring Hill College to UT-T, and Mabry began running afoul with members of the larger UT-T community because of it. For a taste of this chaotic situation, check out the more recent updates to Lassen responded by jaunting to Lamar University in Beaumont, TX, in the middle of spring semester 2011. Fos informed Mabry and the UT-T family that he, too, would be leaving UT-T. His destination would be New Orleans, at least according to reports.

UT-Tyler President Struggling to Contain Chaos
HATTIESBURG – Judging by his letter to the University of Texas – Tyler community dated 15-Feb-2011, UT-Tyler president Rod Mabry is struggling to contain the chaos being created on the campus by UT-Tyler business school dean, Harold Doty. Doty, the former CoB dean at USM (2003-07), was hired in 2009 by UT-Tyler provost, Peter Fos, the former College Health Dean at USM. Former USM vice president for finance, Gregg Lassen, is also part of this situation that is going viral now, as is former CoB management chairman/professor Stephen Bushardt, who is now the chairman of UT-Tyler’s management department.
Lassen Fos Doty Bushardt

Recent reports here at have provided copies of letters penned in late Jan-2011, detailing many misdeeds that Doty is being accused of in his capacity as b-school dean by members of the Tyler community. Those activities are also alleged to be related to the sudden 15-Feb-2011 departure of UT-Tyler vice president for business affairs, Gregg Lassen, and the impending departure of Fos. After almost two weeks, the UT-Tyler president, Rod Mabry, decided to address campus and community concerns regarding this chaos via his three-page letter, which was recently sent to and appears in the space below this report. The tone of Mabry’s letter is one of a president who seems to be struggling to address and contain the situation at hand. According to sources, the story about Fos’ impending departure for New Orleans was concocted to allow Fos to save face, while the worse-than-cryptic remarks about Lassen’s departure speak quite clearly for themselves.

President Mabry’s letter here.

Fresh View:  Lassen has different perspectives on academia

UP Editor
Published: Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Updated: Thursday, April 14, 2011 10:04
For Gregg Lassen, being successful is all about perspectives — seeing things from another angle. After traveling the world developing a rich background in academia, business and law, Lassen has come to nest at Lamar as the new vice president of finance and operations.

Lassen said that coming from a modest background, growing up in the Midwest, he learned how seeing things through a different lens can help one develop as a person.

"I always tell students, I don't care what sorts of biases you grew up with, try to see the other side," Lassen said. "That was the neatest thing about law school. You are taught to argue both sides of an argument. And that, if you're good at it, teaches you empathy. If you instinctively believe A, try to put yourself in the shoes of B, and figure out why a person would think that way. It makes you a much more thoughtful person."
Graduating from University of Wisconsin in Madison at 20 with a degree in international finance, Lassen passed up job opportunities to further his education.

"I stayed at the University of Wisconsin and got my MBA, which was great," he said. "After I got out, I was 21 years old and I got hired by the AMACO Corporation and moved to Chicago. I ended up having a great 19-year career with AMACO, and that career gave me the opportunity to travel all over the world.
Along the way he moved to Houston, where he met the woman who would become his wife, while he was getting his law degree at night school.

Lassen said he retired from business on his fortieth birthday and began the next chapter of his life.
"I have a lot of energy so I started teaching at night," he said, "which led to my second career where I got my PhD and I got into higher education administration. I haven't been happier in my life.

Lassen said that while it is important to keep sight of one's goals, it is also important to be flexible.
"It is important to have a plan, but it is also important to be sort of relaxed about the way things are going to work out," he said. "There is no way, when I was 25 years old, that I could have predicted that I would be a vice president of a university. I'm not even sure I knew there were vice presidents at universities."
Lassen said that his door is always open to students.

"If I am going to be successful, part of my job is to help create a welcoming, student-friendly campus," he said. "I am old now — what I think you need and what you think you need are probably not the same thing anymore. So I need that perspective.

"And something I want the students to know is that my door is open. Students pay the bills, so if you need to come talk to me, then come on."

Part of the stance that Lassen has taken in coming to Lamar is one of respect for its history, students and faculty.

"I have been here for two months and I have really tried to meet as many people as I could and learn as much about the institution, because it has a history and I need to be respectful of that," he said. "I have great hopes to put my mark on this university. I am proud to be a professional. I believe I am both a leader and a manager.

