The University Record, July 22, 1998

Regents unanimous in praise of budget priorities

By Rebecca A. Doyle

The Regents complimented Provost Nancy Cantor for her presentation of the proposed budget. The budget, they said, showed Cantor's concern for the students as well as careful consideration for the mission of the University. Regent Andrea Fischer Newman had the only dissenting voice when it came down to a final vote on increasing tuition and fees for U-M students. Regent Daniel Horning was not present.

"My vote on the tuition increase does not reflect a belief that I disagree with the provost or the president on University priorities. I believe that all the programs outlined by Provost Cantor are important to this institution," Newman said. She explained that she felt that the proposed tuition increase and LS&A fee would push undergraduate LS&A student costs up by 4.9 percent, "more than double the rate of inflation. We must look at alternative ways of containing costs and saving money to put toward the academic mission. Other than central administration, it is difficult for me to see where cost containment is taking place. Therefore, I do not agree with how it is being funded."

Regent Philip Power: "I've never heard [a presentation] as conceptually brilliant and simultaneously passionate and concerned as the presentation that Provost Cantor made to us this morning." Power asked Cantor to explain why support for the School of Information did not seem in line with other academic units, and Cantor said that there was a collaboration between the Office of the Provost and the School that was not based on enrollment.

Regent Rebecca McGowan: "The point that [Provost Cantor] made that was most compelling was the comment to the effect that you and the president have a responsibility in devising the budget to make certain that this University is better in the future than it was this morning. That is our shared responsibility, and I think that makes it much more understandable to all of our constituents what it is we are trying to accomplish and what we all need to support."

Regent Shirley McFee: McFee noted that any budget that significantly increased tuition and fees must also show how it would benefit students. "I think you have done that very well, so I am quite prepared to support the fact that this is what we believe this University needs at this time to move it forward in the direction that we hope it will go."

Regent Laurence Deitch: Deitch noted that his remarks would be in the context of business because that is what he knows best. "I don't see a university education as a commodity. It has specific intrinsic values that translate for a student over a lifetime in both tangible and intangible ways. It is our responsibility as stewards of this University to ensure its continued excellence, and therefore I support this budget."

Regent Olivia Maynard: Maynard noted that it is very difficult to vote for an increase that exceeds the cost of living and that accessibility should remain a high priority. "There is very strong evidence that the administration is working very hard to look at cost containment. I am very comfortable supporting the proposal on the University budget this year."

Regent Martin Taylor: "I support, generally, the budget. I don't think that CPI is an appropriate measurement," Taylor said. He also noted that he would like to have someone take a look at the supply chain, "everything from the bidding process to the inventory levels," in tne interest of making the University's business processes more efficient and cost-effective.