Dear AAUP Oregon,
I am pleased to report that the collective efforts across the higher education community successfully persuaded the legislature to preserve the current allocations to the Public University Support Fund – no cuts from the state to higher education for the remainder of this biennium.
Thank you to everyone on our staff, our allies, and our members who helped make this possible. Of course challenges remain for this coming academic year, and we invite campus chapters and locals to continue to persuade university and college leaders to prioritize mission-centered budgeting. As we urged in a letter in The Oregonian this week, our university administrators, among other things, should work with state and campus leaders to implement a one- time levy on the university endowments by tapping unrestricted endowment funds or by redirecting endowment earnings to crucial student services or instructional budgets.
Now, our challenge shifts to the 2021-23 expected biennium general fund budget shortfall of $3.5-3.7 billion. We agree with House Speaker Kotek and Governor Brown that it is imperative that the federal government step-up to assist states across the country if we are to avoid long-term catastrophic harm to education and all other public services in the coming years. Add your voice to the call to secure federal aid!
For those chapters and locals active in bargaining over conditions for resumption of fall classes, we send our goodwill and solidarity. We know many of you are working under very difficult conditions and that together, in solidarity, we model the kind of solutions needed more widely in our society. Stay strong, stay well, and let’s cover each other’s back to advance a more caring, free, and just public sphere.
Michael Dreiling, President
American Association of University Professors of Oregon