In the past and to a degree even now, there is much confusion about the identity of USU EASTERN. However, that identity is clearly spelled out in the law. The law passed in 2010 as Senate Bill 69 (here in “the law”) and the 2009 memorandum of understanding (MOU), the foundation for the law, provided the identity of USU Eastern. Confusion resulted when well-intended individuals, groups or administrators put forth their own perspectives, biases, or agendas regarding the college without consulting the law and the MOU. The confusion perpetuated as others read or heard from this variety of voices.
Some of the resulting confusion was stated in the recent editorial, “Eastern’s Identity,” in the college newspaper. Last year’s student body president, Alexandria Anderson, writes from the perspective of being deeply involved at USU Eastern for over nine semesters about the confusion over identity that then has resulted in being unable to focus on school pride. Alexandria called upon “the institution to pick a lane and give us something to cheer and chat about when we graduate… something to pass on to our children so they feel the pride we have felt when we attended USU Eastern.”
The law, sponsored by our local State Senator, David Hinkins, clearly established the college’s identity as “a comprehensive regional college of Utah State University” (USU). Laws are established in part to avoid confusion and conflict, but these and other troubles arise when laws are ignored.
By law, USU Eastern has never been a site, a campus (regional or otherwise), nor a university. It has been and now is the only truly regional college affiliated with USU. By law, it is a college with its own National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) affiliated athletic teams, its own mascot, and its own school colors, recruiting efforts, and alumni.
As intended by the law, both USU Eastern and USU are enhanced, not diminished, by the identity and affiliation. It focuses on providing “an enduring and productive affiliation between these two great institutions.” (MOU)
The identity benefits USU Eastern and its communities, providing clarity as it strives to fulfill its mission “to transform lives of its students.” To provide them with the pride that they can pass on to their children, as well with the skills to utilize in the workplaces, communities, and homes. It builds upon the rich 80 plus years of history and traditions of the college, maintaining the support of its alumni and communities. It respects and enhances what USU Eastern receives from its mutually beneficial affiliation with USU. As we have been told, our students can work towards and be awarded with everything from a certificate to a PhD.
The identity benefits USU by distinctly enlarging and diversifying what it can offer students. It increases USU’s visibility and presence as the only university in the State with a truly comprehensive regional college carrying its name. As USU Eastern grows, USU grows.
The identity benefits the entire System of Higher Education and the citizens of Utah by keeping and building strong and diverse college programs, which includes USU Eastern with Salt Lake Community College and Snow College.
With the identity clarified, now is the time for everyone, including students, faculty and staff, community leaders and advisory council members, administrators, legislators, and alumni to be united.
Some specific and immediate steps to reinforce the identity are: 1) to correctly refer to the college’s identity in all communications, 2) to aid students and the public in supporting the college and its athletic teams by again having the ability to buy apparel and memorabilia displaying the unique and distinct colors, mascot, and logo of the college, 3) to support recognition by the State on KUED, etc. of USU Eastern again as “one of the outstanding colleges and universities within the Utah System of Higher Education, 4) to support USU Eastern own vibrant alumni.
Now is the time to act together as one with confidence and strength in our common commitment to the prosperity of our college, to its students, and to the communities it serves.
A USU Eastern Alumnu
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