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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Another thumb up for the OHSU "governance" model

This time it's Wim Wiewel, the president of Portland State, arguing that the best thing for his school would be to break out of the state's higher education system and become semi-autonomous -- which means nonaccountable, if the precedent of OHSU is any indicator.

Before Portland State breaks out on its own, but with taxpayers' dollars to play with, maybe we ought to make sure that it's sticking to its core mission, which is education. Lately it has seemed a lot more interested in getting into the real estate development business with the likes of the Portland Development Commission, Tri-Met, and the Gerding Edlen boys. If PSU wants state money with no strings attached, maybe it ought to refocus on what's important and stop making the Usual Suspects richer.

Comments (7)

Please no! If the Wimster has any more say over things, every department will have to have the word "sustainable" in front of it.

Thumb up? Up what?

I believe he's seated on it, Allan.

It's time for a tram to....where?

Go to college by streetcar!

It is interesting around this town how "core missions" seem to get changed without any real input from those who have to either suffer or benefit from the changes.

As I posted on Jack's Dec 4 "Edlen leaves town", PSU's President Wim Weiwel sure has changed PSU's mission from education to developer. From the recent PSU two volume publication "Portland State University's Economic Development Strategy", it states:

"As a leader in our community, Portland State University is an Urban Developer and Community Builder"

I'm sure the students and all money givers and maybe the State Legislature would be interested in this major mission creep.

Well, inasmuch as PSU's general fund budget is only 12% of its total budget, it is hard for me to get worked up about the notion that it wants independence. The state controls everything it does and contributes only 12% to the total operating cost of the institution. Grants, contracts, and tuition pay the freight around there. PSU can't even control what it charges for tuition. Why should any institution that gets such paltry support for the state have to cede complete control for that 12%. If the state were paying 70% of the operating expenses, as it did when I started teaching there in the early 1970's, we wouldn't be having this discussion. PSU is now a state assisted institution, not a state supported institution. Why begrudge their efforts for fiscal autonomy?

mrfearless47 - Where are you getting that number (12%) from? I don't think, for a second, that is accurate. Even remotely. Also, where do you think the money for a grant comes from?

I wouldn't begrudge an effort at fiscal autonomy. That's not what PSU is after, and that alone is suspicious. What PSU is after are the SW Park Blocks so they can complete their drag-net, and continue persecuting downtown elements that can't afford hair-styling product. What they want is to become a bigger part of the trend downtown to, "clean up", certain elements. In a very touchy-feely, liberal sort of way.

The Church of Green has no place in a free society, let alone in charge of a public school.

To answer your question, as a PSU Chair and Professor Emeritus I can get a copy of the PSU budget anytime I want. The 2009-2011 General Fund support for PSU is 12% of PSU's annual budget - it will be less if the two tax measures don't pass. The grants and contracts don't come from the State of Oregon. They come from NIH, NSF, NIH and many others. The rest of the money comes from student tuition. You too can get a copy of PSU's budget if you know who to ask. In the meantime, believe what you want. PSU is a state-assisted, not state-supported institution.

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