"Having had experience at other universities and in the business world, I feel that I can combine those things. A decade ago this university was at one level — I would not have come here if I did not admire President Simmons. What I see is that his leadership and his staff raised the university to this great level. But they didn't bring me here to maintain the status quo. I believe they want me to bring us to a new level. So I am change oriented."

Lassen said he is up to the challenge of finding the balance between savings and growth.

"There will be some challenge, because while I am excited about improving things, part of my job is to also acknowledge that there are budget cuts coming," he said. "The state support for higher education is declining, there's no doubt about that. That's the thing about cutting though, you can't cut your way to prosperity. I have to help the organization understand that we need to cut our costs, but within a framework that will position ourselves for growth.

"If the revenue from the state is going to decline then we are going to have to find other sources of revenue. That can be from students, not just in terms of price, but in terms of volume. So we need to attract more students. And we need to market our research better, because that has value to the federal government. There are challenges there, because right now the federal government is paying less for scientific research. But there is still an opportunity there for us.

"So that is sort of what I was brought in here to do. What I want to do is help streamline our activities to make us as efficient as possible and deal with challenging cuts while at the same time positioning us for growth."

Lassen said that he is proud to be a new Cardinal and looks forward building relationships.
"Lamar is a really great institution and I have been really impressed with the faculty I have met, and we are really a perfect size," he said. "We are big enough to be a credible doctoral research university, yet you have access to your professors.

Lassen said college is a cool place.

"You are not kids anymore, but you aren't all full-fledged adults either. So many of you are in this transition phase and the people at the university are here to help you through that phase. So let them help you. That's what faculty are all about.

"And ultimately that's what I am all about."

From the Texas Tribune:

Gregg Lassen's Salary

Title Vice Pres Finance & Operations
Agency Lamar University
Department VP for Finance and Operations
Gender Male
Hire Date 02/15/2011
Salary $200,000
Current as of May 9, 2011

No Confidence . . . by the Numbers
May 2011
Votes of “no confidence” have spread from the Shelby Thames administration of USM (2002-07) to the University of Houston at Victoria, where former USM (Thamesian) provost Tim Hudson served as president until Aug-2010, and where former USM (Thamesian) associate dean Farhang Niroomand now serves as b-school dean. …

Word is now circulating about “no confidence” votes on the campus of a second East Texas institution – the University of Texas at Tyler – where another handful of former Thames administration cronies in Peter Fos, Gregg Lassen, Harold Doty, and Stephen Bushardt have been, or are still, serving in administrative posts for UTT president Rodney Mabry. When this is all over, we could easily have well over 1,000 votes of “no confidence” in one or another of these aforementioned administrators, including UTT’s Mabry. And even with the “no confidence” total eclipsing 1,000 votes, the “confidence” tally isn’t likely to exceed even 100.
Business digest
Longview News-Journal (TX) - Sunday, July 17, 2011
The University of Texas at Tyler has named Randall Powell the new vice president for business affairs, President Rodney H. Mabry announced.

Powell succeeds
Gregg Lassen, who accepted a vice presidential position at Lamar University in February. Powell, whose appointment begins Sept. 1, was selected in a national search that culminated with four finalists from Texas, Mississippi and New York.…

Budget leads to tough decisions

UP Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 1, 2011 08:09
As the new semester gets underway, students at Lamar University will notice a few changes in the way their campus functions. The economic downturn that has wreaked havoc on housing markets, automobile plants and almost everyone's checkbook is also sending financial tremors through the education system.

Gregg Lassen, vice president for finance and operations at Lamar, explained that a shift in the way higher education is subsidized by the state has universities shouldering more of the financial burden than in previous years. 

"States are in financial trouble," Lassen said. "One of the few discretionary areas that they spend money on is higher education. And then there is the kicker — they know that if they cut us, we have this alternative source of revenue." 

That alternative source, Lassen said, is the tuition that universities charge their students. Thus, while it may seem like the cost of education is going up, this isn't the case. 

"For the last ten years the state has been cutting their percentage and we have been making up for that by charging students more," Lassen said. "The cost of education hasn't gone up, the price has gone up." 
Lassen said that because of the relative enormity of the state budget compared to that of an individual, even a slight decrease of funding by the Texas Legislature has a dramatic effect on what a student will pay in tuition.  

"When the proportion starts out like this, you get a sense of, ‘Where’s all that extra money going?' Well, there isn't any extra money," he said. 

