Oregonian on Larivirere plan

Update: Today the RG prints an Op-Ed from Director George Leef of the Pope Center for Higher Ed Policy opposing Lariviere’s plan:

Another part of his plan is that university spending of this revenue stream will be overseen by a publicly appointed board that would guard against waste. The trouble is that such boards almost never have the will to do battle against wasteful university spending. They are toothless tigers.

In contrast, Lariviere and his administration would have a strong reason to cut out needless spending, (he means under the current situation) since they’re worried that politicians might reduce appropriations if they found that some money allocated to the university was being put to poor use.

If I were an Oregon taxpayer, I would rather have full political competition for tax dollars than a guarantee of funding for one use of those dollars — the UO — combined with a promise that an appointed board will prevent waste.

The Pope Center is a libertarian think tank with a usually skeptical angle on government and higher ed. It’s very surprising to see them come out against Lariviere’s proposal, which is all about reducing the role of state government in financing and decisionmaking.

12/26/2010: The full Oregonian editorial is here:

… On that score, about all we’ve heard so far is University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere’s proposal to establish a local board and a large public-private endowment to finance the university into the future. For now, it’s hard to find anyone not dressed in green and yellow who supports his plan. The higher ed board opposes it. None of the other university presidents back it. Gov-elect Kitzhaber is noncommittal.

We’re not prepared to endorse it, either. The UO’s proposal would require amending the state constitution to allow the state to extend its bond authority and rating to a public university endowment fund. More careful analysis is needed to understand how the UO plan, which could eat up as much as $800 million of the state’s bonding authority, would affect other universities.

But at least the UO is offering a serious plan to meet the moment that faces the higher education system. The plan by the legislative task force doesn’t do that. Neither does the State Board of Higher Education, which promises to take up the question of local boards over the next two years. Both are moving too slowly. If the UO is willing to agree to be accountable to a state-level board on educational goals and standards, why not let it form a board with only one task — helping the university succeed? It might very well show the way for other Oregon universities. …

Thanks to the Alex and the Commentator for the link. This is the Oregonian’s third recent editorial on this subject, one from May is here:

It is frustrating to hear Senate Majority Leader Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, respond to Lariviere’s proposal by saying lawmakers will be reluctant to give up their control over access, affordability and quality in the state’s university system. With all due respect to Devlin, who is among the Legislature’s strongest supporters of higher ed, how’s that been working out for the universities?…

 And another, more favorable of Pernsteiner’s plan, is here.

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