The headline feature story in today’s [May 5] Campus Weekly detailed Chancellor Linda P. Brady’s views on the governor’s proposed budget cuts of 5.9 percent. In her letter to the faculty and staff and letter to friends of the university, she stated, “The Legislature convenes May 12th and the budget process will move very swiftly. We therefore ask you to contact your House and Senate representative and any other state elected officials you have a relationship with THIS WEEK, urging them to hold University reductions to a minimum. Individual telephone calls and e-mail messages are appropriate; however, mass e-mails sent to multiple legislators at one time are typically ineffective. I also encourage you to engage the public by writing letters to the editor for publication in your local newspapers.”
The chancellor noted to State employees: please remember your assistance is voluntary, and that all contact with legislators should be done on your own time without the use of state equipment; including your computer, state e-mail account, cell phone, etc.
Some budget information, distributed by the chancellor, to keep in mind and to communicate is below:
If budget cuts rise to the level recommended by the Governor, UNCG will suffer significant and lasting damage to the quality of instruction provided to our 18,000+ students.
The General Assembly convenes on May 12th, and the Senate will present its budget proposal first. They are scheduled to complete their work by May 20th.
UNCG at Risk
- While it takes generations to build a great university, it can erode dramatically and quickly if not properly sustained. The budget reductions recommended by the Governor would do permanent and substantial damage to UNCG’s academic core, and place us on a path to mediocrity; something North Carolinians have never been willing to settle for in their institutions of higher learning.
- While the UNC System accounts for only 13% of General Fund appropriations, last fiscal year it contributed nearly 30% of the budget reversions imposed across state government. In the current fiscal year, the System permanently reduced its budget by 6%, and targeted those cuts to administration in order to protect the academic core. As a result, total cuts to the UNC System for this year approached $300 million.
- Seventy-five percent of the state budget allocated to the UNC System supports personnel expenses. Therefore, it is impossible to once again make significant cuts at UNCG without eliminating jobs affecting fundamental academic and student support. If the Governor’s proposed budget is implemented, more than 80 positions at UNCG will have to be eliminated, with more than half of those being faculty positions.
- UNCG began this fiscal year with a $15.4 million budget reduction, and cannot further reduce administration without potentially endangering the safety of our students, fiscal integrity and regulatory compliance.
Dramatically Reduced Access
- UNCG would lose at least 665 class sections, and have 19,950 fewer “seats” in classrooms. The result would be an increase in class sizes, and decrease in course availability. This would negatively impact the quality of education for our undergraduate and graduate students.
- UNCG would need to eliminate entire courses from the course schedule, expanding by one semester to one full year, the students’ time-to-degree in selected disciplines.
- The budget cuts would reduce the number of student majors in high-priority degree programs (e.g. teacher education, nursing, and the sciences) due to limited course availability.
- UNCG would be forced to curtail iSchool enrollments to some 200 students across the state due to elimination of course sections (iSchool is the program for students across North Carolina to receive college credit while still in high school).
Significantly Reduced Support for Student Success
- The Governor’s proposed budget reductions would eliminate 30 student support staff positions. In particular, the number of mental health counselors available to UNCG students would decrease at a time when the number of students using counseling services has increased about one-third since 2007.
- Some sections of the First-Year Experience and academic support courses aimed at retaining students would be cancelled (includes University Studies (UNS) 100/200, and Strategies for Academic Success (SAS) 100/200).
- Students would see fewer academic advisors, fewer financial aid officers, and their access to the courses they need to graduate on time would be severely constrained. Retention and graduation rates would undoubtedly decline as a result. Aging technology would not be replaced as equipment life cycles are extended. Programs designed to meet the special needs of the military would be eliminated or reduced. The list goes on and on.
- Seven of every ten dollars appropriated to the UNC System provides fundamental instructional, academic support, and student support services. A 5.9% budget reduction would cut directly into our academic core, significantly reducing the quality of academic instruction and the student experience at UNCG.
Diminished Ability to Contribute to Economic Development
- UNCG is the largest state university in the Piedmont Triad, and has an annual economic impact of more than $1 billion. As an economic engine and center of innovation for the Triad, our teaching, research, and outreach have never been more important to this region’s economic future.
- If the recently recommended UNC System budget cuts for the next fiscal year come to pass, our academic core will incur immediate and lasting damage rendering our universities unable to compete with or for the best and the brightest. Numerous academic programs, including those that produce graduates in high-need fields such as nursing and physical therapy, would be downsized.
- The recommended budget cuts threaten UNCG’s ability to equip students with the skills needed to compete in the knowledge-based global economy and may force departments to postpone hiring research faculty, let temporary appointments lapse and leave research positions unfilled. The proposed budget cuts threaten to slow UNCG’s research growth and in turn the University’s ability to create the much-needed jobs of the future.
As you tackle the 2010-11 budget, we urge you to help keep budget reductions for UNCG to a minimum so that we can maintain our academic quality, fiscal integrity, access to education, and contribution to economic development. Our students deserve no less.
Thank you for your support.