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Board of Higher Education approves Internal Firearms Policy, Achievement Compacts

Contact: Di Saunders, Cell: 971-219-6869; Office: 503-725-5714 

PORTLAND, March 2, 2012 – The State Board of Higher Education (the “Board”) met today at Portland State University to consider a new internal firearms policy, achievement compacts, and collaborative work planned among the OUS Colleges of Education, among other agenda items covered by the Board. 

Achievement Compacts    

Sona Karentz Andrews, OUS vice chancellor for academic strategies, and Jim Francesconi, chair of the Board’s Academic Strategies Committee, reviewed with the Board the proposed Systemwide and institution-specific Achievement Compacts framework to be presented to the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB). They noted that these will serve as a common set of measures between each institution and the Board; and that each university will also have specific institutional measures based on their unique missions, capacity, programs and other features. OUS has recently been asked by the OEIB to establish Achievement Compacts with each OUS institution, besides the systemwide compact, and submit these by March 13. To meet this, the Board reviewed the OUS Compacts and will recommend that these be adopted by the OEIB as Institutional Achievement Compacts. After a review and discussion of campus-specific compacts, the Board approved the recommendation to forward these systemwide and institution-specific measures to the OEIB. 

Firearms Policy    

Ryan Hagemann, OUS legal counsel, reviewed with the Board the proposed Internal Policy on Firearms and revision of the language in Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 580-022-0045(3). He reviewed the history of the OAR, noting that the rule prohibiting possession or use of weapons, including firearms, had been established in 1978, and was recently invalided in September 2011 by the Oregon Court of Appeals (Court) after a petition. While the Court observed that the Board possesses broad authority to control its property, it held that the OAR attempted to “regulate” firearms in a way that the Legislature intended to preempt. In reviewing related cases, Hagemann described Doe v. Medford School District 549C in which the Court held that an internal employment policy prohibiting the possession of a firearm on school grounds was not preempted by the Oregon Legislature, even if the employee possessed a concealed weapons permit. In other words, the internal policy in Medford was valid. Based on that result, the OUS has worked collectively to develop its own internal policy on firearms based on the Board’s authority to control its property. Hagemann noted that there are two proposed Board actions: to revise the language of the former Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 580-022-0045(3) to comply with the Court of Appeals decision and to consider the new internal Policy on Firearms which is possible because, by law, the OUS has broad authority to control its property and to govern, set policy, and manage the affairs of the public universities in Oregon. 

Also providing comment on the proposed policy was Jim Westwood, an attorney from Stoel Rives who represented OUS at the Court of Appeals; Phillip Zerzan, director of campus public safety for Portland State University; and Ben Eckstein, president of the Associated Students of University of Oregon, all of whom support the policy on the basis of student safety and for decreasing the risk of harm or violence against the campus community. Hagemann noted the importance of ensuring a safe, secure learning environment for students, such as what the OUS had with the OAR that was invalidated by the Court last year. This new policy recognizes the need to maintain this conducive environment for students and the campus community, while recognizing legal and other requirements at the same time. After some discussion, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Internal Policy on Firearms, and the revision of the language in OAR 580-022-0045(3). 

Schools of Education    

Andrews introduced the presentation by the deans of the Colleges of Education at the OUS institutions, noting the critical connection of their work to the quality of PK-12 education in Oregon. She pointed to the draft case statement outlining the deans’ vision for educator preparation in the OUS. It presents a vision that investing in the Colleges of Education is a strategic investment toward achieving the 40-40-20 education attainment goal, and will improve services to Oregon’s increasingly diverse PK-12 population by producing, supporting and retaining a cadre of diverse educators of the highest quality for every student. Randy Hitz, PSU’s dean of the College of Education, summarized the current challenges faced and the need to address these across the system. He said that the campuses struggle with the ability to enroll a diverse pool of candidates into the teacher education programs, with following up on graduates and tracking them over time, and most importantly, with the need to strengthen clinical experiences by our students in the schools. He noted the need to develop relationships with the PK-12 schools that are mutually beneficial so they are working collaboratively with groups of teachers, university faculty, and OUS students to better engage our K-12 colleagues. But because of silos, lack of resources and time, this has not been done as well as needed. Colleges of Education need a more seamless, efficient system for clinical experiences. OUS also wants to remain connected, jointly with K-12 schools, with new teachers during the early years of teaching; and to involve K-12 more in the recruitment of people into the field.

