UOG leaders support Bill 197

UOG President Thomas Krise reads his written testimony on Bill 197-35.

The current and past presidents of the University of Guam appeared before the legislature Friday morning to endorse a bill introduced by Senator Amanda Shelton.

Bill 197-35 seeks to update the UOG charter to support the university’s program, procurement and financial flexibility so it can keep up with the times.

The bill’s provisions allow the university to go into public-private partnerships, enter into short-term borrowing arrangements on an ongoing basis without legal action, and create different employment systems.

UOG President Thomas Krise said Bill 197-35 allows the Board of Regents to create a new class of employees called professional, technical, federal and externally funded employees.

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“This is a class of highly skilled employees who have college degrees or technical certifications that do not require civil service protections. The second element of this bill pertains to student employees. The bill exempts student hires from being assessed charges related to employee benefits of full-time employees of the government,” Krise said.

Meanwhile, former UOG President Robert Underwood said the university should start thinking about creating alternative sources of revenue so it could be more independent from government appropriations.

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“To achieve greater autonomy, the university is no longer just another GovGuam agency dependent upon public funding. In 2002 … in fact, 2002 was the last year in which 50 percent of the money spent by the university was provided by GovGuam operations, that’s over 17 years ago Since that time, the percentage of GovGuam support has continued to decline. This is the product of flat-funding the university,” Underwood said.

UOG would have to make these changes if it wants to become a 21st-century university, according to the university officials.