Students to protest Board in Salem, Sec Wilhelms invites economist to speak

Hannah Kannik has the protest story in the ODE here:

“We are out here plugging folks to show up to a community meeting at the end of this month,”  Pishioneri said. “We’re also getting signatures not only to be added to our email list but also to be taken up to Salem on Thursday.”

Thursday is student lobbying day, where students from all seven public universities in Oregon flock to Salem to show the importance of funding higher education, according to the UO Alumni Association website. Pishioneri said the group plans to voice its concerns to state legislators.

“[Students] fund this university and they deserve a say in how it’s run,” Pishioneri said.

Nick Keough, an ASUO senator and member of the campaign group, said they are working to get the community involved in their campaign.

“We deserve a board of trustees that reflects who we are and represent us in that capacity,” Keough said. “Right now they don’t; they represent corporate interests and continued privatization. That’s why we’re working to democratize the board.”

As a neo-liberal economist I’ve got nothing against corporate interests or privatization, so long as they serve the public good – something which UO’s insular board has consistently failed to demonstrate.

In other Board news, they’ve invited an economist to their next meeting, to explain the “demographic cliff” to them. In a nutshell, the US birthrate fell during the great recession and has not recovered, so the number of college age students will start falling in about 5 years – just when Brad Shelton’s budget model had been predicting big enrollment increases. Whoops.

The Senate’s Exec Committee asked Faculty Trustee Laura Lee McIntyre about this last year. She’d never heard of it, then got mad when we asked civil and respectfully tough questions about what she did know about how UO was planning to deal with it in future budgets. It appears she, or BoT Secretary Angela Wilhelms got the message though – as often happens during uncomfortable conversations – so they’re bringing out an economist to explain it to the BoT next month:


Dr. Nathan Grawe, a professor of economics at Carleton College and author of Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education, will visit the University of Oregon on March 17 for a presentation and Q&A session about his demographic analyses and the potential implications to higher education.

March 17, 10:30 a.m. EMU 214 – Redwood Auditorium

For decades, demographic forces have been reshaping the composition of the population of traditional-aged college students.  Now, a recent decline in fertility points to additional disruption as prospective student pools shrink in the mid-2020s.  After examining these forces and their potential to disrupt markets for higher education, Professor Grawe will share examples of how various colleges and universities are proactively engaging these demographic challenges.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to [email protected]. Please also pass this information on to others in your unit or department who might be interested.

Dr. Grawe is coming to the UO at the invitation of the Board of Trustees, which will meet with him in the afternoon of March 17 at approximately 2:00 p.m. If you cannot attend the morning session but are interested in Dr. Grawe’s presentation, the Board of Trustees’ meeting is open to the public (Ford Alumni Center, Giustina Ballroom) and will be webcast (

Thank you, Angela Wilhelms, University Secretary & Advisor to the President

Great timing for the Administration to use it against the Faculty Union in bargaining.

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