Editorial: Speculation put to rest

February 13, 2011

The release of the names of the five universities interested in possibly taking over the New College Institute and making it a branch campus ends the speculation and keeps the public up to date on the institute’s evolution.

Dr. Eugene Trani, president emeritus of Virginia Commonwealth University and chairman of a group examining affiliation possibilities for NCI, said Friday the universities looking at NCI are George Mason, which has several campuses in Northern Virginia; Old Dominion in Norfolk; Radford, in the city of the same name; Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond; and Virginia State in Petersburg.

All are established, respected, state-supported universities. Three of them — ODU, VCU and Radford — already have educational programs at NCI.

Now, the New College, the Harvest Foundation that helps support it, and the universities will begin gathering information about each other. They will learn about each other’s facilities, programs and plans and how they would be affected by a new branch in Martinsville. Then, any agreement could go to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) en route to a vote by the General Assembly.

We were pleased that Trani chose to release the names of the interested universities now so residents will know those under consideration. Speculation about the names had begun, and this puts it to rest.

We understand that much, if not all, of the discussions and negotiations between the various entities will be in private, but we hope at some point there will be a way for the public to give input on the selection before a decision is made. Area residents have a tremendous stake in the future of the New College Institute, and we suspect some would like to comment.

We join those people in eagerly awaiting the decisions and directions of NCI. We firmly believe it is critical to the future of Martinsville and Henry County.


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