State higher ed reorganization was hot issue in '89
Twenty years ago this month, the Board of Regents and the University system released dueling reports calling for overhaul of the state’s public higher education system. The release of the reports underscored the tensions that developed between the regents and the Board of Trustees.
The Commission on the Future of the University, commissioned by UMass President David C. Knapp with the trustees’ support and chaired by former University of California president David Saxon, called for bringing the University of Lowell and Southeastern Massachusetts University in Dartmouth into the three-campus UMass system.
The Saxon Commission proposed creating a new board of trustees for the five-campus University system and investing the board with governance authority for program review, financial management, admissions and other policies. The plan also called for the University to receive a direct state appropriation to be allocated by the trustees.
Stung by the Saxon report, Chancellor of Higher Education Franklyn Jenifer fired back a day later with his own reorganization plan calling for combining the University’s Amherst and Worcester campuses under a president’s office in Amherst and making UMass Boston a freestanding institution.
Walking the fine line between the two boards, Chancellor Joseph Duffey said both reports “attempt to respond to the same question: how do we build a strong, quality university within public higher education in Massachusetts?”
Duffey called on the regents to weigh each plan before deciding on a future course.
March 25, 2009.