Union grad honored by nomination

By Dick Mason, The Observer September 09, 2013 10:21 am

Taylor Sarman may serve on new Oregon State board of trustees 

Taylor Sarman, a 2012 Union High School graduate, is on the verge of making history at Oregon State University.

Sarman, a sophomore at the Corvallis school, has been nominated by Gov. John Kitzhaber for an appointment to the new OSU Board of Trustees. Sarman’s appointment now must approved by the State Senate. 

Sarman would be a voting member of the board and serve as its student representative. 

“I’m really excited and honored to be nominated by the governor,” Sarman said.

The 14-member board of trustees, which will begin operating July 2014, will have the authority to hire the university president, issue bonds and set tuition. Tuition rates will be subject to the oversight of the Higher Education Coordinating Council and the Legislature. 

OSU President Ed Ray chose to form a board of trustees earlier this summer after the Legislature passed a bill permitting OSU, the University of Oregon and Portland State University to each have a board of trustees. The boards will essentially take on the role of the State Board of Higher Education has now. The state board has overseen all OUS institutions since the early 1930s.

The State Senate will vote on whether to confirm Sarman as a member of the OSU Board of Trustees on Sept. 18. 

Sarman, if confirmed, said he would view himself as voice for all of OSU’s students.

“I can tell you it would be a big responsibility to represent 25,000 students,” Sarman said.

Holding down the cost of OSU’s tuition would be a major focus of Sarman.

“A lot of students are struggling to receive a higher education,” Sarman said. “For a lot of them it is a question of textbooks or food? I would want to maintain a low cost of tuition as much as possible.”

He noted that high tuition across the United States is forcing students to take out loans. He noted that many students in the United States graduate from college with a debt of at least $25,000. Sarman wants to do what he can to address this problem by keeping tuition affordable.

“I’m committed to making higher education easier to get for my peers,’’ Sarman said.

Sarman also wants to help maintain student access to professors by working to keep OSU’s student to faculty ratio as low as it can be. 

“I want to make sure that students have easy access to their professors so that they can get the help they need,’’ Sarman said.

Sarman’s name was submitted to Kitzhaber for consideration by Ray. University presidents can make recommendations for board of trustee members but the governor ultimately decides who will be appointed, pending Senate confirmation.

“All of the nominees (for the OSU Board of Trustees) are great leaders,” Sarman said. “It would be an honor for me to work alongside them.”

Sarman is active in student government at OSU where he is its executive director of government relations for the Associated Students of OSU. He oversees lobbying efforts on the local, state and federal levels on issues affecting OSU students. 

Sarman said that serving as a member of the board of trustees would put his time management skills to the test.

“That is a golden question.” Sarman said. “Finding the balance between being a student and student leader.”

Sarman has a wealth of experience working as a student leader.

At Union, Sarman was an active member of its Future Business Leaders of America chapter, holding state and national positions. He served as national FBLA president in 2011-12, a position which required him to travel extensively during his senior year of high school. 

Sarman credits a mindset gained from growing up in Northeast Oregon with helping him succeed as a student leader at the college level.

“The real focus (in Northeast Oregon) of looking out for your neighbor,” he said. “That is the mentality I have taken with me.”

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