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Letter from Lake Wobegon U

Sunday November 22


The above figure was included in a pdf that is downloadable from the Board of Regents site. The document is purported to be the report of the external audit team. Supposedly, that's all there is, there isn't any more. I wonder how much this so-called audit cost? If this is actually all there is to it, then the whole process appears to be a sham.

I'd like to know the numbers behind the bar graph and am looking into the matter. But at first glance they imply that tuition revenue now covers 85% of the cost of instruction at the U. This money, plus state support, should more than cover what it costs to educate a student at the U.

This point is crucial because tuition should not be considered a revenue stream to help fund the ambitious aspirations of the university administration (aka the Morrill Hall crowd) to become one of the top three public research universities in the world [sic]. The cost for this grandiosity should not be on the backs of students and their parents.

More to come on this matter.

Intransigence at the U - clear to all?

Board of Regents Chairman Blows Off

Request for Meeting With Former Regent

and Met Council Chairman, Peter Bell

In the above video, Regent Allen claims that no new items have been placed on the table during Light Rail negotiations. He also implies that the U's sole motive for intransigence is protecting the research of the University. Neither claim stands up to scrutiny.

From the Pioneer Press:

"Negotiations between the University of Minnesota and Central Corridor light-rail-line officials stumbled again this week, with the U apparently reinstating tens of millions of dollars to its wish list of payouts and Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell alleging "arrogance" in response."

"The dust-up has caught the attention of state lawmakers, and it looks like they're going to step in. On Friday, state Rep. Alice Hausman, a St. Paul Democrat, said she's planning to convene a meeting Wednesday in Ramsey County offices with leading lawmakers and both sides to try to sort things out. "

As for the question of whether the university is hogging taxpayer money that could go elsewhere, O'Brien said: "The university has a great deal of sympathy with others along the line. Our job as officers is to represent the interests of the university."

Bell, himself a former member of the university's board of regents, bristles at comments like that.

"The arrogance is just counterproductive to moving this project forward," Bell said Friday. "They need to understand that, yes, they have a fiduciary duty to the university, but they also have a duty to the public. ... I always say and believe that the university has legitimate concerns. They need to acknowledge that we have legitimate constraints, and they have refused to do that."

Hausman said she was "very disappointed and alarmed" to learn that on Monday the university reiterated prior demands to be reimbursed perhaps $2 million for U-hired consultants, perhaps $20 million for lost revenue from two parking lots that would be disrupted and for a "free-fare zone" for students traveling between stations on-campus.

"It did feel to me that there were suddenly four or five new things plunked on the table," said the St. Paul lawmaker.

Bell said he has requested a meeting to speak directly to the regents. He said he has been refused.

Breathtaking, sad, arrogant.

Ms. Hausman is the person responsible for the upcoming bonding bill in the legislature. The Morrill Hall crowd would be well advised to pay attention to what she has to say...

Leadership matters. How about showing some, President Bruininks?

Board Chair Allen's remarks are also very disappointing and do not seem to be in accord with the facts. The lack of respect shown for Peter Bell is most telling, especially since he is a former member of the Board of Regents.

Perhaps Chair Allen is afraid of engaging in a frank, honest and open discussion with someone who has views other than those of the University of Minnesota Administration?


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