Printed letters, April 22, 2011

There is an alarming statewide issue that has gone unmentioned during the name-change discussions at Mesa State College in Grand Junction and Metro State College in Denver. The issue is that Colorado public colleges and universities must increasingly rely on non-Colorado students to keep higher education in Colorado viable.

The name change discussions at Mesa and Metro represent something much larger and more troublesome than what a college or university calls itself. They represent a recognition that public higher education is at a watershed moment in its 150-year history. Our state budget is forcing a complete change in how we manage public higher education. We are now managing it to attract students from other states in order to keep public higher education for Coloradans possible.

Absent adequate state funding support, public colleges and universities are more tuition-dependent than ever. Non-Colorado students pay more tuition because their cost of attendance is not subsidized by state funding.

Without sufficient state support, at least two things must happen to keep our institutions viable. First, institutions find that they have to increase the tuition rate for Colorado residents so that students and their families bear more of the responsibility for the cost of higher education. Second, institutions find that they need to enroll more non-Colorado students in order to collect more tuition revenue.

Thus, the leaders and boards at Mesa State and Metro State are correct in working to make their institutions more recognizable and appealing to non-Coloradans.

It is increasingly evident that Colorado cannot support the financial needs of a quality system of public higher education. The conundrum is that while the state cannot afford it, it also cannot afford to not have public higher education. Enrolling more non-Colorado students is akin to building a “private college” sector within our student bodies. Non-resident tuition is not subsidized by the state, and thus is unregulated. This allows our colleges to increase and manage revenue without onerous state accountability measures and regulations required with any increase in state funding.

Banking on the notion that a name change will help attract more out-of-state students is symbolic of the funding challenges faced by Colorado’s public colleges and universities. Time will tell if such efforts prove successful, but in the end, the struggle for state support remains a top concern.

JAY HELMAN, President

Western State College

Gunnison

GOP should work with Dems on redistricting

I cannot believe the depth of the partisanship of the Republicans on the redistricting committee. Despite an agreement to not comment on the results of the work performed this year, the Republicans came out swinging and accusing the Democrats of creating districts to maintain or create better districts for the Democrats.

Does anyone remember the last redistricting process, where the majority Republicans created a gerrymandered map at midnight, so out of touch with fairness or rationality that the courts threw it out on all levels and then imposed a court-ordered solution?

It is far past the time for the Republican Party to stop being the party of no and work to govern our state as they have been entrusted to do. It’s been 30 years of this kind of ridiculous male bovine fecal matter, and I for one will remember this at election time.

RICK STELTER

Paonia

BLM horse program due better coverage

In 2002, the BLM Grand Junction Field Office began using the immunocontraceptive vaccine Porcine Zona Pellucida on select mares in the Little Bookcliff Wild Horse Range as a form of population management. The results have been astounding. In 2002, we had 41 foals in the Little Bookcliff herd. In 2010, we had 11 foals.

Every few years, it is necessary to conduct gathers to remove excess horses from the range. The cost for rounding up one horse is between $640 and $3,000. Once dose of PZP, which will prevent a mare from foaling for a year, costs $25. Our last gather in the Little Bookcliffs was in 2007. Due to the success of the fertility control program, the gather that was scheduled for 2011 has been canceled.

On March 31, the Grand Junction Field Office sent out a press release saying the 2011 gather would be canceled due to the effectiveness of PZP on our herd. Many of us involved in the darting project here in the Bookcliffs were hoping The Daily Sentinel would run a follow-up story.

I’m puzzled as to why the Sentinel didn’t publish this news, yet ran a story entitled “BLM accused of abusing wild horses in Utah pens” on April 10. Could it be that they are more interested in focusing on the negative aspects of the wild horse program than the positive things that are happening right here in our own backyard? Shame on The Daily Sentinel. Kudos to our local BLM office.

MARTY FELIX

Grand Junction



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