State senators looking into merging UNO/UNMC

Posted at 11:46 AM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-12 18:38:04-04

A group of state senators is looking into a study on whether it's feasible to merge both UNO and UNMC campuses. 

Under the resolution the senators want to look at

(1) The feasibility of such a merger

(2) Possible benefits for the University of Nebraska system

(3) Possible negative impacts for the University of Nebraska system

(4) Possible impact on the cost of tuition. 

"I think there is a need for a chance to take a look at saying what are the advantages and disadvantages," said Senator Merv Riepe. The idea sparked when the announcement that Dr. Jeffery Gold was to lead both campuses for the next two years. "My lights went on and I said you know I think this has some merit at least to look at."

NU Regent Hal Daub thinks this idea is at least worth looking at, "We think it's a great idea because its one idea that's to be considered."

But understands the two campuses have two different atmospheres, "The cultures are different so I at this point and time wouldn't rule out merging them but I'm not in that school," said Daub.

Riepe said he didn't notify anyone before making this resolution because he didn't have enough time to reach out before this proposal. 

In a letter to staff NU President Hank Bounds wrote: 

"Last night I learned that there is a possibility the Legislature may conduct a study about the feasibility of consolidating UNO and UNMC into a single University of Nebraska institution in Omaha.

We appreciate senators’ interest in the University and we are always ready to be a resource to legislators as they do their work. I do want to be very clear about this potential interim study (LR218). It was not brought forward at the University’s request and we did not know it would be introduced.

Of course, we’ll be pleased to have conversations with interested senators about the reasoning behind our decision to name Dr. Gold to lead both UNMC and UNO. We will make the same points we have shared with all of you: That this appointment opens exciting opportunities for student and faculty collaborations, that we think can find additional fiscal efficiencies, and that while it makes sense for our Omaha-based campuses to work more closely together, UNO and UNMC also each have distinct and important missions to serve our state.

If the Legislature decides to pursue this study, we would work with policymakers to provide the information they seek. We would use a study as an opportunity to engage legislators in a discussion about the role that each University of Nebraska campus plays in transforming lives and communities across our state.

We will be clear and consistent, however, about our thinking regarding this leadership transition.

Thank you for your input and engagement over the past few weeks. I know you will have more questions and comments as Dr. Gold moves into his new role, and I invite you to continue to share those. Chancellor Gold and I are both excited about the opportunities for deeper partnership in Omaha – and we are just as excited about the potential for each individual institution to do even more to serve students and people in Nebraska and around the world. We’re in that position of strength because of your hard work. Thank you for all that you do for the University of Nebraska."

To look at the resolution click here: