On Wednesday, the Emerald spoke with University of Oregon students about Measure 95 — a ballot measure which, if passed, would let Oregon’s public universities invest in the stock market.
Education major Taylor Armstead wanted to know where the new revenue stream would go, questioning whether the students would directly see the effects — for example, in tuition costs — or whether the money would go toward something else.
“I would just like to know where the university plans on putting the money towards, besides just being used as university revenue. What specific goals does it have in mind?” said Armstead.
Although President Michael Schill signed a statement arguing investing in equities would help Oregon universities in “minimizing tuition increases,” the university has yet to discuss a plan on how the potential revenue would be put toward lowering tuition increases. UO Treasure Operations estimates the change would bring $10 million in five years.
Some of the funds the UO plans to use in its investments would come from tuition dollars, but the exact amount is unknown. Sam Garrison, a math major, voted against the measure, citing the unpredictability of the stock market and concerns with investing tuition dollars into it.
“I voted no on that particular one just because, while it was probably a good idea, I didn’t want our money to be at risk in someone else’s hands,” Garrison said. “I have to pay a lot to begin with, so I don’t want that money going somewhere where it could potentially be lost and I would have to pay more money in the future.”
The UO estimates that 7 percent of its 2016 revenue will be supported by the state. Although not in favor or against Measure 95, business major Sean Thompson said UO should focus on making that percentage of funding higher.
“I’m not sure if the stock market is necessarily the best idea. I don’t know how stable it would be for the university to invest in something as unpredictable as that,” Thompson said. “State funding sounds good to me because there is a lot more stability to it.”
Human physiology major Noah Schumacher, also yet to choose a side, similarly said that the university should consider alternative revenue streams.
“I feel that it is kind of weird to be investing our tuition dollars in the stock market, but I guess if that’s giving the university more money … that is a good thing,” Schumacher said. Schumacher added that students need to think about where the money could go “besides the stock market,” in a way which could “directly benefit students at the university.”
Desiree Bergstrom contributed reporting.