UO friends and supporters to rally for funding at state Capitol

The Oregon Capitol building

UO students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends will join forces in Salem on March 9 to advocate for increased higher education funding.

University supporters are invited to attend UO Day at the Capitol to urge legislators to invest in the state’s public universities and protect the affordability and accessibility of a college degree. Interested individuals can participate by registering online.

UO President Mike Schill recently posted his recommendations for 2017-18 tuition and fees, which include a possible 10.6 percent increase for in-state undergraduate students and a 3 percent increase for out-of-state undergraduate students. The Tuition and Fee Advisory Board — a group of students, faculty, administrators and staff — developed the tuition proposal.

Schill’s recommendations are available on the president’s website.

Oregon’s seven public universities have requested $100 million in additional funding to protect vital student services and financial aid. If the funding request is met, the UO could limit the tuition increase to about 5 percent and consider less severe budget cuts.

“There is still hope that the university can avoid raising tuition by more than 10 percent,” said Hans Bernard, the UO’s assistant vice president for state affairs and special assistant to the president. “University leaders are working tirelessly to urge state lawmakers to boost funding for higher education and keep the cost of a college degree affordable for Oregonians. We invite the UO community to join these conversations with lawmakers to help them realize the impact of high tuition increases.”

Students, faculty, staff and alumni are invited to join Schill and student government President Quinn Haaga in Salem on UO Day to make the case for increased investments in higher education. Advocacy training sessions will be available for registered participants to help prepare them to meet with legislators.

University supporters also can meet with state leaders when the Joint Ways and Means Committee hosts a public hearing in Eugene on the state budget Saturday, Feb. 25. The meeting is at Lane Community College from 1 to 3 p.m. in Rooms 308-309, Building 17.

Members of the UO community will have the opportunity to testify about the importance of higher education and the critical need for more funding.

UO Day at the Capitol is sponsored by Government and Community Relations, the UO Alumni Association and the Associated Students of the University of Oregon. The event includes a display of undergraduate research in the galleria of the statehouse and performances by UO musicians to open floor sessions in both the House and Senate.

Those who cannot attend on March 9 but would like to follow along can track #ducksinthecapitol on social media.