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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (June 9, 1994)
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Nebraska Rep opens
Jazz at Lied
Future of university depends on committment
By Brian Sharp
Staff Raportw __
Nebraskans have a choice to
make. University of Nebraska
President Dennis Smith said.
They have to decide what kind of
higher education program they want,
he said, and then be willing to stand
behind that decision.
It’s a choice that will demand ei
ther an increased financial com
mittment to the University of Nebras
ka, or acceptance of a deteriorating
Acquired from the Omaha Train Station at the end of the 19th
century, the columns by Memorial Stadium are some of the
oldest structures on the university grounds.
“You can’t have it both ways,”
Smith said in an interview.
“(Without funding), quality starts
going down, and maybe for a couple
three years you don’t notice any chang
es. Then one day you wake up and
there are whole programs that are
Next month, the NU Board of Re
gents will be asked to approve the
1995-97 budget request. The proposal
includes an estimated 6.3 percent in
Last weekend, regents approved
the 1994-95 budget, which increased
3.4 percent, or $33 million, from the
Any future increase in state funds
may prove difficult, however. Bymost
estimates, the state will be facing a
$60- to $100 million deficit this year.
Joe Rowson, Director of Public
Affairs, said the legislature has made
a significant committment to the uni
versity in the past. On average. NU
has received 20 percent of the state’s
budget, he said.
But Smith said it s getting tougher
to maintain that funding.
“We never used to be in the compe
tition,” Smith said. “We used to be
seen as so highly worthy that we didn ’ t
need to compete. We’re now compet
ing with prisons.”
Smith said it’s imperative that NU
officials convince Nebraskans to sup
port the university.
If the state chooses not to invest in
the university, the implications would
be profound. Smith said. And Smith
In 1987, when he started at the
University ofCalifornia, the state pro
vided $2.3 billion to the university in
tax revenues, he said.
When he left last year, that amount
had fallen to $1.7 billion, he said.
From 1990-to 1994, slate support dc
creased by 25 percent.
In order to cope, student fees dou
bled, Smith said. A series of early
retirement programs were developed,
which have resulted in a loss of 2,000
faculty (20 percent), and entire pro
grams were eliminated, he said.
Smith said that in 1990, the Uni
versity of California would have been
considered one of the best institutions
in the world. It no longer receives that
is it possible to destroy a
university that is so excellent
in a relatively short amount of
time? The answer is positively
yes,” Smith said.
“The University of Califor
nia is in serious danger of dis
For the University of Ne
braska, things may not be so
bleak, but there’s still room for
For example, in a recent
ranking of U.S. research li
braries, NU was 74th, and
Smith said the libraries were
At Saturday’s regents meet
ing, Provost Lee Jones said the
cost of library items had been
increasing by 15 percent for several
years. Budgeting during those years
had only granted 1 -to 2 percent in
creases, he said.
A 15 percent increase in 1994-95
library funding will only prevent the
university from sliding down further,
Another area where NU has been
slipping is in building maintenance.
To stabilize the deterioration,
$455,000 has been budgeted for next
year. Smith said this money would
only “stop the bleeding.” To fix the
problem, he estimated $100 million
At Saturday’s regents meeting,
KCgcni KODcri /uian saiu many ui
NU’s classrooms arc already out of
date. There is no choice for NU, Smith
said, it must eventually pay for the
repairs. The only alternative is start
ing over, he said, and NU can’t begin
to afford that bill.
NU will also be playing catch-up in
the area of faculty hires. Next year,
officials hope to hire 75 new faculty,
just to reach to median of their peers.
Since 1988, enrollment has in
cfeased by 2,500, a recent report stat
ed, meaning that NU should have
added more than 120 faculty. It has
added fewer than 50.
But the challenges NU is facing
with its budget and state funding is
nothing unique. Smith said.
The problem exists nationwide, he
said, and the results of tightening
budgets will mean a changing land
scape in higher education.
“U.S. universities, particularly re
search uni versi ties, can no longer grow
unchecked and continue lobe all things
to all people,” Smith said.
See SMITH on 9
Regents approve tuition increase
By Brian Sharp
They don’t like it, it’s not fair,
but it’s coming — again. And
there’s nothing they can do but
ASUN President Andrew Loudon
said that was the attitude UNL stu
dents had toward the upcoming 6 per
cent tuition increase.
But, Loudon said, if the increases
kept coming, he’s not sure how long
that acceptance was going to last.
The tuition increase received unan
imous approval from the NU Board of
Regents, including the reluctant vote
of each student regent.
“It’s against how I believe the uni
versity should be run,’’ Loudon said,
“to continue to stick it to the students
in ihe form of huge tuition increases.
“Unfortunately, it’s a necessary
thing at this time."
It’s necessary because NU’s bud
get has come up short.
NU President Dennis Smith said
money the central administration uses
for improvements comes from the state
and from tuition and fees. When needs
are not met by one, the other has to
make up the difference.
“Lots of things arc happening na
tionally and internationally and most
of them arc happening very rapidly,”
“Universities are very slow institu
tions to respond to change," he said,
“and legislatures are even more reluc
tant to allow universities to change."
NU receives roughly $300 million
from state tax revenues and $ 100 mil
lion from tuition and ices. Smith said.
But the timing of this years in
crease couldn’t be worse.
UN L students don’ t fee 11 ike they ’ rc
important to the university, Loudon
It’s an attitude that has developed
from increases in student fees, foot
ball tickets, parking, etc., he said. And
it’s only being fed by further increases
such as this tuition increase.
Tuition increases are a national
trend. Smith said. Universities arc
moving away from a previously un
written rule of low tuition/high acces
sibility to high tuition/high financial
Smith said previous rates were es
sentially subsidizing the wealthy.
See TUITION on 9
1993-94 1994-95 %
Rates Rates Increase
$64.50/cred. hr. $68.50 6.2%
Resident $85.50/cred. hr. $90.75 6.1%
Nonresident $211.25/cred. hr. $224.00 6.0%
Nebraska Peer 94-95 Tuition Increases
Colorado State 5% University of Kansas 9%
University of Colorado 5% Ohio State 5%
University of Illinois 8.2% University of Minnesota 4.2%
Iowa State 5.1% University of Missouri 10%
University of Iowa 4% ^Purdu^Jniversit^^7%
Average Increase: 6.25%
" DN Graphic
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