LETTER TO THE EDITOR: UMD shorted on funds from the U

UMD Professor Dick Green responds to University President Kaler's remarks about supporting UMD.

A few weeks ago University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler made a brief weekend visit to UMD. Later he wrote letters to the Statesman and the Duluth News Tribune praising UMD and commenting on its economic importance to the area.

During his visit to Duluth, President Kaler was asked to respond to a UMD Faculty Council survey in which 94 percent of respondents said they did not believe that Kaler adequately supported UMD’s budgetary needs. In a News Tribune article, “U of M president states support for UMD campus,” President Kaler responded by pooh-poohing the faculty survey and saying, “UMD is treated fairly in the budget allocation system.”

I do not think that UMD is treated fairly in the budget allocation system.  I think that UMD is being short-changed by the U. The state allocates money to the University of Minnesota but the University decides how to allocate money among its units. Technically, the allocation is done by the Regents of the University but as busy people the Regents rely heavily on advice given by leaders of the University whose interests are centered on the Twin Cities campus.

It is difficult to say how much of the state allocation to the University should come to UMD, in part because relevant numbers are kept obscure, but it seems quite clear that if UMD received its fair share of state money, the deficits that UMD has faced in recent years would be wiped out.

I suggest two things. First, UMD leaders should take an interest in the possibility that the University is short-changing UMD. UMD leaders might look at the numbers and try to determine how much state money UMD deserves to get. Second, they should advocate with the U and the legislature for better support for UMD.

Dick Green

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