Question Regents

Prepare to pay more for your education at EMU. When the Board of Regents meets on June 21, they will be voting to raise tuition. How much? We’ll see, but estimates say they need to cover a 15 percent cut in state funding, which is about $11.5 million.

There are several questions students should have for the Board. I suggest you attend the meeting and ask Chairman Wilbanks, “What am I getting in return for you raising my costs?”

Seriously, what value will be added to our education through us paying more?

Another might ask if the Board took a hard look at all the salaries and benefits they could have scaled back or services that could have been privatized.

As pointed out in several Echo columns in April, EMU employs many mid- and upper-level administrators at salaries well over $100,000. Were they asked to take a cut?

Will they force the faculty union into renegotiating their contracts? To her credit, President Martin has initiated this move. However, it must be pointed out that we know this large cut to universities was coming a year ago and yet, they settled on a contract last fall. Why wasn’t this addressed then?

And is it fair for professors who serve in an administrative role to keep their administrative salaries even after they return to the classroom? As someone who helps pay it, the answer is no.

Is it right for the Board to transfer more money from the general fund into failing athletic programs such as football at our expense? Or that they lean on the EMU Foundation to purchase game tickets so they reach the NAACA ‘attendance’ requirement? What happened to Education First?

Perhaps their thinking is that if they take from us and give to the Athletics program, we will attend more games since we’ll be more invested. My hunch is even less – if that’s even possible – students will attend games because they’ll be working longer job hours to make up the difference in higher tuition costs.

I wonder what the Board and EMU administrators would do if they couldn’t simply create more revenue by raising tuition? And that should be at the heart of the questions asked of the Board that Tuesday afternoon. Did they diligently look everywhere possible for cuts before imposing higher costs on those of us who can least afford it?

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