Oregon State Board of Higher Education
System Strategic Planning Committee
Room 238, Smith Memorial Center
Portland State University
January 19, 2001
Committee members present: Herb Aschkenasy (via telephone), Shawn Hempel (via telephone), Leslie Lehmann (via telephone at 11:15), Jim Lussier, Phyllis Wustenberg, Jim Willis
Chancellor's Office staff: Bob Bruce, Shirley Clark, Joseph Cox, Nancy Goldschmidt, Ben Rawlins, Lynda Rose, Diane Sawyer, Joe Sicotte, Diane Vines
Others: Greg Marks (PSU), Dick Pratt (PSU), Craig Wollner (IFS/PSU)
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 11:10 a.m. by Chair Willis.
Approval of Minutes
Ms. Wustenberg moved and Mr. Lussier seconded the motion to approve the December 15, 2001, meeting minutes as submitted. The motion was unanimously approved.
Campus Safety Overview
Ben Rawlins, OUS director of Legal Services, referenced the document he prepared for the Committee's review (on file in the Board's office). He reminded Committee members that the impetus for the analysis was a legislative concept related to public safety officers and the Board's authority to allow those officers to carry firearms. This was submitted by PSU for Board consideration in February 2000, but was not approved. It did, however, spark a lengthy conversation about the Board's responsibilities related to campus safety.
Mr. Rawlins explained that a bill has been proposed independent of the System to the legislature that would grant authority to campus public officers to carry firearms. He indicated that legislation was not supported by OUS, given its inconsistency with past Board actions.
Following a question by Ms. Wustenberg, the Chancellor asked Mr. Rawlins to walk members through his analysis. Chancellor Cox remarked that the question he was responding to most by Board members was, "What is the scope of responsibility of the Board relative to public safety?"
Mr. Rawlins explained that the Board is the ultimate legal responsible entity for the management of all OUS campuses. To that end, he said, mechanisms and agents are in place to monitor the public safety on campuses (e.g., hiring public safety officers), like any other administrative function.
Using the example of underage drinking on campuses, Ms. Wustenberg asked about the Board's liability and responsibility. She noted that, while laws are in place related to the legal drinking age, etc., there isn't a reference in the Board's pertinent statutes. Mr. Rawlins reiterated his earlier comments relating to mechanisms being in place, but added that it was up to the Board if it wished to monitor a situation more closely.
At the request of Mr. Willis, Mr. Rawlins provided further analysis of public safety on campuses, and how it has evolved over the years. Campuses now have the responsibility to be proactive in their stance; in other words, if there is a danger of some sort, they have the duty to notify people on campus about it. Board Secretary Vines asked to clarify if the Board had oversight responsibility in such cases, to which Mr. Rawlins replied in the affirmative. However, he said the true responsibility comes with insuring that mechanisms are in place to appropriately deal with a situation. He said that he is comfortable with the checkpoints that now exist, but added that the Board may want to discuss whether or not its level of knowledge about what is going on is up-to-date, and if the current review process is adequate.
Mr. Lussier remarked that the Board might be looking into a specific area without first analyzing campus public safety from a broader policy perspective. "What's the overall policy and direction of the Board on this?" he asked. Mr. Rawlins observed that part of the philosophy allows for a certain amount of latitude on the part of the campuses, so that mechanisms can conform to the degree of a situation. Mr. Lussier said that, to him, it was more an approach issue, in terms of whether or not the campuses develop a process and show it to the Board, or if the Board mandates policy describing what they desire from each campus.
Explaining that the System's Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) and Internal Management Directives (IMDs) already speak to the overall responsibility of the Board, Chancellor Cox asked if perhaps more conversations need to take place between the administration and the Board to ensure the Board is comfortable with existing parameters. Ms. Lehmann asked what legal ability the Board has to delegate authority to campuses, given that their circumstances are all different, and that they more clearly understand their needs. She also wanted to know if any cases had been brought against a campus where lack of reasonable care was defined. In response to her first question, Mr. Rawlins said that the OARs and IMDs do not specifically define public safety but do exist in terms of the welfare of a campus. In response to her second question, Mr. Rawlins indicated that no cases have raised the issue on campuses related to lack of reasonable care.
Mr. Rawlins observed that perhaps the Committee and the Board need a more complete look at the status of public safety on campuses. He said those data are an important part of knowing what is delegated and how it is being handled. Concurring with Mr. Rawlins, Mr. Willis reminded the Committee that the Board does not have the authority to grant public safety officers the ability to bear arms. "We need this information so that the Board can further consider that authority," he said. Mr. Rawlins said that, in his research, the one conclusion he reached was that the arming of officers was not a panacea and that more information is required.
