University reduces planned cuts to academics

While a proposed budget originally called for $4 million to be cut from academic expenses next year, the University announced last week a final budget proposal that will cut $1 million to $2 million from academics.

The University’s deans have not yet made final decisions about which programs will experience these cuts.

According to a document provided by University officials, the original plan to bridge an $8.2 million gap in the fiscal year 2007 budget starting July 1 involved a $4 million cut each to capital spending, administrative expenses and academic affairs.

Upon releasing the proposed budget, the Faculty Senate submitted a budget proposal with no cuts to academic expenses. In a compromise, the University heeded much of the Senate’s advice, deciding to cut funding for capital spending by $5 million and cut administrative expenses by $3.2 million. The administration’s new proposal cuts $1 million from academic expenses and withholds an additional $1 million from academics until six weeks into the fall semester, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said.

The second $1 million might be released later in the fall if administrators have determined if the University met target enrollment and income figures for the upcoming fiscal year. Lehman characterized the withholding of the extra $1 million as a fallback plan, in case income is not what administrators expect it to be. He said if current predictions are accurate, the money will be put back into the budget.

Lehman said some cuts to academics were necessary this year to protect academics from even larger cuts in future years.

The overall budget is $360 million; academic spending constitutes 55 percent of that, or about $190 million, said Executive Vice President and Treasurer Louis Katz.

Over the next week deans from across the University will submit decisions about which areas within their schools will experience cuts. The deans will submit two plans: one outlining programs they will cut, and the second outlining what they might cut if the sequestered $1 million is not released in early October.

William Griffith, chair of the Faculty Senate’s Fiscal Planning and Budgeting Committee and chair of the Philosophy Department, said it is not clear whether the Faculty Senate will prepare a formal response to the University’s final budget decisions.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.