Letter: Responding to “In budget fight, UMN finds stiff competition with state schools”

University President Eric Kaler presents during a meeting  on  March 12, 2013, at the Minnesota state Capitol.

Daily File Photo

University President Eric Kaler presents during a meeting on March 12, 2013, at the Minnesota state Capitol.

Matt Kramer

In the State of the University address, President Eric Kaler emphasized the central role that facts play in the role and mission of the University. Facts matter, and that is precisely why Thursday’s article “In budget fight, UMN finds stiff competition with state schools” was so disappointing. The article would lead readers to believe that the University, in our budget request to the Minnesota Legislature, was unable or unwilling to put a human face on our presentation and show the legislature the direct impact that their support has on individuals, communities and our State.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In Wednesday’s House budget hearing, a hearing that the MN Daily reporter attended, the University presented our biennial budget request with presentations that included:

  • A county commissioner from greater Minnesota who spoke to the University’s impact in his community and with his business, citing the high level of service he receives from University professionals, particularly in the agricultural sector.
  • An out-of-state senior student who spoke to the reasons she chose the University of Minnesota over other institutions and the central role that her experience here, including study abroad, has played in her decision to remain in Minnesota. When she announced that she had accepted a job and would be staying in Minnesota, the room applauded, with the chair of the committee, Rep. Bud Nornes, personally congratulating her.
  • A senior student, from a single-parent household, who was the first in his family to attend higher education. This student spoke of his experience at the University and the support and encouragement he had received from faculty and support staff.
  • A medical resident who described her nationwide search for a family practice program that fit her career objectives. She selected the University of Minnesota, after interviews she described as “coast to coast and all over,” and suggested that our program is the best in the nation.
  • A faculty professor who described the impact of MnDRIVE on his research and the incredible work that the University is doing.
  • Two program directors who explained the impact of State funding on the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) and the Bell Museum.

Your readers did not hear about these passionate and articulate University champions from outside of the administration, explaining exactly why the University matters and how important state support is. Rather, they were presented with quotes that one would believe were likely made prior to the University’s presentation, and out of context.

We take our relationship with the state of Minnesota intensely seriously. Approximately 18 percent of the University’s budget comes from the state legislature. We could not tell the University’s story without our presenters, who volunteer their time and personal experiences, and the Daily owes it to its readers to accurately represent this.

Sincerely,

Matt Kramer

V.P. for University and Government Relations