Washington State University will cut 359 jobs and eliminate three academic programs to deal with severe budget cuts imposed by the state, school President Elson Floyd said Wednesday.
The department of theater and dance and the department of community and rural sociology will be phased out, and the German major will be eliminated because of budget cuts of $54 million over the next two years that were imposed by the Legislature. But the sports management program, which had been slated for elimination, will be retained.
“There is no doubt this has been the most difficult year in the life of Washington State University,” Floyd said during a question-and-answer session from Pullman that was shown live at WSU’s three branch campuses. Some upset faculty members and students questioned why their programs were cut.
“Virtually every aspect of WSU has been touched by this fiscal crisis,” Floyd said.
Floyd, who has already cut his salary by $100,000, said WSU’s top administrators will contribute 5 percent of their base salaries back to the school. The $330,000 savings will save 10 positions, he said.
Floyd rejected the notion of across-the-board cuts, saying he wanted to preserve the strongest programs at the state’s land-grant university. The new budget, which includes cuts of about 10 percent, takes effect July 1.
Many programs in Pullman and at branch campuses in Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver also will see reductions.
Some speakers wondered if big cuts in agriculture and extension programs damaged WSU’s mission as a land-grant institution. The College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences will consolidate some majors and eliminate the international marketing program for farm products. The Cooperative Extension program will close all nine of its learning centers across the state and will make other staff cuts. “Our entire mission has just gotten more complicated,” Floyd said.
The university will also dramatically cut back on advertising and reduce its print publications.
Administrators held more than a dozen public meetings to gather comments after releasing their initial budget cut proposals in early May.
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