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West Virginia HEPC chairman defends agency against Gee’s criticisms

By RYAN QUINN

Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Higher Education Policy Commission’s board chairman sent members of the governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Four-Year Higher Education a letter this week defending the HEPC and countering West Virginia University President Gordon Gee’s criticism.

“The urgency of our mission and brevity of time to complete it has deprived the [Blue Ribbon] Commission the opportunity to objectively learn about the value added to all of West Virginia’s institutions of higher education by the HEPC,” wrote HEPC Chairman Michael Farrell. “I acknowledge that [Blue Ribbon Commission] Co-Chair Gee is not a fan of the HEPC. The inquiry does not end with his opposition.”

The Blue Ribbon Commission — a panel, not a state agency, formed in July — has vaguely discussed demoting the HEPC, West Virginia’s overarching four-year college oversight and policy agency, into an entity that serves only smaller schools.

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