Thursday, January 27, 2011
UNLV's lost priorities
On Monday night Governor Sandoval announced a 7 percent cut in state appropriations to higher education (17 percent if you include the fact they won't be filling in the lost federal subsidy, which itself filled in much of the cuts made in 2009).
Previously, President Smatresk of UNLV ran around the state announcing over-inflated budget cuts by ignoring the fact that he had accepted and spent the federal stimulus. He did so, on the ground that the federal stimulus was a one-time spending measure that wouldn't be repeated. In other words, he knew a real budget cut was coming.
But having ingrained this larger fictional budget cut number in our collective public heads, Smatresk and other higher-ed officials will be touting the bigger 17 percent figure (of which, they already included in their previous complaints). By being logically inconsistent with how they discuss budget cuts, university officials are encouraging the public to imagine bigger cuts than really exist.
And this annoys me.
But what annoys me more is the that after constant complaining about budget cuts and agitating students about tuition and fee increases and threatening to close classes, the university officials plan on building a new dome football stadium on campus.
Let's put this in some perspective:
Between 1993 and 2007 UNLV cut instructor faculty while increasing the number of administrators faster than the student population growth!!!
And don't forget that UNLV had increased tuition and fees 74 percent (after adjusting for inflation) over the last decade (however, according to the U.S. Department of Education, credit-hour costs are up 92 percent and fees are up 771 percent over that same period).
Finally, don't forget that students are protesting budget cuts not just because it will result in higher tuition and fees, but students believe budget cuts will also mean fewer class offerings which, in turn, will result in more difficulty obtaining an undergraduate degree on time - of which only 12 percent of UNLV's full-time students are even able to accomplish anyway!
Have the UNLV officials ever heard of priorities?