Board members and the deans discussed the proposed way of achieving these goals, with all of the Schools of Education working together to create a seamless system of professional preparation and development in partnership with PK-12 educators that produces positive outcomes. In summary, these would include: recruitment and retention of a diverse cadre of talented professional educators from across the state, raising quality and lowering the cost of education; providing state-of-the-art clinical training of new educators paired with the most skilled teachers; preparation programs calibrated by data systems that enable all partners to evaluate the university-school collaborations, improve program effectiveness and assess workforce needs; and consistent support and clear expectations for professional growth at all points in the educators’ careers. 

In other action and discussion at this and recent meetings, the Board and/or its Committees: 

  • Accepted the report on OUS Risk Management Program Analysis presented by Bickmore Risk Services on January 20, 2012, and authorized the vice chancellor for finance and administration to proceed in implementing the report’s recommendations.
  • Accepted the 2011 Annual Report prepared by the Chancellor’s Office and audited by Moss Adams, LLP on January 20, 2012.
  • Accepted the 2011 Equity Purchasing Policy and Procedures report on January 20, 2012 which includes data collected from each OUS institution relating to their contracts and expenditures with Minority-owned, Women-owned, and Emerging Small Businesses for Fiscal Year 2011.
  • Discussed the internal control environment self-assessment from Portland State University, Western Oregon University, Oregon State University and Southern Oregon University in January and February meetings; this is designed to help ensure that general policies and procedures are in place that foster a strong “tone at the top.” Other campuses will provide reports at future meetings of the Finance and Administration Committee of the Board.
  • Heard a status report on the implementation of Senate Bill 242 related to transition issues affecting OUS and its relationship with the State’s Department of Administrative Services; the processes to review classified staff classification/compensation as was agreed in recent bargaining with the SEIU and establishing labor/management committees to review employee health and welfare (health insurance) programs and our Optional Retirement Program, as are required in SB 242.
  • Approved at recent meetings the following new academic programs, all effective in fall 2012: Oregon State University, Master of Business Administration and Accountancy, and B.S. in Sustainability; Western Oregon University, B.A./B.S. in Visual Communication Design.
  • Approved OUS undergraduate admissions requirements for 2012-14 on February 2, 2012.
  • Accepted the Quarterly Management Report for December 31, 2011 at the February 17, 2012 meeting.
  • Accepted the Investment Report as of December 31, 2011 at the February 17, 2012 meeting.
  • Approved the Internal Audit 2011 Final Progress Report and the 2012 Annual Audit Plan at the February 17, 2012 meeting.
  • Approved the Supplemental Guidance to Campuses for Tuition Rates for the Academic Year 2012-12 and Summer Term 2012 and thereby incorporate the Roles and Responsibilities into the overall guidance to campuses; and approved the draft Oregon Administrative Rule.
  • Heard a report on the OUS Internal Control Environment Self-Assessment at the February 17, 2012 meeting; and approved the OUS Internal Control Program Policy on March 2, 2012.
  • Heard a presentation of Fraud Risk and Control at the February 17, 2012 meeting.
  • Heard a report on Cost Drivers in the OUS at the February 17, 2012 meeting.
  • In January and February 2012 meetings of the Governance and Policy Committee, discussed campus foundation institutional boards and relationships with potential institutional governing boards; higher education governance structures, powers, and reform experiences in selected states; and system roles and responsibilities.
  • Discussed a research proposal from OSU, PSU, UO and OHSU to develop an integrated, statewide, cyber-enabled collaborator for knowledge development and management that brings together university research capacity, community needs, and economic development interests at the March 1, 2012 meeting of the Academic Strategies Committee.
  • Approved changes to OAR 580-010-0081 related to nonresident tuition and fee charges for Eastern Oregon University.
  • Approved the housekeeping amendment to Oregon Administrative Rule 580-040-0030 related to vehicle safety.
  • Approved reappointment of Chancellor George Pernsteiner to an employment term ending June 30, 2014, and authorized the Board president or designee to negotiate the new employment agreement, with total compensation, after contract negotiation, to be approved by the Board at a later vote.
  • Heard reports from the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate; Oregon Student Association; and the Board Committees for Academic Strategies, Finance and Administration, and Governance and Policy. 

The Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities and one branch campus, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu.