OU's Boren, OSU's Hargis say SQ 744 could lead to tuition increases
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Thursday, September 23, 2010
9/23/10 at 8:14 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - The presidents of the state's two largest universities said Wednesday that passage of State Question 744, which deals with funding of common education, could lead to double-digit tuition increases.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren and Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis asked the Yes on 744 campaign to pull a television advertisement that uses the logos of the two universities.
They said the logos were used without authorization.
Walton Robinson, the campaign's communications director, would not say whether the advertisements would continue.
Boren and Hargis said in a joint statement that they are concerned that the advertisements could lead viewers to believe that the universities support the ballot measure.
"In fact, passage of State Question 744 is likely to lead to multimillion-dollar cuts in higher education and could force tuition and cost increases for our students and their families ranging from 15 percent to 20 percent per year for up to three years in a row," their statement said.
SQ 744 would require the state to increase per-pupil spending to the regional average. It is among 11 state questions on the Nov. 2 ballot.
The Oklahoma Policy Institute said the measure would cost $1.7 billion over three years.
The presidents' statement said:
"Passage could lead to damaging cuts in courses and programs.
"We strongly support improved funding for K through 12 education, however, State Question 744 provides no revenue sources to pay for its mandates.
"Without new revenue sources, it would cause destructive cuts in other vital state services, like higher education, vocational-technical education, highways, law enforcement and medical services.
"We do not recommend how anyone should vote, but we feel a responsibility to inform Oklahomans about the potential impact of this proposal."
Michael Kolenc, the Yes on 744 campaign's manager, said the advertisements do not imply that OU and OSU either support or oppose the state question.
State law appears to prohibit Boren and Hargis from taking a position on the state question, Kolenc added.
"We call on Presidents Boren and Hargis to follow the spirit and letter of the law," he said.
Gary Shutt, a spokesman for OSU, said the presidents aren't advocating for or against State Question 744 but are pointing out concerns with the proposal.
The university presidents' statement comes a day after Gov. Brad Henry said he would be the honorary chairman of the One Oklahoma Coalition, which opposes SQ 744.
Original Print Headline: OU, OSU execsforesee harm inschool fund plan
Barbara Hoberock (405) 528-2465
OU President David Boren (left) and OSU President Burns Hargis: They say State Question 744 could lead to massive increases in tuition. The two have asked the Yes on 744 campaign to discontinue a television ad that uses the universities' logos without permission.