Eastern merger modeled after Penn State system

Posted Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 6:08pm

For decades Price, Utah, acted as home for the College of Eastern Utah, an unassuming small institution which produced a large number of graduates who went on to become leaders in their fields. Doctors, lawyers, academics, university presidents and businessmen and women all list CEU on the CV’s. However, six years ago the Utah Board of Regents voted to integrate CEU with the much larger Utah State University ending an era of independence but ensuring a new age of opportunity for both students and faculty while retaining our campuses unique identity as the Golden Eagles.

Recent meetings and information from administration to USU Eastern faculty have insinuated a change in that initial agreement from years ago where USU Eastern will in fact, not keep its unique identity. What is being proposed is a type of integration similar to that in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth System of Higher Education or “Penn State System.” This organization structure is built upon a wheel and spoke system where several small universities radiate out from one large central campus which houses the governing body and usually the glut of students.

The “Penn State” system operates with the familiar main campus in State College, PA., acting as the controlling center for several smaller branches of the university scattered throughout the state all under the formers banner of the “Nittany Lions”. The main campus houses the office of the President who in the end has all governing power for each campus, however, each campus holds an office of a chancellor much like the structure USU Eastern currently has.

The main difference between the “Penn State” system of higher ed. and the relationship between USU Eastern and USU is the unique identity the Price Campus retains as the Golden Eagles. If the integration occurs as planned, USU Eastern will lose its beloved and familiar Emmitt the Golden Eagle in favor of the Logan mascot, “Big Blue.” This system, while making each campus a smaller mirror image satellite of the main campus will provide a stronger recruiting advantage for the main university which can place students in its system without asking them to relocate the sometimes great distances, something that may be advantages to a small campus such as it is in Price.

The pull of a major university is undeniable, while the backlash in the local community may overshadow the benefits it may pose in bringing more students to the area and providing more degree options in the future. The only questions remaining amongst those at USU Eastern is whether these incentives are worth losing our beloved school colors and mascot.

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