For example, Lassen explained, if the state cuts 10 percent of their contribution to tuition, Lamar must increase their contribution (seen through tuition increases) by 30 percent just to break even. 
"The end result of the shift is that the price for the student goes up," he said. 

Even given the raise in tuition, Lassen maintains that financial aid, scholarships and what the state does pay ensures that college students are still getting a bargain in regards to their educational investment. 

"As bad as it seems today, relative to what it was five or ten years ago, (higher education) is still a highly subsidized good that you're buying," he said. "It's still a sweet deal." 

Deal or no deal, Lassen said that the rising price causes students to view education more and more as a consumer product. 

"The shift has some unintended consequences," he said. "As the shift starts to happen, the students logically — as they pay more and more of the share of tuition — start to have a customer relationship to the academic institution, and that manifests itself in many ways. 

"We try very hard to keep that out of the classroom, but with regard to a lot of other aspects of the university experience, students have a customer service expectation. Certainly when you register and go through financial aid — and that explains a lot of the turmoil going on at universities — those departments were never set up to be customer-service oriented." 

And revamping those departments to meet those students expectations bring their own cost in training and hiring personnel, Lassen said. Such rising prices, when paired with lower state funding, have forced educational institutions to implement money-saving strategies.  

Lassen said that the "perfect storm" scenario of the present has thwarted efforts to make those cuts without affecting personnel. 

"When you get to the kind of cost cutting we are doing now you are really looking at very difficult decisions," Lassen said. "First, we cut things like travel budgets, office supply budgets and the electricity bill. But over the summer, we did have to look at some departments that in our current difficult environment we can't afford to have." 
Both the on-campus print shop and supply center were recently shut-down. 

"An outside print shop has a lot more customers — so their scale allows them do it cheaper per unit than we can do our little operation," he said.  

Another consequence of outsourcing Lamar's printing and supply needs is a more conservative spending approach in those two areas.  

"If you make those services so readily available right on campus, it is kind of easy to go and spend more money than you really need to," Lassen said. "If I'm trying to manage cost down, I've made it too easy — I’ve facilitated spending money. Instead, we need to be asking the tougher question, ‘Do we really need to buy 52,000 envelopes?' We use a lot of paper on this campus, but we all have computers now — why are we printing paper?" 

Lassen made it clear that such decisions are not made lightly, and that in no way is personnel to blame. 
"None of this is a reflection on the people that worked in the print shop, because they were doing a great job running a print shop," Lassen said. "It's just that the print shop was rapidly becoming obsolete. Technology has changed the way business happens, and yet some of our organization hadn't caught up to that reality." 

Lassen said that the university is doing its best to balance budgetary concerns with educational priorities.  
"All these decisions are made so that we can still have the opportunity to have that high-quality educational experience for our students," he said. "So we have to make some very difficult calls to make sure that that happens."

 LU's next 10 years - Should growing university invest more in students or campus?
Beaumont Enterprise, The (TX) - Friday, November 4, 2011
Author: The Enterprise ; Amy Moore (409) 880-0727
Lamar University's to-do list differs depending on who you ask.

While some say the campus should grow first and then build, others, including some students, say the campus should build first and hope it attracts growth.

The university is working on a master plan, which is still in its initial stages, that will address what the university should do to improve in the next decade, said President James Simmons.…
Gregg Lassen, the university's vice president of finance and operations, said his job is to find a way to please the different opinions of those involved in designing the master plan.

"We want to anticipate where the growth is," he said. "We have a beautiful campus with a lot of space and assets and need professional help to determine our needs and how to match that up with what we have."

Lassen said he'd like to imagine that there could be one or two new buildings in the future, but wants to get the cart behind the horse and not build new buildings and then hope for more students to fill them.…
Greenberg's hope is the new center will raise revenue by increasing enrollment, alleviating some of the pressure from the budget cuts as well as making Lamar as a more dominant symbol in the Golden Triangle area.

But Lassen said the master plan isn't a blank sheet of paper for starting from scratch.

"You don't get to start over," he said. "The first step is looking at what we have and making sure we're taking good care of that."

