Gov. Jim Justice talks education in Morgantown, business in Fairmont

Published: Apr. 25, 2017 at 5:35 PM EDT
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A big day for the future of higher education in the Mountain State, as Governor Jim Justice was in Morgantown to sign the Higher Education Reform Bill.

The bill gives West Virginia University, as well as other schools more freedom and flexibility to govern.

WVU President E. Gordon Gee said most importantly, this puts more decisions in the hands of the Board of Governors, and it will help save time and money. Gee told 5 News he feel there will be less second-guessing. Overall, it's something he's excited about for the entire university community.

"This bill allows higher education to be much more flexible in terms of how it responds to its students, to the citizens of the state, to the kinds of academic programs we should be having," Gee said.

Gee said he hopes this makes everything better, and that includes for the student body. One sophomore shared what he hopes for out of the bill.

"You'd hope that they can do things that would benefit the students at a timely manner," said Bryan Schod. "You don't want them to be able to do things like raise prices and kind of impose problems that make things more difficult."

Justice's second stop was in Fairmont, for the North Central West Virginia Business Summit. That's where he told business leaders he wants them to be a part of the game.

One of the other things we discussed with Justice -- the broadband bill that sits on his desk. He seemed optimistic -- saying he thinks it'll be okay. He said this is a need right here in our state, and that it's a necessity for many.

"It got widespread support, and I am absolutely an advocate of broadband," Justice said. "We need it. We're living in the dark ages compared to a lot of states, and we need it every way we possibly can."

Justive went on to say that he feels our state is living in somewhat of a past, and it's time to jump into the modern age.

Before the bill made its way to Justice's desk, it had received plenty of support in both the House and Senate. For those at Pierpont Community and Technical College in Marion County, they feel they could benefit from this.

"Having access to broadband it really helps with the economic development of any area," said Stephen Santilli from Pierpont Community and Technical College. "The amount of broadband width that's needed by industry companies, and even by college and universities like Pierpont and WVU because we have remote learning sites."