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UI President Voices Opposition To Removal Of ‘Flagship’ From Mission

The Idaho State Board of Education riled University of Idaho officials and supporters on Thursday by removing the word “flagship” from U of I’s mission statement amid strong objection by university President Duane Nellis.

The State Board of Education revised mission statements for all of Idaho’s public universities during their meeting and ultimately decided U of I can no longer proclaim itself as the state’s flagship institution.

While the board said the change was intended to put the state’s public universities on a more equal footing, many in the U of I community took the unanimous vote as an affront to the university’s academic and land-grant missions for the state of Idaho.

“We have a 123-year history of serving this state as the flagship institution, and for the board to remove this just feels like a negative, and to suggest that it’s because we want to treat all universities the same, well, we’re not all the same,” said Nellis.

The University of Idaho was founded in 1889, one year before statehood. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines the word “flagship” as the “finest, largest, or most important one of a series, network, or chain.”

Nellis says the university will most likely appeal this decision.

(Video contributed by Nicholas Wood)

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