Lamar audit raises queries - IRS is investigating whether university claims tax-exempt status on money it makes from advertisements.
Beaumont Enterprise, The (TX) - Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Author: The Enterprise; Amy Moore (409) 880-0727
Lamar University officials admitted on Monday that the Internal Review Service is auditing the university's financial records, but that's about all they'll say about it.…

Though officials would not comment or were unavailable for comment Monday, a report by Bloomberg Businessweek stated the universities--including Lamar, Notre Dame, Purdue, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M, the University of North Carolina and Harvard--were being investigated to determine whether they claimed tax-exempt status on what might be taxable business.

Specifically for Lamar, the IRS wants to know about the money the university makes from advertisements such as a court-side lighted floor sign at its basketball games for the Cheddar's restaurant chain at its basketball games, and promotions for Dairy Queen on the back of tickets it sells, the Bloomberg Businessweek reported based on open records requests.

University president James Simmons, vice president for finance
Gregg Lassen and public relations director Brian Sattler were unavailable for comment Monday.…

EDITORIAL: Lamar audit shows pitfalls of public-private mixing

By Beaumont Enterprise editorial staff
Published 1:10 am, Thursday, November 24, 2011
An audit is one of those experiences that can bring headaches to even the best-run institutions, so isn't that surprising that Lamar University is facing some uncomfortable moments before the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS selected Lamar as one of 40 universities to be reviewed for endowments, executive pay and other items.

One possible problem uncovered so far is whether Lamar and other schools have been claiming tax-exempt status on what might be taxable business operations.

Bloomberg-Businessweek reported that Lamar is being asked about the money it makes from advertisements like a courtside lighted floor sign at its basketball games for Cheddar's restaurants and promotions for Dairy Queen restaurants on the back of game tickets.

The issue could be just a minor bookkeeping flap, but it illustrates the pitfalls that lurk when public entities get involved in private-sector business.

Lamar is a university; it knows all about professors and students, research and textbooks. Lamar officials aren't nearly as experienced with things outside the traditional realm of higher education - like, perhaps, how to report revenue from a courtside basketball sign.

The public sector functions best when it focuses on its core duties - educating students, maintaining roads, providing fire protection, etc. When it strays into other ventures, like event centers and entertainment complexes, it can run into problems.

With tax dollars in short supply, many public entities are looking at other ways to raise money and avoid spending cuts. That's not necessarily bad, but those options must be preceded by careful research.

Two important goals are minimum competition with private businesses, and no followup phone calls from the IRS.

Local business displays Lamar brand
UP Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2012 13:02
The Market Basket at 655 Lavaca supports Lamar Cardinals with signage on their walls and Red Bird merchandise.

Skylar Thompson, president of Market Basket Foods, displays Lamar spirit logos at Market Basket grocery store located at 655 Lavaca St. Feb. 2.

The Market Basket grocery store on East Lavaca is supporting Lamar University with new Lamar signage. It is remodeling one of its stores to promote community pride and to provide for everyday needs with appealing new features…

Thompson said the store was going to be remodeled anyway, but the idea to include Lamar branding came out of a collaboration with his friend Gerard Parigi, a Lamar alum….

Gregg Lassen. Lamar University vice president of finance, helped Thompson navigate through the process.
"We have the opportunity to improve our relationship with the community," Lassen said. "We want to be better neighbors to our community."

The partnership started with a casual conversation between Lassen and Thompson.

"It fills me with pride that they would use their own money to advertise Lamar and their connection to Lamar," Lassen said.

Promoting Cardinal pride in the community is important, Lassen said.
"I'd like to paint the town red if I could," he said…

Cornell Joins Harvard as IRS Examines Ivy League Schools

Bloomberg Businessweek

By Michael McDonald - May 17, 2012 4:41 PM ET
…Lois Lerner, the IRS’s director of exempt organizations, has said she expects the agency to finish its audits this year and issue a report. Lamar University, which is part of the state university system in Texas, said in January it paid $9,481 in unrelated business income taxes as well as $23,171 in payroll taxes as a result of the probe.

Campus master plan meeting set for Sept. 27
UP Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 10:09
With the continuing development of Lamar University as a destination campus, the campus master planners are asking for input.

An open meeting with Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects will be held Sept. 27, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Setzer Student Center Ballroom. The event will include activities and pizza. 

“The university is planning for the future and needs your input,” Gregg Lassen, vice president for financial operations, said. 

The new master plan is aimed at developing an atmosphere inviting to potential out-of-town students. 
“We know from statistical analyses that about half the learning that takes place while you are in college takes place outside of the classroom,” Lassen said. “Even the informal part of your college life is part of the learning process.” 

