President Bruininks has a long history of fighting for the University

by Caroline Hayes — University professor, Elizabeth Boyle — University professor, Martin Sampson — University associate professor, Christopher J. Cramer — University professor and Kathryn Vandenbosch — University professor and head of the Department of Plant

We strongly disagree with the Editorial BoardâÄôs May 25th editorial, âÄúBruininks: too little too lateâÄù that criticized President Bob BruininksâÄô advocacy on behalf of the University of Minnesota. The editorial states that âÄúIn previous years, Bruininks indicated he disapproved of cuts, but never put up much of a fight.âÄù
We, as faculty members and members of faculty governance, have observed between us every higher education budget meeting at the Capitol since 2004. We have been incredibly impressed with BruininksâÄô efforts.
The real âÄúbattlesâÄù happen in those hearings (and also behind closed doors with the Governor and individual legislators).
While we have only been privy to the public hearings, we have observed that these are often tense given the difficult nature of the decisions that must be made.
Nevertheless, time after time we have watched Bruininks refute, disarm and explain the UniversityâÄôs position with amazing effectiveness.
Furthermore, it is a mistake to believe that âÄúfightingâÄù for the University necessarily means getting mad; such strategies are rarely effective.
Fighting for the University means creating an understanding of the UniversityâÄôs role in the state and building collaborative relationships with the legislators in both parties. Bruininks is brilliant at these strategies and he never gives up.
We live in difficult times in which everyone in Minnesota has faced shrinking budgets; without Bruininks fighting for the University, we are certain that we would have endured much deeper cuts. We are grateful to have had him in our corner.