Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Price We Pay For Mistaken Priorities...

Deeper spending cuts needed at U

To make it clear right up front, I do not agree with this editorial. 

However, it should serve as yet another wake up call to the University of Minnesota that some serious changes need to be made to maintain the support of the citizens of the State of Minnesota. Editorials such as this, printed in respected papers outside of the Twin Cities, are very harmful. This harm is magnified when they appear in the Star-Tribune. I believe that the sentiments expressed are wrong, as explained below, but certainly understand why these points continue to be raised.

It is time for action on these matters in Morrill Hall.

With college tuition costs skyrocketing, it is good to know that the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents is considering a plan to give greater scrutiny to the pay of the institution's most highly paid administrators.
Outlines of the plan, which a regents committee announced Friday, suggest that the university's leaders are headed in the right direction -- but that much more could be done.
Responding to an outcry over leave packages for senior administrators that were extraordinarily generous by anyone's measure (they cost the university $2.8 million under a previous president), the regents will in June decide whether to adopt a plan that would put new limits on administrators' leave pay and require the board to sign off on exceptions.
That's all to the good.
What Friday's announcement leaves open to question is whether the regents will make a major attempt to look deeper into university spending practices.
It is often the case that excessive spending at the upper ranks is inevitably emulated at other levels of an organization, so any responsible governing board should at this point assume there are more inappropriate expenditures to be found.
Indeed, if the regents don't look harder and deeper for unnecessary costs they will be shirking their responsibility.
Minnesotans -- all of whom, at some level, have a stake in the University of Minnesota -- have every right to expect that more expensive [extensive?] reviews will be forthcoming, along with more plans for improved oversight.
The biggest issue facing higher education in our country today is increasing tuition; no university can take a step toward limiting tuition increases unless its leaders take a hard look at its entire cost structure.

Simply put, the problem is not that deeper spending cuts need to be made at the U. I argue vigorously that the U is underfunded.  It is a question of priorities.  The number one priority for re-direction of funds at the University should be to drive tuition costs DOWN.  And I am not talking about simply slowing the rate of increase of tuition.

Until the administration of the University of Minnesota is willing to admit that this is a serious problem AND take steps necessary to fix our problems in this area, our deterioration is all but inevitable.

Things are happening right now with respect to online education that will make maintaining the status quo at the University of Minnesota all but impossible. Now is not the time for anyone to be sitting on their hands at the U.

This blog has been yammering for years about the outrageous tuition situation. What is it going to take before clear and decisive action is taken?

Some oldies but goodies-

Sadly, there is a lot more where this came from.


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