3/22/2013 updates at bottom.
UO Board Oregon Senate hearings, at 1PM 3/21/2013. Background here, live feed here.
The original architect of the independent board idea was Michael Redding, who is leaving UO any week now for UIC. So the ball is now in Mike Gottfredson’s court, as those sports boosters like to say. There are plenty of problems with this bill. The one that’s currently getting attention is the “No Faculty Allowed” amendment:
Wouldn’t want the UO faculty involved in helping Oregonians achieve higher education excellence. At today’s legislative meeting the Oregon Inter-institutional Faculty Senate came out in opposition to this:
The PSU Senate is also backing off:
As is the AAUP and the AFT. The UO Faculty Assembly will presumably soon re-examine its support too.
How did we get here? Rep. Michael Dembrow submitted this summary of the proposals from the interested universities. All ask for mandatory faculty representation. Now the proposed revisions forbid faculty representation.
President Gottfredson’s public records office is trying to use public records fees to hide the details of what’s happening with these negotiations from the public and the press. Dave Hubin sat on this request from the Register Guard for more than two weeks before even giving out an estimate:
The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “all records generated or received by University of Oregon employee Betsy Boyd and UO President Gottfredson regarding proposed or draft legislation that would create a University of Oregon governing board or otherwise change the relationship between the UO and state government.The time period for the request is Nov. 1, 2012 to the present”, on 03/20/2013, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.
The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $ 1065.29. The University has agreed to reduce this fee by 40%. Accordingly, upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon in the amount of $639.18, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.
There’s already plenty of skepticism about the independent UO board proposal. Hiding President Gottfredson’s role in the process doesn’t strike me as a good strategy to take.
Well at least the student lobby was represented.
The UO faculty were more interested in forming a union than in seriously engaging the prospect of an independent board. Many of the local problems prompting the union’s formation have their origins in state capitals like Salem, and it’s a shame so few UO faculty and union leaders — with some notable exceptions — look beyond campus walls.
I can conceive of possible rationales for this proposal, chief amongst them the desire to avoid conflicts of interest. People who derive direct financial benefits from public policies arguably shouldn’t be setting those policies. But it makes no sense to single out faculty and employees.
More obvious objects of concern are those who contract with the University. Lots of local players make lots of money when the University chooses to spend more money on frivolous capital development than on the core academic mission. Why aren’t those folks excluded from the board?
How about also excluding those who make direct campaign donations or independent expenditures related to state legislative campaigns?
People in some quarters take great umbrage if you suggest that the independent boards look like a cover for privatization of the university. But nobody’s doing much to ease those suspicions.
Other curious language in the proposed amendments (which may also have been in earlier drafts — I don’t know)– from Section 2:
“(2) A university with a governing board is a governmental entity performing governmental functions and exercising governmental powers. The university is not considered a unit of local or municipal government or a state agency, board, commission or institution for purposes of state statutes or constitutional provisions.
(3) A claim against a university with a governing board is not a claim against the State of Oregon. A debt or obligation of the univer-sity is not a debt or obligation of the State of Oregon. Claims against the university and obligations of the university are not recoverable from the assets or funds of the State of Oregon.”
It’s governmental, and it’s administering state property, but it’s not a state agency? And the state bears no liability for anything it does? Really? Can someone explain this?
And this governing entity that is not a state agency can (page 10):
(L) Acquire, by condemnation or otherwise, private property that
is necessary or convenient.
And this right after:
(m) Establish policies for the organization, administration and
development of the university which, to the extent set forth in those policies, shall have the force of law and may be enforced through university procedures and in any court of competent jurisdiction.
And this just before… I would have to say this bill will be truly awesome for the landed, and well connected.
“(k) Erect, construct, improve, remodel, develop, repair, maintain, equip, furnish, lease, lend, convey, sell, manage, operate, use and dispose of any building, structure, land or project.
Do any other Private Schools have these powers?
The students are there; she is a great rep. The faculty reps are not there. Once again we let the students speak out.
How about including “Faculty Senate” in the statutory governance provision, in addition to the governing board?
Who shall make the laws? Are the faculty an independent political society or are the faculty in a state of subjection? If the latter, to whom? This legislation will be the university’s constitution. Now would be the time to step up. You won’t be invited and you don’t ask permission. John Austin