Lawmakers Threaten Lawsuit Over University of Idaho’s Controversial University of Phoenix Purchase

BOISE, Idaho – Lawmakers in Idaho are preparing to take legal action against the University of Idaho’s proposed purchase of the University of Phoenix. The resolution, which has been in the works for weeks, creates a political clash between lawmakers and Governor Brad Little and the State Board of Education, who support the purchase. The resolution criticizes the State Board’s closed-door meetings that excluded lawmakers from the decision-making process.

During the unveiling of the resolution, Representative Brent Crane emphasized the importance of fair process, stating, “We were not dealt into this process at all.” Representative John Gannon echoed this sentiment, describing the purchase as an “ambush.” The House State Affairs Committee unanimously voted to introduce the resolution, setting the stage for a full public hearing.

The resolution urges the State Board to reconsider its endorsement of the purchase and any affiliation between the University of Idaho and the University of Phoenix”unless and until the Legislature enacts a law authorizing such actions.” House Speaker Mike Moyle and Senate President Pro Tem Chuck Winder would be appointed to pursue legal action on behalf of the Legislature.

The University of Idaho has touted the financial benefits of the purchase, stating that Phoenix’s national operations would generate millions of dollars annually. Additionally, the University of Idaho sees an opportunity to leverage Phoenix’s online education platforms. The university acknowledges the risks but argues that any potential losses would be limited to around $10 million a year.

Lawmakers and the general public were unaware of the proposed purchase until the State Board’s public meeting on May 17. Since then, some lawmakers have expressed concerns about the purchase and the lack of inclusion in the decision-making process. The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee held an oversight hearing in June to scrutinize the proposal.

This evolving story raises questions about transparency and collaboration in the decision-making process. Stay tuned for further analysis on the issue.

For more information and a detailed timeline of the proposal, visit the link provided.