The UHP’s “Vern Article” in the Hatchet

19 Sep

If you haven’t picked up today’s copy of the Hatchet, check out this article online.   We’ve read it already, but have a few things to add (and a touch of correction.)

1) It’s not quite right to say the UHP is eyeing space on the Vern. Rather, the UHP is being eyed by higher administration to expand into space available on the Vern.  That’s why Senior Vice Provost Forrest Maltzman has attended these two Town Hall meetings.  His boss, Provost Lerman (and his boss, President Knapp) want to make a significant investment in the UHP to expand our resources and our reach.  They want us to become a national model.

2) Student opposition to the dual campus plan is focused most strongly on moving optional freshmen year housing to West Hall. There’s a few things to note here.  First, optional Honors housing on the Vern is one small piece of the dual campus plan, so let’s not conflate opposition to housing options with opposition to a dual campus model.  Second, although students generally feel strongly about not moving optional housing — that doesn’t mean they feel it’s that important.  You might hate cilantro, you might feel very strongly that all cilantro should be destroyed and its mention banished from any menu, that doesn’t mean your strong dislike of cilantro is the most important thing to you.  This isn’t meant to belittle the sentiment, but this really is both a normative and positive assertion.  Students should not be choosing to join the 4-year academic program of the UHP because they hope it will guarantee them a spot for one year in the most populated freshmen dorm.  That would be silly. The good thing is, students generally don’t do that. The Hatchet got the data wrong from our freshmen survey — only 5% of incoming freshmen said they would definitely not join the UHP if optional freshmen housing were on the Vern, another 9% said they would probably not. Let’s also remember that it wasn’t that long ago that there was significant student opposition to housing Honors students in Thurston, too.

The article is actually pretty clear about this, but let’s just reiterate that the proposed plan is not a plan to move the UHP to the Vern. Instead, the dual campus plan would give us a presence in Foggy Bottom and on the Vern.  We’d have office space in both locations, students in both locations, faculty in both locations, and courses in both locations.  This is really a new model for integrating the Vern, and we hope that it will be one that provides new opportunities to the UHP and to our students.   And while students have voiced their concerns about different issues, it has always been as part of a continuing conversation about how to identify and develop these opportunities.  We’re fortunate to have such great students.

We’ll have more on this, and we’ll have a forum for students to continue the discussion online soon as well.  In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment here.

You can read the whole article here.


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