Our opinion: Add diversity of opinions to ‘Gang of Three’

If you haven’t heard by now (news, pg. 3), a group of three has come together to micromanage financial requests from student groups, individual programs, etc. 

While it’s certainly a good idea to tighten the belts around here (see the cover), it might have behooved those that founded the group to think a little more about the membership of it.

The three deciders are LeBlanc, someone whose job is to be aware of the long-term plans of the university; Joseph Natoli, the senior VP of the Division of Business and Finance; and Dean Pascal Goldschmidt, the senior VP of Medical Affairs.

We need to ask questions like, why are there only three members, and more importantly, why have we chosen these three to essentially save us money?

Natoli is clearly a logical and well-qualified choice for the board. LeBlanc is the “big-picture” guy, so it makes sense for him to make sure that there’s enough money to paint that portrait down the road. But why is Dean Goldschmidt there? Let us rephrase. Why is only Dean Goldschmidt there?

A dean representative is a great way to include academics in the discussion of financial matters which will impact their teaching and research. But isn’t it a little unfair that only Goldschmidt gets a say? What do we propose? A fourth member, with the position rotating among the other deans of the university. We know that UM’s medical program is the cash cow, but let’s level the playing field.

And what of the students themselves? The money is ultimately spent on the well-being of students at UM, but these decisions are made far away from their purview. While we’re adding a member, let’s add two. A non-voting student representative would consult the board and add the students’ perspective to the spending.

The relationship between administrators and students, like any relationship, takes time to build. Trust must be equally traded in order to gain results, in this case, proper monetary allocation.

The students want a voice and every aspect of the university should incorporate that voice.