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SFA to consider joining university system

In a slide presentation, four university systems are listed as having shown interest in adding SFA to their institution.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University, one of two remaining unaffiliated universities, could decide to join one of the state's university systems later this fall.

SFA Interim President Steve Westbrook said in a letter to faculty and staff that the university board of regents will soon reach out to representatives of systems that have previously expressed interest. 

He said the regents will work to determine if becoming affiliated with a system will be beneficial to SFA before launching a search for a permanent president.

"As you may be aware, SFA is not affiliated with any of the seven university systems in Texas. We are one of two remaining unaffiliated universities, the other being Texas Southern University," Westbrook said in the letter. "Several university systems have made informal inquiries over the years regarding our willingness to evaluate the potential benefit to our university of being a system member."

The issue was first presented during the university's recent fall welcome back meeting.

In a slide presentation, four university systems are listed as having shown interest in adding SFA to their institution: Texas A&M University System, Texas State University System, Texas Tech University System and University of Texas System.

Students expressed mix views about this potential change. 

“I feel it would be a really cool concept, A&M is one of the biggest systems in Texas," Jacob Keifer, Freshman at SFA. "It has a really strong foundation in it’s beliefs and I think it would be really cool to see some of those implications at SFA. 

Other students were not so sure where to stand on the university system. 

“I’m kind of in between, I think it’s cool that SFA is stand-alone like it’s only one but then I think it’ll also cool to be a part of a bigger association," Cassidy Bolick, Sophomore at SFA. 

Westbrook said in his letter that he has been asked to develop an organized and comprehensive process to gather input from the SFA community and alumni before making a decision. 

The goal is to have a board of regents decision by the end of the fall semester. The state legislature will ultimately have to approve the affiliation, and the session begin next January.  

He added that the timing of the presidential search is based on the timing and results of the system affiliation evaluation.

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