Friday, June 22, 2007

Look Who's Already Rewriting History

"Those Who Forget the Lessons of History Are Doomed To Repeat It"

"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

University of Minnesota statement regarding tentative Wisconsin reciprocity agreement announcement:

University News Service

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL ( 6/22/2007 ) -- The following is a statement from University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks regarding today's announcement that the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin have agreed on a tentative modified tuition reciprocity arrangement:

"The proposed new reciprocity agreement appears to adequately address the concerns expressed by the University of Minnesota.

Let's change this to 'expresssed by the administration of the University of Minnesota,' please. Some of us, citizens and stakeholders, did not go along with OurLeader’s reasoning in this matter.

“From the beginning, we [Who is this we, kemo sabe?] have sought to preserve tuition reciprocity between Minnesota and Wisconsin, with a fairer and more equitable arrangement.”

Uh-huh, and if “we” didn’t get our way, OurLeader was perfectly willing to stick it to the Wisconsin undergrads and their parents, because, of course, what could they do about it? [There is plenty of documentation to this effect out there on the electronic Rialto.]

"The University appreciates the diligence of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education in working towards this compromise and looks forward to final approval of an agreement by both states and the appropriate higher education governing boards."

To say nothing of the people of Wisconsin and Governor Doyle who have essentially solved the problem for OurLeader by arranging for Wisconsin to pay the difference in a way that appears to satisfy OurLeader’s beef. Note that Wisconsin undergrads will not actually be paying any more under the new plan than they were paying previously. Something to think about at BigU?

Thanks also to Governor Pawlenty for brokering the deal, something that was apparently beyond the capability of OurLeader, BigU's administration, BigU's crack team at the legislature, and BigU's house analyst.

It is time for OurLeader to take some turpentine to the tar on his fingers, drop the Driven to Discover PR campaign, and drop the over-the-top "aspirational goal of becoming one of the top three public research universities in the world." Why don't we get to work and try to be in the top half of the Big Ten in the next five years. We have a lot of work to do to even accomplish this modest goal. Like the Lone Ranger and Tonto, try to be a straight shooter. Try for some openness and transparency. Please drop this aspirational goal smokescreen.

By the way, a fire sale on out of state tuition for non-reciprocity states [ca $8000 cut] is not a good idea. [See: The fix is on - Another Fast Shuffle at BigU or if you can't compete on quality, compete on price.]

This may sneak through at the next meeting of the Board of Regents, since it was intentionally brought up by OurLeader at the very last minute so that there would not be time for discussion or reflection by the university community. I guess this is what OurLeader considers to be transparency and openness?

There are going to be unpleasant, unintended consequences if this happens, despite assurances from a dean that this really wouldn't matter because the number of students involved was so small. But let the geniuses (in the Sid Hartman sense) figure this out for themselves. Once word of the fire sale gets out of flyover land, the gold rush will be on, at least for a while, until the citizens of ColdState start asking why the enrollment at BigU is less than 60% residents. Why, exactly, are less than ten percent of the state's high school graduates attending BigU? Maybe BigU's enrollment - and budget - should be smaller?

Mr. Bonzo, a humble but ambitious Gopher/Hawkeye/Wildcat hybrid, is driven to discover world class this life or the next.


Anonymous said...

Just stumbled across this. Good to see someone's seeing through this mess, and Bruininks' role in this.

He got the state of WI PO'd at the U of M, and got the two states to play chicken to solve an internal Minnesota problem. It will not be forgotten here in Cheeseland, and especially by this U of M alum who ain't givin' another dime to "BigU".

Mr. B. said...

Thanks for your comment, Cheese.

I think this little charade was not necessary. Thanks to CheeseState for taking care of GopherState's mess for them. Apparently BigU and the legislature could not work this out for themselves. It is also noteworthy that in the end Wisconsin undergrads will not pay any more than they did before. I am very happy about this for selfish reasons because I have had good students from Wisconsin in my lab. It must be nice to live in a state where students are a priority.

I am a graduate of the U of M and give them money, but only for designated purposes. That is the only safe thing to do, as far as I am concerned.

Go Badgers!