By Marianna Michael–
On April 19, 2012 the Floyd Theatre was filled with about 100 faculty, staff and students attending President James Ramsey’s budget forum. This was a forum in which President Ramsey discussed the budget in the face of the 6.4 percent cut to higher education at the state level. This cut would be the second largest recurring cut in the past 13 years, though it has not yet been approved by Governor Steve Beshear.
The anticipated 6.4 percent cut to higher education would remove about $9 million from the University of Louisville’s operating budget.
When Ramsey explained the budget he said that there have not been any final decisions made on it. The Board of Trustees financial committee will receive the budget in May. They will then send the budget to the full board in June, where it will be finalized.
At the request of the university, many people have sent in suggestions about how they think the university could save money. According to the university’s financials information webpage, some of the suggestions ranged from implementing furloughs to fining people who smoke on campus.
In an effort to make the budget transparent, President Ramsey and Provost Shirley Willihnganz have been meeting with different organizations including the Arts and Sciences Council and the Student Government Association.
President Ramsey noted that many of the important budget documents could be found online by going to the budget and financial planning webpa on the universities webpage.
President Ramsey highlighted reasons why the university must function as it does. In 1997, the state of Kentucky declared, “The University of Louisville is to be a Premier Nationally Recognized Metropolitan Research University.”
This law is the reason that the 2020 Plan was devised. The 2020 Plan is the driving force behind budget changes, as it outlines what the University of Louisville must do in order to achieve the mandate set by the state.
Though, due to the financial concerns that the university is facing, only so much of it can be followed with the funds that the university has.
Junior Jake French, a civil engineering major, said that one of the things he would like to see the university improve upon is the parking options. He suggests that, “They can spend money to make parking lots bigger because there are times where I pull into the green lot and can’t find a spot.”
One of the questions submitted to Ramsey during the forum was regarding how athletics was funded. President Ramsey explained that the athletic department covered their own tuition and salaries, among many other things.
Another question he answered was how many layoffs and furloughs there are going to be. President Ramsey reported that there would not be any university-mandated layoffs or furloughs. However, the University of Louisville did enact a hiring freeze of all new employees, which was done in anticipation of the state’s reduction in funding to the university.
He went on to explain that unit managers may layoff some of their staff, which does not include faculty, but this is most likely due to performance rather than budget.
According to the current plans, approximately 12 to 15 people will be laid off from approximately 6,000 people.
Photo courtesy UniversityofLouisville