OLYMPIA -- Gov. Jay Inslee downplayed any conflict between the state's two research universities over operations at the new joint medical school facility in Spokane, saying he wouldn't even call it a disagreement.
"I'm confident that we can find a way that Huskies and Cougars can work together on this," Inslee said during a press conference this afternoon.
As to whether the state would build a new, complete medical school in Spokane if the two universities can't come to an understanding, Inslee said that is "getting a thousand miles ahead of ourselves."
As reported in this morning's Spokesman-Review, Washington State University President Elson Floyd said the University of Washington is not sending enough second-year medical students to the new program at the Riverpoint campus in Spokane that the two are jointly operating. The school will have only 17 students for the 20 slots approved by the Legislature for a pilot program, and Floyd criticized UW for not recruiting enough students to fill the slots.
If UW won't cooperate, WSU will "plow our own way" and explore setting up its own four-year med school, Floyd said.
UW President Michael Young said only 17 students were interested in the Spokane program. To the suggestion that WSU would set up its own med school, Young said, "Good luck." Floyd doesn't understand how a med school is run.
Inslee said he talked to people about the med school when he was in Spokane over the weekend and "I'm confident in our ability to work through this."