A third party for the budget

Outside perspectives can shed light on where the University needs to make cuts.

Daily Editorial Board

As the University of Minnesota prepares to face increased scrutiny from the state Legislature concerning its budget requests, and with the details of Gov. Dayton’s proposed budget announced, it’s important that we remind ourselves of the benefits of an outside
perspective.

So far, lawmakers have been cooperative and have given the University hope that it will receive the majority of its funding requests. However, with a December Wall Street Journal article casting suspicion over the University’s spending patterns, lawmakers are likely to be especially wary this session about the University’s finances, as they should.

When University President Eric Kaler testified before the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee on Jan. 15,  he was asked to address the Journal article and offer insight into what he felt was misrepresented. Kaler told the Minnesota Daily in a Jan. 28 article that the Journal article’s interpretation of the number of tax-paid administrators was misleading and that the reporter “didn’t create a balanced view of the University of Minnesota.”

Despite the strong potential for negative bias influenced by the Journal article, it is our hope moving forward that Minnesota lawmakers continue to value investments in higher education as budget requests and proposals become finalized. There are indeed significant areas in the University budget that need heavy trimming, and these should be taken under careful consideration by University administrators with the aid of an outside financial consulting firm. While administrators must be held accountable for how responsible they are with the state’s money, politicians alone cannot be expected to micromanage every aspect of the University’s budget.