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Legislature backs Dixie becoming a university

Published March 2, 2011 12:40 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Legislature gave final passage on Wednesday to a resolution endorsing Dixie State College's planned conversion into a university. However, some lawmakers opposed it calling it "education creep," where too many colleges are becoming universities.

The House passed SCR11 on a 62-8 vote. It previously passed the Senate, and now will be sent to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

Rep. Don Ipson, R-St. George, House sponsor of the resolution, said a path to conversion of Dixie into a university has been adopted by the state Board of Regents, and such a move would be "a driving force" for economic development of southern Utah. The resolution said it would make quality education available at home for growing Washington County.

But Rep. Roger Barrus, R-Centerville, called it a case of "education creep."

"We have stretched our higher education to the point now that they are not able to fulfill the mission for which they are responsible, and I don't think that adding another university helps," Barrus said.

Similarly, Rep. David Butterfield, R-Logan, said, "I'm not sure we should continue to dilute the university system and create more potential demands on our state coffers."

The resolution is not binding by law, but expresses support for Dixie's efforts toward becoming a university.