When I got into work this morning I found an email from Eli Reilly, President of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada asking fellow Students, Faculty, Staff, and Friends to take the time to visit their website and sign the a petition to fight for education funding.
Fellow Students, Faculty, Staff, and friends:
The educational system in Nevada (K-12 and Higher Education) is at risk of receiving massive budget cuts from the state. The students of the Nevada System of Higher Education have created an online petition to support education in our state and help convince our elected officials that cutting the budgets of education is NOT the answer to solving our state’s problems. All further budget cuts will do is worsen the social and economic problems in Nevada.
Please take the time to visit our website and sign the petition: www.fightfornevada.com.
It takes less than TEN SECONDS.
Associated Students of
the University of Nevada
“Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you reach your destiny.” Aristotle
For those of you outside of Nevada or for those of you who are just not paying attention…here’s part of an article from Nevada News that was written on Thursday, February 18, 2010 (link to the full article):
Last week’s town hall was attended by more than 300 faculty, staff and students with another 270 participating online.
“Candidly, our world changed on Jan. 22,” Glick said in his town-hall remarks about the state’s announced $881 million budget shortfall.
A proposal released by the Governor’s Office this week is being reviewed by University budget officials, but early estimates place the total impact in the range of 10-15 percent. Previous potential budget cuts to higher education of up to 22 percent had been reported.
Glick said a 10 percent cut would mean approximately $54 million would be shaved from the University’s budget. A 22 percent cut would total $79 million.
Noting the University has already cut 15.5 percent or $33 million from its annual budget, Glick said, “Every cut we make does damage to the University.”
For the University, budget reduction scenarios include:
:: Across-the-board salary reductions;
:: A declaration of financial exigency, which would essentially mean the campus would be declaring bankruptcy and would sell its assets, cut programs and lay off faculty;
:: Curricular review, which would follow guidelines set forth by the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents and provide a process by which certain academic programs would be reviewed and possibly closed.
Of the three, Provost Marc Johnson said the campus would likely meet mandated budgets cuts through “a mixture of program closure and some opportunistic cuts such as not filling certain positions.”
Johnson noted the goal will be make all final announcements regarding closure of programs no later than the end of the fiscal year at the end of June.
“The advantage of curricular review (rather than declaring financial exigency) is it’s under our control,” Johnson said, noting that curricular review will give terminated employees up to June 2011 to find new employment. “Unlike financial exigency, we will have a little more time to give notice.”
Glick said he didn’t support financial exigency as a way to balance the higher education budget in Nevada.
“You become the poster child for a failed university,” he said of the national reaction to such a budgetary move. “It hurts the reputation of the University long-term and your ability to recruit students and faculty. I think financial exigency hurts everybody.”
Whatever the mode chosen, Johnson said the process will be even more painful than previous rounds of budget cuts, which have seen 281 positions eliminated and the reduction and elimination of several programs and departments. Tuition has also increased 28 percent over the past two years.
If possible, Glick said, the cuts will be made with the overriding philosophy of not doing irreversible damage to the University’s quality.
“This would result in a narrower University, but hopefully it will be done in a way to maintain the quality of the University,” he said. “Protecting our quality … I don’t see any other choice.”
In remarks given at the beginning of the two-hour meeting, Elliott Parker, chairperson of the Faculty Senate, reminded the audience that the University, even in a time of severe budget reductions, represents one of the most important assets the state possesses.
“I think this University is the finest thing about this whole state,” he said, drawing strong applause from the crowd.
A special session of the Nevada State Legislature will convene Feb. 23, by proclamation of the Governor, to consider specific matters related to the state budget. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have criticized Gibbons’ proposal for addressing the shortfall by cutting too deeply into education.