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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?

Bueller? Bueller?


  1. You make some good points, but two are definitely spun to what you want to project.

    First, the new stadium will be fully funded from a private, though still public, donor. It's not up to UNLV to decide how that money is used, and this is very common with private donors. The money would not likely be donated to UNLV for academia purposes. Plus, despite our not so great team, football does bring in some money to the UNLV.

    Second, only 12.4% of UNLV's students graduate in 4 years, but 40.8% graduate by their 6th. That is still 15% lower than other comparable universities, but you're wanting to make it sound like only 12.4% graduate at all, which is false.

  2. If there is one thing my statics class taught me, it's a person can make anything sound to their liking with the right statistic and you're doing exactly what you're accusing President Smatresk off, spinning it to your favor.

  3. Lacey, I'm just reporting the facts, not spinning.

    First, the stadium will be partially funded by private dollars and partially funded with public dollars, tuition and fees.

    Second, I've given UNLV's 4 year, 6 year, and 8 year graduation rates a dozen times before. There is no way I can spin this, especially since I identify which graduation rate I'm talking about. These graduation rates, btw, are all significantly lower than comparable research universities.

    4 years, btw, is considered on-time and Nevada's 4 year graduation rates are appallingly poor.

    On a side note - UNLV does have the 2nd highest Carnigie Foundation rating for a research university, but this is based on research not undergrad ed quality.

    Thanks for the comment.

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