The April 16 public hearing on UNL’s proposed $4.65 million budget reduction closed in 11 minutes, with one student testifying and the presentation of two submitted letters. The hearing, held by the Academic Planning Committee in the Nebraska Union’s Colonial Room, was attended by more than 25 individuals.
“I feel it’s all auditors, no orators,” Stephen Lahey, professor of classics and religious studies, and chair of the APC, said as testimony ended.
Kevin Knudsen, the new president of the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska, was the lone individual to speak to the committee. Knudsen requested a clarification on why the proposed reduction would shift judicial affairs funding from state funds to student fees.
Bill Nunez, associate to the chancellor and a member of the APC, said the committee would request the information from Juan Franco, vice chancellor for student affairs and use it in future discussions.
Testimony submitted in writing asked if a 1 percent proposed reduction in the salary increase pool applied to UNL senior administrators and the possibility of shifting a portion of the athletics budget to UNL’s operating expenses.
Nunez said that yes, the salary increase proposal would impact all university employees paid with state funds. Lahey and Nunez said the athletics budget suggestion would be forwarded to Chancellor Harvey Perlman for further consideration.
The APC is tasked with monitoring and guiding the budget reduction process, reviewing proposals made by the chancellor. The committee considers the probable impact the reductions may have on UNL’s academic mission. The APC can approve the proposals or suggest other methods of meeting the budget reduction goal.
The committee will meet April 23 to further discuss the proposed $4.65 million budget reduction. Recommendations made by the committee will be forwarded to Perlman.
The APC continues to seek public comment on the proposed reductions. The April 16 hearing was the only time to present testimony to the committee in person. Written responses will be accepted through 5 p.m. April 21.
For information on how to submit written testimony, go to http://go.unl.edu/3ix7.
The budget recommendations include:
Withholding 1 percent of the anticipated 3 percent salary increase pool. Amounting to $3.2 million, this would cover the majority of the budget shortfall.
Reducing $318,226 of discretionary resources for strategic initiatives from the Chancellor’s Office’s budget.
Eliminating $200,000 from the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs’ support for summer session programs.
Reducing support of IANR’s Educational Media by $406,000.
Reducing state funding in the Office of Student Affairs by $425,774. Reductions in state-funded activities include four graduate assistant positions and shifting other expenses from state funds to student fees. Fee-supported units would be required to reduce their operational costs to assure there is no increase in student fees.
Reducing once-a-week campus floor burnishing to once a month, saving $100,000.
Read more about the specific recommendations on the chancellor’s website.