To help make this possible, the university commissioned Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects, a firm from Austin who also redid the campus master plan for Texas A&M, to help make the transition from a commuter to destination campus. 

“We want it to be a campus where you are moving around by foot, and seeing other people and being engaged in the life of the campus,” Lassen said. 

This atmosphere would be achieved by creating a distinct entrance on the south side of campus along Highway 69, and additionally developing Rolfe Christopher Drive as a campus restaurant and shopping hotspot, similar to Austin’s Guadalupe Street, also known as “the drag.” 

“My own long-term view of the campus would include a vibrant Rolfe Christopher, with maybe some Greek housing or other organizational housing,” Lassen said. 

This development, along with adding recreational sports fields, updating classroom layouts from static law school-style seating to flexible and more engaging classrooms, and evolving the outdoor scenery into a magnetic social environment, will help create a distinct university feel that is unmistakably Lamar, he said. 

“The open forum is to give students and faculty the opportunity to say what they wish to see,” Lassen said. 

“Your opinion is actually more valuable than mine. It’s more of an opportunity for you to get your fingerprints on helping mold the future for what the campus looks and feels like.”

LU calls for student voice in master plan

UP Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 26, 2012 15:04
Lamar University students have the opportunity to help shape the campus by taking the master plan feasibility study, which can be found in the self-service banner under surveys. The study will close May 3.

Students are encouraged to complete the 10-minute survey, so that administrators can have the highest amount of student input while developing a new campus master plan, Gregg Lassen, vice president for finance and operations, said.

“The master plan study will address student preferences regarding on- and off-campus housing, retail and entertainment,” Lassen said. “We’re not in a financial situation to build a lot of stuff on our own, so we’re going to have to partner with private organizations. To entice the right kind of private organizations to come, we have to demonstrate that there’s actually demand, so we need student surveys to help us point out to a prospective developer, whether it be housing, restaurants or an entertainment venue, that this would be a worthwhile investment.”

Most regional universities are evolving from commuter schools into residential institutions by creating a campus edge that has mixed-use retail shops with urban living spaces built above those shops, and Lamar has a great opportunity to build something similar, Lassen said.

“I’m excited about the possibilities,” he said. “For us to succeed in the future, I think we need to continue to build a more vibrant campus life. The real joy for faculty, staff and students on a campus is that all your needs are fulfilled right there — the idea that you could not use your car every day, that you really are content with your location, and everything you want to do is in walking distance.

“Statistics have shown that more than half the learning that takes place at college actually takes place outside the classroom. We hope to create a sense of place where faculty and students can interact in more informal settings. We have wonderful faculty members at this university, and I see great examples of this taking place all the time. If students are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, they can interact with faculty members on a very personal level here, and what I’m hoping to do is create better places for that to happen.”

Lassen said that if students, faculty and staff indicate an interest in similar activities, the administrators get excited about trying to provide them.

“We really are just in the initial phases (of developing a new campus master plan), but we play with the campus map,” he said. “If you’ve ever studied Italian architecture or read about the big churches, they’re built in the form of a cross. We actually have that cruciform possibility here, even though we form a triangle. The center of campus is actually the library. If you were to follow that idea and build a cross (using the library as) the center of that cross, this could be a wonderful pedestrian park-like thoroughfare.”

Student input will be particularly valuable to determine what development could happen to Rolfe Christopher Boulevard, Lassen said.

“Whoever changed that road and turned it into a slower, wide, two-lane boulevard did something brilliant,” he said. “The kind of student life that you could build there seems wonderful to me. With that street developed the right way with mixed-use retail, this should be where Homecoming parades are and where you close that street on Halloween for a big block party. You could imagine Greek life housing. You could imagine upperclassmen housing. You could imagine a Rao’s – why not some of the favored restaurants in town?

“There’s an opportunity for Lamar to be the center of activity — not just for students, but for people in Beaumont and Jefferson County. We just need to take that one additional push. The survey is a big part of this — we just want to overdo the feedback and get as much input as we can.”

Feedback on future

Campus master plan forum geared toward growth, development

UP Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 11:10
Patricie Stephens, Port Neches junior, marks one of her favorite spots on an LU campus map at the campus master plan forum, Sept. 27.

