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Sen. Steve Erdman

Sen. Steve Erdman

District 47

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Straight Talk From Steve…

March 9th, 2018

I continue to lose faith in President, Hank Bounds, Chancellor, Ronnie Green, and the other Chancellors to lead the University of Nebraska system. Besides their failure to lead during the fiasco that unfolded last fall when Kaitlyn Mullen was harassed by a graduate teaching assistant and an English professor, their means for getting more State funding for the university also need to be exposed.

Bounds, Green and the other Chancellors have been threatening to close University programs in order to pressure state legislators into giving them more money. The decision to close the Haskell Ag Lab in Concord, the elimination of the baseball team at the Kearney campus, the cutting of extension programs, and the ending of the Dental Hygiene program in Gering are just four examples of how the university has targeted specific Senators who have dared to question their use of taxpayer’s dollars.

The University of Nebraska has not dealt honestly with the public regarding their funding. For instance, Governor Ricketts had proposed cutting the University’s State funding by $11 million for the 2017 fiscal year and another $23 million for the 2018 fiscal year for a total of $34 million in cuts. But the actual cuts made to the University, as proposed by the Appropriations Committee, amounted to $11 million for the 2017 fiscal year and $6 million for the 2018 fiscal year for a total of $17 million in cuts. That’s half of what Governor Ricketts had originally proposed. But, what Bounds, Green, and the other Chancellors don’t want their university students, legislators, and the general public to know is that their revenues have actually increased.

The University of Nebraska has a lot of money flowing into their system. The Independent Auditor’s Report of the University of Nebraska system reveals on page 13 of the report that the University’s operating revenues actually increased by $74 million for fiscal year 2017. So, while Hank Bounds whined before the Appropriations Committee for one hour and forty minutes about how the University of Nebraska could not afford to suffer a two percent reduction in State funding, their operational revenues actually increased by six percent!

The University of Nebraska has been frightening students by threatening to close some of their much needed academic programs unless they get more funding from the State. Some of these students have come to visit me at the State Capitol. But, after I show them how the University’s operating revenues have increased by $74 million or six percent and how they continue to sit on a pile of cash reserves in excess of $230 million, they begin to realize where the problem really lies.

The University of Nebraska continues to be a very well-funded university system. There simply are no logical reasons for Hank Bounds, Ronnie Green and the other Chancellors to make the program cuts they keep threatening to make. However, I believe it is time for University of Nebraska students, legislators, and the general public to know the truth about how much money is really flowing into the University of Nebraska system.

Sen. Steve Erdman

District 47
Room #12th Floor
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2616
Email: serdman@leg.ne.gov
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