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University announces $13.8 million in additional proposed budget cuts

By ThisIsReno

SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE

More than 300 faculty and staff potentially lose jobs and 1,600 students directly impacted through latest rounds of budget reduction proposals

An additional round of budget reduction proposals totaling $13.8 million was announced at the University of Nevada, Reno today.

Today’s announcement follows the University’s March 2011 announcement of $26 million in proposed budget reductions. When combined, the proposals represent a reduction of $39.8 million and the elimination of 318 positions. A total of 1,600 students are directly impacted by the proposed academic program reductions.

This latest round of proposals was determined after consultation with a faculty advisory committee and responds to the Joint Subcommittee on Education of the Senate Committee on Finance and the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, which directed the Nevada System of Higher Education to provide specific budget reduction plans totaling $162 million based on the governor’s budget proposal by April 5. The University’s proposals account for $58.8 million of that total.

There is an important process distinction between the proposed reductions announced in March and those announced today, according to University Provost Marc Johnson. Proposals announced in March are moving through a curricular review process, which allows for further assessment and input from the impacted programs and colleges and the Faculty Senate before final decisions are made.

“The proposals announced today will be subject to future curricular review only if reductions of this magnitude become necessary following the determination of the budget by the Nevada State Legislature and related budgetary decisions by the Nevada Board of Regents,” said Johnson.

“Cuts of this magnitude will have a devastating impact on our students and will further erode the economic health of our state,” said University President Milt Glick. “We will continue to press our case to the Governor and Legislature and encourage their full consideration of options by which to alleviate and moderate this damage.”

“Throughout these many months of budget reductions, the University has attempted to protect student success and the research capabilities of our campus. We continue to place a premium on both of these areas,” said Glick.

The faculty advisory committee developed the set of principles used to guide this latest round of proposed reductions. Those principles are available at http://www.unr.edu/budget2011.

Examples of some of the budget reduction proposals announced today include:

  • Proposed consolidation of four colleges into two: The College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources is proposed to consolidate into the College of Science, and the College of Education is proposed to consolidate into the College of Liberal Arts.
  • Proposed elimination of majors and/or minors in educational leadership; educational psychology, counseling and human development; educational specialties; nutrition and philosophy.
  • Proposed elimination of state funding for the following several centers and services, which means they must identify other revenue sources or face possible reduction or closure: Basque Studies, International Students and Scholars, Center for Justice Studies, Child and Family Research Center, Center for Substance Abuse Technology, Latino Research Center and Black Rock Press.
  • Proposed reduction in funding to Intercollegiate Athletics.

The $58.8 million budget reduction plan being asked of the University includes a potential salary reduction, as called for in the Governor’s budget proposal, and a potential increase in tuition and fees. An across-the-board 5 percent salary reduction would save $6 million annually, and would be subject to approval by the Nevada Board of Regents. Tuition and fees are also set by the Nevada Board of Regents, and the University’s proposed plan anticipates $14 million in new revenue through potential future increases.

The two rounds of proposed reductions announced in 2011 are in addition to substantial reductions already made by the University. Since 2009, the University’s annual general fund appropriation was cut $44 million. If the proposed budget reductions are fully implemented, the University’s budget will have been reduced by more than $100 million over four years. More than 700 budgeted positions and more than 30 degree programs will have been eliminated, and more than 50 services and programs will have been eliminated or sharply reduced.

“It has taken more than a century to build the University of Nevada, Reno into an institution of service to the state, with a strong national reputation,” said Glick. “We have made significant strides in providing the citizens of our state with meaningful results, particularly recently as we have reached key historic institutional milestones.”

“Unfortunately, should the current level of proposed budget reductions stand, it will take years, if not decades, to recapture the University’s quality and momentum during a time of increased economic and intellectual competition within the country and the world. Nevada’s future economy and prosperity depend upon a strong education system and strong research universities.”

A full list of the budget reduction proposals and additional information is available at http://www.unr.edu/budget2011.

Budget matters will be discussed at the April 8 meeting of the Nevada Board of Regents at DRI in Las Vegas.

Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno has an enrollment of more than 17,000 students. The University is home to the state’s medical school and one of the country’s largest study-abroad programs, and offers outreach and education programs in all Nevada counties. For more information, visit www.unr.edu. The University of Nevada, Reno is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

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