I received this email today at 12:35pm, opened it around 2pm and hopped over to the meeting in question:
Just a reminder of the meeting TODAY in Jacqua Auditorium.
“Students are invited to attend a meeting with University Administration to discuss tuition proposals for the 2013-2014 academic year. The meeting is set for Friday, March 15 from 2:00-3:00pm in the Jacqua Center Auditorium. Students are also welcome to provide written feedback anytime before 5:00pm on Monday, March 18th by sending it to VPSA@uoregon.edu.”
Here are my notes:
I thought it was particularly funny that they hosted this in the Jock Box. The projected utility cost per year of the University of Oregon is 18 million dollars and going up one million every year. I chuckled to myself and then the wall behind all those bunched up letters changed colors.
University Provost Jim Bean said, “You shouldn’t have to take courses from professors who do not contribute to the research. You came here because we are a research university.”
There were about 40 people sitting in those comfy yellow racing seats including students, including students, GTFs and members of OSA and the ASUO. One member of the audience had his hand raised for a while and, when called on, remarked that he definitely did not come here because this was a research university. Many audience members snapped their fingers. I had to join them.
Apparently the University is facing major increases in operating expenses. One major factor is the recent spike in enrollment. They didn’t leave the “major factors” slide up very long, and Vice Provost Brad Shelton’s website hasn’t been updated in 18 months. I think everyone should email shelton(at)uoregon.edu and ask him the major factors. I will ask for the slides.
Tuition is currently 178 dollars per credit per hour and proposed to be increased 8 dollars making it 186. Full-time tuition will increase from 8,010 to 8,370 dollars at a 4.5% increase.
Non-residential students currently pay 608 dollars per credit hour. Proposed increase of 21 making it 629 per credit hour. Full-time students have a 3.45% increase from 27,360 to 28305 dollars.
“We are behind on salary for tenure track faculty,” Shelton said.
Comparisons were made to west coast universities in the AAU. The University of Oregon is ranked 80th. One audience member asked why exactly tuition had to increase as a partial result to more students, given that more students means more tuition.
The conversation turned back to expenditure, specifically that on utility, and the newly built power station was described as green and efficient “relatively”, Bean said but didn’t go into specifics.
Unfortunately, the UO had to borrow money from itself to build it. Jim Bean talked about debt: “It’s very effective and efficient to borrow money from ourselves from one part of the University to another.”
Shelton said, “An internal bank allows us to borrow from one fund source to another source and save money.”
Citing a Register Guard article from 2011, and audience member said that raises were on the table all over the Office Administrators with most having raises of over 10% all the while touting their “shared sacrifice” creed.
Provost Bean replied, saying “There was an across the board Office Administrative raise last year but no upper Office Administrative raises.”
Vice Provost Shelton explained that there is no firewall between auxiliary and general funds. The overhead that athletics and housing pays to University’s education of students is high.
The tuition and fee advisory board appointment process: The ASUO President appoints a student, the Provost Bean chooses a student member at large unaffiliated with the ASUO, and one graduate student recommended by fellow graduate students. Bean appoints the faculty members.
Jim Bean, Brad Shelton and OSA students discussed the implications of backing OSA in Salem in support of tuition decrease.
“We are allowed to lobby for specific things, while Oregon University System can lobby toward other things. Melanie Rose, Chancellor at OUS is someone to talk to and Betsy Boyd with the Dean of Students is organizing something.
Shelton talked about “balance”, saying, “What you want is exceptionally high financial aid. Low tuition is a subsidy for wealthy families.” Also, “As we become more independent, it will go in the opposite direction, smaller increases.”
One audience member from University of California said that the UC system used the same strategy of increasing tuition and financial aid at same time, firing classified staff and hiring more tenured faculty, sending students up here to out of state colleges. He asked, is this a repeat?
Provost Bean said, “No.”
And finally, the quote of the day, Jim Bean says, “If people cared about education as much as they cared about prisons in this state, legislators would lobby for it.”