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The University of Minnesota - What's Your Vision?

Cut the Weak Programs and Play toYour Strengths
Jesse Ventura, Governor of Minnesota

Jesse Ventura

If you believe everything you read in the papers, you probably think I really don't care what happens to the University of Minnesota. You'd be wrong. The University represents everything great about Minnesota. The U's academics, its competitiveness, its diversity and its excellent reputation are all huge assets to the state.

And it's that elite standing that I envision for the University of Minnesota. So why am I "cutting" its budget? I'm not. I'm proposing the U receive more than 50 million dollars for this biennium. They want a lot more than that, but I need to see some accountability. I'm asking the U to do the same thing I asked every one of my state agencies to do: cut the fat, keep what you need, get rid of what you don't, and make your institution one of excellence, not mediocrity.

Maybe there's a program that has seen declining interest every year - its time has come and gone and it's time to put it out to pasture. Instead of funding a program just a few students use, cut the program and concentrate on your strengths. Remember when you were at the beach as a kid, building a sandcastle? You didn't try to use every grain of sand and build a skinny, weak castle that the tide would wipe out in an instant. You made it real concentrated, compact and strong, building on your solid foundation and reinforcing your main assets. That's exactly what the University of Minnesota needs to do: get rid of those weak, outdated programs and play to the assets that made the institution a leading land-grant university.

The U is celebrating 150 years this year. It has been a great 150 years, but I think the next century and a half can be even better. I know they can do it. I know it because I've seen other similar-size state schools, like Wisconsin, excel with smaller budgets and smaller faculties. I hate holding Wisconsin up as an example, but I have to. If the U trims the fat and stops settling for mediocrity, I won't have to look to the cheese state for continued excellence. I'll be able to look right down the street and see an institution of higher learning that truly is in a class by itself.

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