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Higher Ed Board approves University of Oregon police department

PORTLAND, October 7, 2011 – The State Board of Higher Education’s Finance and Administration Committee and Full Board met yesterday and today to approve or review, among other items, the 2011-12 budget allocations for the Oregon University System, the University of Oregon police department proposal, the new proposed tuition setting process, Eastern Oregon University’s Promise initiative, and a presentation on Oregon State University’s Statewide Public Services.

Eastern Promise     Bob Davies, president of Eastern Oregon University, reported on their new program called the Eastern Promise, which helps to prepare elementary, middle and high school students for college level work as well as increasing transfer students, degrees, and overall student proficiency. This is a collaboration between EOU, Education Service Districts, community colleges, middle and high schools in Eastern Oregon, and other supporters such as foundations. For high school students, EOU has launched learning communities in math, science and speech communications to implement proficiency standards, which are led by EOU faculty. EOU will offer courses in high schools that carry college credit. Professional learning communities are also being created for high school guidance counselors; and outreach is being done with high school coaches as they are very influential with students and can help EOU to identify barriers to student achievement. Davies said that this is creating the dialogue that postsecondary education is the norm not the exception. He added that the Promise includes a component that every 5th grader in Eastern Oregon can spend 4 days on EOU campus, mentored by students, and live in the residence halls. Part of the Promise will also include mentoring of students by business and community leaders at the local level who will work with students beginning in middle school. Davies said that this model is found in inner cities, but EOU’s rural model is unique. Board members praised this initiative, and commented that it should be replicated in other rural areas in Oregon.

UO Police Department     Richard Lariviere, president of the University of Oregon, and Francis Dyke, UO vice president for finance and administration, described their request for the Board to authorize the establishment of a police department and to commission one or more employees as state certified police officers. Also presenting information on this topic was Sen. Floyd Prozanski; Peter Kerns, chief of the Eugene Police Department; Doug Tripp, executive director and chief of UO Department of Public Safety; and Paul Shang, UO dean of students.  This authority is provided in Senate Bill 405, passed in the 2011 Legislative Session. Lariviere said that the current safety officer model prevents UO from providing the highest level of safety to students, employees and visitors. Getting this change would enable UO security officers who would be certified as police officers, and go through the same training as all sworn officers in Oregon, to enforce all criminal laws. UO completed significant outreach and will continue to do so on campus and in the community to share information and gain input from all stakeholders. The decision of whether to arm these officers is still about two years away and will include continued discussion with all of UO’s campus and other communities. After some discussion, the Board authorized the UO to establish a police department and commission one or more employees as sworn police officers; and that the UO must return to the Board in the future if it would like to seek approval for officers to be armed.

Financial Analysis     Michael Green, OUS controller, provided an analysis of OUS’ financial statements, including comparisons of universities’ peers. In summary, he said that overall FTE (full-time equivalent) enrollment increased 5% in FY 2011 over the prior year. State support is 17% of total adjusted expenses. He said that in general, OUS institutions spend less on student services, administration and physical plant than their peer institutions. Despite a challenging environment, OUS faculty generate more grant and contract revenue than their peers. Generally, OUS’ peer institutions are financially stronger as evidenced by higher state funding, higher primary reserves, and lower debt burden ratios.

Statewide Public Services     Ed Ray, president of Oregon State University, the directors of the Statewide Public Services (SWPS), Scott Reed, Sonny Ramaswamy and Hal Salwasser, and others led a discussion on the value and importance of the SWPS for the state of Oregon. President Ray said that the Agricultural Experiment Station, Forest Research Laboratory and the Extension Services are part of OSU’s DNA and are an integral part of their overall effort to serve the people of Oregon to improve their lives in powerful ways. Speakers noted that in 2010-11 alone, the SWPS generated close to $90 million in external research grants which provided close to $200 million in economic benefits for Oregon and created almost 3,000 family wage jobs in the state. Because of lower funding in 2011-2013, the SWPS are consolidating offices and staffing, expanding fee for service requirements, pursuing county and local co-pays, and utilizing university funds to sustain teaching and research capabilities, effect efficiencies and reduce or eliminate programs. All of the SWPSs directly serve Oregon’s top industry clusters such as agriculture, food processing, forestry and wood products, green building, and others. Speakers noted that it remains a continuing battle for the SWPS to gain state funding at the levels needed to sustain the many programs and services, and advocacy at all levels needs to continue.

