Daily Digest: Bruininks reacts to Pawlenty, ACLU sues local school

Mike Rose

Welcome one, welcome all. Let’s dive into into some of Thursday’s top stories:

*In a MinnPost blog, Sharon Schmickle writes about reaction to Gov.Pawlenty’s higher ed proposals–a tuition increase cap and a goal of 25 percent online classes for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities–from two folks who clearly have opinions on the matter, University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks and MnSCU’s Nancy Conner, director of publications and media relations. The Daily also reported on Pawlenty’s proposals and Bruininks’ reaction, which was (unsuprisingly) less than positive. Here’s a snippet of Bruininks’ comments: “State-mandated tuition caps in the face of the significant budget cuts we expect the governor to recommend later this month will severely compromise the university’s ability to educate our more than 60,000 students…”

Students at the TIZA school Source: Star Tribune

*Not a University story, but an interesting school story here: The Star Tribune reported on an ACLU lawsuit against a publicly funded charter school in the Twin Cities that is promoting the Muslim religion. Of course, private schools often mix church and education, but the controversy here revolves around the status of the institution as a publically funded charter. The suit alleges, among other things, that teachers are involved with student prayer activity at the school, called TIZA, putting it in violation of both the First Amendment and Minnesota law.  School spokesman Darin Broton said the suit caught them by surprise. “We actually invited the ACLU in the spring of 2008 to visit TIZA, and they chose to decline,” he said.

*Lastly, for any first-years reading today (Daily style for news stories is first-year, not freshman. So now you know), you might be interested in this: The Chronicle of Higher Education today released their statistical profile of freshmen at 4-year colleges. Yes, they use freshmen in their style, and no, you don’t have to be a first-year student to take a look. All are welcome to see the breakdown on all those university youngins’ out there.