Trimming MnSCU | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Trimming MnSCU

OTHER OPINION: HIGHER ED

Posted: March 14, 2011 - 9:25pm

What do you call recent legislation to trim the central office at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities?

A good start.

The bill to trim the bloated central office of MNSCU, which has administrative oversight for Winona State University, Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical and (gasp) 30 other campuses, was introduced by Winona’s own state Sen. Jeremy Miller.

It should get very good play because Miller is the vice chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee.

It’s about time.

For years the central office has seemed to live with few other purposes than to figure out ways it can justify its own existence by a layer of bureaucracy so spectacular that it couldn’t even provide an organizational chart of itself. Another legislator, Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona, had to develop one in his office. It ran several dozen pages.

For years, we’ve said MNSCU has been a deeply flawed organization. In its inception in 1996, the fledgling organization was created to suck up the redundancy that goes along with administrative support of college campuses, thereby leaving just a scant few administrators at the local level.

In theory, the system should work. Bills should get paid in one place. Technical support could be centralized.

Instead, an administrative hierarchy was created to lord over the campuses, making every aspect a more cumbersome process, and, in turn, more expensive.

The taxpayers and the students have been the ones to shoulder the cost of such a wasteful redundancy. Chancellors and assistant vice chancellors don’t come cheap, you know.

What Miller’s bill aims to do is to cut the system office’s administrative budget by 10 percent. It tries to make sure that when MNSCU is cut, the cuts don’t happen in the classroom and can’t necessarily be easily passed as surcharges to the campuses that do the real work.

— Winona Daily News