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WSU merger plan draws concern

The chair-elect of the Washington State University faculty senate says getting everyone to agree with the administration’s money-saving plan to combine the College of Liberal Arts and College of Sciences will be difficult.

David Turnbull, who’s also associate professor of music, finds himself neutral to supportive of the plan but says he has been exposed to the opinions of professors throughout the university.

Some faculty think that the combination makes sense, he said, since liberal arts and sciences are the core of academics.

“But there are obviously those who are against it,” Turnbull said.

People are not looking forward to the extra work that could come with the merger, and Turnbull said potential changes to policies and procedures for tenure and promotions are causing angst as well.

Prof. K.W. Hipps, who chairs the Department of Chemistry and is not “enthused” by the proposal, says the invitation to give input does not mean much.

In his opinion, the consolidation is likely to happen, so Hipps is focused on the future.

“What we need to do now is figure out how to make it work,” Hipps said.

Douglas Epperson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said he believes WSU President Elson Floyd is genuine about taking public comment. Epperson expressed faith in the institution and said he would go along with any eventual decision.

“There are always benefits to exploring the way the university is structured and administered,” Epperson said this week. “We’re actively engaged in that process.”

Officials plan to continue gathering feedback before formulating a budget that should go into effect in October.

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