Lamar University and Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects hosted a campus master planner’s public forum in the Setzer Student Center Ballroom, Sept. 27, to elicit feedback from LU faculty, staff and students regarding the future of the campus.

Approximately 80 faculty members, staff and students attended to listen to the architecture firm’s different options for the campus, as well as to offer their own opinions.

 “I was grateful for the turnout,” Gregg Lassen, vice president for financial operations said. “I was really pleased to see a nice combination of students, staff and faculty.” 

The forum was the largest event planned to date by the university that was open to the entire Lamar community for input. 

“Over time, a more common vision starts to develop,” Lassen said. “This is aspirational and not immediate. This is where we are trying to take the university into the future, so none of this is etched in stone. This is conceptual in nature.”

University pursues hiring freezes, budget cuts
Patriot Talon, UTx-Tyler Student Paper | Updated: 3:18 pm, Wed Feb 6, 2013.
The University is reorganizing staff, reducing expenditures and freezing most new hires to respond to anticipated reductions in state funding.

In addition to a 5 percent cut in the current budget, University officials are gearing up for an additional 10 percent reduction for the current biennium, according to University officials.

"I don't want to panic. I want to prepare," Gregg Lassen J.D, Executive Vice President for Business Affairs, said…
List for new LU leader shrinks to 4 – * Presidency finalists are from LU, Kansas State, UH-Clear Lake and U of Oklahoma.
Beaumont Enterprise, The (TX) - Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Author: Jose D. Enriquez III, Beaumont Enterprise
Gregg Lassen, 52

Lamar University, Vice President for Finance and Operations

Lassen joined Lamar University in January 2011 after serving as executive vice president of business student affairs functions at the University of Texas at Tyler.

He teaches a course in Energy Policy in the Master of Public Administration Program.

Lassen has a doctorate in international affairs from the University of Southern Mississippi and a law degree from the University of Houston. He has a bachelor's degree and masters in business administration from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Source: Curriculum Vitae…

Three vying for Lamar president post to meet with the public - * Official expected to make finalist nod for position by the end of March.
Beaumont Enterprise, The (TX) - Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Author: Jose D. Enriquez III, Beaumont Enterprise
Lassen, 52, said Simmons has put Lamar in a good place and his shoes will be hard to fill.

"It's probably not reasonable to expect that there will be a light-switch kind of change," he said. "Whether it's me or the other two gentlemen, [Simmons'] legacy is deep and long-lasting, so there's going to be a lengthy transition time because nobody can follow in his footsteps immediately."

What is your long-term plan for Lamar?

Lassen said the university needs to continue to find a more solid financial foundation, adding that Lamar is still recovering from financial effects of hurricanes Rita (2005) and Ike (2008) and changes in public education funding.

Lassen said, if selected, he wants to sit down and revisit the strategic approach as a university.

"A change in leadership is an appropriate time to revisit the strategy," he said. "So, we'll go through strengths and weaknesses and opportunities and threats" to help refocus recruitment, retention and reduce the cost profile.…

President candidates visit Lamar

By Jose D. Enriquez III Published 8:44 am, Friday, March 8, 2013
More than 50 local movers and shakers attended a Thursday meet-and-greet with Lamar University's three presidential hopefuls - Carl Stockton, University of Houston-Clear Lake provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Kenneth Evans, University of Oklahoma College of Business dean; and Gregg Lassen, Lamar University vice president for finance and operations.

The reception was held on the eighth floor of the Mary and John Gray Library.
Lamar University president Jimmy Simmons will retire later this year.

Vernon Durden, a Lamar graduate and consultant, said he's looking for a president who won't use Lamar University as a "stepping stone" and will treat the university like his baby.

"We want the president to be a prototype of Dr. Simmons," he said. "But also someone who brings his own spirit to the mix." …

BISD ballot needs clarity
Beaumont Enterprise, The (TX) - Monday, March 11, 2013
Author: Beaumont Enterprise

LU needs best president

Three finalists have emerged for the presidency of Lamar University, and one of them works on the campus right now. That's great, but it shouldn't automatically mean that he gets the job.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents should choose the best candidate for the job, whether it's
Gregg Lassen, Lamar's vice president for finance and operations; Kenneth Evans, University of Oklahoma College of Business dean; or Carl Stockton, University of Houston-Clear Lake provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Sometimes an organization can benefit from an insider like Lassen who knows the university well and can provide continuity.

