Mead: UW should be only 4-year public university

2012-01-13T15:30:00Z 2012-01-13T19:07:46Z Mead: UW should be only 4-year public universityThe Associated Press The Associated Press
January 13, 2012 3:30 pm  • 

LARAMIE — Gov. Matt Mead said Friday he's opposed to creating another four-year public university in Wyoming because he believes it would do more harm than good.

Some residents in Casper and Gillette, both home to two-year community colleges, have asked him about the idea, Mead said.

"I think we should have one university — that is the University of Wyoming," he told members of the Wyoming Press Association. "But the flip side of that is, have very strong community colleges."

Mead said surrounding states with multiple four-year universities struggle to maintain the system.

Besides the UW campus in Laramie, Wyoming has seven community colleges around the state. Expanding any of them to four years would only cause friction with UW, Mead said.

"I think the University of Wyoming and community colleges should not be at odds," he said. "I think it should be viewed as a partnership."

Mead also said that there could be wolf hunting in Grand Teton National Park. But his spokesman, Renny MacKay, later said the governor misspoke and meant to say that wolf hunting could be allowed in the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, which is between Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, but not in Grand Teton.

Mead said details about wolf hunting need to be worked out as the state seeks to take over management of wolves within its borders.

"We don't know what the season is going to be, and we're going to cautiously approach that obviously," he said.

Last summer, Mead and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar reached an agreement to end federal protections for wolves in Wyoming. The deal, which needs approval from the Wyoming Legislature, calls for the state to maintain at least 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Wolves would be protected as trophy game animals in northwestern Wyoming in a flexible area outside the park but classified as predators that could be shot on sight elsewhere.

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