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Oregonian calls Lariviere’s proposal selfish but kind of endorses it anyway

The Oregonian has an editorial out today-ish that doesn’t really endorse UO cheese Richard Lariviere’s “New Partnership” proposal but doesn’t fail to endorse it either. See here:

As drafted, it is an every-man-for-himself, look-out-for-No.-1 plan. And if all was well in Oregon’s university system, we’d be happy to join those eager to shoot it down without so much as a hearing.

All is not well. And as Lariviere is fond of asking, do you, does anyone, have a better idea? If so, it’s time to bring it to Salem.

The editorial asks for the other state universities to be involved in it somehow, which probably won’t go over well in Johnson Hall, considering UO cheese emeritus Dave Frohnmayer once described the other universities to me as “anchors that drag and inhibit the UO’s flexiblity, it doesn’t help us and it doesn’t help anybody else.”

Also, the Oregonian writes that the UO should “not repeat its mistakes of the 1990s, when it jacked up tuition, priced thousands of students out of higher education and led to the first generation of Oregonians with lower college attainment than their parents.”

But the UO’s attempts to gain independence, historically, have aimed directly or indirectly at increasing tuition, not decreasing it. Lariviere’s proposal itself promises only:

  • “greater predictability in tuition pricing”
  • “relieving pressure on tuition to offset state funding reductions”
  • “greater tuition predictability”
  • “protect[ion] from tuition fluctuations”
  • “undergraduate tuition stability”
  • that the UO’s board will have the authority to set tuition.

Which is not the same as tuition not going up at all. When Frohnmayer talked to me about a nascent version of this plan two years ago, he implied tuition would go up (although he also said there would be more opportunities for aid because the UO could put state money toward it).

Minor quibbles, I suppose; the thrust of the editorial is that, while the Oregonian’s associate editors don’t like Lariviere’s proposal, nobody in power in Oregon’s really brave enough to fund higher ed properly or smart enough to come up with a solution to higher ed’s problems that will do anything.

On a side note, I won’t be putting out a media digest tonight. I’ve got a flight to catch in the morning and the media’s heart isn’t in it over Crimbo anyway.

UPDATE: Forgot to link to the Phil Knight interview the Oregonian put out on the fifth, which is an important piece of this puzzle.

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