When the special legislative session convenes, state policymakers will certainly decide, once again, to reduce its funding of the University of Minnesota. Given the administrationâÄôs history, weâÄôre not surprised that the University has once again decided to balance the books with a hefty dose of tuition increases âÄî about 12.5 percent for returning resident undergraduates.
What is surprising, however, is that it appears the student body has no one fighting for it. In a recent Star Tribune article outlining the UniversityâÄôs proposed plan for dealing with the hikes, Chantal Wilson, student representative to the Board of Regents, was quoted as saying that âÄúbecause of the state budgetary cuts and the economy right now, [the students] understand that the bills have to be paid.âÄù
Make no mistake: The students understand that the bills have to be paid. However, what we donâÄôt understand is why one of the few representatives we have on the Board of Regents seems resigned to accept the tuition increases as proposed by the administration. They may not have a vote, but a student representative should be fighting for the students and making it clear to the board that the price of attendance is too high. Instead, WilsonâÄôs comments suggest that our supposed representatives are rubber stamping every decision the board makes.
Could this help explain why the UniversityâÄôs tuition has risen consistently throughout President Bob BruininksâÄô tenure? We would like Wilson to clarify her comments and explain to the student body what she and the other representatives have proposed instead of tuition increases.