Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Bully from ....Prestonsburg?

If House Speaker Greg Stumbo harbored concerns over the administration of Morehead State University he should have expressed them, and sought information about the Morehead Regents and President Andrews before now. By tying his open records request to the regents' opposition to Stumbo's House Bill 260, the Speaker comes off as oppressive, and the Regents look like innocent victims of just another school bully. 

Morehead Regents Vote to Oppose UPike 

This from The Morehead News:
Morehead State University’s Board of Regents unanimously voted Friday (Feb. 17) to adopt a resolution for the Kentucky General Assembly to reject House Bill 260 during the 2012 regular session.

The 11-member board voted during a special called meeting held at the Adron Doran University Center.

“After reviewing House Bill 260, we (MSU) already have very limited resources and have had cuts to the budget time-after-time and the Governor has proposed more cuts, which is about $6.5 million,” said John Merchant, Regents chair.

“We (the Regents) just feel this isn’t the right time to add another public university.”

“This is a big step that our Regents have taken,” said President Wayne D. Andrews. “House Bill 260 would simply take a shrinking pie and divide it further. I am proud of our board, after careful study of the matter and then their decision to oppose it.” ...

Stumbo seeks spending records for Morehead State officials

Read more here:
This from the Herald-Leader:
The sponsor of a bill to make the University of Pikeville a public school has requested spending records for the president and all members of the Board of Regents of Morehead State University, who vigorously oppose the measure.

A Feb. 17 request under the Open Records Act from House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, asks for all records from the past five years showing expenses incurred by Morehead President Wayne Andrews, his staff and all 11 regents paid by the university.

The request asks for expenses related to travel, vacations, conventions, recreation, motor vehicles, country clubs or other memberships and any other items of value.
The debate has created a split between Stumbo and one of his chief lieutenants, House Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, a Morehead alumnus

Read more here:

In addition, the request asks for documents related to the "improvement of the educational opportunities" in the 12-county region of southeastern Kentucky that UPike would serve instead of Morehead.

Stumbo wrote the letter on Friday, the same day that the Morehead Board of Regents voted on a resolution to oppose the plan to make UPike public because of limited resources statewide for higher education. Morehead officials have said that a public UPike — financed with coal severance tax dollars — could hurt Morehead's enrollment and program offerings.

In response, Stumbo issued a statement Friday calling the regents "small and petty."...

He should know.

The report I'm most interested in is the one showing UPike's financial situation. If the school is in trouble, Morehead and every other state university has every right to be concerned. 

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

I heard one of President Patton's top administrators speak about UP last year (just prior to its rebranding from college to university). He explained that when Patton came on board and subsequently brought him on, that the university was in a dire financial situation with debt increasing and enrollment either stagnant or decreasing.

I recalled that one of the initiatives was to identify Appalachian KY students who were academically capable (not nessesarily top tier but capable) who had severe economic disadvantage and get them enrolled. These students would usually qualify for a significant amount of government funding and the UP board of regents were convinced to absorb the remaining tuition expense in the form of internal scholarships. On one hand, it is a noble and well intentioned effort to enroll a few more local students. On the other hand, it was a means of drawing in federal/state funding to the university and most likely did not require a significant increase in personnel or resource expenditures.

I think the bottom line is, they would not be willing to give up control unless there was a problem at UP and as Morehead regents indicate, this is not a good finanical time for anyone. As many suspect, they don't want to be the ones who were in charge when the lights go off, so they are trying to find someone else to pay the electric company.

Not saying we shouldn't try to serve Eastern Kentucky more effectively, but inheriting not only more finanical responsiblity but also the associated debt is going to harm everyone. Kentucky taxpayers should not be footing the bill for either poor management or declining market conditions of UP - what do they think they are a bank?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if anyone has talked to UK or UL med schools about incorporating the UP osteo school into the state medication education ranks?

So what if Alice Lloyd, Asbury, or Kentucky Weslyan decide their bills any more...oops sorry I mean decide that their area of the state is being underserved by the state? What will be the criteria for the commonwealth taking responsibility for absorbing private institutions? Seems to me that the state's interests are better served by letting PU close. I know it sounds rather harsh but in the private sector if your competitor is going out of business because they are not profitable, you don't go buy their failing store and inherit their debt and conditions, you let them close and then absorb their customers and market share.

If anyone in Frankfort would look at how technology is changing education, it would become obvious that even state flagship and regional universities are moving away from increasing geographic expansion through satelite campuses and instead expanding entire programs and degrees into on line electronic instruction where facility maitenance is next to nothing. Eastern is a good example, numbers in satelite campus are dropping due to electronic course offerings and lower expense of community college tuition. Service to students is less about place and more about cost and convenience.

UP is a private institution which needs to remain that way, not a state responsibility which will only serve to diminish resources at other state universities.