January 26, 2009 in Idaho

UI president: Of programs to be cut, few are popular

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Eye on Boise
Track more news from Idaho’s capital at Betsy Russell’s blog, Eye on Boise.

Of the 41 undergraduate and graduate degree programs that the University of Idaho is proposing eliminating, few are popular, acting UI President Steven Daley-Laursen this morning told the Joint Finance-Appropriations budget writing committee.

“We have only 55 applications now on the table for entrance of new students,” between the 41 combined, he said.

That change is part of a campus-wide reprioritization of programs that’s under way. But budget cuts overall will hit the UI hard, Daley-Laursen told lawmakers.

Already, the university has cut $5 million due to the 4 percent holdbacks. For next year, Gov. Butch Otter is recommending an additional base reduction that brings those permanent cuts up to a total of 7 percent, which would make next year’s state appropriation to the UI $8.8 million below the original budget for this year.

The next cuts could include eliminating 5 percent, or 80, of the university’s faculty and staff positions, Daley-Laursen said, saying that’s something “we are prepared to consider.”

All cuts would be of vacant positions; the university already has a hiring freeze. Currently there are 32 vacant faculty positions and 55 vacant staff positions.

Daley-Laursen said he’s also planning a 75 percent cut in state funds for travel, a $2.3 million cut in university-wide operating expenses and a half-million-dollar cut in capital outlay.

“These funding reductions will be felt university-wide, by students, faculty and staff at all of our locations,” Daley-Laursen said. “We’ll see fewer overall programs and offerings for our students. We’ll see limits on our ability to attract and retain faculty and staff. We’ll see reduction of programs in human resources and positions in facilities. We’ll see elimination of three student computing labs and migration of network costs to students themselves. We’ll see reduction of funding for classroom technologies, network systems and the like.”


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