Student journalists at Utah Valley State College have lambasted the Utah Board of Regents' hesitant response to the school's overture to offer more four-year degrees.
The current edition of The College Times, a weekly campus newspaper distributed each Wednesday, called members of the state's higher education governing board "clueless," "oblivious" and a "tantrum-prone group of regents who are catering to every interest except the most important - students.""The regents should stop pandering to administrators and officials from other Utah universities," reads the paper's editorial. "So it might mean curtailing funding and investment at one of Utah's four-year schools. Big deal. Isn't this whole barrel of monkeys referred to as the `system' of higher education? Doesn't every school have one common goal, which is to educate the masses?
"Why, then, the embarrassing hesitation and complaining by the regents? Loosen up the reins, regents, and watch this place explode. We dare you."
The editorial was endorsed by members of the campus paper's editorial board, consisting of four student editors and a faculty adviser.
The proposal to broaden UVSC's educational scope has been placed on the agenda for discussion during the March meeting. Additional data about the school's ability to expand its programs to add a litany of four- and two-year degrees by 2003 also was requested by the board.
Regent Aileen Clyde was surprised at the reaction by the students. The paper is mailed to the former UVSC trustee's Springville house each week.
Clyde said the regents were not asked to make a decision on the proposal to change UVSC's mission statement at last week's meeting.
The board had questions about a prior request by the college to offer a four-year integrated studies degree, and the school came back last week with a proposal to completely alter its growth plan, she said.
UVSC's case is being worked through the traditional process. The higher education governing panel also must be very cautious to ensure programs and services are not duplicated within the system of nine colleges and universities, she said.
"If we seem to be cool, in fact we're being deliberate," Clyde said. "We have listened, and we are looking at the proposition. We must balance the issue throughout the system."
The paper has not yet received letters to the editor for or against the regents' response, said Times Editor John Bernhard.
"(But) the overwhelmingly general consensus is that there is a lack of foresight on the part of the regents," he said.
Steve Beck, student government president, said the "in your face" approach won't win any allies on the board. Beck characterized the response from the board to the proposal to revise the mission statement as "cool."
"I have my ideas about how they are going to respond," Beck said about the editorial. "Some aren't going to be happy, but people are fed up with the run-around. We feel like we are being stone-walled."
Bernhard said UVSC students don't want the school to immediately be likened to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Logan's Utah State University or Ogden's Weber State University. The 14,000-student Orem school should grow gradually, he said.
But students at UVSC who can't afford to commute or move to complete a bachelor's degree desperately need the integrated studies degree proposed to the regents last year, he said.
Supporters of the broadened mission statement say low Utah County salaries, coupled with large family sizes, make it tough for students to go to school.
President Kerry D. Romesburg said this week he felt the regents were "open to looking at the information" presented by UVSC administrators and student leaders.