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October 1, 2014

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Goodman: Proposed higher education cuts ‘draconian’

Mayor says it would be a ‘sin’ to cut UNLV’s philosophy department

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Oscar Goodman

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman says the cuts state officials are planning for higher education are not only severe — but are "a sin" in what they would slice from the college experience.

"They’re draconian," Goodman said today at his weekly news conference at City Hall.

Goodman said that although it might be a luxury to study philosophy, "to take that away from a college student and the ability to have expert teaching into areas that really make you into a complete human being, I think, is a sin. I really do. I think it’s a sin."

The mayor said he empathized and sympathized with UNLV President Neal Smatresk, who is facing a 22 percent funding cut that would take $32.6 million away from the school and eliminate some 315 faculty and staff positions.

The mayor, a lawyer, said that when he was in college he majored in both sociology and philosophy.

One of the rumors concerning the UNLV budget cuts is that the philosophy department will be eliminated, Goodman said.

"I have to be quite frank with you. I went to a liberal arts school. Had we not had philosophy, my college experience would have been diminished substantially," he said. "I would not have enjoyed it. They were among the most pleasant days of my life because of the fact that I was able to study things that I would never be able to think about after I left college because I’d be too busy making a living."

Goodman, whose wife, Carolyn, is running against Clark County Commissioner Chris Guinchigliani in the June 2 city election to replace him as mayor, said the loss of higher education programs would hurt the city’s future.

“Las Vegas is not going to be the kind of community that I want it to be, nor my wife, nor our children nor our grandchildren and those to come, if, in fact, we keep on slicing education,” Goodman said.

The mayor said he empathized with a group of accelerated students from Clark High School, a local magnet school that specializes in science and math, who he met during the last two weeks.

The students, who are college-bound, recently traveled to Carson City to talk about their educational needs when higher education budget cuts were being discussed in the Nevada Legislature.

It happened to be the same day that U.S. Sen. Harry Reid began talking about eliminating legalized prostitution in Nevada, so the students voices were drowned in the media out by the prostitution issue, Goodman said.

The students were disappointed in having made the trip and not being heard, he said.

"I told them if it happens again, I would advocate a revolution," Goodman said. "I would sit on the steps and I would bang on the doors and I wouldn't let them do business until they listened to me. I thought it was rude, I thought it was insensitive and I thought it was inappropriate."

Goodman also said the more "strategic alliances" that the city builds with the university, the better off the community will be in terms of bringing in new businesses and new jobs.

Smatresk is already working to that end, he said.

"If a business wants to come into our community, and they happen to have a particular expertise as far as the work force is concerned, they will actually design a course at the university, which will address that," Goodman said. "I think that's pretty innovative. ... That's a real enticement for a business to have training at a university, which will be able to have an educated work force provided to them."

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  1. Chunky says:

    We're not losing higher education. We can't continue spending money we don't have.

    It is called reducing expenses to match the revenue and balancing the budget!

    Mr. Smatresk and his colleagues have to figure out how to do more with less like the rest of us do when needed. Suck it up, get over it and get on with it! Enough with the PR blitz and getting your political cronies to speak out for you. If Smatresk is unwilling to make it work let's find someone who will!

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  2. America is not broke - there is plenty of money but 1/4 of the large Corporations like GE do not pay taxes, for one reason, because their profits are kept offshore.

    Casinos contribute very little because of all the deductions and high paid tax lawyers that shovel money up to the executives who bank in other States. Even the Brothel owners are fighting with each other, absconding with hand fulls of cash and eating up all the profits.

    But for those who know that the front porch is the end of the Rainbow, philosophy will never mean anything, neither will technology, history, math or astronomy because none of those disciplines is necessary to lock, load and deploy.

  3. I second SunJon in calling B.S.!!!
    Amen!
    "There's no more money, we're broke" is the biggest line of B.S. out there, propagated by the greedy piggies that have absconded with all the dough and want to continue to dismantle the middle class and continue their MINDLESS attack on Ed funds from Head Start to K-12 to higher ed...
    B. freaking S.!!!

