[Vision2020] UI Backs Off From $4 million for Athletics

Nicholas Gier ngier006 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 19 13:16:26 PDT 2017

Dear Visionaries:

Both faculty and students can take credit for this turn-about.  Here are
excerpts from a revised version of my column that appeared in the Argonaut
yesterday. One faculty senator noted that the Morrill Act of 1862, which
established our land-grant institutions (of which UI is one), said nothing
about athletics.

UI Finance Vice-President Brian Foisy estimates a deficit between $900,000
and $1,000,000.  The athletics department had originally requested $1
million a year for four years to bring the budget out of the red.

After some hard questioning at last Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting and a
revealing investigative report by a UI student (see below), Vice-President
Foisy has now announced that the request will be $950,000 for this year
alone.  . . .

Vice-President Foisy has argued that all campus units require a subsidy,
but those faculty and staff contribute to the core mission of the
University. Land grant universities such as the UI were authorized by the
Morrill Act 1862, signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Nowhere in this
legislation nor in the UI Constitution is athletics described as essential
to the function of these institutions.

Over the 45 years that I have been associated with the UI, I have seen my
department and many others cut their budgets to the bone—some have no
travel money and some have no faculty telephones—so I see no reason that UI
athletics cannot live within the limits of its generous annual subsidy of


A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they
shall never sit in.

-Greek proverb

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity.
Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance
from another. This immaturity is self- imposed when its cause lies not in
lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without
guidance from another. Sapere Aude! ‘Have courage to use your own
understand-ing!—that is the motto of enlightenment.

--Immanuel Kant
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