ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Students, faculty and administrators urged Gov. Mark Dayton during a roundtable discussion Wednesday to stand firm against deep cuts in Minnesota higher education.

The Democratic governor is proposing smaller cuts in public higher education than the Republican-controlled Legislature. He held the discussion in a packed room at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul to address how cuts would affect colleges and universities in the state.

“I never thought in my professional career I’d be thanking the governor for a cut,” joked Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor James McCormick, one of the roundtable panelists.

Members of the panel, which represented everyone from students and teachers to lawmakers and college administrators, spoke about the need to keep higher education in Minnesota accessible and of high quality. Some people in the audience carried signs reading “YEE-HAW! Minnesota: Falling behind Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas in higher education funding” and “Invest in the future.”

“I understand something needs to be cut somewhere,” said panelist Amy Henschel, a 34-year-old single mother of three from Farmington who attends Globe University in the Twin Cities. “But students need to have these opportunities, because we are the future.”

University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks called the House and Senate budgets “a race to the bottom” and “a recipe to cut economic growth in Minnesota.”

“This is about jobs,” Bruininks said. He pointed to a consultant’s report that concluded that every dollar invested in the university by the state generates $13.20 in the statewide economy.

Thomas Trehus, 20, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus, said the deep cuts would be “devastating to students.” Trehus, political director of the Minnesota Student Association, said the result would be larger class sizes and a longer wait for students to get into classes and graduate.

“We need to protect higher education,” Trehus said.

Metropolitan State President Sue Hammersmith said students have been dealing with soaring tuition and schools are faced with eliminating academic programs. She said schools are looking at cost-cutting moves “that would have been unthinkable several years ago.”

Dayton said the cuts would have “terrible consequences” and that hearing from those who would be affected strengthened his resolve.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (25)
  1. TF says:

    So a bunch of liberals that live off the government complaining about not getting enough free money? Sounds like a productive afternoon.

  2. Norge says:

    Funny how he always schedules these ‘forums’ with a crowd who will claim ‘victimhood’, yet they are all public-trough feeders, including the Gov. The last thing you will EVER see the worst governor-ever do is actually hold a forum with taxpayers. THAT would scare the hell out this old-school tax & spend liberal who has the creativity of a gerbbil compounded by the IQ of a rutubaga. His “TAX THE RICH”mantra doesn’t even touch the actually wealth of the rich…it ONLY taxes the income of those trying to get rich, trying to earn wealth. Take a lesson folks….Mark Dayton doesn’t want any competition for power (ie: wealth) and will use taxes to make sure you never get any, thus keeping you from being in a position to challenge the limosene-liberals self-annointed authority. The continued appointment of liberal judges who will rulle that ballots from the trunks of Demoncratic operatives cars are legal, and voting machines with counts higher then registered voters, also operated by Deomoncratic operatives are legal…but tens of thousands of military absentee ballots “have no validity in the election” only continue to assure that the seven county metro will continue to insure that there will be no honest elections for state-wide office in MN again, until we get a REAL FEDERAL Prosecutor in MN, and with Obamamama, that ain’t gonna happen…get used to the corruption.

    1. M B says:

      Wow, Guess all hopes of a rational discourse are out, huh?
      That’s the biggest pile of acrid, lies, misdirection, exaggeration and overall FUD I have ever seen.
      By the way, this was a discussion of Higher Education, of which you seem to have not had much of or else you would be checking your facts and not making blanket scare statements to try to fearmonger hate against those you have obviously found to offend your delicate sensibilities.

  3. Terry Higgins says:

    Where do you people think you got the means to even write? Try doing away with the skills teachers bring into the class room and see the cost to us then. They get away with what there doing to teachers. That meat ax could be coming to a job near you.

    1. TF says:

      Funny my parents taught me how to read…

      Besides this isn’t about the value of teaching it’s about the excess of education funding.

  4. John says:

    For once, I would like to hear somebody other than a teacher, union rep, or politician that receives funds from unions complain that teachers and schools aren’t getting enough money. Go in and ask a fast food employee, they want more money too, and can make a better burger for $5 more an hour.

