Update: UO Governance Board power grab

As introduced in Senate:


Proposed revisions to exclude faculty:

What ever happened to this?

At the Statutory Faculty meeting on November 30, 2011, we passed SFA 11/12-02: Motion for the Establishment of a UO Board of Trustees, which reads: 

PROCESS FOR FORMING A UNIVERSITY OF OREGON BOARD 

The UO faculty Assembly directs the Senate Executive Committee, or an ad hoc Senate Committee to be appointed by the Senate President, to initiate negotiations with State Legislative leaders and the Oregon State Board of Higher Education (or its successor), leading to the appointment of a University of Oregon Board of Trustees.

The scope of issues to be engaged in the discussion of the powers of this board shall include, but shall not be limited to:
1. The composition and appointment process of the Board
2. Operational oversight of the University
3. Setting of tuition and fees
4. Budgetary control
5. Contract negotiations and contract authority
6. Bonding authority
7. Acquisition of property
8. Status of legal counsel
9. Construction of buildings
10. Authority over the hiring and firing of the president of the UO.
11. Hiring and personnel policies for faculty and staff 

I think that it is time for us to become more directly involved in this process, as parts of it seem to be going astray. As commenters have noted above, most of the proposed legislation deals with financial and legal issues of bonding, property ownership, liability, etc. The consideration of issues which may affect academic mission and quality is minimal, and would benefit greatly from substantive faculty input, both now and in the future. As a first step, I suggest that all faculty should contact their Senators with their concerns, and we should make it clear that the Senate Executive Committee has the full backing of the Statutory Faculty to carry out this motion that we passed last year.

Thanks to Peter Keyes for the reminder. It looks like the Senate has dropped the ball on this.

3/16/2013 update: I’m not sure why the Prazniak motion on shared governance did not come up in the UO Senate Wednesday.

Meanwhile there were hearings in the Oregon House on Friday on the legislation for independent university boards, SB270 and HB2149. Many people testifying in opposition to the current legislation which prevents faculty from serving on the board. The PSU letter suggests their faculty may retract their endorsement over this. The UO faculty need to consider doing the same.

3/11/2013 update: In the UO Senate this Wed, 3-5 PM, Roxann Prazniak (History, Clark Honors College) will be presenting a motion on the role of the union in enforcing the principle of shared governance. Important, given the likelihood we will soon be facing a powerful UO governing board with plenty of athletic boosters, and no faculty.

3/9/2013: There are two parallel bills in the Legislature. SB 270 and HB 2149 take you the legislature’s website. SB 270 seems farthest along, the Senate Committee on Education and Workforce Development is handling it. The links include testimony, etc. Very thorough:

The original proposal called for 2 faculty on the board. The AFT’s testimony says: 
But the latest proposed revisions in committee (p6) explicitly prevent the governor from appointing faculty or staff to the board:
And this also seems to further limit faculty power, to syllabi and books – with even that subject to board supervision:
Thanks to an anonymous commenter for the heads up. I encourage people to keep an eye on this. It looks to me like the faculty and the UO Senate are about to get rolled.

I’ll say it again: If you want to have any influence over UO’s future you need to join the faculty union and volunteer for their committee work. It’s all we’ve got left. 

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20 Responses to Update: UO Governance Board power grab

  1. Anonymous says:

    20% of the board should be students of the school, 30% should be faculty, one from another Oregon Public college, but I suppose the other 50% is not enough slots for the boosters, foundation, and cronyism.

    Perhaps with this makeup, the “local” board will not be selling off buildings, renting back the space for athletes above cost, using the cash out mortgage to build golf courses that will be owned by a subsidiary, think ENRON:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Star_(business))

    which this language seems to allow as well.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Section 18 is directly adapted from the current ORS 352.010. It’s antiquated language, but historically has meant that the faculty control the curriculum. The fact that the bill does not update the language merely indicates that governing boards are generally only too happy to defer to faculty on matters within their area of academic expertise.

    http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/352.010

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    • UO Matters says:

      Thanks – it sounds like you know what you are talking about. Want to write a complete report on this legislation? I’ll split a bottle of Laphroaig.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed but I would read it another way: The architects really only care about the money. The naked grab at piles of state common wealth acquired over the last century and a half, the bonding authority and the ability to buy, sell, mortgage, contract, yada yada state assets, capitol and real estate is the vast majority of the new law.

      The rest is an obvious find and replace like find OHSU and add UO board because we want what they have, find OUS and replace with UO board because we want what they have, etc.

      There are a few clauses that to understand that sound like once the board, without any faculty, no requirement of higher education representation at all except one undergrad if you can call that representation, will be able to create pretty much what ever they want including limiting faculty to the archaic language of just textbooks as their statutory governance.

      It is not so much how it was interpreted or used in the past but how the boosters and “local” (as in Oswego and Southern California) entrepreneur board will use it in the future.

