Oregon State University

Institutional Board Information

Senate Bill 270, now before the legislature, may have impact on how universities in Oregon are structured. Use this page as your resource for information on how these changes might effect Oregon State University.

President Ray conversing with faculty

Message from President Ray

Over the next several weeks, I will be seeking input from campus constituencies about whether Oregon State University should initiate its own institutional board, which would be appointed by the Governor.
The prospect of such a board for OSU is included in legislation – Senate Bill 270 -- currently under consideration in the 2013 Oregon Legislature. If this legislation is approved by the Legislature and signed into law, it would enable me to inform the Governor as early as August 1, and no later than December 31, of OSU‘s decision to have a board. OSU, however, is not required by the legislation to establish a board.
If enacted, SB 270 would significantly change the governance of Oregon’s public universities.
It establishes the University of Oregon and Portland State University as independent governmental entities that would be separate and distinct from each other and from the Oregon University System and the State Board of Higher Education. SB 270 would also enable Oregon State to follow this same course with its own board of trustees. I have indicated to the Legislature that my decision will be informed by campus conversations.
Under SB 270, the Governor would appoint a board of trustees made up of 11 to 15 members for each designated university. The bill specifies that a student would be included on the board as a voting member. It also provides for a faculty member, who would be a non-voting member. The president of the university would be an ex-officio, non-voting member of the board. The Governor’s appointees would have to be confirmed by the Oregon Senate.
If enacted, SB 270 would require the Governor to appoint the boards for UO and PSU by August 19 of this year to allow for Senate confirmation by September 30. These boards would begin some of their duties by January 1, 2014, and would be fully in operation by July 1, 2014. If I notify the Governor by August 1 of our determination that Oregon State will have its own a governing board, the OSU board would be appointed, confirmed and assume duties on the same schedule as the UO and PSU boards. If I notify the Governor after August 1, but before January 1, the Governor would appoint an OSU board by February 1, 2014.
A university with a governing board would have broad authority and significant autonomy. For example, it would have the authority to set tuition and fees -- with oversight by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission for an annual tuition increase of more than 5 percent -- and the authority to issue revenue bonds. In addition, SB 270 recognizes the benefits that can come from the economy of scale present in a coordinated university system. SB 270 would enable some services to continue to be shared among all of Oregon’s public institutions of higher education, but the details have yet to be worked out.
The bill also establishes a special legislative committee on regional and technical universities to consider a governance model for Oregon’s regional universities and a work group on university shared services.
Other legislation under consideration would revamp the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, which would retain authority over university budgets and the approval of new academic programs.

For more information about the legislation, here is a link to SB 270 as it currently stands:  http://www.leg.state.or.us/13reg/measpdf/sb0200.dir/sb0270.a.pdf

I look forward to meeting with you and gaining your input on this important matter over the next several weeks. In the meantime, if you have questions about Oregon State’s outreach process, or would like to offer input on the question of OSU having its own institutional board, please use the form that you can link to at the top right of this page.


Ed Ray | President | Oregon State University


Significant elements of Senate Bill 270

As of May 1, 2013

  • Creates the option for Oregon State University to become established as an independent university separate from the Oregon University System, governed by its own Board of Trustees rather than the State Board of Higher Education
  • Establishes the University of Oregon and Portland State University as independent universities governed by their own Boards of Trustees.
  • A  Board of Trustees is generally responsible for the affairs of the university.  The Board has the authority to hire and remove the president.
  • A Board is composed of 11 to 15 members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate.  The Board must include a student and a faculty member:  the student position votes and the faculty position does not.  The university president is an ex-officio, non-voting member.
  • The bill grants significant authority and autonomy to a university that has a governing board.  Examples include:  authority to establish tuition and fees (but providing for review by the Higher Education Coordinating Committee [HECC] of an annual increase of more than 5 percent); authority to issue revenue bonds; and flexibility with respect to management of real property (title to real property held in the name of the State of Oregon).
  • The proposed budget for a university with a board is developed at the university level and provided to the HECC for submission to the Governor; legislative appropriations are made to the HECC for allocation to all universities.
  • For a university with a governing board HECC must provide an annual evaluation to the legislature, and must approve any significant new university program and any annual tuition increase greater than 5 percent.
  • The bill establishes a legislative task force to consider governance of Oregon’s regional universities and prepare a report before the February 2014 legislative session.  The bill also establishes a work group to be convened by the presidents of the seven public universities, to make recommendations about shared services among Oregon’s institutions of higher education going forward