As just the latest example of large institutions seeking to find “economies of scale” by joining forces, Ithaca College and Cornell University this morning announced they will be merging Tompkins County’s two biggest higher education entities to save money. Both campuses across the valley from each other will remain open, but the new, combined institution will be named “Ithaca University.”
“The folks at TCAT were especially glad to hear about this,” said Cornell spokesperson Claudia Wheatley. “The increase in bus ridership between East Hill and South Hill alone should help justify their expensive new digital fare card system.” Wheatley says despite the hike in subsidies demanded by TCAT, Ithaca University should see a combined operational cost savings of over 100 million dollars “in 2016 alone.”
Students shouldn’t expect any significant differences in the short term, said Ithaca College president Thomas R. Rochon. “Cornell and IC students were taking classes on each other’s campuses already anyway.” Despite his recent resignation announcement, Rochon is the odds-on favorite to take the helm as IU’s first president following a meeting scheduled for late this afternoon of a combined Ithaca College and Cornell University Board of Trustees.
One immediate change will be the adoption of Ithaca College’s West Tower as a combined administration building. “Have you seen the view from up there?” asked Cornell provost Michael Kotlikoff, rhetorically. “All we had in Day Hall was a view of a run-down courtyard.”
Ithaca College representative David Maley says students living in that building will be relocated immediately. “It’s not as though any of them were ever in there,” Maley explained. “They’re always spending the night at their girlfriend’s apartment on Hudson Street.”
At least until economic conditions improve, the new office space won’t be refurnished. “Those dorm-room desks don’t look as good as mahogany,” said Cornell interim president Hunter R. Rawlings III, named last month, “but it’s not as though we use them for anything but setting our soy latte and our BlackBerry on.” With Rochon likely to become IU’s president, Rawlings is lobbying for a slot as Vice President for Wrestling Meets.
The new school may also begin a national search for a new joint president, but, as Maley said, shrugging, “Tom’s already here, I guess.”
“The best news is that we’ll be able to host the fireworks again,” says Rochon. “We can knock down a couple of redundant buildings so there won’t be any problem. I never much liked the look of Butterfield Stadium, for example.”
Instead of using either Sodexo or Cornell Dining, food service at the new Ithaca University will be jointly managed by Moosewood Restaurant and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. “That should cover just about everybody, right?” said Cornell Dining director Gail Finan.
City of Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick rejected plans for a monorail over Six Mile Creek that would have joined the two campuses. “The proposed monorail cars just didn’t have enough space for manspreading,” said the mayor.
Alumni of either school who’d like to replace their now-obsolete diplomas with a new Ithaca University diploma may obtain a free replacement. The old diploma should be sent with two proofs of purchase from the Cornell Dairy Bar and $5 for shipping and handling to Ithaca University, 952 Danby Road, Ithaca, New York 14850.
Cornell and Ithaca College intended to announce the change at the beginning of 2016, but had to wait for permission from producers of the film “Road Trip,” who used the fictional name “Ithaca University” in their movie. Tom Green could not be reached for comment.