WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — State lawmakers say it may be time to consolidate or close some of the state’s 16 public universities as well as The North Carolina School of Math and Science.
State Senator and co-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee Pete Brunstetter, from Forsyth County, says there is no plan in place, but rather a fact-finding mission to see if the state’s current university system model is the most cost-effective.
“Does it still make sense in the 21st century to support a 16 campus system? Something has got to give in entire process, more tax money, higher tuition or more efficient ways of conducting business,” says Brunstetter.
Lawmakers say while examining the upcoming budget year and Gov. Pat McCrory’s call for more than $130 million in cuts from the UNC system, they have to ask is there more efficient ways to operate, consolidate programs or close campuses that are under used or not performing.
Brunstetter says in the Piedmont there are possible examples of things that could be consolidated.
“I believe that UNCG recently opened up a new film school major, yet here 30 minutes away you have major studios and production equipment at the UNC School of the Arts,” he said.
With no word on what schools are being looked at or what programs are being considered, students are already asking questions and voicing concerns.
“To take away those schools you are taking away options which is why a lot of people like North Carolina. That’s why I came here so many different things you can indulge in,” WSSU senior Joi Holliday said.
Other students worry consolidating or closing campuses could impact their ability to get and afford an education.
“It would actually impact my decision, I chose this campus cause I live near here and I could commute. It would save me more money,” said WSSU Sophomore R.J. Tanchico.
Brunstetter said at this point, it’s merely asking questions, looking into the university system’s operations and he doubts any changes would happen this year. He says it’s questions all businesses this day and age have to ask.
“We have to ask questions that sometimes make people uncomfortable,” said Brunstetter.