Effective July 1, 2014, the University is an independent public body governed by the Board of Trustees. Under Senate Bill 270 (2013), the Board of Trustees has very broad authority to manage and govern the University. While the University will continue to be a governmental entity, it will not be a unit of local or municipal government or a state agency, board, commission or institution for purposes of state statutes or constitutional provisions.
On January 24, 2014, the Board approved a Statement of Governance and Trustee Responsibilities.
The board has every authority necessary or appropriate for the operation of a major public research university, including the authority to:
- Appoint and employ a president and other employees.
- Set tuition, mandatory enrollment fees, and charges, fines and fees for services, facilities, operations and programs, except that the authority to increase resident undergraduate tuition and mandatory enrollment fees is capped at five percent per year absent approval of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission or the Legislature.
- Approve the university budget.
- Manage, invest, and spend all available money without approval of the legislature, the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, or the State Treasurer, except for the portion of the operating budget provided by the state (currently about 5% of the operating budget) and the proceeds of state bonds.
- Borrow money and issue bonds secured by university revenue.
- Acquire, hold, and dispose of any kind of property, real or personal, tangible or intangible. Real property will be held in the name of the "State of Oregon acting by and through the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon."
- Authorize the construction, improvement, and operation of any kind of building or structure.
- Establish any and all university policies.
- Establish, supervise and control all academic and other programs, subject to the authority of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to approve "significant changes in academic programs."
SB 270 has an "effective date" of August 14, 2013, and an "operative date" of July 1, 2014. This means that between now and July 1st the university (including the board when confirmed) may take any action that is necessary for the university to exercise on and after July 1st all of the duties, functions and powers granted by SB 270.
Governor Kitzhaber's nominees were confirmed by the Oregon Senate on November 21, 2013.