Ohio university leaders discuss combining services

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Universities in northeast Ohio are considering ways to consolidate their operations, according to higher education officials.

Presidents at Kent State University, Youngstown State University and the University of Akron have had talks about the possibility of combining certain services, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The schools may be looking to combine or coordinate information-technology departments, treasury services, purchasing, academic programs, research facilities or other operations.

The higher education leaders say there have been no talks of an outright merger, nor have any formal proposals been written. The discussions have focused on ways to lower costs and stimulate economic activity in the region. Some meetings have also included officials from Cleveland State University and area community colleges.

“Anything that you can do to help the student, wherever they are going to school, and create programming and create services, we’ve got to come together and do that,” said YSU President Jim Tressel.

Akron President Scott Scarborough told the newspaper that because he and Youngstown State President Jim Tressel and Kent State President Beverly Warren all began their positions last summer, they each walked in with a clean state and were open to the idea of consolidating.

“We have been getting together and saying to one another, ‘Look, this represents kind of a rare opportunity to get together and collaborate,'” Scarborough said.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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