Texas Tech veterinary school plan annoys A&M System chief

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, veterinary student Katie Reynolds, center, observes as chief of oncology Dr. Nicole Leibman, left, and veterinary intern Dr. Samantha Schlemmer, right, prepare to examine a standard poodle named Bacchus for a possible oral mass, at the new Cancer Institute at Manhattan’s Animal Medical Center in New York. Experts say there has been a boom in recent years in high-end animal clinics using technologically advanced equipment and medicines that are the same as those in many human hospitals. And it’s led to a vigorous ethical debate whether such treatments, costing as much as tens of thousands of dollars per patient, should really go toward keeping pets alive. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — A Texas Tech University System has proposed development of a veterinary school offering a doctoral program in Amarillo, citing student demand and industry needs in West Texas.

The proposal announced Friday has drawn the objection of the Texas A&M University System, which offers the state’s exclusive doctoral program in veterinary medicine.

According to the Tech announcement, the proposed veterinary school would operate within the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources at Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo.

The program would break the monopoly Texas A&M University holds on Texas veterinary doctorates. A&M System Chancellor John Sharp says state higher education planners and Board and the Legislature have rejected Tech DVM proposals for 40 years. Texas, the nation’s leading cattle producer, has more than 248,000 ranches and farms, the most of any state in the nation.

“Addressing the veterinary education needs in Texas is crucial not only because of the region’s and state’s deep-rooted history with agriculture and ranching but also because of its continued prosperity,” said Robert Duncan, Texas Tech University System chancellor and a former state senator. “Our vision goes beyond the establishment of a veterinary school, setting out to transform the landscape of veterinary medicine education and provide innovative solutions for the industry’s future.”

Texas Tech University President M. Duane Nellis added: “Texas Tech has been at the forefront of agricultural research and discovery since its founding” in 1923 as Texas Technological College.

The Texas A&M University System, the flagship university founded in 1871 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, disputes Nellis’ notion.

A&M’s School of Veterinary Medicine was founded in 1916. A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, a former state comptroller, Railroad Commissioner and state senator, says the Tech System announcement came less than a week after he informed Duncan “as a courtesy” that the A&M vet school “would soon announce a presence in several Texas A&M System schools.

“In response, Mr. Duncan comes up with this long-rejected claim we should fund a vet school at Texas Tech,” Sharp said in a statement.

“The (Texas Higher Education) Coordinating Board has specifically rejected the notion, and the Legislature has rejected this for 40 years. We will proceed with our announcement as planned,” Sharp said.

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