Friday, May 31, 2013

Window Dressing

Part I. 

[My friend and fellow alum, Mr. Michael McNabb, has written the following post. I have also been thinking about window dressing recently and will post Part II. in due course.]


Added later, this tweet 

"Today" is May 31....

My request - today - to speak was declined. 

The Board of Regents has announced that it will hold a one hour public forum on June 5 on the budget proposed by the U of M administration. The Regents will vote to approve the proposed budget on June 14. Information on the proposed budget will be available on the web site of the Board of Regents on May 31.

The administration spends months preparing the budget for the next year. Then it publishes its proposed budget on the web site of the Board of Regents only two weeks before the Regents vote to approve the budget. The Regents hold a public forum less than 10 days before they vote. In the past there has been a three minute limit on the time for any speaker at the forum to address financial issues that may be quite complex. Listen to the chair of the Board wield his gavel to attempt to silence Professor Eva von Dassow at the end of her presentation in the video in Three Minutes.

[It should be noted that this video has been watched by 24,800 people at last count.]

It is not realistic to expect that any issue that a speaker raises will make a difference in the vote of the Regents. The Regents seldom question the proposed budget for the reasons described in the final three paragraphs of State (and) University Part II. So it appears that the last minute public forum is simply window dressing for a preordained decision by the Regents.

The Regents continue to approve every major proposal submitted by the U of M administration, such as the plan to continue to increase tuition for students in graduate and professional programs. When the chair of the House committee on higher education introduced the higher education bill last month he referred to the Regents as "the House of Lords--they have nice titles, a nice place to meet and don't do anything." See the April 15, 2013 MinnPost report where   DFL Rep. Gene Pelowski offers increased higher-ed funding--and blistering U of M criticism.

Michael W. McNabb

University of Minnesota B.A. 1971; J.D. 1974

University of Minnesota Alumni Association life member

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