Debate focuses on education

Gov. Gary Herbert and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon face off in the Guternational debate held at UVU. Nate Baldwin/UVU Review

Gov. Gary Herbert and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon faced off for the fourth gubernatorial debate in UVU’s Grande Ballroom on Wednesday Oct. 6.

With an audience of mostly students and some community members, Herbert and Corroon’s debate focused on education rather than campaign finance, which has been the main topic of previous debates.

One of the main concerns to come up was that of tuition costs and being able to get a quality education.

Corroon’s approach to dealing with the issue was to cap tuition cost for students when they enter the higher education system, so they know the costs and can plan for the two or four years they will be in school.

“We shouldn’t put the burden of balancing the budget on the backs of our students,” said Corroon. “We shouldn’t burden our young people any more than they have to be burdened to get a college education.”

Herbert said that capping tuition is not the answer and is bad economics.

He said improving the economy and creating more income taxes, to be earmarked to go into the education fund, would help offset tuition costs. He also suggested private donations as another source.

“It’s a collective effort. There is no silver bullet out there,” Herbert said. “The private sector needs to step up and help out. Those who have gone through the system and had some success can give money back and help create scholarships.”

Most of the questions were asked by representatives from different universities and colleges from the state, including UVU’s Student Body President Richard Portwood.

Portwood mentioned the rapid growth of enrollment at UVU and the lack of space and funding for those students.

“Here at UVU, we have the least amount of square feet per student and we also receive the least amount of funding per student of all school in the Utah system of higher education,” said Portwood. “What will you do as governor to ensure equitable funding to all institutions of higher learning and specifically UVU?”

Corroon said there needs to be a long term education plan to make sure all schools are treated equally.

“We have a ten-year transportation plan on how we are going to fund transportation, but we don’t have one for education. … I think we have to have that. We have to make sure that all our universities are treated equal. … Right now we don’t have one and it’s hurting all of us,” said Corroon.

According to Herbert, each school is different and has a different role to play in the overall approach in the state of Utah.

“When it comes to higher education, every school is not the same,” Herbert said. “The mission statement that we have here at UVU is different then the mission statement that we have at the University of Utah.”

He suggested a combination of working together with the board of regents, the local board of trustees and the legislature with a common goal to better education as a whole in the state of Utah.

Portwood was very excited about the opportunity the school had to host the debate. He said that it is always good to have different people take notice of the school and it helps the student body get more involved.

It was also announced at the debate that UVU won the UVote competition, registering the most students to vote out of any other school in the state.

“We registered all these students to vote and then they were able to come and be informed of the different sides,” said Portwood.

The Utah Student Assocation held a competition for higher education institutions throughout Utah. The goal was to get the most students to register to vote. There were two winners.

Overall winner:
2413 students
registered to vote

Per capita winner:
Weber state University
1670 students
registered to vote

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