Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 99: Planning an Open University for Massachusetts

Date: 04/18/1973
Issuer: Francis W. Sargent

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, we have just experienced a decade of unprecedented financial commitment to public higher education by the government of Massachusetts, and

WHEREAS, our state university, state colleges, community colleges and technical institutes warranted greatly increased support and development and substantial amounts of money have been invested in these institutions, resulting in their unprecedented growth, and

WHEREAS, in spite of this expansion of public higher education in the Commonwealth, the nature of the instruction and the pattern of awarding degrees have followed the traditional format; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth is now faced with a number of serious problems in the area of higher education - to wit:

Resources: there is a need to extend the use of, rather than duplicate, the educational resources and instruction currently available at private higher education institutions in the Commonwealth;

Access: there is a need to provide continuing access to post-secondary education opportunities for a much broader age range and economic spectrum of the population than has ever been served before;

Options: there is a need to create a more flexible, diversified, non-traditional higher education instructional system so that citizens in the Commonwealth can exercise more options in their pursuit of higher education; and

WHEREAS, all of these needs must be addressed now - at a time when the Commonwealth is experiencing a financial crisis that precludes an unlimited investment in higher education; and

WHEREAS, after careful studies of alternative forms of higher education in other countries and in other states, and after a preliminary assessment of the needs of Massachusetts, the Board of Higher Education has recommended that a professional Task Force be created to plan an Open University for the Common- wealth, such Task Force to serve from now until December 31, 1973;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Francis W. Sargent, Governor of the Commonwealth, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Supreme Executive Magistrate, do hereby order as follows:

  1. A Task Force of professional educators shall work from this day until December 30, 1973 to plan an Open University for the Commonwealth, under the Chairmanship of the Provost and Director of the Massachusetts State College System. The Task Force shall include representatives from both public and private higher education institutions and other agencies with interest and expertise. It shall prepare specific plans and proposals with regard to programs, projected enrollment, location and kinds of services and such other information as may be necessary to offer educational services.
  2. An Open University Advisory Council composed of at least 15 laymen broadly representative of the age groups to be served and the several regions of the Commonwealth shall be formed to review the proposals and oversee the work of the Task Force. The Council shall make public such comments as it deems appropriate to responsible public officials including the Board of Higher Education, the Secretary of Educational Affairs, and the General Court.
  3. The Task Force and Council shall, in discharging their responsibilities, consult with and receive the full support and assistance from all state agencies, including, but not limited to, those concerned with education, human services, veterans' services, the elderly, and manpower training.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 18th day of April in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and seventy-three and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and ninety-seventh.



Commonwealth of Massachusetts


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