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Time to Face the Music, Or Continue to Be Oblivious to Economic Reality?

It is about time for the university administration to start facing reality.

We are a land grand institution and our mission is to educate the youth of the state. That education does, indeed, include research which is a wellspring of economic development in the state.

But currently we are suffering from inappropriate priorities. Which is more important: to be one of the top three public research universities in the world or to provide an outstanding educational opportunity that is affordable for the citizens of this state?

The answer is a no brainer.

Tom, Bob, your thoughts?

This morning the Star-Tribune had a front page, above the fold, article entitled: "Knowing it's a tough sell, U to ask for more money." A commentary and selections from the article are given on the Periodic Table: University of Minnesota Administrators Oblivious to Economic Reality.

Some comments from the public on the Strib article follow:

"Education is key to remaining competitive in the world. The more we shortchange ourselves today, the harder it will be to dig ourselves out 10 and 20 years from now. And it's not just the cost of tuition. As the U of MN seeks to become an elite university, it drives many Twin City students away to outstate colleges and universities where they must pay both tuition and dorm costs. Affordable tuition and access are both required. And where is the leadership that will drive this result?"

"I'm presently touring with my high school senior, in search of a school for next year. We really want to stay in Minnesota, but the truth is Wisconsin is 25% cheaper."

"Sorry but you are drunk if you think the U is getting $141 million in the upcoming legislative session. Unemployment is higher than it has been in twenty years. That translates into lower revenues for the state from income and sales taxes. Perhaps the University President missed the global economic meltdown. Time to live in the real world."

"This is absolutely outrageous
that anyone has the chutzpa and gall to come asking the citizens of this state AND the students to fork over more of their money, especially in this climate."

"The objective of the sum of the parts of the U is to preserve and expand its administration. Control of ancillary items such as facilities, parking, human resources, printing, food service, housing and intercollegiate athletics are the focus of administration, not the education of students. And, as long as more money is available, the cost to attend the U and budget requests to the legislature will increase."

"It is a complete outrage with the economic situation we find ourselves in as a country and it is already really tough for us to help our child attend the U - this madness has to stop. Is it not part of the U's mission to educate?

"I saw Life Coaches (life coaches?) paid for the Dean and staff. I watched one research scientist after another defunded or leave. However I did see a stadium built so people would have a chance to get drunk and train future pro athletes so we could pay them millions instead of paying teachers for our children. Nice priorities. Sure...enjoy the money. You know how to spend it."

"My advice to my legislators is going to be to say "No".
The U needs to cut costs and play in the current economic situation with the rest of the state. And, if tuition is still raised...the U should be penalized by the legislature within the U's existing state budget allocations."

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