Published in The Rebel Yell issue 10/15/2007
Written by: April Corbin and Katherine Fernelius
In an 8-5 decision, the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents shot down a proposal to enact a program that would create a reserve police force on campus comprised of UNLV instructors.
The proposal, which was presented by Regent and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Stavros Anthony, aimed to create the force to react to threats and deter crime on campus. Anthony first proposed the idea days after the Virginia Tech shootings.
The force would require interested instructors to attend a 21-week police academy and become a reserve unit while university police officers would continue to be on campus.
The proposal was initially approved by a Board of Regents committee on Thursday, but was rejected by the board on Friday.
However, the idea could come back in the future as regents may look into a plan to expand the university police force reserve officer units to include specially trained instructors.
The regents also discussed UNLV’s struggling orthodontics program, which has been unable to sustain itself and is in debt. The program wants more money in hopes of offering a better education for students. It was given six months to a year to fix the issues or could face a loss of funding.
After heated words from the regents, NSHE Chancellor Jim Rogers and program students and faculty about the problems, the committee reached a 4-1 decision giving the program more time to get their circumstances in order.
“I cannot support this program,” said Regent Steve Sisolak who was the lone regent on the committee who voted against the motion. “[The program] didn’t work the first time and it’s not going to work this time. It’s just going to fall back on the students.”
School of Dental Medicine Dean Karen West asked for more time to fix the problems plaguing the program.
“Give us a year or whatever you can to see how things go,” West said.
Rogers also spoke about supporting continued funding.
“I don’t want to go backwards,” Rogers said. “If we have to reduce the accreditation or the class size, we’ll do it. But let’s not go backward.”
Some regents disagreed, saying they had been given enough time.
“How can we ask the tax payers to suck it up and keep paying when we can’t even step back and re-evaluate this program for what it is?” Sisolak asked.
Regent Mark Alden added, “The buck has to stop here.”
Last year, the Regents approved a student-supported tuition increase in the orthodontics program that the program’s faculty said would help solve some of the issues.
But with no visible solutions, students complained about the increase and the program is still struggling.
The chancellor said it is best to let the program clear its own path and continue.
“Many programs fail and we’re going to have our share of failures,” Rogers said. “When we make a mistake we have to figure it out. But to close [the program] down, that would be the biggest mistake of all. Nothing good comes from closing a program.”
The regents also unanimously changed a mandate for the Millennium Scholarship that until now barred students from attending two of Nevada’s higher education schools at the same time if using the scholarship.
Under the current policy, students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits at a four-year university or at least six credits at a community college to receive the scholarship.
This means students wishing to take nine credits at UNLV and three credits at the College of Southern Nevada or Nevada State College would be ineligible for the scholarship.
Vice Chancellor Jane Nichols addressed the Regents Thursday asking for institutional flexibility within the Millennium Scholarship’s co-enrollment exception policy. The creation of NSC, she said, gave birth to the proposed change.
“Suddenly, we didn’t just have the University of Nevada, Reno in the north and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the south. We had three four-year institutions,” Nichols said.
This change creates more options for students who co-enroll due to time and childcare restraints. Students will still have to adhere to GPA requirements and be en route toward a college degree.