Concerning the recent announcement that the governor will request a merger with the W and MSU, I would like to say that I am in favor of it. I do realize all that it could possibly entail, but my position comes from, I believe, a practical view.
There are many (faculty, students, and alumni) who are beginning to strategize in order to fight this "tooth and nail" (as one professor eloquently put it). I, however, would like all of us to simply breathe, slow down for a few seconds, and realize
THIS IS JUST A FREAKIN ANNOUNCEMENT
It very well could be months before any final decision is made, and even if the state does decide to merge, the transition could take a year or two or three... I don't know... No need to freak out. Yet.
But back to the reason I approve of the merger. Let's say we all band together to wage this battle to save this university, and we win. The question I ask is, what exactly are we saving? We are still going to be left with a university that is struggling for money, struggling for students, struggling for faculty, struggling for more and better programs, and struggling for a better campus.
I recognize the fear that all of the W, its history, its personality, its traditions, and its specialization in women's studies and history, will be absorbed and essentially lost in the ginormous institute that is MSU. And I do greatly love the W for all these things. I like the smaller classes. I like that the professors know my name. I like that I can walk to all my classes and save my gas. I like that we have social clubs instead of sororities full of carbon copies. Of course I don't want that to be lost. But my hope is that maybe it won't have to be. I don't see a problem with both campuses offering core classes. MSU is a technical school. They can keep that. We can keep all our specialties as well. We can keep our housing. There's no need to require students to drive between towns to get all their classes.
I also recognize the fear of job loss. And that point is not easy to debate, so I won't. I only know that the W was already planning on cutting 70 jobs over the next two years. Well to be more accurate, I only heard that and I'm not sure of the original source, so I really don't know for sure.
In the long run, I believe a merger will be the best decision. The state does not need (and cannot support) 7 universities. And it especially does not need two universities half an hour apart. I know the tradition, "Boys go to State, girls go to the W. We're sister schools." But change is inevitable. I say embrace it, and make it work for you. If we could keep our personality and history, then what will it hurt? If we become a fine arts extension, those with degrees from here not in fine arts may not have to worry, employers might just look at the MSU part of the name. And for those who, being caught in the transition, fear having to completely restructure their schedules, don't worry. I believe that State will have to honor what y'all have already done and not require you to switch to their curriculum, which may require starting over. I think they will let you finish as if you were at the W.
That is my opinion and my position. For those who oppose this, go ahead and do something. However you feel, there's no need to sit by and watch things happen. Be active!
My only request: please wait until I graduate. I cannot afford MSU's tuition. That is, after all, why I came to the W.