Day of student lobbying continues discussion over local governing boards, House Bill 4061

SALEM — College representatives of the Oregon Student Association@@ lobbied in Salem today against House Bill 4061@@, which aims to establish a local governing board for any member of the Oregon University System who wants one.

In Salem, students divided into groups of three and visited the offices of representatives to discuss their views on the subjects. If HB 4061 passes, it would create a special committee to compose legislation that would allow universities establish an institutional board if they so desire. The idea has been strongly advocated for by members of the University administration, most notably former University President Richard Lariviere and the current Interim President Robert Berdahl.

The OSA, which was founded in 1975, consists of students representing colleges across the state lobbying for similar issues regarding a local governing board, as well as higher education funding and textbook prices. The OSA spent the day expressing its concerns over HB 4061, calling it the wrong move for the University and for the state.

“Students oppose this bill. Students have a lot of concerns when they look at other various states that have tried the institutional board model,” ASUO Communications Director Andrew Rogers@@[email protected]@ said. “This bill would fast-track the institutional board model, and we need to take more time to deliberate this process.”

The students met with Rep. Jean Cowan (D-Newport) representing District 10@@ She claimed to not have extensive knowledge of the bill but gave the student advocates some hope.

“I am not generally supportive of the conversations I have heard on HB 4061,” she said.

The group also met with Rep. Sal Esquivel (R-Medford) representing District 6@@ He refused to comment explicitly on this issue, saying that he had not actually read HB 4061 but had only heard about it.

“I’m not adverse to letting the universities do their own thing,” he said. “I think the University has a better grip of how to run the school than the state. I am a bottom-line guy, and if they can do it better than the state then I think that is OK.”

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