We have a feeling that the members of the legislature will soon answer.
Today’s Tulsa World features an editorial that puts the blame for for skyrocketing tuition increases in the lap of the legislature. In many public forums, members of both parties blame the higher ed and university presidents such as the University of Oklahoma’s David Boren.
The World editorial says the legislature didn’t appropriate enough money. We’ve heard frequently from legislators that the regents and the university bosses are poor money managers and that the legislature appropriates sufficient fund id only the money were used more wisely.
Without a doubt, the higher education regents have practiced poor public relations skills with Oklahomans, and capitol observers say that a bi-partisan legislative attempt to remove tuition setting capabilities from the regents is assured. It will be politically popular. Regardless, today’s editorial won’t do anything to help the regent’s poor image, but it will irritate legislators. Watch for more public posturing from both sides as the elections near.
Scuttlebutt at the Capitol indicates a move underway to seriously address budget problems within the endowed chairs program, but with an across the board mentality that could seriously hurt sick Oklahomans.
Right now the state provides a dollar match for every dollar raised in the private sector, but a large backlog of unfunded monetary obligations, rumored to be in excess of $150 million, is causing some state senators to consider moving the state’s obligation to a 50-cent match. Further, those same lawmakers appear to be considering a bond issue to clear out the backlog. State Sen. Glenn Coffee appears to be taking the leading in the deliberations on the issue.
Critics say University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren’s aggressive pursuit of endowed chairs has put health-related endowed chairs programs at risk. “An endowed chair in music or art is simply not as important to the public good as those that labor to cure cancer or diabetes. Among other items, this proposal will gut research into children’s diseases here in Oklahoma City” one observer, who asked not to be identified, tells OKPNS.
We at OKPNS agree: you can’t enjoy the arts if you’re dead. Oklahoma ranks 43rd nationally for child mortality; the babies of Oklahoma’s teenage mothers are 1.5 times more likely to be low birth weight than adult mothers, and Oklahoma is 44th in the nation for teen births. Death rates for teens are 80 per 100,000 in Oklahoma; 66 per 100,000 is the national average.
Twenty-three percent of Oklahoma’s children live in poverty, which is a risk factor for a long list of health care problems.
There’s got to be a better way than to treat all endowed chair programs the same. OKPNS will monitor this situation, and its impact on sick Oklahomans, as we receive more information.
Law enforcement in Oklahoma recently interrupted (alleged) plans for a gruesome massacre on Rogers State University. While attorneys for Tywone Dion Parks argue his Constitutional First Amendment “free speech” rights to threaten to cut off and freeze a woman’s head, kill another man and shoot eight people, students accross Oklahoma were lobbying legislators for their Constitutional Second Amendment rights to defend themselves.
That won’t be necessary, however, because together with the presidents of OU and OSU, educators across the state say their campuses are a “culture of safety,” and there is no need for guns there. They have successfully convinced Senators Mike Johnson (R-Kingfisher) and Johnnie Crutchfield (D-Ardmore)to shelve the bill that the House recently passed – before the senate had an opportunity to vote on it.
Some recently pointed out that we have students who are active military and veterans who have G.I. weapons and government training in how to use them; there are other students who have taken time to attend classes to obtain concealed-carry permits. Why SHOULDN’T those students be allowed to use their weapons and skills to protect themselves and other students in case someone like Tywone Dion Parks actually follows through with his (alleged) plans?
Because, say V.Burns Hargis and David Boren:
University of Oklahoma President David Boren said the bill would hurt recruiting of students and faculty. He said it would pose a dilemma for police trying to determine if a person wielding a weapon is a “deranged gunman or someone who thinks he is doing good vigilante work.”
Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis said mass murderers [and military veterans] Timothy McVeigh and Charles Whitman would qualify to carry guns on campus under terms of the legislation.
McVeigh and Whitman were also not law-abiding citizens, and do not represent the majority of Oklahoma military veterans. This bill would not have made it legal for either McVeigh or Whitman to commit mass murder.
For those who agree with Oklahoma’s higher education elite that the mere presence of a gun in a classroom would distract teachers from teaching and students from learning, this is a happy day. The rest of us apparently need to be more creative in our thinking, so here’s a video from FoxNews to get us started.
by Jeff Franks
NORMAN, Oklahoma (Reuters) – Leading U.S. moderates who blame political partisanship for the country’s woes will gather in Oklahoma on Monday in a meeting widely viewed as further laying the groundwork for a presidential run by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The group of mostly former public officials from both parties is expected to urge Republican and Democratic candidates to forsake what they view as political extremism and partisanship in favor of more centrist policies.
“Partisan polarization is preventing us from uniting to meet the challenges that we must face if we are to prevent further erosion of America’s power of leadership,” lead organizers former senators David Boren and Sam Nunn said in a statement.
Despite their high-minded pronouncement, speculation is rampant that the meeting’s primary purpose is to put the spotlight on Bloomberg.