Editor In Chief
The proposed Richard M. Nixon Institute of World Affairs will not be coming to the University of La Verne, following its rejection by the University’s Board of Trustees.
“I think in this form the issue is dead,” said Richard Landis, second vice president of the Board of Trustees.
The Board voted 21 to 16 against the institute Saturday, ending more than two months of student, faculty and alumni debate.
The decision followed two hours of debate and votes on three amendments to the proposal brought up by trustee representatives of the Church of the Brethren.
Votes on two of the amendments were positive, but the third, which would have changed the name of the institute to the United States Presidents’ Institute of World Affairs, was defeated 20 to 16 with one abstention.
Discussion on the proposal centered on the divisiveness of the issue and the name, Richard Nixon.
“There is serious polarization in the faculty,” said Dr. Robert Neher, faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. “These rifts would be difficult to bridge.”
Regarding the name, Richard Nixon, Trustee H. Lynn Sheller said, “Unscrupulous men count on people having short memories. As for the institute, it is the association with the name Richard Nixon that is highly divisive.”
The institute would have brought together “scholars from various academic disciplines and would have blended internationally recognized personalities, who would develop responsible, realistic solutions to world problems,” according to the written proposal developed by the Office of Institutional Advancement.
Dr. Richard Green, vice president of Institutional Advancement, said at a press conference held immediately after the board meeting, “I now hope we can avoid any embarrassment to Nixon. We approached them on the subject, and we were very well received. I hope we can handle this with class.”
Landis and Dr. Donald Clague, vice president of Graduate Studies, were disappointed that the institute vote failed.
“The majority decision will prevail with the full concurrence of the rest of the Board. I will support the decision, but that doesn’t mean I agree with it,” said Landis.
Landis felt that the institute would have provided a much needed extension of the University’s field of study.
“The decision doesn’t negate the need for a world affairs institute,” he said. “This college needs that as part of its curriculum.”
The proposal, which has been in the works for over a year, had won narrow approval from the faculty and alumni in votes held in the past months. A Campus Times poll found that more than 64 percent of the student body approved of the institute. The Associated Students Federation voted against the proposal by a six to five margin.
The outside news media was banned from the Board meeting, as were tape recorders. This was done, according to Dr. Clague, to promote discussion at the meeting.
“We wanted to consider this and to make the decisions on our own without outside influences and pressures,” said Dr. Green.
The Board meeting was attended by 37 of the 45 trustee members. That number was significantly higher than the normal 30 or 31 members who attend most board meetings, said Dr. Clague. Most of those members absent were from out of state.
The Nixon Institute was not the only important issue on the Board’s agenda.
The Board also voted to go ahead with a plan to sell Brandt and Studebaker-Hanawalt dormitories to a special group of investors for $600,000. The investors would be close friends of the University and would, hopefully, donate the buildings back to the college after a period of time, according to University officials.
“Twenty or 30 of us will be part of this partnership, so eventually the University will have a predominant number of shares. I don’t see any chance that we would lose the dormitories. We need this cash desperately,” said University President Dr. Armen Sarafian.
Management of the dorms would stay the same, and the student residents would not be affected by the change. Actually, the investors would only be purchasing the buildings themselves, not the land.
The Board also voted to take over general operation of the San Fernando School of Law. The new acquisition is valued at $2.7 million and will also accommodate students enrolled in the University’s School of Continuing Education.
The San Fernando school will still be run as an autonomous institution. There are currently 220 students enrolled there.