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The Antelope

Budget cuts will hit campus across the board

UNK is projected to face a $5.4 million budget decrease. Photo illustration by Christopher Terry

Changes are coming to UNK following a budget reduction of an estimated $58 million to the University of Nebraska system. State legislature denied funding the total requested budget, leaving UNK with a $5.4 million shortfall.

UNK administrators are working on developing a plan for the budget proposal.

 “What we’re doing right now is looking at where we have maybe inefficiencies, and can we change that,” said Julie Shaffer, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Shaffer said three areas are being taken into consideration while planning the budget cuts. Administrators will look at the inefficient use of people, the expense of programs and how many students are enrolled in those programs.

“Typically, we like to exclude academics, because that’s the courses and that’s going to impact students,” Shaffer said. “In this case, because it’s such a large amount, we are going to have to at least look at academics as well.”

Administrators met for a deans council meeting on Aug. 22 where each dean was given a list of proposals for suggested cuts. 

Paul Twigg, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the deans have to make their own versions of the suggested plans by the middle of September. These plans will be assessed as to whether enough was cut.

“I did ask, ‘You’ve given me this plan, is there a number of positions or is there an amount of money that you want me to cut?”’ Twigg said. “Is there a target that I am aiming for? And the answer was no, not really.’

The approved plans will then move on to a faculty advisory committee in October with UNK’s final plan being submitted by early December to the central administration

Though nothing has been decided as of now, the administration has a rough idea of how many positions may be cut.

“Right now, the administration is estimating 30 positions,” said Will Aviles, president of the UNK Education Association. “It’s not clear how many of those are going to be real people and how many of those are going to be unfilled lines.” 

Unfilled lines refer to positions at UNK that no one has been hired for, yet there is a budget in place for when someone fills that spot.

The administration is aware of the potential effects that will happen across campus.

Everybody will be impacted,” Shaffer said. “ Athletics, academics, student services, international students, administration, everybody is going to be impacted. Nothing can be overlooked because we don’t want to harm the university.”

A few changes have already gone into effect across the Nebraska University system to assist with the budget shortfall. UNK and all University of Nebraska Systems are in a hiring freeze, and a 2.5% quarterly rescission on all departmental operating and supply budgets has been implemented.

Chancellor Kristensen will hold a forum this month to address the budget shortfall. An official date has not been set, however, the meeting will be open to UNK faculty, staff and students.

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    BernardSep 10, 2023 at 3:03 am

    We in custodian don’t even have enough people to fill positions that are vacant so why a hiring freeze when we need custodians