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‘U Of M’ President Defends Spending, Calls WSJ Report Misleading

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler addressed state lawmakers Tuesday and defended the University against charges made by a national newspaper.

Life’s been tough for Kaler and the University ever since the Wall Street Journal reported the University went on a 10-year spending spree, hiring more administrators than teachers and more than doubling tuition.

The negative publicity comes at a tough time for the University, which is asking lawmakers for a $1 billion funding package.

Kaler says the newspaper’s figures are misleading because it miscounted many staffers as administrators. He added that the University has actually cut administrative costs.

“We worked as hard to be transparent as any institution could be with a media outlet and that’s why I am dismayed about the Wall Street Journal’s characterization of the University of Minnesota, about how they conflated some of the data and ultimately how they misreported some of our administrative costs,” said Kaler.

Lawmakers gave Kaler a gentle reception. Kaler pointed out, accurately, that he has only been President of the University for 18 months, while the spending period in question occurred since 2001.

Democratic leaders have asked Kaler to provide an in-depth, formal response to the legislature by mid-March.

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