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November 1, 2010

O'Malley's Freeze: College newspaper backs Ehrlich

Gov. Martin O'Malley never misses a chance to talk about "making college more affordable." He highlighted a years-long tuition freeze in television commercials, contrasting it with a 40 percent tuition increase while Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. was governor. And he includes the freeze talking point in nearly every campaign speech. Whether he is at a retirement home in Montgomery County or a community center in Baltimore, it always inspires enthusiastic applause.

One group is not impressed: The Diamondback. The editorial board of the University Of Maryland's independent newspaper this morning endorsed Ehrlich.

The Diamondback wrote that the tuition freeze under O'Malley wasn't all roses and sunshine, noting that it prompted furlough days that harmed staff morale and didn't include student fees, which continued to rise. After four years of freezes, the first of which began under Ehrlich, tuition went up 3 percent this year. The editorial board said both candidates have acknowledged that tuition is likely to go up again next year, "Ehrlich has been more forthright about this unpopular reality."

Both candidates have collected newspaper endorsements across the state. The editorial boards of The Sun and The Post both back O'Malley, while the opinion pages of The Gazette, The Washington Times and others support Ehrlich.

The Diamondback's choice of Ehrlich over the Democratic candidate comes about a month after an editorial that blasted the Republican's taxing policies.

"The naive proposal to cut the sales tax to a level already deemed impractical is not only obvious pandering to anxious voters, it's reckless, too," that editorial concluded. The Sept. 28 piece also noted that "Ehrlich's support of higher education has long been questionable."

Today's editorial endorsing Ehrlich warns "our support comes with significant reservations," but says Ehrlich "has presented a clear vision for the future of higher education in this state."

Diamondback Opinion Editor Justin Snow said the editorial board interviewed both candidates. The endorsement, Snow said in an email, "comes from the perspective of higher education, not all the issues as a whole."

In his interview, Ehrlich committed to increasing need-based aid as tuition rises, while O'Malley focused on the past tuition freeze and "shied away from" talking about how he would approach higher education if reelected, Snow said. 

O'Malley's campaign had no comment. Ehrlich's campaign has touted The Diamondback endorsement on his Facebook page.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 11:20 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Candidate Watch 2010


What a joke. Ehrlich is trying to make the case that he's a proponent of higher education because he pandered during an election year? If the Diamondback doesn't like pandering, how did they not sniff this one out?

Why don't you compare what each Governor did during their entire terms?

The only clear vision Ehrlich has is of him on a golf course.

This is absurd. You judge these people on what they've done not what promises they make.

I remember the years where students had to protest Bobby Haircuts at every turn. We had hunger strikes and even parked a Pinto in his parking space. The Diamondback does all those people are great disservice.

"The Diamondback wrote that the tuition freeze under O'Malley wasn't all roses and sunshine, noting that it prompted furlough days that harmed staff morale and didn't include student fees, which continued to rise"

i thought these were supposed to be students? poor babies -furloughs. Why do we even need student mewspapers anyway? and you can't mention fees without talking about Booby Hairpiece.

Great article! It great to see the media show all sides rather than one side with the false pretense that it is unbiased. Let's get the truth out!

I was pleasantly surprised to see this information published both in the Diamondback and the Sun.

As for those upset about what a candidate promises versus what their record shows - I know I was able to find all the scholarship and aid help I needed in my first two to three years of school ('05, '06, '07), but as O'Malley took over, my need-based aid diminished and I had to spend more and more time working instead of studying. All this continued as my parents' small business began to struggle given the economic conditions in the state and the country as a whole.

I'm not saying I know who to believe about "reports" of education spending, but I am saying from personal experience that I believe Ehrlich is committed to putting the money where it is needed. On the other hand, my experience at College Park showed me O'Malley is committed to "tuition freezes" and spreading out aid money, both of which sound really good in an election year, but do very little to actually help universities.

I wish more people posting comments would do a little of their own research before writing insidious outbursts. This is one of the few times I have been proud of the Diamondback. As a former UMD Government major, and a UMD Smith Business School graduate who is currently in the workforce, I welcome the praise and the criticism of both candidates.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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