Plaudits for audits

Faculty Senate will do well to audit the University’s finances.

President Bruininks made it clear in his State of the University address that âÄúwithout careful attention to every dollarâÄîwithout clear priorities and fiscal disciplineâÄîwe will not have the resources we need to deliver on our mission.âÄù In order to assure this frugality and mission-relevance, the Faculty Senate has proposed to audit university expenditures; though budgetary audits are routine for the U, they rightly intend to pay special attention to spending rationales. In doing so, the Senate has stepped up admirably and heeded President BruininksâÄô call for leadership. In has address, he declared that âÄúIt takes a community of local leaders to make decisions within a systemwide framework. We need to knowâĦwhat you hope to strengthen, and what you are willing to cut.âÄù In performing this audit, the Faculty Senate will be able to officially express their principles on that front in an exact, detailed, and concrete manner. Importantly, greater understanding of the budget will also allow faculty to comment more authoritatively and knowledgeably about what should be cut âÄî and what should be preserved. It is especially fitting that faculty members should perform this audit, because they tend to be the least transitory population among the university community; while administrators, staff, and students come and go, many faculty are in for the long haul. This means that, in addition to bringing their enormous collective expertise to bear on budget cuts, faculty can offer a uniquely long-minded view of the universityâÄôs operations. An audit of the universityâÄôs finances by the Faculty Senate will also crucially diversify a difficult decision-making process. Their input on cuts âÄî balanced with the opinions of others âÄî will undoubtedly help the university to run more efficiently while protecting its core values. Best of all, the Faculty SenateâÄôs proposal aligns perfectly with the vision and principles laid out by administration in the State of the University address: it shows unity and a spirit of collaboration in the shared mission to renew the University of Minnesota.