Yudof tackles finance issue on radio show

by Mike Wereschagin

With a larger-than-average University tuition hike on the horizon and only marginal increases in financial aid, finances are becoming the number-one concern for students, said University President Mark Yudof.
Yudof appeared Wednesday morning on 770 AM Radio K’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Over” show with host Brian Roberts to discuss student concerns dealing with the University.
During the half-hour show, Yudof fielded questions from Tessa Bodey, Radio K’s news director, and Kristin Gustafson, a Minnesota Daily staff reporter, as well as two pre-recorded inquiries from University students and one live caller.
The students’ financial hardships stem from budget shortfalls University administrators are attempting to rectify, Yudof said.
He cited the decrepit condition of the Art Building as a casualty of the University’s monetary failings.
“I couldn’t be a studio arts major at the University of Minnesota. Not only have I no talent,” the president quipped, “but I have asthma, and I couldn’t breathe in that building.”
Yudof also spoke extensively about improving aspects of the University’s culture. Making the school more service-oriented and fostering pride in both the campus and academic arenas will help alleviate problems like academic dishonesty, he said.
“It needs to be made clear that students are not a burden,” Yudof said. “They’re the reason we’re all here. Without the students, there’s no reason for the taxpayers of Minnesota to pick up this extraordinary tab.”
To help that culture flourish, the president said students need to see the University as more than just a factory assembling citizens with job skills.
The increasing trend in American education is for students to treat school as if it is simply job preparation, he said.
Yudof added that students need to learn about community and civic virtue to receive a truly complete education.
“You’re people, not products,” Yudof said. “Sure, you hope to leave the University with certain sorts of skills, but the best skills you could leave with are a broad education, knowing how to write and how to be analytic. You need to know something about the world.”

Mike Wereschagin welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3226.