WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma is in the top two in the nation among all comprehensive public universities in National Merit Scholars enrolled per capita;


WHEREAS, over the past eight years, the university has added to its roster of Rhodes Scholars, placing OU in the top five in the nation;


WHEREAS, OU this year enrolled the highest ranked freshman class ever enrolled at a public university in state history;


WHEREAS, over the past several years the OU leadership together with students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters have moved the university forward at an incredible pace, resulting in a donor base that has increased four-fold;


WHEREAS, OU supporters have helped the university triple the number of endowed faculty positions, and three-fourths of the money raised through the university’s Reach for Excellence Campaign has gone into endowment funds, the earnings from which are included in the university’s budget for faculty support and student scholarships;


WHEREAS, over the past four years OU has taken major steps to redirect funds from administrative areas directly to the university’s academic mission and student services and, as a result, has, at 5 percent, one of the lowest percentages of administrative costs among all colleges and universities;


WHEREAS, the university has been able to keep its costs to students at the bottom of all comparable public universities and, in fact, has the lowest tuition and fees in the Big 12;


WHEREAS, because of the $600 million shortfall in state revenues, the university is facing one of its greatest challenges in its 113-year history;


WHEREAS, the university stands at a crossroads in which a decision must be reached to either make cuts in the budget, which will severely impact the excellence of the university’s academic programs, or adjust tuition and fees to come closer to the Big 12 average;


WHEREAS, need-based tuition waivers will be increased by the same percentages as any increase in tuition and the recently announced $2 million Sooner Heritage Scholarships Campaign is designed to provide more funding for scholarships for students from low- and middle- income families so that no student with the potential for success at OU is turned away for financial reasons;


WHEREAS, even after hiring freezes and staff and academic cuts, the OU Norman campus still faces a $19 million shortfall which, without a tuition and fee increase, will necessitate measures, possibly including furlough days, a drastic cut in library periodical subscriptions, elimination of 800 to 900 courses and class sections, and implementation of Reductions in Force;


WHEREAS, such measures would undo much of the progress that the university has made and possibly lead to significant faculty departures and a marked increase in student to faculty ratios, as occurred following the budget crisis of 1982;


WHEREAS, the slow recovery of the economy makes further decreases in state revenues likely;


WHEREAS, as representatives of the faculty at the University of Oklahoma, the Faculty Senate has, as one of its primary duties, the responsibility to protect and enhance the mission of the university;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the University of Oklahoma Faculty Senate urges the Oklahoma Legislature to pass House Bill 1748 and a companion Senate bill that, as has been done in 40 other states, would allow OU, subject to the approval of the OU Board of Regents and the State Regents for Higher Education, to establish tuition and fees.