Is there no more fat to trim?

Cuts due to budget deficits endanger the U and its affordability.

At the annual College of Liberal Arts scholarship dinner held this past Friday at McNamara Alumni Center, students got a chance to meet some of the private donors who help make their University of Minnesota education possible. Vice President for Scholarly and Cultural Affairs frequently underscored CLAâÄôs commitment to providing access to a cutting-edge institution of liberal education during his speech and assured us our liberal arts degree would give us the creative edge needed in uncertain economic times. Unfortunately, even if youâÄôve been accepted to this increasingly competitive University and been given a private scholarship, the cost of your education is only going up while the quality appears to be going down. To deal with budget deficits, the administration is now looking to pump tuition and âÄúdecrease the scope of the UniversityâÄôs mission.âÄù Some 800 positions will go unfilled along with roughly 400 layoffs as part of that decrease. For students, this means larger class sizes, fewer TAs, fewer class offerings and less-qualified instruction. As for commitment to quality education at an affordable cost? Meaningless drivel. The administration has flatly failed on its promises of excellence and affordability. Maybe we should quit paying for so many administrators to feed us feel-good baloney and instead invest the savings in what they talk about. Of course, thatâÄôs up to the administration. The myriad presidents and provosts should take just a one-fourth percent salary decrease for each 1 percent over seven tuition increases at the University âÄî a fraction of the cumulative financial pressure they perennially press on students and families.