Kitzhaber backs independent university boards

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber says he supports giving universities independent governing boards.

Kitzhaber asked his education policy board on Thursday to come up with legislation that would allow one or more universities to have an independent governing board. He asks the Oregon Education Investment Board to figure out how the concept might work and to propose a bill for the Legislature in 2013.

A longstanding debate about university governing boards heated up last week, when University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere was told he would be fired. Lariviere had aggressively pushed for the UO to have more independence from the university system.

Supporters of the concept say universities should be able to make more of their decisions locally without having them ratified by the chancellor's office, which oversees seven institutions.