Theurer disagrees with legislative action approving engineering program at Weber

When the Utah legislature passed a bill approving of a proposed engineering program at Weber State University, Board of Regents member Anthony Morgan resigned, saying it sets a “dangerous precedent.” Logan’s Teresa Theurer is a new Board of Regents member. She agrees with Morgan that the legislature shouldn’t be involved in situations like this. “I was very sad to see him resign,” said Theurer, “he was a great board member. But I do understand where he is coming from.” Theurer said she is hopeful Morgan’s decision will bring about change. “When Governor Herbert signed the bill he said this is a onetime event,” she said, “and as a Board of Regents we wonder if that is indeed the case. If there is a time when there is a program we don’t approve from another institution are they going to take it to the legislature? That’s a big concern right now.” Theurer has declared her candidacy for the Utah House seat Fred Hunsaker is leaving in retirement. “Had I been a member of the House I would have voted against the bill,” she said, “just like I was glad to see all of our legislators here in northern Utah vote against it. The Board of Regents approves programs, that’s been happening for years and years and years. That needs to continue. The process was ongoing, we were having dialogue with Weber State. At this point we weren’t ready to approve that program. Now, we’re forced to approve a program in a much shorter time frame than we normally do. We’re just having to change things, and don’t want to see that happen in the future.” Theurer said she agrees with those at Utah State and the University of Utah who argue there are already strong engineering programs at those schools. “And both of those engineering programs at those institutions are not full,” she points out. “We don’t feel that every institution should offer every degree, we don’t feel we have the funding in the state to do it. Engineering takes some of the most funding of any program. That’s always a concern, especially in the last few budget years. “Weber State is saying they have the money to do it,” she said, “I hope that is the case. But we don’t know for sure.” In signing the bill, Governor Gary Herbert said there is a need for improved communication between the Regents and the Utah Legislature. “It’s definitely true,” said Theurer. “But it’s kind of interesting that it happened all at the very end (of the legislative session.) It was a few lines added on to a bill that was already there. That’s concerning, because we didn’t have a lot of time to deal with the issue once it was added to the rule.” Looking toward the State Republican Convention, Theurer feels her campaign for Rep. Hunsaker’s vacated seat is going well. “I’ve been able to visit with lots of the delegates and appreciate listening to their concerns on issues and I’ve appreciated that they’re interested in my concerns. State conventions are an interesting time when 42 people are going to determine if there is a primary or not. Hopefully, the state convention goes in my favor.” She points out to delegates the last 10 years of her life she has dealt with public and higher education and that education is one of her top concerns. “I’m also concerned with health and human services,” she said, “I went to nursing school a lot of years ago. Also, I’m following the states rights issues fairly closely; that seems to be a buzzword right now.”

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