Thursday, January 24, 2008

Or, Preaching to the Choir

In an effort to whip the troops into a frenzy, OurLeader met with enthusiasts at the McNamara Alumni Center last night. The Daily describes the festivities:

Funding request outlined

Alumni joined President Bruininks and lawmakers to hear about the U's 2008 capital funding request.

The University's annual legislative briefing and reception has been held for at least 15 years, with the purpose of "energizing" university affiliates, both past and present, said Wokie Freeman, program director for University Relations.

University President Bob Bruininks said investment in the University reaches all corners of the state. "The story of the University of Minnesota is the story of Minnesota," he said.

While last night's reception presented a forum for storytelling, at least one perspective was notably absent.

"The one thing I've seen in the past that I didn't see this year was actual legislators here," University alumnus Jerry Sosinske said. "I don't know if that's a good thing or not."

University Relations confirmed there were at least five legislators at the gathering, which is actually less than 2.5 percent of state lawmakers.

Bruininks said tinkering [sic] on the edge of recession, low interest rates and the low value of money actually made this a great time for the state to be investing in its resources. "When the economy is soft, make a capital investment."

On Jan. 14, Gov. Tim Pawlenty released his bonding proposal, which funded a Folwell Hall renovation and a complete revamp of the Science Classroom Building, but left funding for University maintenance at 40 percent of the requested amount with no mention of a new building for the Bell Museum of Natural History.

One audience member, a father with three daughters graduating from various University programs this year, referred to University maintenance funding: "It's really frustrating to be here because it seems our proposals are dead on arrival."

That would be yes. A good question to ask is: Why, President Bruininks?

Mr. Bonzo suggests that the Democrats (we call them DFLers in Minnesota), the Republicans, and the Governor are all annoyed with the university for different reasons. Any ideas why that might be, President Bruininks?

Chow, Bonzo

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