Stadium does not serve core mission

The project should have been financed 100 percent with private money.

The University has announced a $40 million increase in the budget for the new on-campus stadium. This represents a 16 percent increase in the project’s total cost and the explanation of the source of these additional funds was also curious, “money management decisions” and “the issuance of Ö new debt.”

From where is the money going to come? Obvious candidates for the true source of the additional $40 million are the taxpayer and the student. Pardon my sarcasm, but $288.5 million dollars is an enormous amount of money for a dessert menu project, a project that does not serve the core mission of the University. For those who are unfamiliar, the University of Minnesota’s core mission is threefold: 1) Research and Discovery, 2) Teaching and Learning and 3) Outreach and Public Service.

Just like that, the University is willing to pony up the $40 million necessary to ensure “the stadium is not built on the cheap.” Yet, back in October, when the Community University Health Clinic (a facility that actually contributes to the University’s core mission of outreach by providing health care to low income families) eliminated 17 positions due to budget cuts, the University’s administration was nowhere to be found with any magical “money management decisions” to save that outreach.

Sadly, the on-campus stadium is not about academics, research or outreach. There will be no cure to cancer found in this facility, no breakthroughs in Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Knowing that this is the case before a shovelful of dirt has been removed from the building site, the University is still willing to spend $288.5 million dollars to build a facility that will be used to play football during a grand total of six Saturday afternoons a year.

There are certainly a lot of pontifications with potentially positive outcomes raised when people talk about “how great it will be to bring football back to the campus:” “it will help us recruit,” “it will cultivate a winning program,” “it will improve campus culture.” While these speculations might or might not be true, none of them can change the fact that an on-campus stadium at this point, after recent tuition increases and budget cuts of historic proportions, is a dessert menu item that should have been financed 100 percent with private money. Students should not be paying for it, taxpayers should not be paying for it and the University should not be ordering dessert when it can’t afford to pay for the main course.

Nicholas Maxwell is a University Student. Please send comments to [email protected].