The Bismarck Tribune today has an editorial about the growing gulf between legislators and the university system (my story yesterday about the utter lack of trust between the two sides on open records requests illustrates this too). The editorial itself isn’t all that interesting, but this paragraph detailing what the university system wants in exchange for agreeing to a tuition freeze was eye-opening:
According to University System Vice Chancellor Laura Glatt in a story last week, it would cost the state $76 million to fund a tuition freeze at all colleges, increase salaries by an average of 3 percent, health insurance by 7 percent and retirement contributions by 1 percent. It would cost $86.7 million to do the same thing and increase salaries by an average of 4 percent.
The Legislature’s Higher Education Funding Committee was nominally in favor of the tuition freeze, though not for the four-year universities, and not without legislators expressing some crankiness about the way the university system goes about their business.
“There’s quite a bit of unhappiness with some of the requests the board has been making and some of the things they’ve said about how we’re starving them while they’re getting millions and millions,” Senator Ray Holmberg, a Republican from Grand Forks, said.
But you’re really got to admire the gall from the university system. After years of aggressive tuition hikes (which have come side-by-side with lavish budget increases from the Legislature), the university folks are willing to freeze tuition…only if they get theirs.
More pay. More benefits.
These people have tact in the same way the Titanic had buoyancy after hitting that ice berg.
At this point what what do us best isn’t a tuition freeze or re-arranging budgets. We need an overhaul of leadership in the university system.
We just flat-out need better, more honest, less devious people.