U’s statewide vision needs consistency

The handling of Crookston and the General College seems contradictory.

More than a thousand University students breathed a a collective sigh of relief when University President Bob Bruininks recently announced that he had no intention of closing the University’s Crookston campus.

With the Crookston campus facing many problems including declining enrollment, low student ranking and fiscal inefficiency, many in the region feared that a campus closing would be in the near future, but Bruininks cited the responsibility that the University system has to all parts of the state as well as the large investment Minnesota has made in Crookston as reason enough for keeping the campus open.

Bruininks is exactly right. These are extremely important reasons for keeping the campus open. This is not to mention that the Crookston campus provides essential academic and research tools to the state in the area of agriculture or that it was one of the first colleges to offer a laptop computer to all of its incoming students. Indeed, Crookston should remain open.

Where was the reasoned and forthright thinking shown here during the implementation of the strategic positioning and closing of the General College? There is no doubt that the state and University have a responsibility to all its residents, even the underprivileged and underserved. There is no doubt that the University made a large investment into the General College and what it stands for. Why, then, offer no opportunity for improvement in the case of General College?

It might be unfair to compare the situation in Crookston with what happened here on the Twin Cities campus, but it is certainly fair to question the consistency of University administrative actions and to point out that both places offer unique communities of learning for Minnesotans not offered anywhere else.

As University officials continue to “improve” the University and the entire University system, it is important that they remain consistent in their vision for a better Minnesota. They must guarantee that all colleges, departments and campuses are given a “fair shake” and are given the opportunity to be included in that vision.