Thursday, January 10, 2013

We're taking this very seriously

MN Senate wants data on UMN administrative spending

Legislative leaders in the Senate are asking the University of Minnesota for data on its administrative spending and how it compares to its peers.

It’s in response to a recent Wall Street Journal article that suggests the U is among the worst in the nation among top public research universities in administrative bloat.

At a press conference taped by The Uptake and posted today on its website, Sen. Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) made these remarks, which you can hear around the 21:00 mark:

Bakk: I, like many legislators, was very troubled by the Wall Street Journal article. And that is not a place – the front page of The Wall Street Journal – where we want our flagship university. We take that very seriously.
I actually personally met with the chair of the Board of Regents yesterday. Today, Sen. (Terri) Bonoff (the higher-education committee chairwoman) and I sent a letter to President Kaler requesting that he report back to the legislature by mid-March with … at least a preliminary report of how we compare, for instance, to other Big Ten schools. I mean, are our administrative costs just out of sync with other Big Ten universities?
So we take the article – and how the university responds – and I think the accountability and the oversight that the regents have over the president and our university very seriously.
Q: Will their funding at the University of Minnesota depend on how they respond? Or is it going to be affected by that bloated-administrative-costs investigation?
Bakk: I think the … President Kaler wrote a response to the Wall Street Journal article. I think the university’s success at the legislature is dependent on kind of how they react and how they respond to the criticisms.
Q: Generally, he’s not denying it so much as he’s saying it’s completely out of context and not true?
Bakk: Well, I think it has little to do with President Kaler. Maybe the administration before him and the one before – as this has built up over time — and I don’t think it necessarily reflects on his leadership. But we certainly want to know how he’s going to respond to the criticism.
(Quotes may not be verbatim in some parts.)

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