U Extension closings

Minnesota’s cut to U funding has wide-reaching consequences.

The University of Minnesota Extension is how the University applies its research to solve problems throughout Minnesota. It operates all over the state to âÄúdeliver research-based education and information that is relevant, practical and usefulâÄù to organizations and individuals. However, Extension has been forced to close two regional offices this year due to budget pressure. A major part of this pressure was a $1.7 million cut in funding from the state. State funding at nearly $28 million provides almost half of ExtensionâÄôs budget. The state has already shown that it does not consider the University a priority by cutting $151 million in total from its budget, but cutting funding for Extension runs directly counter to the interest of Minnesota taxpayers. Extension works on projects like reducing radon levels in Minnesota houses . According to an Extension news release, faculty member Bill Angell says if new radon recommendations (which he played a large role in creating) are followed, there would be several hundred fewer annual lung cancer deaths in Minnesota and over 9,000 in the United States. So there is no arguing that Extension does important work for Minnesotans, and for the state to cut its funding so drastically is an irresponsible way to deal with budget issues. Thankfully, Extension was able to minimize negative effects from this cut: they have kept on all of their non-retiring staff. While some have to relocate, Extension has not had to reduce programming. As Dean of Extension Bev Durgan says, they have kept their money in people rather than offices, but Minnesota taxpayers cannot afford state leaders to further divest from statewide applied University research.