Friday, March 25, 2011

We're not playing either: 33 minutes were not enough!

Do not do anything else until you have read this column by Patrick Coolican on the state legislature in today's LV Sun.

What this state is up against is clear -- a culture of "inside the building."

That culture is so rampant that one, unnamed, republican state lawmaker, was reported by the Reno reporter Ray Hagar as having described Monday's historic demonstration of 1000 students as "people bussed in to yell at us." Another, perhaps the same individual, called it "pressure" and said "I won't succumb."

These people not only want to continue Nevada's currently hostile business climate which has failed to achieve economic diversification or stability for decades -- but they consider any ideas to change it and secure a more stable future of the state -- merely "pressure."

Earlier this week, the NFA asked faculty, students, alumni and community members to give 33 minutes to call legislators about 33 UNLV programs (which currently train over 2000 students in fields from Social Work to Informatics to Marketing, and which would be cut under the Governor's budget plan.)

Since then, the key education budget subcommittees have instructed Chancellor Klaich to detail the full extent the full extent of the cuts to academic programs
across the state under the Governor's budget (as well as detail what measures the Board of Regents could take to mitigate these cuts.) For UNLV, the full impact of the Governor's budget, if unmodified by those who oppose "pressure" and if unmitigated by the Board, would require another $7.5 million to be cut from academic programs.

In other words, even though we generated, at last count, nearly 3000 phone calls this week, 33 minutes were not enough! We'll have more programs that are going to have to be considered for elimination.

There is an alternative, and its clear -- a balanced solution. Combining the spending cuts, administrative efficiencies and academic reforms already instituted and under way at UNLV with adequate public investment in the economic diversification and improved quality of life that UNLV as a research university provides to the region and the state.

To fund that investment, the state needs fair, broad-based revenue policies that provide a stable basis for the future, and get us out of the boom-and-bust cycles of the past.

So today and next week, call again.

In particular, call those who represent southern Nevada and whose districts and constituents stand the most to lose from a continuation of the current, hostile business environment in the state and the most to gain from a solution that secures our future by investing in quality higher education.

In particular, call Senators Joe Hardy and Michael Roberson and Assembly members Lynn Stewart and Melissa Woodbury. They represent not only a lot of UNLV students and faculty but the entirety of Nevada State College and the Henderson campus of CSN -- all of which would be severely impacted by the Govenor's hostile-to-business budget.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps we should start taking the steps necessary to propose a bill that requires those voting on education funding to send their children to the schools they're voting on funding. No private schools, including higher ed, for the children of the Regents, the legislators, or the governor. That might make them think twice...