UO board committees complete a day of full dockets in advance of winter meeting

The University of Oregon Board of Trustees grappled with classroom scheduling, reviewed progress on addressing sexual assault and referred tuition and fees recommendations to the full board during a day of committee meetings on Wednewday, March 4, at the Ford Alumni Center.

Leading off the day, the Presidential Factors Committee discussed presidential compensation and evaluation, both things which used to be the purview of the old state system, but are now the responsibility of UO’s independent board.

In the second meeting of the day, the Academic and Student Affairs Committee (ASAC) received an update from interim President Scott Coltrane on campus initiatives to addressing sexual assault.

“We have an historic opportunity to make meaningful change in our campus culture, to reduce sexual violence and increase survivor support,” Coltrane told the committee. “We are launching several initiatives immediately and I will continue to press for progress.”

Trustee Mary Wilcox, ASAC chair and a member of the President’s Review Panel, thanked the president and university leaders for their attention to and work on the issue, noting that it is extremely difficult, but critically important.

A report from Academic Affairs and the University Registrar provided information about approaches to maximize scheduling of classrooms to accommodate more students in the future. Classrooms are scheduled Monday through Saturday with the heaviest use between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and growing demand must be balanced with the costs of capital construction.

Trustees heard options about using evenings or Fridays, which have lighter utilization. Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Ken Doxsee explained, “[the university] needs to weigh the benefits of fully scheduling classrooms with the impact on students, who may work or have family-life balance issues.”

The committee also heard presentations from the Teaching and Learning Center and Enrollment Management. Roger Thompson, vice president for Enrollment Management, noted that the size of the freshman class has grown by 40 percent since 2000 and this year’s class is the most diverse to date.

In the final meeting of the day, the Finance and Facilities Committee members considered a tuition and fee proposal for the 2015-16 academic year. They heard from students who are opposed to a recommended increase in tuition and fees. Four students, including ASUO president Beatriz Gutierrez, spoke during public comment, urging the committee to be thoughtful as it addressed tuition and the impact it has on students.

“College affordability is a national problem,” said Colin Worley, a biology student, who went on to urge the UO to take steps to lead in keeping college affordable.

Jamie Moffitt, vice president for Finance and Administration, explained the information the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board used to make its tuition and fees recommendation.

The full board meets today to review the forwarded motions from the committees and hear presentations from the School of Law, College of Arts and Science as well as an update on marketing and branding. Meeting materials and the agenda can be found on the board website at trustees.uoregon.edu.