Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Huntsman makes it official, college to become a university

In a longer than necessary ceremony Utah governor Jon Huntsman signed SB 70 that will give UVSC an extra $8 million in continuing funds that will transform the state college into a level II university come July of 2008.

The Pipeline won't bore you with all the pomp and circumstance, will let The Herald, Des News, and Salt Lake Trib take care of that, but we did want to share some observations that perhaps might shed some light on this very interesting time at UVSC.

All lot of folks have made a big deal about who attended Monday's celebration, but it was some notable absences that got our attention; namely faculty members. Make no mistake, this was a packed event with all the chairs full, and plenty of folks standing on the sides of the Grande Ballroom. But we didn't see a lot of faculty members. Perhaps it was because it was right in the middle of Monday classes, but it seemed strange that there were more faculty at last month's Ira Fulton celebration then at this one.

With Mormon leader Thomas Monson on hand there was plenty of references to the LDS church and its role at UVSC...one of the strangest came from UVSC president Bill Sederburg. While announcing some dignitaries he said "We have Linda Walton here and she is....what is she again? (looking to his right-hand man Cameron Martin for help with Walton's title) Oh yes, she is the campus chaplain. We also have Reverend Jackson here too...so we have balance with the LDS influence here." It was a tiny awkward moment that seemed to speak volumes about how Sederburg is always walking the fine line of the LDS community issue.

Of course no one is more awkward then "UVSC's Biggest Fan" and lone voice on the Board of Regents Marlon "No High School Diploma" Snow who at one point reduced the program to a Friar's Club Roast with a series of lame jokes, back slaps, and a demeanor that said that this whole transition was "Good Ol' Boy" approved.

Which makes one wonder how much UVSC had to give away to get so much so fast from the state legislature. One of the first speakers on the program was Rep. Dave Clark from St. George, you was one of the most vocal proponents of the bill in the House. Why on earth would a Washington County guy speak up for UVSC, when Utah County has such a tight hold on legislative leadership? Perhaps Clark sees the day when he will need to call in a favor on behalf of Dixie. Or maybe he is just a nice guy.

The Pipeline spoke to a reporter who worked on the hill during the recent legislative session, and he got the impression that UVSC had made assurances to key conservative leaders that it would not follow the liberal path of the University of Utah. It is still much too early to tell if UVSC's promotion to university status will be paid for with increased scrutiny from Utah County's powerful conservative caucus. But higher ed usually finds a way to get people like Sen. Margaret Dayton in a huff. It is only a matter of time.

1 comment:

The Pipeline said...

On Rep. Craig Frank's blog he has included some more pictures of the event as well as some commentary.

Check it out