Governance update: Oregon Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee holds hearing on governance bill

On February 7, the Senate Education and Workforce Development committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 270, which, in its current form, would create institutional boards for the University of Oregon and Portland State University. The bill is the result of the work of the Special Committee on University Governance that met during the interim to draft legislation and recommendations on creating institutional boards for public universities in Oregon.

The committee, chaired by State Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton), heard testimony from State Representative Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) and State Representative Mark Johnson (R-Hood River), who co-chaired the special committee along with Hass. Johnson and Dembrow outlined the legislation and process the special committee followed in crafting the legislation. They indicated that the draft was meant as an outline to guide discussion as the committee considers the issue during the current session.

The panel also heard from State Board of Higher Education Chair and Oregon Education Investment Board member Matt Donegan, Oregon University System Chancellor George Pernsteiner, SEIU member Mark Nissenfeld, Oregon Student Association Legislative Director Emma Kallaway, and Oregon Business Association representative Joel Fischer.

The full recording of the hearing and written testimony can be found on the Legislature’s website. University leadership has prepared issue briefs to serve as a tool for policy makers in examining the significance of governance reform from many perspectives.