University employees react to Regents Scholarship cut

March 22, 2009

Just to clear this up: No one involved, including the University administration, considered the Regent’s Scholarship a free ride until this cut was proposed. Before this proposal hit, the administration constantly pointed to the Regent’s Scholarship as not only a benefit of working at the University, but as a part of the compensation package workers received and used it as leverage to keep wages down.
How convenient it is that now this cut has been proposed, the Regents Scholarship is being repositioned as a privilege and a perk. Those are veritable dirty words in our struggling economy. This is a cowardly move on President Bob Bruininks’ and the administration’s part. They know the job market is tough and that those of us who still have our jobs here at the University will likely keep them. I will. Do you know what I won’t do? Pay the University one red cent for education from here out, and neither will anyone I know. We either cannot afford it and we are sick of being trodden upon.
This is a huge mistake and a serious marketing liability for the University.
The story being reported here is not “Great! The U saves $2.5 million!” The story should be: “The U throws its lowest paid employees under the bus, again.”
The administration has taken its employee’s Drive to Discover and put it in park.

Andrew Brinkman
University employee

After graduating from the University in 2005, I took a job here knowing that while I would be earning a lower salary than my peers in the private sector, I would have the opportunity to further my education. I’ve taken at least one class a semester since then to work toward a master’s degree and to build my law school application.
However, with the proposed cut to the Regents Scholarship benefit, I will no longer be able to afford to take classes. Each graduate credit costs about $900. For someone making $70,000, $650 — or 25 percent of the cost of a three credit graduate course — is a manageable expense. For me, $650 is $100 less than my biweekly paycheck.
This cost is prohibitive and puts my continued graduate education out of reach. If the Board of Regents accepts this proposed cut, I will be unable to afford to take classes at the University. And if I — young, single, without dependent children or expenses like a mortgage — will be unable to afford classes at the University while being an employee here, how could President Bob Bruininks and the Board of Regents possibly think a single mother with two children trying to better herself by getting her degree would be able to afford the cost?
The $2.5 million dollars this cut will supposedly save is a pittance compared to the University’s operating budget. Please, President Bruininks and the Board of Regents, rethink this 25 percent cut to the Regents Scholarship. It by far hurts those of us who need it the most the worst.

Kemtae Lynch
University employee

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