      This of the Different ways the transparency in government has been interpreted in just the last four years or from DF and grier, through the Hat, to geller unchained

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  3. Anonymous says:

    What about a clause like
    a vote of no confidence can be followed by a termination vote of a super majority of the full faculty. This vote apples to any faculty, board member, foundation board member, administrator, or contractor of of the university or any subsidiary. This termination vote will be immediate and result in the immediate termination of any contract with the university without any future liability, prohibit for 5 years any contract or compensation from the university or subsidiary. For persons or entities subject to this clause no contract shall be valid without this provision. The faculty senate, faculty president, student government, university president, local board, hec board, governor, or super majority of the Oregon Legislature may request an initial vote of no confidence.

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  4. Peter Keyes says:

    At the Statutory Faculty meeting on November 30, 2011, we passed SFA 11/12-02: Motion for the Establishment of a UO Board of Trustees, which reads:

    PROCESS FOR FORMING A UNIVERSITY OF OREGON BOARD

    The UO faculty Assembly directs the Senate Executive Committee, or an ad hoc Senate Committee to be appointed by the Senate President, to initiate negotiations with State Legislative leaders and the Oregon State Board of Higher Education (or its successor), leading to the appointment of a University of Oregon Board of Trustees.

    The scope of issues to be engaged in the discussion of the powers of this board shall include, but shall not be limited to:

    1. The composition and appointment process of the Board
    2. Operational oversight of the University
    3. Setting of tuition and fees
    4. Budgetary control
    5. Contract negotiations and contract authority
    6. Bonding authority
    7. Acquisition of property
    8. Status of legal counsel
    9. Construction of buildings
    10. Authority over the hiring and firing of the president of the UO.
    11. Hiring and personnel policies for faculty and staff

    I think that it is time for us to become more directly involved in this process, as parts of it seem to be going astray. As commenters have noted above, most of the proposed legislation deals with financial and legal issues of bonding, property ownership, liability, etc. The consideration of issues which may affect academic mission and quality is minimal, and would benefit greatly from substantive faculty input, both now and in the future. As a first step, I suggest that all faculty should contact their Senators with their concerns, and we should make it clear that the Senate Executive Committee has the full backing of the Statutory Faculty to carry out this motion that we passed last year.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Realistically, I think that the shape of this legislation is beyond the control or influence of the faculty and all but the highest administrators. So while I would love to see the university community engage with the independent board issue again, there are probably more pressing and productive things the Senate could do with its time — at least until the dust settles in June and we have a sense of what, if anything, the legislature is going to do for (or to) the UO.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Realistically, I think that if NEXT WEEK, a few thousand PSU, OSU, and UO faculty showed up at Salem we may have an effect.

      BUT IT MUST BE NEXT WEEK, and luckily next week is dead week.

      Social media flash mob anyone? Facebook, Twitter, email, Oregonian, Weekly, Guard, Herald, Journal? But who will take point? The Union, the faculty presidents? Or do we just continue to bitch and whine into the void.

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    • Anonymous says:

      A local board really could be a good thing but only if the students, professors, and academics are the ones making decisions about the future of academics. The boosters and foundation complain about the State not putting enough money in but the Foundations have nearly as much (or more) in overhead than they give to the academic side of the house and less than the state gives.

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  5. Kent Brockman says:

    I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Du0d8QxlSYk

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Did I read that right? A section that gives the private board the right to unilaterally, without oversight, condemn private property to be owned by the private board, and unlike the old language is not limited to Eugene?

    I could get behind that. There is a hospital conveniently located where a new university hospital and administrative buildings are needed, a couple of apartment blocks out east that even admin need to house student athletes, a few acres on the other side of the highway in Beaverton that are needed to build a new Sports complex near the population base and boosters to increase profits, and some ocean front property around Salishan that is needed for a self sustaining Casino and Academic Convention Center.

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  7. Awesome0 says:

    How does UVA set up their board? Other local boards we can use models of is bad/good?

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know how so many of the faculty ever got talked into supporting this project. The early support seemed to be based primarily on blind faith in the good intentions of Lariviere.

    On the face of it, the independent board project appears to be primarily an attempt by well-connected, undisclosed donors and other parties to take private control over assets developed by the Oregon public over the last century. The nature of the institution and its influence depends entirely on the makeup of the board, and, so far, there’s been little transparency around that makeup, and little or no attempt to insure that the board isn’t packed with folks with conflicts of interest (like so many of the business members of our Presidential selection committees).

    By the time the union is fully formed, with an approved constitution, the game may already be irreparably fixed.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Amend Sec. 18 to add “and Faculty Senate” after “governing board.”

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Faculty representation on the boards of public universities is not all that common. See http://agb.org/node/582

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Union involvement is shared governance is a bad idea. Shared governance concerns those things the pro-union collective bargaining law do not make mandatory bargaining subjects, but rather recognize as legitimate management prerogatives necessary to manage the public entity on behalf of the citizens. Failure to protect those prerogatives from third-party control, whether a union representing faculty or a lobbyist retained by them – is an improper delegation of authority.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    My guess is that the faculty rep on the UO board went away because the union was formed. Faculty don’t get two bites at the apple.

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  13. mariajames says:

    i found this in a
    google search. i really like your blog. hard to find something both
    informative and easy to read.
    thenotehouse.us

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