Regents Vote Against Merger of Two Maryland Campuses

Updated Dec 13, 2011
University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. KirwanUniversity System of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwan

ADELPHI Md. — A merger of the University of Maryland’s flagship campus in College Park with its campus in Baltimore has been unanimously voted down by the governing body of the state university system.

The Daily Record of Baltimore reports that the university system’s Board of Regents voted against the merger Friday, but said the schools should take steps to increase collaboration.

The College Park campus has more than 37,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The Baltimore campus has more than 6,000 students and is home to seven professional and graduate schools.

Maryland Senate President Thomas Mike Miller asked the university system to study the proposed merger earlier this year. Miller said a merger would bring in more research dollars.

But a merger would have cost money and could have spawned new layers of bureaucracy at a time when Maryland has few dollars to spare.

University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan released a report, prepared over six months, which recommended against a merger.

“The disadvantages of merging the two institutions clearly outweigh the advantages,” the report says.

Instead, the report calls for creating a University of Maryland Strategic Alliance between the two campuses to foster greater collaboration among faculty without a wholesale restructuring of the schools.

Faculty and administrators at other state university campuses worried that a merger would create an imbalance in the 11-school system, with one university dominating the others in resources and influence.

The only campus that clearly stood to gain in the transaction was College Park, an ascendant research university looking to climb higher in the higher-education pecking order.

College Park President Wallace Loh voiced relief at the thought of emerging from what he called a “very long and, quite honestly, painful process.”