June 2, 2004
The Arizona Board of Regents will consider Thursday whether to pursue a plan to meet Arizona’s growing demand for higher education by creating two regional universities.
Critics say the plan would create a second-class university system and would effectively repeal Arizona State University’s and the University of Arizona’s constitutional mandates to educate. Others questioned the potential cost.
Board president Chris Herstam, who made the plan public in late May, began developing it in February with Arizona’s three university presidents. The plan is designed to tackle enrollment growth, projected to increase 48 percent to 170,000 students in 15 years, as well as affordability and access.
"I would encourage other models to be submitted," Herstam said.
The board will meet in a special session to consider forming a committee to study Herstam’s plan, which would create two regional universities that, along with Northern Arizona University, would focus on undergraduate education.
ASU and UA would remain research institutions. ASU’s West campus would be renamed Central Arizona University, while UA South in Sierra Vista would merge with NAU-Yuma to become Southern Arizona University.
Calderon and other critics applauded Herstam’s efforts to start a dialogue.
Maricopa Community College District Chancellor Rufus Glasper will meet today with representatives from other community college districts to discuss Herstam’s plan and its potential impact.
"We would like to know a little bit more about the plan," Glasper said.
Arizona Board of Regents meeting
When: 9 a.m. to noon Thursday
Where: Arizona Ballroom, Memorial Union, Arizona State University, Tempe Information: (602) 229-2500