In an effort to break the logjam over the future of Rogers University, Governor Keating and members of the Tulsa legislative delegation are offering a compromise proposal which would bring a four-year university and a graduate center to Tulsa.
Among other things, the bipartisan agreement would preserve the roles of existing institutions in the Tulsa area, putting Oklahoma State University in charge of undergraduate programs and creating a graduate center which would be run by OSU and the University of Oklahoma.
Governor Keating, Senator Charles Ford, Senator Penny Williams, Representative Betty Boyd, Representative John Bryant and Representative Russ Roach announced the agreement today.
"I think this compromise offers the best of all worlds. It addresses the concerns of all the Rogers stakeholders the students, the Tulsa business community, the higher education institutions involved everyone. We have a window of opportunity to do something great for the city of Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma as a whole and we should take it," said Governor Keating.
"This win-win proposition is not only a reasonable solution but a long-term solution that will significantly improve the academic offerings in Tulsa. This delivers, not just in words but in concrete, what the students, the people and the business community have been seeking," said Senator Williams, chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
The Governor and legislators pointed out the agreement addresses the concerns and issues raised by the major players in the Rogers debate, including OU President David Boren, OSU President Jim Halligan, the Tulsa members of the State Regents and the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce.
"We've tried to be accommodating to everyone, taking into account the unique roles and needs of all the involved parties. As a result, we've come up with a solution which everyone can support and through which everyone can derive some benefit. We think this is the best hope for taking higher education to the next level in Tulsa," said Senator Ford.
The compromise includes the following provisions:
"We think this compromise will put an end to all of the squabbling that has plagued Tulsa higher education over the years. It brings the state's two comprehensive universities to Tulsa, guaranteeing the city will finally get the access to higher education it needs and deserves," said Rep. Bryant.
"I think this is a historic day for Tulsa. We're bringing the banner of the state's two largest universities to Tulsa on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It recognizes and meets our needs, using the current resources of our higher education system," said Rep. Boyd.
"This provides a permanent fix to a dilemma that has dogged Tulsa for years. It guarantees stability so we won't have to revisit this issue on an annual basis. This is the product of a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people," said Rep. Roach.