Less means what it says

I know virtually nothing about Robert Nelsen, the president of the University of TexasPan American, but he understands math, particularly subtraction.

After listening to countless newspaper editors, corporate CEOs and governors blab about “doing more with less” during years of downsizing and budget cuts, it was almost refreshing to notice Nelsen pointing out the obvious – “less is less” in an article in the McAllen Monitor over the weekend.

The article, nevertheless, was a sad recitation of the program and job cuts in store for UTPan American and other campuses in the Rio Grande Valley, stemming from spending cuts ordered by state leaders in anticipation of next year’s $18 billion revenue shortfall.

According to a recent report, the supply of school teachers, nurses and civil engineers from UTPan American and the nearby University of TexasBrownsville already is failing to meet the Valley’s annual job openings. And that shortfall likely will worsen as Nelsen has all but ruled out curriculum expansion, including programs in the fastgrowing medical industry.

Thanks to deregulated tuition, UTPan American students will pay 4.9 percent more in tuition and fees this year, while the university suffers an anticipated reduction of $21.8 million in state funding.

“My biggest concern is in doing less, we have to make certain that we always keep the student at the forefront in every decision we make,” Nelsen told the newspaper. “It’s easy to not do that.”

And, it’s a lot easier, unfortunately, in Austin.



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