This archived article was written by: Mike Overson
Confusion seemed to be at the top of the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting dealing with the proposed merger between Utah State University and the College of Eastern Utah. For the first time since news broke of the proposed merger, members of CEU’s faculty, staff and student population as well as members of the community were able to meet with Sen. Mike Dmitrich and Rep. Brad King, both of Price, to address concerns. From the start, Dmitrich stated he had CEU’s best intention in mind.
Three main points that Dmitrich wanted to make clear were that open enrollment would stay the same, lower division tuition would be set by the board of regents and that all sports programs would remain the same. Rep. King added that he would not support a bill that did not afford protections to CEU’s core mission.
On another point, confusion arose when Dr. Curtis Icard, CEU faculty member, asked whether or not he could guarantee that no jobs would be lost at CEU.
“There are no guarantees in life,” responded Dmitrich.
When asked by Aaron Atwood when these changes would go into effect, Dmitrich responded by saying that this exploratory bill was being worked on now and time in this session is running out. He had originally sought a study, but then thought “If it (the merger) is good enough for next session, why not put it in this one?”
Many people at the forum stated that the repetition of questions going unanswered was a little disconcerting. In addition, this merger seemed to come from nowhere. Dmitrich was quick to point out that this was not new; the legislature had been working on a bill two years ago. He was also involved in that bill too.
Dr. Corey Ewan, CEU faculty member, asked why there were still so many questions if this had been around for two years. He felt legislation that is filled with holes should not be hurried through. To Ewan it seemed as if a political game is being played since 16 businessmen from Price and no educators were involved in meetings to decide whether or not to pursue this venture. Dmitrich insisted that he “doesn’t play political games.”
While Friday’s meeting may have calmed fears, Tuesday’s meeting with Dmitrich may have created even more anxiety. Throughout Tuesday’s meeting Dmitrich stated that he felt the meeting was part of the process and that this was a way to gather information. However, many were stunned when Dmitrich leaned across the table, unaware his microphone was still on, and muttered, “I don’t need to be insulted like this. I don’t need this shit in my life anymore.”