College rivalries and the tensions caused by them are famous — Ohio State v. Michigan or USC v. Notre Dame — the list goes on and on. But there’s one rivalry closer to home that may exist: Miami University v. its own regional campuses.
The university senate met Monday, Sept. 13 to further discuss the recommendations presented by the Strategic Priorities Task Force (SPT).
The primary conversation of the hearing was on the $40 million structural deficit the university at large must overcome.
Chris Makaroff and Steve Wyatt, committee chairs of SPT, discussed with the senate their findings that would eliminate competition for students between the Oxford campus and the regional branches and help save the university money.
In their report, the SPT recommended that distinctions between the campuses be heightened rather than blurred.
“Either unique programs need to be developed for the regional campuses or they need to change administratively how they’re operated,” Makaroff said. “Right now, we’re competing with them just like we are with UC (University of Cincinnati) or anyone else.” Many members of the senate felt it is unfair to the regional campuses to assert they are in direct competition with the Oxford campus.
Alana Van Gundy-Yoder, an assistant professor at Hamilton, said she feels the exact opposite is true.
“I think that they (the campuses) should work together and I think that they do work together well,” Van Gundy-Youder said. “I think that it’s important that each campus supports the other.”
During the senate hearing, John Krafft, an associate professor of English at the Hamilton campus, said he was concerned for the future of the regional campuses.
After the meeting, he elaborated on these concerns and the overall outlook of the regional campus faculty.
“We’re a little bit worried that Oxford might narrow to freeze us out and that we will be discouraged or prevented from offering majors or courses that are offered at Oxford,” Krafft said. “I don’t want to seem too parochial about it, but I wonder if it’s possible that we will be, gradually or otherwise, moved into a position where the regional campuses can offer only things that Oxford doesn’t or only things that Oxford doesn’t want to offer.”
According to findings presented during the senate hearing, 9.3 percent of Miami students circulate between the Oxford, Hamilton and Middletown campuses in some way. The SPT believes this is largely because students find it cheaper to study on a regional campus than on the main campus. Krafft does not feel this is the case.
“I’ve often had students in my classes at Hamilton who tell me not that it was cheaper to take classes, because I believe after some point it’s not cheaper, but that they couldn’t get into some of the courses they wanted at Oxford so they went to Hamilton,” Krafft said.
Like Van Gundy-Youder, Krafft said there should be no competition between the campuses.
“I don’t want to be seen as anti-Oxford,” Krafft said. “I was a student at Oxford. I loved the Oxford campus. I just don’t want the regionals to get crushed in a possibly long-headed attempt to save Oxford. I think in the long run it would be a loss to Oxford.”