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Jackie Brodshaug, Published March 10 2012

Outrageous that higher ed board fears retaliation from Legislature

It’s very confusing, so let’s get this straight. North Dakota State University applied for another tuition increase, but it was denied by the state Board of Higher Education.

Why? It seems the board fears retaliation from state legislators. Let that sink in. The increase was denied because the board is afraid of state legislators. Now isn’t that appalling!

First, NDSU students shouldn’t be facing another tuition increase. Students and their parents are the innocent victims. They shouldn’t be injured by actions of a Republican Legislature that is blinded by petty vindictiveness.

These are the same legislators who slashed NDSU’s funding by more than $8 million in 2011. They knew their actions would cause harm. The board asked for the funding, the governor included it in his budget and President Dean Bresciani told the Legislature of the critical need.

But Republican leaders were still feeling burned by the prior president, and they decided to penalize NDSU despite the harm they knew it would cause. Now NDSU struggles with a shortage of teachers, promising research is curtailed, jobs are lost and students have to pick up the tab, or should we call it a tax?

In contrast to the spiteful behavior of the Republican Legislature, students decided it was wiser to pay more rather than sacrifice the institution or their education – a truly remarkable and selfless decision. It is the students who are the mature statesmen in this case.

It’s so disgusting to remember how excited some of the same legislators were whenever the Bison football team was winning. They want to own the winners but become deadbeat dads when asked to provide the means to educate the students. Well, I don’t think you can have it both ways.

Supporters of NDSU should insist that legislative retaliation end right now. In fact, the only people who should fear retaliation are the Republican legislators who thought it was more important to give

$100 million in tax breaks to individuals and corporations – who didn’t ask for the windfall – while taxing our college students more and more.

We all need to remember this when November rolls around.

Brodshaug is a former state legislator.