40th anniversary of University of Cincinnati state affiliation

By: Eira Tansey

Bennis Campaign 1976Many of us are looking forward to 2019, when the University celebrates its bicentennial. But another important anniversary is already upon us. On July 1, 1977, the University will mark its 40th anniversary as a state-affiliated institution. Prior to 1977, the University of Cincinnati was overseen by the City of Cincinnati.

The path towards state affiliation started between 1967-1968, when the university became a “municipally-sponsored, state-affiliated institution” (see also the 1967 amendment to the City of Cincinnati charter). This allowed the city to retain local control of the university while receiving additional funding from the state. Additional state funding was critical for the continued operation of the university, which was in financial trouble. The 1960-1970s were a time of other state affiliation efforts, with the University of Akron, University of Toledo, and Youngstown Community College “going state.”

In early 1976, the statehouse passed legislation enabling UC to begin the official conversion process. On April 9, 1976, the Board of Directors of UC, the city of Cincinnati, and the Ohio Board of Regents initiated an agreement to begin the conversion process. City of Cincinnati voters approved this in an election on June 8 (see also the 1976 amendment to the City of Cincinnati charter). State affiliation meant a significant increase in state funding, as well as a reduction of local property taxes and student tuition. At the time, UC became Ohio’s twelfth fully state-supported university.

State Affliation in the News Record

Many issues had to be sorted out with the move towards state affiliation, such as informing federal agencies which had grants and contracts with UC, transitioning employees into the state retirement plans, reconciling university personnel policies with state policies, monitoring subsidies to ensure parity with other Ohio state-supported institutions, reviewing student fees, and changing building and zoning codes.

The following resources have more information about state conversion:

  • Board of Trustees minutes and supporting papers
  • The News Record (the 1960s and 1970s issues are digitized)
  • Collection UA-76-23, State Affiliation campaign records
  • President Warren Bennis’s June 30, 1977 summary report on conversion (digitized document)
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