Six task forces have been formed at the request of President Wiewel to give feedback on his draft discussion paper on the possibility of a financial restructuring of Portland State.
Restructuring task forces formed
Six task forces have been formed at the request of President Wiewel to give feedback on his draft discussion paper on the possibility of a financial restructuring of Portland State. The document, also called the “white paper,” was written in response to previous University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer’s report—released last fall—suggesting a restructure of higher education in Oregon.
Special Assistant to the President, Melody Rose, Ph.D. said that five task forces were formed in January, and an additional task force was just recently formed.
“President Wiewel met and asked them to form…to seek input from all communities,” Dr. Rose said.
These task forces include the Alumni Association, PSU foundation, Service Employees International Union, ASPSU executive staff and Student Senate, Faculty Senate, and most recently, the PSU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors.
“The white paper evaluates PSU’s financial situation [and] provides a range of options to stabilize the future,” Rose said.
AAUP is a faculty union, with the PSU chapter representing 1,200 half-time or greater faculty academic professionals. AAUP’s task force was added several months after the other groups.
“At this point, we do not have any positions. Just researching,” AAUP PSU Chapter President Jonathan Uto said.
“We are happy to have input and be involved in the process,” Uto said.
Several AAUP members have been appointed to work on the task force, including Uto, Councilor Michael Taylor, Vice President of Collective Bargaining Michele Gamburd and Executive Director Phil Lesch.
Rose assists the task forces by coordinating dialogue on campus. She said she facilitates group meetings and attends, as needed.
“It has been a really effective process,” Rose said, in regards to her experience with the various groups.
Rose said President Wiewel has made an active effort to get early input from the task forces and start dialogue prior to developing a proposal for change. Rose said it was “proactive” to seek “guidance from the community.”
“All groups are working at their own pace,” Rose said.
Groups are submitting preliminary reports to President Wiewel, with their opinions, concerns and reflections.
“President Wiewel needs feedback and input from the community,” Rose said.
“It is unfortunate how much attention is spent on privatizing or corporatizing. [Those terms are] not on the table,” Rose said.
“We are a public university. We will remain a public university,” Rose said, referring to Portland State.
Rose said the focus is on how to become the best with the resources PSU has available, and how to secure that future for the whole community.
Campus-wide forum on restructuring to be held on May 11, 2–4 p.m. in Smith Memorial Student Union.
The president’s white paper develops six principles as a recommendation to restructure higher education. The principles include: (1) a state funding floor, (2) the authority to go directly to voters for funding support, (3) the ability to manage tuition, (4) a student based funding model for state allocations, (5) the ability to control capital expenditure decisions and issue bonds, and (6) general operational flexibility. The paper also offers various models of restructuring that could accommodate these principles.