Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why Hillary? Why Bellagio? (Follow the $.)

After so much anticipation and so much "controversy", it finally happened. And surprise, it raised money for UNLV! Who could have guessed?

Oh, yes. That's right. We've been saying all along that the Hillary Clinton UNLV fundraiser will raise money for UNLV. And whaddya know, the event itself turned in at least a $10,000 profit for the UNLV Foundation. In addition, the announcement was made of a $12 million gift to the school outside the Bellagio fundraiser.

Of course, speculation is running rampant today about why Hillary Clinton came and what she will be doing next time she returns to Nevada. Ironically, hardly anyone is talking about the reason why this event occurred in the first place.

Why, oh why, did UNLV (Foundation) have to pay Hillary Clinton to show up at some fancy Bellagio fundraiser? Look no further than Governor Brian Sandoval (R), Former Governor Jim Gibbons (R), and the severe budget cuts that UNLV endured in 2009 & 2011. And even before then, UNLV and the other public colleges in Southern Nevada were underfunded.

So what are public colleges supposed to do when confronted with severe state budget cuts? Ironically, they've been turning to private donors to try to fill as many gaps as possible. And due to rising tuitions and dwindling financial aid resources for poorer students, we're seeing a growing education gap exacerbate the already alarming inequality crisis.

Keep this in mind today as you read commentary from certain media pundits on the "optics" of last night's UNLV Foundation fundraiser. If you hear from someone who's "disturbed" by Hillary Clinton's visit, ask that someone if one truly believes public institutions of higher education should serve the public. If so, then shouldn't those institutions receive better public support? If so, shouldn't our public colleges receive better finding from our state & federal government?

If UNLV could count on better public funding, it wouldn't have to do so many of these private fundraisers.

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