University has had challenges, successes

During the last year, the University has encountered challenges in both the financial and community aspects of the campus. How they have dealt with difficult situations has garnered criticism and praise. The University has also had successes that everyone can be proud of.

Tough finances, rough consequences

Student tuition, shouldering half of the state’s $195 million funding cut to the University, went up 14.8 percent this year. Because of salary freezes and increasing health-care costs, University workers are also feeling the burn.

Since 1998, tuition has risen 48 percent and housing costs by 32 percent. Students will have to work more because of these expenses and student debt is already increasing. More hours at work resulting in less study time, mixed with the new 13-credit minimum, is likely to decrease student performance. Because middle-class students do not get much grant money, and if constraints continue, the University will descend into a public school serving only the academic and financial elite, coupled with a smattering of the poor to exhibit a pretense of equality.

Despite financial downfalls, there has been financial success. The University has received large research grants, might be given a stadium gift and raised more than $1.66 billion through Campaign Minnesota. Although disagreement has risen over the stadium issue and where the fund-raised money will go, the University should take pride in the donations and we hope the gifts encourage future giving.

U community better, worse off

In the last year, the University has witnessed a hockey riot, abduction, fire, missing student, muggings, deaths, buses colliding with vehicles and a vehicle colliding with a bike rider. The year has been comparable to an unbelievable action movie.

Some incidents could have been prevented while others could not. The University is addressing safety in off-campus housing, is not allowing concealed guns on campus and has instituted anti-rioting policies.

With the recent campus abduction, lack of enough emergency phones and under-trained campus escorts, the University should make strides to improve campus safety. Whether good or bad, the University has addressed the dangers of drinking and jaywalking. Perhaps similar attempts could be made to re-evaluate campus security in light of the recent events and aforementioned problems.

The University community has made strides in other areas. Students are finally able to use Coffman Union after its long and expensive hiatus. The Board of Regents is taking steps to include more student opinion.

Overall, safety and law enforcement have emerged as two important issues for the coming year. Continued activism on part of the students and administration will help the University keep one of its goals: safety.