MSU, Mankato president OKs killing three athletic programsby Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
Mankato, Minn. — Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Davenport has approved plans to cut three athletic programs.
Davenport approved eliminating men's swimming and tennis and women's bowling. Last week students voted to increase their fees to help fund the programs. Fifty-eight percent of the students casting ballots approved the hike.
But MSU Vice President Rick Straka said only 23 percent of the "entire" student body voted and MSU administrators were not comfortable with that.
"The president knew that it may not really represent a full majority of our students," Straka said.
He said the yes vote was driven by athletes in the programs facing elimination.
Straka said the programs are being cut under a plan to reduce MSU's 2012 budget by as much as $3 million.
"Any cut to higher education is a difficult cut," said Straka, the university's vice president for Finance and Administration. "Because we truly believe that we're the economic engine and the fuel that drives that economic engine of our economy in this state. But we're going to have to manage with the resources that the state of Minnesota gives us."
Straka says 30 staff positions have also been eliminated through an early retirement program. The athletic cuts will save about $190,000 a year.