Who's the boss?

November 21, 1990

State Higher Education Secretary Shaila Aery may well have cast the gauntlet with a plan to shut down one of the University of Maryland system's 11 campuses and merge academic programs at the four Baltimore area UM campuses.

In a bid to gain control over costs and programs, Aery has proposed eliminating University College, which is the College Park evening and weekend campus for continuing education, and merge its programs into the school's standard curriculum. The two schools already share the same physical facilities, but have separate administration and staff, and thus are counted as separate "campuses." Aery couldn't have chosen a better example to make her case: the proposed consolidation would cut tuition costs for University College's 14,600 students by one-third, and reduce the whole system's operating costs by $30 million a year.

Other proposed changes include moving an urban education resource center from Towson State University to Morgan State University and eliminating duplication of programs on the four Baltimore area UM campuses.

Ever since the General Assembly passed a fundamental restructuring of state higher education in 1988, we have all been waiting to see if the complex structure that emerged would be any more manageable than the one it replaced. Aery's proposal represents the first major challenge to the UM Board of Regent's traditional hegemony over the largest component of that system. The outcome thus may prove a harbinger of who ultimately will control Maryland's often fractious system of public colleges and universities.

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