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Jane Giedt, Moorhead, Published December 26 2013

Letter: Nursing, health studies take unfair hit in MSUM budget cuts

I was shocked and deeply disappointed to learn about the proposed cuts to the faculty and a program in the Minnesota State University Moorhead’s School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership. At a time when the Institute of Medicine, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Commission are all calling for at least 80 percent of RNs to have a baccalaureate degree, a proposal has been made to cut two positions in the nursing department even after one faculty member agreed to take an early retirement.

Additionally, the community health major is also targeted to be eliminated along with a retrenchment of a faculty member. And these moves are on top of the previous 2010 decision to completely eliminate the prelicensure nursing track, even though I took an early retirement myself at that time.

This proposal seems to be an obvious and repeated effort to reduce a large share of the university budget deficit “on the backs” of the School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership students and faculty, in spite of favorable responses by faculty to calls for early retirement.

There are hundreds of students in the nursing major, and there is a widely acknowledged need for additional health care workers to accommodate the millions of people expected to now have increased access to health care. These proposed faculty and program cuts go directly against President Edna Szymanski’s public statements about offering programs “as a result of student demands and workforce needs.”

I strongly and respectfully urge MSUM administration to reconsider these proposals and, instead, make decisions that better align with the mission and purpose of the university. At the very least, reductions in faculty and programs necessary to alleviate financial burdens should be distributed fairly among all university faculty and programs, including athletics. The School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership has already done its fair share.