Borne back ceaselessly into the past

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Fiscal management can mean big front-page items — raising taxes, cutting costs, addressing deficits, etc.

But fiscal discipline is all about the small things — cutting off mission creep and keeping a focus on core responsibilities.

And so we come to the our state university system, which is universally acknowledged to have huge infrastructure issues, much of which is due to underfunding, but some of it is also due to deferred maintenance.

Unfortunately, the mission creep, which was cut off several years ago (by some other administration, if memory serves correctly) , is back with a vengeance.

This morning’s Globe brings news of another plan by UMASS-Boston to build dorms on its campus, fundamentally reorienting its mission and inevitably coming at the cost of rehabbing its existing facilities, many of which are in desperate need.

And last month, the state colleges began to agitate to be upgraded to ‘universities’, a largely cosmetic switch that would allow them to begin granting doctoral degrees, a function that UMASS already performs.