The leaders of a movement to bring the University of Pikeville into the state college system made their case to the House Education Committee today.
There was little new information revealed in the hearing, but it gave lawmakers a first-hand account of how the move would work.
It also allowed proponents a chance to strike back at detractors. Many lawmakers affiliated with Morehead State University have spoken out against the UPIKE move, and so has Morehead State President Wayne Andrews.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a main supporter of the UPIKE move, told the committee such concerns are unfounded.
“It’s unfortunate that some have felt threatened by this, you’ve probably been told things, contacted by people who have told you fear, things that might cause fear in your mind, this is gonna hurt this institution, gonna do that to that institution. I don’t believe that to be the case,” Stumbo told lawmakers.
Former Governor and current UPIKE President Paul Patton told lawmakers that making UPIKE public would help Southeast Kentucky.
“The students and the parents of Southeast Kentucky are inadequately and unfairly served by the present system of state universities,” he said.
Patton told lawmakers that students in the area what to go to college near their homes, and state schools like Morehead and Eastern Kentucky can’t meet that need.
Opponents of the move say UPIKE will eventually drain funds from other state schools.