State Rep. Leon Drolet (R-Clinton Township) cares about students – or at least their starving professors. After representatives of the Presidents Council of State Universities of Michigan asked lawmakers how long they would continue to allow the state’s institutions of higher education to starve to death, Drolet – a true compassionate conservative – decided he had to do something.

Sarah Royce

His response was a mock food drive, a request for Michigan residents to drop off nonperishable food at his Lansing office to support starving university presidents and faculty. Drolet, trying to be droll, suggested donating pork.

It’s no secret that tuition rates have risen significantly in recent years. Drolet, however, fails to see the connection between those increases and steady cuts to state higher education funding.

Even if universities receive the 2-percent increase promised in Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s budget proposal earlier this year, it will hardly make up for inflation – much less several years of state budget cuts. The University has cut its budget by more than $50 million since 2004, and other schools have been tightening their own belts. When administrators come to the state Legislature to lobby, they’re not joking when they say they’re starving.

Maybe someone could use a little higher education of his own.

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