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Budget stress fells Glick
by Jake Highton
Apr 24, 2011 | 951 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gov. Brian Sandoval cannot escape indirect responsibility for the death of Milton Glick.

The absurd budget that Sandoval forced on Glick put a deeply caring man under enormous pressure.

The stress, strain and pain became too much. A massive stroke killed him eight days ago.

Glick, president of the University of Nevada, Reno, had come to deeply love the school, its students and its faculty. In a sense he became a martyr because of that love.

He grieved to see UNR reduced to a community college. He grieved that he was forced to deal with a horrendous situation.

Chancellor Dan Klaich pointed out that the $58 million budget cut had been weighing heavily on Glick’s mind, “pulling at his heart.”

“It wore on him terribly and I think we saw the price of that,” Klaich said.

That anguish was evident constantly in email letters Glick sent to the faculty.

On April 4 he wrote: “The proposed budget reductions announced today dramatically  reduce the quality of the university’s core instructional and research capabilities…They touch every corner of our university. They eliminate or severely curtail key service functions in ways that will impact our student body for years to come.”

Decades ago historian Jim Hulse called Nevada “a state without a conscience.”  Certainly  Sandoval has no conscience.

Instead he has the vision of a fifth-rate politician. A submediocrity. He stubbornly and stupidly refused to raise taxes that are so desperately needed in this pitiful state.

Sandoval constantly repeated the mantra of Nevada pols: “No new taxes.”

So what if student tuition and fees go up? So what if UNR faculty pay is cut 5 percent? So what if UNR loses two colleges and eight majors? Sandoval doesn’t care.

But Glick cared greatly.

If Sandoval had any courage he had numerous tax options. Nevada is a tax haven extraordinaire. No personal income tax. No corporate income tax. Badly undertaxed mining and gambling industries.

Because of that lack of courage a good man is dead.

Eight days before Glick’s death the Faculty Senate lamented Sandoval’s “systematic dismantling of higher education.”

In a statement largely written by journalism Professor David Ryfe, faculty senators lamented: “Nevada already has the fewest students in the nation who go on to college. It stands on the precipice of limiting access, reducing the quality and narrowing the breadth of higher education for Nevadans.”

Glick was a tiny Texan with a big hat but an even bigger heart. An educator with a sense of humor, a prexy with passion.

Jim Richardson, Nevada Faculty Alliance lobbyist, lauded him: “I have never met a person more passionate about higher education … I never met anyone more outgoing and friendly yet sincere in his interest in the individual with whom he was talking.”

Lenita Powers, Reno Gazette-Journal reporter who wrote Glick’s obituary, told a revealing anecdote: “He could be seen at 8 a.m. participating in a walk-a-thon for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation on the campus and at 7 p.m. that same day rooting for the Wolf Pack football team.”

Perhaps the finest tribute came from Matt Smith, president of the Graduate Student Association. He said Glick’s legacy is not about Glick but about his concern for everyone at the university.

“He stepped back from the spotlight so we could all shine,” Smith said. “If ever there was a man who was great in humility it was Milt.”

Dr. Glick? He wore his doctorate so lightly that he stood on a San Francisco bar before a Wolf Pack bowl game in January leading UNR football fans in cheers.

Chancellor Klaich recalls the scene: “It was just a beautiful picture of him, not only because it was hysterical to see our university president up on a bar in his trademark hat, but because it was exactly who he was.”

This columnist, a fervent apostle of the First Amendment, admired Glick for his stout defense of free speech.

Glick backed the speech rights of odious demonstrations even though he despised them. When a viscious anti-immigrant spoke on campus some faculty members were appalled. Glick wasn’t. He knew that a university was the perfect place for controversy.

Glick was too defensive when it came to UNR whistleblowers. He was too loquacious. But he was an aimable, charming, decent guy.

He would be the first to pooh-pooh some of the gross exaggeration at the memorial service Thursday: “Immortal … changing thousands of lives … Milt will never be replaced.” (The death of a beloved figure distorts judgment.)

As for the governor, he appeared at the memorial service as pols probably must. But it was unseemly, an affront to the memory of Glick.

Jake Highton teaches journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.
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