No cut-and-run leadership

With smaller academic departments, let us trim administration, too.

At President Bob BruininksâÄô forum Thursday, he made repeated references to the University of MinnesotaâÄôs âÄúacademic values.âÄù In response to a question about whether the University would make cuts based on âÄúmarket valuesâÄù or âÄúintellectual and academic values,âÄù Bruininks replied that âÄúthose choices ought to be made on academic values.âÄù To this end, the guiding principle for future cuts as they become fiscally necessary will be to delegate much of the cutting to individual departments and programs. Members of those departments know what needs to be kept and what can go better than administrators do. This is a sound plan, and the bottom-up approach matches BruininksâÄô message that âÄúchange that does not have broad support from affected employees often does not stick.âÄù However, this means University administration should be subject to the same process âÄî an idea Bruininks supported in his recent conversation with The Minnesota Daily editorial board. If cuts to other programs are determined based on academic values, then so should cuts to administration. If one of the criteria for determining cuts is a programâÄôs âÄúcentrality and relation to the UniversityâÄôs mission,âÄù then those considering administrative cuts should ask themselves how central and related to the UniversityâÄôs mission each area of administration is. And with the bottom making most of the financial decisions, how much use is there for the top? As Bruininks himself said, âÄúIf thereâÄôs no demand for something, I think you have to take that into consideration âĦ decisions ought to be made on academic grounds.âÄù Open inquiry, honesty and earnest deliberation are the only ways to become a top-three educational institution. Consistency would unite us.