Tuesday, July 7, 2009

University of Minnesota Daily Calls for More Student Input On Financial Decisions

Who pays the piper, calls the tune?

[Not if the Morrill Hall folks can help it.]

From the Daily:

"The “competitively” compensated budget crafters do a disservice to all by implying that University finances are a complicated dominion reserved to an elite fiscal technocracy."

But to pretend that this elite fiscal technocracy really understands these finances is also a mistake. They haven't done all that well this last year. Suggesting in December that we should ask for substantially more money from the legislature - when the economy was already clearly in the tank - was a very bad move and made us look foolish, arrogant, and irresponsible.

Having said that, I am pretty sure that even if students had input - and hopefully they will - there will be a lot of disagreement among them about what our priorities ought to be. But a wide discussion of priorities within our means IS called for. This should include students, faculty, and staff as well as our administration.

Earlier this year in the Daily I made a suggestion for just such a conversation to happen:

A call for a campus-wide discussion


President Bruininks, Provost Sullivan: How about it?

I ask that you respond with a column on the “top three” goal and that we continue a public dialogue throughout this academic year so that communication about important issues does not continue to be a monologue. Other important topics loom, including ethical behavior, UMore Park, relations with coordinate campuses and the land grant mission, but the place to start discussion is the “top three” goal, because its pursuit precludes the solution of more important current problems.

Needless to say this suggestion was ignored. Provost Sullivan likes to talk about conversations, he just doesn't seem to want to actually engage in them. Earlier in his career, he actually began - and then dropped like a hot potato - a blog entitled:

Conversations With the Provost


I even posted some questions on his blog before the plug got pulled..

And so, as Vonnegut used to say, it goes.

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