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Independent Boards Take Leadership at Oregon's 3 Largest Universities

University of Oregon

As of July 1st, three public universities in Oregon are now governed by their own boards instead of being under the auspices of the State Board of Higher Education.

Oregon State, Portland State and the University of Oregon transitioned this week to independent management. The other 4 public universities in Oregon will move to their own boards next year. U of O President Michael Gottfredson says with a decline in state funding, the older systems of governance of higher education need to change.

Gottfredson: "Most public universities are experiencing a similar, although I would say, less substantial decline in state investment in the universities so there are a lot of eyes on Oregon about this innovation."

At a meeting last month, the 15-member board of trustees agreed to establish its own bank to house the University of Oregon's assets. Gottfredson acknowledges tuition and fees have gone up quite a bit in recent years. But he says access to higher education for all Oregonians is essential.