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Published March 02 2009

Forum editorial: MSUM’s faculty wins roses

PRAIRIE ROSES: To faculty members from Minnesota State University Moorhead and other Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system campuses who voted in impressive numbers to accept a pay freeze. They acted responsibly in anticipation of significant college funding cuts that likely will result in job losses for some of their colleagues. Instead of digging in their heels and demanding scheduled pay raises, faculty members did the right thing. It’s not a good time for Minnesota’s state campuses, and everyone associated with the schools knows it. So while it might not seem like a big thing in terms of dollars, accepting a pay freeze is an important symbolism that underscores the seriousness of the state’s economic situation.

LEAFY SPURGE: To those “friendly” North Dakotans who apparently want to see Charles “Sandy” Blunt’s hide nailed to a tree. Blunt, the former head of the state’s workers’ compensation agency, was sentenced last week for misapplication of entrusted property. He received a deferred imposition of sentence for two years, a fine and community service. His record will be expunged if he complies with all the court’s conditions. Critics of the sentence especially objected to clearing his record. Relax. In reality, legal expunging of the record does not make the fact of the conviction go away. It will go with him wherever he goes. The judge’s sentence was measured and appropriate. Now it’s time to get on with making sure Worker Safety and Insurance is managed properly.

LEAFY SPURGE: To Rep. Mark Dosch, R-Bismarck, N.D., who is burnishing his reputation daily as one of the most anti-higher education legislators in the Capitol. His latest gaffe came during scrutiny of the higher education budget when he complained about high salaries of campus presidents. He said the money “is going to the top, and there is very little trickle-down.” Clearly not an economist, Dosch apparently wants school presidents to “trickle down” their salaries to – well, to whom? College presidents get paid the big bucks because they are the CEOs of large, complex education/research/ business organizations. That’s a concise description of the modern university. Most North Dakotans – Dosch, too? – would want the best presidents possible on the campuses. Quality is expensive in a competitive marketplace. It’s not about “trickle down.” It’s about recognizing and rewarding excellence.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To the members of the North Dakota Legislature who voted to approve funding for a new Veterans Home in Lisbon. Late last week the House took final action after a delay or two because of cost overruns on the needed project. But in the end, the long-term needs of aging and ill veterans were seen as more important than the additional appropriation. That makes sense in the long run. Veterans will need the services of the home for generations, so it makes sense to spend the money now, rather than wait and pay more later. North Dakota veterans are well served by the legislators’ action.


Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board