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President Bruininks, Where Are Your Priorities?

From the Daily

Misuse of University funds

Editorial 09/25/2008

The Minnesota Daily reported Monday that the new advertising campaign for the stadium was paid for with $460,000 from the central University budget.

This year, the University subsidized $4.9 million out of a $69.2 million budget for the athletics department, which University officials say have a goal of becoming fiscally independent. The Daily reported the new ad campaign is expected to boost fundraising for the new stadium and ticket sales, and the University has to raise $86 million for the new stadium. But it is still roughly $10 million short.

The University, nevertheless, has plenty of expenses on its plate, and if there’s excess in the budget, the first place that excess should go is into the pockets of students — not toward an athletics department.

Indeed, 2009 is a budget year for the state, and President Bruininks could have a hard time explaining to state legislatures that his budget request is “modest.? Especially when the University is doling out funds for an advertising campaign for a new stadium that anyone in Minnesota would have trouble not hearing about. Furthermore, it seems like an odd use of funds, considering that Bruininks told The Daily that asking the state to provide an investment “will be a challenge this year in the midst of this global or national recession.?

The University must remain cognizant of its responsibility as a land grant institution to prioritize education.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars toward shiny new billboards for a department with an annual budget of at least $69 million is a waste in the face of $10,000 tuition, especially with 4.5 percent increases on the horizon. We hope the Board of Regents takes a careful look at the budget request in its October meeting.

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