The State Senate proposed funding $121.3 million toward the University during a Senate floor meeting Thursday and included an amendment endorsing on-campus military recruitment.
The proposal is approximately $5 million less than the $126 million the University requested.
“It’s very good, because it’s almost fully funding our legislative request,” said Donna Peterson, University associate vice president for government relations.
The University will be much better off than it was two years ago when the budget was cut, Peterson said.
“This is a great bill for us when we go into conference committee,” she said.
The bill will enter the conference committee to work out differences between the Senate and House proposals.
In addition to funding, the bill included an amendment that allows military recruiters on campus.
Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said the amendment took her by surprise and that there was no time to talk about it.
Pappas didn’t vote for the amendment, because she didn’t know enough about it, she said.
“I did have some concerns,” Pappas said.
One of the main concerns, she said, centers on discrimination because the military does not allow openly gay people in its ranks.
But Joel Johnson, the former Law School Republicans president, said he thinks homosexuality and recruiting on campus are two different issues.
The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has nothing to do with military recruiting, he said. By not allowing recruiters, the University is discriminating against people who want to join the military, Johnson said.
“There are people in this country who want to serve, and it makes it easier for them to get information on the armed services,” he said.
Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, agreed that military recruiters should be allowed on campus.
“I think college students are smart enough to figure out if they want to talk to somebody or not,” said Hann, who is a Vietnam War veteran.
Carol Chomsky, a Law School professor, said she has nothing against military recruitment but disagrees with the military’s exclusion of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
“It’s absolutely about the principle of nondiscrimination,” she said.
The amendment was voted down originally, but during a revote, it passed to be attached to the higher education bill, Pappas said.