SOU: Rising Higher and Stronger

 On Monday, January 13th, Oregon Representative Peter Buckley gave reassurance to Southern Oregon University faculty, staff and students in regards to the issue of the university’s governance.

This discussion took places in the Stevenson Union at 6 p.m., and consisted of Buckley giving a speech about how “SOU was going to recover.”

Buckley went on to discusses how the three Oregon University systems (Oregon State University, Portland State University and University of Oregon) had reached the point of wanting to become more antonymous.

Buckley went further in-depth about these decisions for the three universities seeking autonomy being caused by the declining of state funding that began in the 1980s, and how the great recession of 2008 was a major breaking point for the already ill-funded university systems.

He echoed this point about the 2008 recession by stating that the “ [ Oregon University system] was considering shutting down community colleges and not having a spring term.”

Through the discussion Buckley also mentioned the 5% decrease in student enrollment at SOU, which did not help the university in terms of finance during these times of educational and finical reconstruction.

One of the options for SOU in particular that was mentioned by one of his fellow university systems members was the idea of SOU becoming a satellite campus of OSU. Buckley followed this by stating that “if SOU became a satellite campus….it would lose all its say in the university system.”

Later he stated that there was a need for more people in charge of higher education to come down to Southern Oregon and see how wonderful SOU is.

Afterwards there was a question and answer section. Buckley stated “I will stay here as long as you want to answer any questions you might have.”

One concerned staff member asked “ why nobody who was in charge of Oregon University system had taken the time to come down here.”

Buckley quickly replied “that it was something that needed to change.”

Overall, the discussion stressed that even though SOU was going through a change in governance, there is no reason to be afraid for the future of the university. Southern Oregon University is going to pull through, and in a metaphoric sense, rise higher and strong than previously before.