On Wednesday, the Joint Finance Committee considered the university’s proposal to meet the $8.26 million lapse called for by the governor’s budget reform act for this fiscal year. With only two months left to effectively meet this cut, the UW System presented a plan for making these cuts with minimal impact on students.
The plan received initial approval from the Department of Administration but required final approval from the Joint Finance Committee. Our staff and chancellors have intensively briefed the committee over the past few weeks, but nevertheless at least one member raised an objection, which required that the committee meet and take formal action.
The committee voted to reject our plan, and instructed the university to cut from the smallest portion of our UW System budget – UW System Administration.
This is especially difficult as we are facing at least $100 million in state cuts to our spending, a challenge that is demanding all of the administrative expertise and support that we can muster. Indeed, this is a time when we need more support centrally for the university, not less.
In taking this action, committee members were seeking to protect instruction support. It is fair to say they may not have fully understood that these campus funds were unspent and already earmarked to meet the cuts. We will ask members of the committee to reconsider this action and indeed have had some preliminary discussions in this regard. I ask for the patience of System staff members as we continue this process.