UNT board delays study

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Regents discuss legal issues of campus merger during closed session

FORT WORTH — The University of North Texas system regents on Thursday decided they weren’t ready to study the idea of combining the flagship campus in Denton and the medical school in Fort Worth into a single institution.

After discussing the legal issues related to the idea in closed session, the board pulled off its agenda an item that called for a study on whether a reorganization was a good idea.

“I think a little more work is needed,” Chancellor Lee Jackson told about 30 people who remained to hear the decision at the board’s regular meeting at the UNT Health Science Center.

So, for now, there will be no study, he said.

Jackson announced a week ago that the UNT system was considering conducting a study on the reorganization.

“It’s going to be hard to describe exactly where the idea is,” Jackson said after the meeting.

His responsibility will be to answer the board’s questions before asking the board to go forward with a study, he said.

This is a good year to discuss it, Jackson said, because the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University are paving the way.

Texas A&M recently decided to make its health science center part of its main campus in College Station.

According to a press release from Texas A&M, the university plans to have the realignment complete by as early as January 2013.

The University of Texas at Austin plans to build a medical school that will be part of its main campus.

Jackson hopes to pick up the discussion again sometime, he said.

Jack Wall, chairman of the board, said the regents weren’t ready.

The regents decided to remove it from the agenda instead of voting against it because they might want to consider it later, Wall said.

“It’s a big decision even though it was just a study,” Wall said after the meeting. “We’d like to have a clearer outlook.”

The regents are happy with how each campus runs separately, and they don’t want to make waves, he said.

Wall couldn’t cite any particular reason for the decision, he said. The regents just didn’t have a good grasp on “some things,” Wall said.

To combine the campuses, the UNT system would have to get approval from the governor, the state Legislature and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is rmehlhaff@dentonrc.com .

 


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