President Gottfredson sent the following email to faculty, staff, and students about important action taken at the March meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon:
Dear Campus Community,
I am pleased to provide this update on recent activities of our new governing board. Over the last month, I have met with many alumni, donors, and friends to enthusiastically share the extraordinary nature of our new board and the opportunity it presents. We are truly working through a historic time of transition that will ultimately enable us to continue our trajectory as a premier public residential research university.
Last week, members of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon gathered on campus for their second board meeting. The trustees continued to focus on preparing to take over governance on July 1, as well as tuition and fees. The board meeting included:
- Recommending no tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students
- Approval of a temporary delegation of authority policy for operational efficiency
- A request for campus input on a permanent delegation of authority policy
- Reports on the budget process and the board relationship with the new Higher Education Coordination Committee (HECC).
Tuition and Fees
The trustees unanimously approved a recommendation of no tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students, supported by the legislatively approved tuition buy down. The board did recommend other tuition and fee increases. Prior to the trustees’ action, the tuition proposal was reviewed publicly in the Finance and Facilities Committee and by the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board. The trustees are required by law to submit tuition and fee proposals to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) by April 4. The timing of the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board recommendation and deadlines of the SBHE, HECC and legislative budgeting requirements, unfortunately, necessitated that the trustees meet during spring break to review the proposals, a schedule which the board hopes to avoid in the future.
Retention and Delegation of Authority
The trustees also addressed a retention and delegation policy. This policy would allow the trustees to authorize others to act on their behalf. It is standard for public boards to delegate authority to foster operational efficiency. The policy is intended to maintain the principal delegation practices of the SBHE.
At the board meeting some faculty and staff members raised important concerns that there was insufficient time for comment, and asked for the matter to be deferred. The board agreed and deferred action, approved a temporary delegation of authority policy, and asked for additional input from university constituents. I encourage all interested campus constituents to review the proposed delegation of authority policy. Senate President Margie Paris is convening an ad hoc committee to solicit input on the proposed policy. Comments can be emailed to Senate President Paris and additional opportunities to offer feedback will be announced by the University Senate. All feedback with be sent to the board by April 30. The Executive Committee is eager to consider the feedback as they make any revisions to the proposed policy for consideration by the full board.
The board has a tremendous amount of work to complete in three meetings before assuming governance of the University of Oregon on July 1. I am pleased with the progress, even as we have faced challenges along the way. We are all grateful for the extraordinary time and attention the new board is dedicating to the university. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this historic time of transition.
Again, the trustees and I are grateful for the contributions of faculty, staff, and students during this exciting new era of University of Oregon governance.
Michael Gottfredson, President