Budget Allocation     OUS associate vice chancellor for budget operations, Jan Lewis, presented the biennial 2011-2013 budget approach for the OUS, and the proposed fiscal year 2011-12 operating budget allocations for the system institutions. Last month the Finance and Administration Committee approved the budget allocation as presented, and is seeking final approval from the full Board. The Board voted to approve the budget allocations as presented.

Tuition Setting Process     Jan Lewis, OUS assistant vice chancellor for budget operations, described the proposed new tuition setting process and calendar, adopted by the Board in July in the new governance proposal. The process includes broad on-campus consultation in the development of tuition proposals that will be forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office and Board, including student, faculty and other campus representation. The new process includes a provision for the Board to take into account affordability related to Oregonians’ income, the level of state support, state needs for specific programs, cost control, state and board priorities, and availability of need-based grant aid. Guidance for campuses when developing tuition proposals should include market conditions, state support, other university income available to support programs and financial aid, future employment prospects and earning potential of graduates, differential costs of certain programs, student-level, and other factors relevant to tuition. Lewis noted that the Legislative Budget Note, which outlines tuition ceilings, must also be taken into account in the tuition setting process. Summer tuition setting, which has traditionally been separate from the regular year process, will now be incorporated into the annual process. Jay Kenton, OUS vice chancellor for finance and administration, described the proposed calendar for the new tuition review process. It would start in the fall prior to the next spring when tuition will be approved, with the university president establishing a Tuition Review Committee in October and having a series of tuition review meetings until April when recommendations are forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office, and ends in June with the Board’s review and adoption of tuition rates.

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

  • Approved the July-September 2011 Internal Audit Division report, as presented by Patricia Snopkowski, executive director of internal audit for OUS.
  • Discussed the analysis of OUS’s 2010-11 financial statements, as presented by Michael Green, OUS controller.
  • Discussed the roles and responsibilities of the Board and Chancellor’s Office related to monitoring the financial operations and results of the universities given the changes in SB 242 which removed expenditure limitation control over the OUS operating and self-funded capital budgets.
  • Authorized the Chancellor/designee to modify the current Oregon State University Site License Agreement to REDCO for the relocated parcel of land (the “Poultry Farm”) for ground-mount solar panels; and to execute a Site License Agreement to REDCO for the three University of Oregon parcels of land for roof-mount solar panels on Matthew Knight Arena, the Facilities Warehouse and Office Building, and the Moshofsky Center, upon approval of UO and DOJ legal sufficiency review; and authorized the Board President and Secretary of the Board to execute the necessary documents to effect this lease in its final format.
  • Amended the Finance and Administration Committee charter as outlined in the Board docket.
  • Heard an update from Ryan Hagemann, OUS general counsel, about the transition from use of DOJ attorneys to having all legal counsel resident on the OUS campuses and in the Office of the Chancellor, which acts as legal counsel for the smaller OUS institutions.
  • Approved components of the Policy on Legal Services related to changes authorized by Senate Bill 242, as presented by OUS legal counsel Ryan Hagemann, providing the ability for OUS to hire or retain attorneys for legal services as the Department of Justice will no longer provide legal services to the OUS as of January 1, 2012.
  • Approved the amendments to the Board policy on Centers and Institutes in OUS to reflect the need for greater institutional oversight for centers and institutes, and to ensure that there are processes in place for their creation, review and discontinuation.
  • Approved the lease between the State of Oregon acting by and through the State Board of Higher Education on behalf of OSU and OSU Bookstore, ground floor of the parking facility located at SW 26th Street and SW Washington Way on the OSU campus; and authorized the Board president and secretary of the Board to execute the necessary documents to effect the lease in its final format.
  • Heard reports from: Committees of the Board including Academic Strategies, Governance and Policy, and Finance and Administration; the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate; and from the Oregon Student Association.                                                     

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; and for today’s Board Docket materials go to: www.ous.edu/state_board/meeting/dockets