Referencing the legislation introduced recently relating to public safety officers, Mr. Rawlins explained that SB 135 would grant the authority across all campuses for the arming of officers. "The question," he said, "is that level of response necessary?" Based on current analysis, he suggested it was not. Further explaining the language of the bill, which declares an emergency that would make it effective immediately if passed, Mr. Rawlins said that there are many unresolved issues that would make it impossible for immediate implementation such as training, equipment, management, and cost.
Mr. Lussier said the question remaining in his mind was whether or not the Board wanted the authority to grant public safety officers the right to carry weapons. He suggested that the Board's stance on the issue be written into policy, or included in the IMDs. Ms. Wustenberg agreed, noting that, if the issue isn't referenced in Board policy, the conversation will take place as to the Board's official position every couple of years.
Providing a scenario where liability would be in question, Dr. Aschkenasy asked Mr. Rawlins for his hypothesis on how it would play out in the courts. Mr. Rawlins stated that campuses are held to a standard of reasonableness, including awareness/monitoring of situations and response. He went on to say that part of the Board's task is to ensure itself that the campuses understand their environment and have in place a set of reasonable options.
Dr. Aschkenasy, noting the legislative concept submitted by President Bernstine, asked if the Board, in denying that request, was in effect not providing an adequate level of response. Mr. Rawlins said that was not necessarily the case, as there are other reasonable ways in which to respond, including using officers from the Portland Police Department.
Mr. Willis, feeling that the Board was going to be asked for its official position on the issue very soon, said that more information was required related to the current campus climates so that the broader policy could be further investigated before taking a position. Mr. Willis added that another perspective of the discussion should be determining the best way to manage what does occur on campuses, be it by arming public safety officers or contracting with local police forces. Chancellor Cox agreed to gather summaries of recent campus reports, as well as how institutions manage their campus safety. Further, he offered to analyze the current statutes and IMDs, in order to assure that the Board is adequately referenced in terms of its role.
If the current proposal related to campus public safety officers, SB 135, becomes law, it would supercede all Board policy and IMDs, noted Mr. Rawlins. Mr. Willis and Mr. Lussier agreed that the Board's policy declaration would be influential, thereby making the staff analysis more urgent. Mr. Rawlins agreed to prepare documentation as quickly as possible.
Revised Performance Funding Policy
Vice Chancellor Clark outlined the history of the performance funding policy. She noted its popularity at the last legislative session, adding that it became a model for other state agencies. Questions arose last spring about the particular indicators chosen for funding. When staff went to the Emergency Board last September to retrieve OUS's allocation for the funds, there was some criticism about the indicators. Since then, staff have worked on revising those indicators to better parallel what lawmakers feel are the best ways of measuring performance on campuses. Dr. Clark introduced Dr. Nancy Goldschmidt, associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, who, along with OUS Director of Government Relations Grattan Kerans, worked with lawmakers to develop the revisions. (Copies of the suggested policy are on file in the Board's office.)
Dr. Goldschmidt highlighted the suggested revisions. One area of concern was the number of performance indicators-those have increased in the proposed policy from two to seven, with five being "common indicators" for all campuses. Two will be institution-specific indicators, which are closely tied to individual campus missions, with all seven linked to funding.
Another requirement by legislators was to continue to reflect the target-setting method used in Oregon Benchmarks. Following meetings with Oregon Progress Board Director Jeff Tryens, two components were developed: improving against campuses' own baseline, and considering peer performance. Key to achieving these is determining baseline trends, and from those, developing growth rates. Reporting outcomes will now be expressed as percentage changes. Growth, explained Dr. Goldschmidt, will be presented in one-, two-, five-, and ten-year averages, in order to see more clearly where and when that growth is occurring. In some cases, two-year rolling averages will be used.
Dr. Goldschmidt reviewed the new indicators. If indicators are not tied to performance funding, asked Mr. Hempel, what would the motivation be? Dr. Goldschmidt said that reporting improvements would be the motivator, adding that she hoped to tie more indicators to funding depending on availability of funding to do so. Ultimately, she said, the policy would be to tie all 13 indicators to performance funding. In the current biennial budget proposal submitted by the Governor, no new funds are designated for performance funding, but Dr. Clark reminded Committee members that it is always the Board's prerogative to use some other funds for this.
Dr. Aschkenasy expressed some concern over creating too many indicators, which may possibly detract from the purpose of them. Dr. Goldschmidt agreed, adding that the indicators should reflect the most essential performance and core activities. Vice Chancellor Clark remarked that states are now accumulating experience related to performance funding, and some of the initial feedback validates the need to concentrate on fewer indicators, in order to retain focus.
Using UO as an example, Dr. Goldschmidt provided a sample of how the updated system would work using a web-based system that staff are developing. Committee members complimented staff's efforts, noting they all felt the revised indicators were a step in the right direction.
Ms. Wustenberg moved and Mr. Lussier seconded the motion to approve the revised policy as submitted. The motion unanimously passed. It will be presented to the Board for final approval at its February 16, 2001, meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 12:25 p.m.