November 10th, 2013
Dear Governor Kitzhaber,
We are writing to you in regards to the current governance changes happening in the Oregon University System. As the respective presidents and leaders of our student bodies, we are watching these changes closely and with caution. In working with student governments from the other state schools, we understand that all Oregon public universities want to protect their sovereignty and serve their own unique needs. This same mentality must apply to the governing structure of Oregon’s regional schools. All three of Oregon’s regional schools serve a unique purpose to Oregon’s higher education system. If it were not for the regional schools, many of Oregon’s rural students would not have a chance to go to college. We pride our schools on offering high quality programs, while maintaining an affordable cost. Regional universities have an essential role in implementing the 40-40-20 plan, because they give rural students access to an affordable higher education. Regional universities provide support to the 40-40-20 plan by having unique programs that attract students who want to attend a small liberal arts university and enjoy small class sizes at an affordable cost. That is why it is very important to protect the sovereignty of Oregon’s regional universities.
It is clear that there are three options for regional university governance. As the student leaders on our respective campuses, we do not support the branch campus model. We want to preserve regional independence and be able to serve the unique needs of Oregon’s regional universities. We ask that the Legislature not consider the branch campus option. In moving forward, we will be looking at and discussing the other two models. In the coming weeks regional student body presidents will be talking to their university presidents and other university community members to see if they want to pursue a consortium board or their own institutional boards for their respective universities. We do want to make it clear, that we do not support the branch campus model and such a model will have a detrimental effect on regional higher education in the State of Oregon. Thank you for your time.
Evan Bryan-ASEOU President
Harris Foster-ASPSU President
Kurt Killinger-COCC Director of Legislative Affairs
Travis Meuwissen-ASWOU President
Greg Mills-ASUO Vice President
Tommy Letchwort-ASSOU President