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Campus Corner: University of Oregon Board of Trustees; A Renovated EMU

ATQ's once a week update on your non-athletic University of Oregon news.

Campus Corner is a new weekly feature here at ATQ. The purpose is to keep alunmi updated on non-athletic happenings and University affairs. We understand this post isn't for everyone, and isn't the main focus of our site, but believe that there is sufficient interest to justify this once a week.

Oregon finally gets it board of trustees:

After a multi-year fight that climaxed with the ouster of former UO President Richard Lariviere, the University of Oregon is finally out from under the thumb of the incompetent State Board of Higher Education and has its own board of trustees. The 14-person board doesn't have a lot of names that most people would know, but includes several heavy-hitters within UO circles, including former OUS board member Allyn Ford, Connie Ballmer, wife of Microsoft CEO Steve and UO almuna, Chuck Lillis, major benefactor of the Lillis College of Business, and Ross Kari, UO alumnus and CFO of Freddie Mac. The board is effective July 1, 2014, though they may at this time take up business that won't go into effect until that date.

It will take some time to see exactly what effect this has on the University, but the key is that the new board is responsible only to the University of Oregon, wheras the old State Board of High Education (presided by the odious Matt Donegan, whose untruthfulness during the Lariviere scandal should permanently render him unfit for public office) was dominated by interests that saw UO as a cash cow for funnelling funds to other parts of the system. While we certainly want all of Oregon's universities to be strong and propser, I believe that allowing the big schools, UO, OSU, and PSU, to have their own boards will allow them to achieve new fundraising heights and make investment decisions that will put them on better footing financially, even if it hurts the directional schools in the short run.

One potential pitfall is that University staff members on the board are currently allowed to vote on issues of pay, a potential conflict of interest, though language fixing that loophole is expected to be passed in the next legislative session.

EMU renovation and expansion to begin:

There are a lot of buildings on campus that time forgot (hello, Onyx Bridge), but for being one of the most important buildings on campus, it's inexplicable that the EMU was allowed to deteriorate to the level that it had. That all changes next month, when the UO will begin a 2 1/2 year renovation and expansion of the student union building. Essentially, the historical western side of the building will be renovated, while the drab, confusing, 1970s era eastern side will be torn down and completely replaced. The new building will include improved technology and student organization place, as well as a bike shop, theater, and pub. Grand opening will be June, 2016.

The price tag is steep, at $95 million, and students will be paying a fee of $67 per term for a long time to pay off the bonds. But the building was not at all functional for today's needs and the renovation is badly needed. The expansion and renovation has its own website, where you can see renderings of the new digs.