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Thursday, May 07, 2009

In the Dark

Rumors, and that's all they are at this point, are that layoff announcements and letters of non-renewal may come out next week. If true, the decisions are being made with minimal of faculty input since this is the break week between spring semester and summer A.
News is sketchy about what part of the plans will be implemented, but clearly there are hints in the news about how stimulus money will be used at UF. Consider this from the Palm Beach Post

At the University of Florida, President Bernie Machen will get about $42 million from the federal stimulus.

He said he plans to use the money for retirement and separation packages for employees, to transition state funded programs to the private sector, to allow students to finish majors that may be terminated, and to plug a 12 percent hole in the school's base budget.

So we see that some majors may eliminated (if reporting is correct) and that there will be layoffs. Interestingly the same article had a more pointed argument for how stimulus monies should be spent:

"Arguing that you don't want to do anything recurring is probably an overly narrow view of how to use this money," said John Curtis, director of research and public policy for the American Association of University Presidents. "The whole point is to get us through a difficult time and one way to do that is invest in the faculty who provide the education and ideas that can help transform the economy."

Plus, all of Florida's universities will likely have a new power beginning in the fall to raise student tuition up to 15 percent each year - a revenue generating machine that could bring in $39 million statewide in the first year and up to $200 million annually by year three.

That's new recurring money that can help plug the hole left when stimulus dollars run out.

one other person who 'gets it'

"The federal government has been very clear that this support is designed to save and create jobs," Chancellor Robert Holub told university employees last month. "In this budget plan, we do exactly that."

That's the way most people view the intent of the stimulus funding. Rebuilding programs or re-inventing programs is a costly and lengthy process. Elimination of programs without consulting faculty who make up the University is scary. I hope that those who will be affected by the cuts are told face-to-face rather than via e-mail. Despite the warm summer weather and blue skies, there is a dark cloud hanging over this campus.


At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The university blogs (faculty and student) are very quiet. As you said, it's between semesters, so there's not many individuals on campus paying attention to the situation.

With little resistance, there will be no better time than now for Tigert to make a move. No consultations or explanations, just smooth sailing ahead.

I think most left for the break thinking things will be better because the legislature didn't cut funding drastically. Hopefully, they have been following the news, or there will be a rude awakening when they return.

Best off luck to all faculty, staff, programs, and colleges. Next week will tell how much hurt UF will need to endure.

At 6:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Machen come before the UF community in a town hall style meeting to explain his actions. But I doubt you will ever see that because he's afraid he would have to explain himself.


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