New Partnership endorsement on Wednesday

4/11/2011: The UO Senate votes Wednesday on endorsing Lariviere’s New Partnership plan. Ian McNeely wrote this last week in the ODE:

I have studied the New Partnership in detail, plus the two bills proposed in Salem to enact it. I have asked President Lariviere tough questions about donor influence, public accountability and the rights of faculty and students to participate in University governance. In every instance, I have been reassured. I can say with absolute confidence that this is not a privatization scheme, and I don’t know why anyone would portray it as such. And though nothing is certain, I firmly believe it will make the University more affordable, more accessible and more responsive to public needs.

I agree with this characterization and on balance I support the New Partnership. We would be a much better university now if the plan had been in existence 5 years ago, and we will be a much worse university 5 years from now if it is not passed.

However, it is a trust-me proposal. And those efforts the administration has made to attempt to build trust with the faculty (and the students) have been badly bungled – to the point where you have to doubt their sincerity. In addition, the bill will surely change between now and the next session. So I think the motion should be tabled until it comes up in the legislature again, and until Lariviere has had a chance to show he will work with the faculty to repair the transparency and governance issues. We should be going into this with a consensus of support and I don’t think we are there yet.

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