U needs to come clean about goals

The University is making a major capital drive and it will be leaving a lot of people behind.

Strategic positioning is the grand and ambiguous goal the University has operated under for the past two years. It has been billed as a move to improve, but by whose standards? As far as the people of Minnesota, the University is moving more toward a disconnected island than it has ever been.

Strategic positioning is more a capital and investment drive than anything. This would be fine if University administrators did not act as if they were overly concerned about Minnesotans. The University should come clean and admit the moves being made now are being made to generate revenue and then pump that revenue into money-making segments of the University. This push for businesslike efficiency comes at the cost of Minnesota and the general University community. The closing of the General College has been the most evident move. Add to that the University debilitating its Extension Service, the cost of tuition has gone up 132 percent from 1994 to 2005, and the 13-credit policy discourages part-time students. Individual scholarships are pushed rather than overall aid. This year’s massive drive to emphasize the individual accomplishments of alumni rather than a common work of art to highlight the achievements of all graduates indicates the University’s desire to single out “outstanding performers.” Don’t forget the University’s apathetic efforts to keep tuition costs down. Like a corporation, the higher-ups are well off. President Bob Bruininks celebrated with a $100,000 inauguration, a $440,000 mansion renovation. Football coach Glen Mason has a $7 million contract.

The fact is that this University is becoming an elitist one. Rather than an entire community benefitting, the University aims to maximize profit. The administration may have noble means and believe that by making the University one of the top in the world, according to corporation standards, that it will benefit more people. But many times, the drive for more profit undermines the intention and the goals of education in the first place. The least the University can do is be honest with Minnesota and the University community.