Proposed Dixie partnership not good for either school

The proposed partnership between the U and Dixie State College is struggling again.

The plan to turn Dixie into a U satellite campus under the title U of U-St. George has been plagued by controversy on both sides, and is on hold because of the smaller school’s inability to afford the transition. However, with fair opposition from the communities of both schools, the hold might be a blessing in disguise.

The U was originally approached by Dixie administrators interested in a partnership, but opposition immediately mounted at the possibility that Dixie might lose its cherished title, “Dixie,” and its Rebel mascot because they are considered connotations of pro-slavery sentiments. U President Michael Young said he would not allow Dixie to keep either.

Aside from the emotions tied up with Dixie losing its identity, many at the college worry about drastic tuition increases and the loss of governance as the result of U partnership. Although the plan was first introduced as a partnership where Dixie would retain its autonomy, it eventually changed to include replacing Dixie’s Board of Trustees with the U’s trustees, and with Dixie President Stephen Nadauld acting as a Chancellor under Young, who would ultimately be the president of U of U-St. George. Eventually, the U would acquire the school as another campus.

The first concept would operate like the University of California system, with each university included being its own unit: UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UCLA, etc. However, the proposed partnership as it stands would be more like the Texas A&M University system, where each campus is the same unit in different locations, governed by the same Board of Trustees and president.

Students and faculty at the U who opposed the plan didn’t feel as though the U was getting much out of the bargain. The admittedly smaller Dixie doesn’t have as much to offer the accomplished university beside its student body and future growth. With the economy in distress, U administrators and faculty are looking for student bodies in the classroom as sources of tuition and student fees. However, the financial prospects of an increase in students doesn’t completely negate the lack of other benefits.

Hanging in the Gardner Student Center at Dixie is a banner that reads, “A deal is only good if it is fair to all.” The same can be said for a deal that is fair to no one. With neither community completely willing to compromise, and both schools questioning the worth of a partnership, sustaining the plan during several years is more work than it’s worth. With the economy putting a freeze on progress, the U should use the opportunity to kill the proposed Dixie partnership.

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