OSU-Tulsa degree limits should be lifted
BY World's Editorial Writers
Monday, March 21, 2011
3/21/11 at 3:51 AM
Based on a 35-year-old agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Oklahoma State University's Tulsa branch is prohibited from offering key undergraduate degrees that are deemed exclusive to Langston University in Tulsa.
The agreement was to help remedy historic racial segregation in Oklahoma's higher education system.
The agreement prevents OSU-Tulsa from offering such fundamental degrees as English, accounting, history, psychology, chemistry, secondary education and economics.
There is little question that its inability to offer these degrees has kept OSU-Tulsa from realizing its great promise to the fullest extent. And it is questionable how much good the agreement has done Langston-Tulsa.
OSU-Tulsa can offer some courses toward those degrees but students must travel to Stillwater to complete them. That's what most students have chosen to do, rather than obtain their degrees from Langston-Tulsa. Enrollment in Langston-Tulsa has dwindled.
Some might call it racial bias but it's more likely that students simply prefer to receive their degrees from one of the state's two "brand name" universities.
Last week, the state Senate amended a higher education bill to say that OSU-Tulsa cannot offer degrees that "unnecessarily" duplicate Langston programs. The measure now is in the House.
Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, author of the amendment, and OSU-Tulsa President Howard Barnett both say that adding an adverb to the state policy won't resolve the logjam, but they are hopeful that it will at least kick-start a serious discussion of the issue.
We hope that happens. And we hope the decision will be based on what's best for Tulsa-area students, not on decades-old turf battles. OSU-Tulsa needs to be given some rein to run.
Original Print Headline: OSU-Tulsa