(03/10/2008)
The West Virginia Legislature voted to make West Virginia's community and technical colleges independent, but supporters of WVU-Parkersburg were vocal in the waning hours of the legislature, concerned about the new arrangement.

The bill removes the administrative link between community and technical colleges and four-year institutions like WVU.

The Parkersburg college has been highly successful through its relationship with WVU.

Delegate John Ellem of Wood County said "The people of the Mid-Ohio Valley want to remain a regional campus of WVU, they want to be Mountaineers."

Jefferson County Delegate John Doyle says there's a provision in the bill that keeps contracts between WVU and WVU-P when it comes to four-year programs in place.

Doyle cited neighboring states as the inspiration to make community colleges independent.

"I think it is one of the reasons they are more successful attracting business than here," Doyle said. Sen. Donna Boley (Republican) said she had difficulty understanding what Doyle was talking about.

Delegate Ellem says supporters of WVU-P are concerned the bill would return them to the days of Parkersburg Community College.

The school currently has about 4,000 students, with many supporters saying its WVU name association is a big reason for success.

The bill passed the House of Delegates 64-33.


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