Legislative leaders in the Senate are asking the University of Minnesota for data on its administrative spending and how it compares to its peers.
It’s in response to a recent Wall Street Journal article that suggests the U is among the worst in the nation among top public research universities in administrative bloat.
Bakk: I, like many legislators, was very troubled by the Wall Street Journal article. And that is not a place – the front page of The Wall Street Journal – where we want our flagship university. We take that very seriously.
I actually personally met with the chair of the Board of Regents yesterday. Today, Sen. (Terri) Bonoff (the higher-education committee chairwoman) and I sent a letter to President Kaler requesting that he report back to the legislature by mid-March with … at least a preliminary report of how we compare, for instance, to other Big Ten schools. I mean, are our administrative costs just out of sync with other Big Ten universities?
So we take the article – and how the university responds – and I think the accountability and the oversight that the regents have over the president and our university very seriously.
Q: Will their funding at the University of Minnesota depend on how they respond? Or is it going to be affected by that bloated-administrative-costs investigation?
Bakk: I think the … President Kaler wrote a response to the Wall Street Journal article. I think the university’s success at the legislature is dependent on kind of how they react and how they respond to the criticisms.
Q: Generally, he’s not denying it so much as he’s saying it’s completely out of context and not true?
Bakk: Well, I think it has little to do with President Kaler. Maybe the administration before him and the one before – as this has built up over time — and I don’t think it necessarily reflects on his leadership. But we certainly want to know how he’s going to respond to the criticism.
(Quotes may not be verbatim in some parts.)