    And, I must give credit where credit is due...
    WAY TO GO, OSCAR!!!

  4. This is a sad joke on the citizens of Las Vegas and Nevada and especially the students of UNLV and ALL high school students who want to go to college close to home. Of course we have to cut the budget but, HOW DID WE GET HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE ???? and now the students get stuck with the consequences of POLITICIANS a few years ago, Now the same politicians want to cop out by saying WERE SPENDING MONEY WE DON'T HAVE !! Wah !!

    Good Job Oscar Goodman for Speaking Out !!!

    Nobody else has said anything, sorry we are losing your leadership after all these years Oscar G.

  5. This idea of balancing the budget by only cutting spending has been failing miserably in Europe, but no one on the Right wants to talk about that.

  6. Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, Nevada should focus it's resources more directly. Instead of cutting UNLV to the bone, perhaps consider eliminating Nevada State. That way we don't have multiple emaciated institutions. While this may effect the reach of higher education, its better to educate a smaller group at a higher level than more people at a very limited level.

  7. What's really going on: the right-wing GOP will do anything to make the rich richer. Education in our state has been consistently underfunded all along, especially UNLV and CSN. What will be destroyed in one fell swoop with these draconian, unreasonable and unjust budget cuts cannot be built again in our lifetimes. Governor Sandoval wants to balance the budget on the backs of Nevada students of all ages, and that's just plain morally wrong. Let's not let those greedy right-wingers get away with it, not anymore!

    Stand up and fight! Let's fight and keep fighting!

    Thank you, Mayor Goodman, for standing up for what's right!

  8. While I have not received my degree here in Nevada, my son, Michael, has received three, before reaching 25. Last May, he graduated UNLV's School of Engineering. One thing in our conversations have stood out through the years, he often referenced what he learned in his philosophy classes, and it is these type of courses that prove of value in his work in construction applying ethics daily. These type of courses, although they may not be the core of what a student plans to practice professionally, will help guide them, in the course of practice, and in their own lives. That is of great value, and means we should not be going around cutting such courses. UNLV's School of Engineering is a cut above the rest, and should be valued in this state. The fact that Lon Kruger has left, speaks volumes of what is to be expected about the attitude here in Nevada with the mining, gaming,construction, and casino industries who are UNDERTAXED, and use the good citizens and state of Nevada as their personal slaves to advance themselves and PROFITS for their greedy shareholders (most of whom, are NOT Nevadans nor Americans!). The shame of it all, is that the lawmakers went along with their greedy plans by NOT ENFORCING IMMIGRATION LAWS for decades, allowing near illiterate, 3rd world, compliant, cheap labor to infiltrate the West, raping the USA citizens with the tax bill of social services keeping these people working their (ever expanding) sites. The shame of it all. Yeah, true Capitalism is at work here, right?

    If our borders and immigration laws were enforced, we would NOT be having this conversation about cutting so deeply in our state's education(where these illegal people's children are served). Quit being so politically correct and send a clear message: If you come to the USA, do so legally, and if you stay, become a legal citizen! Be an asset to America, not a vampire of American resources and hurt American people convertly. This is a convert war that is quietly costly us billions of dollars yearly!

    We all should be crying out for the future of our state and our children. These cuts are absolutely unacceptable!

  9. Matt Radmanovich wrote, "Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, Nevada should focus it's resources more directly. Instead of cutting UNLV to the bone, perhaps consider eliminating Nevada State."

    More than 50% of NSC is composed of poverty level minorities and over 75% are women.

    I'll be honest with you Matt. If they even try to close down NSC I will personally file a class action law suit for ethnic discrimination on behalf of the 3000 students that attend that college and I will WIN.
    (Yes, this is a strong statement but I mean every word of it.)