January 15, 1969.
On this day, Beurt SerVaas, the president of the Indianapolis City Council, editorialized on television station WFBM (today WRTV) in reply to the station's December 24, 1968 editorial that Indianapolis would best be served by merging the Indiana University and Purdue University extension campuses in Indianapolis under one of the two universities. He pointed out that to date the two universities had "failed to agree, or even agree that they can agree on a master plan" for a joint Indianapolis campus. The universities, he said, previously had paid "lip service only" to the joint campus idea.
"Great new state universities are now being created in all parts of the nation," SerVaas noted. "They can and do compete with the old established institutions." City leaders had devoted much thought to the matter of developing a great city university to meet the city's needs. "To leave this task to I.U. and Purdue, in whose best interests it appears not to be, may well cost us a golden opportunity," he stated.
SerVaas's editorial statement reflected the thinking of a significant portion of the movers and shakers in the city's halls of power. The two universities had hemmed and hawed, advanced and retreated, and played coy for years about developing their academic programs in Indianapolis. City leaders were fed up with this shilly-shallying. He joined Mayor Richard G. Lugar in continuing to push for an independent state university, separate from both Purdue and IU, which would serve the city's needs for advanced scientific and technological programs to fuel business growth. His editorial served to keep the fire under university leaders as they quietly, behind closed doors, worked out a merger plan that would allow IU and Purdue to maintain control of their city operations.
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