President's March 8 Letter to the Campus
March 8, 2011
Today, in response to a Board of Regents request, I submitted a plan for cutting $32.6 million and 315 faculty and staff positions from our budget. With the loss of $49.6 million and 540 positions over the past four years, and the closure of six departments last year, we are now facing a cumulative impact of over $97 million in cuts and the loss of 855 positions in a five-year period. This plan was developed from proposals submitted by each administrative area, and is a first approximation of the cuts we will take if the Governor’s budget is passed. I want to note that we purposefully reduced academic cuts to 60% of the recommended target, in hopes that subsequent reorganizations at the college level, actions by the Board of Regents, or actions by our legislators would reduce the total cuts needed. By now our Vice Presidents and Deans have notified faculty and staff of these proposed cuts, and I know we are all greatly saddened by the impact this will have on so many of our friends and colleagues should these cuts be sustained. We have initiated this process to give those affected by the cuts as much advance notification as possible should the cuts materialize at the close of this legislative session.
Attached you will find our initial detailed proposal to meet these cuts. Needless to say, this was a difficult and painful process in which we sought to minimize the cut impacts on faculty and staff, academic programs, university reputation, and our students. We have done our best to preserve our core strengths. I have included two spreadsheets outlining the cuts to all budgeted areas, and detailing the proposed academic cuts. In addition, I have included a bulleted summary of the proposed cuts in each administrative area. It is important to note that these cuts have been presented to the Faculty Advisory Committee, as required and that following our Board of Regents meeting this week we will more fully consult with the Faculty Senate, students and campus leadership, seeking alternatives that allow us to achieve the cut targets while minimizing impacts on our mission. I would also note that we have not yet reached the full cut target.
In the weeks to come, we will consider reorganizations at the college level that could ameliorate these cuts. We will work with our Faculty Senate, the Board of Regents and Chancellor to determine how we will notice those impacted and how we will support students attempting to complete their degrees in eliminated programs. We anticipate that reductions in force for faculty and staff will occur no later than July 1, 2012. We will do all we can to preserve faculty positions and educational programs, but have no doubt that these cuts will have a lasting impact on our university for years to come.
We need to continue to make our case clear to our Governor and the Legislature and I encourage you to share your commitment to higher education, our children’s future, and your concerns about the proposed cuts with all of our elected officials. I will keep you informed of budget developments as the legislative session progresses, and know that by working together we will find our way forward through this incredibly difficult period.
Our faculty and staff have worked for decades to build UNLV and serve our state. These cuts will significantly reduce our ability to educate our students, maintain our campus and serve the community. I believe this is a tragic loss and a giant step backward for Nevada as we attempt to build a globally competitive and highly educated workforce that can attract new industries and build a more diversified economy. I believe that UNLV has never been more important to our future than it is today, and has never been more ready, willing or able to make a difference. I can only hope that you, our students and their parents, and our community will stand up and support UNLV and the dream of higher education as we work to create a more prosperous and sustainable future for Las Vegas and Nevada.
Neal J. Smatresk