Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education considers Oregon University System Budget; Gottfredson testifies for research universities

Between March 20 and 27, the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education considered the Oregon University System (OUS) budget for fiscal years 2013-2015. The subcommittee held a total of five hearings for House Bill 5031 (the OUS budget bill) and will make recommendations to the full Ways and Means Committee.

On March 20, UO President Michael Gottfredson testified alongside Eastern Oregon University President Bob Davies regarding the budget’s impact to both small and large campuses.  President Gottfredson emphasized the budget’s impact on large research universities such as UO, Oregon State University, and Portland State University.  He stressed the importance of innovative research to the economy, highlighting the “the acquisition and generation of resources and economic activity,” and saying “only a strong system of post-secondary education can provide the civic infrastructure needed to build Oregon’s future.”

During the subcommittee’s final hearing on March 27, 16 UO advocates, students, and staff joined over 50 advocates representing other OUS schools in supporting increased funding for higher education.   Panels included speakers from across Oregon and many traveled hundreds of miles to speak.  Participants speaking on behalf of UO included representatives from the UO’s Industrial Internship Program, CAMCOR, UO Alumni Association, Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) program, and Eugene Assistant City Manager, Sarah Medary.  While testimony varied from touting UO’s cutting-edge research capability to the university’s impact on the local economy, all of the participant’s testimony echoed the common theme of urging the subcommittee to invest in Oregon’s public universities.