There is no question, the University of Rhode Island is not like the Community College of Rhode Island, nor even Rhode Island College. Yet all three have been governed by the same state agency, the R.I. Council on Postsecondary Education, for years. In short, that just isn’t right.
And so, URI President David M. Dooley spent some time on Smith Hill recently, trying to convince legislators to allow URI to split away and have its own board of trustees.
The argument is a powerful one, ranging from making fundraising and the pursuit of grants easier, to resetting academic programs more quickly, to being more efficient in terms of making important decisions about the school (not that CCRI and RIC could not use some of these same arguments for their own boards).
The common, if unspoken, theme of these arguments is the need to separate the state’s public research university from the bureaucratic inertia and political meddling of the apparatus of state government.
Why has it taken this long to come to that conclusion?