But sometimes an organization needs an outsider like Evans or Stockton to provide fresh insights and look at new ways of doing things.

Outgoing President Jimmy Simmons did a terrific job and Lamar needs another strong leader like that to keep moving forward. May the best man win.

LU chooses leader from Oklahoma - * 63-year-old dean of OU's business college is named as the man to succeed Simmons.
Beaumont Enterprise, The (TX) - Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Author: Jose D. Enriquez III, Beaumont Enterprise

Evans, 63, was chosen from a field of three semifinalists - a fourth dropped out earlier - to replace Jimmy Simmons, 70, who is retiring after a well-regarded 14-year tenure.

Because Evans was named the only finalist, he will have to wait 21 days to be approved by the Texas State University System Board of Regents. That decision will be unanimous, said Brian McCall, TSUS chancellor.

Regent David Montagne, of Beaumont, said the regents' decision was made difficult by the quality of the three candidates. The others were Carl Stockton, University of Houston-Clear Lake provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and
Gregg Lassen, Lamar University vice president for finance and operations.

"We liked them all," he said. "But it's the decision we made, and I'm happy with it. He's got ideas on student recruitment and retention and with innovative programs he's seen at big universities. He's fresh blood with new ideas."…


Anonymous said...

How much did we pay the search firm to find this guy for us?

Anonymous said...

Not sure what were the "set of skills" that impressed the search firm....

Anonymous said...

I am not even going to waste my time going to his forums during the visit. What a waste of time and money.

Chauncey M. DePree, Jr. said...

1. What does "lower journalistic standard" mean?

2. If you are reprinting from sources you have labeled as "lower journalistic standard" does that mean that you adhere to "lower journalistic standards" yourself?

Our editorial standard is our practice. And we prove it every day:

"Welcome to USMNEWS.NET. USMNEWS.NET (previously known as is opening our business college and university. It is available to all faculty, administrators, students, and citizens of our community. We pride ourselves on the documents and evidence that support our news. We also encourage different points of view in opinion reports. Your news and opinions are valued. Of paramount importance, we welcome corrections to our news reports. Our goal is to establish a foundation for a proud, confident academy that publicly implements a policy of openness and honesty."

Chauncey M. DePree, Jr., DBA, Professor (retired after 30 years service), University of Southern Mississippi

Chauncey. M. DePree, Jr. said...

Mr. Day,

I forgot to post my email address so that you can provide your response to my questions. You can do that privately, if you prefer. Maybe it might be most instructive for your readers if you make your response public so that we can all be informed by your experience and knowledge.

Chauncey M. DePree, Jr., DBA

Richard Day said...

It’s pretty simple really. The quote was,

“It is important to note that the source of these complaints appear to come from blogs…which operate on a lower journalistic standard than mainstream print media.”
I parenthetically listed and History News Network as sources.

Blogs, mine included, do operate on a lower set of journalistic standards than newspapers. For example, we frequently comment on people without giving them the chance to comment in advance. But like your efforts, my readers must come to trust that I will never knowingly mislead them – otherwise, why read my stuff, or yours?

When I present information from unknown sources, as I did with USMNEWS.NET, my lack of familiarity affected my confidence, so I posted a disclaimer:

“KSN&C readers are admonished to review the material cautiously.”

It was not my intention to disparage, or hurt your feelings, (after all, I did rely on your reporting and credit it with helping EKU make a good decision by not hiring Lassen) but no one will confuse either of our sites for the NY Times.

Chauncey M. DePree, Jr. said...

Thanks, Mr. Day. I appreciate your views and agree with most of them.

We at usmnews do provide readers avenues to communicate with us and have reported comments from readers and the subjects of our reports. We publish their comments without our editing. There is no limit on anyone's opportunity to respond to our stories. Our sources include information from FOIA requests, court documents, depositions, and representations directly from sources like our MS Institutions of Higher Learning, USM, and other universities. We also do in-depth studies. For example, see, "Ethics, Power, and Academic Corruption." We provide more primary source documents for our studies than you'll find at NY Times reports.

I would offer that many, especially local, news organization, do not live up to NY Times standards. I'd also offer that the NY Times is to be read with skepticism and that reviewing multiple sources on a given topic is worthwhile.

Thanks, again,

Chauncey M. DePree, Jr., DBA