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Classes Too Big for Lecture Halls in Mankato.

The result of Governor Pawlenty’s budget cuts at Minnesota State University in Mankato? New professors are only being offered one-year contracts, administrators have “interim” before their title, and class sizes are increasing, according to the Mankato Free Press. The university has already cut $8 million from its budget, and Governor Pawlenty has imposed an addition $100 million cut for state colleges and universities for 2010.

Funding cuts at MSU have forced reductions in the number of clinicals offered at the School of Nursing, meaning fewer students are being accepted. In this economic climate, more students are heading to school, increasing class sizes at universities even as faculty and staff are reduced to lower budgets. The astounding impact of this can be seen at MSU:

Faculty reductions have forced class sizes up to the point that there aren’t lecture halls large enough to handle some sociology courses, forcing MSU to hold classes in the movie theater across the street from campus, said Don Larsson, head of the MSU faculty union.

Can you even imagine taking a class in a movie theater? It seems that the days of advertising small class sizes and student-to-professor ratios are over and speaks to the fact that budget cuts have forced universities like MSU to cut faculty to a bare minimum.

Governor Pawlenty also vetoed for the second time the state’s share of a proposed $13 million women’s hockey center at MSU. According to the Mankato Free Press, this facility would be where the women’s hockey team played their games, and would also serve as a facility for the men’s hockey team to practice. The construction of a new center for Minnesota’s favorite winter pastime would also have created jobs in a downtrodden economy.

Hockey and high quality education are two things that make the state of Minnesota so great—and they are both in jeopardy in Mankato. For more on how education is affecting statewide by budget cuts and more from the Thrive Drive, head over to our website.

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