Dunshee (D-44thLD) offered this:
”…Perhaps some day Snohomish County will have an independent university.
That would be fine with me. Communities with branches debate this option but so far none have seen it as desirable.
I do think the reality of Olympia is that a four year independent is not possible. This is just handicapping the probability of success. Since
Evergreen was created in the 1970s the legislature has not created a stand alone but has used branch campuses to meet need. These have been very successful and well received in their communities. I think it will be very hard to convince legislators from across the state to return to an option turned away from for some very good reasons. We are moving to a unified system in higher education like California and many other states. It is best for students and taxpayers…”
From Mike Sells (D-38thLD):
”…Finally, I don't know of too many 4 year stand alone institutions which are opened up in this day and age without some previous affiliation. Generally, they are grown starting from different permutations of 2 year programs that go beyond community college type AA degrees. In talking with Jerry Cornfield of the Herald last week, he noted his bias for a 4 year stand alone. I asked him where he went to school to get his degree. It was UC Santa Barbara. "How did it start?" I asked him. He said it started as a two year type community college. I suppose that begs the question of why not turn a community college into a 4 year baccalaureate delivery institution, and we do have some pilot programs going on in the state to deliver those degrees within community colleges. (Senator Kilmer, Kitsap County, also introduced a bill this week for a study of 4 year institution in his area.) My concern would be the loss in the process of the mission of those community colleges, particularly with regards to workforce education in skilled trades areas. In the beginning, however, they can be a great feeder into a new baccalaureate degree institution, especially in the area of liberal arts…”
And this from Senator Berkey (D-38thLD):
”…Our community is strongly behind this project and I believe the opposition to this proposal is overstated. The existing research universities, regional institutions, and community colleges will all have different missions and a different student mix than a new regional polytechnic institution. The most serious opposition is coming from the UW-Bothell (as we expected)…””… I do not want to spend a lot of time and space here rehashing the arguments for the four year university option or the community college/upper division option. A thorough analysis is contained in the report to the Higher Education Coordinating Board by NBBJ and MGT of America, Inc. You can find this report at the HECB Research website at http://www.hecb.wa.gov/research/issues/NSIS-RFPpage.asp then click on Final Report-Assessment of Higher Education Needs of Snohomish, Island, and Skagit Counties (SIS), which I would encourage you to download and read. Our Local Advisory Committee voted 9 to 1 to recommend the four year university option (Alternative 1) and the branch campus option was ranked 5 out of the 8 alternatives studied…”
I strongly encourage you to read the comments from each of these legislators in the original post here.
At the time, I was a bit curious that I hadn’t seen anything from Jerry Cornfield, political columnist for The Everett Herald about this; especially since Rep. Sells had mentioned him in his comments. Then, in his February 18th column, came this:
How to institute our own institute By Jerry Cornfield – Herald Columnist.
Cornfield opens up with a quick, three-step plan to achieve the goal of a new State College in Everett:
"1. Close the University of Washington's Bothell campus.
2. Move everything not bolted down to a site in Snohomish County.
3. Give the campus a new name, say Washington Institute of Technology, and then market it madly.
It's simple and not so theoretical…”
He goes on to say that he has ”… learned the idea of shuttering UW-Bothell is coming up in conversations among those most deeply engaged in this university debate.” He suggests that proponents of the above mentioned proposal take a page from Sonics team owner Clay Bennett who wants the state to help him move the basketball team from Seattle to Renton. He writes:
”…Bennett argues it's all about protecting a valued community treasure. The bottom line is he wants the state to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in an underperforming asset.
Washington Institute of Technology backers should be able to do better than the cellar-scraping Sonics.
UW-Bothell, through the actions and inaction of others, at this point is likewise an underperforming asset of the state higher education system.
Moving it from anonymity in a suburb to prominence in a city such as Everett will give it the visibility needed for success.
Slapping on a new name and giving it a new mission will create a buzz, and you can leave the University of Washington in charge…”
Cornfield lays out a pretty interesting chess board. He has obviously given this some serious thought (or has listened intently to some very interested people). He ends with this:
”The University of Washington would seem stronger with a campus devoted to technology under its wing. Political victory can be shared equally by those pushing a four-year university and those pushing the UW franchise.
I see the board set and pieces in place. Time to make a move.”
It seems the game is in play. Cornfield writes today:
”University of Washington President Mark Emmert set me straight this week:
No one is talking about shutting down the Bothell campus and moving it north as a new four-year university.
There are plenty of people - Emmert is one of them - talking about the UW opening a branch campus in the Everett area with a curriculum bent toward polytechnic instruction. A formal announcement may be made soon...”
According to Cornfield, Emmert was in town last week to meet with Everett Mayor, Ray Stephanson as well as a contingent from the House – Dunshee, Sells, and Rep. Bill Fromhold (D-49thLD), Chair of the Capital Budget Committee (Dunshee and Sells are on the committee as well). From what Cornfield writes, it would appear that the folks who are pushing for the “UW-Everett” route are working quickly to ensure that that plan doesn’t somehow get de-railed by some competing vision.
”Fromhold's presence was pivotal. He is writing the House of Representatives capital budget and will propose a sum of money for a new higher education option in north Snohomish, Island and Skagit counties.
Previously, Gov. Chris Gregoire placed $2 million in her proposed budget for developing a plan on where to put a regional university and how it should be run.
State Sen. Jean Berkey, D-Everett, responded with legislation steering those dollars toward one outcome: a four-year university run independently of the UW.
Fromhold is not of that mindset. Neither are Sells, Dunshee and Stephanson. They're fans of branch campuses as a faster means of increasing college instruction in a community.
When Fromhold rolls out his proposed budget next month, look for at least $2 million plus a directive that it be spent pouring the foundation of a branch campus.”
From what I am reading, it would appear that Everett is destined to become a college town. The only question that remains is will your sweater say “UW-Everett” or “W.I.T.”
Vice-chair, Democracy for Snohomish County