Motion to end athletic subsidies postponed until March following recent faculty senate

“The state of the university is sound,” President Gottfredson said as he opened the University of Oregon Faculty Senate  on Wednesday Feb. 12 with a state of the university report.

Gottfredson’s comments updated the audience on the recent progress of the UO’s new independent governing board, the progression of a series of academic planning forums hosted by Interim Provost Scott Coltrane and  his support of the current operational model of the university’s budget system, including the development of a new university-wide group in charge of advising the administrative and auxiliary budgets.

Though Gottfredson described the university model as stable, that wasn’t a sentiment that could likely have been translated to reflect the atmosphere in Lawrence 115.

Tensions ran high as administrators, faculty and department staff discussed a heavily anticipated item on this month’s agenda: ending subsidies to athletics and requesting academic funding from the athletic department.

Entitled “An End to Subsidies for the UO Athletic Department,” the motion laid out by Senate member and UO Economics professor Bill Harbaugh calls for both an end to the university funding of academic tutoring for UO athletes and requests that the academic department contribute funds to the university’s academic operations. According to President Gottfredson’s written response to the senate proposal, the UO currently spends a smaller portion of funding on athletic purposes than 92 percent of its peers with division one athletics.

Following discussion, it was decided that the motion would be split into two – one to address the withdrawal of academic funding for athletic tutoring, and the second to request academic funding from athletic income. Both motions were postponed for deliberation at next month’s meeting on March 12.

A second issue that caused a stir in the room was another motion proposed by Harbaugh, this one intended to change the by-laws surrounding senate budget committee, an institution the motion cites as the “primary vehicle for faculty and senate participation in university fiscal matters.”

After much discussion and a suggestion for postponement from Senate executive Margie Paris, a UO law professor, the senate decided upon its intent to vote on the amended proposal. The motion carried according the the required two-thirds majority. Following Wednesday’s meeting, the committee will include an additional faculty member (increasing the requirements to eight faculty representatives instead of seven), and require that four of those members represent voting members of the faculty senate, and three of which are tenured.

Arbitration regarding athletics will continue at the next senate meeting on Wednesday, Mar. 12.

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Sami Edge

Sami Edge

Sami is the Editor In Chief of The Emerald. Former intern at Willamette Week and aspiring international investigative reporter. Swimmer, writer, dreamer, reader, thinker, explorer and drinker of strong coffee.