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Sunday, Dec. 10
The Indiana Daily Student


Trustees to discuss school merger, parking privatization

The IU Board of Trustees will convene at its regular meeting Thursday to hear reports about two contested initiatives: the merger of the School of Informatics and Computing with the School of Library and Information Science and the privatization of parking.

Provost Lauren Robel, SoIC Dean Robert Schnabel and SLIS Dean Debra Shaw will present a proposal to merge the schools during Thursday’s Academic Affairs and University Policies Committee meeting.

In Tuesday’s State of the University address, President Michael McRobbie said the merger has been “overwhelmingly supported by the faculty of these schools.”

Some individuals have voiced concern about merging schools.

Robert Jacobs, a Kelley School of Business professor, said he knows IU is not optimally organized, but there are issues with the proposed restructuring.

“It’s so hard because there’s so much history and infrastructure,” he said at the Sept. 4 Bloomington Faculty Council meeting. “And we’re all so old, and we’re trying to protect our turf.”

John Paolillo, professor of informatics, agreed. He said reorganization is often a tremendous loss of time and energy.

McRobbie said he is confident the merger would be a big step forward.

“The new school will create excellent opportunities for new initiatives that are being pursued immediately,” he said in Tuesday’s speech. “All of this brings with it the prospect of increased technology transfer and economic development in an area ripe with entrepreneurial opportunities.”

The Board of Trustees will vote on the merger during Friday’s business meeting. Pending approval, McRobbie expects it to be effective by fall 2013.

At a February meeting, Trustee William Strong suggested the University look into leasing University assets, such as parking, to provide immediate cash.

Since then, a committee has formed to create key contract terms to consider.

The committee will report its findings to the Board of Trustees during Thursday’s Finance and Audit Committee meeting, after which the trustees will decide whether to move forward with the privatization of  parking.

However, many are concerned with privatization’s potential negative effects.

“I know that there have been rumors of having potential increases in cost of parking passes, of parking tickets, just parking operations in general,” IU Student Association President Kyle Straub said.

BFC President Carolyn Calloway-Thomas assured concerned parties they would have the opportunity to vet any documents after the trustees make a decision, but opposition has mounted against the top-down decision process.

To voice this opposition, Edward Vasquez, president of Communication Workers of America Local 4730, crafted a petition which received nearly 700

“To reiterate, we maintain that IU should not privatize parking operations and should instead look for creative, in-house solutions to any parking revenue issues,”  he said according to the
petition text.

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