UK Faculty Trustees respond to proposed budget cuts and layoffs

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Lexington is in a state of measured alarm in the wake of proposed budget cuts at the University of Kentucky. Central Kentucky’s Kentuckians for the Commonwealth posted this as a facebook status yesterday, “Lexington is losing 304 jobs because of budget cuts to the University of Kentucky–the city’s largest employer. UK lost $20 million in state funding this year, even though their fixed costs rose by $23 million. UK says that 140 people are losing their jobs, and an additional 164 positions are unfilled. Some lecturers have been put on notice for next year. Some of the job cuts have been announced; many haven’t. One notable job loss announced today was Chester Grundy, the director of UK’s Martin Luther King Cultural Center.”

On Tuesday, June 12, 2012  University of Kentucky Faculty Trustees Irina Voro and John Wilson sent an open letter to Faculty colleagues, urging them to contact University administrators prior to next Tuesday’s Board of Trustees budget vote on June 12. The letter asks, “for your help in communicating to administration the effects these cuts and the impending second round of cuts will have on our institution.”

They suggest, “increases in tuition during the biennium are expected to bring in nearly 47 million dollars, more than sufficient to offset the gap caused by the state budget cut and by and by increases in required expenses,” asking, “So why then are we faced with academic cuts of 7.5% and administrative unit cuts of 11.4%? The major reasons for the cuts are new spending proposals in excess of 50 million dollars: a debt service pool of 12 million, strategic initiatives of 9 million, more financial aid increases of 9 million, and a 5% salary increase of 23 million.”

While they say the new initiatives have merit, “in these difficult times, the size of these new spending initiatives is excessive.  If each of these initiatives were moderated, the size of the cuts could also be moderated. We are apparently proceeding with phase two of the cuts with little opportunity to understand what the real and unanticipated costs of the first round of cutbacks might be.”

They call for new spending moderation, and recommend that faculty communicate to President Eli Capilouto and Provost Tracy  “how the current and proposed cutbacks will affect your ability to fulfill our mission.”

President Capilouto’s June 5 email to UK faculty and staff stated, “As part of UK’s budget for 2012-2013, we’re providing 90 days of notice to those employees who are part of a reduction in workforce in various areas across the campus.  I am urging deans, unit heads and managers who are administering this process to treat those impacted with dignity and compassion during a very difficult time for everyone involved and for our institution,” continuing, “It is a painful exercise to implement significant reductions in our workforce. Our colleagues losing their jobs are both new employees and senior professionals and their contributions to the university have been valued. But there simply is no way to patch over the holes in our budget with temporary measures or one-time sources of funds any longer.”

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