Questions on Kaler’s cuts

The language surrounding President Eric Kaler’s $90 million cuts isn’t revealing the entire story.

Earlier this month, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler announced a plan to cut administrative cuts by $90 million over six years. However, where these cuts will come from is still unclear.

In a Sept. 25 letter to the editor, Abdul Omari, a University Board of Regents member, described the savings as a “reinvestment” that would also help fulfill a University mission to limit the cost of tuition.

In a Sept. 19 Minnesota Daily article, Kaler said these savings will be invested in classroom renovations. Kaler added he also hopes to translate resources into hiring faculty.

The confusion lies in where the savings will be going. Will the $90 million in administrative cuts be used to reduce tuition, or simply be reinvested into the University, whereby not truly being savings?

This rhetoric doesn’t give a clear answer, and reports on administrative compensation aren’t helping.

In a Board of Regents Sept. 12 Annual Report on Compensation, the Office of Human Resources reported base salaries at the University were below peer and market averages.

The report included senior leader salaries for the first time. OHR said senior leader salaries are on par or below equivalent positions at peer and Big Ten schools.

The Sibson Consulting and Huron Consulting Group diagnostic studies earlier this year showed administrative overhead is at a normal level.

Kaler has not revealed where any specific cuts are going to come from yet. He only said administrative spending will be cut and that more than $30 million has already been found.

Last session, state legislators requested for more transparency in the University’s budget, specifically with administrative costs. Since both internal and third-party analyses aren’t clear on where the costs should come from, it leaves the University community wondering what Kaler will cut to fulfill his $90 million goal. Even more worrisome is if these savings will truly cut tuition or be reinvested into the University.