If it ain't broke don't fix it. That is the tried and true engineer maxim. One of the few things in West Virginia that ain't broke is the college and university system. However, Senate Education Chairman Bob Plymale seems determined to fix it.
This not only allows for more choices, if allowed to continue it ensures continued economic development in these communities at less cost to the state over time. As the cost of tuition in the Northeast rockets to amazing heights, these small colleges increasingly serve out of state students and earn their mother institutions more money. Imagine the benefit to Keyser and Mineral County as a whole if Potomac State becomes a four year school? Parkersburg is another former industrial city that could use such a shot in the arm.
Plymale has his own very limited vision for state two year schools. He sees them as useful for workforce development alone and wants to slice away WVU-P from its mother campus. Sorry all you history, literature, and political science majors who are not quite ready for a 30,000 student campus. Senator Plymale says small colleges are for workforce development only. Potomac State's relationship with WVU is much tighter and is likely going to remain unaffected, at least for now. Who knows what plans Plymale has for the future?
Basically Plymale seeks to limit the options available to state students because he thinks he has a better idea. Liberals often do prefer to think for others since the common people surely cannot decide such important issues on their own. Fortunately WVU-P has Republican allies in the Legislature such as Frank Deem and Donna Boley. Boley accuses Plymale and others of "back room" dealing.
Deem and Boley need help if they are to save WVU-P from having to break from WVU. Marshall University also has a major branch campus in Point Pleasant and they need to watch these developments closely. WVU president Mike Garrison needs support from his peers as well as Governor Manchin to ensure that the Legislature keeps its hands off institutions such as WVU-P.