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Hoppe prepares to do battle with Troy

December 2, 2003


While we havent noticed any large wooden horses entering the city limits, it seems another battle over Troy is brewing as one out-of-state institution attempts to sneak in through a loophole in state policy.
December 2, 2003


While we haven't noticed any large wooden horses entering the city limits, it seems another battle over Troy is brewing as one out-of-state institution attempts to sneak in through a loophole in state policy.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) recently notified Dr. Sherry Hoppe that Troy State University had requested approval for a change of address from Smyrna to Fort Campbell Boulevard. By law, THEC must inform public institutions when an out-of-state institution asks for permission to operate in their region and give them an opportunity to express an opinion on whether an unmet need exists.

The state legislature passed this bill after Middle Tennessee State University officials objected strongly to THEC approving Troy State's request to open a teaching facility in Smyrna without notifying them.

Hoppe has asked that THEC deny Troy State University's request to operate in this region.

“Unfortunately, there appears to be a loophole in THEC policy that does not stipulate what constitutes a change of address,” says Hoppe. “It is my understanding that the intent was for a change of location within a given city or county, but that a move across the state would not simply be a change of address. However, that interpretation is not stated.

“Consequently, it appears that Troy State can operate on Fort Campbell Boulevard without requesting approval from THEC.”

To further complicate matters, Troy State's office on Fort Campbell Boulevard has been open for more than a year. While they were offering only online courses through the facility, now they want to offer two graduate degrees at the “new” address.

In a formal request to THEC Executive Director Richard Rhoda, Hoppe argues that Troy State's proposed Master of Education is a degree already available at Austin Peay. As for Troy's proposed Master of Science in Management, Hoppe writes that it would be “inherently unfair” for THEC to approve an out-of-state institution to offer the degree, since Austin Peay was required to phase out its Master of Business Administration as a result of Geier desegregation stipulations.

Austin Peay has been precluded from offering the MBA, as well as master's degrees in management, public administration and other business-related degrees for more than 15 years to avoid duplication with Tennessee State University.

Hoppe adds that Troy State was denied space in the Army Education Center at Fort Campbell approximately one year ago. She says, “If the Army had felt the need existed for additional programs in the area, it is unlikely the request would have been disapproved.”

The next step, according to Hoppe, is for THEC to ask for a ruling from the Attorney General's office as to whether they can prohibit the planned operation under the current rules.
—Rebecca Mackey