Oregon Universities Split On Independent Boards

Ann McClure's picture

A proposal to free some of Oregon's public universities from the grips of the statewide higher education board has garnered mixed reviews from the seven university presidents.

Some love it, some hate it, others are somewhere in the middle. Regardless, the issue is certain to be a hot topic for the Legislature next year, and a group of wealthy donors has put up more than $400,000 to be sure of it.

University of Oregon and Portland State University officials argue that they can't reach their full potential while so many key decisions are made by the Legislature or the State Board of Higher Education.

They've asked the Legislature to create new governing boards, specific to each institution, that would take on the oversight of many of their most important affairs — hiring and firing a president, making decisions about salaries and other spending, and setting tuition.

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