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Deans planning for future budget cuts

By Cyndy Cole
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday Apr. 30, 2002

Provost George Davis asked top administrators recently to project what they would cut if state funding to UA decreases by 2.25 percent in 2002-2003, a total of more than 7 percent this year and next.

In a memorandum Davis sent out April 18, high-ranking administrators were directed to avoid cutting, when possible, programs with high student demand, the capacity to generate revenue, interdisciplinary courses and a national ranking.

In the memo, Davis asked all vice presidents to look at how to reduce their budgets by 7 percent for next year with the knowledge that an important fraction will be permanent.

Vice presidents are also to give special consideration to programs in optics, water, biotechnology and information science and technology that are funded with Proposition 301 dollars.

Its going to be very difficult, said Joaquin Ruiz, dean of the College of Science. Were not going to be able to hire faculty forever. Were going to have to give back (money from vacant positions) to the state. Were going to have to stop teaching courses at all levels We wont have enough money to hire TAs, so all around, its a disaster.

Ruiz, like other deans, has not yet finalized where cuts would be made within his college. Deans are requested to finalize where cuts would be made and report back to Davis for his approval on June 1.

So far, Ruiz said he will probably have to cut two organic chemistry classes and other science classes, meaning his students wont be able to get the classes they need to graduate in four years.

The cuts are going to demolish programs it has taken the UA decades to build, Ruiz said, but he would not give specifics.

Maria Teresa Velez, associate dean of the Graduate College, is less concerned about the cuts.

It looks like all graduate students with teaching and research assistant positions, fellowships, scholarships and tuition waivers will retain what they have been awarded, at least for now, she said.

We are not entertaining any cuts in student support at this point, Velez said.

UA President Peter Likins said last week that 320 classes would be canceled and 120 jobs would be cut next year if projected 5 percent state budget cuts were carried over from this year to next year. The 5 percent figure was a hypothetical projection.

Now, Likins is projecting that next years budget will be 7 percent smaller than was originally approved last year, and he said he does not yet know what effect the additional cuts may have.

The catch is that a lot of the places vice presidents made budget cuts this year wont be available next year because they were already used up, like money drained from savings accounts. Having to make new cuts this year will impact UA substantially more because deans will have to look for new places to cut money, Davis said.

For example, in the 2000-2001 academic year, Likins struck a deal with members of the student government and student lobbyists agreeing to provide $1.9 million for improving academic advising in return for their support on raising tuition.

Tuition rose, but the advising plan was not ready in time to change it this year, so ASUA President Ray Quintero approved returning $1.1 million to the state Legislature to cover budget cuts for this year only.

Likins said he may have to make cuts elsewhere to ensure that the academic advising money is restored for use next year.

State legislators have yet to complete next years budget, so no one knows whether there will be more UA budget cuts, or how big they could be. Proposals for 2.25 percent and 4 percent budget cuts are floating around the Capitol.

On March 21, Gov. Jane Dee Hull released her proposal to cut the UA budget by about 2.25 percent or about $8 million to balance a projected $1 billion state deficit.

Republican Laura Knaperek, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, proposed a 4 percent budget cut for the new fiscal year starting in July. Knaperek also proposed removing $25 million for tobacco research and education, some of which goes to UA researchers.

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