  5. mike says:

    I wish I knew more about how higher ed works, but I relate continued education to being in business. In my little business when I want to better the business or try to gain more revenue, I invest in newer or better equipment. I ended up not going to school beyond high school and wish I had. The price of the school of experience I think is much greater than higher ed. Anyway maybe it’s time people look at this as investing in their future business and nobody is handing me a check to better myself.

  6. Joe Hanson says:

    Is Governor Dayton violating the State’s Open Meeting Law? When was this meeting noticed?

  7. WHAT????? says:

    So why would some of the people that are posting here against people getting help to go to school the same people that are saying that we need to shut the boarders and not allow immigration any longer? Do you not understand that if America cannot educate anyone we would need to bring people in that would have the education? I am not saying everyone here is doing this but for those of you that are I do find it a supreme irony. Business needs these people to continue and if we do not produce them another country will and more job loss for us. WOW, there is a big picture behind the narrow view huh?

    1. john h says:

      the problem is the companies outsource because labor is cheaper , there fore getting someone from another country that is the same or more educated then us Americans is still cheaper. so the problem here is greed! tyou work for less we will save our jobs here in America.

  8. Ginger Shepla says:

    Securing the boarder and allowing immigration are 2 different things. Illegally crossing the boarder into our country is breaking a law. Legally migrating to our country is legal. Hopefully that clears it up for you.

    1. WHAT????? says:

      I may not have got the point that I was trying to make clear. I did not mean anything about “securing” the boarder, when I said “shutting” I was meaning all the people that were talking about closing immigration all together or I would have been mentioning illegals hence the “shut the boarders and not allow immigration any longer”. Hopefully that clears it up for you as well.

      1. KM says:

        Just a FYI…the “border” is where the illegal immigrants are crossing, a “boarder” is someone who rents a room in a “boarding house.”

  9. Nice Life says:

    “I understand something needs to be cut somewhere,” said panelist Amy Henschel, a 34-year-old single mother from Farmington whose three children attend Globe University in the Twin Cities. “But students need to have these opportunities, because we are the future.”

    A single mom who couldn’t keep her legs closed at age 16 is interviewed about this? How do you have 3 college aged kids at age 34?? Please….

    1. Victim Du Jour says:

      Ann Coulter talks about how the media is good at using “Single Mother” in Stories.

      “Single Mothers hit hardest by gas prices” Or “Single Mothers will be effected the most if an Anti-Bush Poetry Professor doesn’t get a raise”


      1. Flower child says:

        @Victim. Go marry one of them and take care of her. She won’t be single any more.

  10. Head scratching says:

    We are a society that lags behind in education compared to the rest of the world. Our solution? Cut education, makes perfect sense.

    1. Victim Du Jour says:

      They don’t have to cut important things, college credits are loaded up with a lot of subjects that are not even science.

      So basically if you want a degree in Mechanical Engineering, you have to take stupid hippie classes, and taxpayers who don’t use the University System have to pay more taxes for it.

    2. MIssing something says:

      If we are lagging in education why is everyone coming from other countries for free education in the US. We taxpayers are paying for foreigners to go to our colleges. So they can afford to go back to their countries and work for less and take the jobs away for self pay students that have put themselves in debt because their school was not free.

  11. Paula says:

    It doesn’t say a thing about where the money is going. They always pull out the bigger class size, poor students, etc. Where is the accountability? They know nobody will read the list of bs projects they fund and it appears students are the first on the list to suffer. Maybe they should put students first.

  12. Averge Joe says:

    We don’t need Higher Education. We need Basic Education.

    …shut the boarders… I presume you are actually referring to the BORDERS of our country.

    …They get away with what there doing to teachers…. THERE, THEIR, THEY’RE- Learn how and when to use the correct one.

    1. WHAT????? says:

      Averge Joe
      Since you brought it up it should be Average, not Averge. Next time maybe just make your comment since you knew what everyone was talking about and we do not need someone just posting to be an ass.

  13. JQ says:

    “Remember when teachers, city, county, state and federal employees crashed the stock market, or when public employees wiped out half of everybody’s 401Ks, took trillions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, moved most of the good paying private jobs overseas and paid no taxes? Yeah, me neither.”

    1. Flower child says:

      Good one, JQ! LOL

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