Student responds to a letter’s plea for better budgeting

Featured Opinion Letter to the Editor Opinion

A past edition of the Griffon News featured a letter to the editor from a student that was apparently aggravated with the MWSU administration and SGA over the recent tuition increase. There were three main points to his argument that I feel are in need of a response.

The student claimed that MWSU received budget cuts because of hard economic times and that the cut shouldn’t be shrugged off onto the students. He preferred we look at cutting things like beautification projects.

For the sake of students feeling better, the author suggested that the increase in tuition be counterbalanced with cuts to administration salaries.

Finally, the student made this statement, “It is time our student representatives and SGA leadership stop behaving like toadies for the administration and defend our interest.”

In responding, for the record, you should know I am not and never have been a student representative or part of SGA leadership. I can, though, understand the need for a tuition increase, and I don’t feel it makes me a “toady” for the administration.

MWSU has increased its enrollment by 18 percent over the past three years, which is higher than all of the other four-year universities in the state. Interestingly enough, MWSU accomplishes this while receiving less state aid per student than all of the other four-year universities in the state.

A much improved, more beautiful, campus likely attracted a few of those new students. Thank you community members, because through your itemized donations we have been able to accomplish most of the beautification projects seen on campus. A thank you is also due to the MWSU administration, because they didn’t take a pay raise over the course of the past three years either.

Now, lets review the reason MWSU received budget cuts. Each year the governor hammers out a budget that he sends to the state legislature, which then goes through a legislative process filled with committee hearings, expert testimony, debate, and, of course, voting from the state legislature.

In the event of a major natural disaster the governor can choose to make certain funding withholdings from almost any government entity receiving state funding. These withholdings forego the legislative process; requiring no hearings, no expert testimony, no debate, and definitely no votes from the state legislature.

A state Representative from Joplin, Bill White, was quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on Aug. 27 saying, “This is why we have a rainy day fund; higher education shouldn’t have to pay for debris removal in Joplin. We have other money for that.”

It should also be noted that the governor’s withholdings closely resemble his own budget that he issued to the state legislature earlier in the year. That budget went through the above process, and came out with MWSU receiving its adequate share of funding. Interestingly enough, the governor chose to sign the budget that went through the legislature instead of augmenting it with his power of a line-item veto. Using the line-item veto would’ve allowed him to set the funding level for MWSU, but he would have also been the only person to blame for the change.

SGA, if you’re now considering the proposed way of dealing with tuition increases by cutting administration salaries by the same percent of increase that the students are facing… please don’t do this.

I’ll admit I’m not a math major, but if this policy were to be put into place we would end up with a very poor administration and eventually none at all. For example, with a policy like this, if tuition were to increase with an average rate of inflation (say three percent annually) then within a decade the administration would have a pay cut of 30 percent. Within two decades 60 percent, three decades 90 percent, and 40 years from now the administration would have to pay to work at MWSU.

Sincerly,

Patrick Graham

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