University presidents should be allowed to issue bonds to raise money for equipment, according to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Wilson.
Speaking as part of the Hinckley Institute lecture series at the University of Utah on Tuesday, Wilson said the bonding program would be a one-time emergency measure to keep professors and students from leaving the state."We have an emergency. We need to put our finger in the dike," he said.
Wilson, who is the former director of the Hinckley Institute, spoke a few days after independent gubernatorial candidate Merrill Cook spoke to the institute. Republican Gov. Norm Bangerter is expected to speak to the institute soon.
Wilson, who is leading the race according to opinion polls, said Utah is losing its professors because of poor policies during the four years of the Bangerter administration.
"More people want degrees than ever before, but few can teach them," Wilson told the crowd of students and instructors. "If you don't believe me, try getting an add card."
If elected, Wilson said, he would create an education fund made of money donated by business and government. Businesses will be asked to contribute because they benefit from research and training at the state's universities.
University teachers must earn higher salaries, Wilson said.
"We're losing some of our finest minds to states willing to pay for quality teachers," he said.
Wilson also attacked Bangerter's economic policies, noting that construction permits have declined steadily during the last four years.
In recent debates, Bangerter has said his administration helped create 50,000 new jobs. But Wilson said those jobs came mostly during Bangerter's first year in office and were the result of the policies of former Gov. Scott Matheson, a Democrat.
Wilson also criticized Cook for saying teachers at the U. were teaching less than six hours per quarter and should spend less time researching.
"If there's a faculty member in this room who teaches below six hours a week would you please stand up," he said.
Wilson warned students and teachers against voting for three tax limitation and rollback initiatives on the November ballot. More professors will decide to leave the state if the initiatives are passed, he said.