Senator Floyd Prozanski (Eugene):
As much as I support individual governing boards, I cannot support SB 270-B in its current form.
To allow a governor to decide whether or not certain members of a governing board should have the right to be a voting member is subjective, arbitrary and is wrong. All members should be voting members. Further, it is not good public policy to permit a governor to allow certain members of a governing board to be voting members but to not allow those same members of a different governing board to not be voting members. Why should the faculty member at PSU or OSU be allowed to serve as a voting member, but not the faculty member at UofO? This is an inconsistency that I cannot support.
Since the governing boards will have 11 to 15 members, it is hard for me to understand why two positions (faculty and classified staff) should not be full voting members. There is no way two members of an 11-to-15 member board can ever exert pressure over the other board members.
It only seems equitable, especially at an institution of higher learning, to allow all board
members to have the same right to vote on matters brought before the governing board.
Thank you for contacting me regarding Senate Bill 270 and the creation of independent institutional boards.
I am supportive of institutional boards for Oregon Universities in hopes we can reduce the rise in tuition costs and continue to improve the access and quality of higher education. With that being said, it is essential that any educational institution keep the needs of the student and faculty central to their goals. Making a place for students, faculty, and staff at the board’s table will go a long way toward ensuring that all groups are being properly represented during decision making processes, and that the institution can act in the best interest of all parties involved. It is also critical that in the process of granting autonomy to some of Oregon’s Universities, we are able to adequately service the needs of all higher education institutions across our state.
I have made it clear to all during this process that I would not support independent institutional boards unless faculty, staff, and students have a voice on the board. SB 270 did not provide an assurance that university faculty and staff would have a voting position on these boards, but left that decision up to the whim of the Governor and future Governors. That policy does not go far enough to ensure an inclusive and representative board and therefore I voted in opposition to SB 270.
Representative Mitch Greenlick (Portland):
Happy to answer. First of all, as I announced on the floor, I had committed to Wim Weiwel that I would vote yes if mine was the deciding vote. It was not needed, so here is what I said on the floor (if I remember correctly).
1. Process: The bill had no opportunity to be worked in the House. Our committee had no part of the work on the bill. It was worked in the senate and then sent to Ways and Means where they made significant policy changes after negotiations behind closed doors.
2. I thought the bill was premature because it did not adequately deal with how changes would affect the regionals, despite last minute changes including a bit of lip service to the regionals.
3. A personal complaint. I have been working on a plan to move PSU and OHSU under the same governance structure for more than ten years. That approach came from observing both institutions as a faculty member and a department chair. While I believe this model kills that approach I was told there was a part of the bill that pointed to that as a possible future option. That section disappeared in the Ways and Means Committee.